Aston Villa - Villa's Right Hand Side Situation
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Villa's Right Hand Side Situation

Much has been said over the course of the season about the need for a right-back, the fact is that at the end of the 2006/07 season, Mr O'Neill had 3 right-backs - Aaron Hughes who has since joined Fulham, Phil Bardsley who returned to Man Utd following a 5 month loan spell and of course Mark Delaney, whose injury problems cut short the career of one of the finest right backs in the premiership.

The need for a right-back was surely to be a priority, all the signings were in place for the new season and not one of them could be consider a right-back. This caused concern amongst many supporters of this fine club.

However I would like to point out another position that Aston Villa have struggled in during the first half of the Premiership season.

The right wing. With Ashley Young on the left hand side, Villa have been threatening all season, and many fans will remember the game in which Young scored a goal that made Roman Abramovich storm off. Aston Villa 2-0 Chelsea. It was a great match and enjoyable for every fan. Over on the right hand side of midfield there in no recognised wide player. A position that has been filled by Gabby, Petrov and Maloney over the season. Now lets take a look at these 3 options:-

Gabby Agbonlahor - This guy is on course to becoming a great player, he finishing and pace have shown him to be a player of the highest quality, however MON appears to have been under the illusion at various points of the season that Gabby is in fact as good on the right as Young is on the left. This is blatantly not the case, taking the clubs best striker and placing him out of position is not good for the development of a player who is likely to become a 20 goal a season man.

Stiliyan Petrov - A man who has considerable talent and struggled to recapture the form at Villa Park that fans enjoyed during his Celtic days. Petrov does appear to play best as a central midfielder, however similarly to Mellberg in defence has found himself on the right hand side, and has at many points during this period looked out of his depth.

Shaun Maloney - A player who seems unlucky, a man who has scored more this season than Young, has looked good in almost every appearance he has made and is loved by the fans. He is unlucky because his talent lends him to any role on the field, anywhere across the middle or up front and yet is overlooked by MON.

In my opinion the answer to both problems are there for all to see, other than Salifou the only player who should be considered for the right wing role is Maloney, Gabby needs to remain up front and Petrov in the centre. Although the right back situation is a major issues amongst most fans, the right wing one is too. Cahill can consider him self unlucky that he has not been given a chance at right back, he is young enough to convert to that position, it does work Barry is perfect example of someone adapting to a new role.

Martin O'Neill is a good manager and it is plain to see that the players all rate him highly, but his inability to recognise the weaknesses of his side could ultimately be the downfall of the Ulsterman.

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The Journalist

Writer: young_jonah Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday January 18 2008

Time: 1:27PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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I think i will trust MON as a manger and his decisions, over your opinion. A contradiction appears when referring to young players being able to addapt. Gabbi will NEVER be a 20 goal a season player but yes i do think he will be World class. He could as you say all young players can do is move to the Right Wing and develop that position. I can see what MON is attempting to do with the purchase of Defoe, move Gabbi out wide and play a similar tactic to where Maloney played against Chelsea (when we destroyed them).
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18/01/2008 13:36:00

Well done young jonah. You will find no doubt, that not everyone shares your opinions but a good article none-the-less.
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18/01/2008 13:40:00

It is to be expected, Its only an opinion, but I consider the Right Wing as big an issue as the Right Back one. :-)
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18/01/2008 13:45:00

Gabby to become world-class? Unless the definition of "world-class" has sunk to new lows, I can't see it. In my book, world-class means the player is the best in his position in the world and would be worthy of a place in a World XI.
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18/01/2008 13:45:00

James Milner
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18/01/2008 13:48:00

Everyone's entitled to an opinion but mine differs a little differently to this article. I think our current league position speaks for itself and for MON. I don't think we should become complacent and ignore the things you've highlighted, but i do think that currently whatever frailties we have are mostly ones of lack of depth should we have injuries. It's clear that we have a unit of players, even not playing to best capacity, can perform in different positions for one another. I trust MON, he may get it wrong but i'm not expecting it.
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18/01/2008 13:51:00

DerryVillan that has never been what I would consider world class to be (and of course I'm right as I say I am). I would call Berba world class but I wouldn't have him in my world XI. Surely there can be more than 11 world class players at any one time?
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18/01/2008 13:52:00

