Saturday 7th February 2009
Ewood Park, Blackburn
Blackburn 0 -
Aston Villa 2 - Milner (27), Agbonlahor (90)
This was my second trip to watch Aston Villa play Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. In the first game Villa won 4-0 and they made it two out of two after a fairly decent performance in which they soaked up Blackburn's attacks - most of which failed to produce decent efforts on goal - and attacked on the counter.
The first goal was a cracker. Gareth Barry caught Rovers out with a quick short corner to James Milner, who utilised the space the sleepy Blackburn defence had given him by curling a superb left footed shot round Paul Robinson into the far corner. For some reason Milner weasn't popular with a few fans sitting behind me who constantly chanted: "Fucking 'ell Milner, Fucking 'ell Milner, Fucking 'ell Milner". When he was celebrating his goal (pictured, below) they actually raised the decibels in a sort of ironic cover up of their embarrassment.
Another unpopular player was Gabby Agbonlahor. The pacy England striker comes to life when he's got the ball but is one of the most lazy players I've ever seen off the ball - something you don't really notice until you are at a match because, on T.V., the camera is always focused on the ball and not what's happening off it. There was a growing sense of frustration at his lackadaisical attitude and a few fans - including myself - were voicing their frustrations. However, Gabby had the last laugh when his deflected shot trickled into the net in injury time to secure the win and send the travelling Villa fans wild.
i've never been a fan of Emile Heskey but he was absolutely collossal in this one. He lead the line superbly and his link up play was exceptional - a big reason why he earned an England recall. However the most impressive feature of his game was his ability in the air. I've seen quite a few games and top players over the years but I have never seen a player so dominant in the air. Heskey leaps were Michael Jordan-esque (pictured, top left) and not only did he win every single header but he would actually get up so high above his opponents that he could twist and adjust his body in such a way that every header went exactly where he wanted it to; he wasn't just flicking them on. James Milner was also excellent and played a huge part in earning his side the three points by scoring the opening goal.
Aston Villa (4-4-2):
24. Cuellar (26. Gardner - 46 mins)
2. L. Young
7. A. Young
18. Heskey (10. Carew - 70 mins)
Subs Not Used: 22. Guzan, 4. Sidwell, 14. Delfouneso, 17. Salifou, 21. Shorey.
Cuellar Knight Davies L. Young
Milner Petrov Barry A. Young
Blackburn: 1. Robinson, 2. Ooijer, 4. Samba, 6. Nelsen, 3. Warnock, 12. Pedersen, 11. Grella, 17. Andrews (5. Tugay - 46), 8. Dunn (18. Diouf - 46), 10. McCarthy, 30. Roberts (9. Roque Santa Cruz - 74).
Subs Not Used: 38. Bunn, 13. Khizanishvili, 19. Villanueva, 21. Givet .
Booked: McCarthy, Tugay.
My man of the match: Emile Heskey (Villa)