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Howzat? And now they’re Gunner have to believe us!


John
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Last night, Arsenal fans asked us, “Who are you?” For their information we are the team that stand 3 points above them in the top four place that is usually their own, we are the team that gave them a two goal start that they still could not beat, we are the team that have taken 4 points from 6 against them in the league this season and we are the team who are having less of a laugh when we are linked with a Champions League place than you are when your manager claims you are not yet out of the title race.

This was a game that we could ill afford to lose. It was a game that it would have been a travesty had we done so and gone behind Arsenal in the battle for a top 4 spot. But, having dominated the first half and rattled the woodwork on 3 occasions as well as having one cleared off the line we inexplicably went in a goal down at half time and 3 minutes after the re-start found ourselves two goals down and with Gunners fans singing, “We’ve only had two shots”. So they had and they could not believe their luck or us our lack of it! At that point I like a lot of us began to believe this could be one of those nights where everything goes against you and you don’t get what you deserve from a game. But, this Villa side is made of sterner stuff than that.

Every point that either Arsenal or we drop between now and the end of this season will be a hammer blow to our respective hopes of Champions League qualification. As we stand fourth half way through this season we are where we are on merit. It is a top 4 place that we are now realistically aiming for and that much converted prize is now ours to take. We have a 3 point lead that Arsenal will need to peg back. Each game that passes with us in the box seat reduces the chances of them doing so and increases our chances of ending the past big 4 domination of our league. Catch us if you can Arsenal!

We were exhilarating in the first half. I can’t remember us creating so many chances at home against Arsenal for many a year but you do have to put those chances away and we failed to do so and left ourselves open to a goal on the counter attack that is always a threat against a team like Arsenal. When they added another early in the second half and hit the woodwork themselves six minutes latter it seemed our deflated and discouraged team might succumb to that home hoodoo once again. But, acting captain Gareth relished the opportunity to get us back into the game by converting a penalty that it seems Arsene did not see as clearly as Martin did and there was an amusing altercation between the two managers on the touchline following this. But, that goal led to a sustained cacophony of sound from the crowd that gave new impetus to our lion who pressed for a deserved equalizer until the end. But, that end threatened to come too soon for us until Zat scored with the aplomb of the sort of top quality striker we will need in this transfer window to put games like this out of the reach of our opponents in what is left of this season and he celebrated his great success like he was back on the terraces again rather than playing on the hallowed turf. What joy he showed and gave in that moment late in injury time.

My player ratings from a game that could have been the nightmare after Christmas are:

Brad Friedel - 6 – Twice beaten on a night that most of the action was to be found at the other end.

Nigel Reo Coker – 8 – Won the ball but then tried to play it out of defence rather than to get rid of it as most full time full backs would do as a matter of course and so he was at some fault for their first when Denilson robbed him, but he was otherwise exemplary. He was solid at the back ran forward with pace and conviction and looked nothing like a square peg in a round hole.

Curtis Davies – 8 – So solid in the centre of our defence throughout and might have had a goal on another night. Misdirected a Barry cross on 10 minutes that really needed to be on target but on 36 minutes got on the end of a ball that Knight headed on and did very well to hook the ball onto the top of the bar with Almunia beaten. Beaten when well forward in the build up to their second but coped very well overall.

Zat Knight – 8 – Did very well on a very rare league start and this was some way better than some of the displays produced in earlier cup outings this season. Did very well to take the ball from van Persie as he was about to pull the trigger on 15 minutes and was commanding in the air. I wondered why it was he who had been pushed up front as the game ebbed away from us in the closing minutes rather than say Marlon from off the bench, but what do I know? Zat hit a tremendous equalizer on 92 minutes when Petrov’s cross was flicked on by Young towards Barry and the ball dropped to him and he picked his spot and struck a lovely shot into the corner of the net to ensure no damper was put on our Christmas festivities or on our top 4 aspirations.

Luke Young - 8 – MOTM – Again playing out of position but again he looked the part. He was steady at the back and came forward with good runs and great conviction. A Millner effort cannoned off a defender into his path on 15 minutes and his shot from distance was deflected and then pushed over for a corner by Almunia. Looking to be a very good signing who is relishing the profile that playing for a top 4 club who are also in the midst of a run in Europe is giving him.

