Date: 24th February 2008 at 3:01pm
Written by:

No doubt we’ll have a live match report from our roving reporter Glensider later.

Must say from my armchair position that looked a very professional performance from Villa and will hopefully put to bed their no show against Fulham.

47 points, equal with Liverpool and Everton, surely we can’t start to really believe 4th is in our grasp? Well, who knows, the run in for us doesn’t look that bad and if we carry on in the manner we played today…. No, I’ll not say it! Top six and Europe is very much in our hands though.

From start to finish, and backed up by the stats (61% possession) Villa were in command. There were a fair few chances which went begging and a missed penalty and although Reading at times threatened, the defence were up to the challenge, which is just as well as Scott Carson, from an early shot which he spilled onward, looked a wee bit (copyright MON) shakey.

I must admit I didn’t think that Marlon Harewood deserved to be dropped back to the bench when we were all discussing starting line ups in the forum and I thought bringing Gabby straight back in sent him and the others the wrong message. Well, he proved me wrong as that was one of his best performances of the season and although he didn’t score, he certainly terrorised the Reading defence.

Ashley Young took his chance with aplomb and the mighty (who’d have thought?) Marlon Harewood took his chance equally well, in fact he took it bloody brilliantly!

Very few complaints at all at the performance today, although it would have been nice to have seen us score the game out of Reading’s reach far earlier!

Roll on Arsenal next week, with our spirit who knows what we can get at the Emirates, I’d not be betting against 3 points, that is for sure.

Player Ratings

Mr Shakey 5.5
Mr Shakey Of Shakesville today but did also pull off a couple of useful saves. Such a shame, he just doesn’t look confident at the moment, he spilled a shot early on and the final minute goal by Reading should have been a bread and butter save. Ho hum, he is young and will no doubt get better,whether at Villa or not is another matter and only MON knows the answer to that.

Craig Gardener 7
No messing.

Martin Laursen 10
Immense and as Ray Wilkins said in commentary, the ball seems to be magnetic whenever it is near him as he always gets it.

Curtis Davies 8

Shaun Maloney 5.5
Very quiet day at the office.

Wilfred Bouma 8
Thought he had a great game today.

Gareth Barry 7
Missed penalty was a shame but his general performance was befitting a captain. Also, the penalty should never have been given so justice was done!

Nigel Hokey-Cokey 7
Little bit in and out but does do the dirty work and apparently was suffering with stomach cramps.

Ashley Young 7.5
Top goal, good performance and will continue to get better and better. Mouthwatering prospect.

Gabby Agbonlahor 8
No goal but a great team contribution. Did actually look up a few times when passing as well, more of that and he’ll be even better for us.

John Carew 6
Mixed today, some great points but some of his shots are so tame and with his strength and size he could put himself about more. Hopefully he’ll take note from how Harewood uses his assets!

Harewood (on for Maloney 73 minute)
Great goal, great contribution, my word!

Osbourne (on for NRC 86th minute)
Not on long enough to rate.