A Stroll In The (Villa) Park
Attendance: 27 230
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.
Brad Friedel 7
Nicky Shorey 6
Luke Young 7
Carlos Cuellar 7
Zat Knight 7
Wayne Routledge 6
James Milner 6
Stiliyan Petrov 7
Moustapha Salifou 5.5
Ashley Young 6
Marlon Harewood 6
Isaiah Osbourne, on for Luke Young on 85
Away Match Report
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