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FA Cup Giant Killing: Villa Lose at Old Trafford


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Manchester United 2 Aston Villa 1

FA Cup

Sunday 7th January 2007

Oh well – at least that charade is over for another year.

If you had been sat at home watching this game on television, you’d have been forgiven if you thought you weren’t watching some tribute to the team in red. The pundits were all Manchester United biased and watched on as the commentators poured love, seat, tears and any other bodily fluids over debutant Henrik Larsson and perennial diver Christiano Ronaldo. Naturally, whenever the former had a run on goal it was sublime, whenever he messed something up (which was actually rather often today), it was glossed over.

Anyway, onto the Villa. We went into the game with the same tactics as we did for the Chelsea game – 451 to begin with and a change to 442 on the hour mark. I’d expect this to be tried during the week when we face more punishment at Old Trafford.

The first half came and went, with Villa never really threatening the Manchester United goal. Angel isn’t in the greatest form anyway, but he’s never impressed when up front on his own, and today was no difference. His touch was not there, and you were left looking forward to when Chris Sutton can return in the Villa shirt. And who would have thought I’d have been saying that at the start of the season?

With Mellberg out, the central defence partnership of Cahill and ridgewell continued. I’ve never really been a big fan of Ridgewell, and Cahill has struggled at times this season – though I guess that is to only be expected when this is his first season as a Premiership regular. However, both players really do seem to bring out the best in each other, and today both were superb.

Whilst Manchester United were the only team pressing, Villa held themselves up well and Kirarly, the ‘Keeper who wears pyjamas was equal to them.

As the first half wore on, there seemed to be a similar attitude to the game as the one at Villa Park – people just waiting for the first Manchester United goal. We all knew it was coming – but when?

As the game continued, Manchester United looked more and more likely to score, and it came just after O’Neill’s tactical switch. Off cam Angel, on came Baros and the side switched to 442. Bang – 1-0 to Manchester United with Larsson stroking the ball into the next from inside the area. This, of course, was just what the commentators and pundits wanted, the BBC’s favourite team was winning, and the fellow they had just spent the past hour droning on about scored.

The game didn’t go to plan though, with Villa daring to get an equaliser. A mis hit shot by Cahill had the audacity to fall to Milan Baros in the box, who put a perfectly placed shot past the ‘keeper. Naturally the BBC were shocked. How dare this man do this!

A good goal, and perhaps his last in Villa’s colours if we are to believe the newspapers. So probably not then. I think it’s worth making the point that we need a striker BEFORE Baros leaves, so if the Czech striker does leave, then we really need to be bringing in at least two new front men.

Villa’s defending continued to be intelligent and strong, and as the game trickled to the end, it looked like a draw would be the result on which it would end. The disappointing Petrov had been replaced by Samuel, who was placed in the left of midfield seemed to be doing rather well in a position foreign to him.

However, there was a sting in the tail and Gabor Kirarly maybe got his last touch of a ball in a Villa shirt by letting a tame shot by Solksjaer slip right through his legs and into the net. The most important player in a team is the goalkeeper – you need a strong ‘keeper who you can rely on and has forged relationships with your defence. You can be a great team, but with a poor goalkeeper you’ll never get anywhere. You only need to look how Chelsea have stuttered this season to see this.

A lot of head scratching was done about the extra four minutes being added from nowhere, but it’s something that you need to expect if Manchester United aren’t winning at Old Trafford. It always happens. The referee controlled the game fantastically today, I with 30 seconds being added for each sub that is made, along with 30 seconds for each goal, four minutes comes out about right – especially if you include the obligatory one minute that is added on in every game.

Kirarly has shown himself to be a decent shot stopper, but at times he has gone wandering in his penalty area or done much better with the goals conceded. He is also a little too ‘showman-like’ for me – if he makes a mistake or kicks badly then it’s all about pulling faces for the cameras to show that he is annoyed, rather than trying to get back into the correct frame of mind. Still, with Taylor and Sorensen still out, there’s little that could be done.

