Aston Villa - Villa Break Burnley Hearts & Spirit
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Aston Villa 5 - Burnley 2

Villa Park


Attendance: 38 709

Villa Break Burnley Hearts & Spirit

I think Martin O'Neill can do my talking for me today....!

He said: 'I thought we started pretty slowly. We didn't get into gear, we were sluggish. In a game where expectation was very high, with us trying to win, to come from behind was very pleasing.'

Nicely put by MON, we were very slow in the 1st half, there was no urgency or tempo, second half we had a spell that just ripped the guts out of Burnley though and with another 3 points on the table, all is well!

Ok, some will point to the performance and I must admit, the first half - not sure anyone who was there or who was watching on tv could really argue with this - was a yawnfest. Something about Sunday early kick offs do that I think, the crowd were quiet, the players sluggish (copyright MON) and possibly with one eye on Wembley - and even Martin O'Neill was less animated that usual.

The goal Burnley got wasn't exactly a shock, I assume they'd been told to try to come out of the blocks quickly and although it is unusual to say this, maybe our defence were slightly switched off for it? They certainly were for the second Burnley goal right at the end but hey, we had already ripped them apart by then so apart from statistics for the defenders and goalie, it didn't matter greatly.

If you play badly and win, whether by one goal or three, then at the end of the day, you have won and the points are on the table (I'm a bright guy you'll notice!) so although some will moan about the lack of entertainment etc, the only job any manager has is to get those three points. Now fair enough, if we'd come out losers with that performance, the criticism would be more than fair, especially against a Burnley team who only have one point away from home so far this season.

However, we did win, we ripped Burnley apart in a 15 minute spell just as they had started to push us at the start of the second half. Once they had to push forward to try to equalise, they were done for and our classic counter attacking football tore the guts out of them. I fear for them, their home form alone surely can't keep them up?

Ashley Young got the first to equalise before half time, to go in 1-1 after a very flat half wasn't a bad thing really, the way Burnley started the second half I did fear more of the same but then up popped Stewart Downing, who had looked a little short of confidence in the previous few games and especially after missing two great chances at Villa Park a few weeks back. A brace (the second deflected but will still go down as his goal for certain) in two mins will surely set him up nicely now for the rest of the season?!

Then good old Emile - who got some loud cheers from the Villa faithful - put the game out of reach of Burnley before Gabby popped up with a goal, was that off his backside!? Will see on the replay. A slight worry is he has picked up a knock but hopefully it will be nothing serious, maybe a rest mid-week will be in order to ensure he is fit for the Wembley final next Sunday?

All in all, to play that badly for such a long period and then to rip an opponent apart isn't the worst thing that can happen, lets just not try the same against Crystal Palace or Manchester United next week eh lads?!

As Carlos Cuellar just said on Facebook - and yes, I do realise how sad that sounds - 'bad day, great 3 points'

Nicely put King Carlos, nicely put.

No player ratings this week, all too confusing to attempt as the first half not one would have been much above 5 really but the second half a good few came into their own and chances were taken when presented!

Special mention to James Collins who had an awful gash on his head but still came out and put his head in where it hurts... ouch!

The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday February 21 2010

Time: 6:56PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
first time I've copped out of player ratings for years, just too split on 1st half and 2nd half performances though! (Also, I want to go and eat my tea!)
The Fear
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21/02/2010 19:00:00

The early Sunday kick off certainly didn't help the atmosphere. I'm normally very vocal, joining in with all the singing but I just could not be bothered for much of the first half. It's been a long and heavy weekend!! It wasn't until we were 3-1 up that there was an atmosphere all of a sudden. VP seemed to turn back into a public library/morgue again once it was 5-1. Disappointed to concede so late but we have increased our goal difference and with a game in hand over Red Scouse & Spuds we're definitely still in the race. Now we can concentrate on the cups for a week. Lets hope this time next week we are all delirious over our Wembley win and in the quarter finals of the FA cup.
Adam Deuce
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21/02/2010 21:11:00

three different teams occupied 4th spot today so this will be a very close and exciting race that Everton could become involved with as they are more consistent at the moment; the run ins for Spurs and City look tough whilst Villa and Liverpool's look easier so it will be very interesting
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21/02/2010 21:23:00

