I’m amazed. Not because of the result, Mystic Mug predicted a 2-0 win earlier in the day and who in their right mind would argue with Mystic Mug? That said, who in their right mind would make up a fictional character and then hang on his every word? I digress. So why was I amazed? At just how bad Blackburn were.
Villa were best in every department and Blackburn didn’t test Thomas Sorensen, who actually went off twice during the game to sit on a deck chair by the Holte and smoke a cigar. The defenders also nipped off to get the oranges ready for the rest of the team at half time but still the Blackburn, ahem, ‘strikers’ didn’t think to shoot. On that showing, thank goodness we didn’t buy the much linked Benni McCarthy when John Gregory was our manager.
Villa on the other hand looked like they wanted this, they had a rude awakening at Liverpool last weekend but put pay to any worries that the mighty claret and blue might capitulate and go on a losing run. Not this Villa, not the all new Villa, not this team who, although they still lack some class and certainly numbers, lack nothing in heart and endeavour.
Blimey, I’ve come over all poetic!
The game wasn’t the most exciting and the atmosphere with a crowd of just over 30 000 fans wasn’t exactly rocking, I did call over to the Blackburn fans and asked if they’d all come in the same car, but they were all asleep so I got no reply, although I’m sure one did enquire whether I worked in the financial market as he called over ‘banker?’ Funnily enough on the 40th minute they also asked the referee the same question when he allowed the assistant ref or whatever they call them these days to award Villa a penalty as a Chris Sutton cross hit a Blackburn players arm. HAND BALL. Bit harsh, but hey, we’ll take it. Luckily Juan Pablo Angel didn’t think the same thing and Gareth Barry stepped up and blasted it passed Friedel. Villa went in 1-0 up and that was no more than we deserved.
The second half Blackburn looked like they might have taken a rollicking during the interval as they looked half interested for five minutes but once Juan Pablo Angel converted a beautiful move and Gareth Barry through ball to put Villa two up, it looked like a rout might have been on the cards. Unfortunately the floodgates didn’t open but Villa kept the lions share of possession and saw the match out with very little threat. I’m sure Mark Hughes will be a worried man, European hangover or not, his team should not have been this tame and why did their players keep trying to swap shirts before the end of the game? They’ve been labelled a physical side and did nothing to dispel that label today with their constant tugging and pushing.
I’m probably being a bit harsh on Blackburn, their performance was ruined by the fact a few of our players were on top form and they had no answer for Martin Laursen, who was given the sponsors man of the match award in a close run thing between the former AC Milan defender, Gareth Barry and the lightning quick Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Next up in the league is Everton away, not an easy game, but on this form, Villa can go to Goodison in good heart and expect to come home with all three points. And what of Chelsea in the Carling Cup on Wednesday? Well, if we are on top of our game and they have a hangover from their derby defeat to Spurs, who knows? We’ve a 6000 strong claret and blue army to cheer them along and anything can happen in the cup! Come on you lions!
Thomas Sorensen 7
Not tested, must have got bored, but at least he was given the time to write his shopping list.
Olof Mellberg 8
didn’t put a foot wrong. Forgot to note the state of his beard though, apologies.
Martin Laursen 10
perfect return to the team, no one was getting passed Laursen today. Wonder what the ‘heated’ discussion with Sorensen at the end of game was all about though?
Wilfred Bouma 6
ok, but to really progress Villa need above ok performances.
Aaron Hughes 6
ok, but, oh you get the picture.
Gareth Barry 8
great performance, great penalty.
Gavin McCann 7
much needed return for Villa.
Stiliyan Petrov 5
very average in a game where he could have shone. Did nearly score which might have settled him down a bit.
Gabriel Agbonlahor 8
like lightening and skinned Michael Gray for most of the game. Unlucky not to have got the break for a goal of his own.
Chris Sutton 8
great in his first start for Villa. Got stuck in and looked like he was fit to drop by the end. Personally I’d have subbed him with 20 mins to go and he did look like he’d pulled a hamstring or pulled something near the end, lets hope it was just a bit of cramp, this man could be a real asset this season.
Juan Pablo Angel 8
much maligned but given his chance he took it with aplomb and put more than his fair share of the work load into the game.
Baros (for Sutton 89)
Didn’t look impressed to be brought on in the dying seconds according to my mate Wiggy!
Martin O’Neill kicks every ball and John Robertson and Steve Walford aren’t exactly slouches. The latter two being in fine voice today, I thought they were making the north American wilderbeast mating call until I realised they were calling ‘Wilf’.
Nice suit, shame about the team today!