Tag Archives: ahmadi

Chelsea 8 Aston Villa 0: Chelsea up to third

Chelsea 8 Aston Villa 0: Brilliant Blues back up to third after rout on Lampard landmark

|

UPDATED:

22:21 GMT, 23 December 2012

A month ago, hate dripped from the steep tiers at Stamford Bridge as Rafa Benitez appeared on the touchline. Yesterday, the place was thrilled by eight goals. Not once did the Chelsea fans join in song to tell Benitez he wasn’t wanted here.

The last time they saw their team score this many was the final game of the Barclays Premier League season in 2010, when Carlo Ancelotti’s team walloped Wigan to celebrate the first leg of their first Double.

Landmark: Lampard (second left) scored on his 500th Premier League start

Landmark: Lampard (second left) scored on his 500th Premier League start

MATCH FACTS

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole, Luiz, Lampard (Ramires 61), Moses, Mata (Piazon 74), Hazard, Torres (Oscar 67).

Subs not used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Marin, Ake.

Goals: Torres 3, David Luiz 29, Ivanovic 34, Lampard 58, Ramires 75, 90, Oscar (pen) 79, Hazard 83.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Herd, Clark, Baker, Lowton, Bannan, Westwood (Ireland 57), Lichaj (Elliott 57), Weimann, Holman (Bowery 79), Benteke.

Subs not used: Given, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Delph.

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 41,363.

Click here for the latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

But that was Carlo, a free-wheeling and popular manager who implored his players to attack. This was Rafa, a cautious tactician, always alert to danger, who sat down after an 8-0 win to say: ‘We knew they would be dangerous in the counter-attacks.’

Emotions were all over the place as post-Japan Chelsea returned to the Premier League in emphatic style by condemning Aston Villa to the biggest defeat in their 138-year history.

They may have arrived unbeaten in six games but Paul Lambert’s team went home perilously close to the drop zone with the worst goal difference in the division.

Villa were awful but Chelsea were slick and impressive.

There were eight goals from seven different scorers but there could have been many more.

The Blues even missed a penalty but go into Christmas 11 points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand at home to Southampton.

Opener: Fernando Torres got Chelsea off to a flying start

Opener: Fernando Torres got Chelsea off to a flying start

Opener: Fernando Torres got Chelsea off to a flying start

In a month of Benitez, Fernando Torres
has been transformed to the point where he seems to be enjoying his
football and refused to sulk off when he was replaced.

The Spain striker opened the scoring in the third minute, rising to meet a deep cross from Cesar Azpilicueta with a majestic header from the edge of the penalty area.

It was his seventh under the new manager and his seventh in the last six games.

‘He scores when he wants,’ sang the fans in the Matthew Harding Stand, saluting the Benitez factor without giving him credit.

This won’t bother the manager too much. He will take his satisfaction from the aggressive tempo which crushed Villa.

Stunner: Luiz hammered home a free-kick to double the lead

Stunner: Luiz hammered home a free-kick to double the lead

The back five have worked well for
Lambert since centre half and skipper Ron Vlaar was injured but Chelsea
forced them deep, creating space for Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Victor
Moses.

Villa lurched from uncertainty to
desperation. Nathan Baker escaped a strong penalty appeal when he
appeared to hold Torres and Chelsea’s second came when Chris Herd sent
Hazard tumbling.

David Luiz stepped up and scored the
free-kick, a shot which wobbled over the wall and beat goalkeeper Brad
Guzan, a good yard inside his post.

Three and easy: Ivanovic rises to head home

Three and easy: Ivanovic rises to head home

Luiz, signed almost two years ago at
the same time as Torres, has also endured an oscillating career at the
club but appears to have made significant progress under Benitez, who
used him as a deep midfielder yesterday in the absence of John Mikel
Obi, who was banned.

The role suits Luiz, certainly when
Chelsea control possession. He performed it with success against
Monterrey in the Club World Cup semi-final and was comfortable against
Villa.

There is a safety net if he takes an undue risk and loses the
ball, as he did at Leeds in the Capital One Cup, yet his team benefit
from his exuberance and unpredictability in attack.

Club legend: Lampard takes the applause before being substituted after his goal

Club legend: Lampard takes the applause before being substituted after his goal

Club legend: Lampard takes the applause before being substituted after his goal

It was one of those days for
Chelsea. Not only were the converted centre halves threatening Guzan in
the Villa goal but so were the unconverted ones.

Guzan produced a terrific reflex save
to beat out Gary Cahill’s shot on the spin before the interval but the
rebound popped up to his defensive partner Branislav Ivanovic to head in
the third.

Fear took hold, mistakes crept in and Christian Benteke never looked
like scoring. The only chance of any note fell to Andreas Weimann — on
the break, as Benitez predicted — in the second half.

Weimann was denied by Petr Cech, who
deflected his low shot on to the bar to protect his clean sheet, despite
the fact the contest was already over.

Joining the party: Ramires came off the bench to net the fifth

Joining the party: Ramires came off the bench to net the fifth

Frank Lampard scored the fourth with a
right-foot volley from 30 yards. It was his 190th goal for Chelsea —
three behind Kerry Dixon, who stands second in the all-time goal list
for the club — on his 500th Premier League start.

It
was also his 130th top-flight goal for the club. No one has more.
Lampard was replaced a minute later to a standing ovation. Torres was
also taken off to rest ahead of the festive fixtures which will dictate
whether this is to turn into a genuine title fightback.

Six of the best: Oscar scored from the penalty spot

Six of the best: Oscar scored from the penalty spot

With Daniel Sturridge in Liverpool for a
medical, Moses played the last 23 minutes at centre forward and the
Blues finished with a front four of Moses, Oscar, Hazard and Lucas
Piazon, an 18-year-old Brazilian making his Premier League debut.

It was a quartet with an average age
of just over 20 but Piazon wasted no time making an impact, collecting
the ball on the left, gliding inside and finding Ramires, who scored
the fifth. It was a nice pass but did not need to be laser-guided.

