Date: 21st November 2008 at 2:20pm
Written by:

Friday, 14th November

As attentions turn to the Emirates, MON looks beyond the weekend and questions the value of England`s friendly in Germany on Wednesday. I concur.

Saturday, 15th November

What a superb day!

Arsenal will moan that they were poor, but make no mistake about it, we made them poor. For every bit as bad as they were, we were just as good. Perhaps frustratingly, for as bad as we were against Newcastle, we were as good today.

I must admit, with the chances we had, especially the penalty, I was nervous at half-time. Partly because we played THAT well that I didn’t think we could play as well in the second half. In all honesty, we actually didn’t; Arsenal had far more of the game than they had previously. But we were comfortable and looked electric on the break. There were a couple of times where I felt we were too deep, but that will happen when you’re defending a lead, especially at a place like Arsenal, and overall we were thoroughly excellent value for the win. In all honesty, it could have been more than 2-0.

The Newcastle game left me feeling as disappointed in Aston Villa as I have in quite a while. Today, I feel the exact opposite. The pride is beaming from me. It`s a much better feeling!

Further good news come later in the evening; Gareth Barry, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Ashley Young and Curtis Davies are named in the England squad for the (albeit pointless) friendly against Germany on Wednesday.

Sunday, 16th November

Predictably, all the media coverage is generally about Arsenal being poor and not about us playing well. Sigh.

Amazingly, there appears to be NO transfer talk on a Sunday. Wow!

Monday, 17th November

It is back on the Monday though, as we are linked with 20 year-old Standard Liege midfielder Steven Defour. An £8m fee is mentioned.

An update on the health of Freddie Bouma; he is still on course for a Christmas/New Year comeback. Good stuff.

In sad news, the club announced that former player Peter Aldis passed away. He played nearly 300 games for the cub and was an important part of the `57 FA Cup winning team. I`m sure you all join me in wishing all the best to his friends and family.

Tuesday, 18th November

Gareth Barry says the performance against Arsenal was the best under O`Neill. That`s probably fair.

O`Neill says he`s unsure about Barry`s future and doesn`t know what will happen in January. He does, however, say, we`re not too worried about it from a financial point of view. Which really must put at ease the minds of even the most negative fans when it comes to finances; I remember in the summer, a section of both supporters and the media seemed to suggest we have no money to spend. Not only has that proven to be complete and utter nonsense, but the latest comments also seem to suggest that we need not worry about the future, either.

Wednesday, 19th November

Gabriel Agbonlahor makes his England debut, and does very well. Gareth Barry also plays, and for me, was by far the better of the central midfield duo. His partner Michael Carrick was perhaps slightly better in the first half, but went missing in the second period. Ashley Young came on towards the end and put in a largely ineffectual performance, but it was more about defensive duty at that time. The real good news is, no injuries have been reported.

In news of a former player, Savo Milosevic plays for Serbia in what was his international finale… he scored twice, but he also missed two penalties! Ironically, it was actually his first appearance for Serbia, as his previous appearances came for Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro. I wonder if that makes him the first player to play for three different international teams?

We receive a visit from speed legend Michael Johnson who speaks to MON about speed and agility. I think this type of thing is great for the club, and any link like this has to be positive.

Oh, and we`re once again linked with Emile Heskey.

Thursday, 20th November

A few quotes (which appear to be recycled) are attributed to MON saying we will be looking to buy in January. I am sure we would all welcome a top-class striker or two.

Wayne Routledge is largely reported to have moved on loan to Cardiff (I say largely reported, as nothing official comes out from either us or them) and I hope it goes well for him. I think we all expect him to leave in the summer if a move in January doesn`t happen, and no-one can begrudge him the opportunity to resurrect his career.

So, as we look forward to Saturday, Dimitar Berbatov is apparently injured for the opposition. While I suppose that is good news, with the record Man U have over us, I am sure they are not overly worried, and to be honest, as Berbatov is a bit of a ‘homer`, I would much rather see him against us than Rooney.

As for ourselves, Carlos Cuellar has an injury and may not make it. If he does, you have to believe we will name an unchanged team. If he doesn`t, well then I`d imagine Nicky Shorey, Nigel Reo-Coker or maybe even John Carew will come back into the fray.