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Aston Villa 1 City 1

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I guess yesterdays result is a case of 'is the glass half full or half empty?' depending on whether you see it is a point gained or two points dropped.

A point gained in terms of going away to one of your main rivals and coming away with a point from a game where you weren't at your best, and under the cosh at times. Or, is at another away game where we failed to win and threw away an opportunity to increase the gap over a rival after taking the lead - particularly against a side who have struggled against us in recent times.

Personally, I am if the 'half full' opinion and a point cements our place in the top four as we now move headlong into the hectic festive period - with a pair of vital home games over the next week to take us past the half way mark.

A couple of changes from the midweek defeat against Tottenham with a new pair of full backs with Ball coming in for Garrido, Onouha for Corluka and in midfield with Gelson for Michael Johnson. At the back it seemed that Dunne had taken the left side position of the two - perhaps protecting Richards and trying to shore up that side as we have shiped goals on that side of the defence of late?

It was a great start for us with Bianchi backing up the fans clamour for his inclusion by notching another goal for us with a smart finish, and one thing he does give the side is the ability to attack the net - and by doing so will always be able to get on the end of the type of balls that Petrov can deliver.

Having gone ahead though, it was then disappointing to lose the lead so quickly in the manner we did as the impressive Carew brushed aside more than one challenge (and easily beat Dunne) to fire past Hart.

Following the goal, Villa had a period of dominance and threatened on multiple occasions from set pieces with Hart looking a little shaky, although he did make an excellent save from a Carew drive from the edge of the box.

The second half saw both Garrido and Corluka introduced into unfamiliar positions in midfield, and following a bit of a lull in the game we had another spell, with Corluka particularly impressing and Petrov went close but we never really threatened with any clear cut chances and if anything it could have been Villa who took the points late on as they wasted a great two on one opportunity, and Hart came off his line smartly to deny a late goal.

The one concern I do have from seeing the past few games is that due to the lack of real depth in the squad, the same core players have featured throughout the season and the recent performances which have lacked a little conviction and intent may be down to tiredness in the camp, and something Sven may be mindful of with his calls for a winter break.

A good point all in all for me and a four point return from your two games against your opponents in this league will see you finish among the upper reaches. Back on home turf for the next two games, with a game up next against a Blackburn side who have had the better of us of late, but have stuttered in form the past few games.

Reports:

Observer
Telegraph
Independent
Villa Blog
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