Season | 2000-01 |
Matchday | #31 |
Manager Game | #141 |
Saturday, 27 January 2001
FA Cup | 4th Round | Home | Leicester City | Villa Park | 26,383 |
Manager | John Gregory |
Referee | Uriah Rennie |
HT Score | 0-1 |
FT Score | 1-2 |
FT Result | Lost |
Last 5 Games | LWLLL |
Scorers | Julian Joachim | 76’ |
Assists | Ian Taylor | 24’ |
Line Up |
GK David James |
LB Steve Staunton |
LB Alan Wright | SUB OFF | 52' |
CB Alpay Özalan |
M Gareth Barry |
M George Boateng | BOOKED | 27' |
M Ian Taylor |
M Paul Merson |
M Steve Stone |
CF Juan Pablo Ángel | SUB OFF | 81' |
F Darius Vassell | BOOKED | 7' | 34' | SENT OFF | 34' |
F Julian Joachim GOAL | 76' | for LB Alan Wright | 52’ |
CF Dion Dublin for CF Juan Pablo Ángel | 81’ |
Unused Substitutes |
FB Mark Delaney
GK Peter Enckelman
M Lee Hendrie
Yellow | Darius Vassell | 7’ |
Yellow | George Boateng | 27’ |
Red | Darius Vassell | 34’ |
Team Stats |
Starting XI Average Age | 27.81 |
Oldest Player | M Paul Merson | 32.88 |
Youngest Player | M Gareth Barry | 19.94 |
Sunday, 28 January, 2001
Match Report by Stuart Barnes
Akinbiyi-bye to Villa Cup dreams
While Peter Taylor and his Leicester side savoured a notable, never-say-die victory, a sense of crisis seemed to be enveloping Villa Park.
Five successive league defeats followed by this setback have left Villa’s season in ruins and John Gregory under more pressure. In the absence of Gregory, who left immediately afterwards to watch an unnamed player, his coach Steve Harrison denied it was all doom and gloom.
But although Villa are blessed with highly talented individuals collectively, they are under-achieving in a big way. By contrast, Leicester’s progress continues to be greater than probably should be expected from the sum of the parts.
Their winning goal, which prolonged an unbeaten run against Villa dating back 13 years summed it up. Damien Delaney, a 19-year-old, £50,000 signing from Cork City capped a competent full debut by helping set up perennial substitute Arnar Gunnlaugs son to score with seven minutes remaining.
The goal rounded off an eventful afternoon, scarred by two sendings-off and a series of personal vendettas in the first half, but then elevated to a cracking contest when both sides settled down to concentrate on their football.
Gregory was left to reflect on his team selection. It was no surprise in view of his comments about David Ginola that the Frenchman was not even on the bench. Ginola turned his back on the tie, heading for home as soon as he found he was not in the squad - quite how a man with a reputation for going down too easily would have coped in the first hostile 45 minutes is anyone’s guess. But the preference for Darius Vassell ahead of Dion Dublin was certainly called to account.
Vassell hit the crossbar with a thumping header from Alan Wright’s cross, but with little more than half an hour gone was sent off for a second yellow card - a clattering challenge on Andy Impey the second player to go, also for his second offence, was Leicester’s Callum Davidson for a clash with Steven Staunton which provoked an ugly melee in the penalty box on the stroke of half-time.
Taylor had no complaints about either decision from Uriah Rennie. ‘They were poor challenges.’ Harrison declined to comment on that aspect of the game. ‘We are upset with the way the game panned out. That’s all I’m prepared to say.’
‘We had every chance to win this one. But our defending was poor. You can’t expect to win with defending like that. We have sat down and talked about it.’
Leicester went ahead three minutes before the break with Ade Akinbiyi released by Matt Elliott’s long ball and a favourable rebound off David James. Staunton came across trying to close him down but was too late to prevent Akinbiyi scoring.
The introduction of Julian Joachim after a two-month absence supplied a keener edge for Villa, who equalised with a as Joachim shook off the challenge of Gerry Taggart to drive low into the bottom corner.
