Date: 21st January 2008 at 10:53pm
Written by:

It really is a funny old game isn’t it? The first 69 minutes were frankly horrible for the Villa, we couldn’t string more than one pass together and kept giving the ball away, something no one wants to do when you are up against a team like Liverpool who spent £45million in the summer on top of an already star studded team.

That said, Liverpool didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory and despite going one up, never took their chances from the amount of possession we gave them. All it was going to take for Villa was a spark but from the players on the pitch you really couldn’t see where the spark was coming from, certainly not the central midfield partnership of Nigel Hokey-Cokey and Stiliyan Petrov who really lost the battle all game long.

On came Marlon Harewood, oh no some thought but within a minute OH YES we all thought. What a great goal and how well deserved after being on the bench (if lucky) but not moaning once since his arrival from West Ham in the summer. Makes you wonder why he’s not had more 10-15 minute stints (at least) at the end of many a game this season when Villa have seemingly been drifting… I digress.

So 69 minutes woeful, amongst the worst from many of our team all season. Then a couple of minutes of joy and we were two up the second goal coming for a pass from Olof Mellberg – who was seen chuckling later – that cruelly deflected into the American owned [ ;o) ] goal. 2-1 and the momentum all Villa’s way. Then a break, we were two players against one defender, all Gabby had to do was lay it off to Nigel Hokey-Cokey (or the Villa player on his left, I can’t remember who that was) and it would have been 3-1 game over. Gabby has to learn to look up and take the easy option sometimes, he is quick of feet, when he becomes quick of footballing brain as well, he’ll be awesome.

Chance ‘squandered’ and with Crouch coming on it was obvious what was going to happen. A cross that – of all people – Martin Laursen failed to deal with and 2-2 was the result.

To be fair, for the first 69 mins I’d have taken a draw with no doubt at all, having taken the lead and lasted until the 88th minute though, you can’t help but feel disappointed (very limited disappointment) that we just can’t close off matches and have some professional time killing.

Oh well, we match a team just below us in Blackburn at home on Saturday, we need all 3 points v them and if we have the same luck that we had tonight plus string more than one pass at a time together, we’ll get the 3 points no worries…ahem!

Match stats: Click Here

Not sure it is worth rating the players after an awful 69 mins.

Player Ratings

Stuart Taylor
Don’t think he was to blame for the goals and looked the best of the three keepers tonight, at least he moves about and commands the area well.

Wilfred Bouma
Ok, just ok.

Martin Laursen
Worked so hard throughout the game, one mistake and he was punished. Hard game this footie!

Curtis Davis
Had a miss kick that could have gone anywhere including an own goal, happily it didn’t cost him as it would have been harsh, looked good.

Olof Mellberg
Did ok, bit slow for the first goal but then, he wasn’t meant to be in the central position!

Nigel Hokey-Cokey
He said on the official site he is working at becoming amongst the best holding midfielders in the world. I would probably hold off statements like that until he is at least amongst the best in the Prem. Not a great game, worst for a while I’d say, he did break up some of the play but he gave the ball away far too much. Should have been set up for a sure goal and didn’t look impressed with the lack of a pass from Gabby.

Stiliyan Petrov
Didn’t look comfortable in the centre today, worst game for a while. Commentators mentioned that he doesn’t seem to be up to speed when played in the centre.

Craig Gardner
Not a great game, got involved but things just didn’t come off for him today.

Ashley Young
Not good judging by his high standards. Worst game of the season?

John Carew
A very off night

Gabby Agbonlahor
Just needs to learn to do the simple things, pass the ball at times and to look up.

Marlon Harewood (on for Gardner 66)
Fantastic goal, well done, got a chance and took it.

Zat Knight (On for Carew on 91 mins)
Superb game!