Aston Villa - Have Villa Waved The White Flag For UEFA Cup?
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Have Villa Waved The White Flag For UEFA Cup?

Have Villa waved the white flag when it comes to the UEFA Cup?

The squad has been announced today and once again Martin O'Neill has gone for a less than strong selection, something he seems to do a great deal in all cup competitions. Now fair enough some will say that with the size of our squad we have to prioritise for the league push but I guess the counter question is who is responsible for the size of the squad and isn't winning silverware - or winning at all - a good habit to pick up?

Suppose all depends on the result but looking at this squad, I'd certainly not place money on a win in Moscow and thank the good lord Paul McGrath that I didn't buy tickets to go over there like four of my mates. Not sure how they will feel when they see this. I guess time will tell.

Martin O'Neill explained: 'We have a couple of players carrying injuries and a couple of others who I believe need resting for the important final third of the season.'

There is no Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, Gabby Agbonlahor or James Milner and Brad Friedel also stays at home.


Brad Guzan
Stuart Taylor
Elliott Parish


Luke Young
Curtis Davies
Zat Knight
Nicky Shorey
Eric Lichaj
Ciaran Clark
Shane Lowry


Steve Sidwell
Moustapha Salifou
Craig Gardner
Isaiah Osbourne
Barry Bannan
Marc Albrighton


Marlon Harewood
John Carew
Nathan Delfouneso

Bit pathetic really, but hey ho.

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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday February 24 2009

Time: 10:50AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
What do you think? We waited years to get back into Europe and now this. Baffling the attitude to the cups this season.
The Fear
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24/02/2009 10:55:00

Strange one this as you could very feasibly have got through this tie despite Moscow having a slight advantage, I'd of backed you to at least score over there. As fans we'd all prefer silverware, but the Champions League is the be all and end all for money men at a club. Will mean now it will probably be 4 games without a win going into your next league game, I'm willing to bet you'd have put in a better performance coming back from a great win over there, and there's definatly the possibility of getting to a final in the UEFA Cup.
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 11:02:00

i hate to say it but i think this is the right move. the one thing that clearly stood out to me in the chealsea game (first half especially) is we were fatiuged. now i would love to win the UEFA cup but beating moscow does not ensure that. we have a real good chance of getting a top 4 spot in the league and that appears to be the holy grail. give me UEFA cup glory and 5th in the league i would be as happy as can be, but this is the way to go unfortunatley.
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 11:08:00

I am livid. What a joke.
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24/02/2009 11:08:00

Personally we are not guaranteed a place in the top 4 yet... places 3 & 4 only earn the opportunity to play a qualification match to see if you can get in.... on paper it looks bad.
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 11:09:00

gonna get battered, im sure of that, really disappointing... but what do you do? go strong have more games fatigue everyone, miss out on 3rd or 4th and lose Gareth Barry, it's more of a long term plan me thinks. SHort term it just looks bad, gotta look at the bigger picture. really is quite disappointing, that team is set up to go.. 'please beat us', then you look at it and go what was the point of goin into inter toto? so many questions so little answers!
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 11:21:00

This what you call putting all your eggs into one basket. Pathetic. Big Club? Don't make me laugh.
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 11:28:00

massive pressure on Monny to get at least 4th... if it all goes pete tong, will be a look back on missed opportunities.
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 11:30:00

Thank god. I dont think any fan can argue that even at home with a first eleven out against chelsea we look tired after playing midweek. If we go to russia and then back again for the weekend, we'll be shot. I can see with people asking why we entered the inter-toto if we had no intention of going to win the comp, but come on - to get into the champions league at this moment in time is a ONCE IN A DECADE chance to A: get into the best european competition and B:get income so we can improve our squad to challenge on more fronts at the same time like the top 4. If we jeopardise our chances in the league then we will have honestly made no improvement from last year worth talking about. This is an experienced and absolutely correct move by MO'N. UTV
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 11:43:00

I really do not understand all this talk about fatigue. For goodness sake these men are professional athletes and, if they are properly trained and fit then they should be fully recovered from their games within 24/36 hours max. Unless, of course, their out of hours excesses are such they are still recovering from them when they should be playing, in which case some may be continually knackered. A game every three to four days should not be beyond any them providing they are being sensible in their off duty time.
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24/02/2009 12:13:00

We need to rest players, in recent weeks we've looked knackered. The way we play requires going full out which in normal circumstances you can do for 60 mins in a match but recelty that has dropped to 30 minutes look how we tailed off against Chelsea. Knowing Villa we'll beat Moscow and have even more games to play
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 12:25:00

