Writer: Mikey Delap
Date:Friday January 15 2010
Ewood Park, Blackburn
Attendance: Not what they wanted
What the hell was that first half?! It almost lulled Villa into a false sense of security!
In the first half of this two legged contest, Villa have a one nil win to take to Villa Park and will be strong favourites to progress to Wembley. But the second half at least gave Rovers some hope after a stunningly awful first half where Villa could have been out of sight.
James Milner was the goal hero as he romped forward from his own half and rolled in a cross from Stewart Downing to send the travelling Villans into delight. A good finish as well from the energetic midfielder.
The first half in general was very poor from Rovers as they seemed trapped in a 4-4-1-1 formation and too often went far too direct, Villa read it easily and Rovers as a result looked shockingly bad...
Villa were as good as Rovers were abd but I don't care about Villa, I care about Rovers... instead of going down the wings and attacking Villa where it hurt, Rovers stranded poor Niko Kalinic up front on his own with Dunn his only other outlet.
It was 4-5-1. In a Carling Cup semi-final. AT HOME. Good grief, the fans let Sam know their feelings with 'Big Sam, sort it out' chants ringing out around the ground as the first half drew to a close.
Could they play any worse in the second half? Thankfully, no, they were much better. In the second half, Rovers could lay claim to being marginally the better side but Villa always look threatening on the counter attack.
You know it won't be your night though when Kalinic hit the post TWICE and in the dying seconds Steven N'Zonzi headed over the bar when it was easier to score.
The introductions of Steven Reid and Martin Olsson actually helped the Rovers side and added balance, Steven Reid in particular added much mor punch down the right of midfield than Michel Salgado ever did.
But despite the spirited comeback and Sam reverting to 4-4-2 in the last ten minutes. The same problems remain and leave us with an uphill task in the second game -
Too predictable going forward.
A desperate lack of quality in the final third.
And now the fans have turned in full.
Sam has an even tougher job on his hands now to win the fans round.
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Date:Friday January 15 2010
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