Soapbox: wrongly Dean-ied


If the sign of a successful team is to play badly and win, then Aston Villa look like becoming Premier League champions. Pete Sixsmith reports on a frustrating afternoon and gives his view on those refereeing decisions

If there were a competition to find the most exasperating afternoon you have ever had at the Stadium of Light, Aston Villa would almost certainly figure in it.

Last season, Danny Collins saw a perfectly good winner chalked off by Steve Bennett. This year, Villa came, did an excellent impersonation of smash and grab raiders, and, with the help of Mike Dean, left with three undeserved points.

Let’s deal with Dean first. Generally, he had a rotten game and allowed Villa to foul at will in the first 20 minutes. Martin O’Neill is no angel (he signed Robbie Savage and turned him into a world class a***hole) and he knows that if fouls are passed on, referees are less likely to clamp down. So, in that first 20 minutes, no player committed more than one foul. And guess what? No Villa player was booked.

I will accept that Dean may not have had a clear view of the equaliser. He seemed to look for guidance to his assistant, who made no decision, so he had to give the goal. You win some, you lose some – or if you are Sunderland, you win none and lose lots.

What I cannot accept is the penalty decision. He was well placed and the foul (if there was one) was outside the area. The fact that Agbonlahor ended up in the penalty area is irrelevant and is a view that can be entertained only by people whose knowledge of football is equal to that of a gnat – like Mike Dean and Alan Shearer.

This awful decision cost us at least a point in a game in which we played well. Sbragia picked a well balanced team which took advantage of Villa’s weaknesses at full back and was able (for the first hour at least) to nullify the pace of Young and Agbonlahor.

But one goal was never enough and once again we were left to rue the cost of missed chances. Whitehead was foiled by a decent save from Friedel, Jones did all the hard work and then scuffed his shot, while for the second week running, Cissé looked a certain scorer, but did not provide.

Failure to extend the lead leaves you susceptible to breakaways and we fell for it. We were a tad unfortunate in that Nyron appeared to pull a muscle as he went to cut off Young, but it is debatable whether he would have got there. Milner was too sharp for Chimbonda and the ball ended up in the net. Frustrating.

The second one was a route one special. Big kick, bouncing ball, no cover. While McShane should have attacked it, Ferdinand should have been there first, allowing McShane and Agbonlahor to crash harmlessly into each other.

It was clearly outside the box. That was where the offence took place and it should have been a direct free kick. Not for Mad Mike, who had walked around shaking his head at Sunderland appeals all afternoon.

We are in trouble. This was a good performance but we came away without any points. Villa, on the other hand, were second best for much of the game and came away with all three.

The New York Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez once said “I would rather be lucky than good” – a quote that sums up Villa’s day in the Light. Let’s hope we can gain revenge on them next season – and we’ll bring our own referee if you don’t mind.

1 thought on “Soapbox: wrongly Dean-ied”

  1. Like any good debate there are two sides to every story.We could take Sixers line and accept we played well but were outdone by some poor refereeing decisions and finishing.There is the other side which lays most of the blame on the players, many of whom are not fit to wear the strip,coming up well short again in a game we should never have lost.Since the legendary one has covered the first option I will cover the latter.
    Once again we score early and fail to pick up even a point against an opposition who despite their lofty league position were no more than ordinary.Although our play at times in the middle third promised much their were precious few chances created.This may be down to the ineptitude of our strikers who are at the moment about as much use as a plug in a canoe.Cisse is gradually developing headless chicken syndrome and Jones looks about as interested as Sixer at a Boris Johnson speech.We even lost the last 15 minutes to 10 men and when the headless chicken received our best chance with a free header 8 yards out he failed miserably.
    Whether Jones has been unsettled by the interest shown by Redknapp is debateable but if anyone offers the £12m that he is reported to be worth please bite their hand off.He was rarely involved against Villa and the cheer that greeted him actually jumping and winning a high ball confirmed that the locals are becoming sceptical of his usefulness in the team.To be fair Jones has not looked the same player since returning from injury in October.
    The list of players who are simply not good enough sems to grow by the week.Add Chimbonda to that as anyone who has to wear tights to play football is no more that a big girls blouse.He deserves to be shipped out for that alone.The return of McShane was all very predictable and ended in tears.In his defence he was played at right back at Hull but even allowing for that his positioning for the long ball which resulted in the penalty was schoolboy error stuff.Edwards is at best a championship player and Whitehead may as well join him there.
    This appears to be groundhog day Mackem style as every week the same arguements and debates surface.Players who should be capable not delivering, wrong managerial appointment and victims of poor refereeing decisions combine to paint a gloomy picture for the next 3 months.
    Relegation should not be an option but sadly it is and while we continue to fail by dropping points carelessly we will be involved in a relegation dogfight.We really need 7 points from the next available 9 not only to put is in a healthier league position but restore some much needed confidence to the team and surrounding stands.With the squad we have that should not be beyond us.

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