FT: Newcastle 0 Aston Villa 0 – Newcastle in Stalemate


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Newcastle United 0 Aston Villa 0
(English Premier League, August 18th, 2007)

Newcastle United: Harper, Carr, Rozehnal, Martins, N’Zogbia, Milner, Smith, Geremi, Butt, Taylor, Viduka. Subs: Cacapa, Owen, Ameobi, Ramage, Forster.

Aston Villa: Carson, Bouma, Mellberg, Laursen, Barry, Young, Carew, Agbonlahor, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Gardner. Subs: Moore, Harewood, Taylor, Cahill, Maloney.

Referee: Howard Web

Attendance: 51,049

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David Rozehnal – Another solid display at the heart of Newcastle’s defense with Steven Taylor


It was a real battle at St. James’ Park today as Aston Villa came fully prepared to put up an all-out performance against the Magpies. Villa started fast from the kick-off and were the better team in the first 10 minutes and they were winning nearly all the 50-50 balls.

Obviously O’Neil had seen the game last week at Bolton and had his team all ready for a quick Newcastle start. There were a couple of breaks down Villa’s left wing by Ashley Young and he had the beating of Carr for pace. It looked like Villa were targeting Newcastle’s right flank as the weakness.

Then from a corner after 11 minutes Laursen got in a free header, and Harper made an excellent instinctive save as the ball hit the keeper’s chest and was cleared. This was a lucky escape by Newcastle and bad marking at the corner. N’Zogbia was making some penetrating runs down the left but invariably his final ball was never telling enough. Charles is looking very comfortable at left back.

Villa really should have gone ahead after 31 minutes when Agbonlahor was straight through – but amazingly screwed his shot wide of Harper’s left hand post. Reo-Coker was in oceans of space inside the winger and screaming for the ball. It was a bad miss by Villa at a time when they were worth a goal because of their pressure.

There seems to be too much room being left on Newcastle’s right side and Villa were making good use of this space – trying to play in Young continually. Aston Villa are looking the better team after the first 35 minutes but the Newcastle defense are holding strong while being put under pressure.

After 36 minutes a free kick from the Newcastle right breaks free to Rozehnal on the left about 15 yards from goal and the center-back hits a bullet left foot shot to Carson’s right but the young keeper brings off a wonderful save. Newcastle were rather lucky to be all square at half-time and only a solid defensive performance especially from both center-backs ensured a clean sheet at the break.

In the second half Newcastle had more of the game and both teams were battling for the one goal that surely would give them victory.

After 61 minutes Harper produced a wonderful one-handed full length save, to deflect the ball just wide of his left hand post. That was the second excellent save from the goalkeeper – who looked calm and never put a foot wrong throughout the game.

After 63 minutes Owen was introduced for Martins to great applause and then Ameobi after 77 minutes, came on for the hard-working and physical Viduka, who put everything he had into this game as did most of the Newcastle team.

Referee Web blew the whistle after 3 minutes of added time for a very hard fought point by both sides. The draw was probably a fair result although Villa were surprisingly good and able to match Newcastle’s grit and determination for the full 90 minutes. New signing Cacapa was introduced for skipper Geremi after 90 minutes to become Newcastle’s 1,000th player in their history – quite an historic start for the Brazilian.

Credit to Newcastle for a strong display in defense in which Rozehnal and Taylor were outstanding and goalkeeper Harper didn’t have too much to do – but made brilliant saves in each half to keep the clean sheet.There’s not many teams that will be able to play this well at St. James’ Park this season and match Newcastle industry and hard-fought play.

But Aston Villa played very well this afternoon and deserved their point. For Newcastle this was a game in which the defense – because of their solidity and determination – got Newcastle a good point. In seasons gone by there would have been no way they could have withstood the Villa onslaught.

Credit to both teams for a gritty and spirited performance.



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40 comments so far

  • AndyW

    Aug 18, 2007 at 7:37 PM

    Comment #1

    A little reality check that won’t do us any harm.

    Thought Smith, Milner and N’Zogbia were the pick again.

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  • carl

    Aug 18, 2007 at 7:47 PM

    Comment #2

    well i watched the game and was a little dissapointed.yes we kept a clean sheet and its only our second game,but playing 433 ,we lacked any width whatsoever,movement was also poor.but it was a gutty performance overalland to be fair aston villa we descent.rozehnal is looking like a great signing, so in overall mixed feelings.id prefer 442 at home.

