Aston Villa - Petrov - A Roar Or A Whimper?
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Petrov - A Roar Or A Whimper?

I'm sorry, I'm really not sure I follow this.

We all know that Stiliyan Petrov, to date, has failed to live up to his reputation or his price tag since moving from Celtic to Villa Park last summer.

His debut against West Ham at Upton Park was totally sublime, many of his performances since have been quite the opposite to the point where even Martin O'Neill - who has stuck by the Bulgarian international through thick and thin - had to drop him against Chelsea.

Now, once again, Martin O'Neill has now promised that the player will come good and then says:

'Stiliyan Petrov is going through a tough time at this minute but he'll come back. The crowd have got more than anxious at a time when he maybe needs them behind him, just to settle him down.'

Now I totally agree that heckling a player is wrong. Always has been, always will be. When a player in on the pitch in the mighty claret and blue shirt, they have to have our support. But can the crowd really be blamed for the natural reaction of what becomes a 'collective groan' when a player gives the ball away? Sometimes the players have to stand up and be counted surely? So do managers, I've thought a few times that playing him when so clearly out of form was unfair and confidence shattering, but then I don't suppose I'm allowed to say that am I?

The player should have settled in by now, simple as that. He set the bench mark very high following his debut, I actually thought we'd bought the new magic Merse and there really isn't higher praise than that.

Maybe I'm just a grumpy git, but apart from the boo boys who I have no time for at all, I think the fans ARE there supporting week in week out - and lets face it, times haven't exactly been good for the last five seasons have they? So I'm not sure what more we can do. Should we all stand and cheer next time Petrov makes a half arsed pass or maybe begin a Mexican wave (well, to be fair I do a one man Mexican wave each game, that said, I'm a pratt!). Sometimes do the players not have to give something back? Ok everyone suffers poor form at times (just ask my ex-girlfriends!) but that should never stop 100% commitment EVERY minute on the pitch, that is what the extortionate wages the players get these days demands surely?

O'Neill continued on the official site: 'It's been suggested that I've put Stiliyan in front of some of the other lads simply because I'd bought him. The bottom line is I really couldn't care less who's in the team - if the players are doing it for me, then I couldn't care less whether he cost 6.5m or 200,000.'

The actions don't really follow that through, but then again he is the manager and it is only his decision that ever matters whilst in charge of the team, he see's them training, he knows what he wants and it is his job on the line if the results don't follow, we only see a fraction of what goes on.

O'Neill continued: 'If I think they deserve to go into the side, they will go in the side. That's why I think Craig Gardner was a bit unlucky against Chelsea. He's not a right-back, he's essentially a midfielder. You could turn around and tell me Shaun Maloney, who I paid 1m for, was desperately unlucky not to play against Chelsea. You can go down that road until you're blue in the face. No one has a divine right to be in the team. I'd hope that at some stage the same would apply to Gareth Barry, but he's so good for us at the moment that he's in.

Finishing, 'If I had someone better than Ashley Young - and there's not many better than him anyway up and down the country - then he'd play. We have a squad here and all these boys will play games. I'm not saying we've got the ability to rotate like the top four sides, but we'll need these players. It's got nothing to do with justification - I left Stiliyan Petrov out the team at Celtic and for some European games. But he always came roaring back.'

Come on then Stiliyan, the claret and blue faithful are willing you to come roaring back for us, well to start roaring at any rate. I'd certainly prefer to see Craig Gardner and Shaun Maloney get their chances first though!

