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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Aston Villa 0 - West Ham 0

Villa Park


Attendance: 35 646

2 Points Lost But No Villa Park Disaster

Yesterdays results from those around us:

Everton 2-0 Man City
Stoke 1-1 Liverpool
Tottenham 0-0 Hull

Today was frustrating as hell, we all (most?) know that we need a striker - who doesn't? - and that might well prove to be the last bit of the jigsaw and arguably the hardest one to get.

Walking out - and the confrontation between Martin O'Neill and a fan or two - made it look like the end of the world. It wasn't. We huffed and puffed, all was pretty solid and God bless our defence, it is now solid and has to be as we don't put away enough chances but on balance we were the only team really likely to get something out of the game.

2 points lost? Yes, it was at home v a relegation threatened side (hope not, they are a 'real' club like us I always think) with major injury worries but as we have no doubt seen countless times before, these things happen and football is a funny old game at the best of times, you never can look 'on paper' and really predict a result can you?

That stats on our front page show we have 56% of possession, that sounds about right, we also had 16 corners and 17 odd goal attempts on and off target (although to be fair, their keeper much like ours, didn't have that many saves to really make?)

On another day - here we go for cliché number 876 - it could have been 4 or 5 to us IF we had put the chances away then again, West Ham broke first and fastest with the best chance of the first half, that Nouble guy I had never heard of before looked very handy and liked to have the ball at his feet, luckily for us, he didn't have his shooting boots on after running nearly all the way from the half way line only to blow his chance in front of Friedel. If he'd got that on target it would have been very difficult to save for sure, so despite a draw not being great for us, it could have been worse.

No matter what we tried, things didn't seem to work, even the ever reliable James Milner misplaced the odd pass today as did Stewart Downing who did look to tire - with good reason, he is only just back and runs all over the place - after 70 odd minutes.

The main criticism? The movement of our strikers is frankly pathetic at times and the first touch leaves a massive amount to be desired. I SO want Heskey to succeed, I know some who would gladly drive him anywhere out of Villa Park but if he has the claret and blue shirt on, I just want him to do well and I'm told he is such a nice guy, which to be fair throughout his career might be his problem, you don't really want nice guys on the pitch not ones of his size and strength, you want aggression and attitude, bit like Dion Dublin used to have.

And Gabby? Well, he had a few chances and sadly blew them, the late chance when he turned the defender beautifully only to control the ball badly and give Green plenty of chance to get the ball was just typical of his day. I will repeat and many moan when some of us say this, he is only 23, he isn't the finished article and it isn't his fault that MON never brings him off, sometimes for the last 20 minutes of a game after he's run all over the place surely Delfouneso or ...., no Delfouneso would have to be it really (!) could get a chance to give the opposition defenders something new to think about?

Then again, MON is the boss, as he said to a fan today behind me, 'that is why I am standing here and you are sitting there you twat' .... ok...! End of the day, could have been put better, but he is the boss, he is the one who has to carry our dreams and make them reality, if he doesn't I'm sure some other twat will be only too happy to take over the mantle and try.

Lets beat Blackburn again on Wednesday, smash Brighton & Hove Albion out of the FA Cup, the season is still very much alive.

There and some say I can't be positive! lol

Not sure what was up with the crowd today, the Holte End was virtually silent, shame, we are the 12th man but there is only so much banging of the boards I can do, I might break my nails! :o)

I'm actually looking forward to watching the highlights tonight, see the talking points, their straw haired midfielder should have been sent off for one. Milner shot just wide - did it glance the post? Not sure. The miss by Nouble and so much more that no doubt I've forgotten. Bit of a tame game in some ways, quiet crowd and no goals, but on the other hand, it wasn't for the want of trying on our part was it?

Star Player

Man of the match: Difficult one... Ashley Young by a whisker, thought he was much better today, shame the strikers weren't on the end of his crosses really. Oh, or Richard Dunne who was his usual solid self.

Player Ratings

Brad Friedel 7

didn't do anything wrong, wasn't that tested really

Stephen Warnock 7

solid, I like Warnock, he is no nonsense

Carlos Cuellar 6

not his position, seems strange that Luke Young is back on the bench but again, I'm not the manager so what do I know? Exactly, nowt! Good in defense, service out was pretty poor at times!

James Collins 7

solid enough and not without threat as we didn't invite them on at times

Richard Dunne 7.5

just what you expect, solid - didn't connect with a headed shot sadly but hey, he is the defender for goodness sake!

Ashley Young 7.5

a mate of mine said he didn't think he had a good game, will be interested to hear what others say, I thought he looked much brighter than much of this season and was a threat and worry to West Ham

James Milner 6.5

not his best but not his worst, good and ... I can't say solid again can I?!