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  • Stephen

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:03 PM

    Comment #3

    hard fought play??????Dont think you saw the match we were shocking.We didnt do well defensivly either like if villa had there shooting boots on and some players were not unselfish they could of won 3 to 4 goals.

    Same old story for us great lift last weeek and then put on a terrible show today.

    Why on earth did we play 4-3-3 at home when we should be taking the game to them not the other way instead we were playing counter attack football and just kicking it up long if we got good width in our game we would of won the match.

    Very disapointiing we got to win games at home and i dnt mind dropping points if we play well but we didnt we lacked cutting edge and drive all over the pitch.

    Thank god we have Big Sam who will make sure that performance wont be repeated .

    2 dropped points though and villa wernt good we made them good thats a big difference

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  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:04 PM

    Comment #4

    Carl – i thought we should have packed midfield more – surprisingly Villa were winning the midfield battle – especially in the first half. Obviously our plan was to try to nick it in the last 10 minutes but nothing came through. But Sam has made us very hard to beat – and against weaker teams we would have broken them – Villa looked very good – to their credit.
    I’m disappointed at not getting 3 points – but also glad we didn’t get beat.

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  • Jon Armann

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:06 PM

    Comment #5

    yes i agree, it was a very poor display, and i thought AV were in more better form than us, Gerami was very poor, when i proffessional player is losing the ball tima and time again i say WTF, and hes our captain, walking around like in the park, only players i can say played the game were ZOG, ROZ and taylor, the other SUCKED!!!! sorry

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  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:07 PM

    Comment #6

    Stephen – watched it on TV – we weren’t that bad – but not as good as we expected. Thought Villa were the better side in all honesty. Maybe we need more creative influence in midfield. We could easily have lost this game.

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  • jon

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:12 PM

    Comment #7

    Dismal, miserable fare. Villa shaded it. Only Milner comes away with any treal credit. Harper ok. Aside from that can only hope this is a “getting to know you period.” Geremi, Butt and Smith were consistent only in their gifting of the ball to their opponents and frequent naps. Thank god Villa were not much better. Lord knows how bad Bolton must be.

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  • Stephen

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:16 PM

    Comment #8

    Ya agree about geremi he was our captain and he was probably the worst player on the pitch.

    Ya fair enough everyone has bad games but his first game at st james park in the leauge you would of thought he would be good.

    He was poor at passing and how on earth is he taking corners and free kicks over milner everr coner was either too deep or didnt pass the first man could of being a different story if milner took them he has quailty crosses and maybe 1 goal from s set piect would of done it.

    Still dont get why we play 4-3-3 at home we should be playing 4-4-2 and just take it to the oppostion but noooooo we got to play defensive and only for stupid shots from villa they could of won this easilty and unselfish play too .

    Buts its newcaslte nothing is always good when we get a high there is always a low

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  • Alex

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:20 PM

    Comment #9

    stephen-did do well defensively ?0-0 a clean sheet.What more do you expect .Millner was also the best attaking player on the field. They ended up doubling up on him.

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  • Alex

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:22 PM

    Comment #10

    stephen-did not do well defensively ?0-0 a clean sheet.What more do you expect .Millner was also the best attaking player on the field. They ended up doubling up on him.

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  • Stephen

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:24 PM

    Comment #11

    As i said dont be fooled by the result if Aston Villa should abit of unselfsih play they would of got atleast 1 goal and also they have some clear cut chances where on another day they would of scored.

    We were lucky to get a point they domintated the game i think we had a few half chances but our play was very narrow and we were just putting it long hoping viduka get a head onto it.

    Disapointed.

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  • ToonKing

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:39 PM

    Comment #12

    I’m with Stephen on this one. This game proved we need creativity. Emre and Barton should get back ASAP. We played long ball cause’ we couldn’t do anything else. Geremi was disappointing and so was Butt. Smith was the best in CM but he’s not known for he’s creativity and sleak passes.
    We should have played Ramage on the left and put Zog in the middle, in a 4-4-2 with Milner and Geremi on the wings and Smith and Zog in the middle with Viduka and Oba up front, that way we would have captured midfield and creat chances.
    If we had Emre or Barton or both on the field it would have been a different ballgame.

    Positives were Harper, Taylor, Rozy, Milner, Viduka.

    Smoggies’ must be crushed next time.

