Aston Villa - Broken Hearts & Match Report
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Aston Villa 1 - Manchester United 2

Wembley Stadium

28th February 2010

Attendance: 88,596

Broken Hearts & Match Report

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.

Star Player

Not quite sure who to pick really? Collins was solid apart from the poor clearance that nearly let Berbatov in, Milner was always looking to be involved, Ashley Young was always looking dangerous and trying to provide something and Agbonlahor was working hard at closing down, trying to earn something.

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.

Player Ratings

Friedel - 6

Well he went for Big Brad but there was very little to argue over whether Guzan should have played. He pulled off one great save but had little he could have done for either of the finishes.

Warnock - 6

A slip let in Valencia that led to Park`s shot that cannoned off the post. A quiet afternoon for the new England left back, not a bad one, but a performance not up to his normal standards.

Collins - 7

Solid. Picked up the booking to save Cuellar`s blushes and seemed to deal with everything in the air. Well, most things anyway.

Dunne - 6

Hasn`t made many mistakes this season but despite tracking back and making the fantastic tackle to stop Berbatov, was unlucky to see the ball fall to Owen who would never miss from that chance. Good opportunity to equalise from Downing`s cross but never lacking in effort.

Cuellar - 5

Definitely not a right back. I can`t blame him though. He would surely prefer to play at centre back but is played out of position by O`Neill. Woeful distribution today and hindered us going forward. One for MON to answer as to why he didn`t play Luke Young.

Downing - 6

Looked shy of the occasion giving the ball to Milner every time and appeared to not want to get at the United back line. Should have done more.

Petrov - 6

A typical performance of the Villa captain. Hardly grabbing any headlines and had a terrible strike go well wide but still, he tried and I can`t knock him.

Milner - 7

Seemed to personify Villa`s main threat and we all got hopeful every time he picked up the ball. Still, he can`t do it all alone.

A. Young - 7

Did look bright and was perhaps one of Villa`s better performers of the day but lacked any real service. Seems to be hitting form at the right time.

Heskey - 6

Did his part of the job by holding up the ball rather well but offered minimal goal threat but for the one coming off the cross bar. Was let down by the lack of overlapping from wingers and full backs.

Agbonlahor - 7

Oh how he tried. Had no service to speak of but ran his socks off trying to get the ball. Won the penalty from some early pressure but seemed to fade in the game.

Carew (for Cuellar) - 6

Not long enough to judge.

Manager Rating

No shocks with the starting line up and made the right move when we went 2-1 down by taking off the poor Cuellar for striker John Carew. Maybe should have brought on Carew in place of Heskey when the score was tied to offer something different up front. Will have done himself no favours with Luke Young fans in picking Cuellar.

Opponent Rating

Reeked of arrogance at the start leaving out Scholes & Rooney but in the end had little to do apart from take off the injured goal scorer, Owen, for the other goal scorer, Rooney.

Ref Watch (Phil Dowd)

After making a few early bookings and correctly awarding the penalty he let a few United challenges go unpunished to try and get the game flowing again but will be criticized for his failure to send off Nemanja Vidic.

After thought

Okay, so we're not the Carling Cup champions. We all thought we would be, but it's only March. We still have the FA Cup and the hunt for fourth so lets not get all down beat just yet. Let's dust our selves down, pick ourselves up and see how we are in May.

The Journalist

Writer: JayVFC Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday February 28 2010

Time: 6:11PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I agree Luke Young is one of the best right backs in the country but Vidic should have been sent off after 4 minutes which would have made us more likely to hold on to our lead or even increase it . But you are right in not mulling over it too much , at least we weren't humiliated and i would rather win the FA cup then the Carling . Good Match .
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28/02/2010 18:22:00

Sad result. Congrats to Man U though they outplayed us. Ref was as blind as a bat but we weren't the better team on the day. Just wish we could drop heskey and play 4-5-1 or Carew. My Man U buddy joked that he only saw heskey once in their half the entire game.
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28/02/2010 18:28:00

Shame for Villa because if Vidic is off then the game is there's for the taking. In the end United were deserved winners. Dissapointed for Owen. What does this guy have to do to get a run of games?
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28/02/2010 18:32:00

Feel sorry for Owen scoring in a Cup Final and getting a winners medal
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28/02/2010 18:33:00

Writing this actually helped calm me down. Well that and the half bottle of Whiskey I've already consumed (not kidding). At the end of the day redandwhitestripemad is spot on, it is a shame for Villa because Vidic should have gone, no two ways about it BUT United were the deserved winners.
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28/02/2010 18:39:00

Thought Gabby was great today .
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28/02/2010 18:51:00

Yeah he tried and that's all we can ask of the team really but the service just wasn't there for him today. Whether it was under instruction from Fergie or not but they did a good job of not letting him in behind them.
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28/02/2010 18:54:00

