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Aston Villa 2v0 Rovers

Aston Villa
2 - 0
Blackburn Rovers

Villa Park

5th November 2006. 14:00

Attendance: 30,089


Another Sunday sees another poor performance and further concern about the standard of refereeing in this country. It would be easy to blame the officials, who continue to make games twice as hard for Rovers to win, but in all fairness it was a very dour effort from Mark Hughes`s men.

Hughes made a single change from the side that was fortunate enough to thrash Basel; Aaron Mokoena replaced the injured Robbie Savage.

The game began in a lethargic manner, neither side showing much endeavour to get forward. It was Villa, though, who had the first site on goal. From a Stilian Petrov corner, centre-back Martin Laursen could and perhaps should have put Villa in front but he scrambled his shot wide of the goal.

Rovers certainly weren`t at the races as Villa continued to press with ease whilst their water-tight defence smirked at the prospect of a Rovers attack, such was the rarity of them.

It wasn`t until the 30th minute that Rovers fashioned a chance for the frustrated Benni McCarthy. Lucas Neill picked him out in the area but his header was harmlessly off target.

David Bentley did his utmost to provide some spark in such a disappointing fixture. His rasping effort from distance was well saved by Thomas Sorenson.

Then, in the 40th minute, Villa`s twelfth man changed the game. Referee, Howard Webb, aided by his assistant on the touchline felt it would make for a nice gesture to award Villa a penalty for no reason. It was doubly harsh that he chose to do it against Andre Ooijer.

Ex-Rover, Chris Sutton, crossed from inside the area but the ball hit Ooijer on the arm. There was obviously no intention to handle but the assistant thought otherwise.

Gareth Barry stepped up and thumped the ball down the middle in typically emphatic fashion.

The goal sparked Villa into life and they finished the half peppering Brad Friedel`s goal.

Rovers came out in the second half, noticeably stirred after their usual berating from a frustrated Hughes, but were this time thwarted by their own inability to clear their lines.

Zurab Khizanishvili, normally so assured on the ball, was caught dallying on the ball in his own area by Juan Pablo Angel. He promptly rifled the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

Villa could now afford to control the game without really breaking a sweat. They looked dangerous coming forward and were tearing Rovers to shreds down their left flank with Michael Gray noticeably off the pace.

Angel continued to torment the Rovers back-line in what has been one of his best displays in a while.

Hughes made a double change on the hour mark, bringing on Sergio Peter and Francis Jeffers for an ineffectual Tugay and disappointed McCarthy. Jeffers almost made an immediate impact but his first touch let him down when he was in a promising position.

Then came the games second bout of controversy. Morten Gamst Pedersen curled a ball into the box only to see Petrov re-direct it with his arm. This went unnoticed by the officials despite Rovers` protests.

Villa then controlled the game until the final whistle to ensure that they returned to winning ways after last weekend`s disappointment.

Mark Hughes will be thoroughly disappointed with another abject showing and with injuries mounting and referees continuing to rule unfavourably towards Rovers, it is hard to see how they will improve their form, especially considering the next side Rovers face will be Manchester United.

Star Player

David Bentley.

He was lively throughout and at least gave the Villa defence something to think about.

Player Ratings

Friedel 7

No help again with the goals but was assured throughout with everything else.

Neill 6

Looked better as an attacking force. Appears as though his mind is elsewhere on occasions.

Gray 4

Made one excellent tackle but is clearly not a Premiership defender anymore.

Ooijer 6

Harshly adjudged to have handled and was given a tough afternoon by Villa's attackers.

Khizanishvili 5

Normally so assured but was clearly flustered on more than one occasion this afternoon.

Bentley 7

Worked hard and is very creative.

Gamst 6

He too worked hard, especially with his defensive duties, and looks hungry again.

Tugay 5

Failed to have an impact against Villa's spritly midfield.

Mokoena 5

He too couldn't influence the game.

McCarthy 5

Looked frustrated and off the pace.

Nonda 5

Continues to work hard but his goal drought seems to be taking its toll on his confidence.

Peter 6

Hugely talented individual and looked creative after he came on.

Jeffers 5

Works hard but is still not sharp enough.

Henchoz 4

Only had five minutes to make an impact.

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Date:Sunday November 5 2006
Time: 6:22PM

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Not the performance we would have wanted was it, very poor got all we deserved, but the penalty... what can you say!
Hughes Da Man
05/11/2006 20:38:00
hughes seems to be concentrating to much on europe the league is your bread and butter.
05/11/2006 20:56:00
Whatever happens we NEED to be in Europe again next season. Getting in through the league was always going to be harder this season (much, much harder than I initially thought!) even harder now I think so the FA Cup of UEFA Cup will be our only routes in if our league run continues!
Hughes Da Man
05/11/2006 21:10:00
its a shame that the excellent form that you guys show in Europe is not being replicated in the league at the moment.
06/11/2006 07:18:00
Unlucky with the penalty. But Rovers were poor, I can only remember one shot from Bentley that Sorenson tipped over. Laursen was awesome for Villa and, to be honest, we didn't have to get out of first gear to beat you.
06/11/2006 09:04:00
yeah we were poor. Something needs to be done to strengthen the side. We looked stretched and devoid of ideas. Hopefully if we can keep ourselves in a decent position until jan then we may be a different side with three key players returning and perhaps some investment.
06/11/2006 10:01:00
A few injuries has highlighted just how much the squad does need strengthening, anymore injuries and we're in trouble! Villa are a good side but if we struggled that much against them I'm sooo not looking forward to Man Utd and then Spurs!
Hughes Da Man
06/11/2006 10:09:00
well that just sums it up for us another loss
06/11/2006 17:37:00
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