Some games are just a stroll in the (Villa) Park and this was one of them. Everything was slightly lethargic – even Martin O’Neill sat down which is usually unheard of! – because with a 3-1 win away, there was no way back for Linda Lovelace, whoops, sorry, I mean Litex Lovech.
The crowd for a wet chilly evening wasn’t too bad judging by the fact the game was all but a formality, we managed 27 230, an improvement on the Carling Cup game, but to be fair even the fans were slightly lethargic and largely quiet for great spells of this game.
And about the game?
Well, we drew, we went through on aggregate and job done. Really not much more to say as the game itself was a fairly dull affair, I was more intrigued with the young lad sitting with his dad by me who didn’t stop eating and drinking all game, I am not sure where the little fella put it all…! To be fair to Litex, they passed the ball about very well but just have no cutting edge of finish to them. Marlon Harewood took a nice goal which he made himself but still didn’t do enough to really scream out to the manager PICK ME BOSS. As Martin O’Neill admitted in his post match interview, Marlon is keen but sometimes lacks aggression.
I must admit he wasn’t the only fringe player to surprise me. They should have been playing out of their skins to give Martin O’Neill a selection headache ahead of the crunch Premiership clash at the weekend v Chelsea, but to be fair none really shone. Wayne Routledge – who I really like and hope comes good for us, nothing would give me more pleasure (ok, there are a few females in the world who could make this statement an exception to the rule!) than to see him resurrect his once very promising career with Villa…. come to think of it a lottery win would also give me more pleasure, as would a nice bloody fillet steak with the blood soaking into the chips… but you get my drift!
James Milner had some nice touches but also some awful ones, to be fair to all of the non regulars, it takes time and a run of games to get into the swing of things. I thought Salifou had some lovely touches but only occasionally and really showed that he isn’t going to be quite Premiership class… prove me wrong Moustapha, please!
Overall it didn’t matter how scruffy the game was, we are into the group stages of the UEFA cup and with three teams going through from each group, we have to fancy our chances of getting through to the latter part of the competition, we are in until at least February and maybe that will help Martin O’Neill add to our striking options in the January transfer window. The draw will take place at 12noon on Tuesday 7 October.
Brad Friedel 7
little to do and no real chance with the penalty
Nicky Shorey 6
steady enough and can pass the ball forward nicely
Luke Young 7
played well, has settled into the team well
Carlos Cuellar 7
going to be a top player for us when he gets up to speed. Think it was a cast iron penalty he gave away mind you!
Zat Knight 7
as good as any other defender on the night
Wayne Routledge 6
some good runs and one decent shot (or did I dream that, no seriously??) still to really take the game by the scruff of the neck
James Milner 6
same as Routledge, certainly not at his best yet
Stiliyan Petrov 7
what has happened to Petrov, all of a sudden he can play the game and play the game well?!
Moustapha Salifou 5.5
some nice enough touches but didn’t help control the midfield battle really
Ashley Young 6
played a more attacking role, or up front even, not really his ideal position. One great shot that hit the crossbar
Marlon Harewood 6
scored the winning goal and tried to add to it in the first half, then faded. Has the strength to menace defenses like this, if only he had the true grit to do so
Isaiah Osbourne, on for Luke Young on 85
Not on long enough to rate.
Away Match Report
Oh no, we’ve lost our mighty away match reporter Glensider for Chelsea v Villa (luckily he will return!) If any Vital Villan is going and wants to submit a match report, please email me and let me know (email link at top of site by my name) or pm me.