Season | 2009-10 |
Matchday | #34 |
League Game | #25 |
Premier League Match-week | #24 |
Manager Game | #172 |
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Premier League | Home | Manchester United | Villa Park | 42,788 |
Manager | Martin O’Neill
KO | 19.45 |
Referee | Peter Walton |
HT Score | 1-1 |
FT Score | 1-1 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | WDWDD |
Scorers | Carlos Cuéllar | 19’ |
League Position | 7th | - |
Line Up |
GK Brad Friedel |
CB Carlos Cuéllar | GOAL | 19' |
CB James Collins |
CB Richard Dunne |
RB Luke Young |
M Stiliyan Petrov | SUB OFF | 64' |
M Fabian Delph | SUB OFF | 58' |
W Ashley Young |
W Stewart Downing |
W James Milner |
F Gabby Agbonlahor |
CF John Carew for M Fabian Delph | 58’ |
M Steve Sidwell for M Stiliyan Petrov | 64’ |
Unused Substitutes |
GK Brad Guzan
RB Habib Beye
CB Curtis Davies
F Nathan Delfouneso
M Moustapha Salifou
Team Stats |
Starting XI Average Age | 27.57 |
Oldest Player | GK Brad Friedel | 38.76 |
Youngest Player | M Fabian Delph | 20.24 |
M Nigel Reo-Coker |
LB Stephen Warnock |
CF Emile Heskey |
Match Stats |
Possession F | 44
Possession A | 56
Shots F | 10
Shots A | 12
Shots on Target F | 6
Shots on Target A | 6
Corners F | 1
Corners A | 7
Fouls F | 9
Fouls A | 10
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
*Manchester United survived the early dismissal of Nani to secure a well-earned draw at Aston Villa and close the gap on Chelsea at the top of the Premier League to one point.*
Nani was shown a straight red card for a 28th-minute lunge at Stiliyan Petrov - and the resulting three-game ban rules him out of the Carling Cup final against Villa at Wembley later this month.
Villa took a deserved lead after 19 minutes when Carlos Cuellar headed home after United failed to deal with Stewart Downing’s dangerous cross.
Nani, before his departure, helped set up United’s swift response when Ryan Giggs returned his cross into the penalty area and James Collins deflected the ball into his own net. It was the 10th own goal in United’s favour this season.
Despite being reduced to 10 men, United were the better side and were inspired by another virtuoso display from Wayne Rooney, who covered every blade of grass at Villa Park to compensate for Nani’s loss.
Villa faded after an excellent opening and United controlled the remainder of proceedings, with Michael Carrick and Rooney bringing the best out of Villa keeper Brad Friedel.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson may be frustrated by his side’s failure to get the maximum return from their performance, but there was much to admire in their resilience and the quality of Rooney and they will have been lifted by news of Chelsea’s defeat at Everton.
As well as Nani’s dismissal, Ferguson had another concern with Giggs going off near the end clutching his arm.
Villa gave a rare start to gifted youngster Fabian Delph, the summer signing from Leeds and he excelled as Martin O’Neill’s side took charge in the opening exchanges.
United struggled to cope with Villa’s quality of delivery from the flanks, so it was no surprise that their failure to deal with Downing’s cross led to the opener after 19 minutes.
Rafael could only partially clear, but Cuellar still did well to get enough power behind a lofted, looping header to beat Edwin van der Sar.
Villa’s lead lasted only four minutes, and the champions were indebted to a large slice of good fortune to restore equality.
Nani found Giggs at the far post, and his volley was flying across the face of goal until it struck Collins and flew past Friedel.
It was Nani’s last positive contribution was he was shown the red card after 28 minutes.
He attempted to win possession in a tussle with Petrov by launching a senseless, two-footed lunge and left referee Peter Walton with the easiest of decisions to send him off.
As so often, the side with a numerical disadvantage seemed to adapt quicker to the change in circumstances and United suddenly looked the more controlled side, with Friedel turning Carrick’s shot over the top.
Ferguson made a change at the interval, withdrawing Paul Scholes and introducing Antonio Valencia, who almost made an instant impact with a rising effort that flew just off target.
James Milner tested Van der Sar before O’Neill made a change of his own, somewhat surprisingly replacing Delph with the giant figure of John Carew.
United were forced into another change with 17 minutes left when Giggs hurt his arm in an innocuous incident, allowing Dimitar Berbatov to enter the action.
Rooney was starting to exert his quality on proceedings and he brought another fine save from Friedel with 15 minutes left as he drove in a powerful shot from the edge of the area.
It was the last serious threat from either side and they were both forced to settle for a point ahead of their big Wembley date.
*Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill:*
“I thought we could maybe take advantage but we were a bit tired in the second half and we didn’t create enough to cause them undue worry.