I disagree derryvillain... i think worldclass can also mean any player who is capable of competing with the best. Worldclass and world's best are perhaps two differing statements.
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18/01/2008 13:53:00

Not really Derry the definition of World Class is playing at the top level for your country. Is Henry World class? Is Drogba World Class? Is Rooney World class? Not all of these could play in a World XI but are all at a level where they excel for any team International or Club. The article does make some good points I do agree, yes I would prefer Milner over Gabbi, but I would also prefer Defoe over Gabbi up front. He would score far more goals, my neck out saying twice as many every season - given the chance. I think Carew is a funny one, I dont think MON sees him as a long term forward at Villa. I would certainly be selling Luke Moore and Cahill as I do not believe they will take us to the next level.
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18/01/2008 13:57:00

Surely a world class player is a player who's class makes him recognisable to the World. Such players include Ronaldinho and Zidane (in his day) they are/were known across the world because of their ability.
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18/01/2008 13:59:00

Didnyt agbonlahor score the second goal?
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18/01/2008 14:00:00

KSarge1, please understand, my article is not meant to anti-defoe, i rate the player as highly as anyone, i just feel that both the position on the right hand side do need to be considered a priority during January, if however Defoe is up for it then yes he should be signed, totally agree. But at the same time how affective would he or any striker be in a team that could lose Young to injury leaving us with no wingers. We cant rely on Young for creativity in midfield. Cause he may not always be available.
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18/01/2008 14:05:00

I apologise if that was the case, I just remember Young carrying the ball out and really taking on the Chelsea players.
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18/01/2008 14:06:00

Yeh it was gaby
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18/01/2008 14:10:00

How about marlon harewood as right back?
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18/01/2008 14:21:00

Okay then, Gabby will be world class the day we can walk into a school in Paraguay, show a picture of him in a suit and more than 50 per cent of the kids know who he is!
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18/01/2008 14:22:00

I think MON has a long term tactic of entering the team for England in 100/200 metre Olympic games 2012. Then playing the good old tactic of 5 - 0 - 5.
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18/01/2008 14:24:00

Derryvillan, please note it says there class makes them recognisable, Vinnie Jones is well known through the world, more for acting than football though.
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18/01/2008 14:33:00

Aparently Gabby Ashley and Theo are gonna have a race next week so you could be right on that one
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18/01/2008 14:36:00

I called for young to be wide right but his position is wide left, thats obvious. Unfortunately for maloney i think thats his best position too, dont think theres anyway at the club who could naturally go in there so believe we need to bring someone in. Id be tempted with a renewed bid for milner, he grafts aswell as attacks, which is they way MON likes it it seems
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18/01/2008 14:37:00

Maloney enjoyed great success on the left hand side at Celtic as Strachan prefers his wide men to be comfortable cutting in field and setting up play that way. He can play right side and through the middle too. If given a decent run in the team he could be a major player for Villa.
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18/01/2008 14:39:00

I don't see Maloney as the answer to the right winger berth. Like Young, Maloney seems happier on the left. One criticism I do have about Maloney is that he tends to drift in field and attempt to make runs/dribbles on the inside left/right channels - more suited to a side that plays 4-3-3. I'm a fan of the good old fashioned winger, one who can hug that touch-line, ghost to the by-line and deliver a cross onto a 6 pence (or if Marlon's playing a 50p head). One that can also cut inside and unleash a shot on goal - Morley-esque. It's about balance across the side and I'm happy to see MON attempting to build a team that has pacey forwards and wingers, and a side that has a good engine room in the centre. Because we have players who can play right back (until Olof leaves) and no natural width on our right, I can appreciate MONs comments about the RB berth not being as "overwhelming" as fans may think. There is a huge void that requires filling forward wide right...
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18/01/2008 14:45:00

My recommendation (ideally) would be Aaron Lennon. His form has suffered over the past 12 months or so - but what a prospect who under O'Neill's wing, could become as good as what Ashley Young could to destined to become.... 18m Defoe/Lennon would be my offer to Spurs....
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18/01/2008 14:52:00

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18/01/2008 15:00:00

bazzah you apear to be talking directly about James Milner there. Young says he has no preference of which wing he plays on but MON wants him on the left because he is good at cutting in. and as is obvious by our free kick record (especially free kicks from the left hand side of the box) he puts in great in-swinging crosses that only require a small touch to cause trouble. If MON gets Milner we're sorted but it seems highly unlikely.
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18/01/2008 15:09:00

