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Aston Villa
4 - 0
Bolton Wanderers

Villa Park


Attendance: 37 773


Now that is a refreshing change! Fair enough Bolton were poor but you can only play what is in front of you and Villa put on a good display, bouncing back from three straight losses with some style.

I'm not sure Villa fans really knew what to expect after indifferent performances v Middlesbrough and Sunderland but luckily today the team were balanced and it seemed told that they were allowed to play the ball on the ground. Again, the hoofing football from so many games this season had disappeared and again they showed what they can do when given a little bit of space and time.

The enigma that is Stiliyan Petrov was one of several who shone today, some of his touches were very classy and a few passes - one that really deserved a goal as the end result - were sublime.

Barry took the first goal with a very well timed header - I believe from an Ashley Young cross. The second was a superbly taken goal by Gabby, his first of the year and hopefully that will now give him a bit of confidence as I'm sure - despite what he has said - the goal drought must have been weighing heavily on his mind.

Up stepped Barry to take his second from open play - can't remember the last time he got two goals in one game, I certainly can't remember the last time he got two goals from open play in one game. He was played back out on the left today and he looked 100 times better than the last 5-6 games for it.

Even good old Marlon Harewood managed to come on and help himself to a nicely taken goal, with the work ethic he shows he certainly deserved it and to be fair, sitting so close to the bench and judging by his size, even if he didn't deserve it I'm not sure I'd say!!!!!!!!!

I think the Villa fans deserved that today and certainly the team NEEDED it with Derby and then the local derby to face in the next few weeks. All is certainly lost with the quest for fifth, well all but lost, it ain't over until the fat lady sings but she is gargling at the moment. However there is still all to play for, because if we finish above Blackburn and Man City and as long as Everton finish 5th, then we will qualify for the Inter-two-bob. At least that is my understanding!

I so nearly didn't go today as I'm under the weather, I must say I'm delighted that I did manage it, as the performance was the brightest we've had in a while and no more than the 37 000 who turned up deserved.

Star Player

Barry closely followed by Petrov.

Player Ratings

Scott Carson 4

Did his best to let Bolton back in it. The only thing I've seen flap less than Scott is the dead parrot from Monty Python, beautiful plumage or not, Carson has got a long way to go to be a top top keeper. At 23 he could well do it though. At least we've been able to break our 18 game run without a clean sheet now.

Wilfred Bouma 7

I think Wilf has been great this season and has got better as we've gone through.

Martin Laursen 7

Back to his solid self.

Zat Knight 7

Seemed to be fine and dandy today.

Olof Mellberg 7

Nice trick with the ball for the throw in, he went to throw it and it just spun out of his hands as the ball was wet. Not sure he could do that again if he tried.

Nigel Hokey Cokey 6.5

Good performance, a few passes went astray but then a few were soooo nearly inch perfect for good attacking moves.

Gareth Barry 8

Much much better on the right and two brilliantly taken goals.

Stiliyan Petrov 7.5

A lovely performance, more of the same please Stan.

Ashley Young 7.5

Set up some goals, ran rings around Bolton, happy days.

John Carew 5.5

Struggling and not fit, went off holding his groin. Few ladies around me would have happily taken that job for him according to them! He did try to put himself about.

Gabby Agbonlahor 6.5

Much better and got the goal he has so obviously been missing this season.

Harewood (on for Carew 77) 7

Came on and scored, what more could you ask for?

Berger (on for Young 83)

Not on long enough to have an impact.

Routledge (on for Petrov 86)

Not on long enough to have an impact but good to see him make his debut.

Manager Rating

MON Bounced back after some bad results, lept 20 foot in the air for each goal, obvioulsy meant a lot to him to see the wheels going back on after a poor run!

Opponent Rating

Gary Megson the bloke has a voice like a fog horn! Bolton, playing like that, are doomed. The few hundred fans (5-600 came down) did their best and at the end were doing the conga!

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Saturday April 5 2008
Time: 6:30PM


You were impressive today. Bolton is going DOWN!!
Fan of Blues
05/04/2008 18:33:00
Yes, think Bolton are doomed unless they can find some sort of magic and Blues really blow it.
The Fear
05/04/2008 18:36:00
What a day for the Latics...we win and secure our safety and the wobbling wanderers get thumped and are virtually down...thanks Villa
05/04/2008 18:52:00
It was a great performance, but Bolton were so very poor. They were useless at the back and devoid of invention going forward. On today's performance i can see why they have only taken 1 point out of the last 27.
The Usual Suspect
05/04/2008 19:35:00
Agree with most of the observations although I believe the article is all over the place regarding Barry who actual started centre midfield and gave a good performance alongside Petrov.However it must be remembered that Bolton had McCann in the centre and despite always giving 100% he was well off premiership pace more than twelve months ago. Cannot agree at all with your comments about Carew who I thought caused Bolton all sorts of problems both in the air and on the deck. Gabby is definitely not firing on all cylinders,however i though Ashley Young tormented the opposition throughout the first half although he was quieter in the second. Agree with your comments re Carson.I can only believe that Martin has his hand tied re selection which calls into question the wisdom of making such a committment although he does give some players a lot of time to play through bad spells.
05/04/2008 19:38:00
well done stylian petrov didnt hear one mumour directed his way today.
05/04/2008 19:39:00
Petrov was excellent today, he see passes other dont and today executed them beautifully, nrc was solid on the right, but at last in the centre of the park we looked like we had some sort of invention, barry and petrov complimentedeach other very well, both in defence and attack, and used the ball very well. Barry most certainly played in centre midfield today, Mr Fear
05/04/2008 19:47:00
It was a three man triangle central-midfield. Petrov sitting deep with NRC and Barry playing right-of and left-of center respectively. All three of them were superb.... In the first half Ashley had a free role - in the second Bolton adjusted and he couldn't find as much space so he stayed out on the wing more.....
05/04/2008 20:22:00
I know hindsight is 20-20 and all that but I'm giving myself props for my constant comments on various Villa sites that Petrov has played his best games for Villa as a deep-lying midfielder.....
05/04/2008 20:25:00
gmvillan - i could not agree more, i think he is a excellent passer of the ball, and see's and executes passes that no-one else in our squad can.
05/04/2008 20:35:00
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