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Stoke 3 - Aston Villa 2

Britannia Stadium

23/08/2008

Attendance: 27 500

Glensider Away At Stoke

Good to have the away-days back upon us, the real pleasure of watching Aston Villa I always think, and just in time too. We'd almost forgotten the joys of stopping and starting on the M6 motorway, a regular occurrence as we head out of Brum journeying north towards various premier league destinations, but rest assured, this brief jaunt to The Potteries soon reminded us of what lays ahead over the next nine months or so.

Outside the stadium the atmosphere was electric, red and white striped replica shirts everywhere. No doubt about it, The Stokies were well and truly up for their return to the big-time. Not to be outdone though, the travelling Villans were in good voice too, vocal chords no doubt lubricated by a pint or two of the local brew, certainly the case with yours truly and his three regular companions. Inside the stadium, a cauldron of noise. The Potters are back!

Its been almost ten years since we kicked off the premier league season with two successive victories. Surely about time we put that to rights.

A not surprisingly unchanged team from the line-up that saw off Manchester City last Sunday, but early doors saw us definitely struggling to get a grip on the game. Out-muscled in midfield, with no real opportunity or ideas as to how to assert ourselves. The long throws of Rory Delap causing concern if not problems, and providing the home lot with an additional if unconventional weapon. Stoke made a very committed start to the game, their up and at 'em direct approach, very much in evidence.

Now we turn to a case of two penalties, both on the thirty minute mark. First Gabby went down in the Stoke box but was denied a penalty, when it clearly looked as if he'd been bundled to the ground, play went straight to the other end and the hosts were awarded a spot-kick when Laursen was adjudged to have left his foot in to take down Delap (no complaints from me - but again, I'm going by what I saw, or think I saw, not from any tv replays etc). Brave attempt by Brad to keep the spot-kick out, but Lawrence had placed his kick perfectly. 1-0 to The Potters, and a need for our lads to really step up to the plate now. We'd created nothing, giving Tommy Sorensen a very easy ride so far.

We were struggling, no doubt about it. This wasn't in the script. A scrappy game overall, but Stoke had definitely shown more appetite for the fight, in a game that really had the feel of a cup-tie.

We were very disappointing going forward throughout the first forty-five, completely lacking ideas and invention.

Right on half-time Stoke almost doubled their lead. Fuller getting onto the end of another Rory Delap long throw, Brad never even made an attempt to get there, and fortunately the ball went just wide.

Sort 'em out Mart! Stoke in the first half had surely offered nothing that we didn't expect, but for some reason we just hadn't come to terms with the game.

The second forty-five got underway, and we certainly began brighter, looking more up for it, and pushing Stoke onto the back foot.

Gareth put in a right footed curler, clever idea, but nowhere near good enough to bring us level.

Ash completely wasted a free kick, guiding it into Sorensen's waiting hands, and while you had to admit that Stoke's defence was handling everything we threw at them, in truth you also had to admit that we weren't actually throwing too much their way. We were just short on ideas. Nothing happening for us.

Then, totally out of keeping with all that had gone before from the good guys, a superb flowing move saw Big JC finish with aplomb in front of the travelling Brummies. 1-1, cue celebrations, and our first away-day hug-in/love fest of the new campaign.

Suddenly we looked a different team, with my good buddy making the worrying comment, 'There's only going to be one winner now'. Famous last words. I know, he's uttered them so many times before!

For once, our set-pieces were leaving a lot to be desired. Not often we can say that, but annoyingly frustrating all the same.

Our first change of the afternoon, Wayne Routledge on for Nicky Shorey. Martin was certainly going for it.

The second half had certainly seen Gareth and Stan the Man grab a hold of midfield, the latter certainly continuing in his recent vein of fine form.

We looked on course for at least a point, in control, comfortable, but isn't that when you're at your most vulnerable?

Sure is! We went to sleep. Gareth gave the ball away needlessly, and Fuller put the ball past Brad to send the home fans into ecstasy. 'You're not singing anymore' they taunted us with.

And we weren't (singing anymore that is).

But...we soon were, and in louder voice than before! The Great Dane!! What was I prematurely saying about our dead ball delivery?

Ashley's deflected free-kick falls to Martin Laursen, and in the blink of an eye, Stoke's lead is no more. 2-2.

Oh no. Four minutes of injury time were indicated, and knowing how we love to concede late goals, that had to be a concern for us.

Sure enough, a late, late throw by Rory Delap, something we had struggled to come to terms with all afternoon, and there we are, 3-2 down, and with no time left to hit back.

These late, late goals kill us. Am I the only person who believes that this failing should have been eradicated by now? Lack of concentration, whatever, they hit us all too frequently for the problem to be dismissed as 'just one of those things'.

Over the ninety minutes though, we weren't good enough, and just didn't do enough to get anything out of the game. Certainly during the first forty-five we didn't play anywhere near to our capabilities, but overall its hard to say that we actually didn't deserve at least a point, despite the below par showing.

