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Crouch Spoils Villa Party

2 - 2
Aston Villa



Attendance: 42 590


It really is a funny old game isn't it? The first 69 minutes were frankly horrible for the Villa, we couldn't string more than one pass together and kept giving the ball away, something no one wants to do when you are up against a team like Liverpool who spent £45million in the summer on top of an already star studded team.

That said, Liverpool didn't exactly cover themselves in glory and despite going one up, never took their chances from the amount of possession we gave them. All it was going to take for Villa was a spark but from the players on the pitch you really couldn't see where the spark was coming from, certainly not the central midfield partnership of Nigel Hokey-Cokey and Stiliyan Petrov who really lost the battle all game long.

On came Marlon Harewood, oh no some thought but within a minute OH YES we all thought. What a great goal and how well deserved after being on the bench (if lucky) but not moaning once since his arrival from West Ham in the summer. Makes you wonder why he's not had more 10-15 minute stints (at least) at the end of many a game this season when Villa have seemingly been drifting... I digress.

So 69 minutes woeful, amongst the worst from many of our team all season. Then a couple of minutes of joy and we were two up the second goal coming for a pass from Olof Mellberg - who was seen chuckling later - that cruelly deflected into the American owned [ ;o) ] goal. 2-1 and the momentum all Villa's way. Then a break, we were two players against one defender, all Gabby had to do was lay it off to Nigel Hokey-Cokey (or the Villa player on his left, I can't remember who that was) and it would have been 3-1 game over. Gabby has to learn to look up and take the easy option sometimes, he is quick of feet, when he becomes quick of footballing brain as well, he'll be awesome.

Chance 'squandered' and with Crouch coming on it was obvious what was going to happen. A cross that - of all people - Martin Laursen failed to deal with and 2-2 was the result.

To be fair, for the first 69 mins I'd have taken a draw with no doubt at all, having taken the lead and lasted until the 88th minute though, you can't help but feel disappointed (very limited disappointment) that we just can't close off matches and have some professional time killing.

Oh well, we match a team just below us in Blackburn at home on Saturday, we need all 3 points v them and if we have the same luck that we had tonight plus string more than one pass at a time together, we'll get the 3 points no worries...ahem!

Match stats: Click Here

Not sure it is worth rating the players after an awful 69 mins.

Star Player

Star Player. Difficult one but for the spark Marlon Harewood.

Player Ratings

Stuart Taylor

Don't think he was to blame for the goals and looked the best of the three keepers tonight, at least he moves about and commands the area well.

Wilfred Bouma

Ok, just ok.

Martin Laursen

Worked so hard throughout the game, one mistake and he was punished. Hard game this footie!

Curtis Davis

Had a miss kick that could have gone anywhere including an own goal, happily it didn't cost him as it would have been harsh, looked good.

Olof Mellberg

Did ok, bit slow for the first goal but then, he wasn't meant to be in the central position!

Nigel Hokey-Cokey

He said on the official site he is working at becoming amongst the best holding midfielders in the world. I would probably hold off statements like that until he is at least amongst the best in the Prem. Not a great game, worst for a while I'd say, he did break up some of the play but he gave the ball away far too much. Should have been set up for a sure goal and didn't look impressed with the lack of a pass from Gabby.

Stiliyan Petrov

Didn't look comfortable in the centre today, worst game for a while. Commentators mentioned that he doesn't seem to be up to speed when played in the centre.

Craig Gardner

Not a great game, got involved but things just didn't come off for him today.

Ashley Young

Not good judging by his high standards. Worst game of the season?

John Carew

A very off night

Gabby Agbonlahor

Just needs to learn to do the simple things, pass the ball at times and to look up.

Marlon Harewood (on for Gardner 66)

Fantastic goal, well done, got a chance and took it.

Zat Knight (On for Carew on 91 mins)

Superb game!

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Monday January 21 2008
Time: 10:53PM


Yeah or neigh? Good, bad or ugly?! Must admit I'd have taken a draw before the start but with just 2 mins to go... DOH!
The Fear
21/01/2008 22:56:00
Harewood scored?! Martin O'Neill is a magician.
21/01/2008 23:03:00
Without doubt our worst performance of the season. When we saw Crouchy coming we knew it was inevitable. VERY happy with the point because we really didn't deserve anything. To be fair I thought Liverpool were poor too. Neither side seemed capable of holding on to the ball. A MASSIVE well done to Marlon. His determination and willingness to run at defenders turned the game for us. More Marlon please!! And Finally.... Y O Y O Y O Y O Y O Y didn't Gabby pass? Anything to do with the time Reo-Coker failed to pass in a similar situation at VP a few games back (Spurs/Man City? Can't remember). Bad decision that could have given us 2 extra points if he'd made the right one. Oh well - as I said. Happy with the point.
Adam Deuce
21/01/2008 23:11:00
Coker 'Not a great game'! Your having a laugh Fear. One his best displays I have seen.
21/01/2008 23:13:00
funny how we watch the same game and see games totally differently! From the comfort of my armchair only, I thought the midfield battle was won with ease for Liverpool and the central midfielders gave the ball away far too easily. Just wish he'd stop the weekly quotes about himself and let his playing do the talking and to be given praise instead of dishing it out for himself. By the way, I am fascinated to see how his career progresses because I rate him and think he could be VERY good for us. Just didn't think tonight was one of his best.
The Fear
21/01/2008 23:17:00
harewood! harewood! harewood! Just wait until salifou gets a full game! zat night did indeed have a superb game.... lets face it, at half time I would have settled for losing 1-0; an immense result. Davies was superb other than that slice! Play harewood up with carew next match and gabby on the wing. Maybe give maloney a game in the middle... A very satisfying evening!
21/01/2008 23:19:00
fear, spot on, coker was miles off the pace, particularly in the second half. I think all of our players suffer from over-concentration sometimes in that they all try so hard that they end up all going for the same ball or going in too hard and are unable to recover if the challenge doesn't go our way. I actually thought mellberg was terrible tonight. Chimbonda not looking a bad bet....
21/01/2008 23:22:00
I agree about NRC if you make a team with as many attacking options as Liverpool look poor and weak in midfield then your midfielders must be having a good game. Away from home we can get points from anyone in the prem and we are starting to improve at home as well. Thought tonight we proved we can compete with anyone and can stop good teams from playing how they want to. Liverpool never imposed themselves because we wouldn't let them and in the second half Taylor only had a couple of saves to make at the end.
21/01/2008 23:25:00
Lawro on radio 5 thought that NRC did an excellent job in stopping Liverpool play, although I never agree with Lawro as I feel he doesn't like us but this time I thought he was spot on.
21/01/2008 23:30:00
Great result, when villa scored I was up and cheering nearly, got some funny looks from the locals(im in merseyside) but I didnt care cos what a well taken goal from harewood. He looks fresh came on and lpool didnt know what to do with him, he runs at defenders and thats what you need. villa played terrible for 69 minutes the suddenly came to life, as MON said too much respect for lpool I felt if villa raised their game before the match lpool were there for the taking. But i'm happy with a point, nearly 3 but what progress this season and Mon is hilarious he really does care, shouting gesticulating to the officials absolutely brilliant, imagine having sven as a manager? Overall point well done though, cos villa were not at the races today and to nearly win the game when playing soo bad muct show a decent team that Villa have got. up next Blackburn!
21/01/2008 23:46:00
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