Friday, 8th May
Perhaps in a naughty manner given tomorrows opposition, John Carew says he would love to see his Norwegian team-mate – Fulham`s Brede Hangeland – join Villa in the summer. Based on what I have seen of him, I think I`d be pretty happy with that, too.
Ashley Young, Stilyian Petrov and Carlos Cuellar all face fitness tests before the game tomorrow.
Saturday, 9th May
It`s my birthday! So thanks Villa, for helping to temporarily ruin it !
Fulham 3-1 Villa. In the big scheme of things, Fulham needed points, strictly speaking we didn`t as we have already qualified for the Europa league. Fulham are a good home side (one of the very best in the Premiership), and we look like we need to season to end. That said, we had our fair share of the attacking play. From that point of view, I was disappointed but not surprised at the outcome.
I do have an issue with a few things though. Why were we defending so deep all the time, for one thing? Where was Gareth Barry`s head, in Liverpool? What has happened to Ashley Young`s set-piece taking? Why the hell did Nicky Shorey take forever to come off the pitch? I mean, a) that is not helpful to your team-mates; and b) if you hadn`t been so deep for the second goal, the chance are it would never have happened. Muppet! I really want him to do well, because he`s an Aston Villa player. But he has been woeful a lot of the time, and even when he`s been better, he has been fairly average. When Carlos Cuellar is at right-back and gives the ball away a lot that`s annoying enough, but he is a centre-back being asked to play out of position, and while I think he is a good defender (I am genuinely surprised at the stick he takes off Villa fans – it`s not his fault he`s been asked to play at right-back, nor is it his fault that he has barely played with Laursen) he is not great on the ball. Shorey, on the other hand, is a natural full-back who is supposed to have a ‘cultured` left-foot. Well I have very rarely seen a Villa player give the ball away as much as I have Shorey this season. This may seem like a pointless rant, but when I see someone walking off the pitch in the way he did, especially when it is someone who has let us down this season, I take offence to that. I understand him being frustrated but if he has a problem he should take it up with MON in private and not act like some big-time Charlie. Cause I tell you what Shorey, if you`re reading this, you aint one.
Sunday, 10th May
The aforementioned Shorey says that he needs to improve his defending. I agree, obviously. I hope he does and goes on to be a major success for us though. I`m not a man who bears grudges! (Well, maybe don`t mention Dwight Yorke and a few others, but while they`re still at Villa I don`t!)
Sunday transfer rumours are doing the rounds, and Barry off to Liverpool is predictably the biggest one. As for players coming in, Anderlecht defender Roland Juhasz is the more prominent rumour. Fabian Delph, Michael Owen and Carlos Tevez all get mentions too. Wouldn`t Tevez look just grand in a Villa shirt? Sadly the reports are not from any credible source, and they also link him with Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City, Spurs, Real Madrid . zzzzz .
In not very relevant news, some media sources, pick up on a story where Tom Hanks calls us ‘c**p`, but in all honesty he is more talking about his own ignorance of football. Of course, certain local anti-Villa media try to put a different spin on it, but then, they would.
Monday, 11th May
Apparently we hire a scout (Dave Wilson) for the Scandinavian area. Um I hope that is a replacement/addition and not a brand new philosophy, because if it is, why did we not already have one? Where else are we not scouting? Still, better late than never I suppose
Quite a lot of reports suggest that MON was watching Ajax play at the weekend, and the reason is believed to be their Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen.
Tuesday, 12th May
MON moans about the amount of games in the re-branded UEFA Cup, now the Europa League. He isn`t wrong, as it involves more games than the Champions League. It will take a lot for people to show more interest in it, too. Maybe if it was shown by the same channel – such as Setanta and BBC1 having the same kind of format that Sky & ITV have for the CL – then it might at least have a more credible feel over here, rather than C5/ITV4 etc just grabbing a game here & there? I dunno, probably not, just an idea; I fear I`m rambling…
ANYHOO, MON also praises James Milner, and talks about his energy and heart. Good qualities for a central midfielder, no? Ah I know, I`m flogging a dead horse with this one!
Zat Knight says he has no idea whether or not he will be staying. If he wants first-team football on a regular basis, he is better off leaving. If he is happy being an Aston Villa squad player, then he may as well stay. Incidentally, on the same day there are suggestions that Bolton have slapped a £20m price tag on Gary Cahill. *Sigh *
On the subject of central defenders, Alberto Rodriguez (Sporting Braga) is the latest to be linked with a move to B6.
The day ends with Stilian Petrov winning both the Players Player and Supporters Player of the year, and Nathan Delfounso won the Young Player equivalents. John Carew won the Goal of the Season award for that corker against Stoke (which MON humorously describes as a miss-kick) and Mark Kinsella won the Former Players Player of the Season award. Congratulations to all of them. I didn`t attend the event but my best mate did and said Gareth Barry was not there. Apparently he has flu, which may be the case. It would explain his woeful performance against Fulham if nothing else.
Wednesday, 13th May
MON admits to a charge of improper conduct for his rant about Mike Riley. He escapes a fine, is ordered to pay costs and gets a warning about his future conduct. Funny, he wasn`t wrong in ANYTHING that he said though, was he?
Thursday, 14th May
MON says he is unsure of the budget he will have for the summer. Once again, local anti-Villa media put their slant on it and tell us that MON says he will have to sell before he buys, which is NOT what he has said. Yes, Randy Lerner is extremely likely to be in a worse financial position than he was 12 months ago (I know that I am anyway, and so is just about everyone else I know!) so maybe there wont be that much cash there. He still never said anything about having to sell, though.
The day ends, sadly, with strong suggestions that Martin Laursen is going to announce his retirement tomorrow.
Now, on to the weekend I hope Hull isn`t the last time I get to discuss a Villa win this season!
The Week In Villa #38 (8/5/09 – 14/5/09)
Friday, 8th May