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Aston Villa 1 - Portsmouth 3

Villa Park

08/12/2007

Attendance: 35 790

Wet Weekend For Villa

Well lets get this out of the way straight away, the referee Mike Riley was awful today.

Is that an excuse? No, not really. Do we need an excuse? Possibly not. Pompey are the highest away scorers this season and also on a 10 unbeaten (sadly now 11!) run. Add to the fact we also gave them a one goal start from a woeful attempt at a clearance by Wilfred Bouma which was then slotted in by Craig Gardner, who was less to blame as if he hadn't converted it the Pompey player would have.

If you listened to some of the fans you'd have thought we were about to get relegated as well, some people really do over react at games! I even had some fool throw a pound coin, I assume towards the ref but the clueless pratt hit me with it instead. You have to ask why some people are allowed to share the same air we breath really!?

Lets face it, this was always going to be tough, when we gifted them an easy opening goal and had our own Martin Laursen miss two guilt edged chances, you just kind of knew this wasn't going to be our day. You just can't miss chances like that and expect to get anything from a team bang in form.

Is this a disaster? No, not really. It wasn't a great performance, maybe some got carried away with the hype that has surrounded us recently, but they weren't that bad, just Pompey were better - especially when it came to taking their chances. At least the Villa didn't at any stage let their heads drop or give up. They did fight to the last.

I must admit there was plenty of huffing and puffing (and sadly some hoofing) with very little end product at times but even then, David James pulled off some outstanding saves - why oh why we ever let him go I'll never understand. He was the best keeper Villa had have in the last 10 odd years and is still the best in the country! Ok, he also flapped a bit but even still, his reactions are top notch.

The other goals by Pompey were just class, nothing we could have done about the second one, the third was slightly annoying because Nigel Hokey-Cokey gave the ball away cheaply and Zat Knight missed the tackle but the finish by Muntari was top drawer, I don't think you'll see many better finishes this season.

A win today would have seen Villa rise above Pompey and would have set up the Festive fixtures very nicely, and much like the Blackburn result did for us, I think the scoreline slightly flatters Pompey, especially with the missed chances by Laursen and the near miss (hit the bar) by Gabby, although having said that Diop missed what looked like a certain 4th with an open goal to shoot at he shot wide, but make no mistake, they came out of it worthy winners and look like they really could be pushing for 5th spot this year.

Oh, and I thought Glen Johnson was outstanding today, wish we'd had the foresight to buy him, he marked Ashley Young totally out of the game and looked a cut above most of the players on the pitch.

And Villa? I tend to agree with Paul Merson on that one, if we keep with this old fashioned long ball game, we'll hover around 8th, which is a shame because when we play the ball on the ground, we actually look quite good. Rome wasn't built in a day, we've had a good run and we should still be able to go up to Sunderland with confidence next weekend.

Star Player

Don't often give the star player to an opponent but I thought Glenda Johnson was outstanding today.

Player Ratings


Scott Carson

Not sure how you rate a keeper who let in 3 goals, but he did pull off some decent saves as well.

Wilfred Bouma 5.5

Has to take the blame for the first goal and his distribution when he gets forward really is woeful at times.

Martin Laursen 5.5

Really don't know how to rate any higher, missed two sure goals and with 3 goals conceded he's ruined my fantasy football teams weekend as well!

Zat Knight 5.5

Left standing a few times, Nigel Hokey-Cokey got back and covered twice towards the end for what would have otherwise been more goals.

Olof Mellberg 6

Soldiered on, had some good touches, nearly scored, but still better in the middle and I wish to God MON would realise that and put him back there.

Craig Gardner 5.5

Thought he had a very quiet day at the office.

Nigel Hokey-Cokey 6

Such a mixed bag, he gives away possession alot, concedes too many free kicks - although to be fair in some instances the refs are blowing up just because it is him (his reputation is known, he was the most booked player last season). He has to show a lot more than he is at the moment but on his England U21 performances last summer, he has more to give - hopefully.

