Aston Villa - Villa Back Down To Earth
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Manchester City 1 - Aston Villa 0

City of Manchester Doo Dah


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Villa Back Down To Earth

Martin O'Neill said after the 1-0 loss to Manchester City: 'We've got a week in training now where we can work on a few things. As much as anything else, we need to work on the final ball.'

Trouble is, with the lack of an out-and-out goal scorer, we can work as hard as we want, but where will the goals come from? Some have asked, with the lack of form John Carew is showing, where was Marlon Harewood. Are things really that bad at Villa that we have to start looking to a striker who got 3 goals last season?! Anyway, the big former West Ham man was out injured on Sunday so wasn't an option anyway.

I didn't get too carried away after the great win against Chelsea so I have no intention of getting carried away after this loss, however I did think the loss illustrated exactly why we should have been spending in the close season, we don't have the firepower, we didn't have it last season and we don't have it now. Given the choice with the speed and the decent service now being created, I'd take Juan Pablo Angel and Milan Baros over what we have now any day of the week. Luke Moore is getting closer to the finished article maybe, he looks the most likely to score for us and Gabby Agbonlahor certainly has the speed, but they are still young, unproven at this level and still learning. One chain of thought says let the kids learn, wait a season or two and we'll be fine, the other says go out and buy the strikers needed. For me I'd have grabbed Jermain Defoe and sulky Nicolas Anelka, he might be a plonker but he is a plonker who knows where the goal is!

I didn't think Villa did much wrong yesterday, there weren't - Gareth Barry aside - any stand out performances but there also weren't any woeful performances. The same could be said for Manchester City, at times it was difficult to believe that they were the home team with Villa enjoying the lions share of possession and forward play. Trouble is, whilst looking at the table today, the possession stat doesn't count for anything, only goals scored and conceded do and although we were unlucky that a moment of brilliance from Johnson proved our downfall, this could well be the story of our season if we can't start to test the opponent keeper.

2 shots on target in 90 minutes is not great and that ratio will rarely bring about a win. We will no doubt be tough to beat and give plenty of teams a challenge, but I have to say I can't see where we'll get enough goals to blast us into Europe unless Big John Carew can somehow 'click' and fulfil the potential he must have - I know little about him, just that at the moment he looks average and not totally up to speed, but with a reputation like his if he can get into the scoring vibe, we may just be ok!

So yesterday against Manchester City we can in some ways come away feeling aggrieved not to get anything out of the game, but if you don't shoot you don't score (or in my case if you do shoot you don't score!) it really is that simple, especially when playing against a keeper who was flapping more than Mr Flappy of Flapsville. Darn it that the backward header by Laursen didn't go in mind you, I'd got a fiver on him at 33/1 to be the first scorer!

Up next, Everton, another tough game and another that the fans will expect something out of, especially at home.

Match Stats - Click Here

Star Player

The Villa fans.

Player Ratings

Scott Carson 6

not to blame for the goal

Olof Mellberg 6

not bad, still prefer him in the middle though!

Martin Laursen 6

missed the tackle that would have prevented the goal and had an argument with Shrek (Bouma)

Zat Knight 6.5

looks a useful addition to the team making a few important tackles.

Wilfred Bouma 6

nothing bad, nothing great.

Ashley Young 6

none of the real attacking, penetrating form we've seen so far this season.

Gabby Agbonlahor 5.5

pace but his final ball is way off.

Gareth Barry 7

a real captains performance, deserved a few more around him to put in the same.

Nigel Hokey-Cokey 5.5

surprisingly anonymous.

Luke Moore 6

most likely to score for us but not likely without a shot.

John Carew 5

got more involved but when he got his chances, he fluffed his lines, with chances at a premium, top strikers don't do that.

Maloney (on for Carew 66)

Didn't really get much of the ball.

Gardner (on for Hokey-Cokey on 82)

Made one important block otherwise Johnson might have scored a second.

Petrov (on for Bouma on 82)

Not enough time to make an impact but looks nervous on the ball.

The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 17 2007

Time: 12:40PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I don think MoN could really go out and buy a big name first choice striker in the transfer window because Carew and Luke and Gabby needed more time to prove themselvs when he signed Harewood it was made clear that he would have to force his way into the team.Listening to what MoN said yesterday he is running out of patience now and come the next window Carew and Luke would have had their chance.
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17/09/2007 12:47:00

I couldn't understand why the substitutions were made so late. At 82 minutes they were never going to have any impact on the game.
Hoss The Villain
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17/09/2007 12:48:00

I cannot understand why on earth you sold Baros !!!
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17/09/2007 12:53:00

We could have been 2/3 up within the first 30 minutes....but just not clinical enough in front of goal yesterday. I think all will be fine lets wait and see the performance in the next game. Why is JC scoring at will for Norway?
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17/09/2007 12:53:00

