Fabregas Impact Beats Villa
Attendance: 60 056
Ok, we got excited, we had the chance to go - albeit briefly - 2nd today and have been more than a match for virtually all comers this season but hey, sometimes you just have to stand back and applaud an opponent and today was one of those days.
Where we lacked the killer shot or the final ball Arsenal didn't. It took until the second half for them to turn it on having just about shaded the first on chances and possession (although if we'd gone in 1 up it wouldn't have been totally unjustified as we also had our moments) but when they did turn it on, they really turned it on!
Main difference today? A world class player - Fabregas - brought off the bench (for emergencies only they said before the game) and bish bash, two up. No arguments, one a well taken free kick (not many get passed Brad Friedel) and the second a well taken goal after James Milner sloppily gave the ball away in their half. We so nearly brought it back to 2-1 with Gabby going close but it wasn't to be and as we pushed forward, Arsenal hit us for a 3rd on the break.
Positives? Not so much from the game in truth, our final ball was largely off today and our cutting edge blunted - mainly because of the final ball I'd say - but hey, we are 4th in the league, we are in the semi-finals of a cup and .... come on, and, I'm thinking... well no one else will put three passed us this season, we were unpicked by a world class player and maybe that will push us in the January transfer window to add some threat with a quality forward (if one is available... good thread in the forum about Craig Bellamy at the moment?!)
Also maybe this will just keep us on our toes. I know that sounds stupid but it is never automatic for Villa, we have to fight for everything and maybe an odd loss will just wake up players getting complacent and show them what they need to do to stay near the top? I know, bit of a stretch but that might well kick us on now to beat Liverpool and go 8 points clear of them?
Some losses - see Blackburn away and more especially Wigan at home - are disasters to a club like ours, but today it wasn't. First half we held our own, second half we just got sucker punched by a totally world class quality player. It is a shame they got 3, it makes it look like an easy game for them but as long as we now pick ourselves up and don't go on one of our downer runs, we should be fine.
It did highlight the difference between top drawer and just quality players though, maybe we are getting to the stage where we can possibly just add that one 'magic' player. Good luck finding one though, I'm no scout that is for sure!
Stats: Click Here
Hopefully will put up a match report from Randy.Stand who got down there today. If you are reading this, missing you Glensider, hurry back mate!
Brad Friedel 5
Luke Young 6
Richard Dunne 6
Carlos Cuellar 6
Stephen Warnock 6
Ashley Young 5
Stiliyan Petrov 5.5
James Milner 6
Stewart Downing 6
Gabby Agbonlahor 5.5
Emile Heskey 6
John Carew (on for Heskey 63 mins) 5
Fabian Delph (on for Luke Young 76 mins) 5