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A New Philosophy For Villa

A New Philosophy For Villa

Football is a simple game, last season proved that. Score lots and conceed lots equals exciting games. O'Neill wants to change that.

Speaking on the official site about the unfortunate dropping of two points against Liverpool, O'Neill explained that he has no intention of losing Villa's attacking play, but he is looking towards a less leaky defence to drive us forward this season.

Pointing to Man U's string of 1-0 victories last season, O'Neill says that it proves that all the best sides, and those who intend on challenging for the top honours, have to have a strong and reliable defensive line.

'Sunday's game against Liverpool was a bit of a stalemate. It almost became like a chess match during parts of the match. It's the first time we have had a goalless draw for over 40 games. It is unusual but very commendable. We are not used to it.

'Liverpool have spent a lot of money but they are not scoring freely even when they have some of the best players in the world available to them. But they have been able to shut up shop. These things are very important.

'Take the example of Manchester United last season. During the first few games, they couldn't get a result and then won five of the next six Premier League games 1-0.

'For all their fantastic attacking flair, they built their foundations on a solid defence.

'We are not going to forsake attacking play, far from it, because Villa fans come down expecting something in the form of the Manchester City display. I don't want to disappoint anyone.

'But from a professional point of view, the improved defensive display was greeted in some quarters with relief.'

I think the improved defensive display against Liverpool was greeted with relief in all quarters as many of us would've put money on Liverpool getting a 'cheeky' penalty or freekick in the dying seconds, as is usually the case.

There are no doubts that if we intend on solidifying our league position from last year or improving further our defence needs to be at its best, so it comes as no surprise that is the area that most of our activity in the transfer market was in the defensive area. If we can continue to play and score as freely as last season, yet even take off a quarter of the goals we conceeded it would be easily worth 10-20 additional points for us over the course of the season.

That number of points could not only make the difference between 6th and 5th, it could also be the difference between 6th and 4th depending on how other teams do.

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

Writer:Mike Field
Date:Thursday September 4 2008
Time: 3:44PM


Once this defence gels and the players get used to their partners' movements there should no excuses for conceding anywhere near the same amount of goals as last season - not to mention the addition of Bouma when he gets back from injury, he'll be like another new signing.
04/09/2008 16:05:00
We just need to stop leaking late goals, Stoke and Man City anyone?
04/09/2008 16:23:00
nice reminder jonah, spot on too. maybe when we've run up several victories with no goals against we can really talk of improvement
04/09/2008 16:42:00
Although our goals against column doesn't look particularly good at the moment, you have to remember that it contains 2 very questionable penalties and a late consolation goal. Whilst they all count at the end of the season if it goes down to goal difference, I don't think that we need to read too much into at this stage of the season. We'll be OK as long as Zat doesn't get too many games!
04/09/2008 16:56:00
I agree with Mayo...this defence really is starting to look good now, improved dramatically
04/09/2008 17:16:00
I cant see zat playing many premier league games this season Q...
04/09/2008 17:21:00
I believe MOn will play just one up front from now on, which will in turn help out the defence. With Sidwell coming back to fitness, he will play Reo holding, and then Sidwell, Barry, Young and Milner to support Carew. Even though playing one up front sounds defensive, it can actually work out being more attacking, while giving better cover to the defence. Chelsea play that way and while our players aren't quite on the same level, it shows it can work, if they talk to eachother and players cover, when others bomb forward. I think the starting 11 once everyone is fit will be Friedel, Young, Cueller, Laursen, Bouma, Milner, Reo, Sidwell, barry, Young and Carew.
In MON we trust!
04/09/2008 17:23:00
TheQ and all you other Zat haters! The guy is a VILLA BOY through and through! Show a bit of respect for a fellow Holte Ender... that is if you've ever stood on the Holte!
05/09/2008 04:49:00
Or know what the Holte is! Oh, In Mon we trust... stop talking utter *****e! Reo will not play ahead of Petrov and that is far too defensive. Strewth.
05/09/2008 04:51:00
Er yeah, thanks for that constructive contribution Rawlie. It's not a case of people being 'Zat haters', more a case of people wanting what's best for Villa. Call me old fashioned but I always feel alot more comfortable with our best team on the pitch - that being a team that doesn't have players like Zat Knight in it. I like Zat because he always gives his all, and that is ultimately all you can ask for from anyone, but his all is not the required standard from which we now operate. As highly as I rate Curtis, I struggle to see how he could possibly displace Carlos or Laursen once they start together. In my near 30 years of watching Villa the stand out partnerships have been McGrath and Nielsen, Southgate and Ehigou but I think the central defence this season could be the best of the lot.
05/09/2008 09:49:00
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