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Villa Good For the Point: Match Report vs Liverpool


JohnCresswell
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Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 0

Barclays Premiership

Villa Park

Sunday 18th March 2007.

God Bless Aston Villa. We may have been starved of Premiership football recently but we got a game when we really needed it – and it helped prevent thousands of people everyone having to do something ‘special’ for ‘Mothering Sunday’.

I’m not moaning about moaners or anything, but sometimes you do want to shout out at the top of your voice “Well what do you bloody want then?†Today saw Villa’s last ‘tough’ opponent of the season – games in which you go to expecting a couple of goals to be put past you. Even as we entered the last twenty minutes I was still expecting Liverpool to go up a gear and get the goal they had been patient for, but the never did.

You see, whilst I’m unhappy at this current poor run we are on, I’m realistic. I’m not going to rant and rave about losing to Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool – these teams are significantly better than ourselves. Therefore, rather than taking the game to them and allowing ourselves to be inevitably thrashed do to silly defensive mistakes we need to be more cute, more solid and today we did that.

Football is about points, not performances. I’ve always said I would rather us play dull and not lose than try to play pretty and fall flat on our faces – and today we earnt a point against a team that is far, far better than us. Can’t see anything in there to complain about! In fact, if one set of fans were to be complaining, I’d have said it should be the Liverpool fans – who would be going home very disappointed about the fact that their team did not threaten the Villa goal until five minutes from the end and put in a very, very lacklustre display.

Villa’s much complained about defence did their job today. They never really looked too confident, but they kept the clean sheet and that’s all you can ask for. Bouma continued his rise in performances and once again seemed to be the star performer at the back. On the other side, Phil Bardsley was rather poor and mistakes twice led to half chances for Liverpool.

A change in formation meant that Carew started up front on his own. A good and bad point, here. Ashley Young seemed to be much more comfortable on the wing than he has been in previous games up front, however now with nobody to run onto the flick on from Carew’s headers often chances to attack were wasted. Carew put in another man of the match appearance – the physical ability of this man is just crazy – at one point FOUR Liverpool players had surrounded him and he still managed to come out of the challenges with the ball down to his sheer strength.

Neither sides ever really looked like winning, however it was Villa with the majority of the chances. Petrov was clearly clipped on the heel as he tried to turn in the penalty area following on from a strong run by the below par (and out of position) Agbonlahor. Naturally nothing was given as penalties are very rarely given against the St Liverpool team of Honesty. They would never foul anyone, would they? The referee today was a new one on me, and a late replacement for Mark Halsey, who I presume was mucking up somebody else’s game yesterday instead. The referee was keen to do everything absolutely by the book which while may have been great for him and the assessor in the stand, it made the game hard to flow and he missed the one big decision – for a foul similar to which he gave Gavin McCann a yellow card for - not to mention ignoring Kyte’s ridiculous dive.

So, a good point for me today. You can’t please some people, it seems, but sometimes you need games like that just to stop the rot – so to speak.

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I pretty much agree with your assessment JC, though I thought the game was spoilt, too, by the wind.

We were well organised, they were well organised, the game never got going. Barry, Gav, Bouma and Carew were all very good, Cahill good, too. Tommy's save at the end was superb reflexes.

I think the ref was Mike Dean, and I thought he was pretty good, tbh. Maybe got the odd thing wrong, but that's just how it goes.

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A good summary John, and a fair assessment of where we are. There was only one sensible plan for today, and I think the players carried it out fairly well.

I believe the ref was Lee Mason. If he was, I think he's the same ref that obstructed the Fulham player in the build up to our goal there. He seemed to get in the way a couple of times today as well I noticed.

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A change in formation meant that Carew started up front on his own. A good and bad point, here. Ashley Young seemed to be much more comfortable on the wing than he has been in previous games up front

I know you missed the game on Wednesday JC but we lined up exactly the same against the Arse too

On the main point of the article I agree, they set out to do a job and achieved a result

Sure there were gripes with this and that but the result at the end of the day was a good one for a team in our position - which was exactly what the bloke next to me said at the end of the game even though he'd spent all 90 minutes moaning about MON and his negative tactics (and Gabby and Petrov and McCann and.......and.......) - if you can work the logic of that out then you're a better man than me.

Oh and I don't think it as a penalty, if there was any contact it was minimal and Petrov was trying to make up for the fact he should have been alert enough to have pout the ball in the net in the first place (much like Gabby who also failed to stick a foot out at the correct time about ten minutes earlier)

But at the end of the day a very useful point and all the top 4 are out of the way now.

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Oh and I don't think it as a penalty.

Think it was dude, seeing it on MOTD; 2 players infact fouled him!

Exactly, without rugby tackling him, I can't imagine a much clearer penalty. The player who caught his left foot just caught him (and we have seen penalties for less this season), but the guy on his right foot took him right out.

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Aye having seen it on the tellybox this time I have to change my mind and say it was definately a penalty but from my position behind the goal it definately looked like he made a meal of it in the split second that it happened.

As it happens I had a brief chat with an ex-league ref tonight who had just come back from a referees association meeting and that decisiaon and the handball against Arsenal were hot topics of discussion and the conclusion was both were nailed on penalties. So its quite clear in my mind that referee's have cost us 3 points against top4 sides this week alone

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Yup good stuff JC. I'm in the minority in that I enjoyed the game. Yes it was poor for the neutral, but as a fan it was tense and nervewracking. Apart from Bardsley & Cahill doing some questionable stuff, the rest played perfectly. A very well earned point.

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......... Cahill doing some questionable stuff, the rest played perfectly. A very well earned point.
Sorry Brian I know that everyone has their own views on performances but I find that one strange.
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Do you remember Cahill chasing Bellamy and asking Sorensen to come and intercept when it was clear Cahill was beaten for pace - but Tommy was not quite in a position to bail the youngster out. In the end Tommy just got to the ball but it could easily have been 1-0 and would have totally been Cahill's fault. That was one of Liverpool's best chances.

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Negative defensive strategy that just paid off thanks to a much maligned keepers, fantastic save.

Are we really that poor a side ?

Are we that afraid of relegation ?

Our often maligned defence has only conceded 3 goals a few times but the forwards have yet to score 3 and there's only 8 games left. Is that the quality of the players who managed 4 twice last season and 3 several times, I think not

1 point more against a top 4 side, play it that way, against that opposition and we'd lose 5 out of 6 times as we have.

I don't think its necessary, I don't think its needed and I think the players we have are better than that, the next 8 matches are going to be interesting indicators I can't see there being much question we will be relegated so what will there be on offer ?

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play it that way, against that opposition and we'd lose 5 out of 6 times as we have.

Wrong. This season we have drawn with Arsenal, Chelsea twice and Liverpool so of our 8 games against 'that opposition' we have lost 4 times and NOT lost 4 times. Not quite 'we'd lose 5 out of 6 times as we have'.

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