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Aston Villa 2 - Watford 0

Villa Park

20/01/2007

Attendance: 35 892

Villa See Off Poor Watford

Hey, lets not kid ourselves, that was a terrible game! You know what? After a run of 12 games with no wins, I'm not sure I particularly care. It was never going to be pretty against a struggling side like Watford and the conditions, albeit not as bad as they could have been, didn't really help either.

You could skip through the first half, very little to say, we had the majority of possession but no penetration (that phrase is used nearly every game) and to be fair although Watford were huffing and puffing, they possibly had the two best chances. Without seeing the replays I'm not sure if Sorensen tipped the one long range shot over or if it was just too high. Ho hum, half time, 0-0 and young George who sat next to me basically wanted to go home but his evil dad Paul wouldn't let him go. NO, when you come to the Villa, you take your punishment like a man young George, the rest of us have to suffer, so you have to as well.

The players went in to the sound of boo's, I'm sure that will have helped ease their nerves, nice bit of support that.

The second half was much the same, we made a few chances but there was no one there to convert them, I got a text from a mate who lives in South Africa, he wanted me to let him know the final score, so on the 50th minute I sent him a text saying 0-0. Oh yea of little faith.

Angel, who was hopeless, was taken off and of all people, Patrik Berger came on. Oh no, not Patrik Berger? Well, yes actually and he all but changed the shape of the game. Despite having had a dire run of injuries and not really getting his chance, he showed clearly why Villa do need to go out and buy quality, because his touches today were sublime, just shows form is temporary, class is permanent. With his first touch he sent a world class pass through to Baros, the sort of pass I've been banging on about that we don't provide to the Czech striker, you know the sort that if we supply him he'll take the chances in his sleep? Yeah, well he didn't, he once again fluffed his lines after missing a couple of other gilt edged chances and was eventually taken off and replaced by Jlloyd Samuel.

We basically took both 'star' strikers off. Bad move? Nope, Gabriel Agbonlahor went into the centre where he once again proved he is far better off and Villa started to get forward even more.

The first goal was a shot - off target - by McCann that took a wicked deflection, hey when your luck is out like the doomed Watford (even with Villa at sixes and sevens they could do nothing about it) it is really out. We then got a second via Gabby who took his chance brilliantly from a nice through ball, Baros, that was what you were meant to do, I guess your time now really could be up.

Lets not pretend all was rosy in the garden, the coaching staff are not stupid, they know we are woefully short all over the park and to be fair the score line flattered us. We should be able to play with a bit more shape, composure and skill, we really didn't have to try to match Watford and play the ball up in the air, but hey ho, alls well that ends well and the only thing that really matters today is the 3 points.

Villa, on the 13th time of asking, got a win. This was a must win game and the boys, despite looking very 'edgy' as Martin O'Neill said, got the win. If we played like that this time next year, I'd be worried, but we won't so I'll just enjoy the win, the three points and the fact we can worry slightly less about being sucked into the relegation battle for now.

Star Player

Patrik Berger, changed the game. Good debut from Phil Bardsley as well!

Player Ratings


Thomas Sorensen 7

Didn't really have much to do, what he did do he did well. Try saying that when you are drunk.

Phil Bardsley 7

Good debut, not afraid of the tackle, composed, looks like he has pedigree, wonder if we'll get a chance of taking him permanently?

Wilfred Bouma 19 (out of 10)

As I'm assured he is world class by all and sundry. Always thought defenders weren't meant to give the ball away but hey, what do I know?

Olof Mellberg 7

Beard is back, not even a cut eye could stop him, looks much better in the centre.

Gary Cahill 7

Looks a great prospect to me, put himself about and we did get a clean sheet so can't have done that much wrong.

Gareth Barry 6

unusually quiet, poor distribution, I think he just wanted someone else to get the man-of-the-match away, its only fair.

Gavin McCann 6

as Barry, not as involved today but still did his bit. We did lose a fair amount through the midfield today and at times the shape wasn't good. I'm sounding like I actually know what the hell I'm talking about, see you are never too old to have a first in life.

Steven Davis 5.5

really not firing on all cylinders.

