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Sign Of The Good Times Ahead

Sign Of The Good Times Ahead

Sign of the Good times ahead

One of the interesting facts to come out of our recent run is that we may have exceeded expectation even though the performances have not been that convincing. Few would have predicted 7 points from 3 away games, even though they were all against poor opposition, teams we should beat, teams in Boro's case we usually do away.

Thing is after conceding 4 twice in as many weeks the defence albeit against teams with few striking options, has conceded once in 4 games, and whilst in every match we rarely dominated, the right result came our way.

As a seasoned supporter I know how important that is when you are building a basis for the future, winning when you aren't playing well is always good news. To see off teams you should do, teams arguably who might be fighting around you, especially when you can take advantage of your fortuitous position of having few injuries, is nothing but good. 24 points at this time in the season is a virtual surety of Premiership survival and a small hope of European qualification.

The way we have achieved it is another matter, but even here the runes look promising, especially when you account we went to our greatest rivals and did so well their club is on the verge of collapse. On Saturday, few players excelled, Gabby excepted, but they all contributed and contributed well. OK the opposition looked pretty poor as a unit, some decent individuals but no team ethic, no real penetration, no real hope Southgate will survive, even under the best owner in the Premiership.

Its at times like this I appreciate the job O'Neill has done. Its safe to bet now that any team who should be below us will, if we remain clear of injuries, remain below us because we will come away with points.

Additionally, unlike last season we may do it with 3 points not one, mainly thanks to Gabby being played as a striker and not a winger. If Carew can sort himself out physically and mentally, he can as he showed Saturday, score superbly as well as offering some help up front. He like Petrov is still not up to speed, but at last both are starting to contribute, Petrov's strike from deep was the third best highlight of the game, Gabby's 2 runs and 1 goal plus Mellberg's superb strikers control and hit, the others.

I'm more than ever convinced O'Neill is not a tactical manager, but a manager who puts a team out to do its best and that's just about what they are doing at the moment and its good enough to gain us a top half finish.

All that said, there were lots of times on Saturday at Boro, like at Blues and at Bolton, that a team with better strikers may have taken us apart, but and this is the most important point, under O'Neill that seemingly doesn't happen. Well more times than not, we can't forget Spurs away. I could spend hours picking at the poor performance from Young, how Coker, Petrov, and in some degree Barry need to sort out who is doing what in midfield, but for now its working, on the poorer Premiership sides at least, and that's to be applauded, O'Neill has brought some solidarity if little expectation of greatness and that's a start.

I still maintain a better manager would, with Lerner's funding have done far better and achieved it sooner but for now we are a sound mid table team who will injuries aside maintain a top half finish. The next 7 games will provide a much sterner test, up to the transfer window, but to turn into the New Year with 30 points or more will not be bad and with 3 at home in that mix who knows, it should be.

Date:Monday November 26 2007
Time: 11:38AM


"I still maintain a better manager would, with Lerner's funding have done far better and achieved it sooner" The problem I have with thsese statements is that, there's NEVER any suggestions of who the manager should have been (Sven, Big Sam, Curbishley or Keane?) and what players we should have signed (Alan Smith, Keiron Dyer, Darren Bent). Yes I'll accept Harewood, but if big John gets injured - we lack anyone else. Our main problem is qualifying for Europe in order to attract the quality players, it really is as simple as that.
26/11/2007 12:09:00
I think another manager might have given us a better 'short term fix' but that is not what MON is trying to do. He is building, albeit slowly, for the future with a strong base of young players with great attitudes and a team/work ethic. Once this base is firmly established (and we are not far away) he will add, gradually, more quality, but that quality MUST also possess the team/work ethic and not be big time charlie flair players who disrupt team play and morale. That is why MON will take his time in the transfer market with his BIG signings (ie Young, Davies, Carson). He will be prepared, at the moment, to spend reasonable money on good squad players with the right attitude to build that base. (Although I can't quite figure Harewood out!). Be patient, we are making very good progress, and the future is claret and blue.
26/11/2007 12:14:00
Pointless article which started to praise MON but with petty snide comments about how another manager would have done better and that he's not a tactical manager. For every positive you have managed to find a negative. If we win our game in hand (which we are more than capable of doing after looking at yesterday) then we will be 3 points off Manure who are second. I know we havewn't always looked that good for 90 mins but what more do you expect in 15 months with a team who finished in the bottom 5 before he took over????
26/11/2007 12:26:00
I can't disagree with much of what is said, its the almost condescending tone that I have a problem with. Money has not always guaranteed good teams - look at the Spurs start for example - so why is there a need for this 'holier than though' tone from AVFC48? To my knowledge he has never put a team together nor achieved any sporting award. So why is there this perspective that he speaks from a position of strength. We all have, and should have, our views and opinions but most are expressed as that. Anyone can criticize anything, but the main thrust of this article, namely that things are progressing is flavoured with a negative tone that is unnecessary. Things are getting better - at last.
26/11/2007 12:28:00
This is a reasonably fair assessment of the villa right now. Although you're entitled to your opinion AV48, you still seem to invariably have a negative opinion to MON no matter what he does. Damned if he does, or doesn't as someone pointed out last week. I think he's brought in the likes of Young, and developed the talents of gabby and gardner, brought the best out in some of our senior talents.... we have the grounds for a bright future. My opinion is that our youngest prospects can only get better and learn more, that has to be good...
26/11/2007 12:32:00
This team is still not the finished article by a long way, the world class players are starting to shine through from the days before MON took charge of us. Gabbi,Laursen,Mellberg,Barry,Bouma are all starting, i expect to see Curtis Davies start either Wednesday or Saturday. MON seems to have had the foresight to recognise a possible foreign player cap, does he not?
26/11/2007 12:53:00
You can only play the team that is in front of you. More often than not, if that team is poor, as on saturday, you struggle to play well yourself. The most important thing is to get the result, which we did. I seem to recall on saturday that towards the latter stages of the first half MON switched Ash on to the right wing and Gareth wide left which led to a goal fairly soon afterwards and a much better second half. Just imagine what we could do if MON actually had some tactical nouse eh? Same old, same old.
26/11/2007 13:27:00
A better manager would have done better with Lerners funding???? If most people in the game are to be believed the best manager for the England job is M'ON. There are no proven better managers out there other than Wenger, Ferguson, Morinihio and Benitez. In a previous post, 48 has said that Allardyce (how silly does that look at the moment) and Redknapp (never won anything, never taken a team into Europe or to a cup final and got Southampton relegated a couple of years ago) would do better. However the flip side of the coin is that this site is all about opinions and 48 is quite rightly as entitled to his views as we are ours. However after thinking about it long and hard I have decided that those people who have been in the game for years are probably more likely to be correct than 48. It was a tough call though.
26/11/2007 13:41:00
AVFC48 "sort out who is doing what in midfield" instead of saying that why don't you say what you think they should be doing and show us your tactical superiorty.On second thoughts I prefer to trust Martin O'Neill Steve Walford and John Robertson.
26/11/2007 15:05:00
Good to see your comments again VOTH
26/11/2007 15:08:00
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