Stiliyan Petrov 6.5

not his fault he is asked to play a holding role so that he can't get forward, did ok, broke up a fair bit of the play, still looks to really tire after an hour though.

Stewart Downing 6.5

ok, looked to tire at the end but some good play and to think he was out for months and months, he has been impressive how he has slotted back in.

Emile Heskey 6

puts the effort in, sort of, but more often than not, in the wrong area of the pitch. Don't remember a single shot, although he did do a bizarre dive for one header, sadly nowhere near where the ball was though!

Gabby Agbonlahor 6

puts the effort in but he fluffed his lines, not getting on his back, I'm very laid back with Gabby, he is young and learning, but you HAVE to take your chances if not you get replaced, well, most do, Gabby on the other hand, I guess does not! Will have harder chances and convert them this season. Still promising so much, just got to deliver regularly now.

John Carew (on for Heskey 57)

Looked up for it, did think he might pop in with the telling goal. Sadly not. As he walked off, he took his Villa shirt off leaving the clinging sports shirt (whatever they are) on. He has so much muscle, perfect specimen of an athlete, if only he would use that size and strength, as many of you know, he bugs me so much, not because he is no good, quite the reverse, this player should be awesome. Come on JC!

Manager Rating

MON Looked as frustrated as everyone else as the game went on. Not sure why he won't change or shake things up a little, I always think with 20 mins to go it isn't bad to see a fresh striker come on but as I keep trying to say to save the moans I sometimes get (!) that IS his job, we all know that, doesn't stop opinions in football though!? Not so convinced a manager needs to react to the fans calling them twats I must admit. Graham Taylor took pure filth and bile (after already being shafted by Ellis over transfers etc) and just stood stoically and took it. Not nice, not easy but ultimately far more dignified. MON in my opinion has an unprecedented support as our manager, so why stress over the odd comment?

Opponent Rating

Gianfranco . Sorry, I love the guy. Total class. Acknowledged some of us clapping him as he came out, he WAS a GREAT player on the pitch and a real gentleman off it. Hope he has a long and successful managerial career, the game needs people like him.


I do get looked after at games, the ladies who sit behind me turn my collar up if they think I'm cold and today the ever lovely Toni brought us all chocolates. Some Villa fans are just total class and those who sit around me are simply great people. Imagine having to put up with me banging the boarding's all the time and still smiling?!?!?

My ratings defined

My ratings defined: 1) Totally awful, had a mare, should be taken out and shot, 2) Awful, but not usual standard, 3) Very poor, needs to improve quickly 4) Poor, below the standard expected, 5) Average, the least expected, 6) Better than average, but in patches only, 7) Good, generally decent performance, 8) Very good, above the standard, standing out at times, 9) Excellent, stood out all match, 10) Outstanding (aka Paul McGrath!). Truly commanded the match, stunning.

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday January 17 2010

Time: 6:38PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
interested to know what others thought of Ash Young's performance today, thought he was much better than some of the games so far this season and didn't hide after making the odd mistake.
The Fear
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17/01/2010 18:42:00

Fear, I thought Ash played well. Gabby however, didn't.
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17/01/2010 18:59:00

Ashley was OK today. Better than OK really. Very disappointed in Gabby today and I'm worried those two misses will knock his confidence especially the one at the end. Well I say misses did he even actually get his shot in or was it smothered before he got chance? I forget. I had turned my back on it once I realised he'd f'ked it up. Milner's shot did glance the post I think. I was right in line having moved more central to accommodate bringing my old man for his birthday treat!!!! Sorry Dad. I am normally very optimistic and pro MON but even I have to admit now this reluctance to rotate and to use subs but then mention tiredness in post match interview's is beginning to bug me. Shocked to hear he had a go at a fan like. Although it is kind of funny too.
Adam Deuce
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17/01/2010 19:23:00

I Hope we don't have any more Sunday Lunch Time kicks-off.
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17/01/2010 19:36:00

Disagree Fear, this result is a disaster imo. We have to start beating struggling teams if we're to have any hope of achieving CL. And I thought Ash was poor today. He can't go past a man, so we rely on his delivery. That was poor today and I'd have replaced him with Albrighton.
Report Abuse
17/01/2010 19:39:00

I thought Ash played well. Dunne played well. Downing played well. I was slightly puzzled by O'Neill's reluctance to have a Plan B. They were playing with only one up front. Why didn't he take Warnock or Cuellar off and bring The Fonz on for the last 20?
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17/01/2010 20:01:00