Maybe the lads thought that all they had to do was turn up, although our improved second half showing indicated that Martin had got it through their heads in the dressing room at half-time that that certainly wasn't the case.

Five goals conceded in two games has to be of concern, and with a certain strike duo of Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres in town next weekend, its clear where our priorities will lie on the training ground this coming week.

I'm not very good when it comes to awarding marks out of ten to individual players, firmly believing that it is, as always, a team game, and that you thrive and shine on the service, assistance, and support, of your team mates, but for what its worth here goes:-

So, a very disappointing result from a below par performance. Just as last weekend's opening victory though, didn't mean we were certainties for a top six finish, this surprising reversal doesn't mean we're a bottom six outfit either.

Yes, there's worrying traits that definitely require urgent attention, but there's also indications of much promise too.

It's early days. The secret is not to get overly carried away when we're winning, and too negative and despondent when results don’t go the way we'd like.

Its been said so often before, the premiership is a marathon, not a sprint.

Here's hoping the rest of your weekend is an improvement on what's gone before. Later.

Player Ratings


Friedel - 6

(unconvincing with his punching)

L.Young - 6

Laursen - 6



Davies - 4

Shorey - 4

NRC - 5

Barry - 5

Young - 6

Agbonlahor - 5


Carew - 6

Routledge (Sub) - 5




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The Journalist

Writer: Glensider Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday August 23 2008

