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Villa's cutting edge delights Houllier

Aston Villa took their time in winning this match -- perhaps the knowledge that three points would move them a vital leap further away from the drop zone caused a few jitters. Once they got going, however, Gerard Houllier's team confidently took Blackburn apart.

After a soporific start, the game sprang to life for Villa shortly before half-time with a series of near misses, including a penalty appeal from Darren Bent. Having enjoyed the lion's share of possession and with their confidence buoyed, Houllier's side returned after the break with renewed conviction and settled the result in a 15-minute assault on Paul Robinson's goal that took them 3-0 up.

Ashley Young, racing into the area, opened Villa's account after winning his fourth penalty of the campaign when Keith Andrews brought him down -- he coolly stepped up to score.

Twelve minutes later Marc Albrighton celebrated Villa's second goal as his own though it was Grant Hanley's knee that made the final contribution. Two minutes later and Stewart Downing added a third, sprinting halfway down the pitch after collecting the ball from an upturned Young, and confidently slotting home.

Downing returned the favour beautifully, setting up Young to fire a peach of a strike for Villa's fourth.

For Blackburn a goal from substitute Nikola Kalinic was the best they could manage, and even that came from a deflection off Richard Dunne.

Houllier appeared relaxed after the match. "What I like is the fact that we dared to play," he said. "Physically we've improved. These two weeks we worked a lot. Not only for this game but other games coming up. There was a time we used to concede goals at the end of games. We lost 18 points from leading positions. That says a lot. But today physically we were much better."

Sunday Indo Sport