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Our recurring nightmare!


John
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It was like Groundhog Day yesterday. Our young team gave everything against the league leaders but ultimately surrendered a two goal lead to come away empty handed. Football can be a cruel game and the 17 seasons of hurt since we last beat Manchester United in the league at Villa Park continues.

Well we certainly gave Manchester United more of a game than they may have anticipated and took the game to them rather than sat back and tried to limit the damage from the opening whistle. The boss kept faith with the team that brought us a win at Sunderland and they rewarded him with an encouraging display. Manchester United had the bulk of the first half possession but we created more openings and went in a goal to the good with a splendid first on the stroke of half time. We then added a second 5 minutes after the re-start and dared to dream of an unexpected three points. But we have been there before and when they pulled one back 8 minutes later and added a second 5 minutes after that it seemed inevitable they would get a winner and they did with 3 minutes of normal time to spare. They had the better of the second half and although Ashley Young’s substitution was greeted with cheers it was his replacement that went on to win them the game.

Fergie said after the game that “Villa did fantastic today” and added that it was “a great game”. He was right on both counts but whether he would have been quite so magnanimous had we held onto that lead is open to question. The league leaders are not unfamiliar with being behind in games and winning them this season. They are a team who are confident that they can turn things around although Fergie’s regular demonstrations to the referee that his wrist watch is shock absorbent showed he might not have been too confident that they would have enough time to grab a point let alone a winner. Alan Hansen felt our win 17 years ago at Villa Park demonstrated that “you can’t win anything with kids”. Yesterday those words came back to haunt us.

My player ratings from a game that on 19 minutes the opposition supporters demonstrated a lack of respect that would surely have embarrassed both their manager and players are:

Brad Guzan – 6 – Made a good one handed save from Rooney on 65 minutes. Conceded three and was fortunate to see Van Persie rattle the bar rather than hit the net twice in a minute on 72 minutes with his head from a Rooney corner and then with a 25 yard shot. Came out to Hernandez after Scholes had played a ball between Clark and Stevens who was playing the Mexican onside only for the player who first appeared to get the ball stuck underneath his feet to then thread it through his legs for their vital first.

Matthew Lowton - 7 – Looks steadier and more composed with each game.

Ron Vlaar – 7 – So solid particularly in the first half and it was very harsh on him that he deflected in their equalizer on 63 minutes.

Ciaran Clark – 6 – Could not get a decisive challenge in on Hernandez for their first. Played his part in keeping the defence solid until they breeched the dam.

Enda Stevens - 6 – A tough full home debut and Valencia gave him an uncomfortable time. Lost Hernandez for their winner but kept plugging away.

Ashley Westwood – 6 – Played his part in the middle and he will improve further with more first team games.

Stephen Ireland - 7 – Tried to play a one-two with Weimann on 14 minutes but the return ball never came with him unmarked on the edge of the box. Hit a decent shot wide of the post on 35 minutes when the ball had run loose from Weimann. Provided some invention in the middle in what was his 50th game for us.

Barry Bannan - 6 – Missed his kick on the edge of the box and Rooney played it wide for Rafael whose cross to the far post found Hernandez open and his effort was helped in for their equalizer. Did pretty well overall.

Gabriel Agbonlahor – 6 – Ireland found him with a nice ball on 18 minutes but his cross was some way from Benteke. Lovely cross for our second and gave their full back some anxious moments.

Andreas Weimann – 8 – Collected a brace of goals and was denied a hat-trick on 66 minutes that would have given us the lead again when his header from a measured Bannan cross was well saved by De Gea. I was sorry to see him leave the field on 80 minutes although he had worked himself so hard because it seemed as if he if anyone might just have had another goal in him. Hit his first on the stroke of half time. He started the move in his own half finding Benteke wide who put in a strong run and bullied Smalling off the ball before hitting a perfect ball to Andreas whose drilled shot evaded De Gea’s fist and thudded into the centre of the net. Added his second on 50 minutes when Westwood’s ball was cleverly stepped over and Ireland swept the ball wide to Gabby who was in space and hit a perfect cross into the box that he met in front of Ferdinand and applied the required finish to.

Christian Benteke - 8 – MOTM - He was immense yesterday. Held the ball up well, won everything in the air and ran at defenders with strength and pace. Reminded me a little of Andy Gray yesterday.

Substitutes:

Karim El Ahmadi – Replaced Ireland on 79 minutes and he along with the 2 substitutes who followed did not have enough playing time to earn a rating.

Brett Holman – Replaced Weimann on 80 minutes. Made the biggest impact of the three replacements and had an effort blocked in Fergie time.

Fabian Delph – Replaced Bannan on 87 minutes and they scored their winner with the free-kick that allowed him on. Not on long enough to earn a rating.

Up the Villa and Stay Strong Captain!

John Lewis

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Agree with all of that, John :thumb:

I'm really encouraged for the rest of the season, in as much as Lambert has found a system that works for us, and the confidence the young lads must be able to take from that game yesterday, despite the defeat.

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Had to laugh at Smallings pathetic attempt to persuade the Ref that Benteke had fouled him in the build up to our 1st goal. Was watching on TV as sadly couldn't be there through work commitments & on the replays it was embarrassing.. He practically assaulted Benteke who simply was too tough for him & he came off 2nd best but the ridiculous bit was he firstly looked kind of stunned & then when he realised Benteke was still there with the ball at his feet... he looked at the ref & suddenly went into what i can only describe as what looked like a kind of fit!.. As though he had been kicked in the head or something!? Pathetic ....absolutely pathetic.

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