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Fortress Villa Park?

Aston Villa
0 - 0
Arsenal

Villa Park

31/12/2005

Attendance: 37,114

Referee:

Well, Mystic Mug said a draw, but I didn't expect a no score draw, not between these two sides!

David O'Leary said before the game he would be delighted with a point and after the game that he WAS delighted with a point! Not the best of comments before a game really, surely we should be aiming higher even if the opposition we are facing are quality? However, from a very shaky start to the season, Villa have picked up some crucial points through December and as long as we now progress in the FA Cup AND carry on picking up points, we might end up with a better second half to the season. We could at the very least start to re-build what was always an excellent home record and get back to 'Fortress Villa Park.'

Arsenal were a shambles in comparison to their supreme form of the last few seasons, they have lost all their shape, grace and free flowing football. BUT, you have to say that Villa also played to their strengths and didn't give the Arsenal players time to settle. The team were moved around slightly in order to fill the left back role - with Gareth Barry being moved back to the place he likes the least. Davis was put out wide - where he was mostly lost - and Bakke joined the centre of defence with McCann. Delaney also continued in the centre of defence and appears to be proving to the club that he is very worthy of a new contract!

The chances for both teams were limited. O'Leary said 'I thought a draw was a fair result. Each team had one good opportunity which you would have expected them to do better with but I have got nothing but praise for my players.' Ljungberg, who did little else, hit the crossbar. Barry hit a long ranger which looked to be directly at the keeper only for the ball to swerve and nearly catch Lenman out. Baros was clean through on goal and instead of acting like a selfish instinctive striker and bury the thing, he looked to pass once more to Luke Moore. When he realised Moore wasn't there, he shot but the chance went into the upper Holte and he had messed up a great - and I do mean great - chance to get Villa the three points.

If we had won I don't think anyone would have complained and Angel could have provided the points but headed over the bar, luckily in the dying seconds of the game Toure missed a sitter for Arsenal, it would have been extremely tough luck on a Villa side who grafted and look to have got some of their confidence and self belief back if he had buried it.

Oh, and Uriah Rennie is a disgrace. Why do the FA stick with him? Ruined what could have been a far more free flowing and exciting game.

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Star Player

McCann and Delaney. Couldn't choose between them. Both immense.

Player Ratings


Sorenson 7

Not a great deal to do.

Delaney 9

Immense and out to prove a point.

Hughes 7

Helped in a very strong defensive display.

Barry 8

Plays well at left back, shame he doesn't like it there! Was captain in the absence of Mellberg.

Ridgewell 8

Very strong and no silly mistakes.

Bakke 7

Best he has played for Villa

McCann 9

Did exactly what had to be done and showed some real fire and passion.

Davis 6.5

Wasted out wide, but put in the work.

Moore 6.5

Plenty of endeavour, not much in the shooting department.

Milner 6

He was immense v Fulham, he wasn't v Arsenal. His passes and distribution just didn't come off at all.

Baros 6

Got in a great goalscoring position then looked to pass. WHY? Be selfish, the Robbie Fowler's and Michael Owen's of the world NEVER look to pass when they can see the goal. Also, off side way too much.

Angel (on for Moore) 6.

Should have done better with the header, should have at least tested the keeper.

Manager Rating

David O'Leary 7. His team is stretched, but please, stop the whinging about the fixture list. Nice to see him interacting with some of the crowd. Not sure what he made of me giving him an Aston Villa shareholders diary though!

Opponent Rating

Wenger. Arsenal are in all sorts of trouble, they have lost their spark and zip. Never mind eh?! Still got the quality and what a bench to have. Probably worth more than our team!


Writer:J P Fear
Date:Sunday January 1 2006
Time: 12:07PM

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