Post-mortem: Aston Villa score five and go fifth

A fantastic result yesterday and while one we would have all hoped for, you have to hold your hands up and say you were surprised by the final result. Deep down we would have all fancied a win, if only because we usually score a few against Bolton, but it was a surprise.

But, it was a very good win and it is always nice to score a few goals and having five different goal scorers yesterday was the icing on the cake and going fifth is a nice feeling.

So, to the post mortem and we'll let the papers and the manager do the talking before we look at some of the interesting stats, player ratings and I get my final say on the whole performance.

What the Papers Say

Paul Doyle,
Aston Villa's biggest win of the season lifted them to within a point of the Champions League places but, more than reinforcing Martin O'Neill's ambitions, this match strengthened Bolton's credentials as relegation candidates.
David Instone,
There will be bigger Premier League wins than this, but it's difficult to imagine goals coming so gift-wrapped. In cruising to the victory that eluded them on Wednesday, Aston Villa found opponents as accommodating as can be in a Bolton side now beaten by four goals in each of their past three games.
David McVay,
Bolton Wanderers produced a performance of stultifying defensive incompetence at Villa Park yesterday as Aston Villa confirmed their ambition to disrupt the Premier League elite in dramatic fashion.

The Manager

Martin O'Neill
It's very pleasing. It's great to come to Villa Park. The crowd are right behind us and we've started to win here which is very important.

The Players and Some Stats

Brad Friedel, Luke Young, Richard Dunne, Carlos Cuellar, Stephen Warnock, Steve Sidwell (Craig Gardner, 86), Ashley Young, James Milner (Nathan Delfouneso, 82), Nigel Reo-Coker (Fabian Delph, 86), John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

38,101 people saw the five goals and interestingly enough they saw Aston Villa try to make more passes in this game than all but one other game this season (Fulham at Villa Park). We tried 336 and were successful with 277 passes. It was much more than most games this season and I have to hold my hands up and say I was wrong - I didn't expect it, I expect a lot number of passes.

Man of the Match

John Carew is your man of the match with 51.6% of the votes. James Milner comes in second with 18.1% and Nigel Reo-Coker is third with 10.2%. Every single player got a vote yesterday, which is something to note.

Final Analysis

We made a lot more passes yesterday and we got a good result. I'm not surprised by that although I am surprised that we passed it about a lot more and I'm taking it in my stride. It's a good sign.

It was however one match and while I want to believe O'Neill has turned the corner, I want to see this a few more times before I start believing he has finally got it to work and we should also not forget that Bolton helped yesterday.

Bolton were poor and it's hardly surprising that they are conceding, on average, more than two goals a game this season and why some consider them potential relegation candidates. Still, we scored five goals and it was a good win that put us to fifth and with other results going our way yesterday, it was even sweeter.

Let's just hope that the performance was the turning point of our season, because if it was, then we might really be contenders for fifth place or better.

As for today, there is little else to talk about apart from the rumour in the News of the World that Liverpool will be after Martin O'Neill is Red Rafa fails to secure Chumpians League football for them this season.

If that is true, I would suggest that Lerner starts spending some money right now on hiring the professional services of a specialised firm to put together a short list. In fact, he will probably be doing that once a season anyway, so I'll say no more on the matter apart from I don't think O'Neill would go to Liverpool if the opportunity arose and I think if they get rid of Red Rafa, after what he has achieved for Liverppool, they'll probably find it hard to get any decent manager, instead I'm going for a late breakfast.