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Drifting Villa Draw

Bolton Wanderers
1 - 1
Aston Villa

Reebok Stadium


Attendance: 18 413


Best thing that can be said about that game is at least we didn't lose which we so easily could have.

You can write off the first half. Villa were quite frankly pathetic and the tactics from Martin O'Neill with Gabby as the loan striker stank.

This was a game we should have gone for the three points, if we'd started fast and gone for it Bolton would have panicked, they've only one win all season under their belt, they have a new manager in after weeks of turmoil and arguments so their confidence would have been low. Instead we sat back and allowed them to dictate the pace of the game and the Villa midfield at times were pedestrian at best.

We HAVE to be doing better against these teams, we simply HAVE to. I'm told there are improvements since O'Neill took over from David O'Leary but for me they are one and the same apart from the fact O'Neill is a nice bloke and the media's darling as opposed to O'Leary who wasn't liked and would probably be capable of upsetting his own shadow.

It is no good saying that Villa are in transition, that is just a throwaway excuse, today we weren't at the races and although we did come out more strongly in the second half, the goal we got was more down to luck and good fortune after the linesman signalled a Bolton throw in only to change his mind and give it (rightly) to Villa. Villa were quick at taking the throw with many Bolton players having their back to play walking up the pitch expecting their own player to take his time and then make the throw in. The ball was swiftly crossed from Gabriel Agbonlahor more at Luke Moore than to him and Luke chested the ball goalwards. 1-1 and so it stayed.

It could have been much worse for Villa. Zat Knight gave away a clumsy free kick for their first goal, gave the ball away cheaply several times and also passed back to Stuart Taylor so weakly that a Bolton player nipped in and possibly should have scored. Diouf also had a good chance when Taylor fumbled the ball. I can't think of many chances Villa created, in fact the only one of any measure was the one that resulted in a goal.

Ok, we have a point on the road, to draw on our travels isn't a disaster but the way we played very nearly was. It took Martin O'Neill 45 minutes to figure that his 4, 3, 3 (or more appropriate 4, 3, 2, 1) wasn't working and changed in the second half to 4-4-2 mystifyingly taking off one of his signings - Shaun Maloney - who did at least try to make a decent chance in the first half. The three man midfield certainly didn't work, Gareth Barry had an unusually quiet day (although in the first half he did make a timely interception to save a goal), Isaiah Osbourne is simply not ready yet and Stiliyan Petrov, although more lively than he has been of late, is still a very average player (unfortunately not bought at an average price).

You also have to - well you don't have to but I'm going to - question what an earth he bought Marlon Harewood for because he has hardly used him since his arrival. This looks like yet another total waste of money.

We have Derby County, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough coming up. All very winnable games BUT NOT if we play like we did today.

Villa are mid table and deserve to be. The links for Gareth Barry to Chelsea will grow more and more worrying the longer Aston Villa continue to drift in mediocrity. Time for an improvement. The way things are developing at the moment, Villa will not be worrying the top six for many a long year.

Doesn't make nice reading, but then it doesn't make nice viewing. Now I'll sit back and get slated for being negative no doubt... Slate away!

Stats: Click Here

Star Player

The Villa fans, once again in fine voice and deserving of a far better performance from the players.

Player Ratings

Stuart Taylor 6

Spilled the ball and nearly cost a goal, could have done better for the Anelka free kick.

Olof Mellberg 5.5

He is so obviously out of position it is almost criminal. Not his fault.

Martin Laursen 6

Not at his best today, gave the ball away cheaply at one point but luckily Bolton didn't take advantage of his rare error.

Zat Knight 5.5

He was average for Fulham, he is average for us. If he is keeping Curtis Davies out the team, just how bad is Curtis Davies? :o(

Wilfred Bouma 7

Played well today and made some very timely tackles.

Isaiah Osbourne 5.5

Not at the races

Stiliyan Petrov 5.5

I think he has been watching too much rugby as he only seems to be able to pass backwards?

Gareth Barry 6

Quiet day at the office but one very timely interception and he did at least try to get the ball forwards.

