Taxi for Mr Houllier After Manchester Mockery

December 28, 2010 by
Filed under: Match Reports 

No excuses available for Gerard Houllier after an embarrassing 4-0 collapse at Manchester City. Errors from the inexperienced players are inevitable yet Houllier insists in playing at least 3 in every game. Carew, Ireland and Dunne all left out of the squad altogether once again which left Villa with a creche on the bench with Grandad Pires babysitting. Two clumsy challenges from Lichaj and Albrighton led to penalties and capped both ends of the drubbing and helped Mario Balotelli to the easiest hat-trick in history. The spot-kicks sandwiched a Lescott goal which didn’t cross the line but what does it matter anyway, and a Balotelli tap in after Friedel spilled a David Silva shot. Pretty much sums up the whole game which saw City climb to the top of the league for a few hours at least. To hear about Villa’s downfalls in full read the extended match report.

Nigel Reo-Coker and Stiliyan Petrov returned to the starting line-up to very little effect at the expense of Hogg and Delph with both Young’s and Heskey still out. City rested Tevez in favour of Balotelli which many Villa fans would have been pleased about before the game, all I can say is can you imagine the score if Tevez had been playing as well! Villa old boys Gareth Barry and James Milner were denied a chance to get one over on their old club with a place on the bench for both.

Eric Lichaj has impressed in his last two games for Villa but his inexperienced showed in a game he will be keen to forget. A needless and clumsy challenge saw the young American haul Balotelli to the floor. The Italian then stepped up and dispatched the penalty past Friedel with consummate ease after waiting for the veteran to choose his way before placing the ball the other. Look out for the previous sentence later on in the report!

The home side doubled their lead with Villa all over the place though the second came shrouded in controversy. An Adam Johnson corner was met by Joleon Lescott whose effort was headed off the line by Barry Bannan. This however, was not the opinion of the linesman who wrongly ruled that the ball had crossed the line although it didn’t really make any difference in the end.

Many fans would say that the team showed no spirit and weren’t putting the effort in, this is true to a certain extent but sadly it was more to the point that Mancini’s men were at least 4 goals better than Houllier’s shadows. The confidence is at the lowest I can remember and I don’t see where or when they are going to improve it.

Villa looked to bounce back immediately when Stiliyan Petrov was brought down by Vieira on the edge of the box. Downing’s free-kick was poor and is still rising somewhere, if you find it, keep it because City can afford another one where as I’m not sure if the Villa board would be willing to splash that sort of cash!

It was game, set and match before the half hour when neat build up from City saw David Silva dance his way past Warnock  to fire at goal. His effort should have been held by Friedel who could only spill to Balotelli to convert from all of two yards. Lichaj was again, also at fault after falling asleep at the back post to allow the striker with an easy finish.

A Marc Albrighton dribble saw the winger beat two before forcing a save from Hart from range but the follow up was smuggled away by Lescott at the feet of Reo-Coker. Villa’s only moment of hope or quality in a mockery of a first half. Another Downing free-kick from range went way over the bar and summed up Villa’s performances and chances of scoring for that matter.

The second half saw Houllier send his men out early at the mercy of the travelling Villa faithful but to little effect. The away side made more of an effort of it in the second half but it was ridiculously comfortable for City.

The hosts had their fourth after Albrighton who had worked hard to little effect, but at least he was working hard, made a desperate challenge on Adam Johnson who had turned him and Warnock inside out. The Italian then stepped up and dispatched the penalty past Friedel with consummate ease after waiting for the veteran to choose his way before placing the ball the other! Hat-trick to Balotelli.

Clearly not happy with the clumsy tackle from the Villa youngster, Houllier subbed Albrighton along with Bannan, to be replaced by Delph and Delfouneso who, in their 30 minute roles, were probably Villa’s best performers. Says it all really!

Delfouneso looked to capitalise on a misplaced pass from City after just a minute on the pitch, but his effort from just outside the box was tame and straight at Hart.

City could and probably should have had more on the break with substitute Jo guilty of missing a volley from close range after a Kompany flick from a corner.

Villa’s best chance of the game fell to Lichaj who looked to redeem himself from earlier errors. A clever flick over the Villa defence from Petrov saw the full back with time and space in the box. The youngster was hoping for too much time however, after bringing the ball down he was closed down and could only fire his volley straight at Hart who turned the ball behind.

The resulting corner was taken short to Delph who fired a decent effort from range which forced a smart stop low down from the England goalkeeper. Delph had a busy cameo after a nibble at ax-Villan Milner, introduced after the fourth goal, saw him seemingly injure his knee, an injury which had kept him out for 8 months until this week. Luckily the damge doesn’t appear to have been serious and after treatment the youngster was able to play on.

There is clearly no love lost between Delph and Milner after the latter had a bite back at Delph which led to an angry reaction from the teenager and saw Milner booked.

That was about it. I’ve left out a few more City chances which could have seen them run riot in truth, capping a miserable claret and blue Christmas. Downing was guilty of yet another dismal free-kick which, guess what, flew way over the bar in a disappointing afternoon for the Villa men.

