Game #4673

Season | 2000-01 |

Matchday | #13 |

League Game | #9 |
Premier League Match-week | #9 |
Manager Game | #123 |

Sunday, 22 October 2000

Premier League | Home | Sunderland | Villa Park | 27,215 | 

Game Summary

Manager | John Gregory | 

KO | 15.00 |

Referee | Peter Jones | 
HT Score | 0-0 |
FT Score | 0-0 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | WDWLD |

League Position | 12th | -5 |

Line Up |

GK David James | 
LB Alan Wright | 
CB Alpay Özalan | 
CB Gareth Southgate |
BOOKED | 25' |
M Gareth Barry | 
M Paul Merson | 
M Ian Taylor | 
M Steve Stone | 
M Lee Hendrie |
SUB OFF | 73' |
CF Dion Dublin | SUB OFF | 70' |
F Julian Joachim | 

Substitutes | 

M George Boateng for M Lee Hendrie | 73’ |
F Darius Vassell for CF Dion Dublin | 70’ | 

Unused Substitutes |

FB Jlloyd Samuel
GK Peter Enckelman
F Gilles De Bilde 

Cards | 

 Yellow | Gareth Southgate | 25’ |


Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 28.35 | 

Oldest Player | M Paul Merson | 32.61 |

Youngest Player | M Gareth Barry | 19.67 |

Match Report

The Guardian

Monday, 23 October, 2000

Match Report from Adrian Milledge

Gregory’s gall as Villa lose ground in race for Europe  

Aston Villa continue to resemble the table dancing club that offers plenty of tease but precious little strip. Not for the first time, and doubtless not the last until John Gregory is given the wherewithal to sign the accomplished striker his side so desperately needs, Villa failed to capitalise on the midfield probings of Paul Merson.

It all adds up to an overdose of frustration for Gregory who, after unexpectedly landing his dream job when appointed Villa manager almost three years ago, now harbours ambitions of taking them into the Champions League. After just nine games, profligacy in front of goal means they are already losing ground on the Premiership’s top three. 

“It was the same old story,” Gregory said after watching his side fire yet another round of blanks. “We had enough of the play but were unable to make it count. The same happened against Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Chelsea and Arsenal and the simple fact is we need a quality striker.” 

Gregory expects to be given £5m from the sale of Ugo Ehiogu to make a signing, but he is not sure that will be enough to recruit the player of quality he needs. “I’m not going to buy for the sake of it,” he said. “I need to sign someone who will make a difference to our play and win us matches rather than fill a vacancy. 

“I think my chairman, Doug Ellis, understands that, although I appreciate with the uncertainty over the transfer market we could pay £10m tomorrow for a player who might be worth nothing in a couple of months’ time.” 

It must be galling for Gregory that Villa have invested £12m plus to replace the old Trinity Road stand and increase the ground’s capacity to 50,000. With just 27,000 present yesterday the construction, opposite the Doug Ellis stand, is in danger of being known as Deadly’s Folly. 

Gregory spent most of the match perched on an unfinished part of it monitoring his team’s progress, or lack of it. Alongside him stood his  Sunderland counterpart Peter Reid, who was left similarly frustrated by his strikers’ failure to make the most of their opportunities.

Unlike Villa’s strikers, however, the waywardness of Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn was, as Gregory will testify, uncharacteristic. Beforehand the Villa manager had said the presence of both Phillips and Quinn in his squad would guarantee that coveted Champions League berth. Afterwards he was grateful for a collective off-day by the pair. 

Sound defensive work from Gareth Southgate and Co restricted Sunderland’s chances, but when they did appear there were no takers. Phillips cracked a second-half shot against David James’ crossbar and Quinn, set up after Michael Gray’s left-wing cross had skidded off Southgate’s head, toe-poked the ball wide. 

At least Kevin Kilbane did force James to make a save seconds after the interval when, put through by his fellow Irishman Quinn, he hit a right-foot shot that the Villa keeper kept out by diving to his right. 

Kilbane was a constant menace down the right flank and his display was consistent with his improved form this season. “He’s a lot fitter than when he first came here last March and he’s causing teams a lot of problems,” said Reid. 

“Unfortunately our strikers did not - we were comfortable throughout and had the best chances but wasted them. I’m disappointed with our display in the last third of the pitch, although to come here and get a result is not a bad achievement.” 

In contrast to James, Sunderland’s Thomas Sorensen had just one save of note to make, a one-handed tip-over to an effort from distance on the stroke of half-time by Lee Hendrie. It all added up to the first goalless draw in this fixture for 110 years.