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Aston Villa 1 - Litex Lovech 1

Villa Park


Attendance: 27 230

A Stroll In The (Villa) Park

Some games are just a stroll in the (Villa) Park and this was one of them. Everything was slightly lethargic - even Martin O'Neill sat down which is usually unheard of! - because with a 3-1 win away, there was no way back for Linda Lovelace, whoops, sorry, I mean Litex Lovech.

The crowd for a wet chilly evening wasn't too bad judging by the fact the game was all but a formality, we managed 27 230, an improvement on the Carling Cup game, but to be fair even the fans were slightly lethargic and largely quiet for great spells of this game.

And about the game?

Well, we drew, we went through on aggregate and job done. Really not much more to say as the game itself was a fairly dull affair, I was more intrigued with the young lad sitting with his dad by me who didn't stop eating and drinking all game, I am not sure where the little fella put it all...! To be fair to Litex, they passed the ball about very well but just have no cutting edge of finish to them. Marlon Harewood took a nice goal which he made himself but still didn't do enough to really scream out to the manager PICK ME BOSS. As Martin O'Neill admitted in his post match interview, Marlon is keen but sometimes lacks aggression.

I must admit he wasn't the only fringe player to surprise me. They should have been playing out of their skins to give Martin O'Neill a selection headache ahead of the crunch Premiership clash at the weekend v Chelsea, but to be fair none really shone. Wayne Routledge - who I really like and hope comes good for us, nothing would give me more pleasure (ok, there are a few females in the world who could make this statement an exception to the rule!) than to see him resurrect his once very promising career with Villa.... come to think of it a lottery win would also give me more pleasure, as would a nice bloody fillet steak with the blood soaking into the chips... but you get my drift!

James Milner had some nice touches but also some awful ones, to be fair to all of the non regulars, it takes time and a run of games to get into the swing of things. I thought Salifou had some lovely touches but only occasionally and really showed that he isn't going to be quite Premiership class... prove me wrong Moustapha, please!

Overall it didn't matter how scruffy the game was, we are into the group stages of the UEFA cup and with three teams going through from each group, we have to fancy our chances of getting through to the latter part of the competition, we are in until at least February and maybe that will help Martin O'Neill add to our striking options in the January transfer window. The draw will take place at 12noon on Tuesday 7 October.

Star Player

Wasn't really a night for stars..!

Player Ratings

Brad Friedel 7

little to do and no real chance with the penalty

Nicky Shorey 6

steady enough and can pass the ball forward nicely

Luke Young 7

played well, has settled into the team well

Carlos Cuellar 7

going to be a top player for us when he gets up to speed. Think it was a cast iron penalty he gave away mind you!

Zat Knight 7

as good as any other defender on the night

Wayne Routledge 6

some good runs and one decent shot (or did I dream that, no seriously??) still to really take the game by the scruff of the neck

James Milner 6

same as Routledge, certainly not at his best yet

Stiliyan Petrov 7

what has happened to Petrov, all of a sudden he can play the game and play the game well?!

Moustapha Salifou 5.5

some nice enough touches but didn't help control the midfield battle really

Ashley Young 6

played a more attacking role, or up front even, not really his ideal position. One great shot that hit the crossbar

Marlon Harewood 6

scored the winning goal and tried to add to it in the first half, then faded. Has the strength to menace defenses like this, if only he had the true grit to do so

Isaiah Osbourne, on for Luke Young on 85

Not on long enough to rate.

Away Match Report

Oh no, we've lost our mighty away match reporter Glensider for Chelsea v Villa (luckily he will return!) If any Vital Villan is going and wants to submit a match report, please email me and let me know (email link at top of site by my name) or pm me.

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday October 3 2008

Time: 9:30AM

Your Comments

knight and cuellar 7's?? wtf!!!
Zat KNicht had one of his better games I think. I certainly didn't notice his usual 30 seconds of stupidity, which was nice. The frustrating thing for me was that the result didn't reflect the game and the fact that there were so many wasted free kicks. In the last 20 mins or so we must've had 5 which we let Ashley take, and one or two from Shorey too, that we simply put into the stand. Some went close, OK, but we need to make the keeper work. In the first half, Knight and Cuellar had some really good chances to put us ahead from corners and freekicks, if we'd have carried on in that vein I think we'd have had a bit more joy. Salifou showed some real composure on the ball at times, plus he fizzed a shot just wide too, but I think against opposition that closes him down sooner, he might struggle.
i tot salifou was the best villa player on the pitch, lol.
Osbourne on for Ash not Luke.
Agreed with Gruck, Salifou showed he fits in with the rest of the team, him and Petrov worked well together. 7's for the pair of them, Cueller gave away a penalty and the ball everytime he had it yet got 7!! :|
Gruck I thought that as well, he didn't have many outstanding moments but I thought he did very well in a sort of deffensive attacking way. Whenever Young/Milner lost the ball up on the left he was quick to run in, get in the way of the clearance and generally position himself to cause problems for their defence and midfield when attempting to get the ball out of their half. I also though Milner did ok, not back to his saving performances of his loan spell here but I think he's looking better and I'm sure after a lfew more games he'll truely be worrying the opposition whoever they be.
Good to see another English club go through in Europe. It seems to have been a relatively easier draw for you. Good luck for the next round.
Salifou was certainly one of our better performers on the night, but I think that I'm now resigned to the fact that, in view of the competition he faces for a midfield position, he's destined to remain a mere bit part player throughout his time here at Villa Park. As long as he's happy with that role, good, lets keep him.
It definitely was very much a stroll in the park. Things will certainly get tougher from here on in though, so lets just sit back and enjoy the moment, knowing that we are now safely into the group stages.

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