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

Aston Villa 0 - West Ham 0

Villa Park

17/01/2010

Attendance: 35 646

BarosBarryBouma Match Report v Hammers

Tiredness? Bulls**t excuse. This was our third match this month!

We looked like footballing's equivalent of Audley Harrison today - all hype, no punch. We need a finisher, and fast - not a forward, not a striker, but a natural, born finisher. Someone who knows how to put the ball into the back of the net and who can get in positions to do so. My own preferred pick, Robbie Keane, can be ruled out as he's a Spurs player and no way in hell will Harry and Martin do any more business between our clubs, so that's him ruled out. Only one other option I can think of in that mould who would be possibly available, within our budget, and could make the desired impact, and it's a long shot - Jermaine Beckford. Unfortunately, he withdrew his transfer request today.

But back to the game. We bossed possession (but didn't make the most of it), we had countless shooting opportunities (but no-one to pull the trigger), countless set pieces (but no-one able to provide a telling delivery or get on the end of them). The main positive we can take is that we never really looked like conceding, and we never really gave the Hammers any clear-cut chances. Defensively, we're fine. We just lack a cutting edge. And we've been saying the same thing since Yorke left.

In retrospect, changes should have been made today - there was no reason to keep the same starting line up with the second semi-final coming midweek. Carew should have started, Young should have started, Sidwell should have started, maybe even Delph, Albrighton or Delfouneso. We would still have had enough for a draw at least, we would have rested a few key players, and who knows, one of the other lads may well have stepped up to the plate.

In summary, a clean sheet and a point are the best we can take from this one, not good enough. A wasted opportunity to either make up ground on the teams ahead of us and/or 'rest' players (snort) for the big midweek game ahead. As it is, a frustrating day at the office, and one where Blackburn got a shot of confidence. They'll come to Villa Park thinking they can turn the tie around.

Star Player

Cuellar, see reason below!

Player Ratings


Friedel: 5

had nothing really to do

Cuellar: 10

deserves the man of the match simply for twatting Savage with his clearance. Let's face it, the MoM wasn't going to a forward!

Collins: 6

average display, didn't make the most of his opportunities from set pieces

Dunne: 6

held our defence together, but made a few mistakes as well

Warnock: 8

Tireless, up and down the pitch, best player out there today. The real MoM.

Petrov: 5

Gone from our player of the year to the weak link in our midfield. Hasn't got the energy to keep up with the rest of our team, and dwells on the ball so long he kills any impetus in our attacks.

Milner: 6

Reliable and hardworking as ever, won plenty of set pieces, but was guilty of losing the ball

Downing: 6

Worked hard, poor delivery at times, tired towards the end.

Young: 7

Worked hard throughout, was double and triple teamed at times but kept at it and still created chances, but delivery again let him down.

Heskey: 6

Brought players into the game around him, worked hard, but we need more from our forwards

Gabby: 7

Worked hard, battled for the ball, held it up well and managed to create a few chances. Playing as a hold up player suits him, and he does pick our players out well, but should have done better with the chances that fell to him.

Carew: 5

Had the ball in the back of the next (was a couple of yards offside though) and - unbelievably - managed to finally direct a flick on towards Gabby! For the first time this season! Apart from that, he was anonymous. Might have done better had he been on the field for the 15-odd corner kicks and dozen or so free kicks we'd had before his arrival. Then again, maybe not.




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The Journalist

Writer: BarosBarryBouma Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday January 17 2010

