The Week In Villa #14 (21/11/08 - 27/11/08)
Friday, 21st November
The build-up to the game with Manchester United sees Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs saying some very nice things about us, with the former tipping us as potential top-four finishers. We return many compliments which are supplemented with lots of, "but we feel we can end our run on Saturday".
I hope we do…
Saturday, 22nd November
We did and we didn`t. We did in as much as we ended the run of defeats, we didn`t in as much as the 0-0 draw meant we still have not beaten them in the league since 1995 - or at all since 1999.
Overall it was a fair result, I feel. They were the better side in the first half without really creating too many chances. Personally I felt we edged the second half, meaning the deadlock result was probably fair.
The 3 biggest incidents involved a fantastic challenge by Ashley Young to prevent Park from scoring, Wayne Rooney missing an excellent chance and Gabriel Agbonlahor getting brought down by Vidic, in what really should have resulted in the dismissal of the defender. Whether it was in the box or not is up for debate I suppose but either way he should have been sent off.
Oh, and Ronaldo fell over; a lot. Nigel Reo-Coker did a great job of shackling him, and he sulked, moaned & dived his way through; when he was substituted, he decided to give our fans some lip. Idiot.
Sunday, 23rd November
The papers talk a lot about Man U`s 'missed opportunity`. Was our situation not worthy of being deemed a 'missed opportunity`?
For the second consecutive week, transfer talk is pretty quiet, although there are a few snippets. Gareth Barry is believed to be staying until the end of the season, Michael Owen is believed to be willing to take a pay-cut and Emile Heskey is believed to be staying at Wigan. So the one thing we need to fo is believe!
Monday, 24th November
Quiet day, other than a couple of our players (Gareth Barry and Ashley Young) talking about fourth place, MON saying we may need to 'prioritise` matches and rotate the squad, and a very tenuous link to Lukas Podolski.
Tuesday, 25th November
John Carew says he wants to finish his career at Villa. He`s obviously a big fan of the strip joints in Brum ;-)
Away from the first team, Barry Bannan was once again on the score-sheet as the reserves drew 1-1 at Fulham, with the hosts grabbing an injury time equaliser.
Wednesday, 26th November
ANOTHER slow news day amounts to Martin O`Neill saying that John Carew is no longer an automatic choice and Stilyian Petrov saying consistency is the key to success
It`s been a pretty easy week so far for your writer here!
Thursday, 27th November
A little more happening today, but not a lot! Carlos Cuellar returned to training today, but John Carew and Luke Young both missed the session.
If Young is injured, will he put Cuellar at left-back? Why did he sign Nicky Shorey?! Mind you, in MON`s defence, I have not been impressed with Shorey at all. That said, I still expect him to come back in if Luke Young is out. I`d expect the full-backs to get a lot of the ball and with Shorey being a natural left-footer, it may be no bad thing if he does come back in, looking at it from an offensive point of view. Don`t get me wrong, I`d love nothing more than Shorey to be a success - OF COURSE I want him to succeed at Villa, as I do every other player. But, based on his performances so far this season, I am very much looking forward to Bouma coming back; still, I hope Shorey gives me a big piece of humble pie to eat soon. Mmmm… pie…
Anyhoo, something else to mention is that today we were linked with an £18m bid for Ajax striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. I haven`t seen him play much but I like him from what I have seen, and there is no disputing that he has been linked with just about every top club in Europe over the past couple of years. (He`s not great on Football Manager though!) The pessimist in me thinks he will go somewhere else, the optimist in me thinks we are in a strong position and he could be a great signing. Speaking of Ajax, by the way, they beat Hamburg away to join us on 6 points in our UEFA Cup group.
We also have a suggestion, from City Council leader Mike Whitby, that we add Birmingham into the name - Aston Villa Birmingham, he gives as an example. I am disgusted that the Evening Mail dignified this by putting it on the front page. It's a farcical suggestion, for so many reasons and if it is true that Mr Whitby plans on officially approaching Randy Lerner about the matter, I most certainly hope that Randy Lerner officially tells him where to go!
So, a quiet week ends with a fairly exciting rumour. I don`t care if it`s quiet again next week, but I do think a couple of wins would be nice. Up the Villa!