Things we sort of learned - Aston Villa (h)

Norwich 1 Aston Villa 0. The sort of Tuesday night that make you fall in love with football. Onions, programmes, floodlights, and the most boring first half of modern day football. Breath it in. Richard Jeffery and Jon Rogers have their say.

Tuesday Night

Tuesday night. Floodlights on. A nip in the air. A super goal. A clean sheet and Villa fans having faces like slapped arses. The football we pay good money to sit in the freezing cold was back last night, slapped us in the face like a toasty, warm flannel. 

The game against Brentford as fun as it was, wasn’t a contest, no peril, not a pinch of danger. Like bringing a blow torch to game of chess – it’s over in the first few minutes as the room has burnt down. But last night, I much preferred that scrappy 1-0 to the 5-0 win last Saturday. Much preferred.

But last night, the game crept along like the Christmas special of Eastenders. You were just waiting for that final twist where Alex Neil is found with his pants down and him thrown out the window by Steve Bruce. But this episode flowed in a beautiful to and fro until Oliveria scored a beaut, the defence stood up to £508m worth of strike-force and the twist? The ref blew the whistle BEFORE they took their final corner.

DUM DUM DUM DUM DUM DUMUMUMUN….Do do do do dodo doo dooooooo.  JR.

The FCR crowd

I was a little cross with them to start with. A sizable chunk chose to boo Bassong (who barely put a foot wrong tonight btw) when his name was read out. BEFORE THE GAME HAD STARTED. Nice work people.

Then they settled in to watch the usual, a team of ex-premier league players who thought they were above this Championship lark and who only really went through the motions, showing a lack of passion and intensity. So it was unsurprising and certainly not unusual that the home crowd were quiet. But hold on a minute. I just described the ‘The Villa’ team, not us. We weren’t *that* bad, in fact we were *quite* good. Still a fair proportion of our supporters decided to boo us off at HT. I mean WTAF?

The crowd perked up after half-time in response to renewed effort and grit from the team. I heard faint murmurings of what I thought was ‘Alex Neil’s Yellow Army’ wafting up from the Lower Barclay, ‘Don’t be silly.’ I said to myself, ‘They all want him out don’t they? No way they’d be singing his name.’ But it persisted, and got louder and it turned out that was indeed what they were singing, and then the Upper Barclay joined in, and then the Snake Pit. This then turned into actual support for the team. The team responded to the crowd responding to the team possibly solving that particular chicken and egg conundrum and we played really well, bossed the game, scored a goal and done a win.

It was fun! Well done everybody. RJ

Bassong

I don’t know if anyone noticed there was a slight difference to Bassong’s play last night. Not only did his play have all the nonsense removed by booting it hard and high, that nonsense was buried alive at the bottom of the sea. Hopefully never to be seen again.

Ball down the channel, TWAT IT IN THE CROWD. 
Ball in behind, TWAT IT IN THE CROWD.
High ball in the air, HEAD IT IN THE CROWD.

It’s like the footballing team have sat down and said, “Seb. You’re not the best footballer, but you are a beast. OUR beast. So please, drop the beauty, TWAT IT IN THE CROWD.”

But some just won’t let his good performance change their opinion. They have that bad taste in their mouth which won’t go away. There was one point in the second half, Seb kicked it out of play. And the groans whipped up and one man stood up and slow clapped him. Now, if that chap wants to slow clap every mistake the humans on the pitch make, then he might be there all night. JR

“Admiral Lord” Nelson “Basil D’” Oliveira

I have pondered if Basil offered anything different to what we already had. Now he’s finally been given his chance in O’Cameron Jerome’s enforced absence, boy has he taken it and shown that he indeed does.

He offers a lot. He has the proverbial good feet for a big man (Wes has big feet for a small man, but I digress). Nelson turns, he shimmies, he drives on, he holds it up, he wins headers, he’s strong, he’s quick, he links up play, he deftly back heels the ball, and he knows where the ghoul is.

Lovely curling finish tonight to add to his goals in the previous two games. He saw the keeper was slightly out of position and, using the defender to mask his intentions, curled a beauty into the bottom corner at pace and with minimal backlift, catching the keeper flat footed.

He won a deserved Man of the Match award for his efforts and he has quickly established himself as the first choice in Alex Neil’s preferred ‘one up top whatever the opposition formation’ formation. He’s our Portuguese Man o’war. (Ivo’s our Portuguese man o’pitchwar).

WFLGH was at the game, he would have enjoyed that performance from Super Bas-il, The Norwich Number 9.  RJ

Villa

Hahahahahahhaaa. Haha. Ha.  JR.