Latics 0-0 Villa

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The last nil all draw in the league came in the promotion season at home to Burnley, it was the sort of game that the phrase bore draw was made for.  This one may not have been a thriller but it was far from boring.  Jewell had it down as the best we’ve played this season and agree or not, you can see where he is coming from.

This was certainly the best shift our central midfield has put in this term and the only obvious reason for that is the man of the match performance from Josip Skoko.  From the start he seemed suited to the ‘holding role’ that Landzaat has struggled to impress in so far.  Skoko kept things simple but maintained a rhythm to Latics play that has been missing too often this year.

To be fair, the Australian looked more out of his depth at this stage last season than Landzaat ever has.  However it looks like he’s got the shirt for the time being, whether that will give the Dutchman a chance in his favoured attacking role will depend on the form and fitness of Paul Scharner.

If there was a problem with this performance it sits with the forwards.  A lot of praise has been given to Villa’s young centre halves and it would be nice to think that our failure to score sat wholly with them but as well as they did our front line could have done better.

Henri Camara was far from sharp and you have to wonder how much training he did leading up to this game.  It’s safe to assume that this performance can be chalked up to new dad syndrome in one form or another.

Despite the away fans responding to Henri’s slip ups with chants of ‘are you Heskey in disguise?’ you can’t help wondering how different this game would have been if Emile had been fit.  McCulloch may be awkward to play against he creates more of a threat coming from the wing.  Given the choice of Lee’s (cough) qualities against Heskey’s pace and movement then the Scot would lose out 9 times out of 10.

The defining moment of the game came as early as the second minute.  Camara’s perfectly placed cross giving McCulloch a headed chance from close range.  He went for power rather than subtlety meaning that his header was close enough to Sorenson’s dive for the keeper to pull off what was still a good save.

From that moment on it was all frustration for Latics.  Most of the time things didn’t quite click, when they did the Villa defence proved themselves up to the task.

If you hadn’t taken the hints that it wasn’t Latics’ afternoon then proof came when a lunging header from Grayson rebounded off the post.  What chance did we stand if Villa couldn’t put the ball in their own net?

Both sides were patched up for this game and although Latics should have won it, when you consider that a win would have taken Villa to third in the table, 0-0 was a good result.  This was the sort of game that we’ve become accustomed to losing, that we didn’t should probably give as much satisfaction as the three points would have.

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