Don't expect a reasoned match review for Aston Villa's 3-3 draw against Chelsea--the internet here in Mexico is being a pain, and Aaron will be watching later and can provide much less emotion. As for me, I still feel like I stumbled off a roller coaster.
Plus, I have a confession to make. I didn't actually see Ciaran Clark's goal. Instead, I turned off the tv and chucked the remote across the room. There's only so many times your team can drop points from winning positions, you know?
Yet my twitter remained on, giving my heart a good loop-de-loop when suddenly the feed lit up with some version of "Ciaran Clark!!!!!!!!!!" Turns out, teams are really good at forgetting Clark exists--Arsenal managed to allow him to score two goals against them, and here, Chelsea left him to drift in, unnoticed, and grab a point back for Villa.
And somehow, I'm satisfied with a point. I wasn't when Didier Drogba scored the equalizer in the 84th minute. Nope, that bit of the roller coaster involved anger, anger and disbelief--how on earth did that ball get past five Aston Villa players? But after John Terry's goal in the 89th, and hysterical tears combined with nearly breaking a patio door with a remote control...well, after that, a point looks good.
There's much to be said about this match once the adrenaline dies down a bit. For one, Gerard Houllier really switched things up. The entire Villa back line were center backs, clearly intended to shut down Chelsea--a job they were able to handle for almost the entire match. Stewart Downing played on the right, with Gabriel Agbonlahor on the left and Ashley Young roaming. It worked, too, as did Emile Heskey's terrorizing Jeffrey Bruma in front of goal. Poor little Dutchman's going to have nightmares after that Premier League debut, especially after letting in Heskey's header to give Villa the lead.
Aston Villa may have only taken a point from the Chelsea match, but they seem to have found something better, some sort of connection that's been missing in most of their games. They played like they actually knew one another. Richard Dunne had a smile on his face. Houllier offered to pay the fine Villa incurred by earning seven yellow cards in the match. Brad Friedel was magnificent and absolutely deserved man of the match (how could he not, really, when he saved one of those shots with his, ahem, crotchal area).
One point in 2011, and now Aston Villa host Sunderland before facing Sheffield United in the FA Cup and then traveling to St. Andrews. To say we need to keep the momentum alive would be a gross understatement.