Have you heard some of yourselves???. Why enter the intertoto if we do this and that. Hands up (HONESTLY) all those who predicted we would be top 4 ahead of Arsenal and Everton and just 1 point behind Chelski and only a few off 2nd?. with just around a dozen or so games to go? Come one own up!. If this means we finish top 4 then Barry cannot turn around and say I want to play for a team in the top 4 so I'm off. We can then hopefully get better players - finishing 5th and perhaps winning the Cup (very doubtful seeing the quality in there) will not as most players who aren't after money or the highlife in London will want CL football. You don't know - starnger things have happened - we may just sneak a 1-0 win - forever the optimist. Anyhoo - even fans of other teams where I work (Man U Liverpool etc) say Villa should concentrate on 4th as this is the best chance we have. Once we break in we will go onward - I'm sure MON and Randy will make sure of that - we won't justrest on our laurels as we did in the old days under you know who.
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24/02/2009 12:31:00

right decision MON, but still a bit gutted.
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24/02/2009 12:46:00

We could win the UEFA. Instead we'll, at best, go into the qualifiers for Champion's League next cocking season...after a summer of predictably not bolstering the squad. So what?!
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24/02/2009 12:57:00

So only one first team mf player going. Should be interesting!!
Villan Of The North
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24/02/2009 12:59:00

nazvfc - you are spot on. enough said.
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24/02/2009 13:17:00

Moscow are obviously far better than Stoke (we play on saturday). so why not play our first team on thursday, and if they need a rest, play this B-team on saturday? They should be good enough to beat Stoke at home, and if not, then we know they're useless and all need replacing!! If we lose against Moscow, then we're out of a competition that we've been playing in since last June to try and win. If we don't beat Stoke, we've lost a bit of ground in the league but we'll still be 4th.....
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24/02/2009 14:20:00

Maybe i'm biased- after the Ajax and Moscow home games, i'd love to see us take on Shakta Donesk (i know i can't spell!)
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24/02/2009 14:23:00

Well said nazfc. MrZeus, Stoke are playing in a much harder league than Moscow and have already beaten us once this season. If our B-team can beat Stoke then they can beat Moscow. You have defeated yourself with your own argument. As for the need to replace. Who do we replace them with. There's no point having 2 teams of players when we can only play 1 most weeks and most of them are U21 so have to learn their trade somewhere.
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24/02/2009 14:29:00

you seriously think Stoke are better than CSKA Moscow?! lol!
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 14:31:00

I know Stoke beat us but that was their first ever PL home game, a bit of a one off. Derby got a good result first game as well last season and look how good they were!
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24/02/2009 14:32:00

don't tell me- better than AC Milan!
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24/02/2009 14:33:00

To answer your replacing question, I’d argue over the last couple of seasons our cup performances have proved that whenever we field anything less than a full-strength team, we get beaten, and usually by very average opposition. If we really want to compete with Arsenal and Man Utd, look how they do when they field their b-side. You’ve said that there’s no point in having 2 teams when only one can play, in the middle of an argument where people are annoyed about us sacrificing our UEFA cup place for picking a crap team, so you too have defeated your own argument!
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 14:39:00

The point that I was making is that ( should have explained myself better/slower if you're not a big sports guy ;-D) the UEFA cup isn't as good as the Premiership. In fact no leagues other than the Champions League are. So if we want to have 22 decent players then we have to be playing in both in the same way that Manure and Arsenal were. Thats maybe why Arsenal have only got 11 decent players at the moment because they aren't doing very well in the Prem so you have defeated your argument again ;-D
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24/02/2009 14:54:00

Well said nazvfc. Reason we entered intertoto because MON didn't expect us to be 4th in prem at this stage. UTV
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 14:56:00

Oi mate there's no need to get personal! I'm not going to big up Arsenal much as i really dont like them, but they have been completely shafted by injuries. Was it last year their kids got to the league cup final, or the year before? anyway, there's absolutely no chance our b team could do that. I think after a few years, we could've had some good back-up players by now. Anyways, no worries. I'm just annoyed that we're not taking this seriously. My favorite ever villa match was watching us beat Inter Milan, and that was in the UEFA cup. I really hate the way the champs league dominates all thinking in football now, and it's not even that good- there hasn't been a single exciting game yet this year!
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24/02/2009 15:01:00

the team picks itself if you have a 433 formation. doesn't look THAT bad to me. but even if we win we're still gonna be in the same situation, at potentially an even more important stage of the season. are we going there TO BE knocked out?
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24/02/2009 15:26:00

Come on lads, lets think about this. We've never been in the CL which is a much more respected competition for good reason. Firstly the income it brings and secondly the top players we all moan at Mon to buy wanna be a part of it. The chance to play against the giants of european football. I dont think its worth risking 4th place. Let AC Milan win it. MONs not a fool. Its a no-brainer
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 15:33:00