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  • rich

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:41 PM

    Comment #13

    hard fought?

    i thought we were very poor. defence was good, but had its moments, still want to see another RB and get El Toro in at LB, shift Zog to the LW and Milner over to RW, as we lacked creativty down the Right side, we were very lop sided in that respect.

    Viduka & Owen still obviously rusty, Shola needs to be sold….

    Mike Webber had the worst game of all though.

    Roll on the smoggs.

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  • Alex

    Aug 18, 2007 at 8:44 PM

    Comment #14

    Guys we could very nearly have won it.Rozenthals shot needed a class save most keepers would never have stopped it.I thought butt and smith were excellent.They battled for every ball

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  • MightyMilburn

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:01 PM

    Comment #15

    Come on guys.. one week ago we were floating on cloud 9.. 3-1 against the Wanderers.. some where even talking about getting into the top 4..

    One not so good (offensive) performance later and we are starting to get on the backs on the players and the team in general.. There is no quick fix to the issues at our club.. we have brought in some very decent players.. and it will take time for them to gel as a team.. plus they are playing in a new system (or at least the players who were here last year)..

    YES! you have to be a rock solid (naive) supporter to sit through this one and then think that it was an even half decent game (seen with NUFC-eyes).. but lets look at the positive aspects as Ed pointed out.. Our defence – the torn in our eyes for soooo many seasons – were solid.. except for our right side were Carr where hung out to dry on several occasions.. (Note to BSA – you need to find a new RB – NOW!!)..

    As several other people have stated on this blog – we need a creative midfielder (Riquelme e.g.) as you cannot (and should not) expect Butt, Geremi or even Smith to provide our front men with ingenious thru-passes.. Maybe Barton will be able to provide once he is fit – or he avoids jail..

    If we look at our points on the board we are ahead of some of the “big clubs” – i.e. Spurs and Manure (let alone Bolton.. wonder when they will realize that their time in the sun has come and gone) .. and if we can keep stay ahead of these teams till the end of the season – I for one will be one happy camper..

    Look forward to the next game.. My hope for a much much improved season is still very much alive.. Hopefully BSA will have brought in a new RB.. and perhabs a creative midfielder..

    Howay da lads!!

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  • Tom

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:02 PM

    Comment #16

    Alex – kidding yourself with that he shot it right at the keeper, i thought we played an average game today, and was particularly dissapointed with the home performance, we need to knock the ball into Viduka more, a definate reality check for us all today. I thought Carr played pretty well, and as always taylor and Rozenhal were strong but apart from that….

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  • carl

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:02 PM

    Comment #17

    villa should of have won,their finishing was poor. also viduka was very poor,looking sloggish and whinging all the time.we need a big playmaker in midfield as the team today had no ideas or good movement and were walking round in the second half,got to play 442 at home.but a points better than none

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  • MightyMilburn

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:06 PM

    Comment #18

    Forgot to say this.. Last season, the majority of the team didnt show up for half of the games – in terms of passion and grit on the pitch.. Today, none of our players went out there half-heartedly.. to me that is one of the biggest differences compared to last season.. So it didnt click – but if you put in the effort – you will get points.. (as we saw today)

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  • Tom

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:07 PM

    Comment #19

    Carl – I agree, i had a bad feeling ever since everyone thought we would win fairly comfortably! 🙁 It will come in time im sure, im not even suire our performance against Bolton showed we are strong as they have lost every game and were beaten by Fulham and Portsmouth comfortably.

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  • Tom

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:07 PM

    Comment #20

    O and Harper was excellent! some great saves!!

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  • Hadrian

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:32 PM

    Comment #21

    geremi was terrible today , infact it was only our young lads who looked any good .
    need zog on the left of midfield and milner dropped back to the right , butt geremi and smith are all to similar for my liking , we need some creativity in the centre of midfield to play along side one of those 3 (smith as things stand imo) .
    did i honestly hear butt getting man of the match aswell?

    horrible display for 52000 paying fans .

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  • Ed Harrison

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:36 PM

    Comment #22

    Stephen – I agree we were lucky to get the point- Villa were the better team.

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  • mac

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:44 PM

    Comment #23

    OK ok we’re not gonna win the title,but watching the game 2 things became clear, we have players all over the park that wanna play in the black and white stripes of toonsville,something we haven’t had for years,which is great to see. But and it’s a big but,we need invention,we need some one with the class to unlock a defence someone with an eye for goal,we just need a touch of class in the midfield and unfortunately that costs money and it costs big money. Our defence looked ok,Carr didn’t play too bad but Sam will improve it and our forward line has to be one of the deadliest in the prem but we are missing that midfield class that know how to win a game.

