The Week In Villa #9 (17/10/08 - 23/10/08)
Friday, 17th October
No actual direct Villa Park news worth reporting, we are just preparing for Pompey and James Milner and Carlos Cuellar are still both being tipped for starts. The only real talking point is who will lose out? Current speculation is Curtis Davies, and Gabriel Agbonlahor is still not confirmed fit, although he has taken in some light training today.
Back to transfer news from the previous day, and our apparent target Emile Heskey is now linked with a move to Liverpool. In more positive news, we are linked with a £10m move for Aiden McGeady from Celtic. I think he`s a class act and, while I am not sure about the truth in the rumour, I would be delighted if it were to come true.
Saturday, 18th October
We draw 0-0 with Portsmouth. Overall, we were the better team and unlucky to come away without a win. The surprising team selection of dropping both full-backs can possibly be explained by the sheer physical presence of the Pompey team. The downside was that we definitely missed the guile of Gareth Barry in the middle of the park.
For me, the game left me with one major thought which was the front two need some proper competition, because right now there is a lack of options to mix it up. Long-term I think Delfounso could well be quite a player, but at the moment he is probably not ready for the step-up and I don`t believe that Marlon is capable of being any sort of real competition to either Carew or Gabby. Hopefully that will be rectified in January.
The real unsavoury incident of the day is the coin throw that hit the linesman. Whether they were aiming at Harry Redknapp or not is not the issue here; the fact is that this type of action should not be tolerated and shame on anyone who saw the incident but kept their mouth shut. I sincerely hope that whoever was responsible is brought to justice and banned from every ground in the country - nay, the world - for life.
I am proud to be an Aston Villa fan for a whole range of reasons and I refuse to accept someone like that soiling the good name of the club and the majority of our fans.
In happier news, the Academy lads give the Blues a 5-0 hammering, Kofi Poyser (cool name) got a hat-trick, while Ciaran Clark and Durrell Berry grab the other goals.
Sunday, 19th October
The news is all about the coin thrower and that`s frustrating but understandable. Harry Redknapp whinges a lot about the treatment he gets from Villa fans, which makes him sound like a big girls blouse, to be honest.
Monday, 20th October
The daily tabloids continue the weekends reports of the coin thrower, and we can only hope the guilty party is found and brought to justice soon. Meanwhile, Redknapp continues to moan.
Speaking of moaning, Gareth Barry makes a couple of comments about playing at left-back. While I think the media try to make more of it than it is, he does state that left-back is not his favourite position.
The reserves stumble to their first defeat of the season away at Pompey. None of the first team squad played, and Ciaran Clark gets sent off. Bit of a miserable evening for the lads really!
Tuesday, 21st October
A slow news day sees more coin-throwing related news, and previews start to come out for the Ajax and Wigan matches. There really isn`t anything noteworthy to report, other than confirmation that Nick Shorey will start against Ajax. It seems like a strange announcement really, but I suppose it puts to bed any suggestions that Gareth Barry will play there. Speaking of which, MO`N responds to Barry`s comments by saying he picks the team and people will play where he says. Darn tootin`!
Oh and we`re linked with Emile Heskey again. I expect that to continue all week, with Wigan being the game at the weekend.
Wednesday, 22nd October
Further striker links today, but not Heskey. The M*rror reports that we`re after Santa Cruz from Blackburn, and will be using Harewood as bait. I`d love it to be true, but given the source, I will not hold my breath.
Today is also the 20 year anniversary of my first Villa game, and I knocked up a little celebratory trip down memory lane just for Vital Football!
Thursday, 23rd October
GET IN! 2-1 win over Ajax. We played quite well, and were never really panicking; quite frankly, Friedel had little to do. No John Carew, stated as out with an illness, meant that we opted for a 4-5-1/4-3-3 formation that sees Young and Milner either side of Gabby. Gareth Barry plays superbly in an advanced role, and even replaces Gabby as the front man for the last few minutes after he got stretchered off and was replaced by Curtis Davies just to make sure of the win.
Carlos Cuellar slotted in nicely, the full-backs returned and did well, Petrov was outstanding again. Laursen played very well and Reo-Coker put in a good Reo-Coker performance.
I save special praise for Craig Gardner though, who managed to get himself booked in the ten or so minutes he was on the pitch…!