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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Aston Villa 1 - Tottenham 2

Villa Park

26/12/10 17:30

Attendance: 39,411

Villa 1-2 Spurs - Match Report

I was hoping to continue my recent theme of reporting fairly positive things about Villa matches. Sadly, if I stuck rigidly to it then this match report wouldn`t contain much to read at all.

I genuinely do like the football we are trying to play under Houllier. It seems more expansive and entertaining, but, for the moment at least, has shown us two major flaws.

The first one being that it shows up how painfully lacking of a 'proper` striker we are even more than the direct style of play the previous regime preferred, and secondly, the prettiness, if you can call it that, of our football has come with the ultimate sacrifice: results.

Having watched Villa for so long, just like many others, it would seem reasonable to say that the two are probably connected. I know that some are willing to give Houllier a chance, and some don`t like him, but, whatever your opinion of him, we might be able to agree in the most part that our lack of results are not purely down to those two factors, they are just the main ones. There is change coming, but is it the type of change we want to see? That is open to debate, but one thing`s for sure, it`s going to be a rollercoaster ride, and I can`t wait to see what`s going to happen.

So, onto the game then, and firstly I want to give everyone a pat on the back for the attendance. Just under 39 and-a-half thousand is, I think anyway, a fantastic attendance for a Boxing Day game considering the travelling difficulties, temptation of Sales shopping and, not least, the recession that we are still in that has not left much money spare in peoples` pockets.

Also, we have to remember that we have lost to a fantastic team that is in the Champions League, wiped the floor with the Italian champions and also contains a player that could grace any team in the world in Van der Vaart. He has scored all four goals in Spurs` two games against us, so without him we would have won both games 1-0, to put things into context. The point about us being similar to them not so long ago is valid and I think it is right that we should debate just what has happened, but, sadly for Villa, Spurs have made the jump, we haven`t, and that is the all too depressing truth.

The game started with both 'keepers having to make saves to deny their attacking opposites. Gomes saved a deflected Albrighton shot and Friedel reacted quickly to stop Jermaine Defoe in his tracks.

Villa were then denied a penalty, a decision that had the Holte up in arms after Heskey appeared to be fouled by the Brazilian`s outstretched arm, but the referee failed to point to the spot.

Then it was Tottenham`s turn to moan after they protested that the ball had not gone out of play during a move that ended in Kaboul, our nemesis ever since he scored the equaliser in that 4-4 game, slotting home, but again, the game stayed goalless.

Not for long though, as the White Hart Lane club took the lead on 23 minutes. There was no denying the quality of the first pass by Modric but defensively, from Villa`s point of view, the goal was an absolute disgrace. Hutton`s cross didn`t get cleared despite at least two defenders throwing themselves at the ball, which presented Dutchman Van der Vaart with an easy tap-in.

More drama was to follow however with the aforementioned Defoe receiving a red card for elbowing our Welsh colossus James Collins in the face during an aerial battle. Harry Redknob was predictably moaning about the incident after on TV but I am sure that he of all people is aware that now, if you lead with your elbows in that situation, you`re in trouble.

Heskey was taken off after he picked up an injury and was replaced by Nathan Delfouneso before the break and at half-time the man who was living most dangerously, Mr Jonathan Hogg, a favourite of mine, I`ll admit, simply because he gets stuck in, was replaced by Stan Petrov, whom it was great to see back.

Fast-forwarding to the goal that killed Villa hopes, a Spurs counter-attack was started by that Dutchman, who released Gareth Bale, the victim of predictable 'sheep shagger` chants before somebody behind me said, "don`t say that, or Collins will get pissed off as well" (touché), to start a mazy run that saw him pass to Lennon who in turn set-up Van der Vaart for a cool finish.

Our second-least favourite Frenchman Robert Pires then came on and didn`t do a great deal but the boos that greeted his entrance, whoever they were aimed at, were still completely unjustified in my opinion when the team is two down and needs our backing to get back into the game.

Marc Albrighton then gave us a little bit of hope back in what was practically a carbon copy of Villa`s second against Albion in the sense that an Albrighton cross went in after Collins threw himself at it but missed. The difference this time however was that it didn`t need Heskey there and the curl alone was enough to send it sailing past Gomes. In all honesty though it was just too little, too late.

