Aston Villa 0-2 Arsenal

1' - Arsenal lines up as: Jens Lehmann in goal; Ashley Cole, Pascal Cygan, Sol Campbell, and Lauren across the back; Fredrik Ljungberg, Gilberto Silva, Patrick Vieira, and Robery Pires in midfield, with Thierry Henry and Nwankwo Kanu up front. For Aston Villa, it's Thomas Sorensen in goal, Mark Delaney, Gareth Barry, Olof Mellberg, and Ronny Johnsen across the back, J'Lloyd Samuel, Lee Hendrie, Peter Whittingham, and Thomas Hitzlsperger in midfield, with Juan Pablo Angel and Marcus Allback up top.
2' - Early free kick for the Villains. Hendrie curls it in, but Vieira clears it easily.
3' - Ljungberg makes a probing run inro the Villa area, but their defense is sharp early.
4' - The all-time series between the sides is 58-58-33. How about that?
5' - Hitzlsperger sends a nice curling free kick from the touchline, but it eludes Villains and Gunners alike.
7' - Hendrie does well to find Angel, but the back four are resolute. Arsenal gives it away to Barry, but Allback is offside.
8' - Hitzlsperger takes a shot from distance, but it's safely over the bar.
9' - Arsenal haven't even begun to trouble the Villa defense yet.
10' - Good build-up by Arsenal, but Kanu's pass up to Henry isn't quite good enough.
10' - Corner for Villa. Barry sends it in right to Lehmann...cheers, mate.
12' - Arsenal again with the slow build-up, it comes out to Kanu, and his probing run forced Samuel to deflect it into his own side-netting. Pires' corner came to nothing, though.
13' - Johnsen gives Lauren a love-tap, and the Cameroonian falls over like it was a Roy Keane tackle. Shouldn't have been a foul. Villa easily clears the free kick, though.
14' - Samuel's terrible clear came right back to Pires, though, and his rocket from outside the area is stopped only by a fantastic leaping save by Sorensen. The resulting corner was not good enough, though.
16' - Vieira makes a wonderful pass up to Henry, who probably should have shot. Pires probably thought he would, and the pass goes awry.
16' - Another long shot from Pires, low this time, forces Sorensen to be sharp. The big Dane gets a hand on it, and covers it up.
18' - A long pass came up to Ljungberg, who really should have shot the ball. He tries to find Henry, giving the Villains time to get men back and clear it away. Meanwhile, Samuel accidentally catches Henry in the mouth with his arm. The physio is on with the magic spray, so no worries, then.
20' - Henry's still getting treatment, but Pires' little lob almost finds Kanu. But, the Nigerian just can't get there before it dribbles out.
20' - Samuel slips on the turf, which cancels out that attack.
21' - Delaney sends a fantastic lob over Cygan to the wide-open Angel, but Lehmann was out far enough to force the Colombian into a lob over the crossbar. That was a real chance, though.
23' - I have never seen this before...the linesman's flag comes right off the staff, and they have to send the 4th official running on with a flag substitution.
24' - Pires threatens again, but Samuel concedes a throw. Kanu puts it out for a goal kick, however.
25' - Nice pass up to Henry, but he tries to beat too many defenders. Barry starts the counter, all the way up to Angel. Angel makes a nice pass to Allback, but Campbell deflects the shot wide. Arsenal gets a goal kick, oddly enough.
28' - Vieira gets hacked down by Mellberg and Barry just outside the area. This is a real chance for Arsenal. Henry takes it very quickly, and Sorensen never moved. So, GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL, I guess! Personally, I think there should be a set rule about this one way or the other...there's something I don't like about taking a free kick before the opponent gets their wall figured out. Delaney gets booked for dissent, and as it's his 5th of the season, he'll miss Villa's next game. This was kind of a farce all around, actually, and the goal shouldn't have counted.
33' - Cygan brushes past Angel, who goes down like a shot. This is going to get ugly before its over, I think.
34' - Ljungberg gets hacked down by Mellberg, and Mark Halsey rightly books him.
35' - Gilberto fouls his man to get the ball, and the ref waves play on. I'd feel really hard done by if I were a Villa supporter right around now.
38' - Another semi-dangerous free kick for Villa, and again, Hendrie's curler is cleared right out. The Villains have to do better with those, you'd think.
39' - Allback beats Lehmann, but he was a good two or three steps offside when Hitzlsperger lobbed it in.
42' - There sure is absolutely nothing of note going on at this point.
45' - Arsenal again with a nice slow build-up, but they inadvertently knock it out amidst all the short passing. I wish they'd cross the bloody ball every now and then.
45' - Whittingham makes a reckless challenge from behind on Gilberto, and rightly sees yellow. Heh...he's going to miss Villa's next match, too.
45' - Halsey blows the halftime whistle. I have to say that whatever the match announcer says, this should be 0-0.

