Aston Villa - Villa An 'Off Side' v Wolves
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Aston Villa 2 - Wolves 2

Villa Park


Attendance: 37 562

Villa An 'Off Side' v Wolves

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!

The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday March 20 2010

Time: 5:33PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
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.
Report Abuse
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'
Report Abuse
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?
Report Abuse
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............
Report Abuse
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.
Report Abuse
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
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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
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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....
Report Abuse
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.....
Report Abuse
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.
Report Abuse
20/03/2010 20:14:00

koolbill, you should just move to germany, or get a german IP, I dont get any probs at all on this forum...... but to the game, excelent report! Why are we even bothering with Heskey anymore? Its time to start giving more minutes to the Fonz! I really dont think we will get 4th now. The FA Cup distraction, and only a draw with both Stoke and Wolves is not good enough for 4th. No excuses, even Spuds won at Stoke today.... Think we should forget CL and concentrate on the FA Cup, and or getting Europa League next year. We need to get a decent striker or two if we have any hope of getting higher than 6th.
Report Abuse
20/03/2010 20:34:00

we looked tired after 20 minutes today, and have done a bit of late... my only beef with MON is this baffling lack of squad use?? why not rest Heskey, Carlos and Stan?? we have very capable replacements.... i wish he'd come out and say why he thinks this strange team management is good for us....freshen it up MON!!
Report Abuse
20/03/2010 22:26:00

Petrov was indeed lucky not to have been sent off before half time. That he never once looked like getting a second yellow after the break speaks volumes about the way Wolves played in the second half. My opinion on John Carew is very simple; he scores goals, and Heskey doesn't, but O'Neill has clearly decided that Heskey is his man. If I was JC, I wouldn't be too impressed. Also, there's always the possibility that his confidence may have taken a knock as a consequence. And as for the accusation levelled at him that he's lazy (or mercurial, for those who are easily offended), there might be something in this, but what is more important to remember is that he's a big guy, and therefore his ability to chase and harry will necessarily be compromised. And even if he is as lazy as some suggest, he scores goals! He should be first choice, and I'm sure if he had been, we'd be doing better than we are, and might actually have a chance of finishing in the top four. Remarkable to consider that, despite O'Neill's ineptitude in so many areas, the squad he has assembled should be finishing in the top four! It really doesn't say much for the quality of a league that is nevertheless the strongest in the world. One last point whilst it occurs to me. O'Neill is often said to make average players good. This is rubbish. He might be able to make poor players average (assuming you're being fairly liberal with your definition of average, and are focusing on the overall standard of the team rather than individuals). What he can definitely do is make good players average. With the players we have (despite the fact that some of them are hopeless), we should be producing a much higher standard of football, with a corresponding improvement in our results. But instead we get the O'Neill brand of football, which is ugly and stupid. Truly, this is a team in its manager's image. Well ok, he's not that ugly...
Report Abuse
21/03/2010 03:14:00

You should have complained to O'Neill about the pie's he would have changed it for you after 75 minutes.
Report Abuse
21/03/2010 08:08:00

He may be able to make bad pies good? He may add a touch of bullsheet.
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21/03/2010 08:17:00

I was intrigued to see luke young and nathan come out for a warm down after the game and spend most of it signing autographs for the lower holte end.....i think luke will be off at seasons end, and who can blame him. We desperately needed a natural full back for ages, then we get a good one and now he cant get a game, i feel sorry for this guy because he aint never let us down. if he is not picked for wedensday's game consider him gone.
Report Abuse
21/03/2010 09:39:00

Luke should play for England so he can get a game .
Report Abuse
21/03/2010 13:53:00

I'd really love to see Martins player ratings every week just to see how he rates Heskey and Carew amongst others . I know he doesn't rate Carew after the snide remarks he always makes about him .
Report Abuse
21/03/2010 14:13:00

Don't panic just yet guys & gals.... should we win against sunderland in the week, all bets still stand on our top-4 race... i had us down to draw the sunderland game, so we will need to win that instead :s
Report Abuse
21/03/2010 14:36:00

Hope so Thorpy .
Report Abuse
21/03/2010 14:40:00

The right back situation is beyond a joke - when Luke Young came out to warm up the reaction of the crowd summed it up. But MON is so stubborn he probably changed his mind due to the reaction of the crowd - And once the crowd sang for Delfouneso to come on I knew MON wouldn't put him on!!
Report Abuse
21/03/2010 15:32:00

thanks 144wittonlane, I'm not a big fan of him either because he doesn't do what he can do every game, yesterday however he was interested and when he is turned on he is a handy player. He does frustrate and annoy me though because he switches off so often. I don't think he likes the cold you know! lol
The Fear
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21/03/2010 16:05:00

Im not a big fan of Fear but I would play him instead of Cuellar.
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21/03/2010 21:10:00

i can understand people not being too keen on a centre back at right back but, seriously, albrighton was far more advanced than a right back. We had a more attacking minded player on for a defensive player. This to me seems like quite a bold move from the manager. And his other sub set up the very important equaliser. I'll enjoy reading this story at the end of the season, will give me a chuckle. Oh and one other thing, if that second goal had been disallowed for offside, there would have been an uproar! clearly onside as he was level with the last defender. thought he was off at first but replays show otherwise.
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22/03/2010 00:53:00


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