This result has seen many Villa fans call for Houllier to get the axe sooner rather than later and I for one, can’t defend this. It’s awful tactics and team selections. The players don’t know what they’re doing, they are clearly unhappy and a lack of harmony behind the scenes is turning the club into a mockery. What are your thoughts on a day when it is hard to back the manager? I’m livid to be honest, after watching the game and Villa will have to start paying the fans to take tickets if they carry on like that!

Villa Player Ratings

Brad Friedel – 5 – at fault for third and completely ‘done’ with both penalties

Eric Lichaj – 4 – dismal but you have to feel for the inexperienced heads thrown in the deep end

James Collins – 6 – in truth the centre backs did little wrong, one goal saving tackle

Carlos Cuellar – 5 – again little wrong but little right sadly

Stephen Warnock – 5 – booked and tormented throughout by Johnson

Marc Albrighton – 6 – one quality moment, worked hard but silly tackle gave away 4th

Stiliyan Petrov – 5 – not fit, overrun, one nice ball

Nigel Reo-Coker – 5 – lacking bite, not happy at late substitution with obvious problems with manager

Stewart Downing – 5 – disappointing, three woeful free-kicks

Barry Bannan – 5 – ineffective, one reckless and frustrated challenge

Gabby Agbonlahor – 5 – isolated but lazy and whines when things aren’t put on a plate


Fabian Delph – 6 –  neat touches of skill but got flustered by Milner

Nathan Delfouneso – 6 – ran at players but with hesitance

Robert Pires – no time, no pace, not much really!


7 Comments on Taxi for Mr Houllier After Manchester Mockery

  1. Growler on Tue, 28th Dec 2010 18:21
  2. Interesting thread title – as GH didn’t travel home on the team coach

  3. Briabarca on Tue, 28th Dec 2010 18:35
  4. Very disappointed! We’ve gone right back to the times of david o’leary!!! randy needs to splash the cash now of three quality players!!!

  5. richard bojan on Tue, 28th Dec 2010 18:37
  6. absolute rubbish no guts, no fight, we couldnt even give them a game
    gerrard hollier has to go – bring in big sam – he will guarantee us safety and premiership football .he is the obvious choice for me

  7. richard on Tue, 28th Dec 2010 18:44
  8. First time post for me, and I’ve not seen any of the game today, but as a season ticket holder I think there is a slight defence for the manager, though I concede that the performance against Spuds was shocking……
    Anyway, I honestly think that Dunne has been slow and a bit tubby all season, so why not get Curtis back and have a proper look at him alongside either Collins or Cuellar, the lad has got class, he proved it when partnered with Laursen, so for me, nothing to lose.
    Carew? don’t get me started, the Holte sing his name, but fundamentally, all too often, he’s not interested, and that goes back to the MON day’s aswell, and to be fair to GH, he’s got Ireland spot on, legend in his own mirror that one…
    I see no benefit in sacking GH, not now, though he will need backing next month, we need a striker and although it’s not the opinion of everyone, I think Keane would be the answer, I think he could improve Gabby and give us something different, I’d also like to see Given between the sticks, again, realistic and top class provided we’re quick.
    Add a decent right back, though I don’t know who, and get 15 mil for Ashley (with Bentley on top), and we could crack the top 6 this season with very little outlay.
    To close, I don’t think GH would of taken the job if he didn’t think he could improve us, and I still think we have the best chairman in the PL.

    Up The Villa!

  9. mick on Tue, 28th Dec 2010 19:09
  10. This is from a city fan not wanting to rub it in,I would start the protests now to get rid of bulgy eyes because that was the easiest win of the season by a mile against a team that certainly doesnt have the fight and spirit of MONs team,a little shocked to be honest how can you leave out Dunne and carew and play some of them,that squad has the makings of a very good team,the clown running it will take you nowhere

  11. Tony on Tue, 28th Dec 2010 20:46
  12. I’m a City fan and whilst we won easily I didn’t particularly enjoy the game. It was like a training exercise and i felt sorry for villa. You had no fighting spirit or heart in the team and without that you might even get relegated. Say what you like about O’neill but at least you played with spirit.

  13. Glensider on Wed, 29th Dec 2010 3:03
  14. Good article.

    Clearly a very worrying situation that we now find ourselves in, and its difficult right now to see where the next points are coming from. Performances are going from bad to worse, with no suggestion or signs that results will improve anytime soon.

    The players look thoroughly miserable, are playing without passion or committment, are short on confidence, and seem to be falling out with the manager at every twist and turn. Obviously things are far from well within the confines of the dressing room, and I say obviously, because it shows in their performances, both individually and collectively.

    I was against the appointment of Houllier, a strange decision to say the least, and since his arrival he has done nothing to make me view him in a different light.

    It certainly worries me that he will have cash to spend (presumably) in January, I dread to think of the type or quality of player he might bring into the club.

    The alternative of course is for Lerner to call time on his very short time at Villa Park, but realistically, we all know that that aint going to happen.

    No, we’re stuck with Houllier, and unless he manages to turn this sinking ship around very quickly, we’re in for a long, cold winter I’m afraid. I just hope that we dont find ourselves heading for The Championship come next May, but at this moment in time, a full blooded relegation scrap looks very much on the cards. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

    Pretty much agree with your match ratings. Youngsters Fabian and Nathan certainly did their future prospects no harm at all, but I personally think that it’s experience that is going to be the key to getting us out of this mess, rather than the enthusiasm of the younger element.

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