Date: 11th November 2007 at 4:13pm
Written by:

HA! As a neutral I’d say that Blues might have been unlucky to come out the losers in that game but I’m no neutral and all I can say is COME ON YOU VILLA BOYS! First away game of the season, now we can push on and get another maximum next week against Middlesbrough!

Big shout out to our mate Steve Bennett, he missed what so many could see in one clear cut penalty claim (Zat Knight moving arm to ball) and a slightly more arguable penalty claim when Martin Laursen ‘tackled’ Daniel De Ridder. If those decisions had been against us we’d have been screaming blue murder (pun intended!) but for once they were in our favour and lets face it, it was about time we got some luck in a derby!

Oh, and at last I can see why we sold Liam Ridgewell, great tactics sending an agent over to St Andrews to give us our opening goal!

To be fair to Blues, they came out of the blocks much the better team and Villa couldn’t get hold of the ball or when they did they failed to keep it. Blues, as the home team pushed forward and dominated the first fifteen minutes only for Ridge to score a ridiculous own goal putting Villa ahead. It was against the run of play and seemed to have a devastating effect on the blues for the rest of the half. Another thing (and listening now to BRMB strengthens the thought) is the fact that Bruce played only one up front. I’m so happy that Forssell was on the bench because when he was presented with a chance in the second half, he took it with aplomb, a quality player and if he stays fit, surely a cert for a move to a bigger team again?

This was a surprisingly entertaining derby, so often we all get excited for these games, the fans produce the atmosphere and then the game on the pitch fizzles out. Not today though, both teams contributed to a full bloodied but not particularly dirty game and the longer it went on, the more it opened up with end to end action.

For a period towards the end of the match it looked like, although the game could have gone either way, that the game was tipping in favour of the Blues and when Ridgewell rose above our defenders with a great header, it looked like he’d made up for his earlier gaff only for Gabby to save the ball off the line. That again seemed to shift the balance of the game and Gabby showed what he had to offer at the other end of the pitch not long after with an unsaveable header. Villa then clicked into professional mode, kept the ball and killed the game, something in years gone by we failed to do.

The confidence boost this victory will bring cannot be underestimated.

Player Ratings

Scott Carson 7
Could do nothing about the goal from a rocket header but did pull off a mega save in the second half to keep us in the game. He’s a keeper (ie we should buy and keep him!)

Olof Mellberg 6.5
Few important interceptions. Struggles to get forward but then, he isn’t a right back.

Wilf Bouma 6.5
Same as Ollie, made some important interceptions, forward distribution is poor though.

Martin Laursen 7
You just can’t get passed him in the air, so don’t bother trying!

Zat Knight 6
The good (few important interceptions), the bad (lapses of concentration and ball watching) and the ugly (so nearly gave a needless penalty away)

Ashley Young 8
Ran riot and refused to be out muscled despite once again getting kicked about a bit. His pace terrorised the Blues. Only negative was a few awful free kicks when he wasted good chances. Still man-of-the-match though

Nigel Hokey-Cokey 6
Only a six because I refuse to give less to a Villa player today but he really didn’t win much in midfield and his contribution was average. He also missed an absolute sitter from seven yards out, he really should have buried it or at least got it on target. A lot more to come from this player…. hopefully.

Stiliyan Petrov 6.5
He showed some glimmers of a quality player again today, got the ball forward well a few times, then spoilt it with some awful distribution and a couple of terrible shots. Still, he is showing those glimmers and he is improving. If he can become more consistent, he could be one hell of a player for us.

Gareth Barry 6.5
Did a good captain’s job today without the midfield every really taking over and bossing the game.

John Carew 6
Held the ball up brilliantly, was obviously not match fit after missing the last six games + playing no reserve games before his comeback. Was a pest for the Blues defence but his shots were wayward and woeful. He’ll need to get up to speed and start impressing now, it is good holding the ball up, it is GREAT when your strikers score. Just look at Forsell, one real chance, one goal, that is the definition of quality.

Gabby Agbonlahor 8
Saved a goal and scored a goal, can’t ask any more of a local lad made good!

Luke Moore (on for Carew 68)
Like every Villa fan, would have LOVED to see Lukey get a goal today.

Manager Rating
Always enjoy his interviews, the one on Sky was especially entertaining saying he was glad to get the game out of the way with a victory. Only 3 points off 4th, what a crazy league!

Opponent Rating
If I wasn’t a Villa fan, I’d feel half sorry for old Potato Head, when the pressure is on and the decisions don’t go your way. Then again, 4,5,1 at home, (same as we’ve done) is just crazy.

The Villa Fans
In very fine voice with Villa legend Ian Taylor in amongst the fans. Love the return of the Paul McGrath song as well, long may that continue.