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Aston Villa 0 - Arsenal 1

Villa Park

14/03/2007

Attendance: 39 968

Villa 'Robbed' By Arsenal!

Ok, so I had a little whinge last night, much like Arsene Whinger, saying 'Arsenal, on their day, are a site to behold, they stroke the ball about like nobody's business, they have skill and athleticism to burn, so why why why do they have to resort to time wasting, diving and faking injuries? This is not what any of us want to see in the British leagues and the quicker it is stamped out the better.'

With all that said, I was proud of the lads, I thought they played pretty much to the best of their abilities. That does raise the question, is their best good enough? Yes, for mid table, no for Europe and onwards is my opinion.

To say our team is mixed is an understatement and this is purely because Martin O'Neill hasn't had time to make the team his own. We seem to be neither fish nor fowl in many ways, ie we aren't a thoroughbred passing side but also aren't a hit and hoof or physical team. To get the shape and mould the team will take time.

Martin O'Neill lamented the lack of luck and he was right, there should have been a red card shown to the last Arsenal defender when Carew was in a clear scoring position, we had a good call for a handball (two actually) although to be fair, I've not seen the replays so can't say anything other than what I saw on the night. However, luck or not, Arsenal players are by and large a different class. There is just that 25% difference and that is what we have to aim for. We have some very good players, we have very few great players and I'm sure the board of Aston Villa, let alone our manager realise that.

Again - time. Starting in the summer I'm sure with some more major signings due and possibly a good few exits of the slightly more average amongst the squad.

A lot of the Arsenal fans were expecting a tough game and possibly a draw, I think a draw was the least we deserved BUT that doesn't now count for anything now, we didn't get the all important goal and that is the difference. Arsenal got a slice of luck with a deflected goal against the run of play and when you play a quality team like that, you can't afford a bad break and in fact we had two, that 'lucky' goal (they all count) and the woeful ref.

A mate of a mate was in the Holte End last night, he is a total neutral and he said 'Villa were robbed'. Robbed or not, that is another game without points, shame because the endeavour deserved at least one. Thems the breaks I guess, we deserved something out of that game tonight but at least the players and fans can walk away with pride. The Arsenal on the other hand walk away with 3 points but as usual lacked sportsmanship and dignity.

Star Player

Gary Cahill.

Player Ratings


Thomas Sorenson 7

Not to blame for the goal, he was just left wrong footed by the deflection.

Phil Bardsley 7

solid, made some crucial tackles.

Olof Mellberg 7

also fairly solid and didn't mess about with the ball, got it away from the box each time, not refined but effective.

Gary Cahill 9

outstanding, a real quality defender.

Wilfred Bouma 7

solid, also got forward well.

Gareth Barry 7

solid display and so nearly scored what would have been goal of the month! Shame with another chance he looked to pass instead of shooting, he'd have stood a good chance of scoring.

Gavin McCann 7

played his heart out, not sure about his long standing in the team as we really do need a midfield general and a bit more edge, but can only really rate on who was on the pitch, not who we want on the pitch.

Stiliyan Petrov 7

thank you Petrov, you might not be able to get forward to play your natural game at the moment due to instructions, but at least last night you crunched in with the tackles and gave your all. Still waiting for him to explode on the scene but last night gave hope.

Gabriel Agbonlahor 6

average performance but then again, he is out of position. If he is being played, why not have him down the middle to get onto John Carew's flick on headers?

Ashley Young 7

some good effort, some decent passes, not an out-and-out striker though, defo a winger.

John Carew 8

hustled and bustled all game, won most headers, unfortunately we rarely had anyone up there with him to profit. JC is a great signing.

Patrick Berger (on for McCann 74) 8

IF only we could have a 24-year-old Berger. The man is total quality.




