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Villa's Right Hand Side Situation

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.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

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Date:Friday January 18 2008
Time: 1:27PM


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).
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.
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. :-)
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.
18/01/2008 13:45:00
James Milner
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
18/01/2008 13:59:00
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