Date:Thursday January 3 2008
We have done it. We have limped over the line, more by luck than any managerial judgement.
Martin O'Neill has gambled the clubs season on a lack of injuries and suspensions and it has paid off - massively. The trick is to not rest on our laurels and not cruise through the remainder of the season hoping the good ship Aston Villa will sail the same fortunate course, but to strengthen and strengthen NOW, from a position of strength. We are a much better proposition to a player than we were in the summer and that should allow us to compete with more success for our targets.
Of the teams I expected to be our main challengers for UEFA Cup spot, Spurs have suffered and inexplicable and irreversible loss of form, West Ham and Newcastle have suffered horrendous injuries to star players and Everton and Pompey are about to lose extremely vital players for a month care of the African Nations Cup. That leaves us in a fantastic position to capitalise over the next month or so.
The two players largely responsible for our current position are the rock Laursen on whose foundations the team is built from and the emergency right back Melly who has performed so admirably in a role he is unfamiliar with. These were also the heroes who scored those important goals yesterday but are also the two most likely to be leaving the club on a freebie.We should do whatever necessary to tie down Laursen to a three year deal and we should not succumb to the Euro and sell Melly in Jan, instead allow him the big pay day he deserves and let him join a big foreign club in the summer. You know that Mellberg will sweat blood for the clubs cause for the remainder of the season.
No right back, one left back, a lack of natural width in midfield and the good fortune that Gabby has carried on his development up front is not a very good plan in my eyes. These need addressing this month because sooner or later our luck will run out - and you can bet it will be at the start of February! New signings give the players and supporters a lift and it's this boost that can clinch us fifth or sixth spot - we just gotta take it.
Recite after me Martin 'DON'T PUSH YOUR LUCK'
Date:Thursday January 3 2008
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