Seventh heaven: Hazard slams home from inside the box

Seventh heaven: Hazard slams home from inside the box

Villa were all at sea by this stage and not helped when referee Phil Dowd started to hand out soft penalties.

Herd
was penalised for a slight pull on Oscar, who picked himself up to make
it six from the spot. Hazard lashed the seventh into the top corner and
Piazon missed a second penalty after he was fouled by Ciaran Clark.
Guzan made the save.

It was a very strange afternoon for the American goalkeeper.

Ramires scored the eighth in stoppage time and the Bridge stood to rejoice. For the man they reviled as the Spanish waiter, will it be any different after eight
Relentless: Ramires scores his second in stoppage time

Relentless: Ramires scores his second in stoppage time

Rout: Chelsea move back up to third in the Premier League table

Rout: Chelsea move back up to third in the Premier League table

Norwich 1 Aston Villa 4: Match report

Norwich 1 Aston Villa 4: Semi-final relief for returning Lambert but Bent hobbles off in rare start

|

UPDATED:

21:42 GMT, 11 December 2012

Darren Bent made a rare appearance for Aston Villa, but may wish he hadn't after limping off after 35 minutes as Paul Lambert made a winning return to Norwich with his side booking a place in the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

The Canaries took the lead through Steve Morison, but Brett Holman brought Villa back on terms after 21 minutes.

Bent was then taken off with what looked like a hamstring problem but Villa went on to book their place in the semis with two second-half strikes from Andreas Weimann and a goal from Christian Benteke.

Brace yourself: Weimann's double secured Villa's spot in the semi-finals

Brace yourself: Weimann's double secured Villa's spot in the semi-finals

Match facts

Norwich: Bunn, Martin, Barnett, Bassong, Tierney, Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Pilkington, Holt, Morison.

Subs not used : Rudd, Turner, Jackson, Fox, Elliott Bennett, Garrido, Francomb.

Scorer: Morison

Aston Villa: Given, Clark, Herd, Baker, Lowton, El Ahmadi, Delph, Holman, Lichaj, Benteke, Bent.

Subs not used: Guzan, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Albrighton, Bannan, Weimann, Williams.

Scorers: Holman 21; Weimann 79, 84; Benteke 90.

Attendance: 26,142

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Game over: Bent hobbled off after half an hour in a rare start for Villa

Game over: Bent hobbled off after half an hour in a rare start for Villa

Game over: Bent hobbled off after half an hour in a rare start for Villa

Paul Lambert balks at Darren Bent benching questions

Bent left on bench for over an hour in dire draw with Stoke and Lambert won't say why

|

UPDATED:

18:55 GMT, 8 December 2012

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is convinced his side will eventually find the back of the net on a more regular basis despite drawing another blank in the 0-0 home draw with Stoke.

Villa have netted only 12 times in 16 Barclays Premier League games and even the reintroduction of Darren Bent as a second-half substitute failed to spark a breakthrough against the Potters.

On the slide: Aston Villa's Brett Holman is tackled by Robert Huth

On the slide: Aston Villa's Brett Holman is tackled by Robert Huth

MATCH FACTS

ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Lowton, Baker, Clark, Lichaj, Herd, Holman (Ireland 65), Westwood, Bannan (Delph 77), Benteke, Agbonlahor (Bent 65). Subs not used: Given, Al Ahmadi, Weimann, Williams.

STOKE CITY: Begovic, Shotton, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron, Walters, Whitehead, N'Zonzi, Whelan, Etherington (Jerome 67), Jones (Crouch 74). Subs not used: Sorensen, Palacios, Upson, Kightly, Wilkinson.

Yellow cards: Shotton

Red Card: Shotton

Referee: Roger East

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

Lambert brought a halt to questions
about Bent in his after match press conference after claiming he has
already answered enough enquiries about not playing the England
international.

He said: 'Look, I want to win, it's
as simple as that, and on another day we might have got one or two goals
and restricted Stoke to one real chance.

'It (the goals tally) is something I'm not actually overly worried about because I know it will come.'

When asked if Bent's inclusion would
improve the situation, Lambert said: 'The team will. It's not just
about one individual, it's about the whole team.

'There never has been a problem (with Bent) from day one.

'As I've said before, I just try and pick a team to win. That's what I try to do, it's my job.'

On the run: Villa duo Brett Holman and Gabriel Agbonlahor drift past Geoff Cameron

On the run: Villa duo Brett Holman and Gabriel Agbonlahor drift past Geoff Cameron

When asked whether Bent's presence
would improve the goal tally, Lambert said: 'Listen, I'm going to stop
you. I ain't answering any more questions on it.

'I told you, I answered about 305 the other night. I'm not answering anymore.'

Lambert was pleased with Villa's overall performance as they extended their unbeaten run to four games.

Dive in move: Stoke City's Geoff Cameron falls over Holman

Dive in move: Stoke City's Geoff Cameron falls over Holman

He said: 'I thought we dominated the game. I was delighted with the way we coped with Stoke's strength.

'I was asked that yesterday, how we would combat that, and I think we used our strengths by playing football.

'I thought we were excellent. Some of the football we're playing has been very good. We just need the finishing touch.'

Time for a change: Stoke manager Tony Pulis substitutes Glenn Whelan

Time for a change: Stoke manager Tony Pulis substitutes Glenn Whelan

Crunch time: Villa's Ashley Westwood is tackled by Huth

It's a snorer: Darren Bent appears to doze on the bench

Crunch time: Villa's Ashley Westwood is tackled by Huth while Darren Bent appears to drift off on the bench

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was unhappy
with some of referee Roger East's decisions, including the dismissal of
defender Ryan Shotton for two yellow card offences.

Replays showed Shotton made no contact with Villa substitute Fabian Delph in the incident which led to his second booking.

But Pulis was also unhappy after a
first-half challenge by Villa defender Ciaran Clark on Stoke midfielder
Glenn Whelan went unpunished.

