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Onwards and upwards after Chelsea


blandy
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Written by avfcmatt123

A simply brilliant, passionate performance by the Villa yesterday against Chelsea really brought back those memories of the good days over the past five years!

From the moment the players walked onto the pitch I could sense there was something a bit different. We looked hungry and really up for it, something I hope Gerard Houllier managed to instil in the players.

We can't fault the team selection - it was the strongest we had available and yet even with the players on offer, not even the most optimistic of fans would have thought we would have got anything from the game. How wrong were we to be? I thought the referee was very poor from start to finish, countless bookings effectively making us reluctant to prevent Chelsea's second half surge. Michael Essien committed numerous fouls but got away with them - where is the logic and consistency?

In the first half a very harsh penalty saw Chelsea take the lead, but we didnt let our heads drop and thanks to Ciaran Clark chasing down the ball, it fell into the Chelsea box for us to win a penalty from a foul on Nigel Reo Coker which was thumpingly finished by Ashley Young. 1-1 HT.

Shortly after the break, a decent cross by Downing saw Heskey head in to the bottom corner. We held on and on, but Chelsea eventually broke us down with a scrappy goal from Drogba. At 2-2 we were still going to be over the moon with that, so we just needed to see the game out. Easier said than done.

Chelsea threw players forward and a mistake from Albrighton gave them the opportunity to win the game, Terry took it. Chelsea were celebrating like they had just won the league and we looked distraught. 3-2 to Chelsea. It was heartbreaking to watch the scenes of joy for Chelsea when they had been so poor all game and we had played our hearts out.

However could there be a final twist? Young put the ball in the air and it was knocked down to Albrighton. An absolutely sublime, floated cross found Clarke who beat the offside trap and nodded past Cech and sent villa into raptures. I cannot quite describe the feeling and still can't. I have replayed the moment numerous times and it fills you with pride being a villa fan. We have been through such a rough time and to see the players, supporters, management and best of all the Chairman celebrate so passionately was so good to see, absolutely fantastic. That game felt like a win, almost a cup final win; brilliant.

We need to take this performance, individually players need to keep up their form and we need to beat Sunderland on Wednesday, play like that and we can beat anyone.

I really hope this is our turning point for the season and believe that with the addition of a couple of signings we can move up the table without looking over our shoulder again.

Houllier is over the first hurdle to turn it around - there's a few more yet, but it's a huge positive boost that this result and performance provided.

It is also so nice to see our Chairman so happy and that really gave the fans a buzz.

Please keep it up. Us Villa fans only want you to play your hearts out for the shirt!

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One swallow doesn't make a summer. The next couple of games will tell us if this signals the start of some decent results and performances or is back to the Man Utd game and to be followed by a run of dire results and gutless tripe.

Lets also not forget that this Chelsea side have been very poor over the last couple of months. It was a good result and good performance but put in the context of the fact we have won one of our last 8 games, losing 6, frequently serving up crap, it is way too early to say if it is onwards and upwards.

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Chelsea were very poor, let's not forget, yet we came within a whisker of letting them steal the match. It was a good fighting performance but we are still only three points off the bottom and that is the main issue about our season so far.

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If we win the next two games, I might believe we are starting to turn the corner, especially if we get a couple of decent players in. However, another performance like after the ManUre game and the Chelsea match will just be a pleasant memory among many poor ones.

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It is relatively easier to get the team "up" for certain games especially those against the better teams in the league. The real task is to find that consistency which Houllier has only managed to do in terms of not winning this season

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Although there is still a lot of work to be done to get us back to where we should be (as we did still conceed 3 goals) I think this could well be the turning point.

More than anything it showed the players that they have it within them to fight back from set backs in the game and get a result. And hopefully this performance will stop this head dropping attitude we have suffered from going a goal down to our opponents in recent games.

That game was like a Rocky film. The champions kept knocking us down, but we kept getting back up and fighting with heart and commitment to the final whistle.

It was a fantastic game

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