Writer: J P Fear
Date:Wednesday April 26 2006
For anybody who didn't go last night, and thanks to an accident on the A38 slip road, I believe quite a few didn't make it - don't worry you didn't miss a thing. Actually you did miss something, David O'Leary using tactics, why he decided to use them last night I don't know, but I am glad it was the first time he used his managerial prowess and guise to try and get something from a game otherwise we would be alot worse off than we actually are right now.
So I am walking from the bar in the Upper Trinity as they are coming out of the tunnel, and as I reach the top of the stairs I see Hughes, Cahill, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Samuel, Milner, McCann, Barry, Angel, Baros........at this point I am very very confused. It would seem he has decided to play some kind of 3-2-3-2 going forward, OR was it 4-4-2 with Jlloyd taking up the left wing with Barry moving into centre mid?...OR was it 3-5-2? OR 5-0-5......I will stop here because I am still not sure, and whatever system was employed last night Baros still couldn't get round Distin, and Dunne was not going to be ''done'' by the long ball.
It was shambolic, and to add to the embarrassment of Darius Vassell scoring a simple left foot tap in (I didn't know he had a left foot, but he does against us apparently), then the genius that is David O'Leary decides to take Baros off for no apparent reason and put Gabby on. It was almost like Baros knew he was coming off, and it had been planned before the game/or at half time that he was on for an hour and that was it. But this just confused me even more, its not like he had been running like mad and was tired because he was just not getting the service to his feet that he relies on, although my hat goes off to Angel because his link up play was excellent last night, but again didn't get enough of the ball because everyone behind him didn't know what they were doing. SO off comes Baros and Gabby goes on, and we seem to be shaping up more like 4-4-2 at this point. Straight away he is running at Dunne, Sommeil, Distin and terrorising them with his frightening pace and even manages to test James a few times who spilled the ball in the six yard box from one of Gabbys stingers for a goal mouth scramble to unfold.
Next comes another moment of pure genius from O'Leary, bring off Ridgewell for Phillips, strange to me as Ridgewell had done nothing wrong and had a decent game so far, and he was even clearing up for Jlloyd who seemed to be back to his usual lazy/bored self. This is the exact point in the game when it went completely pear shaped, even though it seemed to be the point when we were obviously going 4-4-2 it was just to confusing to understand and O'Leary had got it wrong again with his substitution. Gabby dropped back onto the left wing and Phillips went up alongside Angel, straight away giving us no pace up front against a very impressive Sylvain Distin (I will agree on only one thing with O'Tool in this, that Distin would be great in a Villa shirt). Why did he not bring JLloyd off and put Gardener on and let Barry go back on the left wing where he belongs? That for me would of been perfect common sense, defensive in the middle with a very impressive McCann - no messing about all night long, strong at the back with no JLloyd - and a stronger back four. That way we would of still had our only threat (Gabby) to the 'Citeh' defence, and playing where he should be, up front!!!
After this point we were never going to get anything from the game as O'Tool had lost it for us, and there was a very polite gentleman whispering in Aitkin's ear next to the 'DOUG-OUT' explaining this to him, for his efforts the Trinity applauded him - I also take my hat off to him. Why could 26,000 people see what was wrong with his 'Management' last night but he could not? I even had the pleasure of the ride home with a 'Citeh' fan, but even he admitted it was poor from both sides and couldn't understand what O'Leary was doing. As for the offside goal from Phillips, he had his luck when he was offside against 'The Blouse', we deserved nothing anyway.
Let me tell you something else about Phillips, walking out of the Trinity Upper a few of us happened to gaze up at one of the Plasma screens to see so called 'Super Kev' walking off the pitch with his arm around Sinclair smiling and laughing...I don't know about anyone else but that should be saved for the players lounge, not the fans to witness after (arguably) one of the worst performances of the season. Compile that with O'Leary's post match comments of 'we didn't deserve to lose that game', I was left wondering if he thought he was the manager of Villarreal last night, and not Aston villa
I don't know what is going to happen to the club I love this summer, but if we don't get taken over and have to go next season with the current squad, with O'I-Miss-Risdale at the helm we will be relegated, I have no doubt. We need a new inspirational manager at the helm as we are underachieving massively with the talent in our squad. But I will not detract from Doug Ellis in this, he may of had nothing to do with last night, but he is the root of all evil at our football club even if O'Leary is inept as a manager. Do not be fooled by Deadly and let him use O'Leary as his 'escape goat', as he has done with the past TEN managers he has employed. The rot started at the top years ago!
Without these I don't know where we will be this time next year.
By Michael Bakewell
Date:Wednesday April 26 2006
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