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Some days are just good days

Aston Villa
2 - 1

Villa Park

17th October/12.45

Attendance: 39047


When Gabriel Agbonlahor headed in an 85th minute winner against the Blues, I celebrated wildly as you do when you know you`ve probably just seen the winning goal in a local derby. However, my favourite win this season was away to Liverpool, because as much as I love a derby win I love a victory over any of the 'Sky 4` even more.

We`re now two for two.

What was probably most pleasing about the victory was that Chelsea played well. Generally, if any of the top 4 don`t play well then there is always a danger that they could lose the game, but if they play well they normally win; Chelsea were good yesterday.

Thankfully, there was one area where they didn`t perform and that was defending set-pieces. Just after the half hour mark, Frank Lampard heading on an Ashley Young corner into the path of Richard Dunne, although that wasn`t the only generosity from Chelsea as Dunne was left to run into space by Carvalho. Early in the second half, four Chelsea defenders in the region of James Collins decided to go walkabouts while Collins stepped forward and powered home the winning goal.

Another pleasing aspect of this was this happened after a less than pleasing start. For one thing, the ref was ill! Steve Bennett had to pull out and the game was delayed for a few minutes. Incidentally, his replacement (Kevin Friend) was pretty poor but I suppose it was a difficult position to be in. His worst decision came ten minutes in, when Boswinga pulled down Gabby in the penalty area and everyone in the ground apart from the officials could see it was a penalty.

Five minutes later matters got worse, as Didier Drogba`s long range shot bounced over Brad Friedel and into the net. Friedel will be the first to admit he should have dealt with it better, but it did take a wicked bounce right in front of him and it was pretty much just one of those things. Over the course of the game, Friedel made a couple of good saves including clawing away a lovely chip from Deco not long after the opening goal.

The match was a thoroughly entertaining affair. Chelsea played very well, and so we had to be good to win - which we were. Both sides had chances, with Drogba and Anelka both going close for the visitors, and John Carew in particular had a good chance to put the game beyond Chelsea.

Much like the game at Villa Park last season, the winners couldn`t have moaned had the game ended up a draw but thankfully, as Chelsea did last season in their 1-0 win, we held on for a splendid 2-1 victory against the team that many fancy will win the league this season. If they don`t sort out their set-piece defending, then the trophy could be heading back to Old Trafford once more.

Finally, I would like to make one last mention on the ref; why didn`t he book Anelka for his challenge on MON? ;o)

Star Player

A couple of contenders but James Collins wins the day for me.

Player Ratings

Friedel - 6

Overall he probably deserved a 7 and I think the goal was not as much his fault as some will think, but he will still be disapointed.

Cuellar - 7

As always, he doesn't offer lots going forward (one pass to Milner in particular was shocking) but defensively he was very solid.

Dunne - 8

I love this man! A no-nonsense leader. Drogba and Anelka both looked dangerous - Drogba in particular played very well - but Dunne and Collins did a great job of nullifying the threat as well as they could. Speaking of...

Collins - 8

Overall MOTM for me as he not only got the winning goal but also made two match-winning blocks. I have complained about him dropping too deep on occasion so far but there was none of that yesterday, and therefore his usual good performance became an excellent one.

Warnock - 7

Made a couple of great challenges and got forward well. At times he could be a bit more solid defensively but generally he played well and is looking more and more the part.

Milner - 8

Yet another player who made a match-winning challenge and he was everywhere. Getting back to defend, helping out in attack, played right midfield and then central midfield, he's just a star!

Sidwell - 7

As always I seem to forget he's playing sometimes. But he is effective enough at what he does, and our record with him in the team is amazing. Put himself about, really should have scored from a superb Gabby cross but was generally a pest to the excellent Chelsea midfield.

Petrov - 8

So very nearly MOTM. He won just about every challenge he went in for, he tried to create, and absolutely leads by example on the pitch. Great showing.

A Young - 7

He was wasteful on occasion - he seems a bit low on confidence - but his work rate was superb and ultimately, both of our goals came from his corners.

Agbonlahor - 7

He worked hard, was a danger through most the game and he put in a couple of fantastic crosses. When he went to the 'inside-right' position, he did his defensive duties too.

