Writer: J P Fear
Date:Wednesday March 18 2009
Alan Hansen, a pundit for the New Football Pools says the criticism of Martin O'Neill is unfair. Must admit I don't think there has been much criticism but it seems that anything said about MON gets blown up! Anyway, the Match of the Day and New Football Pools pundit says:
'The recent criticism of Martin O’Neill by a number of Aston Villa fans perfectly illustrates the unrealistic thirst for success of modern day supporters. For me, Villa have had a magnificent season whether they finish 4th or not. Particularly when you consider the limited size of their squad.
It’s no surprise that a number of the players are looking a bit tired at the moment and unfortunately for Villa it does now look as though they will struggle to finish 4th with Arsenal turning on the gas. That’s the difference in the respective squads at the moment. Arsene Wenger’s team has been in this situation for many seasons and has a bigger squad which is getting stronger by the game with the return of key players.
Gabriel Agbonlahor also came in for a bit of stick at the weekend which really surprised me. For me, he has been one if not Villa’s best player this season and whenever I’ve seen him play he has tried as hard as anyone. However, supporters pay their money so they can criticise as much as they like but for me it seems very fickle towards the young lad.
Another player coming in for stick is January signing Emile Heskey. Unfortunately the dip in form has come since his arrival but for me, he has done alright. He scored on his debut at Portsmouth and is a handful for any defence and I’m sure will prove to be a really good signing for the club.
One of the biggest blows for Villa has been the loss of Martin Laursen who hasn’t played since early January. To be fair Martin O’Neill has plenty of centre-backs at the club but Laursen has proven himself to be a great player at both ends of the pitch. He is one of those infectious all-action players that enthuses his team-mates and the fans alike and he’s been sorely missed. After all, the lad can not only defend but also weighs in with some important goals.
Supporters get disillusioned very quickly nowadays but I would urge Villa fans to get behind their players and the manager. I doubt that Martin will be overly affected by the criticism as he is a born fighter and a proven top class manager. Villa have no god given right to finish 4th and fans should remember that when they were winning week in, week out they were not necessarily playing that well. To be in the position the club is in with just 9 games left is superb and Martin and his players should be applauded and not criticised.'
With thanks to the New Football Pools, the best place for football games and big jackpots!
So true about the loss of Martin Laursen, he is world class, one of only two in our team currently I think (the other being Gareth Barry - with Ashley Young maybe knocking on the door in a few years?) and his loss up front and in defense is a massive blow to us.
Date:Wednesday March 18 2009
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