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday September 6 2007

Time: 5:33PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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We were 1 up against Chelsea and hanging on for grim death and MON brings on PETROV! and moans about the crowd groaning come on! The obvious choice if we were going to play with 1 up front was the much more energetic and in MONs own words unlucky Gardner who would have run his legs off for the cause. You got away with it MON stop making excuses for Petrov and play your best team!
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06/09/2007 18:28:00

JF - if this is an accurate summary of MON's utterances, then in my opinion he's talking rubbish. His job as manager, at the end of the day is to field the best team. Whatever excuses he keeps coming up with for Petrov are irrelevant. Quite simply he's not playing well enough, even to be sitting on the bench. In my opinion, he's not settled in the Prem and I feel sure his fitness level and sharpness is just not good enough. MON just has to move on and exclude him from selection until he shows he can perform at the top of his ability, week-in, week-out. Play Gardner and Maloney (and Berger, when fit) who will give 110%.
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06/09/2007 19:16:00

It is accurate villacross, I never cut out select quotes just to prove a point, the interview was on the official site. A few weeks being dropped (not even on the bench) might focus the mind. I thought a few times last season that the player looked shot of all confidence and that it was pretty unfair to be playing him whilst performing so badly.
The Fear
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06/09/2007 19:59:00

(oh, that didn't read right villacross, wasn't thinking for a minute that you were accusing me of doing a cut and paste to suit my argument!!!!)
The Fear
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06/09/2007 20:00:00

Several things come out of those comments, and despite risking the wrath of the God squad here goes. O'Neill knows there is a problem with Petrov, he knows the fans and many in the media see him as a failure and he is, as is his want trying to justify his actions. He played Petrov for far too long, he's excused Petrov for far too long but even he has noted the team are suffering if Petrov plays. He always plays his own players first he's never done it different, at 8 million Petrov remains a big mistake. Even now as above he's looking to excuse a poor performance, by trying to shift blame to the fans he's putting Villa fans down in his justification. Plenty have believed his rhetoric, even now some fans say we should give him more time to settle and have started bleating similarly about Carew. Instead he should continue as he's started this season and keep him on the bench and while he's there he should sort out Petrov's problem rather than justifying his own incompetence. The bloke has talent, as the West Ham game showed, what's gone wrong from there ? That's the question we should be asking, does he lack motivation, is he upset at Villa for some reason, I wonder. Carew scores 2 goals against Argentina and their media rave about him, in the same month he can't hit a barn door the size of Villa Park, why? No doubt in a few months O'Neill will be justifying him as the General has already done. Mind in Carew's case I think he's just a chance he'll be gloating at how good he's done to turn him into a super striker, who knows.
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06/09/2007 20:02:00

I remember being gutted when he chose Villa over Pompey, he has quality, just it isn't bursting through right now
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06/09/2007 20:14:00

He has to prove himself now, the honeymoon period is long over. Carew on the other hand is a menace to defences, as shown against Chelsea. He's no '20 goal a season striker', admittedly(can't believe I coined that ridiculus phrase), but he causes problems when he plays. Carew doesn't look 100% fit to me though, maybe he will get fitter over the season. Its all on MON now, as he says, 'it's a results business, and results is what he has to deliver now. UTV
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06/09/2007 20:39:00

In asking us to get behind him it implies he will be in the team or coming off the bench. Why? I would like to get behind him when he has done a stint in the reserves and played his way back into the reckoning. He nearly lost us all the hard work agaist Chelsea within a couple of minutes of coming on. He is uncreative and a defensive liability. Gardner has been great as have Luke Moore and Maloney. All deserve a place in the starting line up and Man utd played for years with the likes of Mark Hughes Cantone and Ollie GS as their strikers. With the kind of silky football on the wings we managed against Chelsea, Maloney just behind Luke Moore instead of Carew would potentially be a very creative and potent format. Carew has done well though - but for me Maloney could alternatively replace Petrov too. As said by others with Gardner, Maloney and Berger to come back it is just not on to even consider Petrov for a place on the bench for any Premier game. Fact is if MON plays him and he continues his current form for one more game - then come the end of the season and we miss out on Europe by 2 points then it will be a travesty. Best team all the time. Villa cannot compete with the Big 4 but to get close we need a great team spirit and that is helped by consistent selection of the best players. The valiant few that won us the League in 1981 were testimony to that and the all conquering Leeds team of the late 60s/70s - everyone who remembers that era can still recite their team now. Times have moved on some will say - and they of course have. But we are not in Europe and we are not weighed down by Euro league fixtures. We are also the mighty Aston England (for anyone who read the Times this week) rather than any European superstars (Scandinavians count as quasi English in style). MON you are great. But Petrov - come back and prove us all wrong and gladly win all our support. But now you should have to fight your way back. Your first 15 place SHOULD have gone.
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06/09/2007 20:49:00

