Villa v Stoke: Match Report
19th December 2009
Well, it seems that Villa really can do no wrong at the moment. It was by no means the most attractive of wins that we've been treated to of late. Infact, It was a game that before the turn of December, could have proven a lot more tricky for Martin O'Neill to navigate.
I must confess, I've been one of the many guilty of getting carried away with these performances latley. I stuck with a bold prediction of 4-0 before the game but in reality, the performance was far short of achieving such a score line.
That said, it was no poor performance either.
If anything Stoke started the better of the two teams, passing the ball well. It took Villa 10 minutes to really get into the game and from then on, slowly started to take control of the game.
The players clearly set out their intentions early on though with Dunne, Heskey, Petrov & Milner all having decent attempts in the opening half an hour. Petrov's was probably the finer of the attempts which forced Villa old boy, Sorenson, into a fine double save with Young's rebounded follow up.
Stoke gave us a scare though when Sidibe rose to meet an Etherington cross and slotted the ball in the let. Lukily, he was adjudged to have fouled Warnock and the goal was over ruled. It seems the news hadn't registered with two particular Stoke fans until at last the 73rd minute as they stupidly jumped the last first of seats and made a right show of themselves just behind the hoardings. Needless to say, it was comical when they realised their error.
By the time half time came about you could sense that if one team was to go on and take the game, then it would only be Villa.
In the 61st minute Villa's dominance finally paid off when Carew scored his 5th goal of the campaign. Ashley Young was again provider as he his cross from the right wing found Carew who beat Faye and headed home past Sorenson.
Carew's over zealous celebration saw him kick out at the corner flag which flew into the Lower Holte hitting a fan. I don't believe the fan was injured but Carew returned at the end of 90 minutes to hand the fan his shirt by way of apology.
From here on out it seemed a case of if Villa would increase their lead but as the game was reaching it's climax, Fuller saw a decent attempt dip just over the top of Friedel's bar and Villa saw out the three points.
It was a game that we could have just as easily drawn or lost so credit for the victory goes to Villa's high confidence, after some famtastic away results over the last week.
With Arsenal & Liverpool up next, the three points were by far the most important factor. If we can get 4 points from these games then that really could be the catalyst for a great second half to the season.
Brad Friedel (6)
Luke Young (9)
Carlos Cuellar (8)
Richard Dunne (8)
Stephen Warnock (6.5)
Stewart Downing (6.5)
Stylian Petrov (7)
James Milner (7.5)
Ashley Young (7)
Gabby Agbonlahor (6.5)
Emile Heskey (5.5)
John Carew (7)
Steve Sidwell (2.76)
Even with the empty seats, the fans that did make it were making some noise. From where I was sitting at least.
I perhaps would have liked less Birmingham songs but now I'm just being picky.
Special mention to the Stoke fans who despite the 'Sh*t support my lord' and 'We forgot that you were here' chants, they really did do well to make some noise of their own.
The fact I couldn't make out what they were singing is either due to my poor hearing or their poor accents. Either way, I was impressed with their travelling numbers.
And a pint of Carlsberg courtsey of Meyouldy. Cheers for that Don. Would you like your pink hat back?
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