Game | #4703 | 

Season | 2000-01 |

Matchday | #43 |

League Game | #35 |
Premier League Match-week | #34 |

Manager Game | #153 |

Saturday, 21 April 2001

Premier League | Home | Southampton | Villa Park | 29,336 |

Game Summary

Manager | John Gregory | 

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Jeff Winter | 
HT Score | 0-0 |
FT Score | 0-0 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | WDWDD | 

League Position | 7th | - |

Line Up |

GK David James | 
FB Mark Delaney | 
LB Alan Wright | 
CB Gareth Southgate | 
M Gareth Barry | 
M Lee Hendrie |
BOOKED | 43' |
M George Boateng | 
M Ian Taylor |
SUB OFF | 53' | 
M Paul Merson | 
CF Dion Dublin | 
F Darius Vassell | 

Substitutes |

W David Ginola for M Ian Taylor | 53’ |

Unused Substitutes |

GK Peter Enckelman
M Steve Stone
F Julian Joachim
LB Steve Staunton 

Cards | 

 Yellow | Lee Hendrie | 43’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 27.69 | 

Oldest Player | M Paul Merson | 33.11 |

Youngest Player | M Gareth Barry | 20.17 |

Match Report

The Guardian 

Sunday, 22 April, 2001

Match Report by Ian Whittell

Vassell’s Villa value 

The destiny and destination of the Premiership title having ceased to be an issue long ago, the competition for European places is at least ensuring there is some post-Easter drama to be wrung out of the current campaign.

 
Aston Villa find themselves in the thick of that contest for the sixth-place finish that will guarantee a place in next season’s Uefa Cup or, the longer shot, ending in seventh place and trusting Leeds United to win the Champions League and finish out of the Premiership’s top three. However, despite stretching their unbeaten run to nine yesterday, not even David Ginola could prevent Villa dropping two points and important ground in the Europe bid.


Ginola has been Villa’s resident get out of jail card in recent weeks, contributing goals and verve in short, sharp bursts off the bench. Yesterday, he was given more than 30 minutes to stamp his impression on a contest that was rapidly descending into distinctly end-of-season fare, but to no avail. 


He worked hard, even making his annual tackle at one point, and  Southampton keeper Paul Jones attempted to assist Ginola by fumbling a 73rd-minute cross which flew beyond the Villa forwards but, ultimately, Villa were undone by too many mediocre individual performances. Absent from the criticism should be forward Darius Vassell, responsible for most of Villa and the game’s brighter moments, but unfortunately for the prospects of a goal, the game’s best chance fell not to him but partner Dion Dublin.
He was played clean through on Jones by a neat Paul Merson pass nine minutes from time only to shoot over the target from six yards, a piece of finishing that summed up an unsatisfactory afternoon. 


At least Southampton’s caretaker manager Stuart Gray enjoyed his first point since succeeding Glenn Hoddle and the return might have been even greater. James Beattie had a first half ‘goal’ ruled offside, a seemingly harsh decision, and the same Saints striker was denied only by David James’s sure handling in the 68th minute after Wayne Bridge’s through-ball.

The Guardian 

Monday, 23 April, 2001

Match Report by Adrian Milledge

Villa hit the wall

Darius Vassell must have provided John Gregory with a perfect antidote to any loneliness he may have experienced as a long-distance runner yesterday. 


The Aston Villa manager, running to raise funds for research into Alzheimer’s disease, was participating in the London marathon - an exercise that gave him more than enough time to ponder the consequences of his team’s failure to defeat goal-starved Southampton.
 

Although the draw extended Villa’s unbeaten run to nine games, it made their already outside chances of qualifying for next season’s Uefa Cup even more remote. Now they face another curtailed summer break: the Intertoto Cup appears to offer the only route into Europe. 
 

Gregory and his players did not enjoy last year’s abortive Intertoto experience but at least Vassell’s display against Southampton augurs well for their prospects, especially as their record signing Juan Pablo Angel will be on Copa America duty with Colombia when the campaign begins in July. 


That is, if the 20-year-old Vassell remains fit. The striker broke his leg twice when he was on Birmingham City’s books as a trainee and has been plagued by injuries over the past two seasons. 
 

“So far things have been a bit stop-start for him because of a succession of injuries over the past 18 months,” Villa’s assistant manager Steve Harrison explained. “But he was different class against Southampton. I think he was helped by Dion Dublin, who held the ball up well and allowed Darius to make runs up behind him. 


“Darius has got quick feet and a great touch. What he needs now is a run of games and hopefully next season will be his.” 
There were times when Vassell’s pace and trickery made Southampton’s defenders appear so leaden-footed they resembled marathon runners on their last legs. But it was Southampton’s James Beattie who came closest to scoring when he was foiled by a one-handed diving save from David James. 

 

Earlier a header from the same player was disallowed for offside, a decision that adds further credence to the notion that Lady Luck has jumped ship with Glenn Hoddle. 
 

“It looked a perfectly good goal to me,” the caretaker manager Stuart Gray lamented. “And Kevin Davies had what I thought was a goal chalked off at Chelsea in our last game.” 
 

All of which is not doing Gray’s hopes of succeeding Hoddle long term any favours, a point he admitted with admirable candour. “With three defeats, one draw and no goals since I took over,” he said, “I wouldn’t say my credentials are very good.” 


*Man of the match:*Darius Vassell (Aston Villa).