No way through: Christian Benteke is challenged by Stoke's Ryan Shawcross

No way through: Christian Benteke is challenged by Stoke's Ryan Shawcross

Appeal: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert reacts to a decision

Appeal: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert reacts to a decision

He said: 'As regards the Shotton red card, I've just looked at the incident and we are very disappointed.

'I was also disappointed with the challenge in the first half (by Clark) and the way that was dealt with.

'When you see a lad getting sent off for two bookables which you can't appeal against, it is very hard to take.

Close quarters: Dean Whitehead is challenged by Villa's Westwood

Close quarters: Dean Whitehead is challenged by Villa's Westwood

'You look at the incidents and decide
what you think. I don't want to get in trouble again. It has cost me
enough money over my career!

'You can't appeal two yellow cards which I find amazing.'

As regards the Clark incident,
Lambert said: 'I think it's a foul in the first place – that's what the
referee gave it for initially, then there was the follow-through.

'But initially he gave the foul to ourselves. Things like that happen in football.'

Waiting game: Darren Bent had to wait until the 65th minute before making an appearance

Waiting game: Darren Bent had to wait until the 65th minute before making an appearance

Aston Villa 0 Stoke City 0 – Match report

Aston Villa 0 Stoke 0: Shotton off but Lambert's can't penetrate Potters

|

UPDATED:

17:07 GMT, 8 December 2012

Stoke defender Ryan Shotton was controversially sent off in stoppage time in an instantly forgettable Barclays Premier League goalless draw at Aston Villa.

Shotton was given his marching orders by referee Roger East for a second bookable offence, but replays showed he made no contact on Villa substitute Fabian Delph.

On the slide: Aston Villa's Brett Holman is tackled by Robert Huth

On the slide: Aston Villa's Brett Holman is tackled by Robert Huth

MATCH FACTS

ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Lowton, Baker, Clark, Lichaj, Herd, Holman (Ireland 65), Westwood, Bannan (Delph 77), Benteke, Agbonlahor (Bent 65). Subs not used: Given, Al Ahmadi, Weimann, Williams.

STOKE CITY: Begovic, Shotton, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron, Walters, Whitehead, N'Zonzi, Whelan, Etherington (Jerome 67), Jones (Crouch 74). Subs not used: Sorensen, Palacios, Upson, Kightly, Wilkinson.

Yellow cards: Shotton

Red Card: Shotton

Referee: Roger East

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

Villa striker Darren Bent made his
return to action as the home side's youngsters stood up to the physical
challenge presented by Stoke.

Bent made his first appearance for
nearly six weeks midway through the second period, but was unable to
inspire Villa to gain the three points.

Paul Lambert's side were well worthy
of a share of the spoils, though, as they extended their unbeaten run to
four games and edged further away from the relegation zone.

Villa's 'tiny tots' looked
ready-made for Stoke to impose their physical presence on them, but they
passed the challenge with flying colours.

The back three of Chris Herd, Ciaran
Clark and Nathan Baker coped admirably with the threat of Kenwyne Jones
and then former Villa striker Peter Crouch.

Stoke will also take heart from
extending their unbeaten run to six games, from which they have
collected 14 points, and they have now registered eight clean sheets
this season.

On the run: Villa duo Brett Holman and Gabriel Agbonlahor drift past Geoff Cameron

On the run: Villa duo Brett Holman and Gabriel Agbonlahor drift past Geoff Cameron

Villa began brightly and Gabriel
Agbonlahor picked out the run of top scorer Christian Benteke into the
Stoke box, but Shotton was alert to the situation and tidied up.

The hosts forced three early corners, although Stoke dealt comfortably enough with Barry Bannan's crosses into the danger area.

But the Potters were indebted to a
crucial block from skipper Ryan Shawcross to keep out Benteke's
close-range volley after Clark had headed the ball back across goal.

Dive in move: Stoke City's Geoff Cameron falls over Holman

Dive in move: Stoke City's Geoff Cameron falls over Holman

Matthew Lowton then had the
confidence to cut inside and create space for himself but his
left-footed drive did not extend Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Bannan then curled a free-kick over the bar after Benteke had been brought down by Geoff Cameron 20 yards out.

Villa knocked the ball around in
confident style, with Stoke content to soak up the pressure and try to
hit the home side on the counter-attack.

Time for a change: Stoke manager Tony Pulis substitutes Glenn Whelan

Time for a change: Stoke manager Tony Pulis substitutes Glenn Whelan

Crunch time: Villa's Ashley Westwood is tackled by Huth

It's a snorer: Darren Bent appears to doze on the bench

Crunch time: Villa's Ashley Westwood is tackled by Huth while Darren Bent appears to drift off on the bench

Stoke midfielder Steven N'Zonzi
appeared to flick a hand in the face of Villa centre-back Baker in the
build-up to a Potters corner, but both players were spoken to by referee
Roger East.

Villa were looking the more likely to break the deadlock.

Robert Huth cut out a low Eric Lichaj cross aimed at Benteke, who had another effort blocked from Brett Holman's low ball.

No way through: Christian Benteke is challenged by Stoke's Ryan Shawcross

No way through: Christian Benteke is challenged by Stoke's Ryan Shawcross

Appeal: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert reacts to a decision

Appeal: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert reacts to a decision

Stoke were incensed by a
centre-circle challenge on Glenn Whelan by Clark in first-half stoppage
time, but it escaped any punishment.

Villa started the second half
brightly and Begovic went down to his left to cling onto Benteke's
volley after Lowton had flicked on a Bannan cross.

Tempers were becoming frayed and Villa keeper Brad Guzan squared up to Jones after being barged into when collecting a cross.

Close quarters: Dean Whitehead is challenged by Villa's Westwood

Close quarters: Dean Whitehead is challenged by Villa's Westwood

Benteke continued to ask questions of
Stoke and some trickery inside the area created half a chance, but Huth
reacted quickly to block his shot on the turn.

