Fittingly enough, our two goals were jolly special too. I’m sure all Brummies present last night will agree that Modders deserves to have a bronze bust constructed of his diminutive frame outside the gates of Villa Park, solely in honour of the scything 60-yard diagonal pass for Hutton, for the first goal, bisecting half the Villa team. We were then treated to the archetypal counter-attack goal, featuring all manner of lovely touches and awareness from VDV, Bale and Lennon, and all was right with the world.
Not that this was an impeccable performance. Our heroes demonstrated one rather enduring flaw, with what one might term a 90-minute bout of Assou-Ekottitis. Everyone who touched the ball in or around their own penalty area seemed determined to dribble or dink or back-heel their way out of danger. Admittedly when BAE himself executed one-such back-heel at the end of the first half we might as well have stopped the game and enjoyed a full five minute standing ovation, because it really was that good, but the team in general (and, curiously, Modders in particular) took the principles of the beautiful game to a charming but slightly dangerous extreme, with their insistence upon glorious little triangles, no matter how limited the confines and pressing the danger.
The renaissance of Sergeant Wilson continued; while, most curiously, Gareth Bale stumbled upon the opposite of alchemy, with the result that almost every time he touched the ball in the first hour things went quite awry. Kaboul again gave a performance to suggest that he will become quite the colossus at centre-back; Daws was again near-flawless; Gomes made some good saves and poor judgements.
Moaning about the ref is not really the modus operandi here at AANP Towers, so the big calls of the first half will be awarded only the most cursory analysis.
Gomes-Heskey Pealty Shout: Thought Gomes got a fist on the ball myself, but if you want objectivity you most certainly have stumbled into the wrong corner of the interweb.
Kaboul Goal: Whole of the ball crossed the whole of the line? Did not appear thus from the comfort of the armchair. The ball was kept in, and the goal should have stood. An incident notable for being possibly the first time in history that anyone in their right mind has ever wished those pointless fifth officials were present.
Defoe Red: Bit daft of the wee man to go flailing his forearms thus, and by the letter of the law the ref will not have lost any sleep, but it was hardly a chainsaw massacre.
And let these incidents never be spoken of again. Instead let us talk forever and a day about the quite wonderful pre-half-time five minutes, the glory of our two goals and the truth, which should by now be universally acknowledged: present us with a powder-puff midfield and we will pass you to death. (Evil laugh, fade out)
We clung on in the final few minutes, but deserved the three points for the deific masterclass of the first 80 minutes. In fact it was so good I thought we deserved four points. No Spurs fans particularly mind Villa but we all hate Robert Pires, so hopefully Joe Jordan battered the daylights out of him during the post-match formalities.
A fine evening’s work, setting us up nicely for a productive festive fixture-list. What a merry Christmas this has been.