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 15 2007

Time: 11:39AM

Your Comments

Totally agree about Cahill, I thought he was excellent last night.
jonah
I think you deserved a draw, but I was right in front of the Carew incident and I thought he made a real meal of it, but like you, I've not seen the replay. I don't understand where you think all the diving happened, Jens went down in injury time, but he clearly picked up a knock in the match and Poom was warming up the whole second half. Carew took a couple of naughty tumbles, one when he was racing towards the corner flag with Gallas springs to mind. Please elaborate on when we wasted time, when Jens went down injured, he pointed to his wrist, asking the ref to stop his watch (didn't stop your fans singing those nasty NF chants though). We are no angels when it comes to diving, but neither are you, neither is any team. I just don't understand when this is supposed to have happened. I saw two dives last night and they both came from Carew. That said, you played very well in the second half and probably deserved a point. Cahill was excellent and Young will be a top player when he learns the offside rule.
Little Dutch
Also Cahill was lucky to stay on for an awful kick on Aliadiere.
Little Dutch
Arsenal are a great footballing team. This isn't down to having the best players it is down to the training regime installed by Wenger. Having said that Wenger is a genius at spotting and aquiring new talent. My only gripe about Wenger is that 95% of the players are foreign. There is nothing more exciting than cheering on one of 'your own' and this is never likely to happen under Wenger. So although Villa are comparible to many clubs with our foreign contingent I get more satisfaction from seeing Cahill, Moore, Davis, Barry, Agbonlahor etc. I also except that there comes a time when M'ON must decide if these players have the ability to take us to the next level. As for time wasting, the injuries were just the tip of the iceberg. The worst situations were players apparently about to go and take a free kick, throw in etc, only to get by the ball and then walk away. We then had to wait and see who was taking it, as Arsenal apparently argued amongst themselves over responsibility. Invariably a player 50 yards away would then slowly jog over. Wenger and Henry made a great story about this when Wigan did it, but thought it OK to do it themselves. The time wasting is bad, but the hypocrisy is worse. And as a qualified and still serving referee I feel I can give an honest, impartial assessment of the refs performance last night. It was poor. He lacked control and his positioning was shocking. I know fans were frustrated by several offside decisions but without the benefit of replays I can not comment on the assistant refs performance. The Arsenal goal though was onside and the foul on Carew was outside the box. It would have been wrong to send off the defender though. I only found that out this morning when checking in the official rule book. It states "if the last man prevents a clear scoring opportunity, he must be dismissed from the field of play ......... unless you are an Arsenal player playing at Villa Park". So there you have it.
voiceoftheholte
It was a handball, and Carew was brought down in the box. We were robbed. Even the Gooners in the pub I was at all agreed. I have to say, though, if in every game we lose we play like that, I'd still be content.
505anthony
Nasty NF chants? Would you like to elaborate on such an inflammatory accusation as I heard nothing along those lines? As for your other comments you Arsenal fans want your cake and eat it all the time. You moan about decisions when they don't go your way, something started by your manager. Yet when another team complains about the very same tactics employed by your team, you are up in arms about the accusations. Unfortunately you have a great footballing team but not the common sense to go with it. As for Cahill he committed a foul on the half way line which is something Arsenal, Manure and Chelski have been doing for years as a cynical attempt to stop opponents breaking away and in an area where the referee deems as being only worthy of a caution. Unfortunately the very same referee deemed that a cynical professional foul by the last defender on the edge of the box denying a goal scoring attempt was only punishable with a yellow card. Based on those 2 decisions I can see why you feel so aggrieved, especially when you must have been wearing those Wenger specs.
Hoss The Villain
Were robbed yet again and yet again a top 4 club gets away with things
Christo
Hoss, there was a 10 german bombers chant from the Holte End, so hardly nasty NF chants, bit dated sure, but nothing earth shatteringly bad I don't think.
The Fear
Hoss villain, Arsenal have committed over a hundred less fouls than Villa this season, but have eight more yellow cards- so don't tell me we get all the breaks, it ain't true. The NF chants were clearly heard from the Holte End, "There was one German bomber..." is a chant that was begun by the NF in the sixties. We did nothing like the time wasting the likes of Kirkland, Howard, van der Sar and yourselves did at our place this season. Yes, we were slow to take throw ins, but we didn't take the ***** to the extent that most teams do it to us. Besides, other sides have been applauded for doing this against us so why shouldn't we join in the fun? As for the English player debate, firstly, too expensive (Fabregas for 200k or Young for 9m?). Secondly, poor attitudes (Pennant, Bentley, Cole, Campbell, whole England squad), thirdly, who have United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs produced from their academies in the last ten years? If it ain't there, you can't produce it. Fourthly, if you only consider English players "one of your own" I feel really sorry for you because you have a very closed mind. Kolo Toure gives more to the Arsenal shirt than David Bentley or Jermaine Pennant, or Ashley Cole, or Jay Bothroyd, or Graham Stack did. I seem to remember a referee having no problem sending Grimandi and Petit off against your lot over the years. We are booked every 5.5 fouls, Blackburn (team of thugs) are booked every eleven, Adebayor was charged and banned for four games for a punch that was never thrown and nobody has seen thrown. You cannot seriously state that we get the benefit from the officials consistently.
Little Dutch
Looks like we touched a nerve little dutch. If you can't take the truth maybe you should go to another site. I suggest the Arsenal one.
voiceoftheholte
Funny how the Vital Villa site gets more hits than any of the other Villa sites--even more than the other Vital sites. So much so, obviously, that even obnoxious Arsenal and Tottenham fans have to come and hog our space.
505anthony
Bit of banter is what Vital is all about though, I like it when the decent fans come over from other clubs, I often delete the comments when nobs come over to here though, don't want site wars, just not interested!!!
The Fear
Dont think we were 'robbed' last night, just thought we simply weren't good enough to win. Several plus points, battled throughout, but the same old failings let us down.
glensider
Bottom line you will not win any games if you fail to score.
col8
God help all us Villa fans when we start winning things. We like to moan at the best of times but to be like Little Dutch (or was it really Arse n Wenger) and to moan at us when we lost is fantastic. I think we should all start the therapy now.
Hoss The Villain
I really like the NF comments. So I presume that means the 13,000 Holte Enders singing about how the RAF fought off the German invaders are all rascists. Little dutch I suggest you go back to your job at whatever PC barmy, local council you work for. I would also suggest that you write a letter to the Evening Standard to start a campaign to ban Remembrance Sunday. We can't have people believing that the German nation were responsible for millions of innocent lives can we? Muppet.
voiceoftheholte
Don't mention the war... 13,000 Holt Enders mentioned it once and I think we got away with it. Maybe LD's comments explain why the library at Ashburton turns into a mobile library at away games.
Hoss The Villain
vot is your name web user???? Don't tell him Hoss!
voiceoftheholte
Lehmans German? Oh sorry I thought there was something wrong with him
Hoss The Villain
did you sing the same song to Hitzlsperger???? i didnt think so.and the funniest thing was singing engerlund engerlund,who was that aimed at?your english players to inspire them,cos it didnt work.or were you just reminding yourselves of your roots,after you sold out to the yanks
fran merida
We've certainly touched a nerve with the Arses today. Singing is part and parcel of the enjoyment of a football match and with the Villa the only enjoyment at the moment :-) A shame you can't see the irony of it all and maybe join in now and again instead of sitting in your seat working out how a song could be in the least bit offence to yourselves.
Hoss The Villain
Yes indeedy, the Arses are upset and offended. Good. Perhaps they need to focus on the fact that despite all the cash they've spent over recent seasons, they are going to end this campaign potless. With their north London neighbours still going strong in European competition, they might find themselves as north Londons number two outfit before May is out.
glensider
 

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