The new improved hardworking tackling Gabby was magnificent, shame about the ref.
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28/02/2010 18:55:00

Jay, you're spot on, Vidic should have walked, but the best team won. We will be back a better and stronger team for todays experience.
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28/02/2010 19:02:00

Unlucky lads, I wanted you to win this one. Maybe next year?
J Dogg
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28/02/2010 19:08:00

As an outsider I don't think you can say the best team won.Vidic should have walked so you should have been playing 10 men for the whole game, more or less. Your lads ran their hearts out and did you proud as did the fans with their singing. Guess you will have to make do with beating Birmingham in the FA cup final.
SFC Forever
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28/02/2010 19:53:00

Think the ref let us off the hook by not sending off Vidic.It would have been embarasing if that performance was against 10 men.We dont need to win the league cup again we need a bigger trophy,hopefully this will spur on the team for the FA Cup.
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28/02/2010 19:59:00

As a Utd fan thought you lot totally outplayed us for first 20 mins, we were lucky with Owen goal, shoddy defending to allow Berba to nick the ball from Dunne, but he got back, well done Villa - title contenders next season maybe!
As for Vidic he should have at least got a yellow, and I think it was wrong for Collins to get a yellow not long after when he brought down Owen - but we dug in and did play well, but it still could have gone either way!
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28/02/2010 20:00:00

The Vidic not sending off decision was a factor, but so was MoN's team selection. Can someone please tell me what Luke Young has done wrong? Cuellar is a decent centre back, but slow covering back abd gormless on the ball when going forward. It's not his fault he's being played out of position.Then our creative midfield dynamo gets pushed to right back! Sorry to say MoN needs a kick up the backside. Just deleted another paragraph of rant. MoN is still a good manager, but not great. Man U deserved to win. Rooney showed what a striker should do. Berbatov showed Heskey what a football is for, and Valencia showed Downing how to play on the wing. A Villa fan till I die, but know when beaten by a better team. Let's see what we can make out of the FA Cup. UTV!
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28/02/2010 20:17:00

We were beaten by the better side, but the turning point was the Owen goal, Niteworlok is correct we were the better side until then, Utd were wary of us and we were playing with confidence and getting at them, the goal completely changed this, we dropped deaper allowed Utd to pass it around, they grew in confidence and was only one winner from this point forward, we had to keep the pressure on, even though Dunne lost it he recovered at least, but the ball fell lovely for Owen and that was it the game changed completely
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28/02/2010 20:37:00

I remember all too well how it felt after the ca cup final last year, at least you boys have the rest of the season to make up for the disappointment, we had all summer to dwell on missed opportunities.
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28/02/2010 23:20:00

Never a truer word said EvertonMike. The seasons not over yet and we've still got things to play for. Let's just endure the jokes from the noses, dust ourselves down, and play on!
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01/03/2010 00:26:00

Precisely your still in a great position to get 4th and most half decent sides are already out of the FA Cup, whilst our season is over in February really.
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01/03/2010 01:27:00

Unless you meet Spurs again, I'm sure you'll get to Wembley for the FA Cup even if for the semis. I know I'd be FUMING if the ref had missed a blatant red for Dunne and you went on to win it. But like I said before, you got a very good team here. I see trophies in your near future.
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01/03/2010 01:35:00

Yeah i'm a massive Luke Young fan, and if O'Neill feels the need to play 3 CB, i'd play L Young on the left over Warnock even though i think he is a great player too. I just thin L Young is better. Don't know why he had to start meddleing with the defence when Cuellar and Dunne were playing so well. I know J Collins has been brilliant but we haven't looked the same since he came back in and the funny thing is J Collins has been our best defender over the last few weeks, but everyone else has started to struggle in particular Dunne and Warnock. Maybe they need a bit of a rest.
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01/03/2010 05:00:00

Don't be stupid liamo1981 LOL. Rest players? Rotate? PMSL!!We've got such small squad and no quality on the bench. ;-) Agree that Cuellar and Dunne would be best central pair, but want L Young and Warnock in thier correct positions. Warnock is still carrying a knock according to recent MoN interview. Then we could use Collins to rest Dunne and or Cuellar in certain games. BTW thought Gabby gave 100% and clearly shared the **** out of them. With the right consistent service he could be so much better. He looks up, lays the ball off and crosses. He is improving.
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01/03/2010 08:11:00

think the main thing that resonates in the match report Jay is that 'nothing seemed to go right'. I think we shaded or were at least equal in the first half. Just the drop of the ball at key times didn't go our way, our headed chance hit the bar, Rooney's looked like it was going over and looped over and in. Just one of those things, on another day who knows? Still proud of the fellas. I do wish we could play two halves the same (good) though!
The Fear
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01/03/2010 15:16:00


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