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Match Report: Villa 0 Chelsea 0


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Aston Villa 0 Chelsea 0

Barclays Premiership

Villa Park

When Martin O’Neill joined Villa in the summer, I still had memories of him managing Leicester. Often they’d come to Villa Park, make it totally impossible to play football against and then nick the odd goal to take the victory. Well, it’s taken half a season, but O’Neill took an old trick out of his book tonight and Villa took their deserved point.

Oh, and Villa Park is still the only Premiership ground where Mourinho has managed and not won a game in.

Realising that Villa had decided to change shape to a 4-5-1, rather disappointed me to be honest. I’m not a great fan of negative tactics, especially at home, where you should always be looking for the win, but tonight O’Neill played it perfectly – and he beat Mourinho hands down.

Sure Chelsea had the stars. They had the impressive Essien in the middle and Shevchenko on the bench, and we had mostly youth team products out of the pitch. But Villa’s effort matched Chelsea’s and ensured that they did not succumb to defeat.

We were lucky, admittedly. Drogba missed two excellent chances, and Villa didn’t ever threaten Hillario, despite the fact that he isn’t exactly the most steady goalkeeper to wear the Chelsea shirt. But that was the game plan. We were unlikely to win by taking the game to them, by trying to do pretty stuff. This game is about points, and Villa knew that if they frustrated Chelsea, they would be good for a point. And that’s what happened.

It’s hard to write a report on a match, which, while was rather good to watch, had very little goalmouth action to speak of. So I won’t, and just take a bit of a look at the team areas instead.

I’ve always thought that Ridgewell and Cahill play best when paired together, and other than another slip by Cahill, both played resolutely tonight. They looked confident and errors were cut out – and Ridgewell was consistently winning the ball in the air. Player of the Match had to be Wilfred Bouma, who put in an absolutely brilliant performance at left back. He looked calm, kept Shaun Wright Phillips very, very quiet and always seemed to be ‘there’.

Midfield was also very strong. When Gardner was replaced by Osbourne, I’ll admit I was worried as Ozzy hasn’t really performed too well in a lot of the games he’s played in, and for the tactics to work, every player needs to be on top of his game. Isiah was skilful and more importantly, looked much stronger. Gavin McCann put in another storming performance – he’s very much back to his ‘THE DESTROYER’ phase. Davis ran himself into the ground, and looked good despite playing in a foreign position and Petrov struggled to get a hold of the game until the second half, where he looked much more positive.

Up front, well, Angel is struggling – he doesn’t seem to be in the positions needed anymore, and his touch was heavy at times today. However. Up front on your own is hard enough at the best of times, but with a team being so defensive, it makes it doubly harder. I think it’s obvious O’Neill wants a tough, strong striker – whether JPA is this I don’t know. Baros came on for twenty or so minutes, worked his socks off and was much better than of late. He just needs to manage to make these spurts last for 90 minutes, not 20.

A great point. Now get buying some bloomin’ players.

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I agree, from a VILLA point of view this was much better than of late. Much more fight and effort, after a slow start, than we have seen recently. No doubt it looked more Chelseawise on Sky. But watching live those kids really battled and I am not sure which other Premiership club is relying on so many academy products as we are at present, I counted 6 tonight. Well done lads!

Oh and Freddy Bouma, take a bow! What a cracking performance! At last we can see the potential now. But lets not forget Gav,'The Destroyer', if only everyone gave that level of commitment? Most misunderstood (by referees that is) VILLA player?

Anyway. Bring on Old Trafford! TWICE!

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Awesome noise today. Well done Villa fans, well done Villa. We were lucky a couple of times; they were lucky once for sure (Ridgewell's header-thought it was in, I leapt towards the tele). Our guys game them a game today-love to see them leave empty handed. MOTM-Villa!

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