Post-mortem: Is anyone really surprised with the result and performance yesterday?

I'll get stick for this and I don't care any more, but yesterday was a perfect example of us not really having moved on in terms of our football and why I have lost the belief that O'Neill is the right man to take Aston Villa to the next level.

You see, some will say 'we got a point' or 'it was only one game' or 'it was a Derby away from home' and you know what all those excuses work. Excuse after excuse works, but when did it become the job of the supporter to start making excuses and why, after three full seasons are we still making excuses and so many?

I can understand the Spurs fans making excuses after yesterday. They hit the post, had shots saved off the line, had to play with 10 men for a fairly decent chunk of game because the manager had used all his substitutions, trying to change the game and Stoke pretty much scored with their second shot on target in 90 minutes. I can't understand us still making excuses.

Spurs fans can make excuses because in the second season with their manager and after losing yesterday they are still third and if you only saw the stats from yesterday, you'd be unhappy that you missed the game; Spurs had 22 goal attempts of which twelve were on target. I'm not sure of the last time we had 22 goal attempts in a game.

But, none of that matters. It doesn't even matter that we are having our best start to a Premier League season in ten years and I know I'll be shot down by others, but my opinion is, while there is more fight and determination and that that is great, it isn't enough. We need to see the football develop and it just isn't. I know it isn't because we couldn't break down a team that is still odds on favourite to be relegated.

What the Papers Say

Joe Loveyjoy, Observer
Wet and windy conditions, and the intensely competitive nature of scraps for local bragging rights, are no friends of the beautiful game, and the first half was instantly forgettable. It was notable only for two penalty decisions, both of which referee Peter Walton got wrong. In the third minute, Richard Dunne got away with pulling back Kevin Doyle inside the area. It was a dangerous challenge by the Irishman given that he was the last man in defence and could have been sent off. Mr Walton was in laissez‑faire mode again 20 minutes later, when Christophe Berra went unpunished after wrestling John Carew to the ground.
Aidan Magee, News of the World
Martin O'Neill's team, by his own admission, did not play well. He knows that victories over Liverpool at Anfield and Chelsea at home are all but negated if you lose at Blackburn and only draw at Wolves, who have won twice all season.

The Players and Some Stats

Brad Friedel, Carlos Cuellar, James Collins, Stephen Warnock, Richard Dunne, Ashley Young, Steve Sidwell, James Milner, Stiliyan Petrov, John Carew (Emile Heskey, 71), Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Well, we made 192 successful passes in 90 minutes and failed with 83. Wolves on the other hand made 173 successful passes and 76 unsuccessful. Just for fun, Chelsea made 455 successful passes yesterday and still failed with less than our total of failed passes.

Man of the Match

Once again this goes to James Collins with 23.9% of the vote. He was closely followed by Gabby and James Milner and Stephen Warnock wasn't far off, but he did have a good game yesterday, so well done Mr Collins.


It is hard to analyse a game when it was as dull as the game yesterday was and I think I've said my piece above. Martin O'Neill has to start working on the passing game. He has to get it across to his players that it is better to keep the ball and make space rather than hit it long and often just give the ball away.

I know it sounds so obvious but we hit it long too often, we lose it too often and we can only really play counter attacking football. We need something else if we are to kick on.