Lambert brought on Bent and Stephen
Ireland for Agbonlahor and Holman midway through the second half while
Stoke replaced Matthew Etherington and Jones with Cameron Jerome and
Crouch. Shotton became the first player to be yellow-carded after 75
minutes after fouling Ireland.

Then came his stoppage-time red card, although there was no time left for Villa to cash in on their numerical advantage.

Gareth Bale is worst diver in the Premier League… but who is the most prolific at YOUR club?

Bale is top of the flops as worst diver in the Premier League… but who is the most prolific tumbler at YOUR club

|

UPDATED:

14:52 GMT, 3 December 2012

What is it with diving this season Nineteen players have been booked for simulation in the last 12 rounds of Premier League matches. Before that, the previous 19 yellow cards for simulation came over 41 rounds.

Who is the worst offender at your club Tottenham’s Gareth Bale is the worst offender in the league this season – his four dives are more than double any other player.

All fall down: Gareth Bale was booked for diving against Fulham on Saturday

All fall down: Tottenham star Gareth Bale (centre left) was booked for diving against Fulham on Saturday

Fernando Torres

Mario Balotelli

Down and out: Fernando Torres (left) and Mario Balotelli (right) each have two yellows for simulation

Europe's

League in 2012-13 Yellows for Simulation

Serie A 39
Premier League 19
La Liga 11
Bundesliga 8
Ligue 1 4

Three others stand out with two each –
Chelsea’s Fernando Torres, who seems to be able to dive more often than
he can score, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, who can never win penalties
because of his reputation, and Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli, who
let’s face it is just a bit nuts.

As a club, Chelsea come out worst, with Torres' two yellows added to cards for Daniel Sturridge, Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz and Oscar for a total of six.

ompared with the rest of Europe, the Premier League is bad but at least we don’t have it as bad as the Italian league. This season so far there have been 39 players booked for diving in Italy. They stand out as the worst offenders.

French players are obviously the most honest — only four players have been booked for diving this season.

Club
Player
Cards for simulation
Arsenal
n/an/aAston VillaKarim El Ahmadi 1ChelseaFernando Torres 2Everton Phil Neville1 Fulham n/an/aLiverpoolLuis Suarez2Manchester CityMario Balotelli 2Manchester UnitedRobin van Persie, Antonio Valencia1Newcastle Unitedn/a n/aNorwich CityGrant Holt 1
Queens Park Rangersn/an/aReadingAdam Le Fondre1
Southampton
Adam Lallana1Stoke CityCharlie Adam 1
SunderlandSebastian Larsson 1
Swansea CityAngel Rangel
1
Tottenham HotspurGareth Bale 4
West Bromwich AlbionShane Long, Graham Dorrans
1
West Ham UnitedAndy Carroll, Modibo Maiga 1
Wigan Athleticn/an/a

Queens Park Rangers 1 Aston Villa 1 – Match report

QPR 1 Aston Villa 1: Redknapp forced to wait for first win at R's after Loftus Road stalemate

|

UPDATED:

18:21 GMT, 1 December 2012

Queens Park Rangers equalled the Premier League's longest ever winless start to a season today as they failed to overcome Aston Villa in Harry Redknapp's first home match at the helm.

The west Londoners have now failed to a collect victory from any of their opening 15 matches – an abysmal start that is only matched by the Swindon side of 1993/94.

Much had been expected from QPR today in what was Redknapp's first match at Loftus Road since replacing Mark Hughes at the helm.

One up: Brett Holman scored the opener for Aston Villa

One up: Brett Holman scored the opener for Aston Villa

MATCH FACTS

QPR: Green, Traore, Hill, Nelsen, Bosingwa, Diakite (Park Ji-sung 69), Taarabt, Wright-Phillips, Granero (Park Ji-sung 46), M'bia (Derry 39), Mackie

Subs not used: Murphy, Ferdinand, Fabio, Cisse, Hoilett

Booked: Derry

Goal: Mackie 18

Aston Villa: Guzan, Clark, Lichaj, Baker, Lowton, Westwood, Bannan (Delph 67), Herd (Williams 65), Agbonlahor, Holman (El Ahmadi 70), Benteke

Subs not used: Given, Ireland, Bent, Weimann

Booked: Baker, Lowton

Goal: Holman 8

Referee: H Webb

Attendance: 17,387

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

The Rs boss had never previously lost
a Premier League home debut as a manager, but that record looked under
serious threat after just eight minutes when Brett Holman fired Villa
ahead from distance.

Jamie Mackie's superb header dragged
QPR level after 18 minutes but an entertaining first half was
overshadowed by a nasty injury sustained by Stephane Mbia.

The Cameroonian went to hospital for a
precautionary check-up, with fellow midfielder Samba Diakite also
forced off injured in a second half in which neither side were able to
find a winner.

QPR came into this afternoon's match
eight points adrift of the safety and their defensive frailties were
quickly exposed as Christian Benteke wriggled free in the box, only to
be denied by a last-ditch Clint Hill challenge.

The effort appeared to put QPR on
edge and only eight minutes in they found themselves behind, with Holman
striking a fierce 25-yard drive that Robert Green, making his first
start since September 1, was unable to keep out in front of the 1,632
visiting fans.

Picking his spot: Holman finds the gap to put Villa into the lead

Picking his spot: Holman finds the gap to put Villa into the lead

Hit back: Jamie Mackie equalised for Redknapp's side

Hit back: Jamie Mackie equalised for Redknapp's side

Not again: Redknapp watched his side draw their second in a row since his arrival

Not again: Redknapp watched his side draw their second in a row since his arrival

Impact sub Park Ji-Sung could not create the killer chance

Impact sub Park Ji-Sung could not create the killer chance

It was the worst possible start for
the nervy home side, who saw Mbia head wide and then Diakite lash over
as they attempted to make immediate amends.

QPR did manage to eke out a leveller
10 minutes after going behind, though, as Mackie met a Diakite cross
with a superb looping header that beat Brad Guzan.