Carew - 7

He is still not at his best and really should have scored but much like the Man Citeh game, his work rate could not be questioned. John Terry will have had easier afternoons, put it that way.


Late sub for Carew, did his job just fine. A quick message to anyone reading that that was amongst the few people who booed him when he come on - you are a complete and utter idiot. Yes you have the right to voice your opinion but booing a Villa player is a disgrace.

Unused subs

Guzan, Shorey, Beye, Gardner, Delph, Reo-Coker.

Manager Rating

MON - 8. I said we'd lose if we played 4-4-2 and I was strangely proven right and wrong! We were winning when we switched to a 4-3-3, and I believe that was the winning decision in the end. Took a bump for the cause too!

Writer:Sheriff Kimbo
Date:Sunday October 18 2009
Time: 2:04PM

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Good read that, agree largely with the ratings, JC I'd give 5 at best, he's a passenger and a disinterested one at that at the moment. He had a chance that most strikers would have lapped up. Thought Collins was / is outstanding, Dunne has also been a great buy. Like the look of Warnock as well, once we get Luke Young back in at right back, that will be one hell of a defence. I like Cuellar but only as a central defender, for a full back his distribution isn't what is needed but then, that isn't his natural position. All in all, a great day and totally deserved victory despite the awful ref!
The Fear
18/10/2009 14:38:00
Was a fantastic game, I am certainly looking forward to Bouma, young, davies and downings return. I think we will be a real tough team to break down and its nice to see that our home is improving. if im right we have won almost half of what we did the entire last season at home already. As for the Heskey booers, its not going to help villa if players get booed when we are beating Chelsea 2-1. Personally, think Heskey has a lot to prove, didnt have much time to do anything yesterday but he kept the ball well in the corner untill the final whistle... job done! P.S, did anyone notice that when O'neill dived and Anelka apologised, MON snubbed him!! That was on accident, imagine his reaction to Reo-coker! ;-)
18/10/2009 14:43:00
Great result yesterday especially as Chelsea played well, but we worked so hard off the ball & did look a threat on it. We really beleived in ourselves yesterday which was great to see. Defence looks solid & we lookes creative & petrov was excellent in the middle for us. Still think we need another striker as Gabby looked very good again yesterday but with Heskey(who I will get behind whilst he is in a villa shirt)not good enough & John Carew still not playing well, and has'nt done so for a while. Cant believe he gets a standing ovation everytime he comes off. Still got young davies bouma & downing to come back it can only bode well for the future. Should give us great confidence goin into the next 4 away games.
18/10/2009 15:13:00
Great win!!!!
18/10/2009 15:29:00
Fantastic display!
18/10/2009 17:08:00
I just noticed the Chelsea match report got 159 comments! Isn't it funny how you're always more likely to comment on a loss... Mind you, I bet you half of them were from people who weren't Chelsea fans a few years ago!
Sheriff Kimbo
18/10/2009 19:37:00
Firstly to say, i don't disagree with the Ashley Young rating, but I can't believe no one else has said anything about his cross feild ball into the box which Milner put across for Carew who should have scored. One of the best passes I have EVER seen. Even when he's not on form he still has so much quality!!
18/10/2009 20:40:00
I know it never works this way, but if all our players were on form more often like young, gabby, carew etc we could be in the top 4! We have the quality just not the consistency. Also, im glad we didnt mess up at the end. The villa of 2 or 3 years ago has gone and we are really improving now into a strong team. Also, cant wait for the reception that Bouma gets when he makes it back onto the pitch!
18/10/2009 20:46:00
Loved the game, I had to laugh when Terry and Carew had a little spat, then JT went and cried to the ref!! And I loved his reaction to the second goal he was livid!!! Did anyone else notice when Heskey was holding to ball up at the end Ashley Cole just watched him and didnt do anything!!!lol!
19/10/2009 10:22:00
Agree with the fact that once Luke Young gets back we'll be hot as eff. I know Sidders does the dirty jobs, but you can't help but think Downing will push him out of his place thus enabling Petrov to play a complete holding role (which he seems to play anyway). And as far as Bouma and Davies go, they're gonna find it very hard to get back into this line-up :)
19/10/2009 15:00:00
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