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Aston Villa 1-1 Man City: Dirty Deeds Dunne Dirt Cheap


Aston Villa has been a Jekyll and Hyde team so far this season. While they have yet to surpass the impressive performances they showcased for portions of last season, they showed glimmers of hope Monday night with an admirable defensive display against a very talented Manchester City team.

It’s only fitting then that Aston Villa centre-half Richard Dunne was recognized as Man of the Match. He played a key role in not only scoring Villa’s solitary goal but in limiting Manchester City’s attempts on goal. The man was everywhere. Blocking attempts at goal. Commandeering the defense. Causing plenty of trouble in the box when Villa’s corners were floated in. And marking the Manchester City forwards out of the game.

On top of that, Dunne showed true class by not celebrating the goal he scored against his former club. It shows a true indication of his character and how mature he is as a footballer. It was a shame though that the majority of Aston Villa supporters couldn’t be as sportsmanlike in their behavior toward Gareth Barry as Dunne was to his former club. Barry was booed whenever he touched the ball throughout the game. And Villa supporters flashed 50 pound notes at him to make the point clear that they felt the former Villa captain left for monetary reasons.

Don’t forget that this is a Manchester City side that, other than Arsenal, have been one of the most entertaining and explosive sides in the league this season. Villa, in typical Martin O’Neill fashion, played a carefully constructed game where they closed City down as soon as they got the ball and controlled midfield cutting off the supply to Tevez, Adebayor and Bellamy. Phil Brown and Mick McCarthy should take note and force their players to study how well Aston Villa plays defensively and then breaks on the counter.

Even though playing at Villa Park, it was the claret and blues who played like an away side battling for a 1-0 win and they almost got it if it wasn’t for a simple but effective pass by Stephen Ireland that allowed Emmanuel Adebayor to slot the ball to Craig Bellamy who rocketed the ball into the back of the net past the reach of American goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Both teams held on for a 1-1 draw in a game where I wouldn’t have been surprised if either team had scored a late winner. It wasn’t to be and, as a result, was a fair result for both sides. The challenge for Aston Villa, however, will be whether they can continue this level of performance in their upcoming games or whether they’ll succumb to some of their woeful performances we’ve seen them play in the last two months.

Overall, it was a mildly entertaining game that held my interest (although nowhere near as wonderful as the incredible spectacle the previous night during the Sevilla v Real Madrid match). Monday night’s TV production by ESPN UK was sublime. Commentator Jon Champion’s greeting to American viewers was a nice touch, and it was a pleasure to watch Roberto Martinez and Kevin Keegan provide tactical analysis at half-time alongside Ray Stubbs.

It was an enjoyable Monday night football match to watch with both teams putting in a spirited performance devoid of dirty fouls or shenanigans. And best of all, we were able to watch the spectacle in glorious HD.

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  1. winstongator

    October 6, 2009 at 10:01 am

    It was an awesome match to watch, and I think espn has a find in the epl. I recorded it and watched it from 6-7:30. What else is on TV at that time, especially sports-wise? Commercials are a lot less valuable on dvr, but you don’t get a lot of commercials with soccer anyway.

  2. brn442

    October 6, 2009 at 1:04 am

    I don’t blame the fans for booing him, considering the way he left and his attitude last season when he almost joined Liverpool.

    I don’t blame Barry for leaving. Villa are a big club but they have under-achieved since losing the title to Man United 17 odd years ago, they’re on the right track but with Man City in the pool, they’re the odd one out for champion’s league football anytime soon.

    With Ex Villa boss John Gregory infamously saying: if he had a gun he would’ve shot Dwight Yorke in his office when he submitted a transfer request to Join Man Utd aside, most neutrals recognize that players have a finite amount of time to achieve things.

  3. Jay

    October 6, 2009 at 12:51 am

    I should have recorded this match.

  4. Grunthos

    October 5, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    “It was a shame though that the majority of Aston Villa supporters couldn’t be as sportsmanlike in their behavior toward Gareth Barry as Dunne was to his former club.”

    Get. Off. Your. High. Horse.

    Barry plainly and clearly left for utterly mercenary reasons. His departure was a deliberate insult to the club, a statement that he doesn’t believe Aston Villa can qualify for the Champions League despite the massive improvements and reinvestment of the new ownership. Villa were quite willing to make him the highest paid player on the team, but he could earn some extra quid up the road, so he quit.

    Dunne, in contrast, was absolutely dedicated to a club that flogged him off so they could play with their high priced baubles.

    Barry’s absolutely entitled to go where he wants and play as he pleases. But expecting Villa fans to be happy about it, and claiming that vocalization of their discontent is “unsportsmanlike”, is farcical.

    • Jayoh

      October 5, 2009 at 11:35 pm

      Well said Grun, couldn’t agree more…I’m sick of commentators talking about the classlessness of Villa fans for giving a hard time to Barry…why wouldn’t fans of the team be upset about the situation, he left for Man City…the only way they could get players to go there was to way overpay em.

  5. Nordecke Luchador

    October 5, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    The Luchametric shows that Villa have potential, and tonight’s draw with Man City is further evidence that when Dunne performs, Villa can run with the best of them. Consistency will be an issue down the stretch as they lack depth.

  6. Scott

    October 5, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Was just me or was the ESPN camera work and picture absolutely brilliant for this match? I don’t know if it was the stadium’s lighting or what…but, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a match look so amazing on tv. It was truly a fantastic picture to look at.

    And it was great match too!

    • The Gaffer

      October 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm

      I agree. Villa Park is a classy football stadium with excellent sight lines. But the picture really did come alive the minute the broadcast began. Excellent production and a pleasing game to boot.

      The Gaffer

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