Date: 30th December 2006 at 4:52pm
Written by:

I’ve got my grumpy hat on today, Christmas has gone (wahey) now I have to pretend to be cheerful over New Year (it is just a tick of a clock, it makes no difference, move on!!!!!!!!) so excuse me if I’m not all sweetness and light, especially as I’ve not taken any pain killers for a while and Villa are proving to be a pain in the neck!!!!

Ouch that defeat hurt today, we needed those points and I actually think there was a good degree of arrogance in the Villa performance today, they went 1 up and thought they’d won. Well, wake up boys, you aren’t good enough to cruise and teams like Man Utd who are good enough to cruise NEVER DO, they go for the jugular, we go for a suicide mission.

Villa are now 9 games without a win, that is the worst we’ve been in seven years. We have four losses in a row and have Chelsea and Manchester United coming up. Unless I’m very wrong (and please God aka Paul McGrath let me be wrong) that will make it six on the trot and cement our position in the lower half of the table.

So why are we all being fair with Martin O’Neill? Why aren’t we baying for blood and jumping up and down in anger? If this record was being done by David O’Leary (remember him? No, I’d rather not either) we’d all be spitting feathers (why do people spit feathers? Can’t see I’ve ever seen it, mucus on the other hand……. I digress…. In fact I think I’m stoned).

The reason is, in the words of the Carpenters, is we’ve only just begun (now get that song out of your head) and this IS NOT Martin O’Neills team. Fine, we started the season great, went 9 unbeaten and that has given us the grounding to hopefully mean we won’t be sucked into another relegation battle BUT there is still lots to do and MON will be the first to admit it. He must be desperate for the January transfer window and even more desperate for the summer as it is the summer where the major changes will take place. I’d bank on 5-6 players in and a few of our deadwood players leaving come the summer, quite what can be achieved this January remains to be seen.

Back to today. The first half was a non event, Villa were on top but didn’t – I don’t even need to finish this sentence really – make enough clear chances or have any real shots. We got the break in the form of a penalty that at first glance looked harsh but on the replay was spot on. 1-0 at half time and quite rightly so.

Now, Villa will surely go for it, pepper Charlton’s confidences and score a few more? Not a bit of it. Gabby missed a header from four yards out, or more to the point headed it straight into the ground and in the dying minutes was one on one with the keeper following a good run by McCann and decent positioning by Gabby, only to shoot wide. As soon as it left his foot I groaned, it was the perfect (second) chance to get the win and unfortunately he fluffed his lines. He is only 19 everyone will cry. I don’t care, he is preferred ahead of Angel and Czech Republic international Milan Baros, so when he gets a chance, as a Premiership striker he HAS to take them. Don’t get me wrong, I think he is an outstanding prospect, he could well become our Thierry Henry (seriously he could) but those two chances today cost us the win, especially the second because from that missed chance Charlton went up the other end and a former Bluenose buried us. Difference between our guys and theirs is they weren’t afraid to shoot and ours were, in the whole match we had 2 shots on target TWO SHOTS? Just SHOOT, it isn’t that difficult, Darren Bent proved that, one long ball, one chance and into the back of the net it goes.

2-1 to Charlton and I bet they couldn’t believe their luck. There is a great deal of work to be done. If it was me (and thank god it isn’t you all say!) I’d have given Baros and Angel at least a month together to show what they can do, not this constant changing. Gabby hasn’t scored in 11, Baros has but is now back on the bench. Now that is either because of a bad attitude in training or possibly that he is off as he isn’t fancied? He was our top scorer last year, surely a run in the team and the right supply and he would once again score? I’d also have brought back Lee Hendrie (not my favourite player as he often wastes his talent), who is finishing his loan deal at Stoke today (and I believe set up the first goal). Long term he isn’t the answer, but at least he is experienced and could have done a job.

Oh, and from the moment that Gareth Barry got sent off, the Villa didn’t look anywhere near the same team, I hope the rumbles of swap deals involving Barry are just pie in the sky, I’d hate to see him go, although I’d love to see him move back to midfield where he is far more instrumental. He did deserve a red today, he gave the ball away cheaply, Cahill fell over letting Rommedahl thought and Barry chopped him down instead of leaving it to the keeper.

Ramble over, O’Neill knows the job at hand, just hope we can bring in some bodies in Jan. The rumour that Alan Smith is coming from Manchester United on loan for six months would at least bring us a winner, and one who is nasty and snarls at that, something Villa very much lack.