Agreed Hoss........65 mins is time to do it in my opinion......but so many managers do it, don't understand why. We were missfiring all over the pitch, but still looked better than they did....they are riding high on luck at the moment, why keep playing Gabby on the wing tho ?? surely Maloney and Young on the wings is a better proposition. We needed Berger yesterday, someone to take hold and produce a killer's he doing, is he still injured ??
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17/09/2007 12:58:00

Whats the story with Salifou has anyone even seen him in Birmingham yet?
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17/09/2007 13:17:00

Did you notice Coker going off with the hump. He will cause loads of probs if MON keeps taking him off. Whats happened to Hommer Harewood he could have got your team out of trouble yesterday.
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17/09/2007 14:12:00

We missed the clinical finish, I do think JPA would do better with the crosses coming this season. The delivery was great all day, Barry and Young were excellent. No striker its that simple, I am in 2 minds you have to let Gabby, Luke and Ash grow but we need goals and big John simply is not doing enough. I also dont like all the moaning that Luke was doing, play the game.
NY Villa
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17/09/2007 14:17:00

O'Neill in deflection mode. Anyone see Carews shot that hit the corner flag, the header that went wide, the dribble that left him tamely flicking the ball right footed into the keepers arms when a left foot shot might have done it. Did you see Laursens 3 headers all go well wide, Moore's hand ball that ended in the net, Gabby's two lame shots that went wide, Reo Coker being caught and tackled when through, Carew's run on goal between 2 defenders when he was caught and the ball taken easily from him, the numerous flaps by Schmeichel from crosses. No, join the O'Neill club he didn't either.
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17/09/2007 14:23:00

So what you are saying avfc48 is we created a lot but didn't have a killer instinct to put the ball in the net... a lot simpler to say :-)
Hoss The Villain
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17/09/2007 14:35:00

Now there are bitter Hammers fans coming on aswell
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17/09/2007 15:06:00

Barry looked knackered after his exploits and the rest of the team did not respond. No excuses for most of them but most worried about the facial expressions of Luke Moore. he has all the skill and ability - but does he have the mental approach - seemed to want to blame everything but himself. Not sure if he has what it takes, after all he is now getting his chance. Agree we all knew a striker (or two) was needed and we didn't get them. End of story. In the meantime, Maloney up front anyone?
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17/09/2007 15:53:00

you're like us lacking a decent fit striker!
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17/09/2007 16:41:00

This thread is so predictable, Carew is the new Petrov. Whipping boy of all the moaners. I don't think Luke Moore did particularly well yesterday - whinging at the ref too much, but he can do no wrong. The league is tight this year with teams very difficult to break down. I thought we missed some creativity from Berger yesterday and agree Harewood needs a chance. Also thier goalkeeper looked terrible and I would have tried some long ball tactics and tried to pump the ball into box as much as possible.
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17/09/2007 16:42:00

The only thing that is predictable (apart from avfc48) is tarzan saying Carew is the new petrov. I don't see that when I read this thread, maybe you are the one trying to stir up that debate.
Hoss The Villain
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17/09/2007 18:03:00

From what I can see, avfc48 is actually saying that pretty well ALL of our players are useless. Where do we go from here then, avfc? Resign ourselves to relegation?
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17/09/2007 18:04:00

How about the ball just after the final ball, you remember the one that the keeper has to pick out of the net...... now thats the ball they need to work on.
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17/09/2007 18:18:00

Did I really say that BTB. Its bad enough with VOTH making sweeping statements about what I think, even when I've no clue I did, now you seem to be on the bandwagon. Little bit of advice, not that I expect you to take it, read what people say first, phone a friend who can hopefully put it into very simple terms, Hoss seems keen to do that, then post on the thread and not the poster. It will be hard but I'm sure you can do it. Back to the thread and to help Hoss, O'Neill has created a young mid table side that is playing just as most would expect, yes, easy this, like a mid table side.
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17/09/2007 18:37:00

bob the builder, can't you fix it!???!! ;-))
The Fear
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17/09/2007 18:57:00

Tarzan I agree with you, Moore should concentrate on his game instead of moaning to the ref, and Harewood should be given a chance when Carew comes off, I thought thats what he was brought for. I dont know what happened to Reo-Coker he was unusually quiet.
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17/09/2007 19:05:00

Well said tarzan. The boo-boys having seen off Petrov now turn their attentions to John Carew. The anti-Cartew talk has been brewing since day one of the campaign, and you knew it was only a matter of time before it built up full steam. When Carew went off any possible chance we had of getting back into the game went with him. He's the perfect foil for our younger, supposedly speedier strikers, but they themselves were way off the pace. They're young, learning their trade, they will blow hot and cold. To remedy that we had to buy a proven quality striker to play alongside and feed off JC. We didn't, so we have to go with what we've got.
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17/09/2007 19:38:00