James Milner – 6 – Unlucky on 33 minutes when he stretched to reach a good cross from Young having found space inside the box and had his shot was deflected onto the near post by Almunia who then smothered the rebound on the line when it could just have easily gone in. Also hit a lovely ball through to Gabby which led to the penalty.

Stiliyan Petrov – 6 – A solid enough display and he worked hard but he was not quite as authoritive as he has been of late.

Gareth Barry – 8 – Sent Almunia the wrong way on 64 minutes for our first and was as cool as a cucumber despite what seemed an age between the kick being awarded and it being taken. He dominated the midfield in the second half and took the game by the scruff of the neck, having not been quite at his very best in the first half.

Steve Sidwell – 7 – Unlucky to see his thundering 5th minute header from a Barry corner thud against the angle of post and bar and had a shot smothered by Gallas 14 minutes later after Almunia had pushed a Gabby shot into his path. Worked hard and clearly wanted this against his old team.

Ashley Young – 7 – Kept in check for more time than is usual by this Arsenal defence but remained a threat throughout.

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 7 – Worked hard hit a good shot after Barry had found him with a good ball on 19 minutes that Almunia could not hold and then on 42 minutes beat the keeper to Reo’s cross only to see Sagna hook his header acrobatically off the line. Was brought down by Gallas for our vital penalty.

Substitutes: None used.

Up the Villa & Happy New Year to all Villa Talkers!

John Lewis

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It was a teriffic first half, and was gutting to be 2-0 down after 48 mins....I too felt "one of those days" was on the cards.

Glad the team proved me wrong! :-)

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we are the team that have taken 4 points from 6

1st game you had some help from Clichy and as for the 2nd, you were almost beat by the weakest side we've put out this season. (Think about it ..... and was Agbonlahor looking for a penalty).

we are the team who are having less of a laugh when we are linked with a Champions League

The only time you're mentioned in the same sentence as 'Top 4' is when Arsenal rivals have some banter. Nobody but Villa fans believe you'll be there.

As we stand fourth half way through this season we are where we are on merit

Nah. the half way point is on 28th December. Lets see where you are after Hull. As for the merit bit - to some extent, but mainly by the poor merit of Arsenal, Chelsea and United. We started the season without Fabregas and soon lost Walcott. Chelsea started without Drogba and other key players, and likewise with United and Ronaldo - but go on ignoring these facts and believe like Liverpool you're better than you really are.

I can’t remember us creating so many chances at home against Arsenal for many a year

..... Perhaps it's because you played against the weakest side we put out in the Premiership this season.

Lost to newcastle – we beat them

You couldn’t beat man utd – we could

Lost to Chelsea – we beat them

The boxing day game had similarities with your game against stoke – the difference being we still gained a point. Nonetheless, dodgy penalties suck, don’t you agree.

As for the first game, you had assistence from Clichy and you didn’t find our net until the 80th minute.

The points dropped by us, United and Chelsea flatter you. And you know it. We average 3 losses per season, for various reasons we’ve been dropping more points than usual. You’re forgetting too the team you played had only 5 key players, and still you nearly lost. Imagine if Fabregas, Walcott, Clichy, Eduardo, Rosicky and Adebayor was playing (an unfit Clichy came on late). On top of these we’ve now got Song and Djourou injured …. And after tomorrow you’ll still be 5th in all probability. We might strengthen in January since Wenger has 40+ Million at his disposal and some of that might be going on Garath Barry.

Didn’t you lose to Portsmouth? I bet we don’t.

Any idea why we’ve played twice before the halfway point of the season?

There are many reasons why we’ll finish in the top 4. There are no reasons why we won’t. To go on dreaming you have a chance of CL football next season is sweet.

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Great read John. :thumb:

we are the team that have taken 4 points from 6

1st game you had some help from Clichy and as for the 2nd, you were almost beat by the weakest side we've put out this season. (Think about it ..... and was Agbonlahor looking for a penalty).

