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How-Zat Roman?


John
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Chelsea remain winless against us at Villa Park this Millennium and did anyone else enjoy seeing Roman trying to sneak out before the end but being unable to avoid shaking the outstretched hand of our smirking former chairman?

As Martin promised we did not cower or surrender meekly today. We worked very hard and although Chelsea had a lot of possession our defence remained resolute. The statistics that matter are that we scored two goals and they scored none. This result shows how far we have come already and for once we did not try to sit on a lead but went for the second and got it! Yes, we have beaten one of the top four at long last and we did not sneak the win there was two goals between the sides at the finish despite the referee who saw fir to book Gabby when he commented on Carew’s booking but was happy to take heated advice from Terry throughout without showing a card to him.

My player ratings from a game after which Roman might just have needed a Vodka or three are:

Scott Carson - 6 – Might need to consider whether catching instead of punching might sometimes be the better option and at times looked less commanding than would be expected but at the end of the day Scott is able to point to another clean sheet.

Olof Mellberg – 7 – Did well in a role that he would no doubt not choose to fill.

Zat Knight – 7 – Got his second goal for Villa in two matches winning a header from a corner on 47 minutes and looked solid on his debut at the back.

Martin Laursen – 8 – Won everything in the air as usual and had Drogba in his pocket most of the time and on the one occasion he was left for dead by him on 58 minutes Olof was on hand to tidy up.

Wilfred Bouma – 7 – A solid performance against SWP.

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – Did some good work at the back and got into the game more as the game wore on capping this off by applying a crisp finish to a great cross from Young on 88 minutes. Might have done better on the stroke of half time when he failed to connect with an inviting cross.

Gareth Barry – 7 – Became more prominent as the game wore on and worked well with NRC to give us a hard running central midfield.

Luke Moore – 7 – Turned well on 6 minutes to force a good stop by their keeper and gave a good performance against strong opponents today.

Nigel Reo-Coker – 9 – MOTM – A hard running and whole hearted performance. Seems to be enjoying life at Villa Park and showed some good pace against Ashley Cole.

Ashley Young – 8 – Our main threat and did so well with that flick, run and cross to set up our second. Martin spent our money well and he deserves a run out against Israel but I doubt the manager has the bottle to try him out. Hit a terrific shot from a wide position that forced a finger tip and the corner that resulted in our opening goal.

John Carew – 7 – Worked very hard and had no help from the referee throughout.

Substitutes:

Stiliyan Petrov - 6 - Replaced John on 79 minutes and picked up the pace of the game pretty well.

Up the Villa and bring on Sven’s boys!

John Lewis

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I'm sorry but if Laursen doesn't get at least a 9 for that performance then he never will. Or are these ratings out of 9 ?

for me he'd get an 8 max Bri.

Yes - i agree he played quite well. But i did see him got "done" once or twice which is no shame given it was the likes of SWP & Droggers.

But he could also easily have given away a penalty.

I thought NRC was our MOTM.

He was awesome.

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Carson - 7 - He will not have expected as quiet a day as he had.

Mellberg - 7 - Tended to try and drift in but was solid at the back rather than spectacular going forward - which would be my preference in a right back.

Laursen - 9 - Monster. Last ditch tackles. Anyone else and Drogba would've had more joy and might have scored. Genuinely the difference today. A fit reliable Laursen would still be playing for AC Milan. That's the standard of player we've got here.

Knight - 8.5 - What a debut. The perfect day. He's set his standard now and it's looking like £4m well spent.

Bouma - 8 - Great performance by Bouma as Belletti was too engaged with keeping Young under wraps. Bouma was afforded the space behind Young's marauding runs and reaped the rewards.

Agbonlahor - 7.5 - One of his quieter days but popped up with the winner and showed his strikers instinct by always gravitating towards the penalty spot from the wing.

NRC - 9 - Nigel Brick-Wall is going to be immense for Villa. I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Barry - 7.5 - Played well and stayed busy in the centre. Got involved around their box and put in some lovely crosses. Will be delighted that he now has a CM partner in NRC that can genuinely share the workload without compromising on quality.

