Lion Bar Was Nice
Attendance: 31 920
I've spoken about this season being one of transition before and to be honest, I'm talking total crap. What this 'transition' means is we've frankly been awful this season and things can only get better.
I have to ask myself (mainly because no one else listens to me anymore!) why we have settled, with only the slightest murmur, for second best for most of the year? And further to that, why do we all seem happy that we MIGHT just reach 40 points. FORTY BLOODY POINTS.
Lets call a spade a spade (although you could call it Trevor if you wanted, it isn't as if a spade will get offended is it?) and admit it, this season has been dreadful and the end is worse than the start, an alarming trend for sure.
I know, I know, I'm doing the unmentionable and actually criticising, I'm sure I'll be taken and shot for such heresy but what the heck, I'm nothing if not straight.
So lets give it straight.
Today was low on quality, high in incident and relatively entertaining for all the wrong reasons. The weather was nice and I always enjoy watching the Mule falling over like the lump of lard he is, other than that there is little to applaud our team for. We might have huffed and puffed, and I'm begging to think David O'Leary was right, they are an honest bunch of lads, I've certainly never had my pockets picked by them and my stereo remains in the car, but honest as they are, they can't shoot for toffee and the new additions have to be lumped into that.
What is the use of Stiliyan Petrov? We are told he will be better next season after a full pre-season. Cool. Lets face it, Mr Backward/Sidewards passer cannot be any worse, not for the £8.5million layout. Why he can't shoot just, I don't know, once every five or six matches I'll never understand, although to be fair to him today he did at least shape up to shoot once before passing it back.
Ashley Young? Could be a very interesting player, could become awesome in fact, today he was very less than interesting and a million miles from awesome, in fact my Lion Bar was closer to awesome, especially as I didn't have to pay for it. Free chocolate, now that is interesting. The Lion Bar cost a £1.00 Ashley Young £9.5million. Yes, I have lost the plot and yes, I am comparing the player to a Lion Bar. Trouble is, I'm now finding it difficult where to go with the analogy and am feeling rather foolish. What was the point I was making? Oh yes, one very expensive player, one totally incomplete player, one player I hope becomes a star but at that price, I'd expect us to be closer to the finished item, he is very far from being finished, the Lion Bar on the other hand...... you get the gist. Well, actually you probably don't, but ........
The game was turned on its head today by a bizarre referee, step forward and take a bow Mark 'I aspire to be Uriah Rennie' Halsey who seemed to give the opposite decision to what he should have given at every opportunity. I'm all for players to be able to go near goalkeepers without the ref blowing the whistle but I draw the line when a Wigan player took out a snipers rifle, aimed and killed Sorenson dead, passed to that Mule who put the ball in the net and the goal stood. What was the ref doing, what was the assistant ref thinking - or more to the point not thinking - when that goal was allowed to stand? I might watch the highlights and retract my statement but I very much doubt it.
I'll watch the high (starts to laugh at the thought of their being highs) lights tonight just to double check, but to me that was never a goal and I've have laughed my socks off if we'd been given a similar one, I'm sure the 3 Wigan fans who attended today were all laughing theirs off, 1 up and they'd done sod all for it.
Didn't stop Paul Jewell, who must be suffering from terrible pms the way he behaved today (I was going to say he lost his rag but that would be stretching it even for me), from moaning about everything. I reminded the scouser we'd given him a goal, what else did the miserable git want?
That was basically it for Wigan, they had very little to offer apart from a lunging tackle by whateverhisfaceis which earnt him a red card. I'll enjoy watching that on the replays tonight as I'm not sure if it was a red or not, my mate Reza was watching the game in South Africa, he assured me it was a fair straight red and I'll take his word for it.
So 1 up and 1 down and Villa still hadn't scored.
Is anyone still reading this? I think I'm having a nervous breakdown you know?
The thing is, people will say we deserved to take all the points today because we played the most attacking football, but I'm sorry, running so far up the pitch and passing backwards or sideways isn't actually that attacking and playing one man up front - this time Gabriel Agbonlahor, or was it Maloney, I really do get confused with who is doing what in this team at the moment as the shape just isn't there - is also not that attacking an idea. It might work for Chelsea and their playboys, it does not work for Villa. So did we deserve more? No, you get what you deserve and if you don't put the ball in the net (which I don't think we did today despite drawing!!!!!) you don't win games.
Gabriel Agbonlahor put away a lovely chance against Blackburn at the weekend, he was given a similar chance today and really did fluff his lines by showing too much of the ball and allowing the Wigan keeper Filan to gather the ball.
The chances were at a premium for the whole of the game, we were playing against ten men remember, well nine bearing in mind the Mule was on the floor most of the game, the big girls blouse. 4-4-2 I think would have seen them off, but the Wigan defence isn't exactly the smallest in the league and once the Wigan boys started kicking out a bit, our lot weren't to keen to get stuck in. At times I just could not figure the shape of the team or understand the theory that if you pass the ball sideways you will build for an attack.
Gabby did pop in on the 50th minute and scored (sort of, I think, or at least the ref said he did, the replay on the big screen wasn't conclusive but put it this way, if that goal had been given against us we'd be spitting feathers!) and from there you thought there would only be one winner - wrong. More huffing, more puffing and to be fair, a little excitement (I dropped a £1 and my mates and me had a fight to retrieve it) but no amount of time on the pitch would see us pick up all 3 points against a team struggling for their Premiership survival - well, you buy a Mule and that is what you get Mr Jewell. The most entertaining part of the afternoon was watching Jewell blow his top at everything, especially when a Villa fan very kindly passed the ball back to him. Relax Paul, relax.
Thomas Sorensen 6
Olof Mellberg 6
Martin Laursen 7
Phil Bardsley 6
Wilfred Bouma 7
Gareth Barry 7
Stiliyan Petrov 4
Craig Gardner 6.5
Shaun Maloney 6.5
Patrik Berger 7
Gabriel Agbonlahor 6.5
Ashley Young (on for Bouma 38 - Barry to left back
Luke Moore (on for Maloney 73)
Lion Bar 8