Broken Hearts & Match Report
28th February 2010
Well, it`s over.
Not quite sure what to say to be honest.
None of us had even considered the prospect of defeat in this cup final, our first for 10 years and what would have been our first win in 16 years, so the actuality that we haven`t won is particularly heart breaking.
So what happened?
We Villa fans always bemoan the fact that we create so many chances, we just need a top striker to bury them. Today though was the opposite. Gabby Agbonlahor looked like he wanted the ball and wanted half a chance, but the delivery just wasn`t there.
James Milner, Stewart Downing & Ashley Young - All three are normally some of the best creators in the league but today, nothing seemed to go right.
I was particularly disappointed with Stewart Downing. He didn`t necessarily play badly but he just didn`t seem to want the ball. Whenever he picked it up he was looking to knock it to James Milner, who tried so hard by the way and buried a great penalty under enormous pressure, but couldn`t do it all alone. We needed the likes of Downing to stand up and be counted and I can count only two crosses from the man that were of the quality expected, and both came when we were 2-1 down and looking out of the game. Heskey turned one of the two onto the crossbar that somehow resulted in a corner, and Dunne dragged the other wide when powering into the box.
Downing wasn`t the only one who shirked the occasion.
Carlos Cuellar looked particularly poor and will have the Luke Young fans up in arms. Defensively he did his job apart from a very sloppy pass backwards that forced James Collins into picking up a booking. Going forward in support of the wingers though, he was woeful. Would Luke Young have offered more? Yes, I think he would.
We didn`t play too badly but we didn`t create and gave Gabby, Heskey & Carew no chance.
Some fans will point to drama surrounding Nemanja Vidic and his foul on Agbonlahor that resulted in the penalty. Should he have been sent off? As he correctly pointed out in the after match interview, he is was in front of Gabby and didn`t come through the back, so no he shouldn`t have been sent off.
BUT, at the very least it was a booking meaning that one more bad tackle and he had to go. Well, he was booked again for a very poor challenge on Ashley Young, so yes, he should have been sent off that would have undoubtedly changed the game.
I don`t want to get hung up on that though. Yes he should have been sent off and yes we could bemoan that decision but it doesn`t matter. He wasn`t sent off and we still knew we had a job to do.
I`d like it if Villans as a collective just accepted that we were not the better team and did not deserve to win.
It`s not the end of things for us this season as we are still in the hunt for the FA Cup with a 6th round match against Reading on March 7th whilst also still maintaining the top four finish.
To claim all three would have been an epic season of course, but as long as we take the time to recover from the heartbreak, our season is still very much on course to be good one.
Still, my man of the match goes to the fans who have travelled down to London today. We all expected the win and will now have heartbreak to deal with, but you`ve had the Wembley day out and just try and accept that we will have more to come over the recent years.
Friedel - 6
Warnock - 6
Collins - 7
Dunne - 6
Cuellar - 5
Downing - 6
Petrov - 6
Milner - 7
A. Young - 7
Heskey - 6
Agbonlahor - 7
Carew (for Cuellar) - 6
Ref Watch (Phil Dowd)