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Do Villa Lack Inspiration?

There's a lot of talent in the current Villa side, but what we appear to lack is a player with that touch of class which separates the best from the rest. An impact player who can create something from nothing, change a game - or win it - with that little bit of magic.

Portsmouth had such a player in Sully Muntari - a player was single-handedly able to take the game by the scruff of the neck and deliver with two moments of brilliance which were more than enough to take the points back to Fratton Park. In a tough game, he proved to be the real difference between the two teams.

A number of Premiership teams down the years have had such a player - Eric Cantona, David Ginola, Dennis Bergkamp, Paulo Di Canio were all talismanic players in their time, set apart from the rest by providing moments of sheer genius which live in the memory long after the game, or even their career. Modern equivalents would be Fabregas, Ronaldo, Arteta and their ilk, and the closest English players would probably be Rooney and Gerrard - even when their team is not playing at their best, these players are potential match winners.

And a player like that appears to be something we lack.

There's a lot of talented young players at Villa Park at the moment. Can't fault them for effort, but how many of them have the arrogance, the self belief, the genius to risk trying something different, to think outside the box, to unlock our opposition's defence with a moment of magic when we need it? When was the last time we had such a player? Paul Merson's quality was plain to see, but he was past his best when he joined us. Benni Carbone was a little trickster who was also unfortunately a little short on long-term commitment (to say he liked a regular signing on fee would be an understatement, especially from Bradford's point of view). Dwight Yorke was the hero of Brian Little's reign.. and the villain of John Gregory's tenure. But in recent years we haven't had a player with their intelligence, touch, creativity or vision. And they're not easy to come by either.

But that's what set us apart from Portsmouth today - they had a player who could seize the initative and the three points; we had an honest bunch of lads.

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The Journalist

Writer: barosbarrybouma Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 9 2007

