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Oh dear - That was awful.
We were poor at Blackburn, Overwhelmed against Arsenal, Ineffective against Metallurg and today we were even worse.
Villa are truly sh*t and they were the better team today. The first half nothing of note happened at either end, a Mills shot wide, a Harte free-kick easily saved and a couple of long range efforts for them and that was it.
Second half we started slighly better and should have scored when Bowyer was put through and dragged his shot wide - however we just got more ineffective as the game wore on til Villa realised we were there for the taking and put some pressure on - a couple of half-hearted penalty appeals and long shots were about as close as they got though. We were reduced to a couple of runs from Kewell on the break but mucked up the final pass both times. The keeper never had to make a save. We're turning into Aston Villa or Tottenham.
Whose at fault - god knows - we had an odd 4-2-3-1 formation with Smith up front, Kewell, Barmby and Bowyer in a line behind him and McPhail and Bakke behind them. I assume this is meant to give us lots of options and movement - it didn't. McPhail would pick the ball up off the defenders, no-one would move, hit play it wide and get it back, play it forward and get it back, ad infinitum. Bowyer and Smith tried a bit but Smith gave a lot of ball away. Kewell looked dangerous a couple of times when he ran at them, but was content to stand around waiting for the ball and never moved enough to allow others to find him. McPhail was replaced by a blatantly unfit Viduka and we got worse. Can't really blame McPhail there were no options for him - it wouldn't have mattered if Batty or Dacourt had been there. No real passion on the pitch or in either sets of fans.
Scores - Well the defence (even Harte) were fairly comfortable so 7 all round. Midfield / Attack - irrelevant - 6s all round, except 7s for Smith and Bowyer for a bit of effort. No-one deserved Man of the Match
It's sad watching what once looked a potentially great team fade away like this.
Copy from Football Unlimited of 07/10/2002.
Half a decent game of football struggled to emerge from a maze of unfinished movements and haphazard thinking here yesterday but never quite made it. Indifferent matches can be redeemed by a goal or two but this one was not so lucky.
While Leeds United will have taken a modicum of satisfaction in ending Villa's run of three home league victories, the patchiness of their overall performance did little to suggest that Terry Venables is close to achieving the formula for success he is seeking.
At least Graham Taylor's team managed to rouse Villa Park to a few roars of anticipation as they showed the willingness if not quite the ability to break the deadlock as Leeds were pressed back for much of the second half. Given the present antipathy of much of Aston Villa's support, this was no small achievement.