A woeful performance from Blackburn Rovers continued their poor start to the season, shipping in 3 goals away from home as a Gamst Pedersen goal was not enough to claw Rovers back into contention, Aston Villa running away 3-1 victors.
After a poor performance at home against Wolves, Steve Kean sent out a more direct 4-4-2 outfit, with Goodwillie deployed up front with Jason Roberts
Morten Gamst Pedersen
Aston Villa, welcoming coach McLeish for his home debut, were off to the brighter start. With the pace of Agbonlahor and Nzogbia marshelling the wings, Salgado and Olsson were in for a long day. And it was Agbonlahor who was proving a handful early on. Pace and trickery turned Salgado in circles, with a neat cross angled towards Darren Bent, his attempt blocked by the returning Ryan Nelsen. This was a sign of what just was about to happen
12 minutes in, Agbonlahor found himself in acres of space down the left flank. Once again, he took Salgado on, turning the Spaniard inside out before cutting into the box and bending a shot into the far corner, out of the reach of Robinson, 1-0 Aston Villa.
Blackburn attempted to respond immediately, with David Hoillet worrying the Villa defence, his ability to skin his opponent causing Villa to double up on him. He did manage to squeeze a cross into the box, David Goodwillie only able to strike over from 10 yards.
The pain didnt end there for Rovers, with a familiar face notching up a goal against the travelling blues. A neat ball from Fabian Delph found Agbonlahor who managed to hold off Salgado before setting up Heskey. Heskey struck, finding the bottom corner of the net, Aston Villa 2-0
It was more of the same for the remainder of the half, with Nzogbia placing pressure down the right flank and Rovers unable to create any real opportunity.
Half Time 2-0
Kean must of given the troops a blast at the break, as Rovers came out with a fast paced mentality. And it paid instant rewards. Junior Hoillet darted down the left flank, skinning his man, twice, before unleashing a vicious cross. Morten Gamst Pedersen pounced, splitting his markers and heading into the far corner, a lifeline for Rovers, 2-1.
Rovers continued to target that left flank as Hoillet tried to clear free on every single opportunity. David Dunn became more involved in midfield, switching the play at each chance, whilst Roberts and Goodwillie just couldnt find their feet for a clear strike on goal.
Aston Villa though, managed to take the first opportunity that came their way, fortunately at that. Petrov tried his luck from distance, with Hanley’s block finding the path of Darren Bent, who made no mistake,
Blackburn introduced Petrovic and Formica in an attempt to claw something out of the game, but VIlla managed to cruise through the final quarter, holding out for a deserved 3-1 victory
Paul Robinson 5
Conceded 3 goals, should of got at least a hand on Darren Bents and looked very flat footed at times instead of coming out for the loose ball
Michel Salgado 3
Was shown up, all game long. At fault for 2 of our goals, looked off the pace…
Grant Hanley 6
Cant really be blamed for the third goal, was very unlucky it fell how it did. Made a few important last ditch attempts. Still needs time to develop as an EPL footballer
Ryan Nelsen 6
Added a bit of structure and stability to the defensive line. Was slightly off the pace early on, but did come through later on
Martin Olsson 5
Not a left back. Not a left back at all. Shown up by Nzogbia and loses all his attacking flair playing in the defensive role. Poor game
Junior Hoillet 7
Was our best on pitch. Looked the most creative and dangerous and was really our only bit of flair. Broke down the Villa defence several times, just needed a touch of luck
David Dunn 6
Solid game from Dunn. Moved the ball well, counts himself lucky for somehow avoiding the book after several small fouls.
Morten Gamst Pedersen 6
Faded in and out of the game but took his chance when it came. Decent set pieces
Steve Nzonzi 5
Didnt see him on the pitch for most of the game. Really needs to get himself more involved and in the thick of things
Jason Roberts 5
Failed to create any chances, had somebody to work with but couldnt link up
David Goodwillie 5
Same as JRob. Did get a couple of attempts which he skied, but didnt see enough work from him on the pitch