This was a game of few chances to say the very least. Only a Flamini shot which was blazed over the bar troubled the Villa defence, who stood strong throughout the game. Our defence did likewise, and while Villa had plenty of crossing opportunities they never really looked like getting a goal from them.
We started the second half with a bit more pace, and Freddie was denied only by the crossbar from his curling effort from just outside the box. Unfortunately after that we went back into our shells and Baros should have given Villa the lead when he raced through only to go the same way as Flamini and blaze the ball high and wide.
We were forced to endure a woeful last twenty minutes, but could still consider ourselves unlucky not to have nicked it at the end when Toure sent a half volley wide from inside the six yard box with just two minutes left on the clock.
All in all, the only positive to come out of this trip was that I was back in London by 5 and able to enjoy the New Years Eve! If we play like that on Tuesday the score line won't be pretty.
Jens Lehmann (6) Kept out a Gareth Barry effort in the first half but was relatively untroubled after that.
Pascal Cygan (4) There is one thing to be said for Pascal – he is a consistent performer. Unfortunately for us that his consistent poor passing is here every game! I am informed that he has now picked up five league bookings which could rule him out of the United game.
Sol Campbell (5) He was below par – forcing others to sweep up around him.
Kolo Toure (6) Made some last ditch tackles when our midfield conceded possession.
Lauren (6) Kept the threat from their wide left to a minimum.
Alexander Hleb (6) Troubled the Villa midfield for spells, but his lack of end product proved to be frustrating.
Mathieu Flamini (6) His good performance was slightly tainted by his inability to keep possession.
Cesc Fabregas (6) Neat passing throughout.
Freddie Ljungberg (5) Didn't manage to get into the game.
Robin Van Persie (5) A lack of service saw him falter on his return from injury.
Thierry Henry (6) Didn't have the impact that you would expect.
Dennis Bergkamp (4) Gave away stupid free kicks.
Jose Reyes (5) Unlucky to be dropped after two fine displays, but couldn't get into his rhythm today.
Robert Pires (4) Gave the ball away.