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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Aston Villa 2 - Blackburn Rovers 0

Villa Park

5/11/2006

Attendance: 30 089

Lions Tame Blackburn

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!

Star Player

Martin Laursen.

Player Ratings


Thomas Sorensen 7

Not tested, must have got bored, but at least he was given the time to write his shopping list.

Olof Mellberg 8

didn't put a foot wrong. Forgot to note the state of his beard though, apologies.

Martin Laursen 10

perfect return to the team, no one was getting passed Laursen today. Wonder what the 'heated' discussion with Sorensen at the end of game was all about though?

Wilfred Bouma 6

ok, but to really progress Villa need above ok performances.

Aaron Hughes 6

ok, but, oh you get the picture.

Gareth Barry 8

great performance, great penalty.

Gavin McCann 7

much needed return for Villa.

Stiliyan Petrov 5

very average in a game where he could have shone. Did nearly score which might have settled him down a bit.

Gabriel Agbonlahor 8

like lightening and skinned Michael Gray for most of the game. Unlucky not to have got the break for a goal of his own.

Chris Sutton 8

great in his first start for Villa. Got stuck in and looked like he was fit to drop by the end. Personally I'd have subbed him with 20 mins to go and he did look like he'd pulled a hamstring or pulled something near the end, lets hope it was just a bit of cramp, this man could be a real asset this season.

Juan Pablo Angel 8

much maligned but given his chance he took it with aplomb and put more than his fair share of the work load into the game.

Baros (for Sutton 89)

Didn't look impressed to be brought on in the dying seconds according to my mate Wiggy!

Manager Rating

Martin O'Neill kicks every ball and John Robertson and Steve Walford aren't exactly slouches. The latter two being in fine voice today, I thought they were making the north American wilderbeast mating call until I realised they were calling 'Wilf'.

Opponent Rating

Nice suit, shame about the team today!




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 5 2006

Time: 9:22PM

Your Comments

How good was Martin laursen today!!! Have to admit I had my doubts over him, but he was just awesome. Here's hoping for more of the same!
DeanoVilla
walsh and robertson were on barking form today, the 4th official had to keep reminding them only one at a time were allowed in the technical area!
The Fear
totally looked the part, got to say DOL was unlucky not to have been able to see the best in the player he brought in. never mind eh! ;-)
The Fear
seems the Blackburn fans need entertaining. Mark Hughes should of Picked a fight with Marty O'Neil when we scored
Christo
Laursen outstanding, Barry superb, Gabby brilliant. Sutton and JPA not too far behind.
glensider
At least Juan Paublo angel was scoring in the right end this game eh ;-)
red_chattey
DeanoVilla: Too right mate, Laursen was awesome. ANOTHER dodgy pen went our way, long may they continue.
jonah
oh, meant Walford not Walsh!
The Fear
must just clear things up, before we have a national incident, Laursen was indeed outstanding, with the majority of the team not far behind, but for me the star had to be mellbergs beard, looking trim after letting himself go a bit recently, the beard looked on fine form, bristling with confidence and made a few important interceptions. UTV
steff_the_villan
Another disappointing turn out though. I know it was Sunday and all, but still expected 35,000+ I was there early and there seemed to be plenty of people around so I thought we were in for a good gate. WRONG!!
jonah
Laursen was stupendous! Everytime Blackburn attacked you didnt need to hold your breath cuz Laursen was there. 3 European class defenders on show Sunday, we just need a good right back now.
leelindsay
Forget the attendancies - dispute ticket prices! Its an expensive hobby now for some people... you cant blame them for missing what I'd consider one of the more boring games of the season... if tickets were 23-25 a game we'd sell out all season in my opinion.
leelindsay
We are amongst the cheapest in the league though Lee, guess they can only go so low. Mind you, football might be on a bit of a downward spiral the way things are going, all the rules and pettiness by the FA will drive fans away and the players being paid a kings ranson (some very average players) makes it harder for fans in general to relate.
The Fear
well done steff, having not paid attention to the bearded one, I feel I should resign my position at Vital Villa, you've saved me - some might say by a whisker!!!
The Fear
Can not agree more Jonah. As a club we want bigger and better investors and in turn better quality players. Unfortunately with a turn out such as that it is unlikely that the club could entice either. We are sixth in the table, despite having played three of last seasons top four away from home. But unfortunately thousands of fans still can not be bothered. I have done the drum beating on this for a while but I can not be bothered any more. I will still be at the games no matter what investment and players come in to the club. However when it becomes clear that the apathy has started to hinder the board and management, I will just say, it is the fans fault. You often get what you deserve in life, and at the moment us Villa fans are getting more than we deserve. However it is hard to see how long this can carry on. To all the so called thousands who said they would not come to VP whilst Ellis and the previous manager (can't remember his name) were in charge I ould say that you are all hypocritical liars. To the fans who are attending ......... well done! You are doing your bit. To those who aren't ....... if you get what you deserve in life, then you all deserved Ellis and whatsisname. You stayaways are letting the rest of us down and more importantly you are jeopardising the best opportunity we have had in a generation. Shame on you all. UTV
voiceoftheholte
laurson was brilliant.... had a great game..
ernshaw
voth heap the shame upon them, they deserve it, yes it is expensive, especially if you are taking some kids with you, but as jon (he of the terrible pun) fear pointed out still one of the cheapest grounds to visit, and I would pay that time and time again to watch a display like yesterday, it was electrifying, some blips but thats football, I dont understand the mentality of those that would view it as a game not worth attending! every game matters, every game goes towards our points total, do you stayaways not realise how much of an impact you have on the performance of the team? a full VP in fine voice lifts a team and helps them perform, get to the Villa, support your team, it might be a good idea to inform Randy and Co to sort out more of a food service area so people actualy wait till the half time whistle before they vanish to get food, and I still cant understand the "fans" who start to file out 10 mins before the end. I wouldn't want to miss something. UTV
steff_the_villan
there will be sel outs in weeks to come
Newman
Another home win, we're getting spoiled.
glensider
 

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