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Reserves vs Arsenal


bickster
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By OutByEaster?

Reserves vs Arsenal

A convincing 3-0 victory for Villa on a freezing night at Bescot and a good performance from a young yet experienced Villa side that saw Arsenals youth brushed aside. The manager might also note the performance of a young man who seems to have got the message.

Arriving at the Bescot, I found a pitch white with hailstones, the lines had been cleared, but the hail showed no signs of melting away. Foreboding dark clouds gathered above us and a Siberian wind blew through the eerie winter twilight. (!)

I half expected to see Dracula step out from the tunnel, instead I saw Nathan Delfounesa, only 16 and ready for a first appearance at this level. I haven’t seen him before; he’s big for a 16 year old, almost as big as his partner Luke Moore, and he seems a very confident young man.

With Stieber out left and Albrighton on the right in a 4-4-2, Villa looked very balanced. The surprise was that Gardner started at right back in a back four that had Lowry and Samuel in the centre and O’Halloran at left back.

Eric Lund got the nod to partner Osbourne in the middle.

The game started brightly and at a rare old pace, Albrighton opening particularly well making a number if excellent runs down the right side and tormenting the Arsenal left back; Armand Traore.

A straightforward back pass from Traore left the Arsenal keeper with a simple clearance, but he underestimated Luke Moore’s pace and took a touch. Luke did very well to get a challenge in before reacting first to the loose ball and prodding it into an empty net.

Villa hit the post on the quarter hour, O’Halloran (I think) unlucky not to score from Stiebers cross.

Stieber himself had the ball in the net on 25 minutes with a lovely lob over the Arsenal keeper after Villa had broken their defence apart. Sadly the linesman flagged for offside having missed a defender trying to get back.

No matter, a minute later the ball dropped to Luke on the edge of the box and he feinted to shoot before dragging it past a hapless defender who brought him down for a clear penalty.

Gardner dispatched it with a thump and the minimum of fuss.

After that, Villa relaxed and Arsenal put some good pressure on. They pass the ball well, move like you’d expect Arsenal to and also have the Arsenal failing of trying to be too clever for their own good. Clear opportunities were spurned in favour of one more pass. They hit the post from a free kick, but failed to break a determined Villa back line.

As if to emphasize the cold, it snowed throughout half time.

Sadly, just three minutes into the second half Delfounesa had to come off with a knock. A decent enough effort from him though, I think we’ll see a lot more of him.

He was replaced by Jonathon “Boss” Hogg who went out to the right hand side with Albrighton joining Moore up front. Lund returned to his natural full back position and Gardner returned to the centre of midfield.

Hogg made himself busy on the right, and was involved in our third goal, playing a lovely ball inside to Albrighton whose poor touch turned into a good ball for Luke Moore to convincingly put past the Arsenal keeper.

He almost completed his hat-trick shortly after when he ran on to a long ball, and from a tight angle produced an exquisite flick with the outside of his right foot that the keeper did well to save. Albrighton came close to stabbing home the rebound.

On 75 minutes, Barry Bannan came on to replace Albrighton who had visibly tired, and he set about making himself busy down the left flank. Playing against Barry must be like having a wasp in your car, you never get a moments peace, Arsenal were clearly flustered.

Ogogo at right back showed the Arsenal spirit by shoving Zoltan Stieber in the chest after a tackle, and having been booked just prior to the incident must have known he was lucky to stay on. He was substituted soon after.

Arsenal briefly had only ten men on the field after some confusion with their substitutes, and Villa almost took advantage from a free kick, O’Halloran heading over.

Now, are you sitting down?

On 90 minutes, Arsenal who were losing started a fight.

No, honestly they did, it’s a shocker I know.

Again, one of the Arsenal players had a bit of a kick out at little Zoltan Stieber before standing up and pushing him in the chest. Half the Arsenal team piled in, which was a pity for Armand Traore as I think he might have gotten away with a booking otherwise.

