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The Hand Of God!

Aston Villa
4 - 0

Villa Park


Attendance: 32 432


Oh HA! bleeding HA! I decide, for the first time in 15 or more seasons not to go to the game on Boxing day and what do Villa do? They go and score four goals in the style that we have been sadly lacking for a good time now! I've had a few text messages from mates asking me to stay away more often!

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I did however sit down and watch it with my dad whilst suffering withdrawal symptoms for not being there live, TV really isn't a patch on the 'real thing'!

I had fairly low expectations for the game it has to be said, I felt we would win, but thought the game would be a dull 1-0 with two very poor teams fighting to stay out of the basement battle. For good periods of the first half it appeared that both sides were competing a masterclass of how not to pass but in a strange way, Villa never really looked trouble even though Beattie had two golden opportunities - one in each half. The first being a free header three yards out when the score was still 0-0. Misses like that could cost Everton their Premiership status because if they had gone 1 up at that stage, the Villa players heads might well have dropped. The second miss was just as bad and again from close range, this time shooting straight at Sorenson who was able to save with his feet. That was it. McFadden looked a terrible player, so how bad Marcus Bent must have been recently is anyone's guess - not that I'm particularly interested you understand!

Anyway, come the 38th minute, come the man - as the old saying doesn't go! Baros latched on to a high ball from Ridgewell who may well have been judged to have handled the ball twice in the process. Well, when I say latched onto, I really mean he controlled the ball with his hand and everyone in the ground barring the woeful Mike Riley and his assistants saw it! Baros still had plenty to do in fairness and did it with aplomb. 1-0 and a huge slice of luck, something that maybe Villa don't get very often, but what a terrible terrible decision by the ref.

In the second half Everton tried to get at us from the start but a most unexpected goal scorer, Mark Delaney, popped up and scored his first goal in 180 games, only his second in his time at Villa! The game was over and Everton are looking a very good bet to 'do' an Ipswich - going from the Champions League to the Championship within a season.

Angel came on for Moore and showed us some of the form we have so dearly missed and both Baros and Angel looked like they were enjoying themselves. In the 82nd minute they exchanged a few neat passes cutting through the Everton defence and Angel finished with deadly accuracy. 2 minutes later Baros repeated the feat and the Holte End starting singing 'we want five'!

What Villa need to do now is continue to build on the recent run of points and have a perfect opportunity against Fulham on Wednesday night. We have scrapped recently and are slowly pulling away from any chance of a relegation battle, whether we can then start looking upwards at Europe remains to be seen, remember some of the teams we have played recently have been awful, and when we faced a decent opposition (Man Utd) we lost without a fight. With games against the Baggies, Arsenal, The Hammers, Spurs and Chelsea coming up, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Lets just hope for the new year the takeover saga is finally resolved - I'll only believe that when the ink is dry on the contract - and we are able to buy a midfielder of quality and a central defender.

As for this game, it was just a relief not to win 1-0 following a bad refereeing decision. It was nice to see Moyes at the end of the game not blaming that goal on their capitulation.

Star Player

Baros, the quality player we paid all that money for. Nice hair cut as well! ;-))

Player Ratings

Sorenson 6

Not much to do, what he did, he did well.

Bouma 7

Improving greatly.

Ridgewell 6.5

Has cut out the silly mistakes and much better for it!

Hughes 6

No real problems

Delaney 7

Well taken goal and got stuck in, hope he proves his fitness and gets his new contract.

Barry 6

Distribution was way off - bit of an off day but still got involved.

Davis 6

Fairly quiet.

Millner 5.5

I think he might have been injured as he went off early and didn't get that involved.

McCann 5.5

Needs some shooting practice!!

Moore 6

Got stuck in, nearly scored a goal out of nothing, only just going wide.

Baros 8

The quality player that we paid all that money for.

Angel (on for Moore) 7

Looked hungry, maybe being behind Luke Moore gave him a kick up the pants and he responded how he should.

Bakke (for Milner) 5.

Honestly didn't notice him once, might be me missing something?

Gardner (for Davis) 6.

Nice debut for a home-grown talent.

Manager Rating

Interesting to see no Hendrie on the bench? Wolves bound? Or injured? Virus? Hmmm.

Opponent Rating

Moyes, seems powerless, seem to lack any real instinctive goalscorers - a role he'd have hoped Beattie would have filled.

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Tuesday December 27 2005
Time: 1:23PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
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2 Norwich 13 8 3 2 27 8
3 Brighton 13 7 4 2 25 8
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6 Sheff Wed 13 6 3 4 21 0
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10 Reading 13 5 4 4 19 -4
11 Fulham 13 4 6 3 18 -1
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13 Preston 13 5 2 6 17 0
14 Leeds Utd 13 5 2 6 17 -2
15 Barnsley 13 5 1 7 16 1
16 Wolves 13 4 4 5 16 0
17 Forest 13 4 3 6 15 -2
18 Aston Villa 13 2 8 3 14 -1
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