I won’t be submitting a match report on Wednesday’s game as I was way and unable to watch the tie unfortunately. From the highlights I’ve seen and what I’ve read, a poor start to the match was turned around by some profitable changes by new manager Gerard Houllier. Villa fans should take heart in the fact that it appears the Frenchman can change tactics and indeed the game if things aren’t going so well. MON always seemed reluctant to make changes both pre-match and during games to revitalise flat performances. Who would have thought that Emile Heskey would be introduced to the usual groans when needing to score goals, and change the game with 2 vital contributions? His goal was uncharacteristically well taken and didn’t go in off his face or stomach and one could even say that he meant it! The strike signified his first touch of the ball after being brought on in place of the ineffective John Carew. Perhaps more impressive was the inch perfect cross to kill off the game and provide Ashley Young with a simple tap in to seal the game 3-1 in Villa’s favour.
Good displays from the youngsters on show will also encourage Houllier and the faithful with the likes of Lichaj, Clark, Bannan and Delfouneso all playing major parts in the victory. With the team that was fielded, 3-1 has to go down as a magnificent result and the players showed a fight that hasn’t been there since the 1-0 win over Everton last month. The manager also was confident enough to bring young Nathan Delfouneso into the fray once Gabby had picked up an injury which will please many fans who have been longing to see the striker given a chance at the club. Undoubtedly there will be large scale changes once more ahead of the derby with Wolves on Sunday though Heskey may well be rewarded with a start ahead of Carew who has been pretty dire thus far. I would imagine Ashley Young will revert back to starting in a central role after netting 2 goals from that position after being moved off the wing against Blackburn. A full match preview will follow along with predictions and injury news.
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