Saturday 20 April 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Ashley Young and John Carew each scored twice as Aston Villa outclassed Birmingham to inflict the heaviest derby defeat upon their local rivals since 1988.
"I thought we played brilliantly – we are a really decent side going forward"
Having scored 10 goals in their previous two matches Villa were in a rich vein of form and, under the watchful eye of England manager Fabio Capello, took the lead when one of the players interesting the Italian, Young, scored with a stunning 28th-minute goal.
Gareth Barry, another impressive Englishman on the day, made the run into the penalty area and after his low cross was half cleared, Young struck a superb volley from 20 yards out. Young was also involved in the second goal three minutes before the interval when he picked out Carew with an in-swinging free-kick that the big Norwegian glanced past Maik Taylor.
Eight minutes into the second half and it was 3-0 as Barry ran on to Young's curling pass into the area and squared the ball for Carew to tap in his second goal of the match. Villa were now running riot and 10 minutes later Young doubled his tally with a fine individual goal.
Midway through the half Mikel Forssell grabbed a consolation goal when he latched on to James McFadden's pass to beat Scott Carson, but the humiliation was complete for the Blues when Gabriel Agbonlahor fired a low shot past Taylor with 12 minutes remaining.
"Winning was the most important thing but to win so convincingly is a great boost for us,” said a delighted Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill. "I thought we played brilliantly. We are a really decent side going forward. Ashley Young and John Carew were both absolutely outstanding. Ashley couldn't have done any more in front of Fabio Capello.
The win took O'Neill's side to within three points of fifth-placed Everton, their next opponents, while Birmingham were left third from bottom with three matches remaining, much to the chagrin of manager Alex McLeish.
"We were on the end of a bruising from a really good Villa side," said the Blues' manager. "Villa's front men were on fire and we were unable to string any passes together until the second half.
"We were on the end of a bruising from a really good Villa side”
"You have to say that Villa's agenda is totally different to ours – the bottom line is that they are a better team. It's all about our next three games – we have to take as many points from those games as we can. This match doesn't mean we're going down."
Unfortunately for McLeish, his side did go down that season. Despite a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in their next outing, their 2-0 defeat by Fulham the following week proved costly. McLeish's men beat Blackburn 4-1 on the final day of the season but finished a point from safety as Fulham pulled off a great escape.
Villa also drew their next match 2-2 and missed out on European football after finishing the season with a 2-0 home defeat by Wigan Athletic and another 2-2 draw with West Ham United on the final day of the season that left them five points behind Everton in sixth place.