Aston Villa - Chalk & Cheese Served
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Aston Villa 4 - Newcastle 1

Villa Park


Attendance: 42 640

Chalk & Cheese Served

What a joyful day! Talk about chalk and cheese, first half woeful, second half resplendent!

First half, is best confined to the back of the memory banks as one to miss, Newcastle took the lead in an uneventful half where really 0-0 would have reflected the total stalemate of the situation. I must admit my catching of the ball and swift pass to Bouma for a throw in was the fastest move for the Villa in the first 45 mins and some around me were heckling 'this is boring'. Villa weren't THAT bad, they just weren't that good. The Magpies goal came from a great cross by James Milner, such a shame we didn't get him signed! {gay mode on} you should see the muscles in Milners legs. {gay mode off} !! The cross was headed in by Michael Owen and that was that, not exactly against the run of play as neither team had had a run of play.

The first half ended with a chorus of boo's from the Villa fans, bit harsh in my opinion but hey ho, you pays your money, you takes your choice.

My dad, who is usually quiet and reserved (I obviously take after him!) called to Martin O'Neill 'wake them up for the second half' and to be fair, MON turned round and nodded.

AND BOY OH BOY did he wake them up or what? I'd loved to have been in the dressing room at half time as you can only assume some of the players had strips torn off them for once again not showing up.

The second half was just so different with every man fighting for every ball from start to finish. Once again Villa have set a benchmark for the rest of the season and hopefully MON will stick with the players he started with in the second half for the next game (away to Reading). It won't hurt Gabby Agbonlahor, if he recovers fitness, to sit on the bench for a game or two but it would hurt Shaun Maloney or Marlon Harewood if they were dropped.

MON made two changes at half time with the sadly woeful Stiliyan Petrov being dragged off (and replaced by Harewood), for his own good as well as the good of Villa you'd assume. Plus Olof Mellberg came off and was replaced by Craig Gardner. Not sure if that was tactical or an injury to the bearded one, but I can't say he had a particularly good first half - that said I can't say any of them exactly excelled.

You can read loads of match reports that go through the blow by blow accounts, so I'll sidestep that, but having just watched the second half replayed, there was only one team in it and nearly every attack we made we looked threatening. Ok, ok, there was a huge slice of luck in Wilf Bouma's first goal that did take a slight deflection, but hey that is his first goal for Villa, he'll take it and we'll take it! Within a few minutes John Carew - who looked at times like a statue in the first half - sprang to action and scored a lovely glancing header. Just like the buses (pah, as if I use public transport, the very thought wot wot) you wait ages for one and then comes along 2 more the third being a well taken penalty following a ridiculous hand ball by Stephen Carr. What was he thinking?!?

The atmosphere was another massive plus point today, Villa as a club really is rocking and the fans are playing a major part in that. I couldn't help but think when football produces this sort of atmosphere and excitement, why should we allow the money men to ruin it with their pathetic money grabbing proposals, but that is for another day I guess! It was also great to see John Carew throw his top in the Holte End to celebrate his first hattrick for Villa (and first for 7 years) as well as Marlon Harewood taking his off and giving it to a kid in the Trinity.

Martin O'Neill, I don't know what you and your backroom boys said to the team at half time, but please, give them more of the same before the next game, this sort of turnaround could give us the injection of confidence that could see us make Europe this year.

Ratings, first half 5 for them all. Second half it all changed though and to think, we still aren't at our best!

Star Player

The Villa crowd, we roared the team on. Oh, and Carew for his hattrick!

Player Ratings

Scott Carson 6

Not to blame for the goal I don't think but then again, what do I know?! Not the most commanding of keepers.

Wilfred Bouma 7

Think he has come on leaps and bounds and worked hard to keep James Milner quiet. Great to see him on the scoresheet for the first time!

Martin Laursen 7

Few small errors but put his head in where it hurts over and over again.

Curtis Davies 7

Solid and no lapses of concentration.

Olof Mellberg 6

Just ok today and brought off, not sure if that was injury or tactics.

Ashley Young 8

Showed what we missed against Fulham. Tricky bugger to play against and got far more stuck in with tackles etc today.

