Sometimes in football you just feel something special is happening. Sunday at Villa Park was one of those days. Nevermind Mourinho's ungracious bleating, we were worth this victory.
I have not seen Didier Drogba be so quiet and inneffective in a Premiership game, and only Liverpool on a couple of occasions have managed to make Chelsea look so average. This should be the springboard to a good run and hopefully a good season, and for the first time in years the whole of Villa Park is roaring with the same ambition and goal. For the whole of last season we threatened this kind of performance but it never quite came, now we've raised the bar and have to try and keep it there.
I'll always manage to moan about something, though, and this time its the 'Villa Park Experience' or whatever they call pre-match entertainment. Firstly playing seemingly random pop-music videos for 15 minutes before kick-off just destroys the atmosphere, which was superb on Sunday evening. They should just play the fanfare when the teams come out and let the supporters do the rest. Secondly the embarrassing player videos are still there, though probably for some comic effect. If you haven't been and seen them look on youtube, its bizarre to say the least.
That out the way here is my take on the actual game. I'd like to firstly thank Mark Clattenburg for irritating the Holte End so much in the first 15 minutes that Chelsea, and particularly John Terry, were met with derisive hatred for the entire match every time they got the ball. The referee had a really good second half as well in what was a difficult match to keep control of, and even in his less assured first half managed to even things up with some weak free-kicks to us near its end. Again, though, we saw big name players bully and dominate a weak-willed referee who refused to book them for it, and then booked Gabriel Agbonlahor for having the temerity to disagree with a decision. It was an easy booking, Terry's wasn't. The same happened on the first day of the season, referees need to treat all players the same no matter how many times they've played for England or how many thousands they earn.
Every Villa player did well. Bouma again shackled Wright-Phillips, their most dangerous player, for the majority of the match. Laursen won everything and was the best centre-half on the pitch. Young and Agbonlahor kept their full-backs occupied and were involved in a lot of good attacking play. Reo-Coker did the work of two men in the midfield, and his game improved when we were under pressure. Barry displayed his class in a breathless game. Carew and Moore made sure Terry and Alex knew they were in a game and had a lot of joy out of them. I've missed out Carson but, to be honest, he only had two fairly routine saves to make and did those well enough.
The Holte End smouldered with vitriol for the classless stars of West London and with support and passion for our own. Even when Petrov had an indifferent start he had more support than not, at least where I was standing. Sunday will be the game which, in years time, supporters and players will point at and say "thats was where it started". It might not happen straight away but the Villa are bouncing back, there was even time for Douglas Ellis to get involved with a cheeky grin and superior handshake for Roman Abramovich. It really does not get any better.