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Nine men fail and two others fall foul of styles!


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For much of the second half Manchester United appeared to have one or two more men on the field than we did …oh they did didn’t they!

Three goals in around 11 minutes at the end of the fist half smacks of capitulation. It also suggests what many of us think that our players are still in awe of the name Manchester United and although a goal to the good can’t accept that this is a platform for a win rather than a hurdle that their opponents will inevitably leap before once again taking all of the points that are on offer at Villa Park. This time when we took an early lead and given the evidence of our season so far, I felt we might just make a game of it and I had hoped we might end up with a point to show at least. But, there is still a gaping gap between us and the likes of them and we do not need a referee who was rested from this league because of his incompetence earlier this season to extend that gap in an effort to ingratiate himself with the likes of Fergie, as he did today.

Styles killed the game as a contest and as a spectacle for not only 42,000 spectators but for the television audience. He has faced consequences for lousy performances in the past, so will he do so again or as the beneficiaries were Manchester United will things be swept under the carpet?

My player ratings from a game that extended Manchester United’s long domination over us all too easily are:

Scott Carson - 4 – Led with his feet rather than his hands when faced by Tevez in the clear on 67 minutes and Styles does not need that sort of invitation to send someone off rather than to book them, although most referees seem to think the penalty and a booking is enough punishment, particularly where there are defenders between the forward and the goal. He was also at fault earlier when for some inexplicable reason he picked up a Bouma back pass on 3 minutes that led to a dangerous free kick inside our box. But, he did well to stop a Tevez effort on 26 minutes that ended up as a corner after a Mellberg deflection and also blocked a goal bound shot in first half injury time from a corner that eventually through no fault of his own ended up as their third and decisive goal.

Olof Mellberg – 6 – Steady enough in a difficult situation.

Zat Knight – 3 – His very own passable impersonation of a pub player yesterday will hand the opportunity to a player who described himself in that way in the not too distant past to take his role in the centre of our defence on a permanent basis. So solid up until this game but this was nothing other than anathema. Left a cross well alone for some reason on 36 minutes that Rooney applied the expected finish to and gave the same player oceans of space inside the box to hit home his second unchallenged on 44 minutes.

Martin Laursen – 6 – Not at his outstanding best yesterday.

Wilfred Bouma – 6 – Solid enough but also did not shine as much as of late.

Craig Gardner – 5 – Started pretty well but could not sustain it and this time his substitution did not lead to a chorus of boos. Sliced the ball into the roof of the net when on the line in second half injury time when Ferdinand’s relatively weak effort looked easy enough to clear given that we had two players on the line to block it. He also allowed Rooney to get in front of him to hit their second.

Nigel Reo-Coker – 6 – Appeared to be enjoying the early challenge. Sent off after two strong/late challenges on Tevez and Anderson that presented them both with the opportunity to make things look worse than they were and which the Brazilian in particular leapt and rolled after to show himself to be a true thespian.

Gareth Barry – 6 – Not at his best following his England outings and hit the occasional stray pass that has come to be something that Villa and England supporters don’t expect to see from him.

Ashley Young – 6 – Did so well to keep a too strong cross in play on 12 minutes and then hit a wonderful cross that Gabby got on the end of for our first and only goal.

Luke Moore – 5 – Found the side netting from distance on 21 minutes and really should have got some sort of connection onto Young’s cross half an hour later. More of what we have grown accustomed to this season and was as has become the rule replaced early in the second half as a result.

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – Forced out too wide to finish on 54 minutes following some good work but had earlier provided the perfect touch to Young’s cross for our early goal. A much brighter display.


Shaun Maloney - 6 - Replaced Luke on 66 minutes. Hit a half chance over the bar on 83 minutes that really needed to be on target.

Isaiah Osbourne – 6 – Replaced Gardner at the same time as Shaun came in for Luke and hit a firm shot on 61 minutes albeit straight down Van Der Sar’s throat.

Stuart Taylor - 8 – MOTM - Replaced Scott upon his sending off and his first touch was to deny Rooney a hat-trick from the penalty spot when he got down well to save his penalty. He also produced a nice stop 4 minutes later to deny Tevez. Stuart was beaten on 75 minutes when Giggs moved past what was left of our defence for their fourth but it took two deflections to beat him and he still got fingers to the ball after that. Might reasonably see himself more likely to fill in for Carson than Sorensen after this fine if short appearance.

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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Great match review, thanks for that. I only got to see the firt half, but was dissapointed in the way that we sat back after the first goal, seemingly playing for a counter attack. I wish we were able to keep posession of the ball for longer than 5 passes.

United were passing up to 17 times!

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I thought carson sending off was harsh... We were 2 goals down and Styles was just being a cock and showing he's not afraid to send someone off when a penalty and a yellow wud of been enough- would of sealed defeat anyway and now he screwed us over in next match as well- such a prick really. Now we gotta show strength in depth- just lucky really we got Derby next which we should get a result from.

Knight was bad yesterday he had rooney to mark and didnt do his job so i think Oneill will drop him till he shows why he should be in the team again. Rooney really is hardto mark but if laursen can do it with Drogba then Knight shoudl be able to do same.

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Young and Moore under-scored i.m.o. Moore on one occasion tracked back, tackled and retrieved the ball and shot narrowly wide into the side netting whilst under pressure. He looked lively as well, i.m.o., until Villa's defence caved in. A goal would sort him out, I think.

Young was lively all through - and nutmegged Rooney near the end.

Scores of 6 and 7 i.m.o.

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....Barry & Reo Coker over scored IMO... as previous post suggests retaining the ball & closing down was at the root cause of our demise well before the Ref/our defenders turned in to lucifer.

Man Utd are a polished outfit and have the ability to pass you to death.... teams that will stand any chance of giving them a game must disrupt their swagger.It can be done as The Blues and Portsmouth can testify.

We appeared to believe we have the same technique as them and embarked on a road accordingly and we were subsequently dumped on our arses.

The signs were there for all to see well before Zat Knight & Craig Gardner decided to have a day off..... as Simon Cowell would say " it was a bloody mess"

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Fair summary, although a travesty that Gabby did not get MoM - he was awesome and looks every inch a premier league striker. He worked his bollocks off - something Luke Moore could well learn from.

Gardner and Knight were at fault for all 3 goals, and should not start next week.

Luke Moore no longer justifies a shirt - Maloney must be given a chance.

Team next week:


Mellberg Davies Laursen Bouma

Petrov Osbourne Barry

Young Gabby Maloney

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Moore under-scored i.m.o. Moore on one occasion tracked back, tackled and retrieved the ball and shot narrowly wide into the side netting whilst under pressure. He looked lively as well, i.m.o., until Villa's defence caved in. A goal would sort him out, I think.

agreed. Moore looked decent to me.

Not getting much service, but working hard and playing the "target man" type role well, even though he's not ideally suited to it.

he's desperately in need of a goial from somehere. Should be helped when Big John returns, which apparently could be on sunday, if he keeps his place.

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He worked his bollocks off - something Luke Moore could well learn from.

Luke Moore no longer justifies a shirt - Maloney must be given a chance.

Disagree i think you notice Gabby's performance more because he is fast paced and runs up and down the pitch which is his job but i think Moore was told to stay up and let gabby be the link between him and the midfield

you are entitled to your opinion... and i do agree we need to see what Maloney has to offer if not when Carew is out then we might not see him at all the way its going. But i think Moore shows understanding with others and shows why he should be in the team for his goal poaching but hasnt had the supply to show what he is capable of yet.

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