Friday, 26th December
Annoyingly (and worryingly), it looks Martin Laursen is out for a month.
So we drew the game. How? What? Somehow, we went 1-0 down against Arsenal. Then we went 2-0 down. Make no mistake about it, we played them off the park; and while we didn`t quite make the statement we wanted to with a win, we certainly made a statement when we come back from 2-0 down. This is no longer an Aston Villa that can be mocked by the big boys. This is an Aston Villa that is on the verge of really mixing it up with the big boys.
Oh and in reference to my last diary entry… thank you Zat, I will take that humble pie to go!
Saturday, 27th December
A word on Arsene Wenger. Get a grip, you snivelling, ungracious, whinging moron. I have a lot of respect for what he has done with Arsenal and, when on top form, they are as enjoyable to watch as any team I have ever seen in my life. It is also easy to respect the intelligence of the man; after all he is fluent in numerous languages. But as a man, I have no respect for Arsene Wenger at all. I don`t hate the man, as I don`t know him and I would suggest he isn`t even worthy of such a strong emotion anyway. However I do find him to be incredibly infuriating, a complete and utter whinge-bag and such a sore loser that he makes Sir Alex Ferguson look gracious; and the maddest part is, they didn`t actually lose the game… imagine if they had! Intimidating the referee? Pathetic.
Sunday, 28th December
Apparently we are going to turn down a £25m bid for Ashley Young. Like they are going to bid anyway. GETTING BORED NOW!
Monday, 29th December
Martin O`Neill denies making a bid for Jermaine Defoe or any other player. That`ll be a shock to the fans expecting a brand spanking new striker on January 1st! This is MON though, so I am not expecting any business till the last week. Anything before that will be a nice bonus!
Carlos Cuellar is confirmed as being out for another couple of weeks.
In sad news, General Krulak`s father, Lieutenant General Victor 'Brute` Krulak died aged 95. I am sure you all join me in wishing all the very best to the General and his family.
Tuesday, 30th December
Rant Number 1. Sky Sports are running a player of 2008 series per position, with the top 6 players getting named. Steven Gerrard won it (and that is all I have to say on the man, so calm down Mr Fear!) but Gareth Barry was in the top 6. Tony Gale commenting on this said, "Gareth Barry, who plays the holding role for Aston Villa and England"… WHAT???? This suggests that Tony Gale either; doesn`t see us very often and made an assumption on what role Barry plays for us based on England. If that is the case, with how often we have being on telly this season, then Tony Gale clearly does not watch enough football to justify his position as a pundit. If he HAS been watching us, then Tony Gale clearly does not understand enough about football to justify his position as a pundit. Either way, his credibility in his role is now zero.
Rant Number 2. We were brilliant on Friday. We were AWFUL tonight. Hull contributed to that, as they defended stalwartly and made it difficult for us to create chances or play to our strengths. The fact is, the only time we got behind them, it lead to the own goal. But we gave the ball away far too much, none of the back four were of any use with the ball at their feet (Curtis Davies made numerous pathetic passes that I would shout at a schoolboy for doing), the midfield didn`t get on top and creatively we were left wanting in a big way. This is not the first time we have struggled against a team that just wants to defend deep, and we are in real need of at least two attacking players.
Rant Number 3. Nick Barmby clearly made a movement into Brad Friedel that, while it was not much, it was enough to put him off (it was a shoulder into the stomach), Barmby is a whily old pro who knew EXACTLY what he was doing and if the game was not so dire then it would never have been mentioned again. But between a combination of not football to discuss and the once-decent-but-that-was-a-long-time-ago pundit Andy Gray simply HAS to create drama when there isn`t any.
Rant Number 4. Yes, Steve Robinson made a brave decision to overturn the penalty. However, this masks one of the worst refereeing performances I have EVER seen. He was diabolical and it is frightening to think he can affect the outcome of matches.
Rant Number 5. I sympathise with Phil Brown but his moaning at full-time was incredibly weak. It wasn`t a penalty. Get over it.
Ah, I feel so much better now…!
Wednesday, 31st December
We are linked with Jermaine Defoe and Emile Heskey. I expect a lot more of this next month.
Thursday, 1st January
I was right. We`re linked with Defoe, Heskey, Peter Crouch, Michael Owen, Craig Bellamy and David Suazo. Personally, as we can`t guarantee Owen`s fitness & he is (supposedly) not going anywhere in January, I would rather have Roque Santa Cruz than any of them but it seems he is Citeh-bound.
One of Heskey or Crouch may become a necessity as John Carew could be put until March. Again, I would prefer Kenwyne Jones, but what do I know? (Well I know more than Tony Gale but… okay, okay I am calm!)
Finally, Wayne Routledge holds talks with Cardiff but we have received a bid from another club, believed to be QPR.
Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Aston Villa have six players away with their countries in the October international window.
Midfielder Jordan Veretout hasn't just had to adjust to life in a new country, at a new club and with a new language, there was also the small matter...
Err. The Vital Villa man of the match v Stoke City...
Manager Tim Sherwood has given his normal Monday briefing, and goalkeeper Brad Guzan has also given his thoughts as frustration reigns.
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