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Villa Scrape Draw In Poor Display

Odense BK
2 - 2
Aston Villa



Attendance: 11,393


Villa started their European odyssey (ahem, cough cough) with a tired and rather shambolic 2-2 draw away to Odense BK.

It was obvious, as an early season game, that the team were short on match fitness and despite getting off to a bright start and a well taken goal from John Carew taking advantage of a saved shot by Ashley Young, Odense were soon back in it with an unfortunate own goal by new boy Steve Sidwell.

From thereon in, Odense were by far and away the better team and it has to be noted with their season set to start soon, they were more match ready. Villa went 2-1 up following yet another fearless header by captain Martin Laursen but couldn't hold on and again conceded in the dying minutes.

The performance as a whole was sloppy but then, it is important to remember that we now have two away goals and surely Odense will struggle to come to Villa Park and replicate the performance they put in tonight? We should also, hopefully, be fitter and who knows, we might FINALLY have bought a few more players.

The shape and sharpness was certainly not there and although it gets repetitive, you have to ask why we've not got a right-back, we've been without one for over a year and although Craig Gardner did well - and actually cleared by a header a ball off the line - he was caught out of position and for pace a few times, not helped I'm sure by the fact he is only just back from a groin strain.

Martin O'Neill has allowed players to leave and the squad is decimated and he now HAS to act. It was unsettling to hear former Villa hero and commentator for Setanta question the pot of gold that Randy Lerner has, saying he has seen little evidence, when it is in fact the manager all eyes should be on. We were left woefully exposed today, if Gardner hadn't been fit to start who would have played at right back? If Stuart Taylor had picked up an injury we'd have had a kid in goal. Intertoto might not be the most respected of tournaments BUT it is a way into Europe and that is crucial to our quest to get back the glory days of the past.

It was strange to see Nigel Hokey-Cokey out on the right, what did we buy Wayne Routledge for, I thought he was a winger, NRC is not. Also, as Deano said in commentary, Gabby and Carew don't seem to work together, they rarely put each other in and to be fair tonight, the supply to them was negligible. Also towards the end you would think that Marlon Harewood would have been given a run out, he is an impact player and with Carew and Gabby both not fully fit - and Carew was limping towards the end - surely a fresh pair of legs would have been a sensible plan?

So, not a time to panic but certainly not the sort of display we'd all like to have seen. Controversial thing to say or not, this will do little to convince players that Villa are serious contenders for Europe and certainly won't have Gareth Barry regretting his desire to leave for the Champions League. The manager MUST ACT now to bring in players. Ever the optimist, he will.... won't he?

All in all Odense were fairly unlucky not to have got the victory but at least Villa ground out a result that gives us the advantage with all to play for next weekend.

VILLA: Taylor, Gardner, Bouma, Laursen, Knight, Reo-Coker, Sidwell (off on 82), Young, Petrov, Agbonlahor, Carew. Subs: Parish, Harewood, Salifou, Routledge (Sidwell 82), Osbourne, Maloney, Baker.

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Saturday July 19 2008
Time: 9:32PM

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That was the worst performance of the MoN reign so far,very,very worrying.
19/07/2008 21:46:00
JP, I can't say I'm that worried about tonight. Football in July isn't right and if we can manage a 2-2 away that's OK by me. At this time of year it's about a game at a time. We'll be better by this time next week, but I don't think the personnel will be that different. I happen to think that it's more important we get the right players for the next 3 years than for the next 3 weeks. I'll be happy with steady improvement over the next few weeks, a handful of good quality players by the end of August, and top half/still in all comps by Christmas. Life's too short for anyone to get in a complete tizz when the summer hols have only just started!
19/07/2008 21:49:00
He didn't look best pleased himself with that perforamance. Next week should be different though. And if we haven't signed a right back by next friday I'm just hoping they pull delaney out of retirement.
19/07/2008 21:50:00
I can't believe the Hare didn't get a go. If MON is trying to stop him from going to a team where he gets regular first team football, surely not playing him in a game like this when no one is fully fit won't help? I do however want to take one positive away from this game. The teams that win the premier league are the teams that scrape out results when they are playing their worst. This my friends, was our worst. We scraped out 2 goals away from home against a fitter side in Denmark in our first European game in years. We are well short of fitness, no RB, 1 goalie and no chemistry yet. But we got A result, not the one we wanted but 2 goals away and surely we will see them off at Villa Park.
19/07/2008 21:53:00
19/07/2008 21:53:00
The performance was dissapointing today, however the result isnt too bad. Its in Villa's hands to dominate at VP now and progress to the next round! I really do hope progree is made on the transfer front before next week.
19/07/2008 21:56:00
The only player i thought was any good in the game was Martin Laursen. I am VERY pleased that he was captain in the game.
villa for ever
19/07/2008 21:58:00
New signings? Very wishful thinking. If we were going to sign any more players we would have done so before the season started. Let's hope we can sign some players at midnight on January 31st.
19/07/2008 21:58:00
Only is the first 10 mins and 5mins either side of Villa's second goal did it seem like the game wasnt flat. Sidwell and Petrov just didnt get into the game and couldnt dominate the CM, must admit i was quite dissapointed Maloney and Routledge didnt get a chance on the right wing. However i understand M'ON's reason for playing NRC on the right wing, defensively he is much better than Routledge, Maloney and Petrov and had the pace to get back and help Gardner when he could.
19/07/2008 22:03:00
Astonian Villan
19/07/2008 22:04:00
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