A player can only settle in a team if he is accepted by the ring leaders. And the matter of fact is that Petrov has not been accepted for whatever reason by the likes of Barry etc. He needs to move on and find another team. He is a good player but cannot fit in Villa locker room.
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06/09/2007 20:50:00

And one example. The second goal in Chelsea game when Young tried to shoot (and by mistake hit Agbonlahor) Petrov was standing completely free and open in the penalty area ready to shoot but never was considered by his team mate as an option to pass to. You cannot expect a player to do any good in such environment.
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06/09/2007 20:57:00

He was on the pitch about 1 min against Chelsea and nearly gave away the ball,I wouldn't be sad if he went back to Celtic everytime he gives the ball away he just puts his hands on his hips and stands there,against Liverpool we were minus a player with him on the pitch.
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06/09/2007 21:26:00

* nearly gave away the equeliser
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06/09/2007 21:28:00

avfc48 = carbage comments. A bitter and twisted individual if ever there was one.
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06/09/2007 21:35:00

soccaron - I expect a striker to have a go in the box all the time. It doesn't follow that this means that the team doesn't get along with a player simply because he doesn't recieve a pass. If it did then we'd have to scrap the transfer window - now theres a thought!
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06/09/2007 21:40:00

at 8m he should have done much better (and as a chelsea fan i should know more than most about flops). i think the young english youth at villa deserves a chance ahead of petrov
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06/09/2007 21:44:00

He's been useless since he came. Its about time he had some pressure on him. Glad the managers noticed.
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06/09/2007 22:28:00

as far as petrov goes, he should have settled and it is a pointless debate. at least MON has seen the problem, or part of it. i wonder if petrov has an inflated ego? that could be a problem as it does not fit into MON's mould. yeah yeah i know most footballers may have similar, but i hope you get my point. stick him in the reserves for a month. with carew, he is a bit like viduka in a way, big and strong and does a whole lot off the ball. he is good for the team.
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07/09/2007 02:59:00

I do not think Petrov has lived up to expectations. Although I do not think he has been a bad player, just not as good as we had hoped. Leaving aside one mistake against Liverpool , because all players can make mistakes, what we ask is 100% effort. And despite somebody questioning that in one of the posts, this is the area in which he has excelled. He has always given his all. Those of you have access to the opta stats will kow that he covered more ground than any Villa player last season (by some considerable margin I am told). I was hoping for more, but what we have got so far is average, but with lots of hard work. I am unsure of why JF should refer to his wages?? As long as he continues to give 100% his wages shouldn't be an issue. It was the clubs choice to give him whatever salary he is on. If any of us wanted to footballers we could have been. Instead we CHOSE whatever careers we are in. It smacks of jealousy to bring wages into the equation. I do believe all players are massively overpaid. But that is not their fault, it is the fault of those running the game.
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07/09/2007 07:40:00

anyone so keen on what the stats say will see his pass output was far less than any other midfield player we have or had if you include McCann, his tackle rate and success similarly poor, but hey ho he ran around ineffectively so he's a hero. Oh O'Neill brought him in that's what really makes him special, he's one of the chosen so he can't do wrong. Thankfully the majority of fans live in the real world and O'Neill knows, like them, that Petrov hasn't lived up to a 2 million player he's sold off let alone another in Davis, who he kept out of his rightful position because he insisted on playing an out of form, not good enough player. The article is another of O'Neill's self justification spiels, designed for the mugs in his God squad who believe every utterance he offers. Petrov was a good player, his early performances suggest he can still do it, but as any Celtic fan will tell you Celtic were laughing themselves silly as they counted every pound of the money O'Neill paid, and they weren't crying as his car left the car park, far from it. He may come good if he doesn't those outside his God squad will be questioning the man who bought him and continually excuses him when he's not up to the job and doesn't improve
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07/09/2007 08:27:00

