Manchester City - Villa Hit City For Four
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Aston Villa 4 - Manchester City 2

Villa Park

Sunday 14 August

Attendance: 39,955

Villa Hit City For Four

Things couldn't have started much worse for the Blues, as the Boj pulled up sharply in the warm up, and was unable to participate in the match, (MH later confirmed that he had a suspected torn achilles, and was unlikely to play competitively again this year). As a result, his place went to a willing and eager Ched Evans.

Villa did a lot of pressing throughout the first half, and squandered chances from want-away Barry and the ever-menacing John Carew. City, however, were always on the periphery of things, and Elano and Petrov inter-linked well when the opportunities arose.

HT 0-0. Fernandes getting through a lot of work in the midfield, and the Richards Ben-Haim partnership starting off solidly. City still unable to create clear-cut chances - a problem carried over from last season.

Things couldn't have started worse for City, as they failed to leave the HT dressing room before Carew headed in at the far post. To their credit City rallied and forced Villa onto the back foot. Johnson went down under an innocuous challenge, and the ref kindly took pit on the Blues, awarding a penalty. Elano, quiet up to that point, stepped up with ultra-confidence and beat Friedel with ease. Game on!

From that point forward, instead of pressing home the momentum, City self -destructed. Gabrield Agbonlahor, whose pace was a thorn in City's side all afternoon, tore us apart, completing an all-too-comfortable hat trick, with precious little resilience from City's back four.

The last word did go to City, as Corluka netted his first goal for the Blues from Petrov's in-swinging free kick in the dying moments, but it was too little too late.

FT 2-4 Hughes, I'm sure will take comfort in the fact that we competed for the best part of 80 minutes, but equally so, he has to be alarmed at the 10 minute spell where we simply caved in. The season is long, and if City can get striking re-enforcements (which Hughes emphasised after the match), I'm sure we'll turn this result around into a positive. Congratulations to Villa, I'm sure they'll be knocking on Europe's door come May.

Star Player

Agbonlahor and Young - equally impressive!

Player Ratings

Hart 6

Conceded four but must question those in front of him for that.

Corluka 6

Lack of pace exploited by Villa, but popped up for his first City strike.

Ben Haim 7

Will have more comfortable afternoons than this but showed enough to say he'll be a good acquisition.

Richards 7

Some vital first half tackles, but equally responsible for the 10 minute destruction.

Garrido 5

Run ragged by the impressive Young.

Etuhu 5

Blistering pace but not yet ready for the Premier League.

Johnson 6

The game passed him by.

Fernandes 7

Usual bundle of energy but need an intelligent player along side him.

Petrov 6

Surprisingly under-used. Found himself cutting in to make an impact.

Elano 6

Again, the game pretty much passed him by but was coolness personified for the pen.

Evans 6

100% effort, but no service!

The journalist

Writer: oliverblue Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday August 18 2008

Time: 8:35AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Spot on Summary Oliver, but generous in your marks for the defenders who let in 4 goals and have now shipped 12 in two. seems that you were pleased with the overall performance. We will do a lot better this season. I was pleased they battled to the whistle even though the game had gone. CTID
Buzz Lightyear
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18/08/2008 09:22:00

Micah was good but Ben Haim would rather kick a player than a ball. 4-2 and you were lucky that our defence had never played together before as the margin should have been more. Fair play to your fans who were loud (until the third went in.)
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18/08/2008 10:10:00

Thanks JB - my first stab at a match report, so thanks for going easy on me :-). Was mainly pleased to see a bit of grit and determination back after the insipid midweek performance. Take out the disastrous 10 min spell, where we shipped three incredibly soft goals, I thought we always had a chance. If we play like that for the full 90 mins (not just 80) with Jo and Benjani in the side, we'll be ok. Understand your comments about the defender's marks, but I felt for 80 mins they were both outstanding (MR and TBH). Unfortunately they wont be remembered for that, only for conceding four goals, as you rightly say.
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18/08/2008 11:32:00

If Hughes can manage to scrape together some experienced heads in the next fortnight who can gel with our Academy lads, then I'm confident City could give Villa more of a game next March. But I am far less confident that any funding is there. We face the very real prospect of continuing this season with youngsters as the backbone of the team. As for Villa, we've been swamped this past week with opionion from Villa fans who genuinely believe their team has arrived. Yes, the potential and much needed experience is there, but I'd stop short of crowing and reserve a judgement if I were you. You give the impression your defence was makeshift Villan444. Maybe so, but the strikers it faced yesterday were 19 and 18 yrs old respectively. Thos kids did us proud. Let's see how you go on in Stoke's first home game and when you exchange Ched Evans for Fernado Torres and Robbie Keane at Villa Park.
Johnny Baguette
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18/08/2008 11:34:00

By then, our back four should've had time to gel. There was clearly a misunderstanding between Nicky Shorey and Luke Young which led to the "penalty". It was the split second where they stopped and looked at each other as if to say "Are you going to make the tackle or am I?" And the chances are, you do that with a Premier League striker it will usually end up in the goal. I'm sure MON will correct all of the mistakes made yesterday. The Stoke game will give us chance to consolidate, personally I think Stoke are in for a proper spanking. If you fight til the death like you did yesterday you'll pick up alot of points this season.
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18/08/2008 18:14:00

Encouraging words all round, VIC. Give me City or Villa over the big four any day. Can you boys kick on from this great start?
Johnny Baguette
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18/08/2008 18:38:00

Keep smiling boys, we know what it feels like to ship four goals! At least you managed to find the net
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19/08/2008 14:23:00

See you next month straight after we play Chelski!!
Johnny Baguette
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19/08/2008 15:19:00

Fingers crossed we can keep it going...I'm sure you will all agree it would be great to see one of the 5th-10th place bunch to push the top 4 all the way like Tottenham did a few seasons back! All the best with the rest of the season and I hope for your sake you have a bit more luck with strikers over the coming weeks/months
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19/08/2008 15:25:00

Cheers V4E!
Johnny Baguette
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19/08/2008 17:57:00


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