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ricardo

Ricardo's report v Villa

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It was damp but very mild in Norfolk today and at CR the pitch was looking in good condition for decent match. For once AN declined to tinker with just Mulumbu starting in midfield. With all the recent talk of AN''s last chance it was not a surprise that the crowd were in low voice for the opening exchanges. Villa looked compact if unadventurous and with City also looking solid there was little in the way of early goalmouth action.Olsson''s cross from the left on six minutes posed the first danger but Oliviera was beaten to the header by a couple of defenders. At the other end Villa looked very powder puff after some neat approach play but a couple of free kicks were comfortably dealt with by the home rearguard. When City came back it was with a determined move down the right as Howson set Murphy away. when the ball came back to Howson on the edge of the villa box a neat lay off left Dorrans with an opening. His side footed effort looked goal-bound until a Villa defender deflected the ball for a corner.Villa were given a rare chance when a disputed free kick almost caused trouble in the City area. Fortunately Elphicks narrow angled shot dropped over the bar. City now began to gain a measure of ascendancy and almost took the lead when Olsson cracked in a low shot after a corner had been scrambled away. Gollini went full length to parry it and then did well to get up and block Oliviera as the City forward latched onto the rebound.Despite City looking the better side there was little in the way of excitement and play was largely confined to midfield for long periods as the game settled into "watching paint dry mode".Mulumbu was having an excellent game in midfield breaking up play whenever Villa looked like getting a sniff, which to be honest was not very often. As half time approached the crowd were still pretty quiet but City had rarely looked in danger so it was somewhat of a shock to here a few boo''s ring round when the whistle blew.From the off the second half proved to be much more of a game. With City pushing the ball about a yard quicker it was plain to see that the Villa defence was beginning to wobble. Mulumbu''s through ball almost got Murphy in but Gollini was quick off his line to win the ball. City were now buzzing round the Villa area and picking up the loose balls. Howson cut back nicely to Mulimbu on 52 minutes but he was at full stretch to send the ball high and wide. The little guy was everywhere now and he again broke up play to set Oliviera and Howson away. When the City skipper looked like being closed down his neat pass gave Brady a superb chance only for a weak side foot to be sliced yards wide with the goal gaping.It was miles better stuff compared with the first half''s fare and the inevitable goal came just after the hour when Oliviera came infield from the right and picked his spot with a firm low shot from twenty five yards. It was no more than they deserved and it could have been two had Howson got enough on Murphy''s firm cross a minute later.In the past we seem to have got really nervous after going ahead but there was little sign of it tonight. Villa''s expected reposte never materialised as City continued to press. There was a set back with 15 minutes left when the superb Mulumbu had to go off injured to great applause but Tetty was an able replacement. Indeed he might have got on the score-sheet had Murphy picked him out in a great position after a fine move. Instead, the City winger chose to shoot and in truth it was only a couple of feet wide. Minutes later Murphy again broke into the box after some lovely quick passing with Dorrans and Howson but his cross  just ran behind Oliviera. It was his last sight of action before being replaced by Naismith.Villa threw on McCormack and Gestede with time running down and City brought on Laffers for Oliviera ( my co MOM with Mulumbu). They threw a few long balls up to them but largely to no avail as with the City faithful finally in full voice it never looked remotely likely that we would give it away.So AN lives on and with this sort of performance on a regular basis he is unlikely to come under much pressure. City were pretty good and Villa were nothing better than average. Even Ricardo could have kept a clean sheet tonight even without his lucky gloves, such was the paucity of their attacking prowess.

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I think you missed the really good save in front of us right at the end Ricardo, it could have nearly been 1-1 Ruddy deserves a mention for a good save.

Great night, solid performance.

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[quote user="Indy"]I think you missed the really good save in front of us right at the end Ricardo, it could have nearly been 1-1 Ruddy deserves a mention for a good save.

Great night, solid performance.[/quote]Thanks Indy, the early leavers blocked my view. I didn''t see the save, I saw the corner but assumed it had been scrambled behind.I still think I might have saved it[:D]

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[quote user="ricardo"][quote user="Indy"]I think you missed the really good save in front of us right at the end Ricardo, it could have nearly been 1-1 Ruddy deserves a mention for a good save.

Great night, solid performance.[/quote]Thanks Indy, the early leavers blocked my view. I didn''t see the save, I saw the corner but assumed it had been scrambled behind.I still think I might have saved it[:D][/quote]

We are not far from this and I must say we wondered why it was a corner and assumed Ruddy must have saved it.

Could any of you Sky watchers confirm as if he saved that one would think it was an amazing save

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Having a rare day off this Christmas party season I got to go today, and have to say this report (as usual) is closer than the one you''ll probably read on Monday morning.

I will say however, I would give special praise to Bassong, who I am far from a fan of but gets to the point if you''re close enough to get f ****** annoying hearing his voice every two seconds to the rest of his back 4.

Here''s hoping they''ve finally worked out it takes more than one leader!

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Thanks for the report as ever Ricardo, what did you think of the defence this time...the ever beleaguered Bassond and Bennett did quite well... Although as you pointed out, Villa were very average. I was astounded and angry when I saw Bassong''s name on the teamsheet tbh

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I think your report was spot on Ricardo.

It is nice to read a post that is objective not subjective.

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Rob fleck, it was nice to go through an entire game with so very few alarms at the back. There was the odd moment when clearances were scuffed but Bassong and Bennett generally looked well in command. Long may it continue.

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Crowd played their part yesterday Ricardo, important feature of the game for me. Wired that the chant had been changed from AN yellow army.

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Yes Winky, the crowd got behind them when it became obvious that the players were putting the effort in. It showed right through the team but Mulumbu and Pinto were the main instigators with their never say die attitude.

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It was an okay performance, one which could easily have ended in a draw. It is a concern when we pretty much dominate proceedings, creating loads of decent chances and only coming out with 3 points due to a cracking strike from range. We will certainly have to play better to beat the teams above us. That said, we looked solid at the back (for once!) and kept a well deserved clean sheet.

Dorrans played very well again, which seems to be the case when he has Howson for company as well.

Mulumbu was a beast last night, breaking up play and playing quite well - but I''ve always felt more comfortable with Tettey on the pitch. Mulumbu''s recent performances are starting to change that though.

Murphy huffed and puffed but still needs to work on his decision making as far too often last night he failed to get the better of the fullback and whip in a meaningful delivery. He has to learn he doesn''t always need to run past players, the one time he did cross it early without getting the byline we created that great chance which fell to Dorrans.

Pinto and Olsson looked back to their best.

But my word, CamJam is going to have to work seriously hard to push Oliveira out of the side now! What a cracking finish that was

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