Been a big dissapointment since joining for me. His first 2 games he was easily man of the match then fizzled out big time. I don't think he has the heart to do what is needed for Villa it's always good to prove people wrong but I feel he doesn't want it for whatever reason. Gardner would play before him for me.
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07/09/2007 09:36:00

Drop him for a few games, don't even put him on the bench. he might then realise he's NOT the star man of our team and it might push him on. the thing that has *****ed me off with him recently is his lack of effort. OK last season he may have been under performing but atleast he was trying. the game against Fulham was the final straw for me, no passion or commitment and we can't afford to carry him in big games. So MON be a man admit he's playing *****, drop him and tell him he's got to win the fans back by what he does on the pitch, not one of us would fault a player that gives 100%. UTV
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07/09/2007 09:46:00

avfc48, if you weren't so cynical and completely negative, you'd sometimes be mistaken for a villa fan.
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07/09/2007 10:41:00

I hope the guy gets his act together, not least because he cost us a lot of money, and for what we paid we have a right to expect so much more.
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07/09/2007 11:29:00

I have to disagree Glensider. It doesn't matter if the player is homegrown or one we have purchased. All we can ask is for 100%. We don't have any 'rights' other than wether we choose to attend or not. Petrov didn't set his transfer fee. I actually think he has given 100%. Wether that is good enough is another question and one that M'ON must address. Not you or I. Personally I think the harder you work, the more successful you will be. The popular phrase was one made by Garry Player. He was quoted as saying "it's funny, but the harder I work the luckier I get". Petrov works very hard for the team. I for one hope that he has an upturn in form and if his work rate is to be rewarded, he will. But as it currently stands his form doesn't warrant a starting place. It is up to him to get that place back the next time he is provided an opportunity owing to suspension or injury. I wonder if this makes me part of a 'God squad'? I actually think 48 is a very, very nice man. Last time I said otherwise I was red carded.
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07/09/2007 11:53:00

I'm interested that you say none of us would fault a player who gave 100% 'star', what was your opinions on McCann, Sorensen, Davis, Ridgewell and Hughes, they always seemed to me to give 100%. I think Petrov mostly does too, but as Celtic fans always said, give him 2 good games, expect 15-20 with him walking around with his hands in the air. johnnyuk did I disagree with your viewpoint then ? That seems the definition of my negativity. You obviously didn't like my views on O'Neill's signings or the comments made praising Reo Coker, Carson, Davis and Knight, to say nothing of my admiration for Lerner, the General, Barry, Laursen, Mellberg and many others
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07/09/2007 12:07:00

Most people weren't slating the fact that he deserves a spell on the sidelines but were giving him the one positive that he works his socks off and has covered every blade of grass on the field. You take whatever negativity you can run with it. Disagreeing and having a view point is one, but in all honesty we've had opposing fans on here with more affection for the villa than you appear to have mate.
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07/09/2007 12:10:00

48 - It's your constant need to turn everyone against MON. You must admit Wenger, Fergie, Benitez all ahve 'didn't see it syndrome' when it comes to players and talking about them. Similarly, no manager ever slates his own players unless you count Souness! The day MON comes out and drops his intelligence to your chromasomally challenged level and starts blatantly highlighting faults will be a bad day. Look at Cantona, legend in Premiership but hardly ever turned up for a Champins League match...was he slated....was he FC UK. We can all see though you anti-MON smokescreen. You're wise enough to know you can't always be biased about everything and therefore try anduse this to justify US not having a dig at you. For one I would like to say it has been frustrating watching Petrov do a good impressionof Alan Smith in a Man U midfield so far. I believe he wants to succeed but something is intrinsically wrong in his non-footballing life that's affecting him. It's not an excuse but I can't see any other reason for such a drop off in form. He has a massive amount of skill and creativity, shooting prowess but seems to leave it in the locker room. It's not MONs fault, his stats in Scotland were ace, as too for his National team - everything said GOOD BUY but now may turn out to be saying GOOD BYE...we'll see. Just stop bleating on about MON not dropping him and not publicly slating him. MON did not put the Villa fans down by the way, he's trying to get the best out of Petrov and is slowly gonna make him work hard for it...i.e bench, sub, Cup runs only....By the way MON has rotated alot of key players positions on the pitch and made it clear that Davis wanted only one favoured position so tought selling him not to hold him back was win some you lose some.
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07/09/2007 12:40:00

