One Of Those Nights
Attendance: 30 124
Ok, we lost. In fact we didn't just lose, we got turned over. Shall we panic? Nope, we are still fifth in the league with basically the same players that nearly got relegated last season and tonight was just one of those games where nothing clicked for anyone.
The first half we weren't at the races and throughout the game, even during the period in the second half when Villa did rally following a superb long distance goal from Gavin McCann, Manchester City were still closing us down far quicker than we closed them down and they were constantly snapping at our players heals, it goes without saying the no-brain from Citeh Joey Barton had to take it too far, he's a yob pure and simple, he even told Martin O'Neill to 'f' off, kinda sums the bloke up, once a scum bag, always a scum bag no matter how good his footballing talent, please God, don't let him every put on the claret and blue shirt.
The first goal had to come from Darius Vassell and despite the predictable boos for the former Villa player by certain sections of the crowd, he had the good grace not to celebrate in front of the Holte, a place he frequented as himself as a lad.
What I can't figure out is what is it with this Villa team, whenever the opponents are on a poor run, we oblige in helping them end it. Boro last week hadn't scored away from home, so (although it was off side by a country mile) we allowed them to score. Tonight Citeh turned us over and yet they'd not won away from home all season. Chaps, we don't need to be nice, be bastards, allow other teams' bad runs to continue, in fact, rub it in and make it worse!
Seriously, this was just a glitch, Martin O'Neill has said what is important now is how they react and with a tough away trip to Portsmouth, they'll need to react correctly.
Lets face it, with all due respect, there are players in the team at the moment who won't be here this time next season. There is a nucleus of a good team plus some very promising youngsters, but there are areas where we are woefully short of skill and I'm sure that will be corrected.
I don't however think anyone can seriously complain at the strikers tonight, fine in total we only had four shots on target, but with our midfield largely missing, the supply was dire and they had to feed off scraps. A playmaker is still very much a priority, although I have to be honest and say I can't see Baros being around come the start of next season, his skills will be far better suited to the continent, not the battles and scraps of the Premiership.
In summary..... wahey they all cry ........ from the get-go it was obvious this wasn't going to be our night, after the McCann goal we had a chance to get back into the game and even earlier than that Petrov hit the underside of the crossbar only to see the ball bounce back out from a free kick, on another night our luck might have gone differently, but when they broke and Taylor as well as Ridgewell made a hash of the threat from Citeh defender Sylvain Distin who neatly deposited the ball in the back of our net, it was game over.
At times like these you can see who the real winners and fighters are. Olof Mellberg was clearly furious at the score and didn't give up until the final whistle, tackling tough and showing Barton especially that he was still in the game, whereas a few other players heads dropped and they accepted it just wasn't to be their night.
Funnily enough, I quite enjoyed the game, take away the disappointment of not taking advantage of Arsenal losing again, at least there was some blood and thunder, shame it mostly came from Citeh.
Stuart Taylor 5
Gary Cahill 5
Liam Ridgewell 5
Olof Mellberg 6
Wilfred Bouma 5
Gavin McCann 6
Stiliyan Petrov 5
Gareth Barry 5
Gabriel Agbonlahor 5
Milan Baros 5
Juan Pablo Angel 5
Steven Davis (on for Bouma 63).