Date: 12th June 2010 at 9:41pm
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Not a great opener by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it’s not just Villa keepers who have howlers on the big occasions!

1-1 as a final result is probably fair in the grand scheme of things but as far as the Villa connections go we saw the best and worst of Heskey.

With players around him prepared to run and move his quality as a target man shines through. He won nigh on everything in the air tonight, and a good 70% of the flicks went to a team mate or even better still, he brought it under control and played it off.

He also has the first England assist of the World Cup to his name. A good 79 minutes, and by rights he should never have been taken off, one of the genius pairing of Lampard and Gerrard should’ve been sacrificed so we could go 3 upfront. The quality of the crosses coming in, especially from Johnson needed two target men, and to be honest given their useful involvement in the match I don’t think we’d have seriously missed either of the hyped ones in the middle of the park come the end of the match. (yes ok Gerrard scored, but outside of that nothing of note)

The less said about Emile’s shooting the better though.

As for the PFA Young Player of the Year James Milner. Very disappointing.

Whether he was taken off after 30 minutes because he wasn’t quite fit enough, was deemed to be struggling after missing a few days of training with a virus or given he had already racked up two reckless and silly challenges and earned himself the first booking in the match is open for debate.

What isn’t is he didn’t produce the kind of performance expected from him. He did in his defence look short of sharpness but I struggle to defend rash challenges regardless of who makes them.

Be interesting to see if he gets a second chance in the next match, SWP in my opinion has proved himself thoroughly unable to perform at this level – yes he runs, tries to dink and dazzle – but the end product is never worth the wait. A wingers job is to cross the ball, he and Lennon should look at Glen Johnson for a few pointers.

Milner’s competition is Joe Cole and I’d guess Joe fancies his chances of starting the next one, at Milly’s expense.

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