First game we beat you 2-0, Clichy scored 1 OG. You do the math. This was also the weakest side we've put out this season, 3 starting defenders missing, our most senior striker missing, injuries are no excuse. Gallas took him out and din't get the ball, whether he was looking for it or not was irrelevant, it was a foul.

we are the team who are having less of a laugh when we are linked with a Champions League

The only time you're mentioned in the same sentence as 'Top 4' is when Arsenal rivals have some banter. Nobody but Villa fans believe you'll be there.

No, we are mentioned in the same setence as 'Top 4' because we ARE 4th. If you were better than us, why can't you beat us?

As we stand fourth half way through this season we are where we are on merit

Nah. the half way point is on 28th December. Lets see where you are after Hull. As for the merit bit - to some extent, but mainly by the poor merit of Arsenal, Chelsea and United. We started the season without Fabregas and soon lost Walcott. Chelsea started without Drogba and other key players, and likewise with United and Ronaldo - but go on ignoring these facts and believe like Liverpool you're better than you really are.

The halfway point is the 28th December? What are you, a moron? There are 38 games played in the Premier League, half of 38 is 19. We've both played 19 games, so we are at the half way point NOW. I love Arsenal and their excuses, so where has our top scorer from last season, John Carew, been for the last few months? Injured, what about Freddie Bouma? Injured. You aren't the only team with injuries, christ! As for the Liverpool bit, they've had Torres barely playing any football and are still well clear of you, because they are way better than you, even without their biggest goal threat.

I can’t remember us creating so many chances at home against Arsenal for many a year

..... Perhaps it's because you played against the weakest side we put out in the Premiership this season.

Lost to newcastle – we beat them

You couldn’t beat man utd – we could

Lost to Chelsea – we beat them

The boxing day game had similarities with your game against stoke – the difference being we still gained a point. Nonetheless, dodgy penalties suck, don’t you agree.

As for the first game, you had assistence from Clichy and you didn’t find our net until the 80th minute.

We also put a weakest side out so far this season, you fool.

You lost 3-0 to Man City - we beat them 4-2.

You coudn't beat Spurs - we could.

You didn't beat Sundlerland - we did.

I must be missing one.. oh yeah, we beat you!

This game was really not alot like the Stoke-Villa game, neither team dominated that one, whereas we dominated you.

Yawn, yawn, yawn. Is it our fault all of your defenders are clowns? No.

The points dropped by us, United and Chelsea flatter you. And you know it. We average 3 losses per season, for various reasons we’ve been dropping more points than usual. You’re forgetting too the team you played had only 5 key players, and still you nearly lost. Imagine if Fabregas, Walcott, Clichy, Eduardo, Rosicky and Adebayor was playing (an unfit Clichy came on late). On top of these we’ve now got Song and Djourou injured …. And after tomorrow you’ll still be 5th in all probability. We might strengthen in January since Wenger has 40+ Million at his disposal and some of that might be going on Garath Barry.

Didn’t you lose to Portsmouth? I bet we don’t.

Any idea why we’ve played twice before the halfway point of the season?

There are many reasons why we’ll finish in the top 4. There are no reasons why we won’t. To go on dreaming you have a chance of CL football next season is sweet.

You've been dropping points because you let all your top players go and keep shit, that's why. Imagine if Bouma, Laursen, Cuellar and Carew had been playing? We had key injuries, all of which are first teamers. Walcot and Rosicky first teamers? Get out.

Barry to Arsenal? Well, he's staying until the end of the season, and he only wants to leave for a team in the Champions League next season, so I fail to see why on earth he'd go to Arsenal?

Er.. no, we didn't lose to Portsmouth, if you're going to try and argue a case, get your facts right, you're just making yourself look silly.

Any idea? I dunno, maybe that's the order the fixtures were printed? Just throwing an idea out there, y'know..

We're dreaming? Come on mate. We're 3 points above you, we've beat you, we haven't lost to you, your arrogance is not well served, and you'll look a right arse when it goes tits up.