“But they haven’t been gallivanting around Europe winning Champions Leagues and titles without being a top side.
“I thought it was a red card, when you go in two-footed nowadays there is a decent chance the referee will show a red card.”
*Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson:*
“It was an important night and, with Everton winning against Chelsea, we have gained one point and one goal.
“Nani is not a malicious player but he has gone in with his foot raised off the ground and we cannot complain about it.
“We should have had a foul seconds before when Agbonlahor came in with his foot up on Wes Brown’s ribs.
“That was disappointing but we have no argument at all with the red card, it was a naive tackle.”
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Having of late looked like a man who wanted to be Wayne Rooney’s heroic side-kick in an epic title challenge, Nani last night turned villain.
Against the Villans. A stupid two-footed challenge by the Portuguese winger, provoking his dismissal, meant that the champions had to cope for more than an hour with a man down. The player in the banana-coloured boots slipped up.
Nani will now be suspended for three matches, including the Carling Cup Final against the same opponents, and Manchester United could also be without Ryan Giggs who departed in the second-half, clearly in discomfort and holding his forearm following a challenge by Steve Sidwell.
He left Villa Park with his right arm in a sling, heading for an x-ray. The fear is that he has broken a bone. It would be a significant set-back.
Rooney? He was, again, wonderful, redoubling his efforts to make up for Nani’s loss, although there must be a real danger that this most indefatigable of players is going to run himself into the ground this season.
The sight of him haring back to tackle Ashley Young in the dying moments, after Patrice Evra casually lost possession, was almost as awesome as his constant ability to hold off opponents and trick his way into space.
Sir Alex Ferguson may well examine the Premier League table this morning and wonder what if. What if Nani had not been so stupid? What if his team had played with its full complement. Surely, he will think, they would have won and with Chelsea losing at
Everton gained the points to, crucially, regain the top spot in the Premier League instead of simply reducing the deficit to one.
Martin O’Neill, also, may well examine that table and wonder what if. What if his team had been able to box-clever and had possessed the guile to exploit their advantage. What if they had won. What if they had even played. Well, if they had, they would have gone level with fourth-placed Liverpool.
What an opportunity missed although the brutal fact is it was the 11-men who were holding on and that will serve as an indictment to them as well as a testimony to United’s relentless resolve epitomised, as ever, by Rooney.
And to think he had started the match quietly. As had United. They appeared lethargic, caught cold by the chill perhaps, a pale reflection of the team which had so brilliantly eviscerated Arsenal in their last away league game and had eaten up points of late, building momentum, confidence soaring.
The manner in which they fell behind summed it up with Aston Villa countering and Stewart Downing curling in a cross from the left-flank which was flicked on by Carlos Cuellar towards Richard Dunne. Rafael intervened, beating Dunne to the ball but his clearance only fell to Cuellar who, cleverly, looped his header over Edwin van der Sar.
Given that Villa had gambled with two defenders pushed forward, they gained their reward. What would be United’s response? Simple. They equalised.
Nani, until then an ineffective gadfly rather than the pretender to Cristiano Ronaldo’s crown, centred deep towards Giggs who volleyed a dangerous cross-cum-shot back into the six-yard area. It was probably going wide but with Paul Scholes hovering, the ball cannoned off James Collins’ legs and flew into the net.
Barely four minutes had elapsed between the strikes and Villa, having gone more than five hours without scoring a goal at home had now had their impressive defence, the most parsimonious, breached, albeit through an own goal. There was also a statistical quirk - it was the 10th own goal in United’s favour this season.
Then Nani scored his ‘own goal’. As the ball ran away from him, he launched himself into a clueless, stupid challenge on Stiliyan Petrov. It wasn’t malicious just plain dumb and there could be - and wasn’t - any complaint from Ferguson as the red card was raised.
United were rocked and their defence creaked. Neither Jonny Evans nor, in particular, Wes Brown were convincing but Villa didn’t appear to have the ambition to exploit it. Instead of raising the pace, they slowed it down.
The ball was moved too deliberately and having previously matched up United with a five-man midfield, they didn’t commit.
There was pressure. But it was sporadic. Instead it was United who racked up the chances. First, Michael Carrick forced a fine tip over by Brad Friedel with a fierce drive and then Darren Fletcher flicked a corner onto the roof of the net.
On came Antonio Valencia and he made a difference although he should have done better from Giggs cross, shooting wide, while
Rooney fired past one of Friedel’s post and then the other before, wonderfully, holding off both Collins and Richard Dunne and forcing a fine save from the goalkeeper with a dipping drive.
For Villa, who threw on John Carew in desperation, there was a quick shift of feet by James Milner and a crisp shot that was held by Van der Sar. And that was it. They threatened little and, in truth, earned more than they deserved.