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Villa Pick Up Draw v Sunderland

Aston Villa
1 - 1

Villa Park


Attendance: 37 473


Being a genius (cough cough... what a way to start a 'match report' by the way!) I didn't think we were on for 4th place this season. My prediction at the start of the season, if memory serves me right, was 6-8th (that was before the excellent defender purchases but with the lack of a new striker, even that didn't deflect me from that belief)


Well, it just means maybe that I am more relaxed than some. We flirted with 4th, we could mathematically still do it, but even MON has admitted the draws have killed us this year and the draws are getting more frequent.

I said before the Wolves game that if we were genuine contenders for 4th that we can't have any more draws at home. Sadly we drew with Wolves and again last night v Sunderland. You know Villa though, they'll go and win at Chelsea now and the optimism will again return!

I have to admit, as I was leaving one of my mates who sat in a different area met up with me, mate and dad and said 'what dross'. My mate Wiggy and me were a bit surprised, but then we listened to others reactions. I know near the final whistle (I'd gone to the top of Trinity Lower to see the end and then get a nice quick exit) one chap started moaning to me about the manager and the 'f****g awful play', I just looked away.

You see, I quite enjoyed the game! It was end to end, I thought we had more of the possession, the stats don't bear that thought out (we had 49% according to our stats) and we certainly had some excellent chances. I think because I like the people around me, that I sit near the bench and enjoy barracking the opposition (Steve Bruce was a good laugh last night for one) and the ref etc (all fairly nicely!) and the fact I don't think it is a God given right for us to win, I'm just more relaxed these days. I don't expect to finish where we want to but do have a lovely dream about the FA Cup this season, I'm sure you all share that!

Don't get me wrong, this isn't top quality football or anything but I can't say that I didn't think the players didn't put the effort in last night.

The biggest problem?

Two great chances, to awful misses.

First half James Collins (who played great last night by the way) only had to nut the ball on target and he'd have scored, he headed it high, wide and not so handsome. I bet he couldn't miss like that again if he tried?

Then second half John Carew, who is back on form and looking interested (why does he fade so much in the cold weather, I thought he came from Norway?!) had a clear header in front of goal that again, was put wide when you'd have put your mortgage on it going in.

You cannot miss chances like that and expect to pick up wins. Sunderland are no mugs. I have an email from the Vital Sunderland editor this morning, 'great point for Sunderland, couldn't be happier'. That sums it up, for Sunderland away at Villa Park, a draw was a good result, for us at home though, it just wasn't good enough.

Villa doing what they did last season? Looks like it, I just think I'm more immune to the disappointment now and also mindful - without looking at the bigger picture, money spent, lack of rotation etc which I just don't have the energy to get all angry about right now - it hasn't been a disaster this year. I know, I know, the counter arguments and I so wanted us to take our chance this year, but .....

Well, we'll just have to see how the season plays out now. The crowd certainly do seem to be turning a little, there is more frustration and certainly more anger growing. I can understand why, I just can't get into it myself, what will be will be and without a striker to bang home the goals - and a bit of help from supply would also be nice - we aren't quite as good as we'd all like to think we are and for that fact only, I can't bang my head against a brick wall expecting what isn't possible, I can however keep bashing my hands to death on the boarding's by me (note to the club, can you please repair the rivets holding the boarding's up, I have popped three off so far this season!) and carry on supporting the team and letting the refs know what a free kick is, when a yellow card should be given and enquire as to what is wrong with their contact lenses.

Last night? We had the chance to make hay as Man City lost, we failed, but I don't think that was for the lack of trying from the players, just the lack of new ideas, a plan b or shaking things up. Like last season, I think we've been sussed and not only that, we so miss the pace of Gabby Agbonlahor.

Must say our defence seemed to keep Darren Bent quiet all game and that Sunderland's Campbell looked a real handful, good goal from him.

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Star Player

John Carew, put in the effort and scored a quality goal.

Player Ratings

Brad Friedel 6

never good at rating keepers but not sure he was responsible for the goal?

Stephen Warnock 6

decent if not stunning

James Collins 7

won most headers all game, just missed the one that counted in front of goal, then again, we shouldn't be relying on defenders for the goals

Richard Dunne 6

clearly not fully fit

Carlos Cuellar 10

not really but fed up of people moaning about him, he isn't a right back and we can't judge him as such

Ashley Young 7

got stuck in, makes the crosses, just no one gets on the end of them - set up the Carew goal

James Milner 6

a little off the pace, no wonder if he achilles was sore, but still plenty of effort

Stiliyan Petrov 6.5

did well to start, best for a while, but does fade and gets to look tired after 60 odd mins?

