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Published : 30 Jul 2011 20:47:29
A sense of de ja vu from last season in performance Villa lost 3-0 a couple of seasons ago at Wembley to Chelsea in the FA cup Semi-Final. The game was not that one sided. Villa deserved more out of the game than that. This was not the case in Hong Kong today.Villa only lost 2-0, but the scoreline could have been and should have been a lot worse.Hope is in me, that Alex McLeish sees and learns from this game, that somebody is in his ear showing him the same mistakes, the same lackluster performances we saw last season.First reminder of last season came inside 30 seconds. Last season, Van der Sar hit a long kick downfield, Dunne, misjudged and Rooney smacked Utd ahead in literally seconds. This time, Dunne, was turned inside out by Sturridge, looking hopelessly lost. The forward saw his shot saved well by Given, but Malouda was at the far post to easily prod the ball home, except Given somehow saved that too, however,some huge headed kid with a tiny body named McCreatchen or something beat Dunne, Collins and Young to the rebound to slam the Pensioners in front.Chelsea dominated after that and Villa looked lost and disjointed. Gabby, the lone striker, was fouled whenever he got the ball, Delfouneso, looked good on the ball, but no end product and Albrighton was lost on the right. There was no service from Delph or Ireland and Petrov seemed like our only link in the middle.Villa did have a half chance half way through the first half. A good ball found Gabby with just the keeper in front of him. He took the ball with his knee, away from goal and the defender got back. Gabby controlled and flashback number 2. Last season, Stephen Ireland was put through on goal in the first couple of minutes in his home league debut. He spurned his opportunity, pushing his shot wide. This game, Gabby pushed the ball back, a little slowly and Ireland should have done a little better than blasting the ball over the bar, although to expect a goal would have been asking a lot too.Ireland, just like last season shows a lot of 1 touch football, to nobody. He isn’t a tackler and rarely gets the ball played to his feet. In Chelsea’s side he would be fine, in Villa’s he is a passenger and a luxury we cannot afford.Another reminder of last season came with a disallowed goal. A set piece caused Villa all kinds of bother, but Chelsea prodded home from an offside position.Dunne was spraying passes back to Collins and putting him in a world of trouble and Collins and Dunne combined to mess up a cross, that Chelsea couldn’t capitalize on.If anything, in the second half, Villa was even worse. Given was starting to put on a show and McLeish is going to be relying a lot on his new keeper. Although, Shay doesn’t come off his line, his saves were more like the Friedel of 2 or 3 seasons ago and, unlike Brad, he is comfortable with the ball at his feet. Torres came on to the delight of the huge Chelsea fan base in China and his arrival was dramatic. Mikael mis hit a shot and Torres diverted past Given, who almost got it.Villa brought on Bannon, Gardner, Bent, Heskey and Clarke and all did well. Bent and Heskey were unlucky not to get consolation goals. Bannon looked confident holding and passing the ball, getting it wasn’t easy. Same with Gardner, but his feet weren’t quite doing as his head was telling him as consecutive bright passes to the left wing failed.Clarke looked assured and calm, Hopefully he can break into the side and replace Dunne, if the older player keeps giving away stupid, cheap goals.For me the bright spots were Given, Clarke, Bannon, Petrov, Heskey, Delfouneso, AgbonlahorIndifferent: Young, Collins, Warnock, Delph, Bent, GardnerDisappointing: Dunne, Ireland, Albrighton.