Yesterdays results from those around us:
Everton 2-0 Man City
Stoke 1-1 Liverpool
Tottenham 0-0 Hull
Today was frustrating as hell, we all (most?) know that we need a striker – who doesn’t? – and that might well prove to be the last bit of the jigsaw and arguably the hardest one to get.
Walking out – and the confrontation between Martin O’Neill and a fan or two – made it look like the end of the world. It wasn’t. We huffed and puffed, all was pretty solid and God bless our defence, it is now solid and has to be as we don’t put away enough chances but on balance we were the only team really likely to get something out of the game.
2 points lost? Yes, it was at home v a relegation threatened side (hope not, they are a ‘real’ club like us I always think) with major injury worries but as we have no doubt seen countless times before, these things happen and football is a funny old game at the best of times, you never can look ‘on paper’ and really predict a result can you?
That stats on our front page show we have 56% of possession, that sounds about right, we also had 16 corners and 17 odd goal attempts on and off target (although to be fair, their keeper much like ours, didn’t have that many saves to really make?)
On another day – here we go for cliché number 876 – it could have been 4 or 5 to us IF we had put the chances away then again, West Ham broke first and fastest with the best chance of the first half, that Nouble guy I had never heard of before looked very handy and liked to have the ball at his feet, luckily for us, he didn’t have his shooting boots on after running nearly all the way from the half way line only to blow his chance in front of Friedel. If he’d got that on target it would have been very difficult to save for sure, so despite a draw not being great for us, it could have been worse.
No matter what we tried, things didn’t seem to work, even the ever reliable James Milner misplaced the odd pass today as did Stewart Downing who did look to tire – with good reason, he is only just back and runs all over the place – after 70 odd minutes.
The main criticism? The movement of our strikers is frankly pathetic at times and the first touch leaves a massive amount to be desired. I SO want Heskey to succeed, I know some who would gladly drive him anywhere out of Villa Park but if he has the claret and blue shirt on, I just want him to do well and I’m told he is such a nice guy, which to be fair throughout his career might be his problem, you don’t really want nice guys on the pitch not ones of his size and strength, you want aggression and attitude, bit like Dion Dublin used to have.
And Gabby? Well, he had a few chances and sadly blew them, the late chance when he turned the defender beautifully only to control the ball badly and give Green plenty of chance to get the ball was just typical of his day. I will repeat and many moan when some of us say this, he is only 23, he isn’t the finished article and it isn’t his fault that MON never brings him off, sometimes for the last 20 minutes of a game after he’s run all over the place surely Delfouneso or …., no Delfouneso would have to be it really (!) could get a chance to give the opposition defenders something new to think about?
Then again, MON is the boss, as he said to a fan today behind me, ‘that is why I am standing here and you are sitting there you twat’ …. ok…! End of the day, could have been put better, but he is the boss, he is the one who has to carry our dreams and make them reality, if he doesn’t I’m sure some other twat will be only too happy to take over the mantle and try.
Lets beat Blackburn again on Wednesday, smash Brighton & Hove Albion out of the FA Cup, the season is still very much alive.
There and some say I can’t be positive! lol
Not sure what was up with the crowd today, the Holte End was virtually silent, shame, we are the 12th man but there is only so much banging of the boards I can do, I might break my nails! :o)
I’m actually looking forward to watching the highlights tonight, see the talking points, their straw haired midfielder should have been sent off for one. Milner shot just wide – did it glance the post? Not sure. The miss by Nouble and so much more that no doubt I’ve forgotten. Bit of a tame game in some ways, quiet crowd and no goals, but on the other hand, it wasn’t for the want of trying on our part was it?
Brad Friedel 7
didn’t do anything wrong, wasn’t that tested really
Stephen Warnock 7
solid, I like Warnock, he is no nonsense
Carlos Cuellar 6
not his position, seems strange that Luke Young is back on the bench but again, I’m not the manager so what do I know? Exactly, nowt! Good in defense, service out was pretty poor at times!
James Collins 7
solid enough and not without threat as we didn’t invite them on at times
Richard Dunne 7.5
just what you expect, solid – didn’t connect with a headed shot sadly but hey, he is the defender for goodness sake!
Ashley Young 7.5
a mate of mine said he didn’t think he had a good game, will be interested to hear what others say, I thought he looked much brighter than much of this season and was a threat and worry to West Ham
James Milner 6.5
not his best but not his worst, good and … I can’t say solid again can I?!
Stiliyan Petrov 6.5
not his fault he is asked to play a holding role so that he can’t get forward, did ok, broke up a fair bit of the play, still looks to really tire after an hour though.
Stewart Downing 6.5
ok, looked to tire at the end but some good play and to think he was out for months and months, he has been impressive how he has slotted back in.
Emile Heskey 6
puts the effort in, sort of, but more often than not, in the wrong area of the pitch. Don’t remember a single shot, although he did do a bizarre dive for one header, sadly nowhere near where the ball was though!
Gabby Agbonlahor 6
puts the effort in but he fluffed his lines, not getting on his back, I’m very laid back with Gabby, he is young and learning, but you HAVE to take your chances if not you get replaced, well, most do, Gabby on the other hand, I guess does not! Will have harder chances and convert them this season. Still promising so much, just got to deliver regularly now.
John Carew (on for Heskey 57)
Looked up for it, did think he might pop in with the telling goal. Sadly not. As he walked off, he took his Villa shirt off leaving the clinging sports shirt (whatever they are) on. He has so much muscle, perfect specimen of an athlete, if only he would use that size and strength, as many of you know, he bugs me so much, not because he is no good, quite the reverse, this player should be awesome. Come on JC!
MON Looked as frustrated as everyone else as the game went on. Not sure why he won’t change or shake things up a little, I always think with 20 mins to go it isn’t bad to see a fresh striker come on but as I keep trying to say to save the moans I sometimes get (!) that IS his job, we all know that, doesn’t stop opinions in football though!? Not so convinced a manager needs to react to the fans calling them twats I must admit. Graham Taylor took pure filth and bile (after already being shafted by Ellis over transfers etc) and just stood stoically and took it. Not nice, not easy but ultimately far more dignified. MON in my opinion has an unprecedented support as our manager, so why stress over the odd comment?
Gianfranco . Sorry, I love the guy. Total class. Acknowledged some of us clapping him as he came out, he WAS a GREAT player on the pitch and a real gentleman off it. Hope he has a long and successful managerial career, the game needs people like him.
I do get looked after at games, the ladies who sit behind me turn my collar up if they think I’m cold and today the ever lovely Toni brought us all chocolates. Some Villa fans are just total class and those who sit around me are simply great people. Imagine having to put up with me banging the boarding’s all the time and still smiling?!?!?
My ratings defined
My ratings defined: 1) Totally awful, had a mare, should be taken out and shot, 2) Awful, but not usual standard, 3) Very poor, needs to improve quickly 4) Poor, below the standard expected, 5) Average, the least expected, 6) Better than average, but in patches only, 7) Good, generally decent performance, 8) Very good, above the standard, standing out at times, 9) Excellent, stood out all match, 10) Outstanding (aka Paul McGrath!). Truly commanded the match, stunning.