Gareth Barry 6.5

Got stuck in, scored a great penalty then flattened a Pompey player, what more can you ask for?!

Ashley Young 5.5

Marked out of the game today.

John Carew 6

Few decent shots, don't think he appreciates the ball being hoofed to him all the time, if that continues he will grow very tired of the situation I'm sure. Some great touches at times, looks like he is getting back to some decent form.

Gabby Agbonlahor 6.5

A handful, a few decent shots, hit the bar. With better service he'd get even more goals.

Patrik Berger (on for Wilf on 54)

Very average, has probably had his day.

Marlon Harewood (on for Gardner 70)

My nan once told me if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. Golden advice.

Manager Rating

Looked like he was kicking every ball, you can see how much this matters to him, he has the passion no doubt at all. Lets hope he has the magic spending touch in January as we truly do need re-inforcements

Opponent Rating

Not a happy man at the comments he received from Villa fans. More to follow!

Poor Shaun!

I feel sorry for Shaun Maloney, he really isn't getting a chance at all and it is a shame because whenever he does come on, he looks good. He seemed very interested in my pie today, I did offer him some and he laughed. Then bizarrely our physio Alan Smith also looked over, I wonder if the Villa have stopped feeding the staff!!!

All in all, had a good day out, met the Vital Pompey Ed (Pompey Rug) and his mate Simon and got a pound tip from some wally who has a poor sense of aim. I've put that pound on the lottery, now wouldn't that just be poetic if that came up!

Oh, and the attendance, 35 790. It seems some really do prefer Christmas shopping these days, either that or they are too precious to get a bit wet!




