Lions Tame Blackburn
Attendance: 30 089
I'm amazed. Not because of the result, Mystic Mug predicted a 2-0 win earlier in the day and who in their right mind would argue with Mystic Mug? That said, who in their right mind would make up a fictional character and then hang on his every word? I digress. So why was I amazed? At just how bad Blackburn were.
Villa were best in every department and Blackburn didn't test Thomas Sorensen, who actually went off twice during the game to sit on a deck chair by the Holte and smoke a cigar. The defenders also nipped off to get the oranges ready for the rest of the team at half time but still the Blackburn, ahem, 'strikers' didn't think to shoot. On that showing, thank goodness we didn't buy the much linked Benni McCarthy when John Gregory was our manager.
Villa on the other hand looked like they wanted this, they had a rude awakening at Liverpool last weekend but put pay to any worries that the mighty claret and blue might capitulate and go on a losing run. Not this Villa, not the all new Villa, not this team who, although they still lack some class and certainly numbers, lack nothing in heart and endeavour.
Blimey, I've come over all poetic!
The game wasn't the most exciting and the atmosphere with a crowd of just over 30 000 fans wasn't exactly rocking, I did call over to the Blackburn fans and asked if they'd all come in the same car, but they were all asleep so I got no reply, although I'm sure one did enquire whether I worked in the financial market as he called over 'banker?' Funnily enough on the 40th minute they also asked the referee the same question when he allowed the assistant ref or whatever they call them these days to award Villa a penalty as a Chris Sutton cross hit a Blackburn players arm. HAND BALL. Bit harsh, but hey, we'll take it. Luckily Juan Pablo Angel didn't think the same thing and Gareth Barry stepped up and blasted it passed Friedel. Villa went in 1-0 up and that was no more than we deserved.
The second half Blackburn looked like they might have taken a rollicking during the interval as they looked half interested for five minutes but once Juan Pablo Angel converted a beautiful move and Gareth Barry through ball to put Villa two up, it looked like a rout might have been on the cards. Unfortunately the floodgates didn't open but Villa kept the lions share of possession and saw the match out with very little threat. I'm sure Mark Hughes will be a worried man, European hangover or not, his team should not have been this tame and why did their players keep trying to swap shirts before the end of the game? They've been labelled a physical side and did nothing to dispel that label today with their constant tugging and pushing.
I'm probably being a bit harsh on Blackburn, their performance was ruined by the fact a few of our players were on top form and they had no answer for Martin Laursen, who was given the sponsors man of the match award in a close run thing between the former AC Milan defender, Gareth Barry and the lightning quick Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Next up in the league is Everton away, not an easy game, but on this form, Villa can go to Goodison in good heart and expect to come home with all three points. And what of Chelsea in the Carling Cup on Wednesday? Well, if we are on top of our game and they have a hangover from their derby defeat to Spurs, who knows? We've a 6000 strong claret and blue army to cheer them along and anything can happen in the cup! Come on you lions!
Thomas Sorensen 7
Olof Mellberg 8
Martin Laursen 10
Wilfred Bouma 6
Aaron Hughes 6
Gareth Barry 8
Gavin McCann 7
Stiliyan Petrov 5
Gabriel Agbonlahor 8
Chris Sutton 8
Juan Pablo Angel 8
Baros (for Sutton 89)