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17:05 15th August 2009


ROBERTO BEATS MARTIN O - The Roberto-revolution is underway as Latics crush Villa

ASTON VILLA . . . . . . . . . . 0

WIGAN ATHLETIC . . . . . . . 2
Rodallega 31
Koumas 56

Report by Paul Chialton

Aston Villa's motto is 'prepared'.They were anything but that as Wigan Athletic made a fantastic, dominating start to the new season.

Playing swift, quick and deadly football, Roberto Martinez's men controlled the game from start to finish and when Hugo Rodallega struck on the half-hour mark, the Roberto revolution was up and running.

Gaining possession 20-yards out the Colombian looked up and smashed one goalwards, looping over the helpless Brad Friedel and into the net. No wonder Colombian commentators spend 30 seconds documenting a goal!

The opportunities kept coming, Rodallega could've had a second just before half-time but struck against Friedel's legs, and Charles N'Zogbia came close firing a low shot against the post.

Latics were exposing Villa all over the pitch, creating chances from a variety of positions all over the field, and as well as linking up beautifully, expressing themselves individually to make their opponents look decidedly average.

The refreshing Jason Koumas, who looked like a dog let off his lead all afternoon, wrapped things up just before the hour-mark having been slipped in by N'Zogbia and shooting low through Friedel's legs.
Michael Brown was easily man-of-the-match, very rarely has one man controlled pretty much everything in the game, crunching tackles and such wisdom in possession, he really made the team tick today, and linked up superbly with debutant Hendry Thomas who himself looks well made for this level of football.

At the back, no problem! Titus Bramble was back to his normal self, not giving Villa's frontmen time to breath and his goal-saving clearance right at the end from Ashley Young's shot is well worth staying up for tonight! His partner Paul Scharner also had a good game, making some crucial interventions and taking good care of former Latic Emile Heskey all game.

In all there's not enough space on this page to give enough praise to this performance, as good as Latics have seen in the Barclays Premier League and a mouth-watering appetiser for the season to come.

Latics: Kirkland; Melchiot, Bramble, Scharner, Figueroa; Brown, Thomas; N'Zogbia (Sinclair, 67), Gomez, Koumas (Cho, 89); Rodallega (Scotland 90)
Unused Subs: Pollitt, Boyce, Edman, King

Aston Villa: Friedel; Beye (Albrighton, 67), Cuellar, Davies, Shorey; Milner, Petrov, Delph (Sidwell, 61), Young; Agbonlahor (Delfouneso, 78), Heskey
Unused Subs: Guzan, Gardner, Clark, Reo-Coker

    Data provided by Press Association