Gabriel Agbonlahor 7

Doesn't look as good on the wing as he does through the middle which is good because it means we could have a star striker on our hands, superbly taken goal.

Juan Pablo Angel 5

Much like me, couldn't score in a brothel at the moment.

Milan, or is it Lyon Baros 4

I keep telling everyone he is quality then he misses a few guilt edged chances and I get clipped round my ear holes!

Patrik Berger 8

Only on a short while but showed what an asset a quality player is, shame we can't find a 22-year-old version.

Jlloyd Samuel 7

Not on long but got stuck in, got forward a fair amount and despite press comments looked like he was up for the fight.

Manager Rating

Martin O'Neill. Never sits still, in fact he never sits as he stands on the touchline throughout the game. Didn't look impressed when some in the Trinity booed the players at half time, can't blame him.

Opponent Rating

Aidy Boothroyd. Watford really are in a pickle but hopefully they will stick by this young manager, he is doing good with what he has.




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday January 20 2007

Time: 8:27PM

Your Comments

Right, come on then, correct me on my ratings, or even better, send in your match report!!!!
The Fear
Bouma is good in the tackle, but you are right JP his distribution is abysmal...perhaps one for MON to address in the summer...
Thegreatdando
Hal ay lu ya haleluagh.Newcastle and Reading did us a huge favor today.Alan McCanily was brilliant on soccer saturday covering our game the chaps a legend.
Pking
Villa got a draw, I feel they will take less from this game than from some of the games they have lost, but bottom line its a win and three valuable points towards this seasons consolidation.
col8
Talking of Bouma,we have the 2nd best English left back in our squad - he`s Gareth Barry,i`d only object to Mr.Baros as he was a 7 (cue boo and hisses)
ASPINALL
Thought we looked fairly solid at the back, Phil Bardsley enjoying a promising debut. Patrik Berger definitely changed the game. He looked as if he had something to prove in Tuesday nights reserve game, but giving a repeat showing in the premiership was something else. Not a game that will remain in the memory for too long, but we won, and that was absolutely what we had to do.
glensider
They didnt cover the game down here, but good to hear Berger make a difference. Hopefully he can find his Liverpool and early Portsmouth form, when he scored that mad goal from way out. Anyways on to our next rumour and transfer talk, Young has apparently signed, so lets ****** bout whos next
AussieVilla
Gareth Barry is not a good left back. He is too slow, and fast players go past him to easily. The only good think about him at left back is that he attacks well, which is why he needs to play left mid. I think we need to sign a new left back, im sure there is someone in the lower divisions that is going to be quality
liamo1981
I have to agree with the ratings for angel and baros, i was really hacked off with baros though, he just played awfully bad.
Layzee
The 3 points we gained are all that matters. Job done. Sell Baros to Lyon for money and the Norwegian-what have we got to lose?
gwyllum18
Great article my man Fear, wouldn't argue with a word of it. The one and only small disagreement would be in only giving awesome Ollie a 7. If Berger rated 8 (which he did) then awesome Ollie rated a 9.
jonah
Man of the moment - Patrik Berger. Made a real difference. Assume this is the end for Hendrie - not even on the bench. Surprised any one in that Watford side is worth much - a very poor side. If Young looks good in that lot, perhaps he is a star in the making.
Gordonsleftboot
As Martin said it's points that are important not performances, just as well, the whole place was on edge.As bad as Baros was with his chances, their keeper was excellent.Angel is toothless, at least when I see Milan playing I think he could get a goal.Berger was top drawer, a cultured left foot and as Jamie Redknapp says a shot like a sledge hammer.
OneloveVilla
I thought Baros worked hard and for the first time in a while we created chances for him. Unfortunately he didn't put them away. Not because of lack of effort, it just wasn't his day. However if you keep giving him chances like that he will score a hatful. All strikers score a few, miss a few. That is football. I thought Bardsley did OK, but so would have Hughes against a team without any quality on the left. His test will be when he comes up against a decent winger, then we will be able to see what he is all about.
utv-sotc
Last game before the new arrivals begin to appear I wonder?
glensider
 

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