Benteke thought he had put Villa back
in front in the 20th minute but was denied by the offside flag, before
play returned to the other end.

Shaun Wright-Phillips was put through
one-on-one with Guzan by Esteban Granero's exquisite pass, although he
failed to find a way past the American.

Worry: Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after sustaining a neck injury

Worry: Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after sustaining a neck injury

Worry: Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after sustaining a neck injury

Worry: Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after sustaining a neck injury

The recalled winger came closer again
in the 32nd minute, outpacing Nathan Baker down the right and firing a
half volley that beat Guzan at his near post but hit the woodwork.

The match was entertaining but took a
nasty turn moments later when Mbia was involved in an off-the-ball
incident with Gabby Agbonlahor, which forced the Cameroonian off on a
stretcher after lengthy treatment.

Shaun Derry came on in his place and
helped QPR weather the storm for the remainder of the first half, with a
right-footed Agbonlahor effort the closest Villa came.

Park Ji-sung replaced Granero when the team re-emerged for a second half that took 10 minutes to warm up.

Going to ground: Clint Hill tries to dispossess Benteke

Going to ground: Clint Hill tries to dispossess Benteke

Thoughts Harry Redknapp (right) looks on with Joe Jordan

Thoughts Harry Redknapp (right) looks on with Joe Jordan

Not quite: Christian Benteke had a goal ruled out for offside

Not quite: Christian Benteke had a goal ruled out for offside

When it did, QPR were on top, with Wright-Phillips, Ryan Nelsen and Diakite all getting away shots in quick succession.

Guzan kept out the latter pair and
was again alert to deny substitute Park when put through on the left,
before Diakite limped off and was replaced by Junior Hoilett.

The tempo began to slow as
frustration creeped in and, after a tame Nelsen header went wide, Hill
almost hit the crossbar with an 80th-minute header from a an Adel
Taarabt corner.

Armand Traore tested Guzan as QPR
pushed for a winner, but Paul Lambert's side defended resolutely and
came close to a winner themselves through substitute Karim El Ahmadi.

Good point: Paul Lambert's side held on for the draw

Good point: Paul Lambert's side held on for the draw

Powerhouse: Benteke holds off Clint Hill

Powerhouse: Benteke holds off Clint Hill

MBIA RECOVERING IN HOSPITAL

Recovering: Stephane Mbia

QPR midfielder Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after a nasty clash of heads with Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor during this afternoon's match at Loftus Road.

The Villa man (right) immediately turned to tend to his fallen opponent after the accidental collision.

Mbia required lengthy on-field treatment, as the game was held up for over six minutes before he was carried off and taken to hospital.

The 26-year-old was replaced by Shaun Derry after 39 minutes and fans of both sides watched intently as he was carried off in a neck brace.

The Cameroon international tweeted from hospital as he convalesces after what appeared to be a serious injury.

He said: 'Actually in hospital ;( i want and i will come back soon as i can! #QPR'

Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 0: Match report

Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 0: Fans turn on Wenger chanting 'you don't know what you're doing'

|

UPDATED:

00:38 GMT, 25 November 2012

With a wild, haunted look in his eyes, Arsene Wenger refused point-blank to explain the 86th-minute substitution which caused Arsenal fans to round on him and sing: 'You don't know what you're doing.'

The result was still in the balance against struggling Villa when the Frenchman took off his only striker, Olivier Giroud, and replaced him with midfielder Francis Coquelin.

It caused outrage in one corner of the ground, where Wenger's judgment call was openly dismissed and even mocked for the first time by his normally faithful travelling fans.

Frustration: Olivier Giroud could not get on the scoresheet before he was substituted

Frustration: Olivier Giroud could not get on the scoresheet before he was substituted

MATCH FACTS

Aston Villa: Guzan, Vlaar (Lichaj 51), Clark, Stevens, Lowton, El Ahmadi (Holman 63), Westwood, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke, Weimann (Albrighton 90)

Subs not used: Given, Ireland, Delph, Bowery

Booked: El Ahmadi

Arsenal: Szczesny, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arshavin 77), Ramsey, Cazorla, Podolski (Gervinho 69), Giroud (Coquelin 86)

Subs not used: Mannone, Sagna, Vermaelen, Wilshere

Referee: Lee Mason

Attendance: 34,607

The latest Premier League results, fixtures and tables

In one of the most bizarre press
conferences of his career, he scoffed at the idea that the club's
supporters deserved an explanation, insisted that he was still at the
height of his managerial powers, and claimed the assembled media were
suffering from Alzheimer's disease if they thought differently.

If a meltdown was possible in freezing Birmingham, this was it.

Toothless Arsenal managed just one accurate shot, but Wenger was in no mood to appease anyone.

'I won't explain my decision to make that substitution, I don't have to explain every decision and substitution I make.'

Asked if the taunts had hurt him, he
turned on his interrogator and said: 'No. I have managed for 30 years at
the top and if I have to convince you I can manage a team, it would be
an insult to you.

'How long have you managed for How
many games have you managed If I come to see one of your matches I
promise you I'll sit in the stand and say, “You do know what you're
doing”.'

Battle: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tries to wrestle the ball from Christian Benteke

Battle: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tries to wrestle the ball from Christian Benteke

Race on: Olivier Giroud (left) is pursued by Ron Vlaar

Race on: Olivier Giroud (left) is pursued by Ron Vlaar

He is clearly wounded by the attacks,
because he reminded his critics how they had laid into him last season,
only for his team to recover sufficiently to make the Champions League.

'You forget what you wrote last September, October, November. You have a little bit of Alzheimer's.'

Yesterday there was almost nothing to forget.

But Wojciech Szczesny did save the
Gunners from total humiliation when he tipped Villa substitute Brett
Holman's powerful shot on to the crossbar.

Penetration: Oxlade-Chamberlain could not create the killer chance for Arsenal

Penetration: Oxlade-Chamberlain could not create the killer chance for Arsenal

Unlucky: Aaron Ramsey tries a flick in front of goal

Unlucky: Aaron Ramsey tries a flick in front of goal

But even a point at Villa could not
paper over the cracks as the visiting supporters repeated the
now-familiar refrain: 'We want our Arsenal back.'

