Well I have defended Grant and I have defended Noble but there can be no defence now. Today we were abject. Totally and utterly abject. Yes we took the lead but we never looked like holding on to it did we? And once Villa were level, courtesy of crass stupidity from Noble as he did a Parker turn on the edge of his own box and lost the ball, there was only ever going to be one winner.
What did we create second half? There was a free kick won for a Collins push on Cole; and Ba passed it to the keeper. And there was a Green hoof down field which Cole got on the end of, but he was never going to score was he, arms and legs and head flailing like somebody pushed from an aeroplane? Apart from that, nothing.
But is there any surprise about that when Grant chose to play with only two in midfield? What the fcuk was he doing, sending on Hines for Obinna and Ba for O'Neil? Hines? The kid is Championship at best and had no right to be out on the pitch in such a crucial game. And having sent him on ahead of Ba, why in God's name did Grant then replace the injured O'Neil with yet another forward? How did he think we were going to create opportunities and how on earth did he think we were going to stop the supply down the flanks for Villa? Grant was out thought by Houllier for Christ's sake, that's like being outpunched by Audley Harrison!
I despair. Zola was stupid at times but I don't think even he was THIS stupid. Grant effectively said to Villa, come and score a second. Green made a fabulous save to keep out Young and another just before the goal, but when the cross was returned from out on our left, with nobody closing inevitibly, I'vebonkedawhore was between Gabbidon and Jacobsen and allowed to head home unchallenged. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.
What is there to say about the game? Villa deserved to win by a wider margin. Cole forced a goodish save first half and Keane was clever when netting our opener but, that apart, we were hopeless. Truly hopeless.
Tell me, why are we incapable of closing out crosses and defending a high ball into our box? Lee scored with a header last week; Bent and Ivebonkedawhore this week; dear God, last game of last season, Wright-Phillips headed a goal. It happens wek after week after week and still it isn't sorted on the training field. Unbelievable as Hansen will no doubt say on MOTD tonight.
So now those three wins have to come against Sunderland, Blackburn and Wigan away, and even then we might go down. But, to be honest, we deserve to. The club has been appallingly run, appallingly managed and appallingly represented for far too long now. We were lucky to stay up last year and our luck is running out this. God help us if we go down because I can't see who would be stupid enough to take this load of shit off our wage bill. Leeds United springs to mind!
And one last thing, if Grant blames individual mistakes, the interviewer MUST ask, "What about your mistake with the substitutions and team selection? Surely that's where the buck stops?"
Green 7, Jacobsen 4, da Costa 6, Upson 5, Bridge 5; O'Neil 6, Hitz 5, Noble 0, Obinna 3; Cole 5, Keane 6 Subs: Gabbidon 5, Hines 3, Ba 4