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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.




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The Journalist

Writer: Dan Jones  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 4 2009

Time: 9:13AM

Your Comments

whats your point?
benham
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.
young_jonah
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.
gavcook83
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
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.
young_jonah
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
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
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? ;-)
young_jonah
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.
DeanoVilla
Yorke's goals would make up for Gabby's lack of, Dean. :-p
young_jonah
I have to disagree Young_Jonah. I heard very few moans about Brian Little even during the season he left and that was because everyone knew he loved the club. I really don't get the dislike of MON, he has taken the club further forward than any of us expected. In the three seasons he has been at the club we have moved forward massively. I think everyone would agree we were on the verge of a season of major failure (possible relegation) if both he and Randy had not arrived. Yet some continue to criticise him with very little justification. I don't believe he is the messiah but I do think he deserves the utmost respect for his handling of the club, which for the most part has been excellent. Going back to the point of the thread, that team of 95/96 was great to watch, they played some wonderful football, as did all of Brian Little's Villa teams. Have to say if Dwight Yorke of then played in the current team he would score 35-40 goals because he would thrive on the amount of chances this team create. Just a shame we haven't got a natural goalscorer. Please get one this summer MON, it is long overdue.
notthedougellisstand
notthedougellisstand, you last sentence is just one of many things O'Neill has got wrong since his arrival, he has done so much good that is without arguement from me, but he has made alot of mistakes, some in the last week, but most during transfer windows and during games when he seems unable to make a substitution when it so obviously required. As stated in the comments above O'Neill has done well, but other managers matched his achievements so far (we havent finished 4th yet) and that is despite having Ellis as chairman.
young_jonah
I agree we haven't finished fourth yet and I will be greatly disappointed if we don't but I think we can all appreciate finishing fourth now is a bigger achievement than in 95/96. Football has moved on so much since then and particularly the 'Sky 4' who have dominated those places for the last 5 years.
notthedougellisstand
It seems to me you can't just compare players/teams - you also have to compare the environment. The Prem is so much more difficult an environment these days than in 95/96. There is huge inequality between cash available but, more importantly, there are a number of clubs now (the obvious ones) who are YEARS ahead of us in their building programmes. Crucially, there wasn't the same problem in getting decent players to come to teams outside the top four club in those days - the playing field was much more level then than it is now. If you're just comparing teams/players, that's fine, but I don't think you can so easily compare managers and achievements without taking other factors into account.
BobTheBuilder
Absolutely spot on BobtheBuilder
notthedougellisstand
Speechless =[
Blitz
we are only a couple of players off being the team we need to be. i think we really need 2 goal scorers, carew and heskey are natural rivals, but gabby doesn't have anyone challenging for his position, which he needs. i think if we dont pull our socks up though were going to have to accept that we'll also need to replace barry. with rafa being given control, he's going to be going for him again this summer if we dont qualify for the CL. then we've got the problem that we're going to have to get through the quali rounds too. it may be a case that we'll end up in the uefa anyway. sorry to be a downer, you see what 2 weeks of bad results does to a man!!
bobbyfett
bobbyfett you actually speak sense dude, people need to face up to reality that we probably won't finish top4, we just have to hope that MON pulls his finger out for once in the summer......
young_jonah
Bozzie,Young,McGrath,Laursen,Bouma. Young,Townsend,Petrov,Barry. Carew,Yorke. If we had that for last 10 games then beware !!!
ASPINALL
I personally see the '95/'96 team as better on SOOOOOOO many ways. Bosnish was a class above Friedel or at least the Friedel we have now at the end of his career. Laursen, as you say, is our best defennder since McGrath but don't underestimate how good Southgate was, Davis/Cuella may turn out to be as good but so far, nope, not for me. Zack is no where near as solid as Ugo but I can see the comparison, in style if nothing else. Righback, Charlse was great but I think IF we had Young there he MIGHT be as good. Leftback? Well frankly Shorey has not been up to the standard of Wright and Young can't be expected to be on the playing on his wrong side, Freedy is better defensively but not as good in attack as Wrighty. I do like our MF now compared to back then but I'd take Townsend in place of anyone other than Barry or Petrov. Yes Taylor was a Holte end hero but if we are honest he was never the footballer Townsend was. Forwards compared to today? I can't remember any player comng close to the ability of Yorkie in my time, if only we could turn back the clock. Savo was a good team player and linked up well with York whilst chipping in with a few of his own and if you wanted something to happen, who better to bring on than the ever passionate Tommy J? We are doing well now but back then we were seen as contenders, now we are seen as European hopefulls and it will take a couple of seasons yet before we get to contender status.
Villan Of The North
WELL GUYS I MUST SAY IVE VERY VERY SAD TO SEE YOU HAVE A POST LIKE THIS........... http://www.astonvilla.vitalfootball.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=23209&posts=90 REGARDING "LETS ALL LAUGH AT MAN CITY"...AFTER ALL THE GOOD WISHES MAN CITY FANS HAVE GIVE VILLA THIS SEASON AND WISHING THEY FINISH 4TH IS A BIT OF A KICK IN THE TEETH FOR ALL US MAN CITY FANS. WELL IM AFRAID THE LAUGH MIGHT BE ON YOU AFTER WEDNESDAY WHEN WE DERAILED YOUR CHANCE TO CEMENT A 4TH PLACE FINISH AND NOW MY BEST WISHES WILL BE HEADING FOR ARSENAL IM AFRAID. ITS SAD THAT I HAVE TO WISH ARSENAL FINISH 4TH BUT I CANNOT AND WILL NOT WISH YOU LUCK AFTER ALL I HAVE JUST READ ON YOUR FILTH OF A THREAD. COME ON ARSENAL FINISH 4TH PLEASE SO I CAN THEN LAUGH AS LOUD AS I EVER HAVE DONE. YOUR WORSE THAN THE GUTTER PRESS AND I HOPE YOU GET YOUR JUST DESERTS NOW.
bluemooner_mcfc
 

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