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vs Chelsea: Match Report


JohnCresswell
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Aston Villa 2 (two) Chelsea 0 (nil)

Sunday 2nd September 2007

FA Barclays Premiership

Villa Park

Move along, nothing to see here. Except for the best performance and result during Martin O'Neill's 13 month spell at Villa Park so far. Right back? Bah! We don't need one of those!

Pre Match

No bets put on today due to the lack of cash in pocket. I must say that the new menu at Villa Park is rather good though - the Southern Fried Chicken purchased with the gambling money was rather nice. So nice one to the catering staff with that.

Going into the game, I expected Mourinho to finally end his 'Villa Park' curse. Chelsea, I felt were too string for us and expected Molouda especially to give us a hard time. There is no doubt about it, Chelsea are one of the top teams in the country and possess for fantastic players.

When the teams were announced, I must admit I was rather disappointed and believed that the wrong choices had been made. Whilst pleased that Mellberg was now at right back instead of Gardener, I did feel that this would increase the number of 'hoofs' up to John Carew. The main thing for me was Luke Moore starting and Gabby agbonlahor playing on the wing. I felt very sorry for Shaun Maloney, who really couldn't have done anything more over the past few weeks and still doesn't get a starting place in the team, and instead, Gabby was played in a position he has shown that he isn't too comfortable in previously.

Still, it's the manager's decisions - and he'll take the blame and praise for them.....

The Goals

And boy, does he deserve some praise!

Villa's first goal came just minutes after the restart. In fact, so soon after kick off that many people hadn't returned to their seats from their half time break. Villa's first corner of the game was whipped in, and by the time you've said "Villa do nothing from corners", Zat Knight - the local kid come home - planted a header which took a slight deflection and ended in the roof of the net. Wild celebrations next, including the obligatory kissing of the badge. Can you imagine how he felt? To score a gaol for the team you support would be good enough, but to do it on your debut, against Chelsea, who just happen to be the rivals of your former club? Fantastic!

Villa's second came after 40 minutes of staring at the clock and getting annoyed that it'd only wound down 30 seconds since last time you looked at it. The sensational Ashley Young, ball at feet and in his own half took on Belletti and beat him with ease before charging on, cutting inside and powering a cross/shot. Gabby Agbonlahor was perfectly placedto side foot home. We've only gone and beaten them! More jumping from O'Neill, and an absolutely hillarious image of Abramovich leaving the stand in a mood, and a beaming Doug Ellis looking at him and offering a handshake.

Thoughts on the performance

If I could get away with just saying 'Fantastic', I would. But I won't. So lets be a bit more indepth.

Scott Carson in goal did everything that was asked of him. He hasn't made the mistakes Robinson has. He hasn't made the mistakes James has. Surely he should be in with a shout of starting the upcoming England games?

Villa's defence was simple superb. For the first half hour, Mellberg struggled at right back, often looking to move inside and during one chelsea attack Gabby Agbonlahor had to help out and save the Swede. However, he seemed to settle and we didn't see one of those trademark hoofs. He wasn't to comfortable at moving foward, but as he was facing Malouda and Wright-Phillips, that's probably a good job. Speaking of full backs, Bouma put in his best performance of the season, I don't think I can remember him being beaten once. He also made some pretty impressive attacking runs into the opposition half, showing how much he has improved under O'Neill.

The two in the middle were the playersthat shone, though. Knight had an exceptional debut - he was the one dealing with the first 'wave' of attacks, with Laursen clearing up the mess. Laursen was given the Man of the Match award, I'm told, and the danish center back deserved it. I know the previous manager didn't win many fans during his time here, but he needs some thanks because he signed a genuine world class central defender.

At times Chelsea dominated the game in terms of possession but for all their creative talent they couldn't get past the strong willed defence.

Villa's all English midfield did not look out of place in game which featured in my opinion the best midfielder in the world at the moment - Michael Essien. Ashley Young, playing with so much confidence is such an exciting talent. The form he is in, and the things he can do truely makes you proud that he is a Villa player. Gabby on the otherside was fairly quiet, with a fair bit of defensive work to do - but he did it. Gareth Barry was quiet but effective in his work, essentially keeping Chelsea not getting closer than the 18 yard line. And Nigel Reo-Coker? West Ham fans may have been complaining about him, but after his performance today they must be wondering what they've let go. He's a pit bull - constantly snapping at your ankles - and it wasn't until Barry and Nigel were both on yellow cards and needed to be extra careful when Chelsea's midfield began to dominate.

