Basically, in a cup tie, the above line is all that matters. The Burnley fans towards the end were singing ‘Premiership, you’re having a laugh’ and in some ways, you could understand why. There certainly didn’t seem to be a massive divide between the teams. BUT, again, the one line that matters. We won.
The match was basically Dull. In fact, it was Duller than Mr Dull, Grey Dull Street, Dullsvile. But then, you can’t always expect an 11 goal thriller (Wycombe 3-8 Villa) and Burnley came to frustrate and try to catch us on the break. IF they had been better in front of goal, their attempts to attack may well have added up to more but despite some nifty speed, Mellberg and Ridgewell pretty much had Akinbiyi in their pocket all game. Despite plenty of desire and 52% possession Burnley offered little and Sorenson was never really under threat. In fact, the Villa players looked like they were playing within themselves. Whether they had another gear to step up into if we had conceded, I don’t know. It was a game of very few chances for either team; but for Villa, job done.
Yes, we will need to pick up from that performance for the Premiership fixtures coming, but then, this wasn’t a Prem fixture, this was a scrappy cup tie. These ties are never easy – and on tonight’s showing, rarely entertaining! But if we’d beaten them by 2 or 3 goals, everyone would have said ‘so we should’ and the fact we ‘only’ got one gets everyone up in arms as well.
Villa move on to the fourth round of the Carling Cup, and Burnley, despite running their legs off (John Harley especially looked dead on his feet towards the end!) will have to make do with ‘concentrating on the league’ (copyright Managers book of clichés). Towards the end ref Rennie gave us a free kick on the edge of the box when the foul was committed inside the box, but then again, from where I was sitting, it did look like a Villa player had handled the ball in the Burnley box a few minutes earlier. Not having the benefit of a replay, I couldn’t swear by either.
My hope is we pull a team like The Baggies for the next round so we get a bit of spice thrown in to the mix.
I reckon the score all round for Villa players tonight should be 6. Played well, but only in patches.
Difficult to rate as he wasn’t really tested.
Pretty much had their players in his pocket.
Does worry me the way he pushes players in the box, but did well tonight.
Great to see him back and a competent return.
Much more like the Samuel of old, a couple of outstanding crosses/passes.
Seemed quiet tonight, but then he is only 19, he won’t run every game for Villa! Still a top player and I hope we sign him permanently.
Good distribution and put himself about.
Didn’t seem to be over stressed by Burnley’s midfield, put in the tackles when needed.
Nice return for McCann. Seemed livelier than he has for a while.
Nothing is really working for him and we still don’t play to his strengths.
Got a chance, took it. Superb finish from a superb player. Could be the difference for us this year, without his goals Villa would be struggling even more than we are.
Moore (for Angel 78mins)
Put himself about and got stuck in.
DOL. Well, we won. Didn’t see much emotion, but then, he does use Roy Aitkin to do the shouting, and boy, is Roy Aitkin good at shouting?! Shame no one can understand him though!
Cotterill. Spent the whole match on the touchline trying to inspire his team, but they really did look short of that cutting edge.
The game was a trial.
Because a chap behind me was drunk as a skunk and smelt like one as well. Yuk. Had to spend the whole game leaning forward to distance myself from the stench! lol
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If I had to give a man of the match (the one picked out by Villa's sponsors was Millner, although myself and the friends I was with all thought he had been quiet tonight) I would probably say Barry for his end to end running.