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday December 8 2007

Time: 5:36PM

Your Comments

Ha ha, good article, at least you came away with a pound, good luck with the lotto!
krisvilla
Villa were poor today but I can't stand the thought of people (press) getting carried away with Pompey. They are a decent team but no better than us and I believe they will be our main challengers for the euro spot. At half time Pompey had only had 1 shot yet they were 2 up! Gabby was unlucky today with a furocious shot just before HT that would have set up a great 2nd half and then late towards the end with the header off the bar. Need a good result v sunderland now and then a win vs Citeh and we'll be back on track. Keep your heads up! Oh and by the way the main cause of the lower than average attendance (apart from TV game) was Pompey's shocking away support. I hear we are taking 5,500 away to Wigan! Has anyone else heard this??
JeffBeck-TheLeftSide
they got 5 Bookingsand it should have been 8. Ye again Pompey came to kick us off the park and they succeeded. We looked awful at times but Pompey were shocking in the first half and only got their chances when we lost the plot throwing everyone forward for a goal in the 2nd. We didnt look clueless and it was hit and hope stuff most of the time.
Mickey_Villa
ouch that was areal kick in the teeth pompy could not put 2 passes together in the first half but through sloppy defending,and a wonder goal and a brilliant save from james we found our selves with a mountain to climb we dont seem to have any sort of formation at all, it was long kick to john carew hoping he can flick it on or rely on set pieces we must buy players in january or it will be all doom and gloom at the end of the season and a wasted year where we will be so near yet so far, please give us a right back and a real goal poacher
claretandblue
everyone on here kept on about how carew was going to run us ragged, didn't happen, think yourselves lucky we COULDN'T strings 2 passes together first half!
paultsmouth
I still say Young cuts in to early.
Dudley_Villa
Barry was mince, really bad and looked injured at the end. What game were you watching? Harewood looked great when he came on. Maloney going back to Celtic and with petrov if you bunch of moaners have anything to do with it. We missed him big time today. I think we were naive not playing Shaun as an extra midfielder!
tarzan
Carson "but he did pull off some decent saves as well" When was this ?- I recall a couple of saves late on - but it was 4 shots 3 goals after 75 minutes. Think we have all been brainwashed about Carson - He doesn't seem to make any saves ? - a half decent shot - on target, tends to go in. He reminds me o f Michael Oakes. Harsh ? - ok - would Petr Cech have conceded 3 today ? - I think not
graydon
Graydon you have written what I was saying at the game. I try to think of great saves he has made this season whilst we have been conceding goals and can't think of many. Then you have James at the other end showing some great reflexes and saving at least 2 goals. 10m anyone?
Gordonsleftboot
Have to agree with you regarding Riley, in the first twenty minutes I thought he was Graham Poll re-incarnated!
merlin
yeah, not an excuse for the result, Pompey deserved it, but the ref is set to ruin as many games as he can this season, the standard is dropping fast!
The Fear
have to say the ref was poor today but he was poor for both teams! he gave villa a free in the second half when laursen and benjani challenged each other fairly laursen ended up on the deck and got a free! benjani was through on goal and that would have killed the game off!
durks de rover
We were pretty poor today. Why did we persist in trying to knock long balls to the left side for Young when their defender cut out every single one? Felt they were cynical in the second half, I can think of at least two occassions when Gabby was knocked down after beating his man a swell as Carew. Was pretty *****ed off at the end of the game and angry at that joke of a ref but now I've dried and thawed out and thought about it I agree with the report that they were better than us on the day. At least we didn't have to put up with that bloody bell!
Jon.H
Forget the ref. Forget the conditions. Forget the pitch. Excepting the glorious blip against Chelsea, we are not capable of beating teams above us in the league. Until we make that next step, we cannot dream of an assault on those European places.
VillaYamYam
Men against boys today. The pompey team were just too strong and physical for our lads. Maybe we need to import some bulked-up pacey africans like Redknap has??
whyvilla
Couple of points: 1) VillaYamYam says we cannot beat the teams above us. He is correct (that's why they are above us). BUT it is nice to know that we generally beat the teams we are supposed to beat. The old Villa had a nasty habit of losing to "easy" opponents and swinging the odd result against higher-placed teams. It seems now that we know exactly where we stand! 2) Have to respectfully but completely disagree with The Fear's assessment of Harewood. He looked lively, worked hard, created the chance for Gabby's chance near the end and caused the Pompey defence to adjust significantly..... he did more in fifteen minutes than "our Lukey" has done in fifteen games......
gmvillan
One more point - Martin Laursen is off form...... could it be his protracted contract issues? I always thought the comparisons with Paul McGod were misplaced at the beginning of the year, and today he was overpowered by Benjani all day..... never would have happened to the Black Pearl....
gmvillan
And my lotto ticket didn't produce the desired result either. :o(
The Fear
How long are we going to keep on playing Zat Knight? He's rubbish!
weller77
Pompey deserved their win, they looked a pretty useful side. We missed chances, something you can ill afford to do, particularly when chasing the game. Three points up on Wearside next weekend are definitely needed, but it'll be far from an easy outing. We need to get back on track as soon as possible.
glensider
and why wasnt i 'quoted' here mr fear - i think you will find the phrase 'there was a lot of huff and puff but no real end product' was what i said about the villa performance... you will be hearing from my lawyer very soon - or i will settle out of court for a quid, but it'll have to be one of your own as your numbers didnt come up... crackin' day out, early start and a late return - a puncture on the way home didnt help, the almighty got some revenge on me for you! - but i wouldnt have changed a thing about the day.. well maybe the puncture bit, the cold and the rain :-) thanks for the hospitality shown towards me, unless the quid was meant for me...
pompeyrug
6 away wins in a row, 11 games unbeaten what a great season pompey are having - im having to pinch myself at times... i do think that we deserved to win, but maybe 3-1 was a touch harsh, we took our chances tho didnt we... good luck for the rest of the season.
pompeyrug
When Riley booked John Carew after 3 minutes for a sliding challenge on the most difficult of pitches I knew it would be another up hill battle, the Ironic cheers after he eventually gave Villa a free kick were well earned by the *****t in black, another disgraceful performance by a so called Premiership ref. Im not saying Villa would have won the game but at least played on a level pitch.
col8
We were spanked, superb finishing mind. Arry's put an excellent team together down there.
glensider
 

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