Post-mortem: Aston Villa are ready for Sunday

It wasn't pretty and if we play like that for the most part next Sunday we will lose. We might even struggle against Crystal Palace playing like that for the most part, but it doesn't matter, because we won yesterday and we are now only one point from fourth place, but still seventh in the league.

But, against the same teams last season we are better off. Sorry, scrub that, I'm not going to start making excuses to try and justify our league position in February. The table, at the end of the season, doesn't lie. That is when it counts.

What the Papers Say

Richard Rae,
The best kind of wins, brighter Formula One drivers such as Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda used to say, are those achieved when driving as slowly as possible. For the best part of an hour today Villa pootled along, like a Ferrari keeping pace with a Mini. Then they yawned, glanced in the rear view mirror, and accelerated into the distance, leaving Burnley ­choking on the dust.
Jon Culley, The Independent
Burnley, looking increasingly vulnerable after only one win in 15 matches, took an early lead and were not flattered to finish the first half level. Unfortunately, they are a team prone to collapse spectacularly, as they did here in a calamitous 12 minutes early in the second half.

The Manager

Martin O'Neill, Club Site
We didn't get into gear. We were sluggish. We were hoping we would get to grips with the game. I thought we got the equalising goal and there was a kind of relief around the ground about that.

The Players and Some Stats

Big Brad, Ricardo Dunne, King Carlos, Stephen Warnock, Ginger Jim, Stewart Downing, Webcam, (Sidwell 82), James Milner, Stan the Man, Gabby Agbonlahor (Carew 71), Emile Heskey (The Fonz 76).

Stats are fairly useless when you play a team like Burnley in the position they are in, but I like stats, so you are getting them too. We made 310 passes (68 unsuccessful) and we had a total of 19 shots. Now, I'm not one one to manipulate numbers for my own position but that is almost a gaol for every four shots so I think it is fair to say that the more shots you have the more likely it is you will score.

If we have as many passes and shots on Wednesday and Sunday - we will win both games. That is my prediction.

Man of the Match

Now, I have to tell you - this surprised me. The winner is Webcam with 33.5% of the vote. I really did think it would go to Downing, who came in second with 29.7% of the vote, but it didn't. In third place was Gabby with 11.9%.

Final Analysis

This match was never about a result, we were always going to win, it was about the performance and for me, we did enough in those 15 minutes in the second half to show we are capable of winning on Wednesday and Sunday.

I worry about the strength of some of the players as O'Neill will play his preferred eleven on Wednesday too and he won't make changes at half time, even if we were leading 4-0 and come Sunday, it might be that some of the players run out of steam with 15 minutes to go. But, he is the manager.

So, that is it from me today. We have a big match on Sunday and starting from tomorrow, that is where the focus will be. That and Wednesday and the small matter of the FA Cup.