So, as promised a quick recap of the midweek visit to Stamford Bridge, Outside of contentious (non) refereeing decisions , Chelsea got off to a 1-0 lead early on, with an unlucky Own Goal from new signing, Antonio Luna, whom could do nothing to prevent it. It was an early insight into how the rest of the night would pan out, though at the time, nobody suspected it.
Parity was restored when Benteke excellently dispatched a pass into the near post with essentially the last kick of the first half. Excellent, could the team rally in the second and get a perfect 6 points from 6 to open the season’s first week with?
As it turned out, no.
First, the referee decided not to send off a Chelsea defender, Branislav Ivanovich, for an elbow to the Villa goal scorer, Benteke. Apparently a yellow sufficed. Fair enough, at this point. Villa did still create chances, and later, a free kick was awarded to Chelsea, and the man that, arguably should have received a red card, was there to head home the cross. Anger ensued, although after some more missed chances, and some great goalkeeping from Cech in the Chelsea goal, a ball was crossed in to the centre of the box, and there to head home the cross, no wait, there to clear the ball, with the use of an arm was perennial hate figure John Terry. No penalty. Sheesh give us a break !
It finished with a 2-1 loss, although on another night, would have certainly seen a share of the spoils.
Before I get into another contentious issue, regarding the schedule, and the weekend’s home match against Liverpool, in what had seen Villa victorious in only 2 of the past 20 meetings, the first Home game of the new season, with a new sense of optimism around, I will take the time to reflect on my last article, where I mentioned women’s football, and I realise Hope Powell isn’t all there is to the game, and that shouldn’t discredit the work that other people involved with the game do. Hopefully, in 5 years’ time, women’s football will be on the up and maybe, a highlight show for the Women’s Premier League. This would be an amazing step up for sporting Equality.
So, on we go to the home fixture, which promised much, but didn’t really deliver in the end. Both sides started brightly , but it took a moment of sloppy defending and clinical finishing from Liverpool to open the scoring, of which came in the middle of a dominant spell of possession which saw Liverpool keep the ball for what seemed like 20 minutes, and thinking about it, it probably was. Liverpool showed exactly why they could be an outside bet of a championship this time, with stellar recruiting and excellent signings. The best of which was Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who last time he visited Villa Park, he conceded 6 in an abysmal appearance for his old club, Sunderland (the place where my mother was born) . No such repeat performance, who definitely kept his side in the lead with a string of quality saves to deny Villa’s endeavour. It finished with a 1-0 loss to Villa, who for large portions certainly looked like a team that had played three times in 7 days. Again, like the Chelsea game though, Villa need to convert the chances they get, but I’m sure with time, they will.
The peculiar thing about this seasons fixture list, is now, Villa won’t be at home, or indeed, in any kind of league action until Mid-September, when Newcastle visit. It will seem quite strange, that everybody else will be playing, but I guess after the torrid start, with tomorrow’s League cup game to deal with also, bringing the total of 4 games in 10 days, the rest is well deserved. Except, it will also have an international break, where players fly around the world to represent their country and some of them might just have a kick or two. And if we’re all lucky, they might just kick the ball a few times too.
I guess with no league game to report on next week’s blog will either be not done, or discussing my thoughts on Ben Affleck as Batman, or Miley Cyrus’ controversy.
Either way, keep your eyes peeled.