Date: 25th September 2008 at 11:32am
Written by:

Last night, I was witness to a poor performance from the mighty Villa.

Its hard to pick out any particular highlights, as The Fear’s Match Report echoes. But I am going to try very hard to be positive (so this report is likely to be a short one).

Villa started off quite well and Ashley Young spent the first half looking for a freekick, weaving away unwilling to pass the ball, waiting for a tackle so that he could dive and appeal for a freekick. To be fair it did work a couple of times, it was just a shame that his freekicks throughout the night left alot to be desired.

Osbourne recoved from some early mistakes and like Reo-Coker before him soon found himself playing down the wing, a few cheeky step-overs as he attacked Damien Delaney had the Holte End cheered, which was to be about the only time the Villa fans would be heard during the game.

The second half kicked off and Ashley Young looked as though he had been told to pass, within the first five minutes he had completed his first three passes of the game. He played ball after ball into the area and Barry, Carew and Harewood all failed to get on the end of them.

The chance of the game fell to captain Gareth Barry (didnt think i would be saying that again!!) when he went through one on one with Radek Cerny, but for some unknown reason (perhaps arrogance?) he attempted to chip the keeper instead of slotting home the equaliser.

For me, last night showed us three things:-

1. How important Gabby is to the team. I am not a huge fan of Gabby, but he was sorely missed last night. And to those who think he should be dropped, i just hope that Harewood’s performance proved that Gabby is the best we have at the moment.

2. How important Reo-Coker is the team. For those who love Petrov and Barry, i think it was obvious that they play better with Reo-Coker beside them. We also missed his attitude in the middle of the park.

3. Despite Laursen, Davies, O’Neill and countless others telling us that the cup is important to us, last night proved. It isn’t.

Player Ratings

Brad Guzan
The debutant had little to do in the first half and was solid enough in the second, i think it would be unfair to blame him for the goal.

Rating – 6

Craig Gardner
Although he had a decent first half, he showed his inexperience at right back on a few occasions in the second.

Rating – 5

Nicky Shorey
Did not put a foot wrong all game and looked good going forward as the side looked for an equaliser.

Rating – 7

Zat Knight
Had little to do and looked comfortable when QPR did have the ball. A good performance.

Rating – 7

Carlos Cuellar
Needs time to settle. Okay at the back, would expect better in future. But its early days.

Rating – 6

Isaiah Osbourne
Took a while to get going but had a decent enough game.

Rating – 6

Stiliyan Petrov
His usual self, controlling the midfield, saw a shot go inches past the post.

Rating – 7.

Gareth Barry
Not his best performance, looked very arrogant on more than one occassion.

Rating – 5

Ashley Young
His unwillingness to pass in the first half showed an arrogance that was not needed in that game. However was much better in the second half.

Rating – 6

Marlon Harewood
Marlon looked as though he would score on more than one occasion but lacked the confidence in front of goal.

Rating – 5

John Carew
Quiet in the first half, was poor in the second. I do wonder if he will last the 90 minutes against Sunderland this weekend.

Rating – 5

Wayne Routledge
Got stuck in, but struggled to make an impact on the game.

Rating – 6

Gabby Agbonlahor
Came on and showed just how important his pace is to the team, had he started the result may have been very different.

Rating – 6

Manager Rating
Martin O’Neill spoke of how seriously he would take this competition and ultimately is to blame for the result. His decision to leave out Davies, Laursen, Reo-Coker and Gabby is questionable.

He made the right decisions in the players he brought on (Routledge and Agbonlahor) but it was too little too late. I also feel he showed a lack tactical ability by not changing the formation to accommodate all 3 strikers.