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Villa An 'Off Side' v Wolves

Aston Villa
2 - 2

Villa Park


Attendance: 37 562


I've had a little bit of time to clear my mind from today's game. I'm sure for the neutral it was a decent game, a decent local derby and I would think, despite our two goals being off side (thought so at the game, now know so having watched the sky end of game summary that I'd recorded) Wolves should be fairly pleased with a draw? They are relegation threatened and we are in the mix - albeit maybe just outside (?) - for a top four place.

You can look at this any way you want but I said to my mates before kick off nothing but a win for all our remaining home games will be enough if we are seriously looking at 4th. Today we started so brightly and really appeared to be ready to give the Wolves a proper Lions mauling. It took John Carew just 16 minutes to convert from a nice forward flowing attack - now as said, it was marginally offside but hey, we weren't complaining and we had had other chances before and after to put the game out of sight within 20 odd minutes.

AND THEN.........

We always do it really, we just don't kill off teams and as one caller said in the Tom Ross phone in on the way home, 'this is why we aren't talked about seriously for the top four'. Today's game was never going to be easy, it is a local derby, Wolves have local pride to fight for, let alone their Premiership status, but we should have won. We should expect the quality in our team to shine through and we should be shooting more and scoring more.

Should and could don't equal points sadly and as MON said in his post match reaction (see front page index for that) a draw was about the right result. Mick McCarthy might feel slightly differently but him and Wolves aren't my concern, with no disrespect meant.

Ashley Young was great today, he was whipping in the ball left, right and centre. Carew got on the end of the one for his first goal. Heskey on the other hand? No, I'm not going to bother being ultra negi or going down that road, I've tried to so hard to support him and see the 'other' stuff he brings to the game but today I thought he was a liability, despite playing a part in the second goal. His ball control - sorry, his lack of ball control for an England international is a joke. He lost the ball leading to Wolves second goal and also miss-controlled pathetically by where I sit (touchline by the Villa bench) and we just sat there baffled as to why he was still on the pitch.

The most telling part of the game really was when our benched right-back (yes, we do have a proper right back, you might remember him, he was one of our players of the season last year) Luke Young ran to the Holte to warm up. The cheer was amazingly loud. Then Nathan Delfouneso ran towards them and got a similar very loud cheer. Villa fans even started singing to bring on The Fonz. Hint hint to MON?

MON brought on Marc Albrighton (what a future he has) to be .... right back, yes, that is right back and Steve Sidwell. Sidders put in the effort but that was hardly a game changing 'risk' was it?

Luke Young was standing by the bench looking totally fed up. What has gone on there? Surely this is more than just football? Carlos Cuellar, who I love in the centre, is simply not a right-back as many fans were heckling through the game. I feel sorry for him as he looks so out of position there and his distribution is sadly lacking. The stubbornness to make changes and use different players is costing us and costing us dear.

We have 14 points from the last 30, just three wins in 10. That is pushing us out of what could have been a strong challenge to the top four, or even the top three. It is a shame to see but this season is going the same way as last season, fizzling out. Now we could still salvage this if other results are kind to us but I did feel today we were starting the slow wave bye bye to 4th. The FA Cup semi will keep things alive, hopefully after it even more so and if we can get a swift win on Wednesday v Sunderland (Bent on fire again today I see) and get something from Stamford Bridge, then who knows?

We are unbeaten this year. You can look at it that way as well and also, we didn't lose today either!

Opti's? Negi's? On the fencers?

I'm in some ways so happy with what is going on and in others (substitutions, lack of rotation etc) I'm baffled.

Think I'll just keep doing what I do, shout myself hoarse, bang the boarding's (my hands are bruised after today, my one finger is blue, I get the feeling it is going to hurt come the morning! LOL) and carry on along for the ride.

The bigger picture? I just can't find the energy to over think it, what will be will be.

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Star Player

Man of the match: Got to be shared today, Ashley Young and John Carew (do that again please JC and right up to the end of the season, that is what you should be like every game)

Player Ratings

Brad Friedel 5

not a great game I didn't think and was caught flat footed for the first goal

Stephen Warnock 6

some good moments, SO close to connecting from a cross to put us (I think at the time anyway) 2 up

Richard Dunne 6

didn't seem as active today and it has since been revealed he had a sore achilles

James Collins 6

well, the defence let in two goals today so can't go much higher in ratings really!

Carlos Cueller 5

so harsh on him but he is out of place and his passing was way off... and we'd best not mention his 'shot' eh?! Put him back in the centre!

