Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday February 27 2006
David O'Leary has said survival is the key.
Villa lie in 15th place having accrued only 31 points with just 7 wins (10 draws, 10 losses) to their name so far this season. In a sad-for-the-state-of-Midlands-football table, we lie just above WBA on 26 points and Small Heath on 23. Only Middlesbrough - with a game in hand - keep us from being 16th, 17th and 18th in the league. With Sunderland relegated and Portsmouth looking certain to join them, the fight for the final relegation spot could well come down to one of the Birmingham teams.
Villa certainly lie in a safer position with points already on the table but have to face Portsmouth, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City before the season is out. Not to mention difficult games against Blackburn (away), a slightly revived Everton (away), Fulham (home) who are just above us in the league with 32 points, a final visit to Highbury to face the inconsistent Gunners, an away trip to this seasons surprise package Wigan, a home tie to our FA Cup opponents Man City, a thankless visit to Anfield and what should prove to be a safe end to a dire season against Premiership whipping boys Sunderland.
David O'Leary said: 'We are still in the FA Cup and would love to meet Charlton in the final but my main priority is to reach the safety point, around 40 points, in the league as soon as possible and then see what plans we can make for the summer.'
Adding, somewhat bemusingly:
'Sometimes the job is about keeping what is happening off the pitch, with all the takeover talk, away from the players and keeping their heads up but so long as we end up safe that is what it is about.'
I'm sorry, but that excuse will not wash. The takeover makes no difference to the players, they have secure contracts and all they have to worry about is where they will get their next sw**ky car or diamond earring from. Lets not hide behind such tame excuses David.
Date:Monday February 27 2006
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