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Villa - Spoilt For Choice

Spoilt for Choice a Problem of its own

Its been a very rare event for Villa to be spoilt for choice under Martin O'Neill. Up until last summer, he removed more players than he brought in, I'd surmise, whether they were poor quality or not they were players available to be picked.

Now even after the big spend in some areas we remain woefully weak with cover, especially quality experienced cover, the one area that is overflowing is midfield.

Funny thing is, our manager is finding it hard to sort out who is played and where. I, despite, what others say, have always rated O'Neill as a manager based on his past experience, my one doubt has always been and still remains his 'old fashioned' approach as some nicely call it.

I have never felt he was the best man for the job Lerner had on offer, because I didn't think initially, he was up to speed with the modern day PL. I still don't although I'm more than willing to admit he's caught up as each season has progressed, with a monumental change to his summer transfer activities, that perhaps proved money had not been a problem, just allocating it.

Now we have, thanks to some perverse summer events more than enough choices in midfield. In Young, Petrov, Barry, Reo Coker, and now Sidwell and Milner we have some decent options and alternatives both in players and tactics, and there seemingly lies our latest conundrum that O'Neill has yet to master.

I was always brought up to think you bought players to fit your systems, and only occasionally bought top players if they became available if they didn't automatically fit into the present or planned system. Seems no longer is that the case, you see a player you feel is ideal for the club and get him if you can.

The result in our midfield is, it seems, Sidwell, and Milner are presently surplus to requirements, even if they are both fully fit. Which is one way is far from being a bad thing. I like both players but I could see better available and cheaper options we didn't get, Shaun Wright-Phillips to name one.

I appreciate Petrov's latest improvement has not helped, I'm not totally convinced he's the ideal choice at centre midfield, but he's doing the job well enough. Similarly Barry staying was a big plus for the team, but its created its own problem, O'Neill I feel doesn't think he can be trusted in the more important positions, hence his new role. Then of course Reo Coker has improved even if he is stuck out on the right wing and O'Neill seems unable to develop an effective system that allows Coker, Petrov, Barry and Young to play behind a twin strike force.

For me Sidwell, if he ever gets fit and back up to speed has to be considered. Nothing I saw pre season said he was anywhere near the Sidwell that kept Reading afloat before he joined Chelsea, but he is the ideal holding player. Similarly, Milner who I rate as a player but not as a player for Villa, is the natural right sided player many have been crying out for for ages, so he should get that position. Especially as that position has always been for me the O'Neill punishment position, out of form or players who have upset him usually get it for a game or two, because there were not alternatives.

Well now there is, and as yet O'Neill hasn't been able to make the decision on what to do. Not that I'm suggesting alternatives, I don't get paid to pick the side or choose how to spend Lerner's cash.

All I would say, is, had I done what O'Neill did in the summer, and I wouldn't have if you get my meaning, Milner would have started wide right, Petrov would be on the bench, Barry would be holding midfield and Coker would be alongside him.

Then when Sidwell did get fit, it would be between him and Barry and Coker as to who gets picked. Then it would be down to Milner to prove he's worth 12 million and if not Petrov gets his place. Its where he played his best game for us at West Ham so its a viable position for him.

Yes its time for Mart to make a few hard decisions, mind knowing Villa the minute he does, something will go awry

By avfc48

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The Journalist

Writer: avfc48 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday September 26 2008

Time: 3:04PM

Your Comments

I think milner would be playing on the right if it wernt for reo-coker's form at the moment! sidwell i feel was only bought in because we all thought barry was of.. dont get me wrong hes a good player but id still prefer barry petrov reo-coker and maybe even our own gardner before him in the middle of the park! He looked outstanding in a readin team but nothing more than average in a chelsea team. I understand alot of players would look average in a team full of superstars but there the big 4 isnt that where we want to be? UP THE VILLA SOTC
I would play Barry, Reo, Petrov in the centre with Young behind Gabby and Carew with Delfoneso on the bench, I'm not too sure about Milner at the moment of course he is a good player but because we are playing better without him at the moment i think we should give him a bit of time to settle into Villa off the pitch, in the training ground and get to know the team again, Once the time is right MON will give him his chance, Milner need's to earn it through playing sub and performing excellent before earning a start.
Villa 4 Ever
Good article. I think with the form Reo-Coker is in he deserves a shot at being in the CM role where his energy would be an asset. Yes Milner should be wide as he is match fit having been playing there for newcastle. I think recent cup games where MON has made changes prove Villa don't have quality in depth in most positions. Harewood has missed his chance and should step aside. Would it be harsh to consider Harewood to be a poor mans Heskey.
Mister Mick
Lot of words of wisdom there from my old adversary, Mr '48. Personally I'd start Milner wide right tomorrow against Sunderland, without the slightest bit of hesitation, or remorse for the replacing of players currently in the starting line-up, and playing out of their skins. We'll be a better, more rounded team when James Milner is out there and firing on all cylinders. Some tough choices for MON to make, but thats what he's paid for, and what he's good at. Good piece of writing though '48.
Brief word regarding Steve Sidwell though if I may. I unashamedly admit to thinking highly of the guy, and believe that once fully fit, he will be a huge asset to us. Like Milner, I'd start him immediately, without hesitation, on the basis that I think he will improve the starting line-up from day one. '48's comment though, "Yes its time for Mart to make a few hard decisions, mind knowing Villa the minute he does, something will go awry", is no doubt so very close to the truth that it doesn't bear thinking about. '
Sidwell from what I saw pre season is suffering from his alck of football and as such will I doubt be effective for Villa for 6-9 months. Which I suppose when it took Petrov 2 seasons is quite quick
Interesting article. I am convinced that the arrival of Sidwell, Milners and others has certainly "encouraged" certain players to up their game and on the evidence of this season so far, to maintain some consistency. True there were certainly signs toward the end of last season that Petrov had looked like he had finally "cracked it", was clear in the role he was supposedly playing. Reo-Coker on the other hand has recieved some stick, but I think he has performed above average consistently for all of last season and has upped a gear this. Milner wide right then causes a problem as to who to leave out, I just hope that after all the summer shenanigans it is deemed that Barry cannot have a little time on the bench, as he has (In my opinion, and understandably so) been unable to quite recapture the form of last season. As for Sidwell well once he is up to speed I guess NRC, Petrov and GB best be on their toes

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