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Bench Stiliyan Petrov?

Good news, Martin O'Neill says Villa fans will see a different Stiliyan Petrov next season.

Great, as the one we've seen this season hasn't been up to much and often I've forgotten he has been on the pitch. His debut against West Ham showed an 11/10 player, he made an outstanding contribution, so - apart from some brief glimpses - I'm not totally sure what has happened since. Maybe it is just going to take him time and a good pre-season to fully settle in? On his debut I thought we'd got ourselves a new Magic Merse, since then I've wondered if we've not landed the next Mark Draper!

However the Villa boss says we've seen nothing yet. Very true Martin, very true!

On the 27-year-old Bulgarian who has just returned to the international fold, O'Neill says:

'When he came in here, he set the place on fire in his early games, which was a difficult standard to live up to. He himself knows he can play much, much better and much more consistently. I thought that he played well against Arsenal, but it was a pretty stodgy performance on Sunday. I just think that when he gets all these things clear in his mind, he'll be fine - the change from Glasgow to Birmingham, the change of football. All of these things, he's got to come to terms with.'

Come on, he set the place alight at Upton Park, why would that be difficult to live up to? Top quality players are top quality players full stop, surely?

The Villa boss added: 'I think we'll see a different Stiliyan Petrov next season. I would have expected him to have made a real consistently strong impact. I think he's capable of doing that, but it hasn't shown. The West Ham game was extraordinary, but those performances have been too few and far between. I thought his first-half performance at Sheffield United when he scored a goal was absolutely outstanding. That's the sort of form he can achieve when fully confident, but like a number of players here at this minute, confidence is a wee bit low. That stems from not winning the number of games that we would hope to have done.

'I suppose there are echoes of his start at Celtic. When I arrived at Celtic Football Club he was just trying to find form. He had been playing in a number of positions, so to find the right position for him obviously helped a great deal.'

Martin O'Neill is certainly pulling no punches though, not looking at excuses when he adds, 'But in fairness he was a lot younger then and you could understand it. Here he's got more maturity about him and the move here should not have caused him the hassle that perhaps it has done. I think that after a few months players should settle down and be able to produce their best. Stiliyan has yet to do that consistently.'

Hopefully that will serve as the kick up the backside that Stiliyan needs, for the money paid he HAS to show up on the pitch in EVERY match.

As he isn't doing that at the moment, maybe he should spend a game or two on the bench watching how it should be done by the likes of Patrik Berger?




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 22 2007

Time: 11:05AM

Your Comments

some players respond to the stick some to the carrot, MON knows him well, must say when ive watched villa on the box he doesnt look as good as when he first arrived !
Hudders
I hope he can perform well in everymatch I hope he aint just some guy Martin is in love with
Christo
He has been very disappointing so far. I thought he was supposed to be a 'goalscoring' midfielder and has managed only one so far this season. He doesn't get up and support the strikers at all and so far I would have to say I think he's been a waste of money.
jonah
steve davis anyone 4 a few games to give petrov a kick up the arse? cant understand why he hasnt got even a run now in ages also goes for luke moore as well!
Belfast Villain
Good shout Mr Fear and Belfast. Interesting comparisons to Merse and Draper, although I feel that Smiler is more like Draper. Steve Davis on the other hand reminds me a lot of Ray Houghton and deserves his chance again, as does Luke. Stan should have a spell on the bench, because he is not in the team on merit at present. I also have been shouting for JPA to have a go up front with JC. If not and you want a quality midfielder with a great first touch, JPA is your man. Either way, Stan is not showing that he should be chosen ahead of any of these players. But give him time-- he will be ok.
morky13villa
Petrov has been a big disappointment so far, but if he gets a decent central midfield partner next season, we may see the best of him. It doesn't help him that we have tended to by-pass midfield recently and he has spent most of the game watching the ball fly over his head. If he gets in and around the box, he causes problems and should have had a pen on Sunday. We desperately need a midfielder who gets past the strikers, like Ian Taylor used to and lets hope Petrov shows next season he is the man to do it
Geordie_Villa
Not sure I agree with the article making Draper out to be a average player. He was no Merse but he was bl00dy good. I think you could have added Sasa Curcic instead! Anyhow, I feel the step up in opposition and the step down in quality players around him have shocked him a little. With the 3 to 4 quality buys next season he'll be fine. Think, R Keane, S Sidwell, possible SWP and some huge defender that Martin'll pull out the bag and i'm sure Petrov will start to gel again. Berger is off so I wouldn't start using him instead of Petrov all the time...the future is not here yet but I can see it over the horizon and I believe it to be bright.
koolbill
I know that I'm very much in the minority, but I still rate the guy highly, despite what I've witnessed from him in his appearances to date, and from the comments I read above and hear from fellow supporters at the games, some that I actually agree with. He'll come good, too good a footballer not too, and he'll play an important role in our rejuvenated and strengthened midfield next season.
glensider
I thought Petrov was great against Arsenal ? I think everyone should give him a break and get behind him,i certainly will as he works his cobs off for the shirt.
ASPINALL
I agree J, Berger has looked a total different quality to some of our team when he has made brief appearances! Give him a start that's what I say, as for he of the big buffont! Stilian that is, let him keep the bench warm for a few games until the end of the season then we can sell him.
spit-fire
Stan could do with a couple of games coming on from the bench along with Gabby. No point in letting him go, as he has shown his quality in small pockets of play all season. I dont think we should give Berger many starts as his stamina is not great and he will be off summer anyway.
morky13villa
I think we should have Berger starting as I'd quite like us to stay in the division. And, No, we could go down unless win's start happening.
spit-fire
Agree with spit-fire, we obviously have to start winning, starting with next Monday evenings game. A point is no good, we have to pick up three, and it aint going to be easy.
glensider
 

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