Time: 12:12PM

Your Comments

we don't have a magic merson at the moment, so we might lack inspiration, but at least our lads do now battle and don't lack in persperation. Just need that missing link now but don't most teams? I'd still bang on about Anelka, he would bring so much quality to the Villa!
The Fear
We are desperate for some creation in the midfield area of the Merson mould. Till we get that person we will be dropping points regularly.
Dare i say petrov on recent form could have been that player for us yesterday if he had been fit and continued that form? Hard to say in hindsight but i'd be interested to have seen the result replayed with him in the side.
Or is it hokey cokey let loose? At present he is held back - could he be the one? I don't think he has been given that chance yet. There again there is Salifou - maybe?
The only reason we lost is because we didn't put our chances away in the first half, if we had done I'm sure we would have cruised through the 2nd half and Petrov's absence would have gone unnoticed.
Nigel Reo Coker you are having a laugh surely! Can't tackle, can't pass ,can't shoot and spends 75% of the time trying to win the ball back off the bloke he has just given it to! 8.5m for a digger! Know I expect a reasoned response to exactly why anyone thinks this guy is the answer !
Villan57 - i agree with that. Reo Coker is little more than an undisciplined clogger. West Ham fans must still be laughing about the amount we paid for a player they didn't want, and actually went out of their way to hate! Sure, he can tackle, but then can't make the easiest of two-yard passes. And that's just the tackles he tries to win the ball, not the man, on!
I know he's past his best a la Merson but Berger was looking like that player back end of last season. I saw comments yesterday doubting his commitment/attitude now he has his contract extension. I think this is a little harsh considering he has only just come back from injury. He played a beautiful ball through to (I think it was) Gabby in the second half yesterday which created a great chance which was unfortunately not taken. I know he's not the answer long term but he could be the answer this season if given the chance.
Adam Deuce
Reo Coker was our best player yesterday. Saying he can't tackle is just plain stupid. He does a lot of tracking back and always gets stuck in.
Barry is our creative player,however there have been a few games this season where he hasn't been in the game and Coker is having too much to do like yesterday.
Reo Coker the best player? Biggest liability, perhaps. What's the point of tackling if you haven't the ability to pass the ball to someone wearing the same colour shirt as he does! Let's stop pretending he is anything other than what he is - a physical, mid-table, workhorse.
pking where do you sit? because from where I sit in the Doug Eliis lower he does very little other than give away silly free kicks trying to win back his own cock ups! We know Barry is our attacking midfielder, he should be our defensive one and we should have a footballer next to him not a Donkey. As for tackling he's in the same league as Paul Scholes just a pity the rest of his game isn't!
I think Reo Coker can tackle but if he does win the ball he can't do anything else well other than pass back to our keeper ( he makes Petrovs passing of last year look positive) leaving him to hoof the ball up to Carew who can only win his fair share and the ball invariably comes straight back and moaning Nige has to try to win it again. A vicious circle.
Hate to say it but RE: Reo, I have seen the likes of Savage and P Neville do the same job but much better.
I rest my case then 444
With inspirational players you have to be prepared for the rough with the smooth. Muntari hit two absolute screamers yesterday but how often does he hit row Z instead? Petrov CAN play this role but you have to be prepared for the odd misplaced pass or interception. Good players have the confidence to try the unexpected or unconventional safe in the knowledge that they won't be crucified if it doesn't come off evry time and, for me, therein lies the problem. At Villa Park we have already shown that we get on players backs if they make mistakes. It's all well and good wishing for this type of player but we need to show support and patience when we get one. I also believe Maloney could play this role for us, but MON needs to have the confidence to give him a run in the side to show it. In my opinion NRC is a game breaker who would be better alongside a creative player so he has an outlet when he wins the ball from the opposition. Normally Barry would be more creative I just think that yesterday our midfield was overrun.
Well don't hold back lads - if you think our own players are crap, why not say so, long and loud. I'm sure a lack of confidence will help them to overcome it ...
It looked like you lacked PERSPIRATION yesterday, to be honest!
You guys really get on my wick, Barry was really mince yesterday and the usual suspects get in the ear. When NRC was played in his proper position yesterday he was fine.
Jon H. is bang on. It didn't help that Berger had a shocker yesterday. Martin must use his squad, no excuses. Maloney and Harewood MUST be given starts at some stage.
Good artical Villa have a boss in Barry but every game he has to perform single handed. More quality is needed if ever Villa are to reach the higher positions in the league.
Sh*t happens, we lost lets get over it and move on. we could have actually got soemthing out of the game under normal circumstances. it was 2 really good goals that stuffed us.
I think Barry has proved, especially when playing for England, that he is a great defensice MF player (what do we espect from a converted CB / LB?) that can pick his moments and come forward in attack very effectively, however, he's not a creative player, he needs to be played along-side a man who can pick out that killer pass or jink the ball past an opposing player creating space from nothing. NRC is not that man and should, imo, be direct competition for Barry or an alternative if things need to be changed around. Could Petrove be the man to complement Barry? Maybe but I'd like to see Maloney given a go, he has that bit of trickery most of our players lack but most of the time has been played as a forward. Given our current options I'd like to see an MF of Young, Barry, Maloney and Gardener with Gabby and Carew up front. This is also very flexible as if required Gabby can drop to MF and Maloney can be pushed up front. Could Maloney be our Scholls?
Villain Of The North
Maloney os going back to Celtic. One of MON's traits is that he tends to stick with the same team. I'd get two or three players in to shake it up a bit.
NRC is almost the same player as George Boetang. He breaks play up so well, and should practice his 10 yard passing to Barry. That is the only instructions I would give him.
We lack that inspirational spark. I dont think that Maloney is the answer, but Stan Petrov could well be. We need someone wide right, increase our attacking options, and a specialist right full back. Other than that, I think we're looking good. We're not too far off where we need to be, and I still think that the current squad is capable of a top six finish, thats without the January additions.

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