It's not going to be instant and we need to look at the season as a whole. I thought yesterday there was chance to try a few of the fringe players (Davies, Maloney, Gardner and Harewood), at least for more than 10 mins (due to others being out on international duty). Barry did looked jaded and I think we should have really pummelled their keeper, Fear mentioned this. Citeh defended really well and Johnson was very impressive. Chelski, Redscouse and Manu proved that its not easy getting all 3 points.
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17/09/2007 21:23:00

Yes you did, avfc, you really did say that. If you have simply made comments about the way certain players played, I would have no issue. I may have debated your opinions but that would be it. But you didn't though, did you? You couched the whole post in such a way as to blame O'Neill for the way those players played. Why do you continue to post things and then deny it? Have the courage of your convictions for Heaven's sake.
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17/09/2007 23:13:00

As for fixing it, JPF, no, sorry. There's no magic bullet to shorten the length of time needed to build a solid side. There is also no magic bullet for ensuring that players who can play well do so. We know our team can put it together when they want to, so the question is why don't they do it consistently. In my opinion, the first place to look for the answer to that question is the players - especially when the manager plays essentially the same team. If I was MON, I'd be bloody frustrated with my players as well after Sunday. What say you?
Report Abuse
17/09/2007 23:19:00

Why are people getting grief for criticising Carew? He's a goalscorer, and he's not scoring goals. Ok, some of his holding play is great, but unless he starts doing more with some of the chances that come his way (and he had a few against ManCity) we are going to struggle. Presume saying this makes me a boo-boy?
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18/09/2007 01:59:00

why all the arguments between each other! at the end of the day we were *****e, end of story, the players played badly, so should rightly be criticised, to be honest I don't think we've played that well all season, like I said in an earlier post the first 5 games have been deceiving, we got what we deserved against liverpool, we scored in the 93 min V fulham, 0-0 Newcastle, and one decent game against a chelsea side that are obviously having a worst time than us, any other season they would have burried us, and defeat at Man City 'who are one of the worst teams I've seen in a long time' we need two 20 a season strikers, I bet luke,gabby and carew don't get 20 between them, overall so far 'C- must do a lot better' don't let the 7 points we've got decieve you, we are poor!
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18/09/2007 07:27:00

Thanks for the offer of help avfc48 but I think I am beyond that but there are still a few around who need it.
Hoss The Villain
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18/09/2007 08:56:00

48, thanks for the mention in your post. I am pleased that I am always in your thoughts. Probably because I have denounced the man who said you were the leader of the 'Knob Squad'. You are not. You are a very very nice man who brings a legitimate, alternative view to what most other people think. On the game, we didn't do enough to win, but a draw wouldn't have been unfair. Carson did what was needed, but was beaten by a good finish. The back four were reasonably solid but their distribution was woeful, especially Knight. Barry was good but occasionally got caught in possesion. Okey Cokey lived up to the song name, he was in and out, unfortunately more out. Young and Gabi never reached the byline enough. JC, I am not sure about. His ability to bring people into the game is excellent. But at the moment this alone is not enough. I am not concerned about Luke scowling and moaning. We were losing, what do you expect him to do? Smile and laugh? It was this little bit of aggression that led to him nailing the defender and getting booked. People have said we needed Bellamy because he is a nasty bugger, but as soon as Luke pulls a face people have a go at him ...... get a grip ffs. As for M'ON. I think the substitutions were 20 minutes to late and didn't work. It now means we have 7 points from games that yielded 6 points last season. It is an improvement but Sunday was definitely a chance wasted.
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18/09/2007 09:06:00

I refuse to join the anti-Carew brigade. The bloke clearly isn't 100% fit and hasn't looked it all season. The problem lies with MON having failed to buy a top quality striker during the transfer window. Carew is having to play because he has no-one else, especially now with the reports of Harewood being injured.
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18/09/2007 09:45:00

Eltoro we deserved a point against Man City and all 3 points against Newcastle. We were unlucky against Liverpool. that could be 5 extra points with a little clinical finishing and a little luck. Lets see how we stand after 10 games as I see not all games are easy in the premiership - Derby 1 Newcastle 0? Newcastle outplayed. This season is going to be closer that ever below the top 4 and between the top 4 sides....Euroope is anybodies except Bolton,Small Heath,Derby,Sunderland & eventually Wigan.
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18/09/2007 13:08:00

oh and reading.
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18/09/2007 13:08:00

KSarge1 we where not unlucky against Liverpool, they played us off the park, we didn't score against Newcastle, so again 1 point was fair, same with Man City no goal, and we where cr4p, and to be honest I don't give two *****s what the Derby result was! we need to improve 100% on sundays performance, or we're in the smelly stuff
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18/09/2007 21:09:00

Sadly we'll fail to score all too often this season, because we simply dont have that proven finisher that all teams need. Gabby and Luke are still learning their trade, so will blow hot and cold. One week they'll look the business, other times they'll struggle, as was the case on Sunday.
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19/09/2007 17:31:00


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