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Villa's Opponents This Season Pt 3.

James Keenan has continued 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)

And: Villa's Opponents This Season Pt 2. Click Here

All done in the order they finished last season, so now to 11th place:

11th Aston Villa

If Everyone can bear with me I think that Aston Villa can safely be left till the end.

12th Middlesbrough

Last Season Review

A difficult first season for former Villa Player Gareth Southgate, I was surprised by his appointment at the start of the season and a little bit surprised he managed to see the season out. It was only due to the number of poor teams last season that Middlesbrough earned a respectable 12th place and with the loss of Viduka I can see them falling even further off the pace.

Thoughts for the coming season:

They lost a number of goals in Viduka and unfortunately I can see them flirting even closer with relegation this time around. The urgent requirements for them are a proven Goal Scorer and keeping Yakubu fit for the season.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

Yakubu is an immense talent I feel, a strong, quick scoring talent – like Heskey with balance and ball control.

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

Hopefully gone are the days when players left Villa for Boro as they had more ambition but earlier in the season they were linked with Luke Moore and I can see why. If they made a loan offer for the season I think that this could be good business for Villa even now.

13th Newcastle United

Last Season Review

The start of last season we beat the barcodes at home which prompted a huge outcry from the Newcastle fans that if they want to qualify for Europe they need to beat poor teams like the Villa. Not a completely unjustified statement for two seasons ago but harsh when you consider the changes we were making, but then delusion has always been a stock in trade for Newcastle. Whether the blame lies in the fans for the pressures they bring on the board or the board for trying to deflect criticism it has to be stated that for too long they have used a big name signing up front to distract from the weaknesses inherent in the team, particularily at the back. At times last season I believed that they were an outside tip for relegation they were that poor.

Thoughts for the coming season:

Newcastle finally have a first choice manager in Big Sam and while his team may not appeal to the broad spectrum of football fans in they way that they are likely to play, Newcastle fans will forgive anything if he can bring them some success. With two local derbies for the Barcodes this season they will need to at least come out on top in those. Key player for me would be Kieron Dyer as he has been coasting for several seasons and it is time he started fulfilling his potential.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

Is Titus Bramble still available? No? Oh well it will have to be Shay Given then! The reason for them ever having a positive goal difference

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

Sticking with defense here I’d have to go for Freddie Bouma as his experience and versatility would serve them well with the few talented youngsters they have.

14th Manchester City

Last Season Review

The only question to be asked regarding last season is how bad must the teams that finished below this poor City team be? A lack of goals is well documented but the fault for their poor season lies firmly with the ex-manager Stuart Pearce. Hopefully he will soon be removed from the U21 position as well and we can totally dispense with the idea that jigging round on the sidelines and shouting like a child with ADHD is a sign of some tactical genius, great player, terrible manager!

Thoughts for the coming season:

With a new manager in Sven with a point to prove and a new chairman spending money like it doesn’t belong to him (allegedly) City can only go forward. It will be difficult to suggest which team will start as at the rate they are buying the only familiar face will be Micah Richards.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

As the team will probably look completely different come the start of the season I can only base this on last season and the outstanding quality was Micah Richards, however as a foul mouthed Birmingham Fan who knocked us out of the cup would he want to come or be welcome?

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

Judging from last season you can almost take your pick however I would choose Gareth Barry for his leadership qualities as much as his skill on the ball as there will be a big hole left following the departure of Joey Barton

15th West Ham

Last Season Review

The very definition of second season syndrome, how to follow up a Cup Final appearance and European qualification by signing two global superstars and flirting all season with relegation. Alan Curbishley has now got the money to spend but his January signing were a questionable success at best. At no point in the season did the players seem to want to put the team first and the threat of points being docked clouded the few positives that they could draw from the season.

Thoughts for the coming season:

New owners seem willing to back the manager and he is being given the opportunity to improve his squad without restrictions, a lot will depend on how much time he is given as the expenditure that is being put about comes with it’s own requirements for success. Curbishley has never managed to take the next step as manager of Charlton but he is now operating on another level entirely. Marlon Harewood will be a big miss for them however!

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

I won’t even answer this one as in my opinion we now have enough Hammers to open a DIY shop.

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

Gabby although no replacement for Tevez could use his speed and striking ability to score some goals, especially alongside Dean Ashton.