He looked mightily unhappy as he wandered very slowly off. I don’t suppose the cheery shout of “Get a move on loser!” helped him much. It cheered me up mind.

So, four games in a week and finally I’d seen a win. A good win at that.

Some ratings;

Taylor (6) – Didn’t have a great deal to do, did okay with everything that was asked of him.

O’Halloran (7) – Not much came from Arsenal down his side. Was good in the air and provided some steel behind Stieber.

Samuel (7) – Another good display from Jlloyd at centre-back, he’s a very organised player and never looked like getting beaten. I’d like him to stay.

Lowry (7) – Another aggressive display, never really got caught out by Arsenals movement and defended well

Gardner (.8.) – Looked very comfortable at right back, and might be good enough there to get a look in for the first team. Moved back into midfield in the second half, and in combination with Osbourne controlled everything. Good penalty.

Stieber (7) – Bright and lively, involved in a lot of good things, but his final contribution didn’t seem to come off. Pushed up front late on, and he and Luke looked very dangerous on the break.

Lund (7) – Looked very good in the middle of the park, his shock of blonde hair seemed to be everywhere and he showed an excellent appetite for a tackle. Faded a little when moved back to the back line.

Osbourne (.8.) – Oz-Zilla monstered the Arsenal midfield. (Fact: It is impossible to get a ball around Isaiah Osbourne from a distance of less than four yards.) Tackled anything that moved and drove the ball on from midfield. He allowed the others to play.

Albrighton (7) – He made another excellent start, with pace, inventiveness and excellent crossing from the right. Fades away later on in games, but by the time we get to this point next season he could be one with hopes of the first team squad.

Delfounesa (7) – Showed some good touches and he looked like he knew what he was doing. It seems we might have a smart footballer on our hands. He held the ball up reasonably well, but looked like what he is: a sixteen year old.

Promising though, and I’d like to see more.

Moore (9) – The best player on the pitch by a long way, every time the ball went near him he looked dangerous. He’s not a ninety-minute, box-to-box player, but he has a touch of the predator about him. Was unlucky not to score a hat trick, but scored two and made the other. The watching MON can’t fail to have been impressed both with his ability and his attitude. If there’s a criticism, I think he switched off after eighty minutes. The best finisher at the club.

Subs

Hogg (7) – Looked bright and lively down the right and showed more than he has when I’ve seen him previously.

Bannan (7) – Never stops moving, nearly scored a wonder goal when he met a Hogg cross with a first time volley from the left side of the area. Didn’t give the Arsenal right back a second on the ball, nicking it off him on more than one occasion.

All in all, a very satisfying evening of football, I’ve almost got the feeling back in my feet, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing this young side continue their development in a couple of weeks time when Reading are the visitors.

April 3rd 19:00 at Villa Park (I think!)

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Another great report young man. I'm often jealous that you're able to get out and see our second string whilst I'm sitting in my warm German living room. Tonight I was alright on the sofa ;)

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Moore (9) – The best player on the pitch by a long way, every time the ball went near him he looked dangerous. He’s not a ninety-minute, box-to-box player, but he has a touch of the predator about him. Was unlucky not to score a hat trick, but scored two and made the other. The watching MON can’t fail to have been impressed both with his ability and his attitude. If there’s a criticism, I think he switched off after eighty minutes. The best finisher at the club.

Lets hope MON did notice, 4-4-2 Carew and Moore :D

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Moore (9) – He’s not a ninety-minute, box-to-box player, but he has a touch of the predator about him.......... The best finisher at the club.

Agreed and agreed. As I said before - let him saunter around looking disinterested cuz he'll be 100% ready to pounce on the chances he gets then - and defenders can't mark someone who walks half the time. Not saying he DOES walk half the time but my point is you don't have to run around just for running around's sake if it's not achieving anything. He should be up front for us in a 4-4-2 and I expect he will be before long.

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