Ok, we lost. In fact we didn’t just lose, we got turned over. Shall we panic? Nope, we are still fifth in the league with basically the same players that nearly got relegated last season and tonight was just one of those games where nothing clicked for anyone.
The first half we weren’t at the races and throughout the game, even during the period in the second half when Villa did rally following a superb long distance goal from Gavin McCann, Manchester City were still closing us down far quicker than we closed them down and they were constantly snapping at our players heals, it goes without saying the no-brain from Citeh Joey Barton had to take it too far, he’s a yob pure and simple, he even told Martin O’Neill to ‘f’ off, kinda sums the bloke up, once a scum bag, always a scum bag no matter how good his footballing talent, please God, don’t let him every put on the claret and blue shirt.
The first goal had to come from Darius Vassell and despite the predictable boos for the former Villa player by certain sections of the crowd, he had the good grace not to celebrate in front of the Holte, a place he frequented as himself as a lad.
What I can’t figure out is what is it with this Villa team, whenever the opponents are on a poor run, we oblige in helping them end it. Boro last week hadn’t scored away from home, so (although it was off side by a country mile) we allowed them to score. Tonight Citeh turned us over and yet they’d not won away from home all season. Chaps, we don’t need to be nice, be bastards, allow other teams’ bad runs to continue, in fact, rub it in and make it worse!
Seriously, this was just a glitch, Martin O’Neill has said what is important now is how they react and with a tough away trip to Portsmouth, they’ll need to react correctly.
Lets face it, with all due respect, there are players in the team at the moment who won’t be here this time next season. There is a nucleus of a good team plus some very promising youngsters, but there are areas where we are woefully short of skill and I’m sure that will be corrected.
I don’t however think anyone can seriously complain at the strikers tonight, fine in total we only had four shots on target, but with our midfield largely missing, the supply was dire and they had to feed off scraps. A playmaker is still very much a priority, although I have to be honest and say I can’t see Baros being around come the start of next season, his skills will be far better suited to the continent, not the battles and scraps of the Premiership.
In summary….. wahey they all cry …….. from the get-go it was obvious this wasn’t going to be our night, after the McCann goal we had a chance to get back into the game and even earlier than that Petrov hit the underside of the crossbar only to see the ball bounce back out from a free kick, on another night our luck might have gone differently, but when they broke and Taylor as well as Ridgewell made a hash of the threat from Citeh defender Sylvain Distin who neatly deposited the ball in the back of our net, it was game over.
At times like these you can see who the real winners and fighters are. Olof Mellberg was clearly furious at the score and didn’t give up until the final whistle, tackling tough and showing Barton especially that he was still in the game, whereas a few other players heads dropped and they accepted it just wasn’t to be their night.
Funnily enough, I quite enjoyed the game, take away the disappointment of not taking advantage of Arsenal losing again, at least there was some blood and thunder, shame it mostly came from Citeh.
Stuart Taylor 5
A fantastic double save, haven’t seen the replays so don’t know if he could have done anything about the first two goals, could have done more with the third.
Gary Cahill 5
some tough tackles and hard work but as with the rest of the defence, beaten well.
Liam Ridgewell 5
stuck in but again, we conceded three goals
Olof Mellberg 6
gets forward fairly well as right back, certainly the most physical of our players tonight.
Wilfred Bouma 5
as above, substituted with Barry dropping to left back on 63 mins but that was more to get Davis on than a criticism of how he played.
Gavin McCann 6
As with our other midfielders, not at the races in the first half, but his goal was superb.
Stiliyan Petrov 5
Unlucky not to score with his free kick and did put more effort in tonight, but Citeh’s midfield bossed the game.
Gareth Barry 5
Even his distribution was off tonight, not his best game and I think a suspension is now due for five yellow cards.
Gabriel Agbonlahor 5
The ball wasn’t got to him much and when it was he rarely held the ball up.
Milan Baros 5
No supply, from memory no shots. Did try though.
Juan Pablo Angel 5
Steven Davis (on for Bouma 63).
Seemed to make a difference but Citeh’s 3rd goal took the wind out of everyone’s sails.
Martin O’Neill. Hopping mad by the end of the game. At least he did try to shake things up and the change to 3 5 2 so nearly worked, especially with the introduction of Steven Davis on 63. He knows what he has to do at Villa and the January transfer window can’t come soon enough for him to start.
Stuart Pearce. Psycho, what was your cuddle with the linesman all about!???