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Six Games Unbeaten – Villa 0 Portsmouth 0


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FA Carling Premiership

Villa Park

Sunday 22nd April 2007.

In some games, you get that feeling that you just aren’t going to score. You can huff, and puff, but you can’t blow down the fence erected in front of the goal. Today, for Villa, seemed to be one of those days.

Let me get this straight. I can’t stand Harry Redknapp. I don’t like the way the media paint him as some kind of chirpy managerial legend, when in reality, he’s done very little. Most of all though, I don’t like the way he is constantly commenting on other teams’ players. He did it throughout last summer, with comments that really could be seen as ‘tapping up’ Gareth Barry, and he’s stated going on about how he wished he’d have been able to sign him , shortly before the match today.

However, one thing you can congratulate him for, is at least with Portsmouth, he has put together a side that can play some pretty good football. The team from the South Coast came to Villa today with a point in mind, and they played for the point, meaning that for the second home game running Villa had to face a team which wasn’t really bothered too much about attacking. However, unlike Wigan, who seeked to time waste and generally cheat, Portsmouth took the approach of passing, being patient and just seeing whether something did happen, which made for a more entertaining game of football.

Martin O’Neill nearly had something that could be described as a ‘tough’ team choice, and opted for a shape that was almost 4-1-3-2. Carew started up front alongside Agbonlahor, and Gardner, Barry and Berger played in fron of Petrov in the holding position.

I think we may have all been expecting a different type of player when we signed Petrov. In the past few weeks, since taking this role, Stilyan’s performances have been much, much better and again today he showed close control of the ball and shielded the defence well.

Moving up front, Villa were the more dangerous of the two sides and deserved the win, in all honesty. They would have got it too, had it not been for two very good saves by former Villa ‘keeper, David James. The first was a low block on Gardner’s effort in the first half, and the second a fantastic save after Agbonlahor had broke free and fired in a strong shot.

Carew had a relatively quiet game, but still had a few chances to show his sheer physical ability. He came off after about an hour with a knock to his foot – but you could see the Norwegian was beginning o get frustrated with the lack of balls to his feet as Villa began to knock the long balls forward again. This was doubly frustrating, as at times Villa actually put the ball on the floor and tried to play football – and you know what? They actually managed it – and it was when they did this that they looked most dangerous.

Still, that’s it and only one more home games of the season left, which seeing as the prices are cheap and the celebration of the European Cup win is occurring, will hopefully have a bumper crowd and the first win in a while at Villa Park.

A case of it being a similar story, I’m afraid. Another game drawn which should have been a win.

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Good report John, summed it up well. Wasn't it Gabby who had the chance in the first half though that James made the superb save from?

edit: It would seem not having read a few reports. my mistake.

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Dont agree with the pertov rating, he kept us ticking ovr & is playing well in the deeper role. For me Bardsley is shocking, terrible player id rather see gardner played there & young comin in. Few times gardner could of broken down the right but his lack of skill/pace was evident but think hes a good all rd player.

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Agree in some respects, in that we were the dominant team and deserved to win, but I wouldn't be as positive as you. I think we struggle to grasp the concept of urgency and taking the game to the opposition in home games. It was utterly frustrating that villa didn't need to get out of 2nd gear in order to dominate a game, but if we had done we would've won comfortably i'm sure, against a team with a terrible away record who were thumped 4-2 at watford!!

The back line were solid, against a poor strikeforce who showed no positive intention throughout. Gardner was promising, barry coasted, petrov doesn't understand that if mellberg passes you the ball, he thinks you should do a better job in getting it forwards, and that he shouldn't pass it sideways or back to mellberg, berger was ineffective and shattered, carew looked tired towards the end, and gabby was ok.

Strange that o'neill or robinson didn't realise that stefanovic was terrible at left back and didn't get Young, or at least someone running at him until too late.

Frustrating, had a good chance to show a bit of intent today, and we didn't, again looking distinctly average against average opposition at home. No ambition.

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