Aston Villa - Anything But Easy - Lovech Verdict
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Anything But Easy - Lovech Verdict

Martin O'Neill has pulled no punches in his after match verdict tonight, after seeing Villa take all the luck in the world to beat Litex Lovech earlier.

I'm sure those who travelled enjoyed their time, the fun and beer far more than the match, which to be honest was dire.

Well, dire probably doesn't do it justice, but speaking on the official site O'Neill stated that Reo-Coker's goal was the turning point in the match, and yes it was. At no point did we really look like we would lose the match, but more worryingly at no point did we look like we would win it either.

As the first half progressed, it did look more and more like we would scrape a draw and that would be our lot for the away leg.

'It was anything but easy. It took us a long time to settle down - a lot longer than we had hoped.

'But Nigel's goal just before half-time changed the complexion of the game. That was so important and it was an away goal.

'We won convincingly but it was very difficult.

'Their chance before half-time was vital. They missed and the next minute Nigel equalised for us. But I always felt the away goal was the most important thing.

'As it turns out, things worked in our favour with their two sendings-off. It was comfortable after that. And I was pleased we got the cushion of a third.'

The two sendings off gave us the chance to save some face to be honest. Litex played good football and Tom - Wellington whatever you call him, looked a very useful player.

All they lacked really was the killer finish, when they attacked you didn't think it would end in a goal, so we were never really in danger.

But when we attacked - well today proved how much we miss both Carew and Ashley Young. Gabby cannot play the lone striker role and although he would've looked better had he actually chased for the ball rather than standing there, I still think the headless chicken at speed routine would've made us any more dangerous either.

It just would have looked better, and looked less like he wasn't interested.

'We have put ourselves in a good position but as we have proved in the recent past, nothing is ever simple.

'I am also really happy for the fans who came out to cheer us on. We appreciate their support.'

Oh well, all in all, 3 away goals, tidy second leg at Villa Park but nobody should hide from what was an amatuerish tinpot performance.

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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday September 18 2008

Time: 6:45PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
sounds like it was a good job I didn't book the afternoon off to watch this! It was hard enough constantly pressing F5 on the bbc text commentary page! Anyway a great result in the end I guess and we move on
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18/09/2008 19:04:00

you made a bit of a meal of that until they lost two to red cards - but you shoul b e safe with a two goal advantage!
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18/09/2008 19:43:00

Yea if Liverpool go public and state they are happy to "win ugly" the press and pundits accept this as a good ethics win at all cost, maybe we should stop expecting free flowing football and also accept its good to win ugly now and again.
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18/09/2008 19:44:00

That win was so ugly it's makes my mrs look like Kelly Brook - and my mrs has got a face like a bag of busted Mackie bottles.....
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18/09/2008 19:54:00

We certainly had the run of the ball against a spirited team. Could have been 2-0 down just before Nige levelled matters at 1-1 on the stroke of half time, but you need a little bit of good fortune on your side if you're to progress in any knock out tournament, let alone european club competition. A job well done as far as I'm concerned, and two away victories, important ones at that, in the space of four days, is nothing to complain about.
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18/09/2008 20:55:00

How did this link to the goals find its way onto my message?? Weird - - Can't beat a bit of euro dance
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18/09/2008 20:56:00

We certainly missed JC and Ash, I dont think that anyone could dispute that, but there's very few teams out there who wouldn't miss players of their calibre. Clearly another quality striker is needed at the club come January, if at all possible, but MON will be well aware of that fact, and will no doubt pull out all the stops in an effort to rectify the failing.
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18/09/2008 20:58:00

2006dryden, Respcet fella, considering that win of yous...I used to be married to someone that what was probably her sister.....or her sisters goat....but you lot should find comfort in the small fact that a win is a win is a win....well done fellas.
Blue is the colour
Report Abuse
18/09/2008 22:24:00

sorry to be a bit negative because every thing has been great this year, its just that you mentioned something in the article that really annoys me. Gabby absolutly ****s me up the wall the way he doesn't close down in the forward line and just stands there and lets the other team play the ball out. I mean he doesn't even have to put a tackle in, he just has to slow the play down sometimes and allow our midfield to get back into position. He is such a lazy forward, and i'm probably reading into this a bit to much but, he come across on the pitch as being completly up himself and not much of a team player.
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18/09/2008 22:45:00

I totally agree with liamo1981 about Agbonlahor. The game certinly showed his limitations, without someone like Big John to hold the ball up and lay it off for him he is not even half a competnent striker. I think a quality striker is now a top priority in January, if we can get one, otherwise give Delfouneso a chance. Gabby has got to get his act together big time and get his thinking out of his trousers if he wants to be other than a talented failure. This season is crunch time for him. Latent talent is no longer enough for success in the Premior League, ask Stan Collymore about that one,
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18/09/2008 23:08:00

The problem with gabby is, he's no striker! thats for sure, i have to agree with the last 2 guys, he's lazy and does nothing for the squad, we need our own r.keane someone who knows what they're going to do next, on one occasion tonight he ran towards the opposition and stopped, turned around and passed to the midfield! when he should have gone past them or at least tried too, i would rather him take defenders on and get tackled, then run back to help regain the ball, than keep stopping because he's out of ideas tony daley, anyone!
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19/09/2008 00:38:00

Well we played like ****e, away in Bulgaria, and won by a rather convincing score line of 3-1. Signs of a good team, playing *****ty and winning away. I'll take it and move on to the Baggies.
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19/09/2008 03:58:00

i agree with you guys, i dont want to slag Gabby but i think he needs to be benched for a while. you get the feeling he is playin gin his own little world sometimes, just does not look up and see other players, sometimes he just delays the perfect pass or thorugh ball for too long and we loose it. maybe its immaturity, maybe a lack of vision, or limited abilty to think ahead. i have seen marlon harewood the few times he was broguth down to run down a clock an has been open but Gabby nevers seems to play the ball thorugh to him. Maybe gabby just needs a smack on the back of his head. oh an not to forget the game - not a great game to watch but definetly a great scoreline to see...
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19/09/2008 05:02:00