Why do I always get the feeling MoN is constantly planning for the future. I can't help but think he's just safeguarding our place next year when we can properly challenge for everything. Maybe a taste of things to come..... At least I ******** hope so!
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 16:04:00

Only joking MrZeus. I remember the Inter game well too when Champions League wasn't the ONLY thing footballers cared about but the next couple of weeks is what its all about when the top teams in Europe play with the best talent on display. Would love Villa to be in there too but there's always next year.
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 16:45:00

Anyone want to buy flights/hotel/match ticket to Moscow? I can't be bothered to go any more.
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 16:55:00

gotta feel sorry for those with tickets though. i reckon if we get soundly beaten, then the club should offer those that travelled some sort of discount on a champions league group game next year.
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 17:33:00

"I really do not understand all this talk about fatigue. For goodness sake these men are professional athletes and, if they are properly trained and fit then they should be fully recovered from their games within 24/36 hours max". Given a level playing field, Obediah, I would agree with you, but what no professional at the very peak of his/her sport can do is continue playing matches against professionals of like skill when they have been putting more into their matches. Every pro at the top of their game gives 100% of what they have, and if the team you're up against are in a mid-season break and do not in any case play Prem games week in week out, you CANNOT expect to match up, physically. Top athletes (i.e. track athletes) don't run every few days ...
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 17:52:00

mind boggling decision. we will lose the qualifying game for the champions league (if we qualify) and then end up in the uefa cup anyway so why not take the full strength squad and risk finishing 5th or 6th and still finish in the uefa cup spot!!
Sali Salifooooou
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24/02/2009 18:23:00

Sali Salifoooooou - can you please tell me the lottery numbers for the next 52 weeks please seeing as you know that we will be knocked out of the qualifying Champs League next year. For a start who will we play - and then who will we have signed? - Christ I thought fans would lighten up but we seem to be complaining (moaning) more now than when that old duffer was in charge and the dross of a manager we had (DOL). We MAY just MAY win the qualifying rounds. What's to say we'd win the UEFA cup this year - there are some good teams in the cup. Ligten up for McGraths sake.
Report Abuse
24/02/2009 18:46:00

so we are doing abolton then sad way to treat the guys who are going all that money and time just to watch the stiffs mine you we may win car;t see martin liking that
one match ban
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24/02/2009 19:34:00

I consider the threadbare squad is an insult. I appreciate there are mixed views, but United don't play a selection as weak as this for any matches - they keep rotating some top players and mix with a few top youngsters. The midfield is very weak. If by picking itself this means the same midfield being over-run as in Hamburg, then no thank you. My one hope is that we have some amazing top youngsters too with match-winning performances from the likes of the Fonz and Barry Bannan who I hope will both start. At least BB is a relative unknown quantity. Others have already been tried, trusted and fallen well short. Friedel should be there he could have been the heroic match winner on his own and inspires the defence in front of him. He would not be too tired by Sunday and doesn't need resting in the same way as outfield players do.
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24/02/2009 23:19:00

Disgraceful, this will come back to haunt him. 4th brings no guarantees of CL it just brings you normally a nightmare game over 2 legs, i just can`t understand why we bothered with Intertoto then ????? MON BUY THE FRIGIN PLAYERS THEN WHEN YOU HAVE THE CHANCE
Report Abuse
25/02/2009 07:08:00

IT's not's our first time year we'll be back in the same or better and those REALLY GOOD players will realise we are not a flash in the pan and we'll actually improve the squad yet again. Premier League is the priority even though this is painful.
Report Abuse
25/02/2009 09:09:00

Aspinall - we bothered to enter the Intertoto because NO ONE I REPEAT NO ONE (even the most prophetic of Villa Fans who play Championship manager and FIFA 1 Zillion) would have known we are this close to a CL place - there's no guarantee in football - we could have taken a full squad - still lost - picked up some injuries and then YOU and the others on here would be lambasting MON for risking the chance of CL football and the difference between KEEPING Barry and Petrov or losing them!!. Christ I wish I could see into the future - and win the lottery - or know who will finish where in the league. Will say it again - NO ONE knew we would be this close to CL places at this time - therefore get European football however we could - You don't know - maybe this little experince of European football has given the team a taster of what they can achieve and experience again. Oh how I wish for the Ellis years again so we could be mid table sell our best players fleece the fans. Pay the chairaman vast bonuses and salaries for failure - hav emediocre yes men as managers.
Report Abuse
25/02/2009 10:45:00

Only difference now is we have a bunch of yes men as fans.
Hoss The Villain
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25/02/2009 14:50:00

Oh sorry yes,all hail the messiah - spent 70m and got us 4th with 12 games to go, no cups,no semis,no quarters. I`d forgotten we`d never played in Europe before he came, or got into top 6.
Report Abuse
25/02/2009 19:17:00


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