Stiliyan Petrov 5

Such a shame, I thought he was finally finding his feet, but today he was a liability and rightly brought off. Wasted talent or maybe he just can't and won't get up to the speed of the Premiership. He never complains, hope he comes good but how long can we all wait and hope for before having to cut our losses? Come on Stan.

Gareth Barry 7

Has to do more of the scruffy stuff in the centre but is always involved at both ends.

Nigel Hokey-Cokey 7

Got stuck in and helped boss the midfield. Got very angry and could have been sent off - wonder what Taylor did/said to make him lose his cool so much? He has to learn to control his temper, if he'd got another red it could have cost us dearly.

John Carew 8

First half he was a statue waiting for the ball to drop to him, second half was the player we brought in with the massive reputation. More of the second half Carew and we'll be in Europe next year.

Shaun Maloney 7

Thought he did really well, needs a run in the team and after today's efforts deserves to keep his place.

Craig Gardner (on for Olof at half time) 7

Didn't disappoint and nearly scored. Still a very promising young player.

Marlon Harewood (on for Stan at half time) 8

Helped transform the game, becoming a cult figure down at Villa Park and rightfully so. Can't help but salute the man as he's not once grumbled since coming from West Ham and when he comes on he certainly makes his presence felt. Another that now deserves to keep his place.

Isaiah Osbourne (on for Young in injury time)

On in injury time.

Manager Rating

Martin O'Neill A relieved man I'd think as a loss today could have seen us go into confidence meltdown. The first half wasn't good enough, he knew it and took action. Nice job!

Opponent Rating

Kevin Keegan. I like Keegan, he is a real footballing man but I think he has one hell of a job to turn the Mapgies around again and I'm not convinced he has the staying power anymore.

The Villa Fans. 10 out of 10.

Proud to be a part of the claret and blue army, hey I even took my top off to take the michael out of the topless Geordies when we went 2-1 up. Not sure the folks around me or anyone else are quite ready for that though, so I'll promise not to do it again...! It did get me a ladies phone number mind you. Trouble is the number was for the Samaritans. ;o(

Chicken Pie 8

Nice and hot but rather disappointed it was back to the old shape as I'm told the last game had square ones and I missed out. Blimey my life really is sad.

The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 9 2008

Time: 6:10PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Terrible article Fear. Well done. LOL
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 18:18:00

Ha, come on randy, admit your moans via text at the end of the first half!!!!!!!!!!
The Fear
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 18:21:00

Oi look here. My ideas must have been forwarded to MON as my text was the pep talk that inspired us to victory. My tactics were spot on. Isnt that right Fearo?
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 18:23:00

Great result, great second half performance.Credit to Marlon, he provides the enthusiasm and the passion that wins hearts, and football games.Not to dampen the praise on the team, but Stan needs to sort himself out.Understandably he is not a wide right player.But if you can't adapt your game for the good of the team you should not play, end of story.He was a complete liability.Maloney deserves to keep his place, and if Marlon continues, Gabby may struggle to get back in!!...The Villa juggernaut is Back on track gents!..UTV
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 18:28:00

The difference between the two half's was our right hand side not just the removal of Petrov but the use of Gardener as well. Our midfield suddenly had options both sides of the pitch. Would still pla a fit Gabby over Marlon though but Gabby should have to fight for his place.
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 18:44:00

Well said daveldvilla MON replaced the entire right side that's what made the difference. Olly is a great defender but not the best going forward where as Gardner is much better going forward we were able to switch Young against Carr who was out of possition and they were unable to cope with the pace enthusiasm of Haewood.
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 18:59:00

Good point daveldvilla. Wish I'd come out with that!!!!!!!!!! :o(
The Fear
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09/02/2008 19:38:00

Yeah I said to my bro at HT we look one dimensional, just trying to give it young all the time, which is no bad thing but they were doubling up on him, way too obvious, I noticed Harewood hugged that right side after the break caused some problems , then when it went back on the left side Maloney was there, very varied and a great use of subs and tactics.
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 19:45:00

Message to Murph, i've been singing fog on the tyne all night and all day now, it's in my head! (with regard to prematch preview of Gazza)
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 19:48:00

KEEGAN AND THE BASEBALL BAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU GEORDIE LOSER
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 20:03:00

As far as NRC's yellow card goes, i thought his disagreement was with the little racist Emre, not Taylor? It would certainly explain his anger, looked like he was going to lamp Emre!
The Usual Suspect
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 20:42:00

