Writer: Sheriff Kimbo
Date:Sunday September 20 2009
On the journey home, I had a quick peek at Facebook and decided to update the status thingy to, "Phil Kimberley believes that win can be summed up as comfortable, professional and a little dull."
I think that`s a very nice job, so there you go. See ya!
What? You want more? *Sighs* Okay, come on then…
A fourth consecutive league win, up to joint second (albeit temporarily), two clean sheets for the new look defence, three goals in as many games for Gabby… there have been worse Saturdays.
The first-half was a relative breeze. As some of you will know I am a huge advocate of us playing 4-5-1 but today the 4-4-2 actually seemed like the right thing to do; Portsmouth appeared relatively happy to park the proverbial bus and settle for a draw, but unfortunately for them, their bus seems to have dodgy brakes.
For example, one of the best saves of the match was made just after 10 minutes by David James - which he was forced into making after Aaron Mokeoena almost headed an Ashley Young cross into his own goal!
Pompey knocked it about nicely and their five-man midfield meant they were seeing a fair bit of the ball, but with no real cutting edge we were very comfortable and looked like we could score whenever we went forward. Quite a few times in the first half a straight ball down the middle caused them some problems that they really should have been able to deal with.
Just after the half-hour mark, Pompey hit the self-destruct button through Nadir Belhadj. As Stiliyan Petrov lost control of the ball in the box, Belhadj failed to clear, and as Petrov won the ball back, Belhadj made a clumsy and needless challenge that gave the Villa a penalty.
Step up, James Milner.
Jimmy struck the ball well and despite David James going the right way, the speed of the ball ensured it went in.
The game remained comfortable with Villa in around third gear, and despite Friedel having to make his first save with a few minutes of the first-half remaining, it was Villa who doubled the lead - and effectively sealed the win - just before half-time.
James Milner flicked on a Brad Friedel goal-kick into Gabriel Agbonlahor, who turned Ben Haim with astonishing ease and, despite slipping as he shot, smashed the ball past James.
The second half was a dull affair; Villa happy to soak up the Pompey pressure, with the visitors unable to do much to test the Villa defence beyond a few long-range efforts that were dealt with well by Brad Friedel.
Their best moment came from Frederic Piquionne who managed to force his way past a couple of defenders and forced a very good save from Friedel.
Villa could have added a third, with some good work by Agbonlahor on the left going unrewarded and James pulling off another good save after an effort from Petrov.
But the job was done, and all rather comfortably. Hopefully by this time next week we will have progressed in the League Cup and have another three points in the bag.
It`s far too early to get excited, but I quite like the way we are quietly going about our business while Spurs and in particular Man City get all the attention as the 'most likely to break the top 4` contenders. My belief is almost back…!
Up the Villa!
Date:Sunday September 20 2009
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