Date:Thursday August 29 2013
Attendance: 22 447
League Cup 2nd Round
On the way in to the ground, a young lad sits aloft his dad's shoulders. Dad is busy pointing out the Trinity Stand; the far corner of the Holte where the floodlights can be seen to shine. Son looks up, with wide brown eyes, his mouth agape. It's his first game; a moment he will not forget. And so it begins: the claret and blue love for all things Villa. That same love had me dashing from work to Five Ways station for the Aston Train; the Mrs in tow, still in her work shoes, heels clattering down the steps. That same love had me checking the team news on twitter, pressed up against the carriage door. Its been this way for many a year. Up the Villa.
Steer is in goal, Bacuna comes in for Lowton with Okore, Vlaar and Bennett joining him at the back. El Ahmadi, Delph and Westwood continue in the middle with the holy trinity of Agbonlahor, Benteke and Weimann up front. Its a strong line up. Lambert is competitive and wants to win every game Villa play and with no league fixture this weekend he can afford to throw the kitchen sink at Rotherham.
Inside the ground Rotherham's 3,000 travelling army are camped in the upper tier of the North Stand and they're making some noise. The Villa faithful are quiet. There's 18,000 of us. Not sure if that's a good turn out for a R2 League Cup fixture on a Wednesday night? Still, from where I'm sitting (a couple of rows behind Lambert) it looks like Villa are up for it. Game-on.
Rotherham start brightly. Big Ron Manager, Steve Evans is at it from the off. The man is a heart attack in waiting. The mouth and the arms are going like the clappers as he urges his team forward and its Rotherham who get the early chance when Revel tries his luck from range though its wide.
The Millers are pressing well. A good ball comes across the Villa area but there's no one there to run on to it. 18' minutes in and there having a good go. In League One organised, committed play will probably help you to grind out the result. In the Premier League, games are won by moments of magic. Andreas Weimann demonstrates how this works when he capitalises on Arnason's defensive error. He smashes in a dipping shot from twenty yards out. Ball hits net, home crowd erupt. Weimann runs over to the dug out to celebrate. On 19' minutes its 1-0 Villa.
We start to dominate and are knocking the ball around well with smart triangles and good side to side spread. Lambert likes his Villa ball moved quickly out from feet. He does not like anyone who dithers or slows the tempo down. No one cements Lambert's philosophy more than Delph of Krypton. His lung bursting runs and box to box play are matched only buy his excellent use of the football and his tough tackling. This is the player we always hoped he would be. Absolutely excellent.
Icelandic international Arnason is undone again when he loses the ball 25 yards from goal. Agbonlahor picks it up and takes it down toward the by line. He sends in a beauty of a cross. Benteke leaps for the Gods and heads it home at the far post. On 40' minutes its 2-0 Villa.
The second half is amusing mainly owing to Lambert's antics. He looks like he never wants to see Joe Bennett again and gives Ian Culverhouse his thoughts on the issue. The young left back has not had a good game. Someone who has had a very good game is Jores Okore. The Danish youngster looks unbeatable. Vlaar continues to grow ever more composed alongside. Together, they have snuffed out any threat Rotherham have had. Despite Steve Evans' red faced squawking, its all Villa.
Villa's third is a great team goal, beginning with some super quick interplay between El Ahmadi, Weimann and Westwood. The ball is then played out to Benteke, zipping along the turf. The big Belgian then sends a beautiful chipped pass over the Rotherham defence into the path of the marauding Delph. He controls, cuts back, tees up then slots the ball past Shearer. On 53' minutes its
Rotherham start to tire though their fans keep singing. The game has gone yet this is their occasion. We struggle after that to make more out of our play, wasting possession in the final third. Perhaps the best chance falls to Westwood, after a good break. Agbonlahor has one defender to beat, cuts it back for the Villa midfielder who fluffs his lines 8 yards out. Benteke and Agbonlahor are then replaced by Helenius and Tonev, joining Sylla who has come on for Delph, but to no avail. At full time Aston Villa 3-0 Rotherham.
Job done. I am massively impressed with Okore and the effect he has on Vlaar. They look like a partnership in the making. Still, we are crying out for a number 10; for a magician in the hole. It still feels like the missing piece. Fingers crossed for deadline day.
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Date:Thursday August 29 2013
|4.||Pride of Lions||168|
|West Ham||0||-||0||Aston Villa|
|9. Man Utd||15||6||4||5||3||22|
|11. Aston Villa||15||5||4||6||-2||19|
|12. Hull City||15||5||3||7||-6||18|
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