Date: 19th February 2009 at 9:22am
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Following the sides poor display at Goodison Park on Sunday, Martin O’Neill would have been glad to see captain Gareth Barry return to the squad. The team lined up with Brad Guzan in goal and Nicky Shorey at left back which in turn, allowed Luke Young to revert to his preferred position of right back. Craig Gardner being pushed forward onto the right wing in the absence of James Milner.

The game started off well with Villa have the majority of the chances attacking towards the North Stand. Shorey and Ashley Young linking up particularly well down the left flank. After a few chances escaped the Villa, CSKA broke with a cheeky one-two which played Vagner Love through on goal and he took the chance really well. Guzan couldn`t prevent it, whether Friedel could have done better in the situation is up for debate I am sure.

The second half began with no changes for either side. Again Villa looked the better side, Gardner and Luke Young provided crosses from the right while Barry and Ashley Young provided them from the left. Carew and Agbonlahor both had a few opportunities but nothing looked likely to provide an equaliser.

Until the 69th minute, when a great combination of Agbonlahor, Barry and Ashley Young provided Big John Carew with an opportunity which he took superbly, firing home from just outside the six-yard box to make it 1-1.

Villa continued to press forward but were unable to get a second and the game finished one-a-piece.

Player Ratings

Brad Guzan
6 – Had little to do during the game, could maybe have done better with the goal, and did spill a shot late in the second half.

Luke Young
7 – Looked composed at the back and linked up well with Gardner down the right, good to see him in his natural position.

Nicky Shorey
7 – Played well, will have benefited from being given this start, a player just low on confidence in my opinion and looked solid all game.

Curtis Davies
6.5 – Didn`t have much to do, but dealt with everything thrown at him with minimal fuss.

Zat Knight
6 – Big Zack is one of my favourite players, think he has really stepped up to the plate in Laursen’s absence. Thought he was a bit shaky early on, but was his solid self for the rest of the game.

Craig Gardner
6 – Had a decent enough game out of position, Gardner has stepped into Reo-Coker’s role as utility man. Would love to see him play in the middle though.

Ashley Young
7 – Poor against Doncaster and Everton, back to old self in this match. Linking up well with Barry, Carew and Gabby. Had a good game.

Stiliyan Petrov
7 – Once again had a solid enough game, doesn`t put a foot wrong these days, Villa were very attacking today and he doesn`t get involved in that play too much, hence the low ratings, others will disagree with me on this one.

Gareth Barry
9 – Man of the match performance, was involved in everything, tonight was further evidence of what a big player he is for the cause.

John Carew
7 – Carew took another step towards getting back to his best, the clubs top goalscorer last season took his goal really well, and he and Gabby looked good together.

Gabriel Agbonlahor
8 – Did very little of note in the first half but looked superb in the second, did miss a couple of chances. Not sure he is goalscorer we need but on this performance you wouldn’t drop him.


14 Replies to “Aston Villa vs CSKA Moscow – Match Report”

  • Ratings are rather bizarre – many had Petrov as MOTM including (reading between the lines) Martin O’Neill.

  • Yep and as stated many will disagree with my opinion on it. Villa were all about attacking football, and similarly to Davies and Knight’s ratings, it kind of reflects the point that he wasnt involved in the game much. Just an opinion. Petrov didnt put a foot wrong as stated.

  • I must say that I thought Petrov had a brilliant game, he is a different player this season. Shorey and Sidwell should take a leaf out of his book, and step-up. I’m sure they can. Craig was showing excellent determination, skill, and some guile yesterday. I just don’t know how we couldn’t score more!

  • That Gardner freekick was totally bizarre too, i had expected Barry to whip it in. Gardner should have taken the freekick right before over the otherside of the box. Ashley’s freekicks have been poor somewhat this season.

  • Ashley’s crosses from open play were amazing though and we have to score one of those. First half everyone seemed to be treading on each other’s toes when the crosses went into the box or their was noone there atall. Shorey did make a couple of mistakes but other than that was quality and is much improved.

