Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday February 9 2009
Confidence is the key
Not only did we win at Blackburn, not only did we reach a new record of away victories, not only did we move ahead of Chelsea, we did it with some style.
Far from being a totally supreme performance it remains one of the most dominant ones the team have put out, and one where 'luck', good or bad, didn't play that much of a part, even the ref only made one mistake, not to allow the goal from Emile Heskey's head.
No the dream is alive, and it was achieved by a not too impressive performance from Villa's wonder boy, Ashley Young, who looked off the pace for most of the game, but still managed as is his want to skin several Blackburn defenders, and make some decent crosses.
James Milner seems to have taken the headlines, especially amongst most Villa fans, probably the need to justify O'Neill's price paid partly to blame. That said he at least showed that he can play like we know he can, and a well taken goal, left footed too, shows as on his birthday he can do it. All he needs now is to continue to do it.
Talking of continuing to do it, that bald headed giant of a defender Zat knight, continues to surprise with a near faultless display against some of the best strikers in the division, am I surprised, is he you reckon, or is it the confidence that now abounds making a full impact on him too. Petrov, again to my pleasure but continued amazement, went through the game in second gear, and was inspirational at times. His performance allowed Barry to make some of the most ridiculous moves and passes I've ever seen from him and he's usually surpasses most Villa players out on the pitch anyway, but Saturday he excelled again.
Football is about confidence they always say, who are 'they' by the way ? Saturdays performance oozed confidence all over our game, and inevitably against a team who had gone 9 games without defeat a victory was assured, thanks to a decent shot from the bloke who rarely shoots and the now obligatory near last minute strike. Oh did anyone notice in the wonder performances of Milner and Petrov and others that little cameo from Gabby?
I say Little because at times, he reminded me of a player we once had who used to do things like run from the half way line past several defenders into the box to score. Gabby didn't of course, he got close, but Emile got the ball between his legs rather than on the end of one and Blackburn survived. What a run though. He did several others too, eventually finding
himself on his right peg and goal number 2 resulted. To think he'd gone all those games without a goal and suddenly he's done it again. Some of his movement was of the best quality, creating space for all around him, Blackburn's defenders were nearly at panic levels at times and its no wonder, put two men on Ashley you have to worry about Milner, do the same there and you have Gabby, and he scores goals, even disallowed ones and that frightens teams.
Improvement all around in a match many in the pre-match forecast had us down for a fall and for me confidence was the key. That and a superb Gabby Agbonlahor.
Date:Monday February 9 2009
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