Wednesday, September 3, 2008

EPL: Aston Villa 0 vs 0 Liverpool, By Jon Wong

Aston Villa 0-0 Liverpool – Still Unbeaten, no?

This match pretty much gained top billings over the weekend with the wanted-away Gareth Barry (but never submitted his transfer request, duh!) playing against the team of the man who spent the whole summer chasing after his signature, our Rafa the Gaffa.

Those expecting fireworks would have been sorely disappointed as both teams lined-up to stifle each other. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t really complain too much if we played a little more defensively away from Anfield but this time, Rafa’s lost it. He had 2 strikers in the starting line-up i.e. El Keano but stuck Keano to the left and Torres was upfront by himself. Now, how does that exactly work? Worse still was when Torres tore his hamstring after a quarter of an hour.

O’ Neill was also guilty of defensive tactics even though they had home advantage. They never looked like they set up to win the game. And boy, am I glad we didn’t manage to buy Barry. He was pretty crappy to say the least. Nothing that Xabi or Yossi couldn’t do.

For me, the positive to bring out of this match is Carra and Skrtel are rocks and did not concede, Ngog seems like a gem and we came away unscathed. Nevertheless, it is 2 points dropped. I cannot help but feel yet again we cannot take advantage of other team’s slip-ups. By this I mean Chelsea. We could have been top of the table for 2 weeks but for Rafa’s defensive tactics and putting a table where the lamp* should be.

Are we looking at degenerating into a Houllier-esque meltdown? Honestly, I don’t know but let’s hope we dig ourselves out of this run of unconvincing performances soon. For once, I am glad that the league is on International break. We are still unbeaten, no? Yes we are but for how long?

*In reference to Rafa’s famous ‘table and lamp’ dig at the Valencia board during his last days at the club.

1 comment:

William said...

Can't blame RAFA for the tactics at this stage i.e. better not to lose than throw caution at the wind.

Villa Park is not an easy venue to win as we only won last season due to the free kick scored by Gerrard with the last kick.

More so when we take into account the bare minimum personnel in midfield so early in the season, the tactics were reasonable. Also, after RAFA asked for a table, he got nothing .... i.e. Gareth Barry but got no one. Albert Riera does not count as he is a winger for the left side whilst Barry is a central midfielder!

Still early in the season, no losses after 2 difficult venues i.e. The Riverside and Villa Park.

Overall, the defence won the day although our did get a few good half chances which were not converted.

The minus point was that Torres had an injury and let's hope he'll be back to terrorise the Manc defence on 13/9.