Player Ratings

Kirally 5
a clown, play the beast. Made one great save but could have prevented both goals.

Olof Mellberg 5.5
responsible for the first goal, a simple long ball that he usually has as his bread and butter.

Gary Cahill 5.5
some good parts but also a few slip ups.

Aaron Hughes 5.5
not a good day for any defender, although he did save a goal off the line but two crosses were dire and lost us possession.

Gareth Barry 6
well taken pen, was playing well, silly sending off.

Craig Gardner 5.5
overrun, poor passing, not great ball control, apart from that ace!

Stiliyan Petrov 5.5
didn’t notice him until he was coming off, apparently with a tight hamstring.

Steven Davis 6
started off well but like the rest, faded.

Gavin McCann 6.5
at least tried to get stuck in.

Gabby Agbonlahor 5.5
got in the right positions but failed to take his chances. Definitely a star in the making but a great deal of pressure has been put on our only (?) ever present this season, he is only a teenager afterall.

Juan Pablo Angel 5.5

Osbourne (on for Petrov 70)
Bouma (on for Angel 63)


20 Replies to “For The Love Of God SHOOT”

  • I couldn’t have put it better myself. Time for a few apparent “stars” to stand up and be counted. What the hell has happened to Petrov?? If he doesn’t fancy it, then go back up to Scotland for a stroll around! The whole team need a kick up the arse, otherwise I can see us in another relegation scrap. The worrying thing is though it doesn’t sound like MON is going to give them that, as he just thinks we have been unlucky. Down to 12th now and will be 14/15th come mid Jan and out of the cup! Sorry to sound so morbid but the truth hurts and it’s killing me! Randy we need your cheque book and fast. Saying that who will really want to come??

  • Grumpedy Grumpedy Groooo…..
    Despite what O’Neill said, I honestly think he’s pretty peeved with the players at the moment, he could come out like O’Leary did last season and say ‘well honest bunch of lads the team is crap etc etc’, but seeing as these are the only playing resources that MO’N has to hand there’s no point in completely destroying the morale of an already low of condifendence team. The fact he’s looking for players should be the clearest indication that he’s not happy with things as they are. As JP very rightly points out this is not his team…in fact not only is this not his team it’s not even DO’L’s team! Even O’Leary had the luxury of having James Milner, O’Neill has had to bring in players to bulk up the team. How we could use a player like Milner right now!
    Which brings us onto the squad. It’s clear to see how short these players are of quality, Angel has a couple of goodish season’s, but he’s not up to it anymore, and there is no service whatsoever we need a prolific striker. I really feel that Petrov will play better with decent players around him and at the moment, he is just plugging gaps and filling spaces in round him. Bouma is a bit hit and miss, and the fact Barry plays at left back has got to be the clearest indication as to the fact that MO’N doesn’t rate Bouma, Hughes is just abysmal and should be shipped off as soon as possible. Overall the team has punched above it’s weight but MO’N hasn’t had the opportunity to do anything. Whether that happens in January or not I have no idea, but when Lerner took over Villa he said ‘Keep your faith in Martin O’Neill’ and I still honestly beleive that he can sort this out! Sorry for the long rant, I really had to get that off my chest though…

  • long rants appreciated, totally agree – as do most fans I think – that we will keep the faith with MON, he hasn’t even started yet as far as I can see. Also agree that Hughes is just awful, he was better last season I’m sure? In fact wasn’t he Mr Ronseal last seaon, doing exactly what it said on the tin?

  • The situation with Hughes highlights exactly the issues that we have, we have a player who needs to be dropped. By some quirk of fate the only player who can come into that postition is also injured badly, so we need to reshuffle and move arguably our best central defender into the right back slot, which is fine for 1 or 2 games, and if you don’t play your only option when they are fit, it would destroy him, and what good would that be if your makeshift rightback gets injured? MO’N’s hands are totally tied, he has to play him…

  • To sum it up, the kids need help. One question though, why are players in some of the higher placed teams so much taller and bigger than us? Is size a factor here? Just watched Arsenal on the box – many yound players but bigger than ours. We have been muscled out of several games recently which leaves me thinking that we have lost some games because of poorer quality and others through lack of physical presence. Buy some decent bigger players – is that the first need? Would love to know what Randy is thinking and how the needs of the team now match whatever he planned for when he bought the club.

