Friday, 24th April
Preparations for the Bolton game are disrupted by an injury to Luke Young. Carlos Cuellar is expected to fill in, with Zat Knight taking coming in at centre-back.
Saturday, 25th April
Bolton 1-1 Villa. It was a bit of a snooze-fest, in the big scheme of things. Bolton got a point towards safety (although I would say they were safe anyway) and we got a point more than Everton did, which is now the important race. Of course it is still mathematically possible for us to qualify for the Champions League but we all know it`s now a million-to-one shot; if anything I am now thoroughly behind Arsenal to win the Champions League. After all, if they do, it wouldn`t have mattered anyway! Finally, a quick word on Young`s goal – no, it wasn`t deliberate, but it was a fantastic cross which always has the possibility of going in when hit like that.
Sunday, 26th April
Ashley Young wins the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Good for him. I was surprised (I would have thought Stephen Ireland would have won it) but delighted, obviously. For me he hasn`t been as good since his suspension – which is strange as you would think the break would have done him good – but he is still very important to us.
Monday, 27th April
The reserve team beat WBA 2-0 at Villa Park thanks to goals from Marc Albrighton and James Collins, and consequently were crowned champions of the Barclays Premier Reserve League South for the second year running. The club deserve plenty of credit for the Academy and Reserve Team structure that is in place.
Tuesday, 28th April
Gareth Barry says things like, “there will not be a repeat of last summer”, and that he “has a difficult decision to make” and so on. So basically, he is not committing his future just yet. I suppose it is inevitable that he will be linked with Liverpool again, but given the form of Alonso this season, will they really be back in for Barry? It will be interesting to see how it pans out, but I am sure we all agree that we most definitely do not want a repeat of last years seemingly never ending saga!
MON says that Wilfred Bouma should be back for pre-season. I sure hope he is.
On the subject of MON, he won a second libel case against Football365. Amusingly, the article in question came just 16 days after the first case that MON won against them. Some people are just asking for trouble! The articles are basically around his dealings with Rafa Benitez over the Gareth Barry saga last summer, and falsely accuse MON of not being 100% honest with his statements about wanting private negotiations.
Wednesday, 29th April
The annual should-Celtic-and-Rangers-join-the-EPL question has come up. When asked, MON has unsurprisingly said yes. For me, I can see the argument to a certain extent but it raises too many questions and in all honesty, would Celtic and Rangers fans want it? After all, would they qualify for the Champions League on a consistent basis? They would certainly be in a better position financially and the potential for both clubs would be enormous, but they would not be in a position to be as dominant as they are now and subsequently, for that and many other reasons, I don`t ever see it happening.
We are relatively strongly linked with Steaua Bucharest defender Dorin Goian and (once again) Leeds midfielder Fabian Delph.
Thursday, 30th April
John Carew says that he is happy at Villa Park and wants to stay. Hopefully that will end the rumours that have been doing the rounds about him leaving.
Brad Friedel says it is important that we finish 5th, and has urged the team to rediscover the winning teach in order to make sure it happens.
So, another month is done and horribly, it`s another winless month. We will before the end of the season though won`t we?
Oh, one last thing. I will be sitting in the Directors Box for the Hull game on Monday I`m very excited!
The Week In Villa #36 (24/4/09 – 30/4/09)
Friday, 24th April