Time to get spending that money now, Martin.

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Yeah - I wouldn't have a go at Kiraly - in over 30 years of supporting villa, I have never known our two first choice keepers to get injured. He was brought in as a stop gap - think everyone knows this - there was never much chance of a permanent deal - unless was an absolute marvel. To be honest he has done slightly better than I expected. - but not enough to warrant a permanent move.

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Agreed, at the end of the day, i woulden't fully accuse Kiraly.

Man utd aren't as good as people say, they had atleast 30 shots today and managed too scrape 2 in (the second one being lucky) appose to villa's 5 shots. Everyone was peeing thereselves over Henrik Larrson and at the end of the day, he got a goal OK, but apart from that where was he? I coulden't help but notice how Ronaldo was seeking attention again trying too go in alone or make a hash of a little challenge from a villa player. Arsenal should be winning the games, there fast and they can break. Man utd are worthless. Did you notice whenever there was corner, the fans all got there camera's out and started shooting pictures and video's around the corner taker.

With villa, remember MON was playing a young team again, i'd rate Osbourne for getting in the right position and running into space but i think he should of scored that one oppurtunity he had.

With gabby, he needs too run into space so he can be played through too set one up or even score one himself, he's capable.

Didn't see much Gazza Bazza, Stan the man Petrov or JPA either, but when 'Mighty Milan' came on he didn't play too badly (probably showing chelski what he's got) But you must take your hat off too young Cahill and Freddy Bouma. These lads didn't stop, and they battled and battled, but not every book has a happy ending. I know the 4 minutes didn't appose too Soljaer netting in the 91st minute but the lads were plain unlucky. They need too get their heads back up high in the dressing room, while MON looks on for January signings at Villa Park.

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Lot of positives today. Baros despite scoring , the unsung hero - he scored one - and had a couple of chances - comparable with Larson - ok he scored - but he wasn't the world beater that Mark Lawrenson was making out - what did he do over and above Baros - I wish they would have kept Larsson on - I felt we had him pretty much wrapped up.

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4 extra minutes-bah! I thought we did well today, excepting a player here and there. Hats of to the kids-they played beyond their years. I hope Baros isn't just putting himself in the shop window; he did well today and the optimist in me wants to believe he is playing for a place at Villa. Hats of to Samuel for dumping Twinkle Toes on his ass-that was beautiful.

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ahhh c'mon guys kiraly was an accident waiting to happen.

couldn't catch a cold. dropped the ball a number of times

and his kicking!!! i mean my god!!! he couldnt kick to save his life

i think we have to give Olejnik a go in the next game cos this Kiraly is a clown

i can see why he cant even get into the palace team cos he's a waste of space

was very disappointed in Barry and Petrov i expect much more from both of them

though barry wasnt helped by being moved around a bit towards the end

was extremely impressed with young Ozzy i think he has a great future ahead of him

Ridge and Cahill were class

Bouma has finally started to show why he was signed for 3.5 million - shows what not carrying an injury can do

now he just needs to drop a few pounds and he'll be class

Samuel at left wing - interesting - and one of his better displays for villa

Baros - really hoping he stays

Angel - i am one of his biggest fans and have always been behind him.

He was just awful today very reminiscent of savo

i think he'll be the first out the door - unfortunately i'll be glad to see him gone

Lets see some new forwards ASAP

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The defence worked their socks, with our young central defenders and Bouma playing really well. Petrov however was poor, as was JPA having to play up front again on his own. He's just not suited to this.

Overall though, I thought our passing, particularly in the first half was very poor, constantly giving the ball away. Maybe this was due to the continual pressure we were under, but you will be if you keep giving the ball back to them.

Also thought Ozzie had quite a good game, pity he couldn't have put away the good chance he had. He got into some good positions though and with more experience will be a big asset.

Despite the pressure, Vill deserved a draw.

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