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Villa's Opponents This Season Pt 2.

James Keenan has continues his excellent assesment of this seasons opponents for Villa following Villa's Opponents This Season Part One: Click Here (Teams 1-4 from last season, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal)

Now we have last seasons 5th place to the 10th placed teams:

5th Tottenham

Last Season Review

Tottenham have traditionally been a strange team to call, was last season a disappointment to them in that they didn’t take fourth spot, maybe, I feel a bit sorry for them as I don’t think that they will have a better chance. On the other hand they consolidated fifth spot and have realistically made it their own and had some good cup runs. I think that this will have been enough for the board if not the fans.

Thoughts for the coming season:

Tottenham will do well, I don’t feel that they will make any progress up the league although it may be closer this time around however if I was a gambling man I would back them for one of the cups (probably the UEFA) keeping the squad happy and signing a quality left winger will be key for them.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

It’s a tricky choice with Spurs as they have a number of quality, young players but if I had to pick one I would go for Ledley King, if he can stay fit this season I would bank on him being the key player for them. In my opinion he is probably England’s best Centre Back and if he played for Utd or Chelsea would keep either Ferdinand or Terry out of the side.

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

The weakest position in the Tottenham side is on the left wing and while Gareth Barry would do a very good job for them I think the Spurs fans would prefer someone more dynamic and exciting so I will go for Ashley Young as his pace and skill would compliment Aaron Lennon on the other wing.

6th Everton

Last Season Review:

While other teams appeared to be talking the big talk all season (including the Villa) Everton just quietly got on with the task of winning football matches, having unearthed the bargain of the season in Arteta they went a long way to putting together some consistent performances, something that had been lacking in recent years.

Thoughts for the coming season:

Everton need to provide some more of the same, leave the talking and the bragging to other teams and other fans and continue with a quiet revolution, a more prolific strike pairing will see them go along way in the UEFA cup and if they can keep hold of their star players then the top half of the table should become a familiar place.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

Joleon Lescott

Having a Rabid Wolves fan for a father-in-law I knew a lot about this player for a while and it was obvious that Wolves missed him when in the Premier League – nothing fancy from this one just consistent quality defending and the occasional goal threat.

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

The one issue with Everton is the predicatable nature of their play. With that in mind I would suggest Shaun Maloney who has the ability to unlock a defence with something a little out of the ordinary.

7th Bolton Wanderers

Last Season Review

Another successful season for Bolton who under Sam Allardyce built a team that thrived on being disliked and written off before games. Teams like Arsenal made it obvious before a ball had been kicked that they didn’t fancy this one and in signing Anelka they ensured that long ball would never be their only option.

Thoughts for the coming season:

Next season depends on one question only – did the attitude that has served them so well for so long come from the Players or from the Manager, a lot of the people I have spoken to have predicted Bolton for relegation however I think that might be going a bit too far, however, mid table is the most likely destination.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

Jussi Jaaskelainen has long been one of the most underrated goal keepers in the Premier League and has always been impressive.

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

With the loss of Ben Haim a quality defender will be imperative for Bolton this season and Martin Laursson when fit is amongst the best around.

8th Reading

Last Season Review

Last Seasons surprise package Reading came in and played their game upsetting quite a few big name clubs along the way, their demolition of West Ham was one of the most memorable moments from the season.

Thoughts for the coming season:

An ideal situation for Reading would be to consolidate their position in the top half of the table and build from their however I think that second season syndrome is likely to kick in and they will be a lot closer to the bottom this time – I don’t feel that they will get relegated but the going will be a lot tougher for them this time around.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:


Kevin Doyle scored goals for fun last season and while it will be trickier for both him and Reading this season I still think that he will get his name on the scoresheet more than most.

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

The loss of Sidwell will cost Reading this season and Gareth Barry in a Central Midfield Role would provide them even more impetus going forward and protect the back line as well.

9th Portsmouth

Last Season Review

By anyone’s standards Portsmouth had an exceptional season, everybody knows that Harry Redknapp can find enough diamonds if you give him enough crap to sift through but I was most impressed last season by the way he managed to make them so tough to beat. He signed a number of players who were either written off or never rated and made a tight defensive unit out of them. I was one of those who thought that players like Campbell and James were just after the last pay packet but they proved me wrong.

Thoughts for the coming season:

The only drawback to this season will be the age of the players creeping up, however, Harry Redknapp has done what he always does and signed a number of players who I have never heard of. For everyone that does work out there will be a couple that don’t but the addition of Distin to the backline will provide a nice bit of cover.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

From Portsmouth I’d have to take Matty Taylor as he is the player who can defend and score goals, Villa were linked with him last month and he has to be one of the few realistic targets to get excited about.

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

This is a tricky one for me to choose however I would have to go with Nigel Reo-Coker to provide some grit in the midfield – last season at times Portsmouth were out battled and it cost them.

10th Blackburn Rovers

Last Season Review

Last Season Blackburn were looking to push on and qualify for Europe and their failure to do so must be so disappointing to the fans. The addition of McCarthy gave them goals but the loss of Savage at the business end ultimately left them with too much too do.

Thoughts for the coming season:

I personally believe that Blackburn may have climbed as high as they are going to at the moment, I think that without some major investment they are going to struggle to live with the pace set. I don’t mean this as any kind of dig at Blackburn just the number of clubs with new owners, finances and expectations will make the league a lot more difficult.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

Tricky one to call this, if I could put Robbie Savage’s qualities in any other player I would pick them, but there is no way I can bring myself to suggest the Welshman so I have to look at the other players. Out of their successes I would take Mornt Gamst Pederson personally although it was a close call between him and McCarthy

Player most likely to well from Villa:


Although he has yet to turn it on for a consistent length of time I think that Stilyan Petrov could do well in the system that Mark Hughes plays. With a tight organized team I think his better qualities would flourish.

Part Three tomorrow....




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The Journalist

Writer: James Keenan Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday July 18 2007

Time: 12:06PM

Your Comments

This is the pack we have to be chasing, 5-10th. Excellent article!
The Fear
Everton are the most underrated team in the Premiership in my opinion. I like the manager and the way they go about things.
tarzan
Lot of preparation, thought, and investigation gone into this article. Great reading. Kind of depressing though, in that it brings home to us all just how tough a task we have in front of us this upcoming season. Gonna be a lot of competitive outfits out there, we'd better make sure we're up to the task from day one.
glensider
 

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