At least we should be safely through, cant see this side getting 3 past us at VP. But we still need to take the 2nd leg seriously, we have waited too long to be back in Europe hopefully we dont go out in the 1st round, Everton on the other hand......
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19/09/2008 09:19:00

i agree that gabby needs to be benched. i think with the lack of competition he has got lazy,which isnt really his fault,he's just got comfortable playing 5/10 each week and then starting the week after. we definatly need a striker in january. u only have to look at our midfield to realise that competition for places improves players. look at petrov thgis season,he's been brilliant.sidwells gonna need some look to get a start
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19/09/2008 10:49:00

Here we go again, moaning Villa fans looking for a scapegoat instead of revelling in the good points. Gabby, lazy? Not what people who understand football seem to be saying. Most say his pace changes the way teams have to defend against us, and that in turns makes it easier for the other players in the team. He has scored 4 goals in 9 games, creates goals for others as with the first against Spuds on Monday and is a Villa supporting youngster. So lets get on his back because we are losing loads of games and not scoring many goals. Oh sorry I have just checked my facts and we have only lost 1 game in the 9 played this season. And that was to a last minute goal against Stoke (maybe that was Gabbys fault). But then again we are failing to score as a team (and it is a team game). Oh sorry got it wrong again, we have actually scored 19 goals in just 9 games. I think it makes sense to have a pop at a young man who has played a significant part in this. Murderpool couldn't beat us, Man Citeh were bashed and Spuds were outplayed, so lets all have a go at Gabby. You muppets. Try supporting the club and get the positive vibes going, instead of trying to bring it down from within. Wouldn't surprise me if those above who have slagged Gabby, don't even go to the games. Eltoro even claimed he was upset 'cause Gabby passed to a Villa player instead of losing it and then trying to win it back. God help us. These people walk amongst us and are allowed to vote!!!
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19/09/2008 11:40:00

Voice.... you often have very good points, you just need to learn how to make them, i agree with all you are saying, i just dont like the way you say it.
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19/09/2008 13:31:00

Thank you for the compliment bobbyfett. I am more than aware that I often use the incorrect terminology when trying to make a point. Sometimes though, things I say, I feel quite right in saying them. The comments made about Gabby above include 'Gabby needs a smack on the back of his head', 'He is no striker, is lazy and does nothing for the squad', 'he need to be benched'. However I am not one for sitting on the fence and those slagging him off are muppets inho. Without his goals and assists this season we would be at the very least, 4 points worse off and in the bottom 4. As I have said before, players do not pick themselves, so by having a go at the players, you are in effect slagging off M'ON who picks them. So leave the players alone and slag off the manager.
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19/09/2008 14:23:00

voiceofthe holte - i am not looking for a scape goat. you are entitled to your opinion and i mine. you may be at villa park more often than i - and that is only for one reason, because i live in South Africa. my comments where not based on just this match, i do watch a number of matches that are televised here. i dont dislike gabby i just wish he was abit more thoughtful of players arround him. just dont think for a moment you are more of a villa supporter than i am, cause i can gaurentee you that you not...
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19/09/2008 15:02:00

pablo1978, this isn't a 'I am a bigger fan than you' debate. It is about opinions though. Some of the biggest Villa supporters in the world can not go to many games. However I find it strange that you find it so easy to slag off a Villa player by the small amount you can see on TV. It is impossible to see the work that goes in off the ball dragging defences all over the place. It is not a surprise that we get so many goals from all over the pitch, because the forwards work creates space, not just for themselves, but everybody. I think those that see him week can testify, that he has a lot to learn but is an integral part of the team. Keep flying the Villa flag in SA.
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19/09/2008 15:46:00

Gabby got 7 shades of **** kicked out of him and was the cause of the first sending off. The BBC txt described it as "another facefull of soggy Bulgarian turf" Give him a break, folks. Keeping 3 birds satisfied at once is bound to take its toll too! We played poorly against a decent side and got away with one. Now ,we move on to the Bagheads and try again. Exciting stuff, eh? All these cups, its what we wanted isn't it? 1 defeat in 9, 19 goals, VOTH, you're right, it's time to be positive.
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19/09/2008 23:56:00

Voice i like to read the posts on this site and have been doing so for a while now and i have noticed that you like to mention a bit how you go to so many matches as though it gives you some sort of superiority over other fans that are unable to make to game (like me, because i live in Australia). I remember you mentioning it before to someone else and i thought you were a w@nker then too. You might even say that you have some sort of a superiority complex. Fair enough we cant see the whole pitch on tv, buti think its also fair to say also that we get a decent enough view to be able to judge a players ability from the tv. it is quite easy to see when a player should be closing down another player, i.e. if he is standing right next to him. Now i dont complain about much to do with villa but i'll have an opinion on a player if they have a good game or a bad game. if someone is consistently bad i'll get frustrated and i'll say they had a bad game on this site. not that i even said that he is bad, all i said was that he is lazy and he is. but, just because gabby is homegrown doesn't mean he should have a free pass from any criticism. i'm sure you have critisized many a villa player in the past, tell me you haven't criticised petrov or zat night over the last couple of year, is that because they are not homegrown. I think he has potential to be a decent player but he has a lot to improve on. and i think the most important position for us to strengthen in January is defiantly up front.
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20/09/2008 12:51:00


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