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Another Review Of Our League Cup Defeat

Aston Villa
0 - 1

Villa Park


Attendance: 21,541


Last night, I was witness to a poor performance from the mighty Villa.

Its hard to pick out any particular highlights, as The Fear's Match Report echoes. But I am going to try very hard to be positive (so this report is likely to be a short one).

Villa started off quite well and Ashley Young spent the first half looking for a freekick, weaving away unwilling to pass the ball, waiting for a tackle so that he could dive and appeal for a freekick. To be fair it did work a couple of times, it was just a shame that his freekicks throughout the night left alot to be desired.

Osbourne recoved from some early mistakes and like Reo-Coker before him soon found himself playing down the wing, a few cheeky step-overs as he attacked Damien Delaney had the Holte End cheered, which was to be about the only time the Villa fans would be heard during the game.

The second half kicked off and Ashley Young looked as though he had been told to pass, within the first five minutes he had completed his first three passes of the game. He played ball after ball into the area and Barry, Carew and Harewood all failed to get on the end of them.

The chance of the game fell to captain Gareth Barry (didnt think i would be saying that again!!) when he went through one on one with Radek Cerny, but for some unknown reason (perhaps arrogance?) he attempted to chip the keeper instead of slotting home the equaliser.

For me, last night showed us three things:-

1. How important Gabby is to the team. I am not a huge fan of Gabby, but he was sorely missed last night. And to those who think he should be dropped, i just hope that Harewood's performance proved that Gabby is the best we have at the moment.

2. How important Reo-Coker is the team. For those who love Petrov and Barry, i think it was obvious that they play better with Reo-Coker beside them. We also missed his attitude in the middle of the park.

3. Despite Laursen, Davies, O'Neill and countless others telling us that the cup is important to us, last night proved. It isn't.

Star Player

Hard to pick a star player last night, but the only player who didnt put a foot wrong was......Nicky Shorey.

Player Ratings

Brad Guzan

The debutant had little to do in the first half and was solid enough in the second, i think it would be unfair to blame him for the goal.

Rating - 6

Craig Gardner

Although he had a decent first half, he showed his inexperience at right back on a few occasions in the second.

Rating - 5

Nicky Shorey

Did not put a foot wrong all game and looked good going forward as the side looked for an equaliser.

Rating - 7

Zat Knight

Had little to do and looked comfortable when QPR did have the ball. A good performance.

Rating - 7

Carlos Cuellar

Needs time to settle. Okay at the back, would expect better in future. But its early days.

Rating - 6

Isaiah Osbourne

Took a while to get going but had a decent enough game.

Rating - 6

Stiliyan Petrov

His usual self, controlling the midfield, saw a shot go inches past the post.

Rating - 7.

Gareth Barry

Not his best performance, looked very arrogant on more than one occassion.

Rating - 5

Ashley Young

His unwillingness to pass in the first half showed an arrogance that was not needed in that game. However was much better in the second half.

Rating - 6

Marlon Harewood

Marlon looked as though he would score on more than one occasion but lacked the confidence in front of goal.

Rating - 5

John Carew

Quiet in the first half, was poor in the second. I do wonder if he will last the 90 minutes against Sunderland this weekend.

Rating - 5

Wayne Routledge

Got stuck in, but struggled to make an impact on the game.

Rating - 6

Gabby Agbonlahor

Came on and showed just how important his pace is to the team, had he started the result may have been very different.

Rating - 6

Manager Rating

Martin O'Neill spoke of how seriously he would take this competition and ultimately is to blame for the result. His decision to leave out Davies, Laursen, Reo-Coker and Gabby is questionable.

He made the right decisions in the players he brought on (Routledge and Agbonlahor) but it was too little too late. I also feel he showed a lack tactical ability by not changing the formation to accommodate all 3 strikers.

Writer:Dan Jones
Date:Thursday September 25 2008
Time: 11:32AM


Nice to see Shorey improving at least and the others should have had a stearner test than the reserve league which seems to be pointless. Theres no point in being a regular in a team if you can't step up to the mark to the seniors when called upon.
25/09/2008 12:04:00
Good report Dan, enjoyed that. I was too tired last night to think of player ratings etc. I agree it was strange to make so many changes BUT still think the team he put out he was more than entitled to expect to be good enough. That said, I'm sorry for The Hare but he just isn't good enough, some of his efforts yesterday were woeful. I would have liked to see Gabby and Carew start, get the goals needed AND THEN get a break for the second half. We have to concede that Harewood will never be anything other than a last 20 mins player and that only until MON finally brings in a bit more quality up front (yes, I know, far easier said than done)
The Fear
25/09/2008 12:06:00
Yeah last night was evidence that love Gabby or not, he is the best we have, Harewood is never gonna be more than a back up player and Carew is not fit enough to be playing every game. But as said the like of Knight, Cuellar and Osbourne should all be able to come in a do a decent job, and although none of them were poor they didnt play like Premiership footballers. Ozzy looked better than usual which was nice to see, hopefully the new contract has lifted his confidence?
25/09/2008 12:15:00
I think this report about sums up the performance. It wasn't all that bad, but even with the changes made we should be expected to comfortably see off an average Championship club. If I was giving marks out of 10 they would be something like this. Effort - 9. Performance - 5. Entertainment - 5. Result - 0. Probably fair to mark the fans as well though and compare that with the players. Attendance considering the reduced prices - 2. Effort - those that went 3, those that didn't - 0. Volume - 1. Ability to lift the team - 1. In short we failed on the pitch because of lack of quality. We failed off it because of lack of effort.
25/09/2008 12:52:00
should play ur top players within reason, then when job is done, sub them
25/09/2008 13:13:00
From the comfort of my new office chair at work, listening to old JW it sounded like we were bossing it, the only problem was that they fed the Hare and he couldn't score! and obviously GB missed a sitter, was it divine intervention? are we destined for greater things? would the later rounds have cost us dearly in the league or UEFA cup? we will never know, I just choose to believe that there must have been a greater reason for the chance that were spurned other than The Hare being a complete donkey!
25/09/2008 13:44:00
We will know Steff, soon enough, if we lift the UEFA or FA Cup, or even make the top4, we will remember this day. Better things? Could happen. This was always going to be low priority out of the 4 competitions, lets see how the season pans out from here.....
25/09/2008 13:56:00
Good report Dan. Though I was expecting some changes I was baffled by some of them, Osbourne over Routledge for instance. However some people may try and excuse it, it was a poor performance and many would be screaming for any other manager's head after that.
25/09/2008 14:18:00
We'll be o.k. bringing in one or two back up players when the situation and need arises, which hopefully it wont all too often, but as long term quality replacements, it was evident last night that they are somewhat thin on the ground.
25/09/2008 22:15:00
It wasn't a bad performance, certainly it was a lot better than last seasons Leicester reversal, but in front of goal we were well and truly found lacking. Agree young_jonah that Nicky Shorey was our star player. He's shaping up nicely, improving by the game. Bring on Sunderland, lets hopefully get Wednesday night out of our system.
25/09/2008 22:17:00
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