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In Metal - Arsenal Away report


blandy
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What do we make of that then? I'll tell you what, be proud of the team and the manager, that's what. They were superb. I'm not so sure about some of our support, but yesterday saw one of the best Villa performances since Martin O'Neill has been manager.

At this point your VillaTalk correspondent would like to apologise for the late arrival of the match ramble (in association with Black Beer), scheduled to arrive at 10:30 last night, but unfortunately delayed by the fact that Network Rail exists.

Incidents on the line between Milton Keynes and Hemel caused the day to be a very long, and expensive one indeed.

The day started well enough, albeit uncomfortably early for Bicks and myself, as a trip to fancy London means getting the train, for me at least at 7:30 in the morning. Meeting up with Bickster, we set off full of optimism.

Soon however things started to go slightly awry. Something called "weather" had interfered with the, ahem, normally smooth running of our nation's strain, sorry, train, service. Weather had made a freight train fall over and break the metal road.

Consequently, instead of arriving in London around mid-day, we were left bimbling about at Moor street for a good while, eventually catching a painfully slow Chunter line train down to Marylebone. The train was occupied, in part, by young Villans chugging down draughts of economy "Swillo brand" watery "lager", perhaps anticipating a shortage of pub time in London, and of course the high prices down there for Swillo.

Arrival in London saw things improve, a couple of text messages later and after a quick ride on the under-tube, in the belly of a metal worm down in the caves we emerged into the sunshine to meet up with friends and acquaintances at Highbury and Islington. Cheers fellas.

We talked amongst other things, over a few pints of Stout (no Swillo for us Northerners) about prospects for the game. We all felt that while any result was possible - something that for a good decade, just about, has not really been the case - Villa really did have a good chance to actually win. 1-0 to us was my confident prediction. Oh so close.

A walk past down past the old the ground, now a building site, and into the Metal coliseum that is the Emirates. On my second visit, I was no less impressed than on my first. Though it's clearly a corporate paradise, it's still mighty impressive. It's a shame that the corporate shilling is quite so dominant, and it's a shame that some fans with flags were prevented from hanging them up, but a fine stadium it is.

And there before us were the players.

The game kicked off with Arsenal looking quite sprightly, but Villa also were looking to use our pace up front and really "give it a go". Arsenal's passing, touch and movement, even when they're not at their peak, remains an example of how attacking football should be played. They missed a couple of early chances, Fabregas shooting over, Walcott impressing, confident no doubt after scoring 2 against small heath last week.

Speaking of last week, the unfortunate Eduardo, as people know, suffered a horrible injury at the Sty. The several hundred Villa fans, amongst the 3000, singing about this did not do us proud. What purpose it serves, and how it is of any help to Villa beats me. Human decency is lacking in too many people, sadly.

Villa were coming more into the game, breaking brilliantly, the shape of the team was good, the midfield were closing down and tackling and then keeping the ball. Unfortunately we were dealt our first bad hand when Nigel Reo-Coker was injured and had to be replaced. Zat knight came on, Craig Gardner went to midfield and Curtis Davis moved to right back.

It didn't affect our play, or the confidence of the team.

Not too long before half time we got a bit of luck to balance things up. Gabby down the left, cut into the box, crossed the ball low and fast, and Phillip Senderous kindly finished the move off by tonking the ball past Almunia.

Other chances for Villa were created, and Shaun Maloney, having a blinder, in my eyes, hit a fantastic shot towards the top left hand corner of the goal. The keeper just managed to finger tip the ball onto the post, and away. Scott Carson saved well from a good Arsenal chance.

After half time, Arsenal again started very brightly and again Villa suffered what looked this time like a bad injury. Curtis Davies was stretchered off after twisting his knee, I think. And still people sang about Eduardo. Belief was beggared.

Back to the football, Ozzy came on, Craig Gardner moved back to right back. But still Villa played on in the same vein, perhaps even better than before. What seemed like countless, but in reality was perhaps only 4, clear chances were created. Gabby twice, Ashley Young and later Marlon, on for Shaun, all could and perhaps should have scored. Almunia saved all of the efforts. Would we pay? It didn't look like it, though the pressure was building. Adebayor, almost, from 2 crosses, got an equaliser, defenders blocked and tackled, even big John got tackles in. Shots went wide.

And still we were a threat on the break.

3 minutes injury time was signalled, and in the 4th of these 3 minutes with absolutely the last kick (but for the resulting kick off) Bendtner equalised.

Arsenal rejoiced, Villa were gutted. Not rewarded fully for the effort and skill we put in. Tactically too we had got it right.

Personally, though I'd absolutely love to have won, I wasn't at all down-hearted, and nor should the players be, for long. They were magnificent. That showing did us proud, it was an example of everything that has been improved on the field over the last 18 months. We're definitely, irrefutably, a good side now. We can match Chelsea and Arsenal on their own grounds. On one of those occasions we scored a last gasp equaliser, on another we conceded at the end. Them's the breaks. But, by playing as a team, by attacking and by no little skill and endeavour, along with a (mostly) excellent support Aston Villa is back as a club we can be proud of.

