Aston Villa - Lions Maul Trotters
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Aston Villa 4 - Bolton Wanderers 0

Villa Park


Attendance: 37 773

Lions Maul Trotters

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!

The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday April 5 2008

Time: 6:30PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
You were impressive today. Bolton is going DOWN!!
Fan of Blues
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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
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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
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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
Report Abuse
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.
Report Abuse
05/04/2008 19:38:00

well done stylian petrov didnt hear one mumour directed his way today.
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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
Report Abuse
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.....
Report Abuse
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.....
Report Abuse
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.
Report Abuse
05/04/2008 20:35:00

Totally agree with all those scores except the Knight one he made a couple of mistakes today but did ok, 6/10 for me.
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05/04/2008 20:37:00

i agree with the comments re Petrov.He gave Barry license to roam a bit more than usual with both his goals being scored from taking up a centre right position.
Report Abuse
05/04/2008 20:50:00

Gareth will deservedly claim most of the plaudits, but what about that so much improved performance from Stiliyan Petrov? He looked genuine quality, involved in everything, the heart and soul of the team. More please Stan. Also thought Carew, Young, and Bouma were at the top of their game. I'm not going overboard though. There were still areas that gave cause for concern.
Report Abuse
05/04/2008 23:14:00

the key word here is 'balanced', and everyone looked calm within this. aside from Carson who is flappy mcflapster. 4-0! what more do we want? the same for the next month.
Report Abuse
06/04/2008 01:24:00

i think MON again proved he is worth his salt. he mixed it up in the right way and we won convincingly. brilliant tactician. brilliant motivator. he will get the best out of petrov
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06/04/2008 02:30:00

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. ahahahah,
Report Abuse
06/04/2008 03:47:00

I thought Bouma was excellent in the 1st half, looks like he had a point to prove after being brought off against Man U. Petrov was inspirational.
Report Abuse
06/04/2008 10:40:00

Barry played a great deal over by me on the left, that is for sure, so maybe I mis read where he was, didn't look like he was playing the solid centre position that he has of late, but then I am pitchside so don't always get the best view of tactics and placements.

Agree glensider, Petrov was superb today and having just watched the highlights, he was even better than I thought during the game! Now he has to do it next week, the week after, the week after that etc..!
The Fear
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06/04/2008 12:17:00

Oh, having seen the highlights this morning I also forgot the awful mistake that Mellberg made which nearly led to a goal. Tut tut bearded wonder!
The Fear
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06/04/2008 12:18:00

Barry was truly outstanding last night. As many have stated, Petrov also did his bit - looked a lot more like a quality midfield player, other than the drifter we've been used to seeing. Bit disappointed in Reo Coker, as in my book he got caught in possession way too many times, and too many passes still not finding their target. Young and Bouma were both top class. Gabby looked better, but still doesn't look to me like he's ever going to be the prolific goalscorer we desperately need. I actually think Carson deserves a 2 or a 3 rating at best for that performance - the fact that we somehow kept a cleansheet masks a truly shocking display of flapping from him - I can't remember seeing a worse performance from a goalkeeper over an entire 90minutes, I really can't. The guy needs to really go back to basics. Drop him MON. Excellent result though, and some of that passing, particularly the crisp moves that led to the 2nd goal, was a real pleasure to watch, and leaves me wanting MORE PLEASE!
Report Abuse
06/04/2008 12:22:00

Carson, please go,
Report Abuse
06/04/2008 13:15:00

I thought Freddie B was superb yesterday. I think you would've known that if you spent the whole game with your eyes shut as his name was being constantly sung by the Holte. Having watched the highlights on FF last night I have to agree that Petrov was even better than I appreciated at the match (I knew he'd played well but he was excellent). Carson. Well. I have to agree with Leftfoot. Carson is "flappy mcflapster" lol.
Adam Deuce
Report Abuse
06/04/2008 15:41:00

Bolton really really were and are that poor. We shouldn't get carried away. A better team would definitely have scored but saying that hopefully us scoring 4 will get the confidence up. Derby = another clean sheet surely ( 2 in a row unheard of.)
Report Abuse
06/04/2008 17:34:00

Petrov was immense today. It was him playing so well that released Barry to get forward and grab his goals. I have been as big a critic of Petrov as anybody but I have got to hand it to him for his performance today. Here's hoping it was the first of many like it from him.
Report Abuse
06/04/2008 18:14:00

Well everyone looks like petrov is going to get more of a chance becuase NRC is out for the next 2 games through suspension! That was petrovs best performance at villa park cum on lads lets push on and get intertoto!!
Report Abuse
07/04/2008 07:17:00

After all the talk about tactics last week, I thought our tactics were great. Letting Young and Barry roam really threw the Bolton defense. NRC and Petrov held the middle, but that is expected vs castoffs like McCann. Gabby made some great runs. If he picked his head up and passed the ball a step quicker than he does, he would have assisted on at least 2 more goals.
Report Abuse
07/04/2008 14:56:00

Maul is in truth an understatement. They looked very poor. Megson will do well to keep them up now.
Report Abuse
16/04/2008 23:54:00


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