That pretty much wraps it up for this week. I still can`t believe that we failed to put away any of our twenty-six, yep, twenty-six according to the BBC, shots or that we failed to make any of our sixty-three percent possession count for anything. I think that backs up what I was saying earlier and we just have to hope that (a) Houllier`s master plan comes together and (b) that includes a striker somewhere. If those two things combine, I`m confident that it won`t be long before we return to Europe.

Finally I just want to say that I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that the result didn`t spoil it for you too much! I hope you have a great time seeing in the New Year and I hope that 2011 is a fantastic year for every Villa fan out there.

Star Player

Eric Lichaj

Player Ratings


Brad Friedel 7

.

Eric Lichaj 8

.

Stephen Warnock 6

.

Carlos Cuellar 6

.

James Collins 6

.

Marc Albrighton 7

.

Stuart Downing 6

.

Fabian Delph 6

.

Jonathan Hogg 6

.

Emile Heskey 7

.

Gabriel Agbonlahor 6

.

Nathan Delfouneso 5

.

Stan Petrov 6

.

Robert Pires 5

.




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The Journalist

Writer: Holte139 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday December 27 2010

Time: 1:58AM

Your Comments

The boos that greated Pires were from the away support.
judge
Take that by VDV!!!! Wind ur necks back in and crack on wiv ur relegation battle.. Altho I will say this... hope u dont go down and don think u will go down - there are teams in this league way beneath u in quality. I think u will still finish in top 8 if im honest. Apart from that... Get in VDV u beauty!!! ;-)
TornadoYid
It's laughable that people can even talk about us going down or that we are in a relegation battle. We are not. If we are, then 12 teams in this league are as well. Maybe we can pull an Everton and shoot up the table second half of the season. We had Hogg, Licah, Delfonz, Delph, and Albrighton playing out there. 5 Kids. Not to shabby.
los_angeles_villan
Premier league table never lies la villain. At this point in time u are most certainly in a relegation fight and with games v chelsea and city to come i think that is very much where u ae going to stay.
TornadoYid
Spurs are a quality side but the fact remains that we played against 10 men for over an hour and still lost. Yes, at times Houllier has got us playing prettier football but unless we get a cutting edge we are in big trouble. We've got some good kids in most areas but until we get one maybe two strikers who can hit the net nothing will change. At this moment in time surely all the transfer kitty is blasted up front.
SidGodSid
This result is really the story of £8 million. We paid £8 million for a so-called football player who is more interested in his lifestyle, and Spurs paid £8 million for Van der Vaart, whose life is clearly playing and enjoying his football.
Davidz
The worry is not that Spurs have a better team than Villa; we knew that already. It was that Villa played against 10 men for half the game and failed to get a point. Villa had loads of shots but how many were from a distance where they were likely to beat Gomez? The question to ask about Houllier is whether he has chosen a style of play which suits the players available to him?
Steve Wade
what a class act you are TornadoYid.
The Fear
what do you mean Steve, were Spurs down to 10 men? Thought it was the Villa the way the game went!!!
The Fear
Was it just me or did we play really well for most of the game? If we had a Defoe, a Crouch, a Dawson or someone of the class of VDV we would have won the game. We controlled Blues, Sunderland, Man U in the same way as well. This team can be turned around with a few shrewd signings. Be positive guys!
PiperUK
As for TornadoYid, I look forward to your new book - The Mysteries Of Bear Poop And Where To Look For It.
Steve Wade
There is no way we are in a relegation battle. We may be 4 points off the bottom 3 but don't forget that we are also on 3 points off the top 10. I wouldn't get my hops up for the next two games but we should all be getting behind GH and support the type of football he's getting us to play. I totally agree with PiperUK, we bossed the game, especially second half. Delph and Hogg played brilliant. Full of guts and always hassled, Delph looked creative at times with a good eye for a pass. Lichaj had Bale sussed, Cuellar looks comfortable int he new system, Albrighton was brilliant again, so was Downing. It WAS a mistake to not bring Bannan on instead of pires but maybe he has Man city in mind, it's only tomorrow after all. Maybe Reo and Bannan and Clark will get in the team then. There is a bit of a rotation policy happening and it's giving possible deadwood a last chance to shine but also giving our very talented younger players fantastic experience. A new CB and GK and a good target man in Jan will turn our fortunes around, then in the summer we can crack on. Oh and is it just me or does Keane and Krancjar plus maybe £5m in a swap for ash sound like a great deal?
Thom85
We should definitely get behind Houllier but more like Gaius Cassius than doting fans.
Steve Wade
Piper UK I am currently working on the sequel which is called 'The True Origins of Smelly Faeces... Upton Park'.
TornadoYid
Thom85 you say you bossed the game...you were up against 10 men for most of the game and on home soil!! Look despite the cheeky ribbing - villa are NOT going down but seriously you will find youselves down there for a while if you look at your next fixtures. And Keane + Krancjar + 5 mil for A Young? Yes please.
TornadoYid
Sorry I meant Steve Wade not Piper UK. (Still drunk).
TornadoYid
We are in a relegation battle. Let's not kid ourselves. i thought we played ok last night. 11 v 11 I thought we were better despite being a goal down. Just like at WHL the loss of Heskey changed the game. He was a constant threat and was bringing the best out of Gabby. Once he went off, no focal point and i strongly believe that the sending off did NOT help us. Instead of the 'end to end' game Spurs got everyone behind the ball and attacked on the break. They wouldn't have played that way with 11. We have some fantastic young players, but need old heads and experience around them. After horrendous injuries we now have Sidwell, Carew, Ireland, Dunne and Beye 'unavailable' because of a 'fall out' with the manager. Carew SHOULD have been the perfect replacement for Heskey last night, and Ireland for Delph but neither are interested. Why Pires rather than Bannan?
krfeskivilla
TornadoYid LOL!
Steve Wade
We did boss the game. We just didn't pose much of a threat. A good striker in Jan could change all that. I'm not worried at all. Spurs are a better team and we put up a good fight and played some very nice football. I see ourselves in more of a battle to make top 10 rather than avoid relegation.
Thom85
It would have been acceptable to lose to a good spurs team but to lose after having one extra man in the team for over an hour in unacceptable. I think most of the players played quite well yesterday and its nice to see how the kids play as well at the senior pro's. The problem just seems to be with tactics as we allows opposition players to play a free role and be unmarked. We often have players out of position. How can the team with ten men be passing the ball around making us chase it?? it makes no sense Times like this we should be playing a ridged tight formation. Man marking and simple passing's. Other teams very let us have playing a free role so why do we not mark them out of the game like they do us. I cant count how many goals we have conceded this season where the goal scorer has been left completely free to shoot. Its like school boy errors and something needs to change. Unfortunately we won at Westbrom which painted over the cracks most of us see. I hope I'm wrong but I cant see much changing.
revua
If Spurs have only two quality players I'd like to know how many Villa have got? If that is the case Villa haven't had a quality player in 20-30 years!
gazzalegend
posts re: violence removed + answers to that. Will NOT have that here, next time I'll ban, simples.