Time: 6:49PM

Your Comments

Whenever a chance falls to one of our 'strikers'!! I never expect them to score, they don't seem to know what to do with the chances presented to them, they don't even seem to shape their bodies in the way i would expect them too to take the chance, as if the whole concept is alien to them, only when Milner lined up that shot was I expecting a goal, the whole shooting process seemed natural and the contact was clean instead of scuffed or missed all together or ballooned or the first touch like that of an elephant
ant1ant1
This is off the BBC Sport site 'The final chance of the match fell to Agbonlahor, who broke free of his marker inside the box but Green was quick out to block before the striker could pull the trigger' think he could actually have played a round of golf first and still had time to smother the shot.
ant1ant1
This is the first time this season i do not think we will make the top 4 , the Hammers are a very ordinary side at the moment and these are the teams we should be whipping . If we hadn't gifted them 4 points this season they would be 2nd bottom . I dont agree with you about Petrov i thought he was ok and Young was ok but couldnt get a decent cross in took an obvious dive and tried to start a couple of fights 5/10 .. Martin needs to grab him by the scruff and calm him down a bit .. Would like to have seen Delph come on or some kind of masterful subbing to change the game but although i think Mon is the right choice for us substitutions are not his strong point .. Heskey off Carew on .. Carew off Heskey on . Heskey looks like he's not going to score many more goals for us we should pay Chelsea or Liverpool to take him off our hands and get back to beating teams that should be beaten .
Doug4ever
Where was Reo Coker ??? Is he injured .
Doug4ever
I drab performance that only deserved a draw. Too many waisted corners which we used to be formidable at. We have still yet to consistantly play well this season and if we dont manage to do that we will not finish in the top 4. On the bright side downing was bright, still a little rough but bright, and when ash gets in top gear we will be much better.
overlooked_villan
Whats this about savage?
trekker
"We looked like footballing's equivalent of Audley Harrison today - all hype, no punch. We need a finisher, and fast - not a forward, not a striker, but a natural, born finisher. Someone who knows how to put the ball into the back of the net and who can get in positions to do so." Quality, couldn't put it better. A decent striker would get so many goals with the chances that we create and the current bunch are well below standard.
Villan444
Its clear we need a striker - a natural finisher. Everyone can see this and hopefully Mon can too. The issue is who though? anyone from the lower leagues is a gamble and inconsistent with a team who have a top 4 finish in mind!? Its slim pickings as far as available proven premiership finishers Our best bet for January would be an import?? realistically i've no idea whats available? david "aston" villa (no chance) Saviola?? Fernando Llorente (athletico bilbao) my view is that Mon will stick to what he has?! and as for Petrov (a few disgruntled fans around) he isn't anywhere near as good as he was last season. The worrying thing for me is he gets caught the wrong side of his man when defending... he's supposed to be our defensive midfielder?? as stated earlier wheres reo-cocker?
applesmoke
Couple of points. Beckford????? He is a scorer at lower league level at best. Every pundit on the box agrees with this and the Leeds fans I know, tell me that he is a poor footballer with a knack for goals at that level. He may make a fist of it in the Championship . . . . possibly, but absolutely no chance in the Premier League. That is why, even with just 6 months left on his contract, not one club has made a serious bid for him. I do agree the point about a goalscorer. As that is now three league games without a goal, it is fairly obvious. On another day Gabbi may have had 2 or 3. It just wasn't his day. He did however work his socks off and as long as any Villa player does that he will be exempt from critisism. As long as they graft it is then the decision of the Manager to either substitute them or rest them. The point on Petrov is a valid one. However I go back to an old chestnut of mine, the fomation. When we play two out and out wide men, As we do, then there is too much ground in the middle for Petrov and Milner to effectively patrol. Milner chases pigeons in his spare time and is as fit as a fiddle. Petrov, is fit but his game isn't suited to the level of ground he is expected to cover. I have long advocated the 3 man midfield with our current squad. Personally I would like to see Delph and Milner as attacking midfielders, With Petrov doing the protective work behind them. I would have two up top, Heskey/Carew with Gabbi/Fonz. And I would have Downing or Ashey having the freedom to go down whichever wing they want. And as for playing Cuellar at right back when we have two senior right backs in the club, that one really has me stumped. Okey Cokey was injured in training during the week.
voiceoftheholte
A striker, a fox in the box is definitely needed not only to put away the chances we create but to change the style of play. What happened last season is just about to happen again as we are starting to play teams we have already played once this season and now they have to a better degree a measure of our game plan. I think this and Laursens injury last season were our undoing not tiredness. The lack of players around to fill that roll in the obvious problem, Keane, Spurs would never sell to us, Kenywe-Jones, not the player we need, Beckford, to much to ask to make such a quick step up, Van Nistelrooy, maybe!!
2fishinatank
Agree about Cuellar I reckon he's a great player but not a right back as he's to defensive, the lack of any attack from that position takes a little pressure off any team we are playing. Personally Cuellar should move back into the middle, Young in at right back and Collins back to the bench
2fishinatank
OK, lets inject a bit of realism here ! It was just one of those games. I didn't like it, I was frustrated, I even got annoyed, but games like that happen, they happen to all teams, they happen to the best teams from time to time. But look at it this way, We didn't actually lose the game, We're still within touching distance of Top 4, we're still in the FA Cup, and we've got one foot in the League Cup final (and i'm confident the other foot will be there on Wednesday). Yes, like most i was p***ed off on Sunday, but it's 'dunne' (sorry mr fear, for nicking your wordplay joke!! :) and it's gone, and I'm now looking forward to Wednesday night, when i'll be cheering the lads on from my seat in Doug Ellis Lower M4 with my two kids. (... so anyone sat in that section .... please mind your language, or i shall have to call MON over to sort you out. LOL !!)
AV-Damo
I suppose we all have the right to criticise, but to go on about it all the time must be frustrating for MoN, spare a thought for tht bloke's wife - she must be close to topping him! MoN has spoken very highly of the Fonz during the past month. It is my guess, only a guess, that MoN sees the Fonz as his ace striker for the next season or so.I would like to see a prolific scorer on for us but as people have said above, who could MoN realistically buy? We are doing great this season, and who knows how much better we will be next year.
andy5759
MON is too stubborn to play the Fonz andy. He has been talking about rotation every week these days because we have so many fixtures but it's all talk. IMHO the training has gone stale and the pecking order is set whereas certain players aren't allowed to tackle others too strongly. Every opposition manager knows who MON will play and they all know our most effective set up. It won't change and he will play the same for 10 games until he is proved right once. Favourites spoilt last season and they will do the same this time round. We need some new blood who is better than everyone else to raise the level of training and it will bring others on. Everyone knows what Cantona did for Manure. We need a superstar. Break the bank MON.
Villan444
REALLY don't think he is too stubborn re: the fonz Villan444, I know he rates the young lad very highly but he is still a kid, he will get his chance for sure. Would have liked to see 20 mins or so of him yesterday as Gabby at times looks like he has run himself out but with the youngsters, I think the coaches including youth/reserve set up do know how to intro them well.
The Fear
Trekker, Carlos cleared the ball and it flew up to the commentary box and hit savage in the face!
The Fear
I love Carlos, but prefer Luke at right back we look a much better team with a natural right back.
claretandbluearmy
Agreed mate, 20 mins would be fine and keep Gabby on his toes but he is being overused and overly relied upon yet again this season. No wonder he has goal droughts!
Villan444
 

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