Season | 2001-02 |
Matchday | #27 |
League Game | #17 |
Premier League Match-week | #16 |
Manager Game | #183 |
Monday, 17 December 2001
Premier League | Home | Ipswich Town | Villa Park | 29,320 |
Manager | John Gregory |
KO | 20.00 |
Referee | Mike Dean |
HT Score | 1-1 |
FT Score | 2-1 |
FT Result | Won |
Last 5 Games | DLLDW |
Scorers | Juan Pablo Ángel | 44’ | 70’ |
Assists | Steve Staunton | 44’ | Steve Stone | 70’ |
League Position | 8th | -1 |
Line Up |
GK Peter Schmeichel |
FB Jlloyd Samuel |
LB Steve Staunton | ASSIST | 44' |
LB Alan Wright |
CB Olof Mellberg |
M George Boateng |
M Paul Merson |
M Gareth Barry |
M Steve Stone | ASSIST | 70' |
M Lee Hendrie | SUB OFF | 67' |
CF Juan Pablo Ángel | GOAL | 44' | 70' | SUB OFF | 84' |
CF Dion Dublin for M Lee Hendrie | 67’ |
F Darius Vassell for CF Juan Pablo Ángel | 84’ |
Unused Substitutes |
GK Peter Enckelman
F Boško Balaban
D Jonathan Bewers
Team Stats |
Starting XI Average Age | 28.03 |
Oldest Player | GK Peter Schmeichel | 38.11 |
Youngest Player | FB Jlloyd Samuel | 20.73 |
The Daily Telegraph
Monday, 17 December 2001
Match report by Christopher Davies
TWO goals from Juan Pablo Angel rescued Aston Villa last night but it was not enough to sweep away the doubts swirling around Villa Park. Dissent against the chairman Doug Ellis and, briefly, the manager John Gregory, made this another bizarre episode in the Villa soap opera.
Villa’s football was largely poor and edgy and but for the touches of class from Paul Merson and the finishing of Angel, the Holte End would have been in even more fractious mood. Such is Angel’s popularity here that Gregory’s decision to remove him late on triggered an unbelievable outbreak of booing. Gregory stared at the Holte End, surprised by their reaction.
But if it had not been for Angel’s brace, Villa would have been condemned to their seventh game without a victory. This was their first success since they had been top before going into free-fall. No wonder Angel was applauded down the touchline as he headed straight to the dressing-room.
After Finidi George had put the Premiership’s bottom club ahead, Villa produced some of the worst football imaginable until the saving grace of Angel. The watching Sven-Goran Eriksson surely had something better to do on a cold Monday night than watch this.
Villa are such a strange side, capable of good football, particularly when the ball is at the clever feet of Merson or when directed towards the darting figure of Angel, who made light of recent benching to drag Villa from 0-1 to 2-1.
But until the Colombian’s intervention, Villa had been poor. Eriksson’s plan to watch two long-shots for his England World Cup squad, Lee Hendrie and Gareth Barry, had initially been altered as the national coach was forced to focus on a man who might terminate the Three Lions’ stay in Korea and Japan.
George, the Nigerian international, struck after 17 minutes as Ipswich exploited some dreadful Villa play, though it was his only real contribution of the night.
When George Boateng lost possession in midfield, Ipswich swiftly worked the ball via Hermann Hreidarsson and Richard Naylor back into George, who turned and swept a sweet and low 25-yarder past Peter Schmeichel. The Dane, returning after a calf injury, was unable to drop his body quickly enough to divert the surprise shot.
As the delighted Ipswich fans voiced their song of praise to their Nigerian - surely the first time tractor has rhymed with Africa - their Villa counterparts stared in disbelief at their side’s incompetence.
Ipswich’s first Premiership goal in 332 minutes was deserved reward for their own perseverence but it also stemmed from Villa’s hapless first-half nature. The Holte End, only two-thirds full, had already chorused its disapproval of Doug Ellis and as a calamity in claret threatened to unfold until Angel arrived it was easy to sympathise with the fans’ view that Villa’s chairman needs to spend.
Merson, who was at least trying, attempted to drag Villa back into contention but his is a team of few natural leaders. Until Angel struck, the only thing Villa had passed successfully was the buck. After 25 minutes, Jermaine Wright rose unchallenged to head Chris Makin’s cross goalwards, only for Schmeichel to rescue Villa.
Undeserved parity came Villa’s way two minutes from the break. After Matteo Sereni had flapped at a corner, the ball fell kindly to Steve Staunton on the right. Meeting it well with his left foot, Staunton planted the ball into the box where Angel, rising above John McGreal, took his chance. Sereni got a touch but Angel’s header was firm and well-placed.
At last Villa had got people into the box. Hendrie attempted to get forward more in the second period but the most promising moment as the half opened was Merson’s wonderful chip which cleared Schmeichel but struck the bar. Gregory then sent on Dion Dublin, giving Villa another target, but it was Angel who pushed Villa ahead after 69 minutes.
Steve Stone transferred possession to Angel, who moved down the inside-right corridor before unleashing a shot which caught McGreal and looped over Sereni.
With Ipswich trapped at the bottom of the Premiership and losing here, Burley sent on Marcus Bent, his new signing from Blackburn Rovers, but it was another substitute, Jamie Clapham, who went close to an equaliser with a shot that flashed wide. Jermaine Wright also tried his luck as Villa’s jitters returned.
Villa managed to hold on but this victory produced as many questions as answers. And when Angel was announced as man of the match, the Holte End chanted his name with added intensity. Strange club, strange times.