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Aston Villa 1 Fulham 1: The Bubble Bursts


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Aston Villa 1 Fulham 1

FA Barclays Premiership

Saturday 21st October 2006-10-21

In his many media commitments Martin O’Neill has had in the past week, one thing stood out clear. He was expecting a dip in performance soon – and Martin, I think it’s arrived.

I suppose it’s a sign of the times at Villa that people are going away disappointed at a draw, but today we had a great chance to get another three points on the board – and failed to do so miserably.

Let’s get this straight, I wasn’t one of the people expected a 3 or 4-0 win as was seen on our messageboards before the game. I expected this to be a tough game, settled by the odd goal. However, with such a poor performance, second home game running, it’s hard to find many positives.

The decision by the manager to place central defender Liam Ridgewell at left back was an odd one, especially as Wilfred Bouma is now fit and ready to play. Ridgewell has had a good start to the season, but make no mistake about it – Liam Ridgewell doe not have one single attribute that makes him a good candidate to be left back. And it showed. Whilst Ridgewell was putting in the type of crosses you’d expect from a central defender, Laursen initially struggled in the game, looking slightly rusty.

The switch of Gareth Barry to midfield was needed as McCann was missing. However, rather than playing Barry on the left side where he is most effective, Barry played McCann’s role, which in all fairness doesn’t exactly suit him.

As a result, Villa looked disjointed at the back and without any width in their play. Their one outlet was to Gabby Agbonlahor, who frightened Queudre with his pace, but could never find his way past Zak Knight.

It was a dull first half, followed by an even duller second half.

Throughout the game neither teams struggled to create any real openings. In fact, I think Villa’s goal, midway through the first half, was their first shot on target. In a bizarre twist of fate, Villa were actually benefited from an awful refereeing decision. Petrov was trying to burst into the box, found himself going nowhere and found himself on the floor. It wasn’t a dive, but it wasn’t a foul either.

Villa fans celebrated that a penalty had been won, then a slightly uneasy feel of “who is going to take this?†and “Angel?! Surely notâ€. He didn’t, a point that Mellberg was all to pleased to make sure of.

Barry stepped up and placed it in the top right corner. Good stuff.

Villa let go of the lead before half time though. A cross on the right made it past the keeper, and several Villa defenders, a mix up by Ridgewell and it was 1-1. Bugger.

And that’s how it stayed. Villa threatened the Fulham goal very few times – they couldn’t create and when they did the strikers failed to do anything with it. A disappointing result, not only because of the result and performance, but in my own personal view, some of the decisions made today.

Off to Liverpool next week. Lets hope we are still unbeaten after that one.

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I thought that Ridgewell did OK at left back, and am sure that Barry was supposed to be playing left midfield - although he did drift infield a fair amount. I actually thought that we were OK in the first half. I thought we deserved to be ahead and whilst the penalty was fortunate - to an extent Fulham got what they deserved as they had pulled and tussled with our forward players repeatedly up to that point. I guess they were unlucky insofar as this was one of the few occassions that a Villa player wasn't wrestled to the ground illegally. We looked reasonably comfortable at the back bar two lapses in concentration one that should have resulted in a goal and one that did. We should have gone in 1-0 up.

In the second half we never got it together. I can see why MON tried something different but Gabby was less effective up top as he got less of the ball and / or less support and Agathe provided none of the attacking threat down the right that Gabby had in the first half. I would probably have been tempted to substitute Agathe for Sutton after 20 minutes or so and push Gabby back wide.

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sorry guys but what is this utter drivel?

do you not realise that we are the ONLY unbeaten side in the country?

Do you not realise that anything but a loss in our next 3 games will result in our best ever start to a prem season?

Can you not see that we have a smaller squad that ANY other prem team?

And that very little in the way of personnel has changed since last season?


Contrary to popular belief Bouma was not match fit

he has a huge strapping on his right ankle,calf

and lets put it this way... we are 7th which when you look at our squad

and our last years performances is a booming miracle

Long may it continue!!!

i dont mind seeing a few bad performances if it means we stay in the top 10

i'll be happy with that this season

so please get a hold of yourselves and get some perspective

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we have had a great start no doubt about it and have relied on a defensive style in order to stay unbeaten... applaudable imo, however our best work has been in our own half and when we have been called on to the offensive to some degree we have been left wanting.

There is a long way to go and Martin O'neill is not kidding, when he mentions it.

If i was abetting man i would say despite several fantasic away performances our unbeaten run will be terminated at Anfield....... however i sincerely hope i'm wrong.

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Just bring on the January transfer window we need some more creative players!

Apart from Barry, Petrov and Aggy there is nobody else who can unlock a defence.

Teams will find us out who we try and play through and then we are up sh*t creek without a paddle!

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