Such an inept display in the final
third could hardly be explained away by Wenger's assertion that his side
were jaded after their recent Champions League exploits.

This side simply are not hitting the heights required to qualify for a 14th consecutive Champions League campaign.

Doubtless the fans were also frustrated by Wenger's failure to inject some late quality in the form of Jack Wilshere.

The manager said he wanted to protect the England midfielder in such harsh weather.

Asked if he or Theo Walcott might
play at Everton on Wednesday, Wenger snapped almost childishly: 'I'll
decide and I will not explain to you why.'

Villa certainly would not have been
disappointed that Wilshere sat out this match, as they were able to
press and unsettle their guests at will.

Manager Paul Lambert was serving a
touchline ban and admitted that he found the experience 'not great, when
I got punished for contesting something and I was right.

Dejected: Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker clap the visiting fans

Dejected: Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker clap the visiting fans

'But I thought we played really well
and I think we might have nicked it. Our defence was really strong and
offensively we were well in the game, too. We're a young side and we're a
threat.'

Santi Cazorla did show a rare flash
of brilliance soon after the interval, when he swerved past a couple of
defenders and shot narrowly wide.

Aaron Ramsey looked as though he might score, and even forced Brad Guzan to save with his leg.

Otherwise the Villa keeper was
largely untroubled, though Laurent Koscielny really should have beaten
him from six yards in the first half.

Instead, the central defender ballooned his effort over the bar.

Villa striker Christian Benteke had a
couple of chances to score with his head against the club he once
supported, but squandered both.

Stalemate: Brad Guzan kept a clean sheet

Stalemate: Brad Guzan kept a clean sheet

Settle for one Arsene Wenger's team could not get the breakthrough

Settle for one Arsene Wenger's team could not get the breakthrough

Gabriel Agbonlahor unleashed a
powerful shot at the Arsenal goal after Holman had dithered, but
Arsenal's rearguard were equal to the challenge.

And that's about the best that can be said about Wenger's team – they stopped a struggling team from scoring.

A stubborn man at the best of times,
Wenger is clearly rattled by the fact that others don't have as high an
opinion of his recent managerial achievements as he does.

He may very well be right when he
suggests that he will one day be sorely missed, if Arsenal and the
Champions League eventually begin to lead separate lives.

The problem is that it could well
happen on his watch – next season – unless there is a dramatic
improvement before it is too late.

Just about: Gabriel Agbonlahor felt he deserved a penalty, but Per Mertesacker got a toe on the ball in the box

Just about: Gabriel Agbonlahor felt he deserved a penalty, but Per Mertesacker got a toe on the ball in the box

Just about: Gabriel Agbonlahor felt he deserved a penalty, but Per Mertesacker got a toe on the ball in the box

Paul Lambert fumes at officials over penalty award

Lambert left fuming by dubious penalty award before champions open floodgates

PUBLISHED:

19:09 GMT, 17 November 2012

|

UPDATED:

19:09 GMT, 17 November 2012

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert railed against the officials after his side crashed to a 5-0 defeat at Manchester City.

Villa were only trailing 1-0 to the Barclays Premier League champions at the Etihad Stadium when the hosts were awarded a controversial penalty early in the second half.

The visitors were mystified when referee Jon Moss pointed to the spot, having spotted a flag from his assistant, as David Silva swung a corner into the box.

Up you get: David Silva (left) celebrates with Carlos Tevez (right) after the goal

Up you get: David Silva (left) celebrates with Carlos Tevez (right) after the goal

MATCH FACTS

Manchester City: Hart, Maicon, Kompany, Clichy (Kolarov 73), Nastasic, Nasri, Barry, Silva (Sinclair 76), Y Toure, Aguero (Dzeko 69), Tevez

Subs not used: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Sinclair, Garcia

Goals: Silva 43, Aguero 54 pen, 67, Tevez 65 pen, 74

Aston Villa: Guzan, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, Lowton, Ireland (Albrighton 62), Westwood, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke (Bowery 83), Weimann (Holman 62),

Subs not used: Given, Baker, El Ahmadi, Delph

Booked: Bannan

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

It transpired Andreas Weimann had
been penalised for handball as he leapt to reach the cross but the
debate over what proved the game's major turning point raged for some
time.

Lambert said: 'That's never a handball. What the linesman saw there I do not know.

'You have got to be 100% sure to give that and he saw something I think 50,000 other people never saw.'

Lambert added there was 'no point' complaining to the referee.

He said: 'We, as managers, are always hauled up – but that is a woeful decision.

'I haven't clue what he saw. It might not have changed the game but we certainly had a foothold in it.'

City took full advantage of the
controversy as Sergio Aguero struck from the spot and then added another
after Carlos Tevez had scored a second penalty.

Dynamic duo: Tevez's Argentina team-mate Sergio Aguero also got in on the act

Dynamic duo: Tevez's Argentina team-mate Sergio Aguero also got in on the act

Class act: David Silva scored on the stroke of half-time to get the ball rolling for City

Class act: David Silva scored on the stroke of half-time to get the ball rolling for City

Quids in! Tevez scored two on the day, including one from the spot

Quids in! Tevez scored two on the day, including one from the spot

Tevez wrapped up the scoring with
his second of the afternoon. The first penalty was not the only decision
which bothered Lambert, who also felt there had been an infringement in
the build-up to David Silva's first-half opener.

Flashpoint: Paul Lambert (left) speaks with fourth official Mark Halsey (right)

Flashpoint: Paul Lambert (left) speaks with fourth official Mark Halsey (right)

Lambert said: 'Even with the first
goal, there might have been a case of dangerous play with the overhead
kick in the penalty area.

'You just never know. I thought Joe Hart made a brilliant save to keep out Christian Benteke's header.