Up front? Carew bashed around hard, and didn't get much from the referee, with a lot of decisions being given in favour of whining captain John Terry. Moore also looked busy and ran himself into the ground. We didn't create many chances for them to get onto, to be fair.

And the manager? Spot on. Absolutely spot on. We attacked them. We defended superbly and resolutely. And every single one of those players were up for the game and believed that they could match their opposition. Superb motivation, tactics and team selection, despite what I'd thought before the game. Brilliant Mr O'Neill, brilliant.

The Ref

Exactly what you expect when you play one of the 'big four'. Most decisions being given to the away team - and lots of being 'pally' with the big names too. A lot seems to have been made over an apparent foul on Wright-Phillips in the first half and whether it should have been a penalty. Well, no it shouldn't have been. Laursen did appear to climb over the small winger,but the foul first began outside the box so it was a free kick at worse.

One bizarre thing -Gabby got a yellow card for 'talking back' at the referee - yet Terry got nothing when he went on one of his usual surround and shout at the referee until he gets his way trips.

Not a great game for Clattenberg.

Positives

Three points against a world class side. The optimism gauge is up a couple of notches, that's for sure. A performance to be proud of. The team looks motivated and confident.

We've finally beaten one of the top sides, and on TV too. How long ago is it since that has happened?

Oh, and a feeling of being incredibly proud to be a Villa fan.

Negatives

Turning on the radio on the way home to hear some berk say that the performance was great...but...then began to rip into half the players in the squad. I'm sorry chappy, if you can't be happy after this game, you'll never be happy.

The Opposition

I like Chelsea. I dunno what it is. I like Mourinho too. I like his arrogance and often think he's having a laugh at the people who he manages to wind up. He seems to like Villa, despite the fact he still hasn't won at VP. Good luck to them - though they certainly put in a poorer performance than Liverpool did, and with them losing their key players in the African Nations Cup coming up, I can't see them winning much this season.

Next up for us is Man City away - a game which typically Villa have lost. A win there and the optimism meter may go into overdrive.

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Before the game I'd predicted that Gardner would stay at right back, Knight wouldn't make the bench, we'd play 4-3-3, and we'd lose to Chelsea without much fuss.

Wrong? Oh yes! Stupid? Maybe. Happy? It's nearly midnight and I'm still smiling!

What A great day to be a Villa fan.

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Awesome report.

And while I like knowing when you're at the top of something I'm going to read, and that will generally agree with, I have to admit I'm not in the same camp when it comes to liking Chelsea. Under Roman's rule I hope that club, and its supporters, never win the Champions League.

But hey, that's just me being bitter...and I'm finding it hard to do so at the moment :P

And so let me get back to saying thanks for the report. One more thing though, southern fried chicken? Southern England or like USA southern?

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An outstanding result and massive congratulations are due to everyone at Villa Park who contributed to this performance. Thank's for bringing the pride back to VP. It's a real shame that we are going to lose the momentum and confidence gained from 3 back to back wins due to the internationals.

Whilst the Chelesa result is one I am going to savour constantly for the next 2 weeks, it's actually quite rare for us not to put in a good performance against the top 4 sides, even if we don't get a result.

It's the poor performances, the inexpilcable defeats and draws against the weak to mediocre teams like Man City, Wigan, Reading and of course the Birmingham's of this world that have really hurt us in the past. Therefore how we do in our next match is probably going to tell us as much, if not more than the Chelsea result, about the amount of progress we are making.

Personally I can't wait!

BTW - Doug's cameo performance is probably the best thing he has ever done at Villa, (apart from selling up to the Randy man). I think I'll download that clip as a screensaver for the benefit of all my Chelski following work colleagues. Absolutely priceless!

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BTW - Doug's cameo performance is probably the best thing he has ever done at Villa, (apart from selling up to the Randy man). I think I'll download that clip as a screensaver for the benefit of all my Chelsea following work colleagues. Absolutely priceless!

yes that was superb!! :lol:

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Excellent report, seems to be the match I as watching from the similar pre-match reservations through the player reviews and the point about the next match being equally as important, if only as a measure of being able to build in a consistency of performance.

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