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Front Page: Gareth leaves with a point


John
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Christmas came early for Boro, as the match officials presented them with a seasonal goal, but our lads came back to earn a point that would have been 3 had it not been for the officials generosity to them.

This was the sort of game we needed to win if we are going to maintain our lofty league placing but we lacked a spark yesterday. We also lacked someone up front who can convert chances into goals on a regular basis.

Boor did what many teams will do against us this season, they came to stifle us, to get men behind the ball, to make it difficult for us to play and to hope to steal the points on the break. Not all of these teams will be helped by match officials who miss an offside that was clear to everyone but them, but in the end they could have left with all 3 points and our boys did well to come from behind and earn a point. Yes it is two points dropped, it’s the 2 points that we won at Everton lost, but we are a squad that are over performing and until reinforcements arrive in January and again in the summer sides like Boro that are well organized and work hard will make life difficult for use in the same way as we make it difficult for other sides who we meet away from Villa Park.

Can I add the one thing that I think as fans we might need to look at? Early on there were the usual chants aimed towards the Boro manager. Now when he was playing that might have been OK as he was fare game. But has the time not come for an armistice? I like most of us was upset to see Gareth leave for Boro due to our then lack of ambition. But, he was not the first to do so (although he may be the last that can use that excuse). Players like Bruce Rioch left for the same reason before as did Danny Blanchflower. These players are now remembered as greats for what they did at Villa, with other clubs and on the international stage. Has the time not come to do the same for Gareth Southgate and to treat the former Villa captain as what he in fact is, a former Villa great?

My player ratings from a day on which we stayed in the top 5 and missed Chris Sutton’s influence are:

Thomas Sorensen - 6 – Rarely tested before his collision led to him being replaced by Taylor.

Olof Mellberg - 7 – Did well filling in out wide and might now be asked to do the same until January. Got a little annoyed in the first half after a nasty challenge and just managed to control himself after that. He is not as effective here as he is in the middle, but fair play to him for getting on with the job and he was just wide with a typical full blooded effort on 66 minutes

Liam Ridgewell - 6 – Another steady display.

Gary Cahill - 6 – Won a lot of ball in the air and looks solid alongside Liam. Unlucky to see a flick go just wide on 33 minutes.

Wilfred Bouma – 6 – Looking better with each game and forced a good save from Schwartzer on 32 minutes when he hit a screamer from 30 yards.

Gabriel Agbonlahor - 6 – His speed is our main weapon but he was better marshaled than in some of our games this season by a defence that had done their homework.

Gavin McCann - 6 – Another welcome return. Not quite at his best and had a hand to play in their goal, albeit not as big a hand as the linesman did.

Stiliyan Petrov - 6 – Needs to begin to show us a bit more of what he did show at West Ham, but did earn us our penalty with his hard running and is unable to get as far forward as he might like in his present role.

Gareth Barry – 7 – MOTM – Sent Schwartzer the wrong way during injury time in the first half with a well taken penalty. By some way our best performer once again.

Isaiah Osbourne – 6 – Kept things tidy in the first half and might have scored had his header from a JPA flick on had more power on 22 minutes. Covers the ground a little like Vieira but needs to develop a lot more to bear any real comparison to his role model. Will need to show a little more of his undoubted potential to keep Davis on the bench.

Juan Pablo Angel - 6 – Worked hard but little goal threat.

Substitutes:

Milan Baros – 6 - Replaced JPA on 61 minutes and did some good work and was just off target on 81 minutes with a shot that went just wide.

Steven Davis – 6- Replaced Ossie on 61 minutes and did enough in half hour to show that he is worth a start I think.

Stuart Taylor – 6 - Came on for Thomas, eventually on 70 minutes and did well enough in the available time.

Up the Villa!

John Lewis

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.....We also lacked someone up front who can convert chances into goals on a regular basis....

Can I add the one thing that I think as fans we might need to look at? Early on there were the usual chants aimed towards the Boro manager. Now when he was playing that might have been OK as he was fare game. But has the time not come for an armistice? ..... Has the time not come to do the same for Gareth Southgate and to treat the former Villa captain as what he in fact is, a former Villa great? ...

Well said John. I don't get why GS gets so much abuse. It's wrong headed and shameful in my opinion.

And yes, we are lacking a bit of a finisher. I though JPA had a good game, but we haven't got a combination up front. Gabby's doing brilliantly, Sutton and JPA do well, but there's no lethal pairing.

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I like most of us was upset to see Gareth leave for Boro due to our then lack of ambition. But, he was not the first to do so (although he may be the last that can use that excuse). Players like Bruce Rioch left for the same reason before as did Danny Blanchflower. These players are now remembered as greats for what they did at Villa, with other clubs and on the international stage. Has the time not come to do the same for Gareth Southgate and to treat the former Villa captain as what he in fact is, a former Villa great?

I don't want to get into a big argument about this but the difference between Blancflower, Rioch and Southgate is that Blanchflower and Rioch went onto clearly better things whereas Southgate didn't. Rioch and Blanchflower won league titles, Southgate won a league cup, therein lies the difference. The stick will eventually fade away, he got some applause from the Trinity Road which he himself was surprised about and he said the stick was mild.

Don't get me started on Villa not having a minute silence for Blanchflower because he was more associated with Spurs.

Back to the game and I pretty much saw it the way you did. I thought Boro were good at the back, they were also very cynical and tried to let a couple of our players know they were there, Mellberg and Gabby being on the receiving end in particular. We ourselves are quite well organised but lack that bit of drive to turn draws into wins, this works well away from home but we're a little short at home but we're getting there and it will be interesting to see what we can do in January. I think the key really is having a little patience. I think we're in a much better position than most Villa fans imagined we'd be in.

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I don't want to get into a big argument about this but the difference between Blancflower, Rioch and Southgate is that Blanchflower and Rioch went onto clearly better things whereas Southgate didn't. Rioch and Blanchflower won league titles, Southgate won a league cup, therein lies the difference

Good point Tony. I think having decided to move he would have been shocked to find Boro as the only option but he had by then burnt his bridges with us. If he had gone earlier like Ugo then he might have had more choice. And yes, I agree things now are much better than we dared hope.

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Has the time not come to do the same for Gareth Southgate and to treat the former Villa captain as what he in fact is, a former Villa great?

No, not for me anyway!

I'm with you Villadude! Great is a word used too often, he was very good but he wasn't a great. How many captains put in a transfer request? What he did opened the flod gates for others to say the same and that stayed at the club until MO'N and Randy walked through the door.

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...Great is a word used too often, he was very good but he wasn't a great.

agreed

How many captains put in a transfer request? What he did opened the flod gates for others to say the same and that stayed at the club until MO'N and Randy walked through the door.

It wasn't 'Gate asking to leave that was the problem, the problem was what caused him (and many others) to want to leave.

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I'm with you Villadude! Great is a word used too often, he was very good but he wasn't a great

Ok not quite a great lads, but he would be near to a place when we were all picking our best Villa XIs I would suggest, perm one from Evans, Southgate & Olof to play alongside Paul (who was a great)?

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