A belated happy Birthday to MO'N. It could have been even happier, but he's given us one hell of a present, and better than that, a future.

Some marks

Scott - 7. One poor punch and some quality goalkeeping the rest of the time.

Craig Gardner - 7 - better in midfield than at right back, but a good game from our tiger. Blasted one free kick over, got forward, tackled and chased and shot and crossed. Good work.

Freddie Bouma - like Craig, splendid. One of his better games. 8

Martin Laursen - Another fine game from a fine, fine player. 8

Curtis - Another who played well, sadly injured, 7. (Zat Knight - splendid, 7)

Ashley Young. Like With Martin Laursen, you know how good he is. Showed it again. 8

Shaun - He really impressed me today, 8 One cracking effort almost scoring from 25 yards. (Marlon, 7. Should have scored, was a real handful and kept the team going. He's gone from someone most fans really didn't rate, to a hugely popular player by dint of his commitment, attitude and goals. No question he was a good signing.)

Nigel Reo Coker - good, again. Passing was accurate. Hopefully he'll not be out for long. 7. (Ozzy - ever more promising, stronger now. Slotted in seamlessly, as they say. 7)

Gareth Barry - Control, reading of the game, passing..etc etc..(you know the script so well). Led by example. 8.

Big John - Battled hard, strong, a leader. In possibly the only minor quibble I might have, he perhaps could have gone off, instead of Shaun, as he tired towards the end. 7.

Gabby - Back revitalised, he terrorised Arsenal's defenders and made the goal. 8.

Man of the Match - all of them. Team effort.

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Cheers Blandy!

Cracking report on a day when David got a touch taller and Goliath seemed a lot less giant. Sadly by now you'll know that Curtis's injury is more serious than you'd first thought.

It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry.

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Good story as always Pete, but I must ask why you have recently been using commas like they are going out of fashion?!

Sorry, just something I have noticed in your posts lately.

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You are right in many respects, but do not get carried away. Young Osbourne does not have it as a footballer, to me he looked completely uot of his depth. I would suggest that if you know someone that recorded the game you look at the match and have a look at how brilliantly the team covered for the lad.

Having got that off my chest,thank you for your report,I thought it was a true picture of the game. Again I say be VERY proud of the team and the manager

Des

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If Gabby had known Ozzie was going to make that run, and played him on towards the end of the match...it would have been 2 nil.

But I digress, the ref's had the extra time wrong and so we paid.

Still, love the 1 1 draw.

Awesome report, I want to go to Marleybone!

What brand of Stoudts were there?

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greAT, report, Pete. from what i saw, these, marks look, spot, on.

we're becoming, one hell, of, a team, these days, with some, great individual, performances, too.

I, also, thought, Ozzy, was, excellent, when, he, came on. A real find, this, kid. Great, engine, box to, box, a bit Taylor-esque almost.

Love, the, commas, too, :nod: :mrgreen:

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...I must ask why you have recently been using commas like they are going out of fashion?!Sorry, just something I have noticed in your posts lately.

Sorry 'bout all the commas. I probably need to take a bit more time, and re-read them before posting.

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...I must ask why you have recently been using commas like they are going out of fashion?!Sorry, just something I have noticed in your posts lately.

Sorry 'bout all the commas. I probably need to take a bit more time, and re-read them before posting.

no, we like them, Pete.

It's those damn apostrophes that get my goat! :winkold:

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Thank you for not writing "apostrophe's" - so many people have done that, that my goat has not only been got, but has gone completely. I am "sans chèvre", as they say down Arsenal way..

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The stout must have been good Blandy, Davies went off first half. Great report otherwise!!

your right he did, but in Pete's defence I think he got confused by me there. Blame me not Pete. And now you mention it I was mortgaging my child up to the hilt when it happened. I was buying the last two Balti pies in the palace of Corporation so it was definitely first half, though when we were discussing the injury time after the match I said there was three mins because of the Davies injury which is obviously me talking bollocks and Pete's just remembered that conversation

That and fecn network Rail and the ludicrous lengths we had to go to to return home (finally got home just before 3 bleedin am after leaving Euston at 6:45 ish) - it addles the brain

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.. I want to go to Marleybone!

There are better stations to visit than Marylebone, Chris.

..What brand of Stouts were there?

We were mainly drinking Guinness, but did manage to find 1 pint of proper beer - Bombadier.

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..What brand of Stouts were there?

We were mainly drinking Guinness, but did manage to find 1 pint of proper beer - Bombadier.

Even if we did have to bolt it down because there was a train that wasnt going to Watfrd on the board

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Cheers for the game report,good stuff to read from fan 2 fan. Seems the way we are playing right now we will earn tat bit of luck we've been deserving for some time now. Pretty close on Saturday we came indeed.

No reason to worry on the team front, as they all seem to be working for each other at the moment, as you so rightly poined out.

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