47' - Angel gets the ball on the side of the area, and forces Lehmann to go down to his right well to save the low bad-angle shot.
49' - Lehmann has to be alert and quick to stop Allback from having a breakaway shot.
50' - Villa gets a dangerous free kick outside the area. Ljungberg argues quite a bit without getting a yellow. Angel takes it himself, and his shot is agonizingly close to the top left corner.
51' - Arsenal better find another gear or SOMETHING.
52' - Arsenal siege the Villa area again, but there's no urgency.
52' - A probing Arsenal attack finds Kanu in the area. Mellberg catches him late, and Halsey whistles for the penalty. I'd say it's arguably a foul, but after the controversial goal in the 1st half, maybe they should have been given a break.
53' - GOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLL! Sorensen guesses right, but Henry cooly fires over him.
54' - 2-0 to the Arsenal, but you can make a case that it should be 0-0.
55' - Vieira catches Hitzlsperger in much the same fashion as Mellberg did on the penalty, and gets a yellow card. I knew Halsey was terrible before this, but this is a bad game, even for him.
57' - The Villa fans join in for a rousing chorus of "The referee's a wanker!" Can't say I disagree.
57' - Ljungberg gets a wonderful pass from the touchline by Henry, but the Swede is put under pressure and deflects wide.
58' - Ljungberg gets taken down by a real horror-show challenge from Barry, and out comes the yellow. You can tell it was a stupid challenge when the guy getting the yellow doesn't so much as peep in protest.
59' - Villa mildly theatens, but much like the majority of the match so far, they can't really do anything with it. They need some kind of incisiveness between the midfield and the strikers.
62' - Another Villa build-up is wasted when Hitzlsperger loses his footing. Is it something with the turf today or what?
63' - Allback gets a half-chance, but he's pressured, and sends it into orbit.
64' - Vieira bodychecks Hitzlsperger...he better be careful.
65' - Samuel finds space on the left, but his cross is right at Lehmann.
66' - Villa gets a corner, and although Lehmann gets jostled on the way up, he's able to get to the loose ball.
67' - Kanu almost gets the ball in alone with Sorensen, but the last man back gets a desperation foot out to clear it to touch.
69' - Hendrie finds Barry in the area, but his looping header goes safely over the bar.
71' - Villa may want to look into the "fresh legs" option. They just don't have many answers for the Arsenal defense.
74' - Henry pushes over his man, no call. Angel pushes over Cole seconds later, and it's a free kick. Cole sees Sorensen out organizing the defense (y'all don't learn, do you?), but his kick sails high.
75' - Edu and Kolo Toure are waiting to come on. Nice to see Kolo back.
75' - Pires fires wide yet again. But hey, I'd rather him take the shots and miss than contribute to the Arsenal "will someone SHOOT THE BALL?" phenomenon.
76' - Wow, all three subs for Arsenal. Ray Parlour for Ljungberg, Kolo Toure for Kanu, and Edu for Pires. You don't see this from Arsene very often, but I agree in this case...we were looking kind of complacent the last few minutes. However, I think it's funny how we make three, and Villa hasn't had anyone up yet. They need it more, I think.
78' - Hitzlsperger again gives it a go from outside the area, but it's very, very wide.
79' - Parlour, who hasn't scored since the 2002 FA Cup final, sends a beautiful knuckling curler towards the top right hand corner, but it's just inches wide. Great stuff there.
80' - 39,380 came to watch their side do not much of interest today.
83' - On the touchline, Edu fouls Delaney. Hitzlsperger's kick into the area isn't bad at all, but Arsenal calmly clear.
83' - I chided Arsenal for a seeming lack of urgency before, but I don't know who's worse on the Villa side...the team, or their fans. It's like a morgue at Villa Park now.
85' - Edu kills an Arsenal attack with a through-ball to nobody in particular. OK, then.
86' - About 25 minutes too late, Villa makes their subs. Barry off for Liam Ridgewell, Hendrie off for Peter Crouch, Allback off for Ulises de la Cruz.
88' - Bit of a rough tackle from Parlour gives Villa a free kick, but Hitzlsperger's kick is closed down by Cygan and Cole.
89' - Another free for Villa, but Campbell takes care of it easily. On the quick counter, Sorensen has to be alert to save Toure's long shot.
90' - 19-year old Ridgewell crosses well into the box, but Angel's tame header goes right into Lehmann's hands.
90' - A dangerous free for Villa, right outside the area. Angel's effort goes weakly into the wall, and the resulting corner goes right into Lehmann's hands. I wonder if anyone can trouble Villa to show up for their next match...they certainly didn't for this one. I mean, it works for me, but I feel for their fans.
90' - Henry goes for a hat trick, but he fires right at Sorensen's hands. The Dane easily saves, and that's that. 2-0 to the Arsenal is the final, in this most rare of games: the 0-0 draw with goals. Seriously, this was a ridiculously dull affair, and the only thing between the sides really were two highly controversial goals. It could have been 0-0 or 1-0 just as easily, depending on personal opinion. However, while Villa WAS hard done by, I don't think they deserved even a point out of this, really. They just couldn't be arsed, and neither could David O'Leary, apparently. What the hell are your subs supposed to do if you only give them 6 minutes?


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