OK - Not the end of the World, but we could really have done with 3 points today, we have to make the most of the other teams slip ups, and remember our next four league games are Arsenal (H), Fulham (A), Spurs (A) and Man Utd (A). So frustrating today. No great performance and gave the ball away too much. I think Cuellar has had a great season, but he's not a right back - we missed Luke Young going forward. Collins struggled, so why not keep Carlos with Dunne? And freshen things up when we are struggling!!
Report Abuse
17/01/2010 20:13:00

OK - Back from the bath to continue. Man Utd (H) of course. The Fonz or Delph could have come on with 20 to go. MON keeps saying how the squad is improved, but we don't really know. With the games piling up a few changes could have been. Reo Coker for Petrov (he does look tired), Carew (I wish he would stand up and be counted) for Heskey, Young back for Collins, or even rest Cuellar. Lets hope the performance is better on Wednesday, I'm sure it will be. BTW I thought WE (the fans) were poor today - very quiet.
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17/01/2010 21:31:00

I thought Gabby was having a very good game until he hit that chance over the bar. You could see his confidence dip after that and he hid a bit and fluffed another 2 good chances. The moans of the crowd sickened me though, the lad has been class this season and everyone is entitled a bad game every now and then.
Report Abuse
17/01/2010 21:44:00

Ash works tirelessley & never hides but is having trouble beating players this season & would be better off not diving & getting into arguments all the time...That said still like him & is our biggest threat still & does still put some great balls in that a top striker would score from...still not on top form & 21 played 17 league games left is running out of time to hit it full tilt...
Report Abuse
17/01/2010 22:10:00

As for match...sooooooo frustrating..we looked seriously leggy throughout & I feel a few changes would of helped, not only the team but the individuals that train all week but never play, not very motivating for them right now...1 striker up front so we go with 3 centre halves, carlos good defender but no right back in home games where we have to make the running and stretch teams, so luke young would of been better i for the rest of it same old subs apart from the token obvious one & once again left to rue missed chances & go back to the same old story of a striker required..roll on wednesday where we can finish the job & look fwd to a trip to wembley............
Report Abuse
17/01/2010 22:16:00

Downing Mom for me....(honestly thats it ive finished this
Report Abuse
17/01/2010 22:18:00

To claretandbluearmy + benji-starskyavfc...........shame. What was it you was spouting on VSpurs ????..bye bye 4th place? You couldnt even beat the spammers, not only that you looked very mediocre. You rubbed your nose in yesterday yet you bottled it yourselves, next time you come over mocking us on our site remember to win first. To the rest of you, good luck against the frogs next week.
Report Abuse
17/01/2010 23:10:00

You're right - not a disaster and you will be in the end of season shake up for that 4th place. One thing to remember though is that you and Spuds played at HOME against BOTTOM 4 teams.
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18/01/2010 02:12:00

Ash didn't actually find anyone with any cross. Not sure why anyone is claiming he had that good a game tbh!
Report Abuse
18/01/2010 07:35:00

If ever there was a game when we needed to rotate the squad .... this was it !! sandwiched inbetween the 2 legs of the cup semi final and against a team with problems, we play the usual first 11, and THEY did look tired. We need them fresh for Wednesday or THAT could be a real disaster !! I'm a big fan of MON (and if he want's to react to an abusive fan in that way, good for him. that's what i'd of done!), but I really wish he'd use the squad. IMO he should have rotated the squad, and played the same team for this game that he put out for the Blackburn 'FA' cup game.
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18/01/2010 10:34:00

Can't argue with the need for rotation but tiredness doesn't come into it, it was only the third game this month!!! We limited our options on the right playing Carlos at rb which then meant young had double and triple attention. Petrov has flashes of pure class but is a passenger for 80 minutes and could have simply sat in the centre circle if he'd wanted and would still be picked next match. Downing had his best game for us but unfortunately Milner (who is pure class) had a below par performance and Gabby ran the line on his own for 90 minutes but is woefully low on confidence right now. Squad players could and should have been used to add spice to the midfield, support to Ash and a helping hand to Gabby.
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18/01/2010 14:24:00

Huddersfield - because I know you'll be back - villa WILL finish above you spuds for the THIRD SEASONING RUNNING. read again, and you'll notice that my comment was only directed at the 'gobby ones'. read again and you'll notice that my comment was directed at you. You and oxfurdspur constantly run your loud but not necessarily effing cockney mouths off over villa. and, I for one, am sick of it. your assumption that spurs are somehow all of a sudden better than villa winds me up no end. Good team, **** fans, **** manager.
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18/01/2010 15:53:00


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