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  • TOON1

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:46 PM

    Comment #24

    Sorry boys but thought we were shite !!Lacked creative midfielder ,no invesion what so ever ,no width at all.Newcastle are used to playing 442 ,with 2 natural wingers ,but we had hardly no width ,and playing martyns wide left was totally wrong.Really surprised big sam didnt change the formation at the break as we didnt improve 2nd half.To be honest people it a good job we didnt play a good side [no dis respect to villa ]because a liverpool or arsenal would have ripped us apart.The plus points was Rozenhal looked assured at the back and milner again worked his socks off!!We just looked un balanced and the passing in midfield wasnt quick and slick enough.We must have played better than that at bolton.But a possitive is that in the past we would have lost today ,but earned a point .Roll on the boro to put things right.

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  • Keep Oba

    Aug 18, 2007 at 9:48 PM

    Comment #25

    I love Oba…i really do…but he needs to be closer to the middle of the field and not by the touchlines. Id rather see him gutting the defense right down the middle rather than trying to cross the ball, which is certainly not his specialty. You cant fault Sam for trying the same lineup that got so much success last week, but I would imagine he changes things up next weekend.

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  • stjames

    Aug 18, 2007 at 10:10 PM

    Comment #26

    The only positive thing I can say about the match is that we hung on to one point. We were poor on the ball, we lost most man on man duels, we lost offensive as well as defensive headers and mostly went for long balls in the first half. The passing was at times quite terrible. I was very sad to see how uncomfortable and unconfident we were. I didn’t think we were that good against Bolton as a matter of fact but agree with Carl that it will come.

    Villa had a better game plan, good defense, god in possession and some fine fast breaks. Sorry. 🙁

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  • adam

    Aug 18, 2007 at 11:41 PM

    Comment #27

    easily the most boring game iv seen toon play. that was anti keegan football. but if it wins us things then i dont care.

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  • Hadji

    Aug 19, 2007 at 12:22 AM

    Comment #28

    Better luck next time.i hope that in the next game i’m gonna see Owen and Martins as starters,not Martins and Viduka.We will win the next game and i hope that Enrique and Cacapa will play then.Middlesborough-Newcastle:1-2

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  • iain

    Aug 19, 2007 at 12:33 AM

    Comment #29

    its well and good saying all our players were up for it,but it didnt stop carr from being useless, znogbia from being wasted at lb, martins from being wasted out wide, butt from being poor, smith seemed more interested in trying to knack villas players in the tackle than trying to create anything.

    sam needs his head checking if he thinks 433 at home will fly, there was enough people booing to hear it at the end and the ground wasnt full, performances like that wont convince people that have yet to believe we have truned the corner.

    thank god mike ashly wasnt there to see it. as we dont honestly knwo how he rates big sam, today would of certainly been a bad day for him to be forming an opinion on him.

    that performance has got to be up there with the crud that souness/roeder/dogleash served up.

    alright we didnt loose but that was down to villas cf being useless.

    sam deserves some/lots of slack for all the reasons being mentioned, but we have to get a few more players in… a rb and possibly two creative mf players.

    i suppoe teh result could work in sams favour in getting a few quid out of ashly for much needed new players.

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  • toonfan

    Aug 19, 2007 at 1:04 AM

    Comment #30

    gee you guys winge, its wasn’t a great performance to say the least but Villa defence were very good…. A lack short one two pass was dissapointing to many long balls played but beside that villa only cause problems on the break they’re midfield was poor, Butt, Smith and Geremi were excellent at negating….
    As for N’Zogbia thought he was poor always wanted to drift inside to recieve the ball and always cut onto his no preffered right foot and looked lost when he did that hes gotta take them on the outside and down the line….
    But all in all clean sheet we looked solid and Villa arn’t a bad side very solid and quick on the break..

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  • malaysian youngster

    Aug 19, 2007 at 2:22 AM

    Comment #31

    after geremi brought off who replace become captain?and butt’s touch and passing is poor.carr is not good in attacking or defence. and i notice milner got a habit of when got the time to cross still like to dribble.agree with 4-4-2.but geremi is damn hardworking saw him keep cover up the defence.butt has very poor first touch and when being pressure sure lose ball.harper did a great job.