'We were well in the game – we had a
foothold in it and that is a big thing coming here. But the penalty was
a really shocking decision.'

Dominated: Yaya Toure (left) bossed the midfield for Manchester City

Dominated: Yaya Toure (left) bossed the midfield for Manchester City

You again: Edin Dzeko (right) replaced Aguero, but was unable to grab a customary goal

You again: Edin Dzeko (right) replaced Aguero, but was unable to grab a customary goal

Despite the issues, City ultimately won convincingly, much to the relief of their manager Roberto Mancini.

City's form has been under scrutiny
but they remain unbeaten in the competition and are well on course in
their title defence. Mancini said: “I am very satisfied with this
performance.

'In the first half we played well created a lot of chances but we were too soft when we had chances to score.

'But we played well and this is the most important thing.

Brazilian connection: Maicon (left) chases Gabby Agbonlahor (right)

Brazilian connection: Maicon (left) chases Gabby Agbonlahor (right)

Sneaking it in: Aguero's deflected shot left Guzan stranded before it hit the back of the net

Sneaking it in: Aguero's deflected shot left Guzan stranded before it hit the back of the net

Job done: Tevez, Silva and Samir Nasri celebrate when City were well on their way to victory

Job done: Tevez, Silva and Samir Nasri celebrate when City were well on their way to victory

'In the last two games I think we changed something. In our mind we found a good spirit, like last year.

'For us it is very important we start
to play well and in the last two games we have scored six goals with
our strikers. I think we have been missing their goals.'

Mancini also praised Hart, whose
form has been questioned in recent weeks and criticism increased after
his display in England's midweek friendly loss in Sweden.

Mancini said: 'This is his job. He
received criticism from you (press) after the international game, but
this is part of our life.

No chance: Aguero rifled his penalty past Brad Guzan

No chance: Aguero rifled his penalty past Brad Guzan

Are you kidding Andreas Weimann and Barry Bannan were incredulous after Jonathan Moss gave the first penalty

Are you kidding Andreas Weimann and Barry Bannan were incredulous after Jonathan Moss gave the first penalty

'Sometimes you can do well, sometimes you can do bad games.

'But it is important to have very
strong characters in this situation. Today he saved in the first half
(in) an important situation.'

Mancini confirmed striker Mario
Balotelli, who was absent from the matchday squad for a second
successive week, had suffered a back injury in training.

He said: 'Yesterday in the training session he had a problem in his back and said he couldn't play.'

Swindon 2 Aston Villa 3: Match report

Swindon 2 Aston Villa 3: Heartbreak for Di Canio as Benteke grabs late winner

|

UPDATED:

22:07 GMT, 30 October 2012

League Aston Villa are through to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup for the third time in four seasons after Christian Benteke scored a late winner against Swindon at the County Ground.

Villa looked to be cruising to victory as goals from Benteke – a 7million summer signing from Genk – and Gabriel Agbonlahor earned them a 2-0 half-time lead.

But the npower League One side, who had already overcome Stoke in this season's competition, fought back through two goals from substitute Miles Storey before Benteke had the final say.

Easy does it: Christian Benteke celebrates with Karim El Ahmadi (C) and Stephen Ireland after giving Villa the lead

Easy does it: Christian Benteke celebrates with Karim El Ahmadi (C) and Stephen Ireland after giving Villa the lead

Match facts

Swindon: Foderingham, Devera, McCormack, Flint, McEveley, Ritchie, Miller, Ferry, Roberts, Benson, Collins. Subs not used: Bedwell, Archibald-Henville, Nathan Thompson, Williams, Louis Thompson,
Storey.

Goals: Storey 78,81

Aston Villa: Given, Lowton, Herd, Vlaar, Lichaj, Weimann, Ireland, El Ahmadi, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke. Subs not used: Guzan, Bent, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, Stevens.

Goals: Benteke 30, 90, Agbonlahor 39

Referee: Stuart Attwell.

Click for the latest League Cup results and stats

It was his third goal in two games and Villa boss Paul Lambert will hope his side can build on this success after their worst start to a league campaign in 43 years.
Stephen Ireland also impressed in the play-maker role and set up the opening two goals.

Lambert made five changes from the side which drew at home to Norwich at the weekend but there was again no place in the starting line-up for 18million club record signing Darren Bent.

Benteke was again preferred as the main striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation and the Belgian had the first effort on goal, a downward header which was comfortably saved by Wes Foderingham.

Barry Bannan curled a 25 yard drive wide but there was little to choose between the sides in the opening quarter of the game.

Villa were indebted to a goal-line clearance from full-back Matt Lowton in keeping out a shot on the turn from Paul Benson after 26 minutes.

Heads up: Christian Benteke heads home the first goal for Villa

Heads up: Christian Benteke heads home the first goal for Villa

It proved to be crucial as Villa took control with two goals in the space of 10 minutes before half-time.

Ireland created the opening goal when he got to the by-line and his cross was headed home in powerful fashion by Benteke for his second goal in two games.

Villa were forced into a change when central defender Chris Herd limped out of the action and was replaced by Enda Stevens.

In the goals: Gabriel Agbonlahor scores the second goal for Aston Villa

In the goals: Gabriel Agbonlahor scores the second goal for Aston Villa

But the visitors were starting to look more menacing and a superb strike from Agbonlahor doubled their lead.

Once again Ireland was the creator with his perfectly weighted pass although Agbonlahor still had much to do before cutting inside and unleashing a powerful 20 yard shot which flew past Foderingham.

The Swindon keeper produced a fine reflex save on the stroke of half-time to turn over Andreas Weimann's volley.

Out of the cup: Paolo Di Canio could not inspire Swindon to another famous win

Out of the cup: Paolo Di Canio could not inspire Swindon to another famous win

Swindon needed to make inroads into Villa's advantage at the start of the second period and a dangerous low cross from Simon Ferry just eluded Benson.

Gary Roberts headed over from a Collins centre and was then guilty of squandering a golden chance to reduce the arrears.