"It won't hurt Gabby Agbonlahor, if he recovers fitness, to sit on the bench for a game or two but it would hurt Shaun Maloney or Marlon Harewood if they were dropped." How about the above quote from your own article Mr Fear as the basis for the fans next vote i.e. which two to play out of the 4 (including Petrov in the vote). There is also a choice to be had at right back, but the rest of the team for the next match I think all fans would agree is sorted. My vote is keep the second half team and keep playing them until injury or bad form justifies a change. M & H have waited and waited and a place in the team should now be theirs to keep or lose - they should start.
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 21:07:00

I think you've sold Carson short here. He was good today. Took control of every ball he came for, and saved the only two efforts i can remember apart from the goal.
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 21:11:00

Carson had a good game, he has good kicking, but he is just not consistent enough, and to be fair newcastle only threatened at the end of the game where he did pull off a save.
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 21:18:00

Brilliant result about time they got a walloping from Villa. KK still looking for his first win, shame.
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 21:31:00

Yeah, but a six for today? Bit harsh in my opinion, as you can only save the shots that come at you. He did his job perfectly, and it wasn't just the saves, he came and collected or cleared every cross he could. Still.....i've already got a quote from you to use as ammo, hahaha! "I will never question MON's signings again". I know you don't like Carson, and it's justified for the most part, but he was very good today. I also think Barry has once again been brilliant without people noticing, he was everywhere and has just managed to blend with the team (don't think he's been underated though)
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 22:53:00

I thought Carson did a good job meself. Marlon changed the game - he was fab - and did you see the way, near the end, he suckered in two or three of the Toon with a slow dribble near the touchline before sprinting off, leaving them in his wake ? Skill ! A dire first half saved by one the most exciting second halves this season, even if we weren't at our best - we put 4 past the barcodes and got 3 more points. Glorious :o)
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 23:23:00

Carlosio I think my "i will never question MON signings again" I was still in euphoric mode ;-) . Carson didnt do anything wrong today agreed, but still didnt get a clean sheet thats 13 games now since villa's last clean sheet! I'm happy though 3 points, MON will sort it out the GK position , I can see why he signed Carson, young, english etc... but at 10 mill I think everone agrees it is over inflated valuation by a debt ridden liverpool ;-)
Report Abuse
09/02/2008 23:31:00

Yup, no questions on that one here. Debt ridden to many peoples ears. It's good to see positivity from everyone, although I have no doubt if we don't get a result at reading people will be up in arms. Still, let's enjoy it while it lasts. Top stuff.
Report Abuse
10/02/2008 01:33:00

Thought Carson did well. Thought Bouma was superb, solid at the back, supported the attacking plays and was determined. I know cos of the hat trick Carew will get man of the match but well done Wilf!
Report Abuse
10/02/2008 05:42:00

Noticeable that Owens goal came from a half cleared corner to a cross that should have been defended by right sided players. How did Newcastle work that out?
Report Abuse
10/02/2008 05:44:00

I thought it was Emre that *****ed Reo-oker off aswell
Report Abuse
10/02/2008 11:54:00

I like the way you gave everyone a 5 for the first half and then gave Mellberg a 6. lol Was he THAT good sat on the bench?
Report Abuse
11/02/2008 09:53:00

Good result but I think we all expected to beat them. Still think that Fulham result will come back to bite us on the arse.
Report Abuse
11/02/2008 13:33:00

What was that first half all about? Definitely a hangover from Craven Cottage, and the poorest we've been at Villa Park in quite a while. Newcastle have to be kicking themselves, but they truly are a shambles. KK has his work cut out, if he has the will and inclination to stick around that is.
Report Abuse
11/02/2008 15:34:00

PTP the only way the Fulham result will come back to bite us is if we dwell on it!
Report Abuse
11/02/2008 15:45:00

Stan had an injury and missed the midweek friendly -Bulgaria vs N.Ireland. Maybe he hasn't recovered yet
Report Abuse
13/02/2008 15:22:00

Carson does seem to get a lot of undeserved stick. He's a decent enough keeper, arguably one of the best out there, although admittedly we dont seem as a nation to be blessed with too many quality keepers.
Report Abuse
19/02/2008 14:03:00


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