Young - 9 - Once again, I'll blow my trumpet. I've said from day 1 he was going to be a bargain and I still don't think the rest of the Prem knows quite how good this guy is - or will get. I think there will come a time when we'll need to hang on to him. The best attacking talent we've had at the club since Dwight Yorke.

Carew - 7 - Struggled as he was clearly man-marked throughout but by tasking up a defensive resource he gave space for others and never tired til being subbed. The quality is there and we mustn't forget the work he does to allow others to score.

Moore - 7.5 - Ran and ran and ran. He has his critics but I think he can stand up alongside the others today. Was as good as any forward player from either side and should stay in the team.

---------------

Petrov - 5 - Within minutes of coming on he'd meakly given up possession 30yds from goal and given them an opportunity that went just wide. With him on from the start we definitely would not have won this game as it would also have meant one of the lions coming off to accommodate him.

I hope we 'never change a winning team' and leave Stiliyan on the bench for a long while. If the fans' booing achieves one thing it will be to remind MON that we, unlike him, are not bound loyally to a player purely because he cost £6.5m. Petrov may be struggling to find form, but after 12 months looking, maybe he never will. I certainly know there's no place for him in the team on yesterday's evidence.

And with the likes of Maloney and Gardner on the bench we have strength in depth it would seem. I just wanna see this Salifou fella get a game now. Perhaps against Forest/Leicester ?

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From my vantage point at the back of the Lower Holte

Carson - 7

Mellberg 8 (at right back!)

Bouma 8

Laursen 8

Knight 7

Gabby - 8

Ash 8

GB 7

NRC 8

BJC 7

Luke 7

Manager 9 - he got it spot on. Mellberg at right back added defensive strength and had a very good game, Knight scored a goal, did fine, no Titus bramble moments. The wide players for us stopped chelsea using the width to attack us and and their energy was superb.

Bouma, NRC, Ash, Martin Laursen, Olly and Gabby all contenders for MoTM, I think. Too hard to pick between them really.

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sorry but i disagree wiv the petrov rating from Bof - he come into a fast paced game in which we rarely had the ball and giving him a 5 for fitting into the side and rushing up the field wen we had a couple of counter attacks i think he adapted well after coming in so late. i think a 6 in my opinion

every other decision from the original post i agree wiv- first half i did think Laursen was shakey but he did have Drogba down his neck - so understandable..

what a performance fought all the way and once we got the first goal i think the crowd did well to keep spirit up- crowd will get 9 from me - 12th man on field for us

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sorry but i disagree wiv the petrov rating from Bof - he come into a fast paced game in which we rarely had the ball and giving him a 5 for fitting into the side and rushing up the field wen we had a couple of counter attacks i think he adapted well after coming in so late. i think a 6 in my opinion

every other decision from the original post i agree wiv- first half i did think Laursen was shakey but he did have Drogba down his neck - so understandable..

what a performance fought all the way and once we got the first goal i think the crowd did well to keep spirit up- crowd will get 9 from me - 12th man on field for us

I agree "wiv" you 2007.

i thought Stan did well when he came on - one sloppy pass aside, he looked composed and controlled and added a bit of calm to proceedings when we needed it.

This was not Super Mart's best game for us either - but the was up against the likes of Droggers and SWP so understandable - coped admirably i thought - and not many do that against Droggers.

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I agree "wiv" you 2007.

i thought Stan did well when he came on - one sloppy pass aside, he looked composed and controlled and added a bit of calm to proceedings when we needed it.

This was not Super Mart's best game for us either - but the was up against the likes of Droggers and SWP so understandable - coped admirably i thought - and not many do that against Droggers.

Haha, actually that is the problem with Petrov. He is way too casual and slow to the point where he looks uninterested. On other matches where he does the same of holding he ball for a couple of seconds, looks lost, then passes it sideways or backwards, he gets flamed. Somehow for Chelsea, since we needed to stem their desperate tide, his playing was suitable for once.

BTW, the person who spun around Terry and blasted the left footed shot was Gabby not Luke right?

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