Ashley Young 5.5

Average day today, didn't seem to get the ball as much and wasn't keen on the strong physical tactics produced by Bolton.

Shaun Maloney 6

Very nearly produced a chance out of nothing, did nothing to deserve being substituted as far as I could see. Still, what do I know!!

Gabriel Agbonlahor 6

Used his speed to decent effect but out muscled. Good bit of opportunist play to lead to the goal. Needs support as he isn't a lone striker.

Luke Moore (46 on for Shaun Maloney) 6

Scored the goal, what more could you ask. First goal of the season, lets hope it isn't his last!

Patrik Berger (46 on for Isaiah Osbourne) 4

Truly dire, not up to speed at all and a sorry sight for such a fantastic player.

Manager Rating

We are drifting alone with old fashioned football, average purchases (Ashley Young aside) and strange substitutions. Maybe MON had too long out of the game because at the moment this is long ball and average.

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Sunday October 28 2007
Time: 4:30PM


Very harsh on Petrov, he was our 2nd best player behind Bouma imo.
28/10/2007 16:32:00
Not sure VillaCrazy, 5 in the ratings means average, the least expected. 6 better than average but only in patches. Think the half way is about right! Anyone else got any match ratings, all down to personal opinions really, I saw our midfield over-run and not dictating the game at all. Petrov did do better than of late but he only passes backwards!
The Fear
28/10/2007 16:43:00
All a team has to do is impose themselves on us and were struggling.This has been our worst period since MoN took over.We had wave after wave of Bolton attack and we wrong the end of the table once more injuries and suspensions kick in.
28/10/2007 16:49:00
I dont know what happened to that post lol.The bits that got cut out there were Europe is out of the question on the basis of what were seeing and we could be back down the wrong end of the table.
28/10/2007 16:52:00
I really don't know what you lot are getting so fired up about... A new manager and Bolton were bound to be trying to impress. And they had Anelka, and Noble back. We had Nigel out and a couple of understandable other changes that didn't seem to work. In short, a rather predictable situation i.m.o. I certainly forecasted a draw (probably 1-1) before the match. No surprises then.
28/10/2007 17:04:00
...and I'd like to add that the nature of Villa fans is again becoming apparent. After we had beaten Chelsea there were no criticisms, nor after winning 4 home league games on the trot. Just because we had a stutter last week and a "trying to get rhythm back" performance today, everyone throws slugs. "Fickle", DOL said - about the only thing he had right during his time at VP.
28/10/2007 17:06:00
The rating sum up how fans love to slate certain players. Petrov was our best midfielder, he out ran and out passed Barry and got past midfielders. He covered an amazing amount of ground and it was the kind of performance he should be giving us, he has been awful for us in the past, but he hasnt got a chance if he gest slated for today. Barry was a passenger, didnt run or put a foot in and lost the ball most of the time (in a similar fashion to the Man U game) but because he is our Bazza he is rated better than Petrov today. Knights back pass was poor but he did well to snuff out nearly every header (esp off davies and anelka) and cross at the near post and himself and Bouma did well to back up a pourous midfield and in Knights case, a very poor right back, otherwise it would have been more than 1 conceded - he was in fact one of the mian reasons taylor had few shots to save when bolton had all of the ball (the midfields fault). However the likes of Knight would have to play out of there skins every week to stave off criticism.
28/10/2007 17:15:00
not sure you are right lurgy there. If we play well, most say so, if we play badly, most say so. I don't think much of this season has exactly been tip top personally.
The Fear
28/10/2007 17:33:00
you are free mickey_villa to submit some match ratings, it is only my opinion and in my opinion Petrov at the moment is no better than average. He did play better than he has in the past but still mostly goes backwards and we lost the battle in midfield and he was in the centre of it.
The Fear
28/10/2007 17:35:00
Just looking over the ratings again (and again, it is only my opinion!!) they are all - apart from Bouma on 7, within .5 of each other. can't see any wild discrepency there to be fair Mickey Villa. Welcome to the site by the way!
The Fear
28/10/2007 17:36:00
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