I don’t always know where to start with these match reports so I’ll go right to the end instead.
With the current turmoil at the club and the press insisting we are in crisis, all that mattered today after ‘that’ performance against Newcastle United and the exit from Europe, was a win. It could have gone in off the backside of the ref in the 10th minute of injury time, I’d not have cared!
3 games, 2 wins, 6 points out of 9. Crisis, what crisis!?
Ahem… There is a however, Everton were all over us like a rash. They had 59% of the ball and 18 corners. Not our problem however that they missed their chances AND that our defenders all put in a 10 out of 10 display, including our keeper Friedel who people keep wanting to write off due to his age.
Moyes can bemoan the fact they should have left Villa Park with a win, let alone a share of the points… tough, you got neither! On another day things might have been different BUT then again, as they pushed forward, Villa did get some decent breaks and the one resulted in a lovely goal, set up by Ashley Young and taken unbelievably well by Luke Young. Smashing goal that!
Albrighton – who was tenacious and superb throughout, you almost forget he is just a ‘kid’ with no experience at this level – also should have had a penalty when he went to shoot in the box (well, naturally if I’m talking a pen it was in the box!) his legs were taken by the excellent Steven Pienaar. It wasn’t given but then again, the ref was a Toffee. He was as far as I can remember, the most one sided ref we’ve had at Villa Park for ten seasons or more. He was truly woeful and those that read my match reports regularly will know I rarely go on about refs!
Anyway, not only were we one up and could have had a pen, there was also a double save … Carew, who wasn’t exactly in the game yesterday (is it the lack of service or….?) had a tame ish shot saved by Howard, it went to Ashley Young and Howard had to get up and make a double save. Later in the game Albrighton missed what looked like a sitter. Petrov (who gets slated by some no matter what he does but I think played well!) passed to Ashley Young, over to Albrighton and …. well, the ball is still coming down!
So, we did have chances.
Everton however, it has to be said, had the majority of forward momentum and kept coming at us. At times it was like the Battle of the Alamo but our defenders…well, actually, all our players, stood firm. Many a time Albrighton was getting in last gasp tackles so not just the renewed and strong central pairing of Collins and Dunne!
Most of us there (and the attendance was pathetic at just over 34 000… such a shame to see, the Villa need us as much as we need the Villa?) kept saying we’ll never be able to hold on, the pressure was just too much.
So back to the start of the match report really. It might have been tough, it might have been backs against the wall but one things is 100% sure sure… IT WAS THREE POINTS.
Now for a manager before Stoke and Villa march on. I’d be happy with our position now… Villa are 4th, that’ll do for a club in ‘crisis’!
Right, now the match ratings. I could be harsh due to the possession conceded etc and if we’d lost they would have been different, however after the week we had, the fact we bounced back is superb and if we look at it for 3 points AND the massive defensive display put in, I reckon we can be a bit more cheerful. Feel free to put your own ratings in the article comments and / or forum.
Brad Friedel 10
soaked up so much pressure and pulled off a few great saves
Stephen Warnock 8
solid enough and tried to get forward
James Collins 10
great to see the man mountain back. Love it when he shot and it went wildly wide. He turned round laughing. I bet he was thinking ‘and THAT is why I’m a defender!’
Richard Dunne 10
many a last gasp tackle to save us
Luke Young 10
great to see him back in the team and also a superb goal
Marc Albrighton 8
Tough tackling, should have had a penalty, was in the right position for a goal, just his finish wasn’t quite there (generous!) but a real star pushing for a regular starting place
Nigel Reo-Coker 7
I thought he played quite well but lower marks in midfield because this is where the game broke down for us really?
Stiliyan Petrov 7
as NRC. Plenty of effort and endevour
Stewart Downing 5
not really in the game? Don’t think I’m being over harsh, I like him but didn’t see anything of note? Remind me if I missed something (and that isn’t meant to be sarcasm by the way!)
Ashley Young 9
he isn’t going anywhere. Set up the goal, was in all the attacking efforts (ok, not that many I concede) nearly set up another but Albrighton missed it, all round determined performance
John Carew 5
Gabby Agbonlahor (on for Carew 68)
He wants to stay at Villa for life, so we’ll give him an 11 ! lol
My ratings defined: 1) Totally awful, had a mare, should be taken out and shot, 2) Awful, but not usual standard, 3) Very poor, needs to improve quickly 4) Poor, below the standard expected, 5) Average, the least expected, 6) Better than average, but in patches only, 7) Good, generally decent performance, 8) Very good, above the standard, standing out at times, 9) Excellent, stood out all match, 10) Outstanding (aka Paul McGrath!). Truly commanded the match, stunning.