Date:Sunday January 6 2008
All over now
All the trimmings, the tree, the extras, that make Christmas festivities have all gone now, cleared, up, boxed away and put in the cellar. Coming from a family with great Christmas traditions, and with a wife with similar traditions, its always a sad day, one which above all set you up for the coming trials and tribulations for family and friends alike. Being at the age where planning for the future tends not to be a priority, I now reflect on what might be for those I care most for.
Villa of course come into that category, and yesterdays defeat in a way was the 12th night in Villa's season.
Whilst I agree we gave as good as we got until Rooney appeared I was disappointed that after all the progress made following the Arsenal defeat, the team retreated into their old 10 men behind the ball hoof it to Carew tactic.As the commentator said before half time, that's the 52 time its been hoofed forward and come straight back, where's the options.
Truth be told there aren't any.
Added I thought Carew. looked, unfit, ill even, certainly not up for it and against 2 of the best CB's in Europe what else was he expected to do. Credit to the midfield, Coker, Petrov, and Barry all did their job, the defence did its best, how Knight has kept Davies out still confuses me. Thing was every time the ball was gained it tended to be passed back to our keeper to hoof forward.
Petrov give him credit, tried to break beyond their midfield and put balls to feet, Barry on occasion tried the sharp 1-2, Carew just couldn't hold it up, which considering the number of full games he's had recently, wasn't surprising.
Coker tried 3 times to run deep, stopped once and the other two he just looked around to see everyone but Carew behind him defending.Young, again, had a poor game against better opposition which limits the side.
Laursen, Davies did superbly until Mellberg was out of position, Davies nutmegged and Utd scored as Bouma stood ball watching.But the best winger in World football, had been held on a tight rope all
day so who am I to criticise one small indiscretion.
I don't understand tactics that put 10 men behind the ball in a one off cup competition, especially at home, especially when your last few games have been creditable on the back of attacking football.That sort of tactic would not have won through at Chelsea, Blackburn, Wigan or against Spurs twice.Yes fatigue had its place in the calculation, but then when 4 million strikers don't make the bench and unfit , unwell ones are first picks, is it surprising, in a squad as small as ours.
I loudly criticised O'Leary when we finished 6th for then spending on Baros and not on improving the squads over all strength, the same applied before this summers exits came about, they are just as important now as then, especially when so many transfers rarely get a look in.
We won't get relegated, we won't qualify for the European cup, we have been knocked out of both cup competitions very early on, what is there left, is there a need to buy in January.
Simply yes, the way O'Neill trades any buy at any time is a bonus, especially if as with Coker, Davies, and Young it occasionally works, but to consider spending now to gain anything other than a weak chance of lower European qualification is for me pointless.
Now it has to be about next season and blooding players to hit the ground running next time out, to see if the 4 million on Harewood was worth it, to see if Maloney can come good, to find a decent replacement for the alienated Sorensen, to find a real right back.
Disappointed with the result certainly, but more upset with the way it came about.
So much good work over the last 2 months such a let down.
Date:Sunday January 6 2008
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|1.||Pride of Lions||878|
|West Ham||0||-||0||Aston Villa|
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|16. Aston Villa||12||3||3||6||-11||12|
|17. Hull City||12||2||5||5||-3||11|
|18. Leicester City||12||2||4||6||-7||10|
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