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2+2=5 (the lukewarm) - Sheffield United Away Report


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by blandy

There's a few things that don't quite add up, from tonights game in Sheffield, and I severely doubt that this report will make them any clearer.

Have you ever seen a fat bloke do something that just moments later he'd feel a bit daft about?

Well I have. But we'll come to that later. Best to do things in their proper order.

It's monday night, it's Sky TV monday night football, so that'll be a less than full ground then and a dull game. Er, no actually. You see, Sheffield Utd saw sense. They charged 15 quid a ticket (£10 concessions) for this one. Well done sirs. So the ground and the away end looked pretty full from Row R. Aren't clubs supposed to rip us off? Not this United (though Man U don't seem to have cottoned on. 35 quid for a BBC FA cup game next month! but anyway...).

A slightly later than planned arrival in Sheffield was soon made up for amongst friends in the Red Lion. And good beer always helps, I find. Just the pesky raffle ticket seller to dodge (see numerous threads) though he did buy me a pint :).

Following the chat and drinks, a short walk to the ground, and we emerged into a Bramall Lane ground that has been smartened up a fair bit since the last visit. Best of all they've filled the corners in at the away end, so the chill winter winds don't take your breath away, or at least they wouldn't if it was cold. But it wasn't. It was warm-ish. Wierd.

Villa started with Baros and Sutton up front, Davis in for Gareth Barry.

And they started really well. Straight up and at 'em, and within a couple of minutes we'd scored. One thing that hasn't changed is the view from the way end, so I'm not sure who actually got the goal. It might have been Petrov, or Davis, or,er ,Sutton. No one seemed to know. I thought Petrov.

Sutton caused trouble, the ball came out to the edge of the box and a deflected shot (all that could be wrong, I had a crap view). We had further chances and really should have scored at least one more. Sheff U looked well dodgy at the back. Sutton missed the best one.

Late on Sheff U had a chance but the lad whacked it wide. It was noticeable that though he was doing OK, Bouma was having difficulty stopping crosses coming in from his side. At half time I thought perhaps Warnock would be telling his team to make more of that flank.

As it happened, Shefield United started off the second half like we had the first, and after maybe 5 or 6 minutes of action (down the far end again) a huge throw was nodded in by a blade and the ground roared it's approval by singing about maggots and chip butties. There's now't as queer as folk (or sommat, like).

Truth be told the long throws, and they were long, were causing all kinds of problems.

They're not a long ball side, United, but they are direct, and after another 5 or 10 minutes they scored again. Someone hooking a volley in after more head tennis.

It was at this point that the fat bloke a Mr Patrick Kenny decided that he'd do a kind of strutting giving it large type of walk in fron t of us lot. Fair play, he'd been getting some stick about his domestic arrangements and lack of one eybrow, but before anyone could mutter up another chorus of you fat, er, fellow, Steven Davis lobbed a cros in, Sutton knocked it down and Baros lashed in. Kenny turned away and argued with a defender. We grinned.

Stuart Taylor made a coule of excellent saves, the game revolved around free kicks (every one having to be taken from exactly the right place) and no one scored any more goals.

A fair result, a game that would have kept the TV viewers interested, but something was lacking from the excitement. I think they call it football. Villa were again obdurate in the face of the onslaught. Warms the cockles, after so many seasons of meek surrenders.

Some marks.

Taylor - a couple of fine saves, some good catches and a mistake or two. Dodgy kicking. Throw it out sometimes. 7

Olly - 6. Solid

Bouma 6 (Hughes 6)

Gary Cahill - 6. Incredibly harshly booked.

Ridge 6 (went to LB when Boma went off)

Gaby - 5 - didn't get in the game

Steven Davis- 5. He's not a left sided player. He's wasted out there, but did a job.

Gav - 6. Started really well, but as the game went on had less influence.

Stan - 7. Classy touches and turns. Good free kicks. Good game from him.

Sutton 7 - showed all his experience and class. (JPA on late not enough time to mark)

Baros - 7 - crikey. He looked interested and played well.

Thanks to Sheff U for the ticket prices. See you next year. I think they'll stay up, just about.

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I thought it was the usual Villa this season a la West Ham & Watford where we could have (and should have ) been out of sight but in the end had to settle for a draw.

I have to also say that I hope Sheff Utd go down , this long throw and bombardment of the box should have died out with Wimbledon in the 80's ..The Sheff utd team that played us off the park a few seasons back under DOL played with flair and skill ..the current team just made me want to switch channels at time.

So on to the match and my TV ratings

Taylor 8 Thought he made some vital saves , is improving for his run in the side and it would be interesting to see if Tommy is an automatic return to the team (assuming Taylor isn't himself now out injured)

Bouma 5 - I think he's proved beyond doubt he is not the left back for us , out of position too many times and his lack of pace really counts against him in the Prem

Cahill 6 - 2 own goals for him but not really a lot he could do about either ... Shows he has some work to do before he becomes Terry's partner in the England back 4 , but he has time

Ridgewell 6 - the usual Jekell & Hyde , something good followed by something bad ..he kind of reminds me of Brendan Ormsby in this regard

Olly 5 - Showing again that he isn't comfortable as a Right Back , often out of position and his distribution was awful .. Early in the season he was bringing the ball out and pass on the deck , now he's gone back to the big hoof ..move him back to the centre and lets have the composed Olly back

Davis 5 - faded as the game went on , not sure how he fits into our current squad and the way MON wants to play

McCann - 7 more noticable on the TV how much work he did and how many vital tackles he made ..got in where it hurted , keep it up Gavin

Petrov - 6.5 the spark that we have lacked for years in midfield , now MON just needs to keep working on how we get the best out of him

Gaby - 4 not really a threat , not really in the game (not all his fault) his pace may eb a threat but yesterday the ball seemed to get stuck under his feet ..probably more likely to be a threat as an out and out striker ,I'm sure his time will come but we shouldn't expect too much from him this season

Sutton 7 a threat througout the game and a good call by MON to play him over Angel

Baros 6.5 looks a bit laboured when running to my eyes , but the goal will have done him good and he put a lot more effort in today

Subs not really on long enough to rate

I will say I thought Halsey did a great job yesterday , he tried to let play go on wherever possible , he used his common sense on the whole regarding tackles and fouls so a big well done to the referee

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What did we learn last night? We learned that if we keep it on the ground and have confidence in our ball-playing ability then we can hammer sh1t like Sheff Utd. We also learned that when we hoof it time after time, we're no better than sh1t like Sheff Utd. Last night was 2 points dropped. We should have been out of sight at half time, but typically we were hanging on at full time.

It was a great game for the neutral but a heart attack for a Villa fan. We are so much better than this. The first half was some of the most dominant I've seen us for a long time. I'm just disgusted we resorted to hoofing it from defence, and they are all as guilty at the back as each other.

Petrov was a giant last night and gets my man of the match by a country mile. Was a little quieter in the 2nd half but was still the class act on the pitch.


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