  • Barry had a great game and you are right didn’t put a foot wrong for 90 mins, but i have to disagree on JCs performance, he was slow to react, ball control was slightly better than against Everton but not what you should expect from a premiership striker. He was lagging behind the play for most of the game, lazy or knackered, i just don’t know! Undoubtedly this was why he was in the position he was to score the goal!! Lucky i suppose, but he took it as a striker should.
    Gardner(8) stepped up to the mark for the game too and came a close 3rd behind Barry(9) and Petrov(8) in my opinion.

    But then, opinions are like Ar348oles, everybody has one!!


  • I sometimes wonder if I was at the same game as other people! Although, on this occasion, the differences are more minor. Responsibility for the CSKA goal must be taken by Knight. He dived into a tackle, missed and left a yawning gap between Young (L) and Davies. Love ran into this and scored. Charizma says that JC was in position to score the goal because he was lazy or knackered. If you get a chance, watch it again. John was in position in plenty of time. He held his position rather than running into the box where all the defenders were. Thay way, when the ball came to him he was unmarked. Petrov was clearly the MotM.

  • Petrov was man of the match? Hmmmm……..seems to me he is ALWAYS man of the match. I think we all agree he is playing his best football this season, but not sure how he wins man of the match every game, bizarre.

  • For me Luke Young was MotM, he was good going foward, he barely missed a pass all game and he was composed when defending too. A very good performance topped off by the pass of the game, cross-field to Ashley Young on about 75mins I guess. The midfielders I’m flummoxed by. In the 2nd half we looked a real threat going forward and put the opposition under so much pressure, but every time there was a 2nd ball there to be mopped up for about 90% of the time it was a Russian who picked it up. I can’t help but think that if Reo-Coker had been there then they wouldn’t have had nearly as much of the ball. I also think that for a huge part of the game we were carrying Carew. His work rate was poor, for whatever reason, he wasn’t winning much in the air and the ball wouldn’t stick with him for even a moment on the floor. Most disappointing of all was his lack of willing to get physical with the opposition and challenge for a few 50/50 balls. Immediatley before the goal he’d been nigh on anonymous for about 15 minutes. The 2 centre backs distribution was really poor at times too. Anyway, enough of the negativity, the 2nd half left me knowing that for all missed touches, iffy passes etc in the first, we’re a team of fighters who just won’t lie down.
    Ash looked great, with the exception of over-hit free kicks, worked hard, and once he’d got the confidence to go past his defender we looked a real threat. In the 2nd half Gardner looked dangerous too, both cutting back in once Gabby had drifted out wide, and as a wide-man himself. We could, and should have had at least one more goal, just from the sheer amount of pressure, and we showed that although a good team (especially the front two who are really genuine class, beautiful 1 touch passing under pressure), we can be more than a match for the opposition at this level.
    Those flags made it really difficult to eat your chips and curry sauce without poking yourself up your nose though…

  • Medzy, you say that, but he passed the ball to the opposition in this very game. That in my eyes is a mistake.

  • agree shorey had a good game, would be lovely to see him start to really get stuck in and get his place back. Not sure JC is close to his best, nowhere near yet I think, he should be terrorising. Hopefully v Chelsea.

  • Was over from Ireland for the game with two of my kids and had a great night. I thought Petrov was magnificent, as were Barry, Gardner and the two Youngs. No one played badly at all, in fact although Zat getting dumped on his a**e by Love was a little unhelpful to the cause. Little Brad had very little to do apart from pick the ball out of the net, Ashley and Gabby so unlucky not to create something between them, Gabby was only borderline offside right in front of me twice in the first half when he was clean through. Carew tried really hard and took his goal well, their keeper thought he was going near post with it and he just pulled it across him. We are still in the tie and I hope that we get another fabulous European night (hopefully another chance to lock horns with ‘Arrys spuds) at VP to prepare us for the main course next year. Keep me a few seats for the family, I’m coming back soon!! UTV

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