*spelling mistakes = bothered.
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07/09/2007 12:42:00

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07/09/2007 12:56:00

If you remember 48 my opinions on Ridgewell were that he shouldn't have been sold until he was replaced. Time will tell if Davis is an improvement. However I think 2m was massively underpriced so hopefully there are massive sell on clauses. Hughes should still be here until he was replaced. I think this is a rick by M'ON. He was also undervalued in the current transfer market. McCann was consistently praised by me for his work ethic but I told anyone who would listen he didn't have what it takes to take Villa to the next level. Not enough goals, shots, passes, creativity, tackles. He is a great advert for making a career out of hard work and average ability. Steve Davis? Common consensus was that he was not happy fighting for his place in the team and wanted more first team football. I think we got fair money for a lightweight midfielder. Although he does have the potential to make M'ON eat his words. Again time will tell if he does. Sorenson I have defended stoutly as good, but not great, keeper. It will be disappointing to lose a keeper like this for no transfer value. Another rick by M'ON I believe. I think M'ON should have told him he was the mutts nuts. Got him to sign a new contract and then bought a better keeper. That way when he throws his dummy out of the pram we could have got 3/4m for him. This though is not M'On's style and the reason he gets the full support of his staff is his man mangement skills.
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07/09/2007 13:32:00

Who do you blame in this situation? MON for trusting his instincts and buying Petrov for an over inflated price, only to find that the player lets him down on the pitch? Or do you blame Petrov for not performing as well as MON believes he can? I think MON made an error of judgement in bringing Petrov to the Villa. Yes he knew the player and what he was capable off through his days at Celtic, but he underestimated the pace and the jump in skill level of the premiership, which has found Petrov wanting all last season. Its true MON needed reinforcements and Petrov was only brought in at the last minute, but with the time MON has had out of the Premiership I think he made a mare in brining Petrov in. As for wages a player only gets what he asks for, if the Club pay the wages then they have to take the flak associated with the player not being good enough to justify the wages, just like the club will accept praise when they find a gem of a player which costs them nothing.
Hoss The Villain
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07/09/2007 15:47:00

I'm still firmly of the belief that there's a very good player there, he showed us glimpses all too often last season for him to be dismissed as a failure.
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07/09/2007 16:13:00

what's happened with him? he was something special at Celtic or does that say everything about Scottish footy?
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07/09/2007 19:48:00

AVFC48 - name a manager that never bought a lemon and I'll name a manager that played an out of form player over another player. You mock everyone that believes MON is a good manager - you call them 'God Squad' members. Your a sanctimonious knob jockey is my honest opinion that revels in the sarcasm and has nothing positive to contribute. So I hereby proclaim you the founder member of the KNOB SQUAD!
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07/09/2007 21:56:00

Petrov has undoubted skill but I think at celtic he had a free role and due to lack of quality up there and the players round him, he could do this without worrying . The prem is a step up and he can't have his free role as the demands o f the prem make it hard to play 442 with a free role in the midfield. Unless he is put upfront with Carew which i wouldn't agree at all with I don't see him doing much more for us.
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09/09/2007 08:26:00

AVFC48. What the hell is wrong with you? Are you winding people up on purpose or do you really knoe nothing about football?
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09/09/2007 10:07:00

Bit of both I think Dannygav. One thing '48 seemingly loves to do is contradict, with the sole purpose of starting an argument.
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27/09/2007 23:51:00


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