Good to see young Ash running at the back 4 again. he's warming up to rip manure apart.
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21/02/2010 22:22:00

arthur7171, I watched your match on Sky today while waiting for the Spurs & Wigan game and I am sorry but I was not impressed. Remember Burnley have gained one point away from home all season and the mighty villa victory was due more to bad defending by Burnley than Villa's excellent play. This is not only my view but also the view of ex-villa player, the great Andy Gray on Sky's the last word. With regard to the 4th spot, It will be:- 4. Tottenham 38-67 5. Liverpool 38-66 6. Aston Villa 38-66 7. Man City 38-62. Sorry but having seen Villa live twice this season, I think they lack the bottle to go for the wins needed to get the 4th spot, their tactics at the Lane was really poor this season they just came not to lose and made little or no effect to win. Finally, Best of luck on Sunday I hope you turn Man.Utd over in the Carling Cup final, As it would be good for football if you can win it!!
Ox Yid
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21/02/2010 22:57:00

Safe in the Premiereship for another year then. Great second half. Maybe we will see a more confident Downing in future, to date he has had a 'mixed' time and looked like someone trying to settle in but not quite fitting.
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21/02/2010 22:57:00

Another sack of spuds on the way .
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21/02/2010 23:02:00

Hello Oxyid, I was at White hart Lane too, I watched as you hit the ball to Crouch, who won everything in the air to be fair, and I watched as your fans (NOT you Im sure) spat at children and women after the game, i really have to say your team has become one of the ones i love to see lose now, due to the behaviour of your manager and SOME fans, shame really because I never had anything against them before, but there you go! Im sure we can still have sensible debate
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21/02/2010 23:05:00

Well, Ox Yid. Let's give up now then, shall we as that is obviously how the table is going to finish this year! Your run in looks awful to be honest, having to play Everton, Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea... and we all know how well you play against your more illustrious local rivals. I can't see where you are gonna get those 21 points from in all honesty.
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21/02/2010 23:07:00

Ox Yid, funny you go on our 2 performanced against you this year, as to say we won't finish fourth, you say we were poor, yet you never beat us, but if we go on our wins against...Liverpool, Manure and Chelski? Surely we can win the title ( I am jokng BTW ) Athough yeah, your better than us, 1 point ahead, 1 game ahead, we dont have the bottle win games? bit like the Stoke win at WHL? Wolves double against you? you've been up there all season! and i'll be glad to see you fall out of the race for 4th in the coming weeks x
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21/02/2010 23:48:00

any one team in the top seven can grab that 4th spot and it isn't over until the final wistle, fact! We at VILLA have a great chance of silverware where as you spuds have erm.................nowt! Given our game in hand is against the mighty wigan away we could be 4th! Our critics dislike our style and call us boring but so what, personally its a style that wins us games at home or away and still puts us in with a shout of CL and cup glory on both fronts.
holte ender 1969
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22/02/2010 00:19:00

Tottering Hotspud fans, they are irritating and patronising so and so's, that's for sure. As for us, what can you say? Five goals, three points, two goals needlesly conceded. I thought we might have half a mind on next Sundays Cup Final, and that might also be the case on Wednesday night too, when Palace come to town for the F.A. Cup replay. Muted atmosphere, what was that about? Carlos Cuellar at right full back instead of Luke Young, makes me fume/seethe/shake my head in disbelief. I'll never understand that one. Good to see Stewie bag a brace. I for one think he's done very well since belatedly making his debut. Hasn't yet set the world on fire admittedly, but he's shown more that enough to indicate just what an important signing he will prove to be. Burnley? Certainly not the same team that ran us ragged at Turf Moor, that's a fact. Look certainties for the drop to me. They look completely devoid of premiership quality, apart from Stephen Fletcher, who looks to have something about him.
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22/02/2010 00:20:00

If Downing has done nothing else, his signing has been the trigger to move Milner inside, so for that I salute him. I think he should have been quietly climbing the assist charts from what i've seen recently, but I could be wrong....
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22/02/2010 01:02:00

You never know, if we stop pandering to the Spurs fans who jump on here by responding to their comments, maybe, just maybe, they will get bored and start putting their graffiti on another teams page.
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22/02/2010 04:11:00

