Season | 2001-02 |
Matchday | #22 |
League Game | #13 |
Premier League Match-week | #13 |
Manager Game | #178 |
Sunday, 25 November 2001
Premier League | Away | Leeds United | Elland Road | 40,159 |
Manager | John Gregory |
KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Neale Barry |
HT Score | 1-1 |
FT Score | 1-1 |
FT Result | Drew |
Last 5 Games | WWLDD |
Scorers | Hassan Kachloul | 35’ |
Assists | Paul Merson | 35’ |
League Position | 5th | -2 |
Line Up |
GK Peter Schmeichel |
CB Olof Mellberg |
CB Alpay Özalan |
LB Alan Wright | BOOKED | 88' |
M George Boateng |
M Hassan Kachloul | GOAL | 35' |
M Paul Merson | ASSIST | 35' |
M Steve Stone |
M Lee Hendrie | BOOKED | 48' | SUB OFF | 50' |
F Darius Vassell |
CF Juan Pablo Ángel | SUB OFF | 61' |
M Ian Taylor for M Lee Hendrie | 50’ |
CF Dion Dublin for CF Juan Pablo Ángel | 61’ |
Unused Substitutes |
GK Peter Enckelman
LB Steve Staunton
W David Ginola
Yellow | Lee Hendrie | 48’ |
Yellow | Alan Wright | 88’ |
Team Stats |
Starting XI Average Age | 28.37 |
Oldest Player | GK Peter Schmeichel | 38.05 |
Youngest Player | F Darius Vassell | 21.47 |
Monday, 26 November, 2001
Match report by Michael Walker
Leeds are blunted by Smith’s madness
A match that could be entered in Crufts, such was the level of frothy-mouthed ankle-biting throughout, ended with both sides walking off with their tail between their legs yesterday afternoon.
Superficially Aston Villa should have been trotting off contentedly with a point from a difficult fixture, but the fact that they played against 10 men for an hour rather undermined any pride that Villa might otherwise have taken. Villa’s inability to break Leeds United down after Hassan Kachloul had volleyed in a 35th-minute equaliser verged on dreadful. Nigel Martyn made not one save after Kachloul’s goal.
It is to be hoped Villa will regret their lack of ambition because Leeds were seriously destabilised by the dismissal of Alan Smith two minutes earlier, the young striker’s fourth red card of his 88-game Leeds career. Smith has also walked at Under-21 level and it barely needs saying that he is in danger of his reputation for spite overwhelming his undoubted talent.
On Friday Smith’s manager O’Leary had talked of Smith learning “to walk away” from incidents, but after the 21-year-old had left a solid elbow in the chest of Alpay, Smith’s third nasty foul of the afternoon, all he was walking away from was another important match.
Smith now leaves himself out of three games next month automatically. Surely Sven-Goran Eriksson will also be noting Smith’s indisciplined aggression. O’Leary, however, was in quasi-Sir Alex Ferguson mode, so there was no comment on Smith’s elbow, unless it was included in the phrase “a few minutes of madness”.
John Gregory was rather less reticent. “He deserved that,” Gregory said of Smith’s sending-off, “the referee was 100% correct - for once.” The referee Neale Barry did have an uncomfortable day - and he has been demoted once this season already - and Gregory admitted that his own player Lee Hendrie should have walked for pushing Danny Mills in the face shortly after half-time.
Barry gave Hendrie a yellow card but Gregory immediately withdrew Hendrie and banished him from the bench as punishment. “I took him off before he got sent off,” Gregory said. “I thought he was exceptionally lucky to stay on. And I handicapped the side by taking off the one player who could have gone on to win it for us.”
That took some believing. Hendrie had been a tidy contributor but nothing more. It was Leeds, with Olivier Dacourt dropped, who started more progressively and who, as O’Leary said, finished stronger.
Smith was to the fore early, harassing Alpay both legally and illegally, and it was from a Smith cross in the fifth minute that Robbie Keane could have given the home side a lead. Peter Schmeichel flapped at Smith’s centre but from the ricochet Keane missed his kick.
Schmeichel was then exposed as Leeds did move in front, when Keane supplied Smith and his shot beat Steve Stone on the Villa line.
Leeds were in control - Wright forced Martyn into a diving save and Dominic Matteo could have been punished for a handball - but Villa were offering little. Then from an aimless high ball Smith backed into Alpay and followed that with his right elbow. It may not have connected with Alpay’s face, but the intent was there.
The power game changed. Two minutes later, from Paul Merson’s free-kick on the right, Kachloul swivelled in mid-air to steer a shot past Martyn. Mills had played the Moroccan onside.
Had Villa more about them as a team then they would have passed a tired Leeds to defeat. The Yorkshiremen had played on Thursday in Zurich and were a man down. But Villa created nothing until the 79th minute when Alpay skied a free shot from a Merson corner.
With David Batty snarling and Eirik Bakke snapping, Leeds maintained parity too easily and would have won all the points had Rio Ferdinand’s 90th-minute header not clipped the post. Ferdinand had earned a goal. On an afternoon of dog fights, he was the one cool cat to stand out.