  • Maybe the run of defeats in recent games will highlight to the board what I am sure they already know, that this team was performing above expectations, the blip and a relatively big one has now occurred and investment in experienced Pros to see us through to the Summer and a Top ten finish, when the real work can start is now essential. it does make the hendrie on loan situation puzzling but maybe MON is just not a fan. This was, I suppose always going to happen at some stage, and with january upon us, hopefully Moore and Laursen on the way back a reinvigourated second half of the season awaits.

  • Sorry this o learys squad – with a 6m addition & the unforced sale of kevin philips – the unforced loan of lee hendrie. MON decisions. This is our worst run for 7 years, you say give him time……but how many do we loose ?
    MON seems to be hinting that he doesn’t expect to get the players he wants in Jan. A dangerous strategy – Beattie is reportedly available for 3.5m – Nugent would probably move for 4 – 5 m – now these probably aren’t anyones first choices – but we have to start somewhere – its no good saying, we can’t get the players – we have to get players in who are better than what we have. I am a MON fan and desparatley want him to do well for us, but if he can’t win matches, and can’t get us good players – then how good is he ?

  • He does need time, he was brought in 2 weeks before the start of the season with no time or money to make improvements or ability to assess the squad, Philips won us the Brum derby but what did he do other than that? Sutton has been far more influencial since his arrival and is currently our best striker. As for Hendrie, it seems Villa fans only want him back whenever we are going through a bad run and he is treated like he is the answer to all of our problems. Hendrie is a mouthy little so and so that shouldn’t be at our club, i’m sick of hearing him say year in year out how this is going to be his season, and then does nothing, when we are on the up no-one even mentions his name.
    There isn’t much point either in spending money for the sake of it, otherwise we’ll just have people like Balaban, Ginola and Baros on our books, frustrating us in good measure and champing at the bit to get out of the club, Nugent has said he doesn’t want to move, how is that MO’Ns fault that he can’t buy a player due to that players own free will? and in anycase just to use an example do you think spending £4-£5m on a player who has scored 6 goals in around 20-25 Championship games is good enough to play in the Premiership?

  • Bit harsh on Barry. Did not have any choice but to run with him.
    Got to remember that this is squad that we finished 16th with last season. Hopefully a few will come in january, but I dont think we will see O’ Neils team until the start of next season.
    This said mid table this season is surely progress.

  • Everyone said it would take at least 2 seasons for MON to get it right, yet 1 blip half way through his first season and some people are questioning him? Absolute madness!!!

  • Sutton – Currently our best striker – except he is out injured for six weeks – do we really want to wait six weeks on his return.

    What is the bigger disaster – signing a few players in the short term – who may help us – but we end up loosing a few million…


    we sign no one ……and get relegated – perhaps costing us £20m – and loosing the few quality players we have ?

  • qKing – It’s not a case of waiting 6 weeks for Sutton, and had the old transfer system been in place instead of these windows, we’d have probably had the top quality striker that we all wanted in our team now. We’ve had our fingers burned so many times in the past with short term signings, in recent memory DJ x 2 and Berger stick in the mind as being short term signings (though it is debatable about DJ x 2) and now we can’t pay anyone to buy them and they are no good to us other then sapping our wage bill. It goes back to everything that was said, if there is a striker available that is better than what we have then yes, we should try and sign them, but if you do sign players that don’t help you then what was the point of buying them in the first place?

  • Dando – I agree – but we can barley muster a shot – so almost any striker would be an improvement. My point is that because we can’t get defoe or bellamy – we shouldn’t buy no one – if we buy an experienced premier striker – he can least become a squad player – should we get a top quality striker in August. To me doing nothing would be a very high risk strategy

  • qKing – I get what you are saying, personally, if we can’t sign anyone that we want permanently like Defoe, Keane, Bent etc etc, then possibly the best thing to do would be to bring in a loan signing. That way it’s no risk to us if he’s rubbish and if he scores then it would help us. The rumour is that Alan Smith could be joining on a 6 month loan. This would be brilliant for us.

  • To be fair, I think some people are panicking a bit too much. The start of our season had given people false expectations I think. Midtable is where we will be come the end of the season, possibly higher if MO’N is able to get in the players he wants during January.

  • January is without the slightest doubt, a very big month for us. On the field we could well find ourselves well and truly established in the bottom half of the premiership, and also be out of this season’s F.A. Cup. If this was twelve months ago, with Ellis and O’Leary at the helm, I’d suggest we were in deep trouble. Thankfully they are not, and thankfully in RL and MON we have two men capable of turning the club around.

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