Gunnlaugsson’s winner, driven in off the crossbar after Elliott touched a ball from Delaney into his path, was good enough to win any game. Annoyed Villa players believed there should have been more injury time available, but in their hearts they cannot have had too many complaints.
‘Delaney has learned a lot today,’ added Taylor. ‘He got through a tremendous amount of work, won a lot of tackles and looks to be one for the future.’
Monday, 29 January, 2001
Match Report by Russell Thomas
Villa’s season blows up in their face
It is not known whether David Ginola looked back in anger as he drove off an hour before kick-off, feeling unused and unwanted. Around 2 hours later John Gregory left, with Aston Villa still in the Cup, to watch the £6m-rated Alaves striker Javi Moreno. Perhaps the manager, too, will be feeling the same sense of emptiness.
It is safe to say that the mood of the airport-bound Gregory darkened as much as that at the stadium when he heard that Arnar Gunnlaugsson’s devastating shot six minutes from the end of a torrid rancorous tie had knocked the stuffing out of their season.
This was a bitter defeat that saw Villa’s goalkeeping coach Paul Barron remonstrating with the referee Uriah Rennie at the final whistle before being pulled away by Leicester’s manager Peter Taylor as the home fans took it out on the man in black rather than those in claret and blue who had made far more mistakes.
Later the noises were conciliatory but hardly convincing. Villa’s coach Steve Harrison emerged to heighten the air of unreality. “It’s too soon to say the season is in tatters,” he insisted. “Obviously we’re very disappointed with our run of results. [But] they’ve got everything to play for, including a place in Europe.”
The realistic view is that Villa’s only European mission this year will be Gregory’s current trip, during which he saw Moreno get the only goal of the game against Las Palmas.
And after last week’s public criticism of the strikers by Doug Ellis, the chairman’s many detractors will accuse him of speaking and, even worse, acting too late because the team’s principal weakness was glaring long before the £9.5m Juan Pablo Angel was hired. But whoever is at fault, it is now clear that Villa have problems all over the pitch.
Ginola would simply like to have been out there and on Saturday evening the Frenchman was in philosophical mode. “I’m backing Aston Villa and I’m not here to cause any problems for them,” he said. “I want to stay and I’ll fight for my place.” The words did not match the picture shortly before 2pm when he was told he was not on the bench. He soon sped away, albeit having been given permission to go home.
For all the Frenchman’s faults it is difficult to imagine how he could have failed to add something to a fitful Villa performance that demonstrated that chronic forward failings are now being mirrored in defence, previously an area of strength.
It hardly helped that Darius Vassell, preferred to Dion Dublin, was sent off for his second needless late tackle. The numbers were levelled up seconds before half-time when Leicester’s Callum Davidson received a second booking, for a reckless jump at Steve Staunton that prompted a mass brawl.
Amid all the fury, studded by unwanted advice by protesting players on both sides, Rennie calmly and correctly administered justice.
The major misjudgments were Villa’s. Gareth Barry embarrassingly failed to cut out Matt Elliott’s pass that sent Ade Akinbiyi to shoot against David James and roll the rebound home. Then the home defence was out-manoeuvred as the impressive 19-year-old Damien Delaney scooped a pass from which Elliott’s beautifully volleyed touch set up Gunnlaugsson’s thunderous left-foot finish.
It was a move of imagination and precision mocking the barrenness of the football before. Even if Villa improved in the second half their goal stemmed from a seeming miscue by Staunton and a clumsy Taggart challenge before Julian Joachim scored in his first appearance for nine weeks.
Ellis must be noting Villa’s forthcoming fixtures. Like those at Bradford City and Derby, sandwiching the visit of Middlesbrough, next month. And his club’s fall from fourth place to 13th in the space of two months. The chairman will also have noted the fact that Leicester, currently the Midlands’ top team, have largely prospered under a new manager who has fashioned the sort of rapid overhaul needed at Villa Park. Taylor’s team contained no fewer than seven signings since last summer. Perhaps no one is irreplaceable, not even Martin O’Neill.