Matt Ritchie delivered a pinpoint ball across the box into the path of the unmarked Roberts at the far post but he headed against the outside of a post.

Comeback: Miles Storey scored twice in the second half, but it was not enough

Comeback: Miles Storey scored twice in the second half, but it was not enough

Villa started to reassert themselves, with Ireland continuing to impress, and Foderingham blocked a shot from Benteke with his feet.

But Swindon turned the tie on its head with two goals in two minutes.

With 11 minutes remaining, substitute Storey converted a centre.

At the double: Storey celebrates scoring for Swindon

At the double: Storey celebrates scoring for Swindon

Storey drew the home side level when he back-heeled a low ball into the box from Andy Williams past Shay Given.

But Benteke broke Swindon's hearts with seconds remaining when he hammered home a cross from Eric Lichaj.

Aston Villa 1 Norwich 1 – match report: Paul Lambert denied victory

Aston Villa 1 Norwich 1: Lambert fails to get one over old pals after Turner strikes late

|

UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 27 October 2012

Norwich defender Michael Turner
denied Paul Lambert a victory against his former club and ensured the
Aston Villa boss's bold decision to drop Darren Bent would come under
huge scrutiny.

Christian Benteke had appeared to justify Lambert's decision to axe Bent from his starting line-up for the third time in four matches with Villa's 27th minute opener.

But Villa were forced to defend desperately after left-back Joe Bennett's sending-off early in the second period before Turner earned the Canaries a deserved share of the spoils.

Points shared: Norwich defender Michael Turner (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser

Points shared: Norwich defender Michael Turner (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser late in the game

Match facts

Aston Villa:
Guzan, Herd, Vlaar, Lowton, Bennett, Albrighton, El Ahmadi, Holman
(Weimann 76), Delph, Agbonlahor (Lichaj 54), Benteke (Bent 70).

Subs not used: Given, Ireland, Westwood, Bannan.

Goals: Benteke 27

Booked: Herd

Sent off: Bennett

Norwich:
Ruddy, Russell Martin (Ryan Bennett 46), Bassong, Turner, Garrido,
Elliott Bennett (Snodgrass 64), Tettey, Johnson (Morison 70),
Pilkington, Hoolahan, Holt.

Subs not used: Rudd, Howson, Jackson, Barnett.

Goals: Turner 79

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 33,184

Latest Premier League table and results

Fittingly the Norwich goal was created by Wes Hoolahan who was the most creative player on either side.

Villa have now won only one of their last 19 league matches and they were indebted to a trio of fine saves from keeper Brad Guzan for earning them a point.

Norwich fans greeted the arrival of Lambert into the dug-out with a chant of 'there's only one Chris Hughton' but there was no verbal animosity directed at their former manager.

Norwich, fresh from last weekend's win over Arsenal, knocked the ball around in confident fashion in the early stages.

But it was Villa midfielder Brett Holman who produced the first attempt on goal. He exchanged passes with Karim El Ahmadi before firing a low drive which Canaries keeper John Ruddy got his body behind.

Norwich looked full of confidence but Elliott Bennett dragged his shot well wide from the edge of the box.

It needed a fine save by Guzan to keep his side on level terms after 22 minutes. Grant Holt threaded the ball through to Hoolahan who was left with only Guzan to beat but the United States international managed to block the shot with his left foot. Guzan then cut out an attempted knock back across goal from Holt aimed at the unmarked Anthony Pilkington.

Predator: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke opens the scoring in the first half with a smart finish

Predator: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke opens the scoring in the first half with a smart finish

New hero: Benteke celebrates in front of the home fans after his strike against Norwich

New hero: Benteke celebrates in front of the home fans after his strike against Norwich

But then against the run of play Villa went ahead through Benteke's second goal since his 7million summer move from Genk after 27 minutes. Gabriel Agbonlahor held the ball up before releasing the overlapping Holman and his cross found Benteke completely unmarked. The Belgian international had time to pick his spot before sliding the ball past Ruddy into the corner of the net.

Villa defender Joe Bennett became the first player to be yellow carded for a challenge on Elliott Bennett. A long pass from Fabian Delph was brought under control by Benteke inside the Norwich box but his eventual shot was deflected wide.

Roar of delight: Paul Lambert celebrates as Villa take the lead against his former club

Denied victory: Lambert

Roar of delight: Paul Lambert celebrates as Villa take the lead but his afternoon turned sour later in the game

Norwich made a half-time change with defender Russell Martin replaced by Ryan Bennett.

Villa were reduced to 10 men after 52 minutes when Joe Bennett collected a second yellow card for another offence against Elliott Bennett. It led to Lambert bringing off Agbonlahor and replacing Joe Bennett with Eric Lichaj at left-back.

Axed: Darren Bent (left) sat on the bench next to Stephen Ireland after being dropped by Paul Lambert

Axed: Darren Bent (left) sat on the bench next to Stephen Ireland after being dropped by manager Lambert

Norwich had more of the possession with their numerical advantage but Elliott Bennett's poor touch let him down after a probing ball over the top of the Villa back four from Bradley Johnson. Villa defender Chris Herd was booked for persistent fouling after 62 minutes.

Guzan made his second crucial save of the game when he blocked a rising close range attempt from Hoolahan after Pilkington had supplied the telling pass.

Herd then made a crucial block on a Hoolahan header after Holt headed back across goal into his path before Bent replaced Benteke after 69 minutes.

Last line of defence: Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan (centre) punches the ball clear

Last line of defence: Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan (centre) punches the ball clear

On the attack: Norwich striker Grant Holt (second left) shoots at goal during the first half

On the attack: Norwich striker Grant Holt (second left) shoots at goal during the first half

Guzan was again Villa's saviour when he saved Holt's low drive after he broke clear but he had no chance of preventing Turner's equaliser after 79 minutes.

Pilkington's quickly taken corner picked out Hoolahan and his inswinging cross was met by Turner whose glancing header flew into the far corner of the net.