Friday, 27th February
We, along with Spurs, escape UEFA action for fielding weakened teams. Not really news, is it?! Michel Platini gets all het up about it, which is irrelevant but mildly funny. Between him, Blatter and the clowns at the FA, plus Sky, it is no real coincidence that every season I fall a little more out of love with the game, and if it wasn`t for my beloved Villa I am not sure how much I would even bother with it anymore.
Saturday, 28th February
The club invite the fans that travel to Moscow for a meal with MON. Regardless of what people think about the selection, and whether this is scant consolation or not, I do believe it`s a genuinely nice gesture that is further evidence that we should be grateful for the current regime.
Gareth Barry states there is no tiredness at the club. Not that the players have been on a frenzied caffeine session, it is just that the players are not jaded. Personally, I wonder how professional athletes that get looked after as well as professional footballers do can get jaded, but hey, what do I know!
Finally, Harry Forrester and Kofi Poyser score the goals to earn the Academy lads a draw against Blues. We come back from 2-0 down, so I suppose it was a good result in the end, although I imagine a win would have been expected prior to kick-off.
Sunday, 1st March
Villa 2 – 2 Stoke. Unprofessional, gutless, rubbish, amateurish, naïve. Just a few words I have seen describing the collapse. The only positive thing I have to say is that John Carew`s goal was wonderful and deserved to win a game of football. Had his team-mates not let him down, it would have done.
It is not just the result; it is the psychological aspect of it. It is the points we have lost. It is hope it gives Arsenal. It is a short-term horror and potentially an even bigger horror in the long-term.
Seldom have I left Villa Park so angry in the two decades I have been attending.
Monday, 2nd March
The predictable aftermath of the day before occurs, including Arsene Wenger starting his mind games. I hate to go into the mode of that moron Kevin Keegan, but I really will LOVE IT if we beat them!
Right, let`s look at something positive. The reserves beat Chelsea reserves 4-3, and Freddie Bouma played 90 minutes. Good stuff. The goals came from Nathan Delfounso (2), Jonathan Hogg and Ciaran Clark. If anyone is interested in Chelsea, Michael Essien scored for them. Good player, that lad. He makes some disgusting two-footed tackles, though.
Isaiah Osborne joins Nottingham Forest on loan. It will be interesting to see how he`ll do. At one point I thought he was going to make the grade but he hasn`t cut out the silly errors that he was doing when he first played for the first XI. That is not to say there is not still hope, but it seems a lot more doubtful now.
Finally, Carlos Cuellar gives an interview where he says Christiano Ronaldo would not necessarily be a hit in Spain due to the slower pace of the game, but Ashley Young would be a complete success. WHAT? Carlos, zip it!
Tuesday, 3rd March
The M*rror reports that John Carew is likely to leave in the summer. Given the source, he is now probably the LEAST likely to leave!
Martin Laursen is ‘pencilled in` for a return against Manchester United, apparently. I tell you what; we miss him from an attacking point of view almost as much as we do a defensive aspect. I just hope that when he does return that the poor bloke has absolute minimal injury problems in the future. That is not just for us, it is also because he deserves it.
Wednesday, 4th March
Man City 2 – 0 Villa. SIGH. The slump continues. With Arsenal winning the night before (albeit predictably; the Albion are woeful at the back) it added extra pressure and we failed the test. Citeh, without Robinho, Bellamy or Richards could have been there for the taking. But, we don`t win against this lot very often, and for some reason Shaun Wright-Phillips seems to save most of his best performances for us. He got MOTM, although to be honest I would have given it to Stephen Ireland, who I thought was absolutely fantastic, particularly in the first half. Every time I have seen him this season he has been superb.
As for us? Well in the first-half we were awful. Again, it was another example of why a conventional 4-4-2 does not work. In the second half, when we were much better, even though we still played 4-4-2, it was a lot more fluid with much more movement and therefore we largely the better side for most of it. Personally I think a 1-1 draw would have been just, although if anyone did deserve to win it was them.
Thursday, 5th March
Gareth Barry reveals that there are no further contract talks planned at this time. Depending on what source you read, this is dramatised in various ways!
The club announce a further 12 months partnership with Acorns. I think this is fantastic.
Finally, Luke Young says we are still in a great position as we are still in control of our own destiny. I agree. I know things haven`t gone great lately, but let us look at the situation If we had been offered 4th place and 3 points ahead of Arsenal with 10 games to go before the season started, we would have took it. Arsenal are not 3 points ahead, we are. 10 games, 30 points to play for and for one still have some faith.
The Week In Villa #28 (27/02/09 – 5/3/09)
Friday, 27th February