Premier League - Vintage Villa thump Rovers

Sat, 26 Feb 16:53:00 2011

Aston Villa scored three goals in 18 minutes as they completed a resounding 4-1 Premier League thrashing of a listless Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park.

Match Highlights: Aston Vil

Ashley Young picked up himself up off the floor after being felled by Keith Andrews to score the opener from the penalty spot on 49 minutes before the roof caved in on Rovers.

Grant Hanley nudged the ball into his own net from the tireless Marc Albrighton's cross on 62 minutes with Stewart Downing racing from the halfway line to slip the ball beyond Paul Robinson a minute later.

Rovers substitute Nikola Kalinic saw a deflected shot fly into the net via the boot of Richard Dunne on 81 minutes, but Young added the fourth a minute later after being played in by Downing.

Ryan Nelsen was sent off in injury time for a second bookable offence as he hauled down the superb Young to complete a miserable day for the visiting side.

The warning signs were there for Rovers in the first period as Gerard Houllier's side attacked with some menace without applying the finishing touches to their good work.

Watched by England head coach Fabio Capello, Robinson showed his class to make fine saves from Darren Bent, Robert Pires and Kyle Walker as Rovers somehow reached half-time without shipping any goals.

Former Rovers keeper Brad Friedel made his first save off the match on 47 minutes when he stood tall to prevent Jermaine Jones scoring against the run of play.

Andrews was penalised for some sloppy defending when he hauled down Young after the Villa striker had picked his pocket in the area.

Young drove the ball down the middle with Robinson diving to his left.

Hanley's OG, Downing's strike and Young's second of the match gave a truer reflection of the afternoon as Villa totted up a whopping 22 shots at the visiting goal.

Nelsen picked up his first yellow card for taking out Bent in the lead-up to Downing's eye-catching run and finish and had little complaint as he walked up the tunnel two minutes into time added on with Young threatening to burst clear for his hat-trick.

Nelsen played despite being affected by the earthquake in his home city of Christchurch in New Zealand. His sister needed minor surgery after giving birth amid the disaster, but was healthy enough for her brother to focus on the match.

Villa are on quite a run of form at the moment having lost just once in their past nine games.

With Young, Downing, Pires, Albrighton and Bent adding such creativity to their side, it is unlikely Villa will be sucked into a relegation scrap.

The same cannot be said for Blackburn, who were woeful for most of the afternoon.

The result did not flatter Villa, who are now a point above Rovers in the table in 12th spot having amassed 33 points from 28 games.

Nelsen threw his captain's armband to the floor in a fit of pique after getting his marching orders. It was an act of frustration that illustrated perfectly his side's struggles on a forgettable afternoon.


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