Ashley Young 8


James Milner 6

not as good a game but still worked tirelessly. He scored an own goal but had to try something as the Wolves player would have slotted it in anyway

Stiliyan Petrov 5

looks tired to me? Put in some good work but also lost his rag and could have been (should have been?) sent off. His one foul led to Wolves first goal. Bit ragged basically

Stewart Downing 5

pretty poor to be fair, awful crossing, not many passes connecting etc. Started brightly for us in his Villa career but in the last few games he seems to have faded. Hopefully he'll be fully at the party next season with a full pre-season under his belt.

John Carew 8

that is the Carew we should see all the time, if we did no-one, including MON would have any complaints would they?

Emile Heskey 5

ball control pathetic for an international and a player of such experience.

Marc Albrighton (on for Dunne 70th min) 7

looked very bright, albeit going forward as is a wingers want. Luke Young looked gutted to have a winger ahead of him for right back!

Steve Sidwell (on for Downing 77th) 6

put in the effort for the short time he was on

Pie Scandal

I'm sorry to report the steak and kidney pies weren't cooked on arrival and so I had to settle for a chicken and mushroom. I told the young lady who served me she had ruined my game (don't worry, in a nice joking voice) and she apologised most profusely bless her!

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Saturday March 20 2010
Time: 5:33PM

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I thought Warnock had a poor game today. His passing was awful for the most part of the game. Cueller at RB is getting a bit beyond a joke. The second goal today he just flopped to the floor when the Wolves attacker just stepped to the side of him. THe amount of times Milner was free and calling for the ball in the middle only for our players to dwell far too long on the ball and get caught in possession. Couldn't believe Petrov wasn't taken off to prevent a red card for him. A frustrating day all round.
20/03/2010 17:51:00
Maybe you could say the same thing to MON about him ruining your game, doubt he will apologise though, just be perplexed as to why you too were not 'delighted'
20/03/2010 17:52:00
I've been saying for ages that something has gone on re LY. It's blatently obvious and he'll be gone if MON thinks he can get away with it imo. As much as I don't mind Cuellar at RB (why change a superb defence?) he was poor today, no doubt about it. But then, so was Warnock, who hasn't convinced me of late. I don't agree with Ash vying for MOM either. Whilst he did some good stuff, I was asking for him to beat the man more often instead of turning inside. Seems I might be in a minority there though. And Stan actually seemed to be the only one with a cool head when our defence looked to be panicking, although I agree some of his tackling was rash. Just to contradict you again, I've seen Heskey have a lot worse games than he did today, although I was cheered by the thought that Delfouneso might have come on. Fear, any chance you can get this site to do paragraphs?
20/03/2010 18:09:00
And while you're at it JF, pleeeeease get rid of that damn side pop out thing, well annoying....understand you probably can't due to revenue protection but............
20/03/2010 19:31:00
I really thought you were in the pole position for 4th. This one will hurt. Really didn't see this on coming. Still have confidence you're the side to beat for the last CL spot. Bear down and get it done, gentlemen.
20/03/2010 19:34:00
last year was a massacre advertising wise koolbill, got to recoup this year if we continue to head out of recession. Once we get some decent sponsorship, bits like that will go again, I always make sure we balance as much as possible. Going to start a 1 a week email, if that brings in the projected revenue then again, we can get rid of the more annoying little bits. In the meantime, click it, then turn it off. It is capped to 3 which we insisted on! Needs must to make a free to use service work though and as said, last year... awful. One month was a 1/4 of the same month the year before. Ouch!
The Fear
20/03/2010 19:40:00
Think the worry is Teddy, that the players might start thinking of the end of last season now, we are at least grabbing the draws when a loss seems on the cards but the 14 from 30 has killed us and all really for the want of finishing chances. Our guys need to just shoot, who knows where it might end up, hey it might even end up in the goal!!!
The Fear
20/03/2010 19:42:00
For a long time I've been fine with Carlos at right back for various reasons, but today there was a glaring need for a pacy right back to deal with Wolves attacking at will on that side. Luke Young AND Habib Beye were sat on the bench - they must have been wondering what they need to do to get a look-in....
20/03/2010 19:57:00
On the two goals - the second one he was level as Sidders hit it, and on the first the ball was played square.....
20/03/2010 19:58:00
Thanks for an excellent report Mr Fear. Just because I agree with everything you write with the exception that I'm not such a fan of Carew! Sorry to say I'm getting well fed up with MoN's stubbornness. He should not let 'fallings out' get in the way of sensible selection, let alone a win. No player is bigger than the club, but neither is MoN. Sometimes it looks as though he thinks he is.
20/03/2010 20:14:00
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