Stewart Downing 6

needs a pre-season, he'll improve, he'll have to

John Carew 8

man of the match, missed a good chance but is putting himself about again, so nice to see, where have you been John? Quality goal.

Emile Heskey no rating

off injured early on, was trying to get involved but he struggled from 4 or 5 minutes in

Nathan Delfouneso (on for Heskey 14) 6

no supply, put in the effort, not helped with the lack of balls to him

Steve Sidwell (on for Milner 77) 6

put in the effort, he has so disappointed so far in his Villa career, thought he was a great buy at the time, but as said, did put in the effort

Manager Rating

Bag of nerves, doesn't have take it out of his lucazade bottle, is that really just pop in there Martin!? :o)

Opponent Rating

Steve Bruce, had a laugh, looked shocked at getting away with a couple of mad decisions by the awful ref!

No Pie Scandal

Following the great steak and kidney pie scandal of Saturday, I ate before I came out today, so no pie ratings. I did however defy my sponsored diet and have a bar of Cadbury's dairy milk... also shout so much I had to send out for emergency supplies (a second bottle of water)

Ratings defined

Match ratings defined: 1) Totally awful, had a mare, should be taken out and shot, 2) Dire, but not usual standard, 3) Very poor. 4) Poor, below the standard expected, 5) Average, the least expected, 6) Better than average, but in patches only, 7) Good, generally decent performance, 8) Very good, above the standard, standing out at times, 9) Excellent, stood out all match, 10) Outstanding truly commanded the match.

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Thursday March 25 2010
Time: 12:35PM


Agree about Fonz, simply didnt have the ball in the second half Thought the ref was poor again, Carew is wrestled to the ground at corners and nothing given, yet every time he gos for a header its a foul by him. Did they not have munchies JF?
25/03/2010 12:48:00
no munchies Trekker! lol
The Fear
25/03/2010 12:52:00
Agree with Trekker about the ref, cant see how he gave a goal kick when it was so clearly palm round for a corner. But must say I was pleased to see the Fonz get some time on the pitch, even though he didnt play too well, he needs time to improve. We didnt miss Heskey at all, and great to see both Ashley and Carew playing so well. Talking about how the season will finish, just did the BBC predictor, and even with continuing to draw games, I got Villa only 3 points off the 4th spot. But we were still pipped by Spurs. It ended up ManU 88, Arsenal 86, 3rd Chelsea 84, 4th Liverpoo 69, 5th Spurs and Everton on 67 with Spurs winning on GD, 7th Man City and Villa level on 66 points and GD with ManC winning on direct play. So still 4 more points than last year, but sadly 2 places lower due to more competition at the top.
25/03/2010 13:09:00
The worst ref decisions were not carding Catarmole. He could have had at least 4 yellows yesterday! No wonder Milly went off injured.
25/03/2010 13:10:00
Looked like Steve Bruce had some pies as well.And Nigel Spink for that matter. I did get misty eyed seeing him giving the sub goalie practice by where I sit at half time.Was hoping the P.A would have paid tribute to him unless they did before the game.
25/03/2010 13:14:00
We played solid last night, Gordon is immense at the moment and Campbell seems to be hitting form at the right time. That evening produced the best pass of the season for our goal and the best save by Gordon of the season. Bring on the scousers!
25/03/2010 15:37:00
Like you Jon i enjoyed the game despite the result Postives for me were nathan delfonso quick feet, pace and good first touch (gabby please note) BIG john having a good go again and looking up for it Milly and ash for having plenty of zip and guile. On the negative side, cuellar who does not have quick feet, pace or a good first touch, further more for two games in a row cant cross the ball. rhesus negative plus, the manager who complains we are a wee bit tired and fails to utilise the squad. listening to danny kelly on talk sport state we have a small squad and the manager does not have much to work with.........oh really have a look at the back page of the man ure programme compare squad lists and tell me about numbers, we have them, use them. Fantastic chorus of "sit down potato head" by the way.
25/03/2010 15:43:00
Milly went off injured villa_de, thanks to another diabolical ball from Cuellar. The guys a liability. Gets his own players booked as they attempt to retrieve a situation that he has once again created, now to rub salt into the wounds, he's getting them injured because of his inability to pass a ball five yards to a team mate. Decent game I thought, Sunderland arguably deserved their point. We could have snatched it, so could they.
25/03/2010 21:16:00
Team played well.... Fonz didn't have a kick in the 2nd half but looked good in the 1st. Shame about Gordon's outstanding save from Carew...
26/03/2010 12:52:00
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