Agree, Glensider. Especially about Cuellar/Luke Young situation. What IS going on there?? Apart from height, Young is better in every department at RB. And so he should be. Not complaining about Cuellar, either. In the middle he's solid and his distribution is better there than when he's wide right. He was resopnsible for their second goal, though. By then he looked knackered to me. Please give Luke Young and the Del boys a start on Weds. Please.
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22/02/2010 08:36:00

ox yid only pointed out that we have had some bad games this season and that an ex-Villa players thought we wouldnt finish fourth, he has a point, and he went on to wish us good luck for the Final! Fact is, its the way its gone for most teams around that 4th position. Villa, Spurs, LFC, Man City have all had very dross games this season, have also played really well and got points while playing badly. it's definitely all to play for. Am i alone in not caring for the league position and wanting to go for both cups?
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22/02/2010 08:48:00

We only need a bit of luck and some rotation so the first 11 don't get exhausted. I think rotation in football is where you have a squad of players that are good enough to choose from to play at the right level for a range of tournaments against opposition of different styles and abilities (that's tactics) and so that some players can be rested in the fixture-mad English football season (that's common sense). I'd be really interested to hear what MoN thinks rotation is.
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22/02/2010 09:20:00

good win boys. battle for 4th is really hotting up now as we get into the last 11-12 games. as a spurs fan i obviously want us to get there but ur by far my second choice so keep picking up the points and lets keep money bags and the scouse behind us
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22/02/2010 10:57:00

Thanks black-messi, i agree with you in reverse - if it's not us, i'd much rather spurs snatched 4th - cant stand liverpool & their manager, and wouldn't want ciŁy to get it either :s
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22/02/2010 12:53:00

Funny Spurs fans again...when they beat Wigan 9-1 back in November, it had nothing to do with poor Wigan defending of course... lmao
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22/02/2010 15:19:00

Id rather the bluenoses get 4th than Spuds, Oxyid now thinks he's mystic meg!! typical gobby know-it-all southerner.
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22/02/2010 19:06:00

Gentlemen, I am a little disappionted with the tone of a couple of the replies to my comment on the Burnley game, (was " typical gobby know-it-all southerner" really needed!!) I at no time was slagging off your team or your supporters. With regard to my thoughts on the race for 4th I was giving my take on the situation, I feel Tottenham have the best squad to get the place. I realise they have to play Everton at home next week, plus Arsenal & Chelsea at home then Man. Utd away in April which will be hard, but Spurs do play better against the top teams, (to be honest I am more worried about Stoke and Burnley away, as these are the Banana skin games). Finally, Lets see how the season pans out, the league does not lie, the team that deserves 4th will finish and if it is Villa and not Spurs, I will come back to you gentleman and eat homble pie. Again best of luck on Sunday.
Ox Yid
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22/02/2010 19:54:00

Hello Oxyid. I do feel you were jumped on with some of the responses however I recognise your points and am delighted that you are so level headed with your response. Fourth placed will be fourth best, If villa or spurs do it then it will have been the hard way - the only difference being I believe you have a far better striker contingent in Defoe and Crouch but we have the more solid midfield, yours being more creative but less workmanlike than ours. Our defence is easily better and yours in need of a overhaul but all in all very well matched. Liverpool are ageing and will soon run out of money and I predict the worse when Rafa goes and Barcelona come in for Torres. Man C will continue building but need to buy PATIENCE. I'll be grateful if we keep going the way we are and buy an excellent striker.
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22/02/2010 20:21:00

koolbill - I think you've just about hit the nail on the head in your analysis, apart from the bit about our defence needing an overhaul (currently 4th best in the league with 26 A). It's definately going down to the wire but I must say in terms of challenging for the long term I just hope City don't get it. Although it will clearly make a difference to all 4 clubs with Citeh's money they'd probably move to another level where as if Spurs, Liverpool or Villa got it they'd still be catchable next season
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22/02/2010 20:48:00

Agreed. :-D
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23/02/2010 13:45:00

Be nice for us to win the Cup then the team around us are virtually guaranteed Europe because of league standings.
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23/02/2010 13:46:00


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