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Saturday, 2nd March 2002

Aston Villa 2
West Ham United 1

by Jon Vinton

A truly awful day, to think I could have done some ironing or something equally as interesting and less expensive.

The best team won, there is absolutely no doubt about it.

The performance all round (bar James again, and perhaps Daily) was substandard and the formation we played was simply wrong. I'm guessing it was meant to be a 352, which ended up in no uncertain terms a 532, allowing Villa the running of the midfield.

In the first half they exploited this constantly, running down their left flank where Garcia was side-stepped and Schemmel stood off. In fact, I think this was the worst game Archie has played for us; he was utterly pants, not tackling/harrying the man with the ball, losing the ball in attack and constantly wandering around in no mans land.

Finally when Roeder made a substitution I was confounded, it should have been Pearce that came off, clearly lacking in fitness he was turned inside out numerous times, particularly by Vassell, who will have hope Uncle Sven was watching this one.

So with Garcia off and Labant on we played a 622; in my mind there is no doubt this was the formation as Labant hung around on the left and was as ineffective as the rest of the team.

I also think his back pass to James started the move off for Villa's winner. Di Canio spent an age playing as an attacking left winger, but 'why' is the question? He tends to wander wide when we are poor - which we were. When he did get the ball
though he at least looked to be trying to work out a way to goal.

Stop playing long balls to Defoe too, he is 3ft 6 tall, the only player Defoe was taller than on Saturday was Villa's Wright - and he wasn't even on the pitch.

There are no positives to be taken from this game, apart from the fact the car was still where we parked it. It was truly an awful away day.

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