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Aston Villa 1-2 Spurs: The Barcelona Five Minutes

Forget the goals, and the red card, and the slightly bonkers refereeing and whatnot – the entire game pales into insignificance besides that quite blisteringly good five minutes just before half-time. Away from home – and down to ten men – our heroes, as they had threatened to do from kick-off, indulged in a lengthy period of the most glorious keep-ball, borne of impeccable technique and worthy of Barcelona. Villa huffed and puffed and we just kept pinging the thing around, in a manner that would have been rather cruel had it not been so absolutely ruddy brilliant.

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.

Elsewhere On The Pitch

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.

Those Great Big Officiating Calls In The First Half

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.

 

9 Responses

  1. Mes Says:

    Ponting losing his marbles in Melbourne, Bale’s drop of the shoulder, VDV swaggering the length of Villa Park to stroke the ball into the corner like picking the colour on his new Jag and Benny A&E’s backheel… This Christmas has already been so full of wonders that I’m not sure it should be legal.

    Ole! Ole!

  2. Spooky Says:

    Love it.

  3. AstonVilla1964 Says:

    Obviously you watched thid game sat on your arse in NL. I watched the game and watched skys biased, bum, licking, coverage afterwards, Andy Gray, and Hoddle must have pillows made out of ARRY’s pubic hair. What wonderful possession football, have you lot looked at the stats. The 5 minutes of ole ole football was just before half time, running the clock down in their own half, Barcelona, my a***, they would have done the same in our penalty box and yours

    1. The pealty(penalty) shout you described was as clear as your second goal, Gomes now where near and his desperate look to the referee said it all
    2. Ball behind the line from Hutton was difficulto to see at the game thought it was close, Sky proved inconclusive, when the show the ball it the line Hutton had played the ball down onto it ?
    3. Defoe lead with his elbow, as it was the worst decision that could have happened to us,
    4. You were lucky with the loss of Heskey, both Kaboul and Dawson couldnt handle him,
    5. Where was all this Barcelona football your talking about for the rest of the game, looked like, the bluenose in disguise 2 banks of 4 yawn yawn yawn for at least 60 minutes of the eighty you say was sublime
    6. Bale got nothing from at 20 year old fullback and only a bias ref saw him receive free kicks for throwing swlf over when he had to use a little bit of strength and who constantly kept running over the byeline thinking he was playing a pitch twicw as long as VP
    7. VDV sublime footballer who should play football instead of continueing his Dutch world cup exploits of comminting synical fouls then pleading all innocence

    However, you may think this is all bias its not, we chose to play Delph 19 back from injury with Hogg, Modric gave them a lesson on passing movement and vision, for me the best player on the park, the pass he made was sublime, Delph at fault, found himself tryin to get close to Modric on the right left a gaping hole on the right and what a pass.
    The second was Villa were all about under MON a superb piece of counter attacking football, and what was interesting(re previous comment on Bale) this was the only time Bale got room to run, and even more so ON THE RIGHT, after switching with Lennon (dont think this a normal ploy fo old arry) but must have seen how Albrighton was getting nothing out of your left back, started to get the better of Hutton on a regular basis) any way the run the interchange was superb and a great finish from the dutchman.
    I was impressed by Spuds organisation passing and movement, but title challengers? will they go and win the champs league? this is a lottery anyone on their day but Barca wouldnt give anyone any possession to do damage. What is clear is that you have invested in a squad, how you keep 7 centre backs happy not sure, but players clearly love the high life of London and dont want to move. I know you generate money and make a profit so no trimming needed on the old wage bill the future is bright. As long as you can keep Arry and the England job doent come calling, title challengers over the next few years and the Capitals attraction to players you have a genuine possibility.
    For the Villa, a complete rebuilding with some of the best kids around at the moment who can play within our budget restrictions by 2013.
    Good team mate, but Barca?

  4. Les Robinson Says:

    I think Spurs must have watched the Villa v Man Utd game a month ago.Their 2 goals were very similar to both of Villa’s.Bannan’s 50 yard crossfield pass was matched by Modrich leading to the Spurs opening goal and a similar counter attack resulted in Spurs 2nd.

  5. Stratty Says:

    You know it’s ‘Barça’.

    ‘Barca’ is pronounced ‘Bar-ka’ in English, Spanish and Catalan phonetics. Still, if it doesn’t stop Sky Sports…

    It was almost too much when that back-heel came in from BAE, wasn’t it. Although to be fair, Bale gave the ball away a couple of times in that period, and Gomes hoofed it to a Villa head.

    Still, fantastic three points after a shocking red card.

    AV1964 had a good old rant, didnt he? Oh well, why not? 🙂

  6. Tony Says:

    AV1964 have a great Christmas and New Year and enjoy your SOUR GRAPES!!!

  7. frontwheel Says:

    Good write up. I did enjoy that spell (40–45 mins-ish), although I was wishing our fans would stop the “ole” bullshit, as it can tend to come back and bite you on the arse.

    AV1964: poke it. What a shame you had to stain the reputation of his team’s supporters.

    They’re usually great fans, with a lot of knowledge and understanding of the game and a fantastic sense of humour.

    In fact I got chatting with a very sensible brummie in my local after the match who was very, very complimentary about Spurs.

    Yid Army!

  8. JimmyG2 Says:

    Av 1964 has more than a case. The stats are all in favour of Villa (corners shots on target, possession etc)
    But its quality not quantity that counts. We did a lot more with less.
    All the decisions are arguable.
    I feel your pain friend.

    I trust that you and I, AANP, would be just as relaxed if the result had gone the other way.
    Modric for pass of the season, both goals for goals of the season, performance of the season?
    I hope not, there’s the CL final at Wembley to come yet.

  9. AllActionNoPlot Says:

    Golly, I hope AV64 has a better New Year than Christmas, poor lamb.

    Yes indeedy, the stats probably showed we had less possession – as we did last year when we bit Chelski at the Lane, in probably our best performance of the season. Our lot tend to be content, when we lead, to let the opposition have the ball at arm’s length, and pass sideways all they want, racking up the possession stats – but as JimmyG2 puts it – its quality not quantity, and we used the ball sublimely when in possession. See you next year Villa.

    And Mes – spot on, with Ponting losing it down under too, this has been a glorious Christmas…

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