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  • joe

    Aug 19, 2007 at 3:57 AM

    Comment #32

    Honestly, the performance was one of the most boring and uncreative games ive ever seen. We rarely got 3 passes in our build up play before we hit the long ball to viduka again. One plus point for me was our midfield full of hard tackling battlers, but cmon we all know that 3 of those guys in midfield arent gonna get us anywhere. We really need some creativity and flair in the middle of the park, Smith is a box to box midfielder and just doesnt have the vision to open up defences. When are emre and barton coming back? We really need their attacking drive if we are gonna do well this season, and if i were big sam those two would no doubt be my first choice midfielders alongside butt.

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  • Callum

    Aug 19, 2007 at 6:22 AM

    Comment #33

    We need someone creative in midfield, geremi, smith and butt are all good in midfield but non are creative enough, they’re better suited to playing away from home.

    If we sign a creative midfielder, someone like Elano at Man city then at home i can see us scoring alot of goals. Also we were too narrow for most of the game as Martins like to cut inside the field so we had only one winger in Milner and even he sometiems was unusually narrow yesterday. Im not saying Martins played poorly, he just played out of position, I’d have liked to see Geremi on the right and Milner on the left with Butt holding and Smith playing a free role with Martins and Viduka upfront.

    But i think a draw will do us (the fans) good as it’ll bring us back down to earth and reality and make us realise we arent going to win every game this year.

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  • Callum

    Aug 19, 2007 at 6:25 AM

    Comment #34

    Krul isnt having such a good time in Scotland is he. Last week he let in 4 vs Celtic and this weekend he let in 7 vs Rangers 🙁

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  • Lin

    Aug 19, 2007 at 7:11 AM

    Comment #35

    Our midfield is lack of creativity. We need some playmaker. I miss Barton and Emre. Hopefully, Deco can join us. And i think Owen is not fit for 433 playing as he almost lost last match when he was for Martins.

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  • Arthur Prince

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:10 AM

    Comment #36

    Its early days . Only game 2 and it is a reality check sure but then the following points are relevent

    1) new team needs to know how to play together

    2)Emre and Barton especially are still injured much more creative players .

    3) Yes unfortunately Steven Carr isnt up to the speed of the premier teams so will need a RB ? Geremi

    4) BSA doesnt know his players well enough yet but that will come

    5) A lot of grit was shown and everybody wnated to wear the shirt so that is good and the defence is much stronger

    6) I think when Enrique starts NZogbia will move up to left wing

    7 )we do need another class creative central midfielder . I agree Geremi Smith and Butt too similar

    8) having said all this there is clear progress and I do think we will be in top 6 this year .

    Rome wasnt built in a day but from what is happening the basis of a good team is there but with 1 or 2 additions .

    Tough League the premiership this year . we will see what the real progress has been by Xmas re our position . But a clean sheet always good

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  • Bob

    Aug 19, 2007 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #37

    Mighty Milburn and Arthur Prince ahve the best posts by far.

    Big Sam has acknowledged himself that there is still work to be done. We just need to be patient and get behind our team and our manager. Top 8 finish, for sure.

    PS: I CANNOT believe that people were booing!

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  • AndyW

    Aug 19, 2007 at 1:40 PM

    Comment #38

    Bob – VERY good point. I heard the booing and was ashamed of the people in St James who were responsible. OK you see some hysteria on this blog and others about how we are going to win the league and every game by three clear goals etc etc – but that’s a bit of fun isn’t it? But booing the players at the ground, second game of the season and we didn’t even lose – whats that supposed to achieve???????

    Shows how ignorant some people are and embarrases the club on national (and international ) TV.

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  • AndyW

    Aug 19, 2007 at 1:40 PM

    Comment #39

    …and not just ignorant, disloyal as well.

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  • Obafan

    Aug 19, 2007 at 9:30 PM

    Comment #40

    Saw the summary at MOTD and I think we were quite lucky. Harper did a magnificent job, with a couple of Given-like saves. Fantastic to have such a good 2nd goalie.

    I think that we still need 2 players;

    1) a good RB; because most of the danger from Villa came via our right wing.

    2) a creative midfield player, because Villa were very strong defensively but we didn’t have the magical touch to open their solid defence. I think we were the luckiest side by not losing today, so I’m quite happy with a point after this game.

    @Ed; what is the situation on;
    – Belletti
    – Deco
    – Neville
    – Yepes

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