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War of Worlds and Bolton Trotters

War of Worlds and Bolton Trotters

NO ONE would have believed in the last weeks of the 2007/08 season that this match was being watched keenly and closely by supporters greater than manyoos and yet as mortal as Martin O'Neill; that as men bruised them­ selves about their various tackles they were scruti­nised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a manager with a microscope might scrutinise the transfer market.­

Players that swarm and multiply in the penalty box at a corner. With infinite complacency men swayed to and fro over this match about their aspirations and hopes for the season, serene in their assurance that the winner takes it all and building their empire depended on this 90 minutes.

Where did the season go tits up, coming off the pitch against Arsenal the players had done really well, Arsenal getting a goal in the 94th minute to salvage a point from the game, Arsen Wenger was the happier of the two managers after seeing his table topping team salvage a draw from the jaws of defeat.

What happened next is really, to me anyway un-explained, I know we lost Davis to Injury but surely this single Injury can't be the single reason for what followed?

The team had a ten day break, surely enough time to work on the training ground before facing a resurgent Middlesborough side who had showed sings of responding to the managers desires to get away from the relegation scrap.

The performance against Bor'o was dreadful in every department, hard to think of a worse performance this season. At least at Fulham we did take the lead.

Pompey away and the team although losing seemed more coherent but still lacked the performance of a team challenging for Europe, the own goal a really fluky effort as it was would have not changed the fact that we were again leaving empty handed.

Again its difficult to see what lacking from the team.

Never mind Sunderland home and an easy three points, losing Kenwin Jones in the warm up was a massive blow for Sunderland but no the less they left Villa Park with all three points. The only change to the Villa side was the introduction of Gardener, surely this one for one with Olof Mellberg should not have made that much difference surely?

Man Yoo last Saturday was IMHO a better performance by Villa but alas Utd proved what a quality side they are and why they are the bookies favourites to win the League Champions and Premier.

Don't blame you if you have not read all the ramblings above but the point of the post is:-

Leaving aside the transfer window activity or lack of it, leaving aside personal opinions of the manager, can someone explain to me as a simple kind of bloke how the team sitting 5th/6th in the Premier League can go on such a poor run of just 2 points out of a possible 15. When you look at the team its not like whole sale changes have been made, nor have we suffered mass Injuries. (Davis Injured and Olof suspended) What has caused this recent run with the manager using the same players.

I hear a lot of people criticising the manager, end of the season, out of Europe, transfer window blah blah, but basically the same squad had us in pole position.

Mystified really, rant over, needless to say the Bolton match is our chance for the same players to get the club back on track.

Europe still a possibility? I think so as long as the players who strode off the pitch at the Emirates stride onto the pitch at Villa Park against Del Boy and Rodders.

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

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Date:Wednesday April 2 2008
Time: 11:56AM


A player of any club becomes a fan of that club – they are just like us and as excited as us at the prospect of the influx of new players. They raise their game in the first half of the season because they want to make sure they are part of the team that will march into Europe and realize that anything other than 110% every game will mean it is their position under threat when the new boys arrive in January. The cavalry don’t arrive and thus the players, like the fans, heads drop as they feel like all their efforts in the first half of the season have been for nothing. Maybe some will even feel cheated and lied to as the promises that sold them the new contract or the move to the club once more fails to materialize. The complacency sets in as they realize that no matter how poorly they play their place is assured in the following weeks team due to their being nobody else. That is the problem. When you play for a club you become a fan of that club so they feel what we feel. How did you feel when the transfer window closed? I think the four defeats, two draws and only the one win since then would imply they felt the same as us.
02/04/2008 12:06:00
Maybe but how about the implication that MON felt that this group of players was good enough to secure that all importmant 5th/6th place in the league.... Wouldn't that massage the ego's of some of the aforementioned players?? Only playing devils advocate here...
02/04/2008 12:14:00
I think your problem is strength in depth. People in the team have no threat of being kicked ot of the team cos there is no one good enough to take their place. That reason means that standards can drop. Also you have Marlon Harewood...that can't be good.
02/04/2008 15:37:00
Spot on welshboy - my thoughts exactly. No competition for places - you can see how weak we are in that respect when you look at our bench, let alone the rest of the "squad". There is hardly a single player capable of having any real impact coming on as sub (perhaps Marlon aside if we're being generous). I think the fact that we were in 5th, coupled with the lack of threat of losing their places meant that we lost some of our edge, and perhaps for some players there's an element of complacency creeping in....
02/04/2008 16:20:00
Wish the Manu're game had come a few weeks ago to see how far we still have to go. If we had the spanish break to work on things rather than swanning around with too much confidence from our decent performance against Arsenal then it may be different now. Still we needed a couple of players in Jan to keep them on their toes. Chance wasted.
03/04/2008 09:08:00
I wish I'd got the answer(s) Col, I'd be managing the club and not merely following them all over the country. Lack of a signing or two has to be a key factor, missing out on Defoe an error of major proportions in my book. We havent got strength in depth, we all know that, and we still lack quality in key areas. A good astute article though Col. Always a pleasure to read your comments and observations.
04/04/2008 18:04:00
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