The thing is, we the supporters seem to think its a much bigger deal than apparantly does MON. He seems o.k. to get by, muddle through, and the results achieved to date this season hardly leave him open to criticism. We're looking for specialist right sided players, MON is intent to wait until exactly who he wants becomes available.
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18/01/2008 15:33:00

James Milner or David Bentley is the answer, but we won't get either! Love to see Defoe at VP. It would also give MON the opportunity to REST Gabby occasionally, keep him fresh and avoid burn out. He may not become world class, but I think he will definitely be International class.
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18/01/2008 15:44:00

I have to disagree on a couple of points. Firstly, the prospect of Gabby becoming a consistent 20+ goals man is hopeful. He works his socks off and is a hero, but he's less of a natural scorer than Carew, Defoe or Moore (who would be amazing if he had an ethic). As a wide player in a front three or as a wide midfielder, Gabby has the pace and work ethic to be a constant threat........ Secondly, Cahill at right-back was tried on the US tour this summer - I saw it first-hand and it scared the crap out of me to be honest - he was getting beaten constantly in one-on-one situations and with passes in behind him. I COMPLETELY agree that we need these right-sided positions filled, but I would rather give MON the time to bring in the right players than have us spend silly money on a short term fix when it simply isn't needed...
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18/01/2008 15:59:00

KSarge1 - how can you say that you think Gabby would be a world class striker but say he will never be a 20goal a season striker - surely a contradiction in terms?
The Ellk
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18/01/2008 17:05:00

I think it would be a little nieve to suggest that MON has an inabilty to recognise the weaknesses of his side. I believe it's obvious to most people to see that we are very left sided. however, rectifying the problem with the kind of quality that is needed take us forward is another issue! I could name lots of player's that would fit the bill, Lennon, SWP... but getting them requires them wanting to come, and their clubs being willing to sell! I would not want us to get some average player in just for the sake of it, as this not improve us. Not to mention that it would bring back to life the negative fans who have slated the Harwood and Knight signings.
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18/01/2008 17:30:00

Gabby will develop and get his chance with England then its possible to see him become a great player. He has speed and physical strength and this season his touch has developed under MON (his goal against Everton was a superb first touch which made the goal look easy) I would say he will be our top scorer this season and for me when he has Defoe's experience he will be a better player. I also think the wide right position is our weak point much more than the need for another striker or right back. MON likes power and strength through the middle and speed down the sides but that is difficult to achieve and sometimes we have to be patient.
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18/01/2008 17:34:00

God not that Lemon fella. He's past it, may be young yes but we've had a few players over the years that had speed as their only real threat and they all turned out s.hite (gabby the exeption of course, he will turn out lovely). Lennon can't do anything other than run about as if he's a diva that's s.hat her pants.
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18/01/2008 17:38:00

Lennon has far less ability than Gabby and isn't as quick as he looks. Those little legs move quickly but they are only about 2 foot long so try as he might he doesn't actually cover much ground. I love the job that Gabby does when he gets the ball wide. Not only does he draw defenders out wide ( and they normally double up on him) leaving the centre forward more room but he can also get in behind them and cut in. If we had forwards with more pace then it could work very well. He is never going to be an out and out world class centre forward but he is better than that because he can play in more than 1 position and do a very good job, UNLIKE DEFOE who I can't understand why anyone wants.
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18/01/2008 18:27:00

Well concidering we have no right side we're doing ok in my book, 3rd top scorers in the prem and sitting in joint 4th. Whats the problem?????
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18/01/2008 18:41:00

Hold on a second, here. Why is it that Cahill is young enough to adapt to playing at right back, but Gabby is simply being played out of position? Bit of hole you've got going on there. I know what you're saying, but seeing as MON is doing a pretty good job, I'm inclined to let him do his thing. Having said that, I've always thought that Maloney deserves more time on the pitch.
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18/01/2008 18:53:00

Any good wide attacking player must have two attributes 1. They have electric pace over 10yards and 2. they can cross balls accurately. Young has both but neiither Gabby nor Maloney do. Gabbys best position, imo is definitely down the centre, running onto through balls.
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18/01/2008 20:38:00

Its our achilles heel alright. We're below average completely down the right hand side.
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14/02/2008 17:48:00


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