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Hi John. Another of the many fantastic reports you have made this season and what a reaction this report, in particular, has received from Villa and Arsenal fans alike! Totally agree with everything you have said, and how we found ourselves 0-2 down was quite beyond me. It was a fantastic performance by the lads, particularly, in the first half, even though both teams were missing key players. I was really impressed with Agbonlahor's hold up play, as very few balls bounced of him and it is obvious that the coaching staff at Villa Park have been working with him on this. I have critizised this part of Agbonlahor's game many times this season, but on this occasion, i am very glad to say that he has now made me eat humble pie! Carew's injury has probably quickened Agbonlarhor's learning curve and what a player we now have on our hands, especially if MON buys the creative midfielder to supply Agbonlarhor's pace in the January transfer window? I was also impressed with Luke Young but am puzzled as to why MON is playing him at left back, when we have a fit Shorey to return? Maybe MON doesn't yet trust little Shorey for his positional sense, so why spend nearly 5million on him in the first place? Furthermore, as i have previously stated in threads, we do need at least one new striker and possibly two, but where do we get them from? I wouldn't pay over the odds for Heskey, or Doyle, but going by tabloid reports, Heskey might be off to Liverpool and would Reading sell Doyle for less than 10million? Bellamy has also been mentioned and he is scoring goals at the moment, but is he just giving 100% now to seek one last big pay day before his injury record catches up with him? Maybe MON would be better sending his scouting system towards foriegn fields to seek another Zaki, if such a player exists? Certainly Arshavin is still available, now at a reduced price, and MON would be buying two players in one with Arshavin able to play as an out and out striker, or in the Wayne Rooney role, just in behind the main striker! MON will surely know that Agbonlahor will eventually hit that brick wall and therefore will need to be rested, so as your report suggests John, we need at least one quality striker in January, or, come March, Agbonlahor will be up front for Villa in a wheel chair! Regards, Ciaran.

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The only time you're mentioned in the same sentence as 'Top 4' is when Arsenal rivals have some banter. Nobody but Villa fans believe you'll be there

Nobody but us felt we would win the title in 81 but we did.

There are many reasons why we’ll finish in the top 4. There are no reasons why we won’t. To go on dreaming you have a chance of CL football next season is sweet

I can think of 3 reasons why you will not finish top 4 Arsenal1Again. Those are the 3 points you lag behind us as we enter the second half of the season. I agree 100% that our dreams of the CL are sweet and I think you probably deep down would admit that we have a realistic chance of our dreams coming true. Let's hope Portsmouth can give you a game today... :winkold:

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The only time you're mentioned in the same sentence as 'Top 4' is when Arsenal rivals have some banter. Nobody but Villa fans believe you'll be there

Nobody but us felt we would win the title in 81 but we did.

There are many reasons why we’ll finish in the top 4. There are no reasons why we won’t. To go on dreaming you have a chance of CL football next season is sweet

I can think of 3 reasons why you will not finish top 4 Arsenal1Again. Those are the 3 points you lag behind us as we enter the second half of the season. I agree 100% that our dreams of the CL are sweet and I think you probably deep down would admit that we have a realistic chance of our dreams coming true. Let's hope Portsmouth can give you a game today... :winkold:

Well said.

I really hope Pompey can pull it off, they don't seem to be on form recently, but the same could be said for Arsenal. Portsmouth sure as hell deserve to win after all the unfortunate losses they've had recently when they've put all their effort in.

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WHY IS AN ARSENAL SUPPORTER READING AND POSTING ON VILLATALK.COM??? TRYING TO DIG AROUND FOR SOME POSITIVE NEWS PERHAPS? I COULDN'T EVEN TELL YOU IF THERE IS AN EQUIVALENT ARSENAL FAN SITE, AND I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO DESIRE TO TRAWL AROUND THE INTERNET TO FIND ONE...... :? :lol:

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WHY IS AN ARSENAL SUPPORTER READING AND POSTING ON VILLATALK.COM???

We often get other fans posting on the site before & after games gmvillan. It is often good banter and gives a view on how others see us, as did this one. :winkold: Pity David James had such a poor game against The Gunners or we might have had more pressure on Arsenal than there already is.

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