Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday October 31 2005
City Of Manchester Stadium
A Halloween horror show for Villa.
Peter Reid, guest presenter for Sky, said Man City were more hungry. And that sums it up. In every part of the pitch Villa were outclassed.
If I was the new owners of Villa, I'd be checking the players contracts, because it seems they can only play one half.
O'Leary said the first two goals we gave away were 'disgusting' and a 'joke'. I'd agree, the first one was a farce, the sort you only seem to see at Villa. Taylor - on for Sorenson who twisted his ankle before the game - came flying out of his box, Samuel told him to get past but still flicked the ball over him and guess who latched on to the free ball? Yes, it had to be Vassell 1-0.
Man City's second goal, to be fair, was sublime. I doubt you will see many better this season. Cole flicked the ball to Vassell and with plenty left to do, Vassell did what he never really did for us on a consistent basis and buried it. 2-0 and at this stage, it looked like the score could get embarrassing.
In the first half, we only tested James once from memory. That being a blistering shot pushed to the side by the former Villa shot stopper. In the second half Villa huffed and puffed their way back into the game and Ridgwell - with his first senior Villa goal - chested the ball in to make it 2-1. City started to get nervous, but just as we started to put a bit of pressure on, the Vassell / Cole partnership sprang to life once more, this time Vassell turning provider and Cole shooting. With a huge slice of luck, the shot deflected off the unlucky Delaney, who was one of the Villa players who could hold his head up and say he played his best tonight, and beat the stranded Taylor.
I hate to say this, but Villa are bang in trouble. I'm not sure if I'll get any emails saying I'm negative this week. If I do, the people who send them had better take the time to send me their positive match report to post on Holteenders. I can't see the positives in an injury ravaged small squad. Nor can I see the positives in the fact that our players don't seem to be able to string two passes together. We don't have the height, we don't have the speed, we don't get behind defences and we don't get the ball up to the strikers. And O'Leary himself admitted, our defence has been appalling this year giving away stupid goals. BUT if the midfield can't keep the ball, our defence are always going to be in trouble. If there are any negatives to this seasons start, out record, our points haul and our place in the league, then please educate me.
The manager can't legislate for stupid mistakes and gifting the opposition goals, especially when you do that in the first five minutes as it is always going to put you under pressure. However, I'm not convinced this is a team who are up for it and playing for their manager. It will be fascinating to see if the new group, when they take control, have faith in the management team. I'm not sure a good percentage of the fans do at the moment?
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Date:Monday October 31 2005
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