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Aston Villa 2008/09 v Aston Villa 1995/96

Aston Villa 2008/09 v Aston Villa 1995/96

Right lets start by saying it is almost impossible to compare like for like. Partly due to a difference in the formations both sides use. But I am going to try my best....

The Keeper

For me, Mark Bosnich and Friedel are the two best keepers that Aston Villa have had since the start of the Premier League years. Bosnich was, in hindsight playing the best football of his career and at the time it could have been argued was the finest keeper in the league. Friedel on the other hand is probably slightly past his best, but despite this has been incredible for Villa all season.

James, Schmeichel, Enckelman, Sorensen and Carson were all decent keepers in their own way but Friedel and Bosnich are both great keepers. It`s no small coincidence that Friedel is the first keeper since Bossie to find himself in a side pushing for a top four finish.

The Defence

Central defenders are Laursen, Davies and Knight versus Paul McGrath, Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu.

Now Laursen is probably the best defender Villa have had since McGrath left but lets bear in mind that in 1996, McGrath was coming to the end of his career. Davies and Knight are quite comparable to Southgate and Ehiogu in many ways, one is big and pretty good in the air while the other is better at the groundwork, but which partnership would you consider to be best?

The fullback debate (currently) would have to be Cuellar and Luke Young versus Gary Charles and Alan Wright, the 95/96 boys would have the advantage considering that both played in their natural position and they played more often as wing-backs, something that I for one, hope I never see Cuellar attempt!!!

The Midfield

Young, Barry, Milner and Petrov against Mark Draper, Andy Townsend and Ian Taylor, because of the wing-backs (mentioned before) we used to play with a three man midfield so it is hard to compare, however I would consider the modern midfield to be far superior than the old set up.

Barry like Townsend is composed and is the main man in the middle, Petrov is similar to Taylor in that he does more of the clean up job however he doesn't score half as many goals!! Draper has to take on Young and Milner on his own, as he was the main supplier of assists (if memory serves me right) and did weigh in with many goals much like our 2 lads today.

The Attack

So, Savo Milosevic, Tommy Johnson and Dwight Yorke or do you prefer John Carew, Emile Heskey and Gabby Agbonlahor?

Like I said about the defence in some ways it is a comparable selection in some ways. Well ok, just in that Carew is as frustrating a player as Savo was!! On their day they are both class but more often than not are unable to motivate themselves. Both big and strong, plus both are capable of scoring plenty of goals.

Tommy Johnson was a super sub and a fan favourite to boot, Emile Heskey will never score as many as 'the ginger one` did despite having more game time but Heskey has other strengths. He is a creator and is superb at holding the ball up.

Now for the big one Agbonlahor against Yorke, and for me considering Yorke was only a year older that Gabby is now, it just shows how far away from being a great striker Agbonlahor really is. Yorke led the attack, he scored goals, gave 110% every game and did it all with a smile on his face. Agbonlahor seems to be low on confidence at the moment (much like this time last season!) and as such cannot find the net, and many fans believe he doesn't always give his all. In a year`s time Gabby will be 23 like Dwight Yorke was in 1996, will he be anywhere near as good? I truly hope so.

What I have done here is just remind you of some of players that were part of the squad that finished 4th last, it`s all my opinion (obviously) and I am sure not everyone will agree with me. I cannot say who the better side is; I will leave that for you lot to decide for yourselves.

One final point perhaps is that as well as finishing 4th in 1995/96, the squad above managed to win the League Cup and reached the Semi-final of the FA Cup, there weren't many other players in the squad back then either but those who were included Steve Staunton, Carl Tiler and Franz Carr.

Writer:Dan Jones
Date:Wednesday March 4 2009
Time: 9:13AM


whats your point?
04/03/2009 10:20:00
No point to this, basically a comparison of some players, i think we can all draw our own conclusions as to whether the current crop is as good as the 95/96 squad, and whether the current side is capable of holding on to 4th and matching the achievement of Brian Little's men.
04/03/2009 10:25:00
I have to say that the old team makes me hard. Some of those players were brilliant. I think its good that we are comparing this team to that because we've had so much crap since then.
04/03/2009 10:28:00
I just loved the days under Brian Little. I know it ended a little flat but in those days anything really was possible. Shame JG left as coach because when they were both together, the set up was awesome! JG wasn't too shabby when he first came either, from relegation threats to European dreams.
The Fear
04/03/2009 11:12:00
Thats what some seem to forget Fear, the so-called messiah O'Neill is not the first manager we have had to take us from relegation battlers to european qualifiers, Little, JG and even DOL managed it. And its amazing to think how many turned on Sir Brian Little (club legend) when things didn't go right, if MON *****ed up I bet half the fans would find away of justifying it, until he wins us something or has us in the top4 year on year, he is just another manager in a long line of managers, he certainly hasn't achieved anything others haven't, messiah? Haha, funny.
04/03/2009 11:18:00
well I've been told several times this week after daring to be discontent about CSKA that 'we've never had it so good'. I do remember some great players and some great managers before, where we've never had it so good is in the ownership. Before good managers were thwarted by the previous regime (not going into the old debates and arguments here!) but many were equally good and some had us playing superb football only to drop off with frustration and the 'what if's' where certain players weren't brought in. Remember we finished 2nd in the 1st year of the PL. We lifted cups in 94 and 96. So although I'm loving the new regime, I don't think MON is the only good manager we've had, just the luckiest that he has the backing of a great owner and board.

You look at some of the quality in the team as above, we really did have some quality. GT was a genius bringing in Yorke as well!
The Fear
04/03/2009 11:56:00
Oh and Andy Townsend, what a legend, he was such a great midfielder and wasn't shy of a tackle or two either. Loved him and still think he is an all round quality geezer!
The Fear
04/03/2009 11:57:00
I think that 1995/96 season saw the best of so many of the names mentioned above, it was arguably Yorke's finest season, Southgate was at his best, Townsend was the captain and real leader, Taylor was starting to become a real favourite and Gary Charles never looked as good as that season. Never had it so good, have we Fear? ;-)
04/03/2009 12:05:00
I'll go - Bosnich, L.Young, Wright, McGrath, Laursen, A.Young, Barry, Taylor, Milner, Gabby, Yorke. Not a bad little side that, wtht he current crop just edging it 6-5.
04/03/2009 12:36:00
Yorke's goals would make up for Gabby's lack of, Dean. :-p
04/03/2009 12:39:00
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