16th Fulham

Last Season Review

This will have to be incredibly brief as unfortunately Fulham don’t really register on my footballing radar, I have nothing against the team but also I have nothing for them either. Another Fulham season ending in a familiar low position. Chris Coleman was possibly unfairly treated but maybe a fresh challenge will do him some good.

Thoughts for the coming season:


Lawrie Sanchez seems intent on building the Northen Ireland Team at Craven Cottage however this may not result in the success that they hope for. Predicatably another low finishing season awaits.

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

Steven Davies, can we have him back please?

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

Take your pick on this one – we are arguably stronger in defense, midfield and attack so I’ll pick Sorenson as I haven’t named him so far and don’t want him to feel left out.

17th Wigan Athletic

Last Season Review

Wigan should have known better than to even think about signing Emile Heskey and hoping to stay up, didn’t they see Birmingham playing when they went down, The club appeared to be doing well in the Premier League but I think that they fell victim to their own success and landed too much too soon.

Thoughts for the coming season:

Make no mistake Paul Jewell is going to be a big loss for the team, I know nothing about Hutchings and will not make predictions as it would be unfair to the Wigan fans

Player I’d most like to bring to Villa:

For the first time in this document I have had to look up a squad list as I was struggling to think of the Wigan players, however, once I did so one name leapt out at me Leighton Baines would be an England regular if he plied his trade for a more fashionable club (we know a fair bit about that as Villa fans)

Player most likely to do well from Villa:

Either one of Gary Cahill or Liam Ridgewell, both capable defenders who would thrive on the pressure up there.

And the Promoted Teams

1st Sunderland

Thoughts for the coming season:

The first test of Roy Keane as a manager, he did amazingly getting Sunderland promoted, particularily from where he started, but the Honeymoon period will soon be over and the real work begins. Personally I think that Sunderland and Roy Keane will do well this season however I wouldn’t be on an extended return.

2nd Birmingham City

Thoughts for the coming season:

I must be one of the rarest breeds in the world – a Villa fan who doesn’t mind a bit of success for the Blues, an ideal situation for me would have been the Blues, Baggies and Wolves all getting promoted last season and staying up (provided they finish below Villa) I think that Birmingham will stay up this time and then the money will be spent.

3rd Derby County

Thoughts for the coming season:

I can’t see this as being anything other than a straight drop back down I’m afraid, they’ve been too long out of the top flight and don’t have enough money or quality to keep up. As above I will be sorry about this as I love to see Midlands Clubs doing well, but that’s the nature of football.

And then there was one:

Aston Villa

Last Season Review

Martin O’Neill came in with David O’Leary’s squad and still made us difficult to beat – if Luke Moore had stayed fit then maybe we would have turned some of the draws into wins, if we hadn’t drawn Chelsea and Man Utd in the cups maybe we could have got a run going. Last season was a transition and some of the players that weren’t as impressive now have a years experience to draw on.

Thoughts for the coming season:

One thing that can be guaranteed is that Martin will play his own game and keep his cards close to his chest. I don’t believe that we will sign any superstars this summer for one simple reason. We aren’t chasing them! Martin will sign good not great players and get them playing for the team. We will be organized, committed, we will chase every lost cause and we will cause some upsets this season. Is Europe a possibility? Maybe. Is a cup a possibility? Again maybe. Two or three seasons down the line Villa will be a force in the League but let’s not forget how far behind we start. Give the team time, keep the barracking to a minimum and support whoever is signed this season if it is Marlon Harewood or Samuel E’to, take a pride in your team and eventually we will be champions again.

You heard it here first!




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The Journalist

Writer: James Keenan Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday July 19 2007

Time: 9:00AM

Your Comments

Great article. What a good level headed opinion on all of our opposition.
HolteEnder43
great article, don't usually say this but would love other teams to read it and give us there thoughts. or for them to do an equivalent.
godworeno5
Enjoyed the whole series of articles, balanced,fair and entertaining. Particularly like the summing up of us last season and the forthcoming one and agree with every word. A voice of reason amongst the madness!
Jon.H
Yes, you've convinced me! Its going to be a very tough, extremely competitive premiership this season, with possibly very little to choose between the vast majority of the teams.
glensider
 

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