Villa cruise past Pompey
By Graeme Bailey. Last Updated: 06/11/04 2:40pm
David O'Leary guided his side to what will be one of their easiest victories of the season as Aston Villa brushed Portsmouth aside 3-0 at Villa Park.
A terrific first half showing from Villa saw them three-up up at the interval, with all three points already safe.
Peter Whittingham opened the scoring from close-range before Juan Pablo Angel and Nolberto Solano both finished with great aplomb to seal victory.
Pompey barely tested the Villa defence, albeit the odd shot from distance.
Aston Villa dominated from the first whistle, as Pompey struggled to come to terms with the pace of the home side's play.
As early as the third minute Villa began peppering the Portsmouth goal as Lee Hendrie attempted the first of many long-range efforts which tested Shaka Hislop.
Villa's pressure was mounting, as Angel headed tamely at goal before Whittingham fired in a powerful 25-yard drive which went straight at Hislop.
The breakthrough looked inevitable and it soon came. Carlton Cole began the move as he laid the ball into Angel, who played his on-loan striker down the right - he crossed into the six-yard box for the Colombian who was looking for the return, however he missed it - as did the three Portsmouth defenders that went with him - and the pass found the unmarked Whittingham who found the back of the net from just five yards.
Angel - looking particularly sharp - was denied by a nice tackle by Arjan de Zeeuw as he bore down on the Pompey, goal - but just a minute later he was not to be denied.
The South American picked up the ball in the area after Dejan Stefanovic blocked off a cross from Ulises de la Cruz, but Angel took the ball on and past three Pompey defenders before firing the ball past Hislop and into the far corner.
Villa were now rampant and Angel had another great chance as Jlloyd Samuel whipped in a cross from the left, but the striker could not beat Hislop with his powerful header.
The third, though, was not far off and it was another lovely finish, this time from Solano as he picked up a Cole cross which was charged down and before a Pompey defender could react - the Peruvian used the outside of his right foot to curl it high and past the beleaguered Hislop.
Pompey did create a couple of half chances before the interval as Yakubu Aiyegbeni turned and shot, and Stefanovic missed a free header from a corner - but it was mere rest-bite.
Villa continued the pressure into the second period as Olof Mellberg rose high to test Hislop from a Whittingham free kick.
Cole then created another great opening as he turned de Zeeuw brilliantly and got to the by-line before firing a ball across goal - but none of his team-mates could connect.
Villa seemed to sit back at this juncture and became to over elaborate with their play, while Pompey still toiled without much success - albeit the odd Aiyegbeni or Lua Lua break down the flank.
With 15 minutes left Amdy Faye broke forward and fired an effort at goal and was Pompey's best effort of the game, but Thomas Sorensen dealt easily with the shot.
Luke Moore's introduction for Cole added some much needed impetus to the game as he toiled well for his brief spell.
Lua Lua blazed over for Pompey as the visitors looked for a consolation, but it was not to be as Villa held on without really breaking sweat.
The three points lifts Villa into the top-six, while the manager of the month curse award strikes again as Harry Redknapp's side failed to find any of the form they showed in October.
Click here for Aston Villa v Portsmouth player ratings
|Team Name||Aston Villa||Portsmouth|
|Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||9||2|
|Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||1||5|
|Total Fouls Conceded||8||13|
Barclays Premier League
|5||West Ham United||18||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||18||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||18||17|