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Aston Villa 1 United 1

Just as with the visit to their rivals across the city last month, this game was played after dark in freezing cold conditions. The streets were iced over, the air was bitter and just like the last visit to Birmingham, we also came back from behind to earn a draw thanks to an own goal. However, the draw does not tell a tale of woe at all, it in fact was a great night to be a Red.

I have never been in the upper tier of the Doug Ellis stand before, as I always seem to have tickets in the lower. We made our way up the steep staircase to find the smallest concourse area I have ever seen, with televisions showing non-stop replays of Villa’s win at Old Trafford from earlier in the season. We took a decision then that, despite the cold, there was no way we would ever get back in that confined space at half time!

Our seats were at the front of the upper tier, and loads of Reds piled forwards to the front next to us filling the stairwell, much to the dis-satisfaction of the stewards and later the police. Green and gold colours were in abundance, with many more flags and tops as well as just scarves. Some in the United end still seem to be living in a dream world, having a pop at those shouting anti-Glazer chants and calling them sheep. In my opinion anyone believeing bland David Gill statements rather than teh financial facts is the sheep. One banner said “Debt is the road to ruin - David Gill, August 2004″. That says it all really.

On the pitch United dominated. The Villa goal came slightly against the run of play but United just kept on playing as if the goal had not happened, and were rewarded with an equaliser a few minutes later. The Villa Park crowd were silent and the away fans clearly won the noise contest, but Nani’s sending off could have ruined the game for us. I expected Villa to step it up and put us under serious pressure, but instead United took total control of the game and were always far more likely to win. Only Friedel could keep Rooney out- the two of them were joint man of the match in my opinion, but Fletcher also deserves a mention after another sterling performance. On the negative side, Berbatov was truly abysmal when he came on and I have never been as frustrated with him as when, playing alone up front against a team with an extra man, he made no effort at all to chase loose balls or put pressure on the defence. Clearly most Reds around me felt the same judging by the anger aimed in his direction.

The night was made by news coming in from Goodison Park. Chelsea had taken an early league to put the pressure on us, but Saha must still be a Red at heart, and singlehandedly tore them to shreds to turn the game around. Their game kicked off later than ours so it was an anxious wait even after we had got back to the car to find out the result. But all’s well that ends well.

To go to Villa Park, be the better side with only 10 men, and gain a point from doing so is a great night overall. We now have a well needed rest and can go to Milan sharp, fit and full of confidence.

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1 Comment

  1. Dave woods :: February 11th, 2010 12:36 pm

    If you’d said before hand that we’d be reduced to ten men and come away with a draw I’d have been delighted but we really could have taken all three points and looked the most likely to score. It’s still a good result at Villa Park though as they seem to be improving as a side year after year so have no complaints especially as we closed the gap on Chelsea.

    When Everton missed the penalty at 1-1 I expected Chelsea to go on and win the game but thankfully Saha popped up with a winner. I just hope he’s not playing like that against us in a couple of weeks.

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