Sorry if I removed any relevant comments by mistake. This is a decent site for decent footie talk and banter, I WILL NOT have it turn to anything else. That goes for the network as well.

Apologies to anyone annoyed by that.
The Fear
end of the day, we huffed and puffed, we could have scored, we should have had pen etc but the red was never a red and that disallowed one was a goal, albeit it took a few replays to tell and even then it was close. Went on Spurs site today and said congrats, not easy coming to Villa Park and winning, even when we are going through a poor spell like now. S hit happens, we'll bounce back, just not sure when!
The Fear
P.Avfc we only had 10 men yet looked a far better side. You really are on a different planet, the different quality of football we played compared to your hoofball/big cross into the box was so obvious. We were playing keep ball until the last 10 mins with 10 men and all you could do was hit balls into the box - i mean we even brought Crouch on a centreback because of the sheer scale of your 1 dimension crap ball. I'd say with the exception of Blackburn you were the worst team weve played this season.
HuddersfieldYiddo
Well done for that earlier action TF. Needed doing.
HuddersfieldYiddo
We were the worst team you have played all season after what was it 26 attempts at goal? I think it is you who is on a different planet.
P.Avfc
Good man, The Fear. Now you want to get the same message put on Vital Spurs and sort out our own 'bile spewing' waste of air, called liamyid. He's not much different to P.Avfc when it comes to chatting crap. But his language is definately worse. And once again, well done for removing all the rubbish violence stuff that was being spewed by the usual perpetrator...
coopsieyid
 

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