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MON Explains Villa's Change In Tactics - Sort Of

MON Explains Villa's Change In Tactics - Sort Of

It is a funny old game, we wait for two seasons for a right-back and then when we get one, after only a few games, he gets dropped for a centre back! In fact yesterday against Portsmouth Martin O'Neill dropped two new buys in order to fit in, well, two new buys really!

Both Luke Young and Nicky Shorey were consigned to the bench with Carlos Cuellar being put to right-back - or as some suggested in a back three, although that isn't how the game panned out I don't think, and James Milner into midfield.

Martin O'Neill says neither player have anything to worry about though saying there really is 'nothing fantastic to read into it.'

Slightly puzzlingly though, he says that he didn't know how players would come back from international duty and yet the two left out hadn't been on international duty. I'm slightly thick, so I'm obviously missing something?!

He told Sky Sports:

'I was concerned, as a lot of managers, about how the players would be like when they came back from international duty. We only met up on Friday morning for a brief spell and, while all the players want to play, I didn't know how long they might last in the game. For instance, John Carew was suffering with cramps a lot before the game, but he came through and started to get stronger.'

Adding, 'One player I was concerned about, Stiliyan Petrov - who played two internationals for Bulgaria and was in Georgia on Wednesday - was the best player on the pitch. We've got players available for Thursday for the Uefa Cup (against Ajax) now and it is no slight on anyone. I have been pleased with both full-backs. They are trying to get to grips. They have had no chance whatsoever to settle in. But overall they will be fine, the two lads. There is not a problem.'

That makes no sense at all to me, I would have thought if you were worried about players returning then you would play the more rested players? Then again, it only has to make sense to one man, Martin O'Neill.

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

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Sunday October 19 2008
Time: 7:14PM


I think he's trying to say 'I messed up'.
19/10/2008 19:33:00
Only a tought..Portsmouth are very strong physically and they don't tend to play with 'out and out' wingers. Cuellar and Barry gave us extra heading cover at the back, and in the first half when Crouch won a lot of headers, Barry with no winger to mark, moved into a position in front of Defoe to act as an extra shield. My only critiscm with that is that we adjusted our game to combat Pompey. They should have been worried about us! I think MON's ploy worked very well defensively, but we missed GB#s drive in midfield although Reo Coker and Petrov in particular were exceleent. Just a thought!
19/10/2008 19:44:00
at the end of the day if it had worked and we'd won, he'd have been hailed the messiah, if it had failed and we'd lost he'd have taken the flack. He tried something - seems strange timing but he is the manager - it didn't work but we didn't pay too heavily and as we did get the draw and still had the lions share of the game. still think the main problem is the strike force.
The Fear
19/10/2008 19:49:00
intrestingly, you emplyed the system we expected to use, whilst we emplyed the system you expected to use... do you think maybeharry and martin got there team sheets muddled up?
19/10/2008 20:23:00
i posted this on the forums, i think it cleared up mon's ramble: I think to be fair, it confused the hell out of harry redknapp, they defended most of the game, pompey had the measure of villa last season. This season MON got everyone confused, got shorey and Luke Young thinking they were back from international duty, got petrov, Barry et al thinking they all been at home with their feet up during international break, thus thinking they had been rested to play like they hadnt been on international duty, and were full of beans and ready to run a marathon. Clever bloke this mon, took me a few days to work it out. Sherlocks job is safe me thinks!
19/10/2008 21:08:00
no match report yet?
19/10/2008 21:17:00
Damned if you & damned iof you don't. On any given day this game could have gone either way. Leave it where it is & move on as we both have a European game to look forward to. Things could be worse, we could be Spurs or Newcastle fans.
19/10/2008 21:23:00
I dunno he tried something new and it didn't really work one thing for sure is that it might muddle up the Ajax scouts, when i saw the team sheet i thought he was being daring and playing 3,5,2, Friedel, Davies, Laursen, Cueller,,,,,,Young, Barry, Reo Coker, Petrov, Milner,,,,,Agbonlahor, Carew.
Villa 4 Ever
19/10/2008 22:08:00
MON doe's have brainfarts.... this idea of sticking our best midfielder as left back is lost on me.
19/10/2008 22:22:00
Everyone's been slagging Shorey off for ages, and when MON recognises that Portsmouth might give our full backs a torrid time and moves Gareth back there to shore things up, and Cuellar to add a bit of physicality and height, then people have a go. If people noticed, we didn't concede, so it worked, right? We had opportunities to score but didn't take them. Both decent sides, and I thought we shaded it - much improved on last season when we got turned over twice. I took heart from the fact that we had by far the lions share of possession, which has been rare this season - I think per the pundits it was 57% to 43%. Trouble was we didn't really have enough invention to know what to do with the ball when we had it. I thought Petrov was excellent, but I also thought Hokey Cokey had a stormer - surprised to see he has so little of the MOM vote.
20/10/2008 07:14:00
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