Time: 7:43PM

Your Comments

Wow first to comment for a change! Well I much prefered your well written apprasal of the game than actually watching it! If Cuellar was watching I should think he was "biting at the bit" with our shakey and disorganised defence and goal keeping. I think you were being kind to give Barry 5 points, and didn't Robbie Fowler move from Liverpool 3 seasons ago?
villa_de
JUST GOT BACK (NRC CANNOT PASS)HOPE WE DONT SPEND ALL SEASON ACCOMMERDATING PLAYERS OUT OF POSTION
B6_COMPANY
THAT WAS *****E. I AM DISGUSTED RIGHT NOW. and i mean those caps as well. as I saw it: Friedel had a shocker, NRC's primary aim in the game was to run around giving the ball away, Barry looked crap, Gabby was anonymous. To be honest, only A Young, Carew and Davies were about right. everybody else were not worth their wages.
industrial_musical
NRC shockerrrrrrrrrrr
B6_COMPANY
ouch - that defeat must hurt!
merlin
A Glensider away day match report is like sign .... the changing of the seasons... this report signifies the start of another season on the Aston Villa rollercoaster. Cheers Kev.
col8
This has ruined my Saturday. Why oh bloody why can't we get this right sided issue sorted out. What a shocker - 5 goals against in two games. Looking back I dont think I gave Olaf the respect he deserved. Oh god, the Red Scum are up next - officially 'The World's Luckiest Team'. We are well and truly up **** creak without a paddle.
PiperUK
Look at this.. I did say we were gonna gonna keep going on how god we were til we got beat.. I SAID FROM THE START OF THE YEAR.. GIVE ROUTLEDGE A CHANCE ON THE RIGHT!!! He cant be worse than Nigel.. If it doesnt work out, then get someone else in... Why do we have to lose before MON works it out? Playing Nigel Right wing week in-week-out, just wont cut it clearly.. just look.. we cant even beat Stoke!!
notaspur
even though we lost today i have to say that i am disappointed with us fans. i agree we should have won today, and our performance was crap we've already started better than some of the other teams rated at toppling the top for (im looking at you spurs). the fact is if we can sort things out at the back we will be a force to be reckoned with. we have conceded 5 but we have also scored 6. I know todays game highlighted our weaknesses, but we can only learn from our mistakes. Lets see where we are in a month or two , and this could well be a distant memory, fuzzy, crappy memory.
revival4us
and its all barry's fault ;)
revival4us
thats top 4
revival4us
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.........**** **** ****, we've scored 6 goals in two games WONDERFUL, but conceded ******* 5!!!!!!!!!
NorthcliffeBandit
Agbonlahor wasn't worth a 5, that was an awful game for him. He couldn't keep the ball just like NRC. Stan was my best player for his distribution and guile. Barry had a shocker and gave the ball away badly for their second goal ( i think as it was 4am over here and i am v tired now). A quick early lesson for us me thinks. Well done to Stoke, although they will be found out with the Delap long throw ala Vinny Jones and the Dons style.
holte ender 1969
we seemed to change our formation from the 433 with ashley young floating behind the forwards and that we did so well with last year, to this crappy 442 system where we have to play reocoker or petrov on the right, where they always look completely crap. we always seem to struggle when we play against teams that get behind the ball and defend in numbers because we are so one dimensional (I was just hoping for a free kick out side the box for young to whip in and carew to back head it into the net which is pretty depressing because it seems like the only way we score at times but young's delivery was diabolical) . we didn't exert any pressure up the field in their half at all in the first which was killing us and then not enough in the second. we need another striker that can score and create goals in these situations and we definitely need to sort out this right sided problem especially if we play with a 442 formation although i still cant understand why we are using it now.
liamo1981
Oh and Glensider you didn't rate petrov.. he looked like our best player on the park, however i think the position he played makes him look better than he actually was. in that, he gets the ball with loads of time and just switches that play around so he doesn't lose possession much. he didn't break up the play at all though which, there is no denying that reo coker does better than most, i think we missed his strength and tackling in the middle today even though he can't pass and looks shocking out wide, he is an important player for us in the middle of the park more so than petrov
liamo1981
oh and i would give friedel a 5 at best, i thought he had a nightmare. could have done better with the 2nd, should have come out for the third when he did come looked very unconvincing.
liamo1981
Just watched on football first, blatant pen for Gabby and a very iffy decision for theirs and even the commentator thought that, our boys looked disjointed and frustrated, Barry out of sorts, NRC woeful, a well below par performance, the only player who could hold his head up is Petrov, who knows what the resulting performance would have been if the decisions would have worked out for us in the first half, swings and roundabouts, maybe we will get a few decisions against the redscum!
steff_the_villan
Is there an unwritten rule that any team we play this season has to be awarded a groundless penalty?
Athens Villa
I personally didn't think was going to be a stroll in the park. the footballing world thought we was going to walk to Stoke and nail there sorry asses to the flag pole. But we must remember this, it was there first match at home in the top flight for almost 30 years, couple that with Paddy Power paying out on them going down already. Those 2 things alone are enough to get any team going. We just coaught them on the day thay said "right then who do these big time Charlies think they are". But the biggest problem problem is we concede to many goals, and have done a couple of years. Unyet fans are calling for wingers and strikers and midfield playmakers! Why? I do however think the defence we have curretly, will improve over the coming weeks, It's not good to knee jerk in any situation. We need to be patient and let MON sort it out! He will of that there is NO DOUBT AT ALL!!!!!!
gappy65
steff_the_villan, not if Mike-i'm-a-Liverpool-fan-Riley is reffing it. Apparently Riley has reffed about 23 Premier League games involving Villa, of which we have won a poultry THREE matches. FFSAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I ever meet that lanky streak of p iss i'll rip his head off and **** down his neck.
Villan-in-Cyprus
Yes let us all remember that referees are doing a very difficult job for an entire 90 minutes once a week and earning an approximate 30,000 for doing such a fantastic job. We therefore should show the utmost respect for the match officials who rarely make mistakes, accept bribes or place bets. No bitterness here:)
Villan-in-Cyprus
**Or 96 minutes if at Old Trafford or Anfield**
Villan-in-Cyprus
Sorry liamo1981, I dont know how I missed Stan off my 'points awarded' list, obviously a mental block, as was referring to Robbie Keane as Robbie Fowler. As I said on the forum though, give me a little leeway, I had just witnessed a 'crazy result/performance', no wonder my head was somewhere in the clouds. Petrov was indeed in my opinion our MoM, head and shoulders above the others. Some would say that as a huge Stan fan, I would say that, but yet again he continued in his much improved form, which goes back to the latter stages of last season.
glensider
Another fantastic and riveting read Glensider and i have to say just as villa_de said i enjoyed it more than the actual game ;) From what i watched on Football First Stan had a good game but i don't think that was hard as a lot of the time we had no one in the middle anyway. If MO'N had made the same changes in the City game as he did yesterday then i think we may have ended up on the lossing side. It baffles me why he mixed the team around like he did ? Did he have an attack of the fat spainish waiter ? Only he will know.
Mutt_Man
MON played Carson all last year even when he was awful, so he should have learnt that he needs the bottle to drop players like Gabby and Reo-Coker if they aren't up to standard. Where was the Hare, the game was made for him.
Villan444
Thanks Mutt_Man, appreciate the kind words. Was truly 'running on empty' when I wrote the report after the events of Friday night, so its amazing my only error was calling Robbie Keane, Robbie Fowler. Come On You Lions. They'll come roaring back against the scousers.
glensider
good point villan444...where was Harewood? this game needed a Carew and Harewood partnership.
industrial_musical
I dont know what all thefuss is about .we buy second rated players put them in second rate team and get second rated results add to that a manager with no tactical knowledge whate more do you wont for your 40 quid a week
one match ban
Second rate team!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is Villa not blues, I will take that posting as temporary insanity
steff_the_villan
Villan-in-Cyprus, seriously, 3 out of 23!!!!! that's shocking, I knew the guy was a prize prat, didn't realise he had screwed us that much, and not so much as a peck on the cheek or a hug afterwards.
steff_the_villan
Congratulations one match ban!! You sir are this weeks winner of 'The Di*K Of The Week' award.
glensider
thanks alot just great to have that winning feeling
one match ban
 

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