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Notlob Nick The Points


JohnCresswell
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Aston Villa 0 Bolton Wanderers 1

FA Barclays Premiership

Saturday 16th December 2006.

Some people will blame refereeing. Others will blame Boltons lack of flair, style, or want to attack. To be honest, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves today for coming out of this game without any points whatsoever.

From the start of the first half, to the end of the second, Villa were dominant in this one. It may have been a loss, but it was far from the last showing at home, the pathetic 3-1 loss against Manchester City. Villa largely, played the ball of the floor, with pace and looking for openings. In the first half an hour especially, Milan Baros put in one of his best showings in a Villa shirt, certainly his best this season, and really seemed to frighten the Bolton defence.

During the game Villa made three or four good chances – no half chances which didn’t really drop, but proper chances that really should have been put away. Two in particular that come to mind are two goal mouth scrambles, both times the ball getting caught underneath Sutton’s feet. He’s good in the air, but I do wish that he was as fast with his feet as he is at his positional play. Gabriel Agbonlahor, who had another poor game in comparison to his early season form, twice broke through the defence but failed to find the target.

Gabby is a bit of a worry for me. He has now reached the stage that Steven Davis did last year – he needs a rest and to be taken out of the limelight. His confidence is starting to leave him, and whilst he may become a good striker, he is no right winger. His end product is, at times rather poor – but the question has to be asked – can you remember him taking on a player and beating him whilst keeping the ball at his feet?

Two other chances were taken by youth academy graduates – Gary Cahill hit a 30 yard piledriver which was saved fantastically by the Bolton keeper. He made an even better save when the ball found substitute Craig Gardner free in the six yard box, and the Finnish international made himself big and the midfielder was unable to get the goal.

Speaking of goalkeepers, Villa’s on loan signing, Gab Kiraly, had very little to do at all. He seemed to marshal the defence well, showed clean handling and his distribution was good.

The only shot he really needed to save was the penalty, which was put straight down the middle by Gary Speed – following a foul in the box by who I am told was Petrov. There was no doubt about the penalty – it was probably the clearest one given at Villa Park this season.

The referee has since come into a bit a stick since the game ended, Mark Clattenberg didn’t get many decisions wrong, but seemed very reluctant to get his cards out when a foul deserved it.

Bolton have also come in for a bit of stick too, for their style of ‘play’. One more than a couple of occasions, if a Villa player found himself in free and with space to run into, rather than challenge a Bolton player would simply push the Villa man off the ball. It began to get a bit tiresome after a while.

Still, it works. They are high up in the table, and it won them the game today. If we had scored the chances we had, then it wouldn’t have worked for them. I would have no qualms about playing the way Bolton do, if we were in the position Bolton were in, and still winning games.

It was a very unfortunate loss for Villa – as with Manchester United twice, Spurs away and Chelsea at home in the upcoming weeks, points could be very sparse and we could find ourselves rather low down the table. Everything, from the fans to the management seems to be pointing towards January, hoping we can keep it crawling until then so we can sign a few players, so I’m hoping this doesn’t backfire on us.

It’s clear we need a big man up front – a Chris Sutton with a bit more pace. We also need to sort the defence out – fullbacks, central defenders – whatever – but Martin needs to make sure that he can get his side settled soon. With Luke Moore back, will he go back to the 4321 formation that was so successful early on?

It is now time to get to work. The team needs some fresh blood in it, but it also needs to be kept ticking until that time comes, as I just get the feeling Villa are trying to ‘coast’ until they get there. And when we get there, I do worry that some fans will be disappointed. The money is there, and O’Neill deserves our backing, but we need a top signing to start to whet people’s enthusiasm. When Paul Merson signed for Villa, I couldn’t believe a player of his class had joined the club. It was a real “wowâ€.

The next few weeks may be difficult ones, folks.

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I am looking forward to the transfer window .....but lets hope we do better than Petrov .....if he's an £8m player, - well I kinda hope no more arrive .....

There can be no more excuses ....a good manager will get you good players....I know it won't be easy ......but thats why managers are paid so much !

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I am looking forward to the transfer window .....but lets hope we do better than Petrov .....if he's an £8m player, - well I kinda hope no more arrive .....

There can be no more excuses ....a good manager will get you good players....I know it won't be easy ......but thats why managers are paid so much !

What a load of tosh! Do you actually go to games and see what Petrov does?

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I am looking forward to the transfer window .....but lets hope we do better than Petrov .....if he's an £8m player, - well I kinda hope no more arrive .....

There can be no more excuses ....a good manager will get you good players....I know it won't be easy ......but thats why managers are paid so much !

What a load of tosh! Do you actually go to games and see what Petrov does?

i went to the game, Petrov was everywhere in the first half, he spent most of the second half content to sit back and let Gardner go forward. its been the story of his season so far, everywhere one minute, found wanting the next, just seems to go missing to much, he changed when Angel come on, he seems to click well with JPA, like there on the same page.

is Petrov worth £8million? at the moment no, he shows what he can do to be worth the substantial fee we payed for him, then he shows why he isnt worth what we paid, but am i glad we got him at VP? **** yeah, the bloke is class, and with a better quality of player around him im sure he will one of the premierships best playmakers.

i thought Baros today was superb, got involved in every good thing about our play, whilst Gabby seems to be out the game on the wing and needs to be moved inside into his more natural position of a striker.

Davis looks to be finding his form again, he helped Barry out a lot today and always worked hard.

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I am looking forward to the transfer window .....but lets hope we do better than Petrov .....if he's an £8m player, - well I kinda hope no more arrive .....

There can be no more excuses ....a good manager will get you good players....I know it won't be easy ......but thats why managers are paid so much !

Petrov will do better when there are better players around him.

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