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Barnesy's match report & musings


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Our Mr Barnes reviews the match with the help of, and while debunking, some oft-used cliches ....

‘Football managers earn their bacon at half time’ Terence Frederick "Terry" Venables

When Leeds sacked David O’Leary, Risdale always said it was because O’Leary couldn‘t change the course of game at half time. The old Aston Villa always felt the same, nothing much changed at half time; the result always seemed cast in stone. Not anymore. Whatever the manager seems to say at half time seems to really matter; and yet again a limp first half performance was replaced by a vibrant second half. Gareth Barry a man who seemed to be thinking of teaming up with Liverpool throughout the first half, looked utterly transformed in the second half. I watched the first half and thought; he can be replaced. But on the second half performance he looked irreplaceable; thoughtful, determined, but most of all intelligent with the ball. People say his lack of pace means he will never be a top player, but his drive in the second half, showed his true greatness.

‘The referee is never wrong’

Generally the man in black deserves our respect, until he does something else. Mike Dean was shocking; utterly shocking. Time after time he blew against us. The first time I shrugged my shoulders, but on the umpteenth time Carew was wrestled (and I mean wrestled; it struck me the West Ham player may have wanted a tryst with him) to the ground, only for it to go West Ham’s way I had had enough. As Lucas Neill dived to the ground in the eight eighth minute, I knew that West Ham would use the opportunity; they scored and got an undeserved point. (like all opinions I could of course be wrong).

‘You need to score your chances’ Nigel Ashford

How many times has Nigel said that to me? For the first thirty minutes of the second half, we had a dozen chances to take this game, and put it beyond West Ham. We took one of those chances, the rest for various reasons we squandered or Robert Green made fantastic saves (or lied on the ground and played dead). Maybe thats the difference between where we are and the top four. I thought both of the front pair looked lively enough, but lacked that killer touch. When both of your goals come from midfield maybe the front line needs strengthening?

‘Scott Carson isn’t worth £10 million’

It seemed an eternity between West Ham winning a free kick and the ball making into the net. In between a wall was set up and Carson made some adjustments. He just looked unconvinced by his actions. And then the ball came over and all he could do was parry it into his own net. Its goals like these that feel preventable; a better, but also more assured goalkeeper, would have done enough to save it. The England experience for Carson seems to have been a turning point, and from then on his confidence has been shaky. Maybe a very good player exists in him; but for sure he isn’t a £10 million keeper. If MON is the new Brian Clough then he knows the keeper is the start of it all.

‘Zat Knight is rubbish’

Oh no he isn’t. He makes mistakes, he isn’t the messiah, but today he put in a very good performance, over all, better than Laursen. At times he even looked ‘cultured’. We all know he isn’t the future or the number one choice, but at the same time he’s better than some of us have made out.

‘Footballers are over paid and don’t care for us fans’

Today was an emotional day. It was the end of the Mellberg era. Often in a sea of mediocrity he (and Barry) he has shone out. His commitment (and his ability to hoof the ball) can never be questioned. But above all he seemed to care about us; 3000 free shirts with ‘Mellberg thanks 4 your support’ was a gesture beyond the norm. Its rare that you genuinely feel that a player and the fans have much in common, but with Mellberg it was different; he hated the Blues and said it, and was always committed to the cause. Over the years I ve got to admit I was never his biggest fan, but today was a remarkable thing. Listen to his interview; he’s now a Juventus player, but I doubt he will ever refer to Aston Villa as anything but as ‘we’ and ‘us’

‘The fans are the 12th man’

At the start of the season, questions were raised about if MON was making the right signings, and taking the club in the right direction. But looking at it today the optimism when Lerner and MON first came in, seems still to be flowing and if anything increased over the season. Along the way this season we have lost games we should have won, drawn games we should have won, yet also won games we should never have won. For years and years the club and the fans have been at loggerheads. Now when we sing and enjoy the game, its seems we are at one again. We have our pride back, and doesn’t it feel good?

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Top piece mate :)

The wrestling of Carew was ridiculous, we were robbed in every way, Neills dive when Gabby was 1-2 yards away from him was more than theatrical and the Linesman was all of 5 yards away whcih made it worse, they handled in their own box, why was Petrov booked for diving when they dived ALL day...

overall though fantastic result and good points made too

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Great Report.

I made this observation at work today to a few Villa colleagues.

At the start of the season we would have sttled for:

60 points

6th place

71 goals scored

relegation for the noses.

I don't think life could be much better at this moment.

We all know MON has to spend not only to improve the quality but to give us a larger squad of players However we all wanted an improvement this season and we have got it.

Well done to everyone at VP and here's to next season.

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