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Villa win one local derby, bring on the next one!


John
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It was not quite rams to the slaughter but we dominated the possession and ended up worthy winners of this East versus West Midlands tie.

This reminded me of the game with Watford last year. The result was the same, expectations were for a stack of Villa goals, we had the lions share of the game but we found it hard to convert this all into the end product (goals). But, win we did on that occasion as on this, and I would happily take the same score in our favour next weekend.

Nice to see another 40,000 crowd which will be encouraging for both the team and for Randy. It was also important to clinch the three points to keep us solidly in the top half of the table. It was also good to see Petrov giving a display that was something nearer to those he gave at times early last season and to see a crowd willing to give him another chance. So not the 3-0 or 4-0 we might have hoped for but a solid and easy enough win on a day when we did not really play at our best. But wins from games like these are a good habit to get into.

My player ratings from a game that gave us a fifth home win and set us up for our first away one (I hope) are:

Scott Carson - 6 – Did not have many opportunities to impress but did what he needed to when required.

Olof Mellberg – 6 – This was a game where we would have welcomed a full back that was comfortable coming forward the fact that Olof is that man is not his fault and it is to his credit that we find ourselves in the top half of the league as he enters what I expect to be the last month that he will be regularly asked to fill this unfamiliar role for us.

Zat Knight – 6 – No Halloween howlers from Zat in this home performance and was a threat to Derby from corners hitting a solid effort on 2 minutes that was blocked on the line and forcing a save from a downward header 20 minutes later.

Martin Laursen – 8 – MOTM – To give MOTM to a defender when the defence had so little to do is a little unusual, but what he had to do at the back he did exceptionally well and his commitment shone through throughout the game culminating in his goal celebrations on 57 minutes when he broke the deadlock having got on the end of a Barry headed cross to find himself gleefully unmarked in the 6 yard box.

Wilfred Bouma – 7 – Another solid performance.

Stiliyan Petrov – 7 – Got a few monkeys of his back today by producing a decent display. Worked hard, seemed to have a little more time on the ball than of late and produced a couple of very good passes. Now needs to build on this and find consistency.

Nigel Reo-Coker – 7 – Held the midfield together in the midfield general role. It was his hard work on the line that led to the mistake that left Gabby running onto the box in the move that led to our second.

Gareth Barry – 7 – More effective in the second half than the first. Did so well for our opener by chasing what others may have given up as a lost cause and then found Laursen unmarked inside the box with his header and Martin applied a simple finish.

Ashley Young – 8 – Substituted on 69 minutes with the game won to avoid further harsh treatment from a Derby defence who could find no other way of stopping his jinking runs. Made the points safe 8 minutes earlier when he met a super ball from Reo who had picked up a rebound from a Gabby shot, Ashley did well to lift the ball high into the net to avoid the defender and goalkeeper on the line. Cut inside and shot into the side netting on 31 minutes having been just inches wide with a shot that he pulled past the keeper 10 minutes earlier.

Luke Moore – 6 – A decent performance and supported Gabby well, but needs to find some end product.

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – His shot on 61 minutes was blocked by their keeper in the build up to our second and a good run into the box on 81 minutes forced a stop from their keeper to prevent a third.

Substitutes:

Shaun Maloney - 6 - Replaced Ashley on 69 minutes to provide a similar threat to the Derby defence down that side to what they had faced before his arrival and was just wide from the edge of the area on 78 minutes.

Patrik Berger – 6 – Replaced Luke on 77 minutes and kept things ticking along.

Curtis Davies – Replaced Zat on 88 minutes and did not have enough time on the field to earn a marking. Might have been worth bringing on earlier at 2-0 as a confidence building measure and that might help the announcer remember who he is next time!

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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