What a week. What a game! After the progression to the Carling Cup semi-finals, we’ve been in buoyant mood all week. Nice to see the Villa team follow up one impressive win with another. We’ve seen so much promise come from the new look midfield over the duration of the week and came away from the stadium a very happy man. Here’s to looking forward to the Manchester United game next week and hoping we can get something. I’m going back to work Monday in a very good mood.
Brad Freidel – 6
Not really had much to do and maybe should have been charged the entrance fee for the amount that he had to do.
Luke Young – 7
As well as his defensive duties, he linked up in the attacking play very well.
Stephen Warnock – 7
Same as Luke Young. Seemed to be a second winger at times and has proved true value for money.
Richard Dunne – 7.5
Took his goal fantastically well. A brilliant finish given the time that he had to compose himself. Defensively solid but not put under too much pressure.
Carlos Cuellar – 7
James who? When Collins does return it’s looking like it’ll be a bit unfair on Carlos to stick back on the right. Really showing that he makes a far better centre back than right back.
Ashley Young – 5.5
Showed flashes of his brilliance that we all know he’s capable of but completley lacked that last touch. He was saved from a lower score by that he was at least earning corners and throw-ins from his ventures down the flanks.
Stan Petrov – 6.5
Made some fantastic challenges in the middle and even managed a couple of shots. Fair enough they were way off target but at least it’s a step in the right direction. Passing could have been more adventerous.
James Milner – 9
Fantastic. Performed like a captain and vocal like a captain. Future Villa captain? Fantastic finish with Duke off his line and completley ran the show popping up all over the pitch.
Stuart Downing – 6.5
Not an exceptional performance but not a bad one. Seemed to go missing for parts of the game but without him in the team we couldn’t have this new-look midfield. Had a superb shot, that really should have gone in.
Emile Heskey – 7
One of Emile’s better performances for Villa. Created the space for Dunne’s opener taking two defenders away on a clever run. Starting to prove his worth to the team? (Subbed for Carew, 78)
Gabriel Agbonlahor – 6
Not his best of games but did use his pace well to frustrate the Hull defenders. Had a chance late on but was caught offside.
John Carew – 6.5
(Subbed for Heskey, 78) Got involved in the action immediatley but didn’t really look capable of changing things. Brilliant technique on the penalty.
Steve Sidwell – 10
Never even got on the pitch but needs an honourable mention for his ‘assist.’ Warming up down the sidelines he caught the ball following Duke’s wild clearance to get the throw done early giving the chance to Milner. Very quick thinking.
Martin O’Neill – 8
Barring the obvious swap of keepers, stuck with the team that beat Portsmouth mid-week and gave Heskey a start. Worked brilliantly with the Hull midfield being completley overrun and Milner running the show with his centre midfield master show. Only criticism is at 2-0 or even 3-0 we could have seen Delph make an appearance but now I’m just nit-picking.
Phil Brown – 6.5
Had no answer for Villa’s midfield and following the loss of Jimmy Bullard, just had to sit and watch the horror show. Made attacking substitutions in the shape of Fagan, Barmby & Vennegor of Hesselink but without Bullard in the midfield, they had no creativity.
Crowd Rating – 7.5
There was almost an air of expectency among the Villa Park ground with everyone in high spirits. Most of the volume seemed to be coming from the Upper Holte, blocks K1-K4 so congratulations to you guys. Although it did take only a mere 1 minute 17 seconds for the first Birmingham City song to appear. (Yeah, I made note.) I have to applaud everyone who made it to the stadium for their treatment of Jimmy Bullard. Fantastic to see the standing applause he was given and made me especially proud at the time.