Friday, 14th August
It`s the last day before the new season and we have no more new signings so we will have to go with what we have. It`s back I AM SO EXCITED!!!
Saturday, 15th August
Villa 0-2 Wigan. So much has been written about this that I wont tell you anything you don`t know so I will tell you how I saw it:
Worst performance since MON arrived
Our full-backs are absolutely useless – Bemoaning Luke Young at left-back and NRC/Gardner at right-back? I`d have that over them two clowns any day of the week
Our two central defenders are better at sweeping alongside someone who attacks the ball. They do not work as a duo. A new – dominant – defender is desperately required
Ashley Young believes his own press
The ‘MON factor` that went missing towards the end of last season appears to have disappeared forever
4-4-2 doesn`t work when the defence is that deep that the midfield has too much ground to cover
Two ‘conventional` strikers isn`t my favourite way to go either, I`d rather see a 5th midfielder that is creative – a second striker type – alongside, well, John Carew
John Carew and MON, despite what has been said, probably are not happy with each other
To my mind, Brad Friedel, Stan Petrov, Fabian Delph and James Milner are the only players that really come out with any credit, although Heskey improved on his first half performance – not that he was good in the second half, but he at least contributed, which he did not in the first half.
I am sure some will disagree about Delph, but to me it is too easy to just say Gareth Barry, blah blah blah. We could have had anyone in the middle and they would have struggled because of the tactical ineptness of the team.
Earlier in the day James Milner is linked to Liverpool. Yeah, that`ll happen!
Sunday, 16th August
I`m still seething.
Monday, 17th August
Rumours emerge that Luke Young is to join Hull. Given recent events, that seems unlikely.
MON says he is surprised by the fact that we used less players than anyone last season. Makes you wonder what else he doesn`t check out.
Tuesday, 18th August
Harry Redknapp says Jermaine Jenas and David Bentley aren`t leaving. Maybe that will put an end to the rumours.
I`m still furious about Saturday. What a joke.
Wednesday, 19th August
The squad for Rapid Vienna is announced, and thankfully it`s a strong one.
Thursday, 20th August
Rapid Vienna 1-0 Villa. Well, a fair bit of what I said about Saturday`s game still applies. I was pleased to see 4-5-1, albeit it was all a bit pointless without a creative midfielder. I think we can get the required result next week. But this was still rubbish.
That`s about it. So this is one year of ‘The Week in Villa` and I will end it with a rant.
I`m an optimistic person by nature; heck, every time I buy a lottery ticket I am already making plans for the millions in my head. I also have a realistic element, which means that when I inevitably don`t win the jackpot, I am not that disappointed.
I often apply this philosophy to supporting Villa. I believe we can win most games when I go into them – I say most because I have give up on ManUre! – and I look at the bright side a lot. I have done that often with MON. Rather than concentrate on his transfer shortcomings, I concentrate on two consecutive top six finishes. Rather than worry about the Champions League qualification failure, I concentrate on our record points total for 12 years. Rather than worry about the poor defending, I concentrate on the exciting matches. Rather than worry about some serious tactical questions, I concentrate on automatically qualifying for Europe for the first time in years.
But, in the latter part of last season, something changed. Somewhere along the line, the belief that when we went 1-0 down it almost meant it just made it more exciting disappeared, and I stopped believing. The tactical decisions were getting stranger, the players seemed to care less, MON looked flustered. I put it down to the pressures and hoped we could come back this season stronger. I knew there would still be tactical problems but I hoped that the pre-season break would mean we could come back revitalized.
We have not.
Something is fundamentally wrong at the club, and whatever it is needs to be changed. Last season we proved we were capable of putting up a fight and let`s face it, that fight was ours to lose and we did. With a bit of an improvement we could make a better fight of it. The Barry thing doesn`t overly worry me, but the Laursen thing does. We need to replace him as well as we can, we need to look at more additions in as high a market as we can and we need to look at the tactics.
A few years ago Aston Villa was practically on it`s knees, and it`s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride over the last three years, but the pride had been restored.
It seems ridiculous saying this after one league game and one European game, however I can`t help but feel that if something doesn`t change soon we will be back on our knees.
The Week In Villa #52 (14/8/09 – 20/8/09)
Friday, 14th August