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Top 4 More Realistic For Villa This Season?

It's funny how the build up to each game has a certain angle or emphasis.

Prior to the OT game it was the fact we hadn't beaten them there in the league since 1983, and the general feeling amongst us fans that the time is now, given their injury problems and the simultaneous 'clicking' of our new look midfield permanent.

Prior to the Sunderland it was all about the importance of keeping feet firmly on the ground after such a great win.

Now the build up to tomorrow's game against Stoke has been about the physical strain of having to play 3 games in 7 days, plus how we respond to the the gritty style that has brought relative success to Tony Pulis' side.

AND, perhaps most importantly, securing the points unlike we did in the same fixture last season.

My point is, each build up seems to contain an important aspect or ingredient of a successful season. A team that has the mental strength to respond to each challenge, will surely find itself in a good position come the end of the season.

I feel that last season, particularly since we lost Laursen, we lacked leadership and determination, and the sheer pressure and expectations got to the players heads, and as a result we struggled to be consistent. The players who experienced our slump in form last season have surely learned a lesson or two about dealing with high expectations.

To summarise, I believe the addition of an experienced leader in Richard Dunne, and the fact that the younger players have learned from last season's disappointment, means we are now in a much stronger position to make a real challenge to the top 4.

Other teams have strengthened, too. Spurs in particular look impressive, where as CitŁh have failed to live up to expectations.

What's your view, are we in a better position to challenge the top 4 this season?

Forum thread and poll: Top 4, more realistic this season than last?




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The Journalist

Writer: MiniCooper Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday December 18 2009

Time: 11:28AM

Your Comments

Definately as long as they continue to believe in each other & work as hard as they have been...we have experience skill and a good work ethic which combined can be lethal...we are starting to compete regularly with the big boys & whilst we moan about some of the draws, we are not losing & lookin at other results, some of those draws are maybe not as bad as we thought...no european distractions and by far a stronger squad...interesting to see if the league cup has any effect, but we still have a few squad players who have hardly played at all and so are fresh if required...with that bit of lady luck thrown in who knows...we've gotta believe have'nt we...wish we could fill villa park a litlle more to create that special atmosphere & spur the boys on....
marcobavfc
Definately as long as they continue to believe in each other & work as hard as they have been...we have experience skill and a good work ethic which combined can be lethal...we are starting to compete regularly with the big boys & whilst we moan about some of the draws, we are not losing & lookin at other results, some of those draws are maybe not as bad as we thought...no european distractions and by far a stronger squad...interesting to see if the league cup has any effect, but we still have a few squad players who have hardly played at all and so are fresh if required...with that bit of lady luck thrown in who knows...we've gotta believe have'nt we...wish we could fill villa park a litlle more to create that special atmosphere & spur the boys on....
marcobavfc
"I believe the addition of an experienced leader in Richard Dunne, and the fact that the younger players have learned from last season's disappointment, means we are now in a much stronger position to make a real challenge to the top 4." That sums it up for me. I think we are certainly more prepared for Stoke's style of play this year. Top 4 is a possibility.
DoLpHiNaToR
"I believe the addition of an experienced leader in Richard Dunne, and the fact that the younger players have learned from last season's disappointment, means we are now in a much stronger position to make a real challenge to the top 4." That sums it up for me. I think we are certainly more prepared for Stoke's style of play this year. Top 4 is a possibility.
DoLpHiNaToR
Far too early to say, i love the way weŽre playing at the moment, but what happens for instance if we lose Milner to injury? its the only poor area we have for backup. Hes the only creative midfielder we have. I worry about this stoke game. It will be tough, gritty and painful, i can see a few injuries after this one, and i cant think of a worse team to play at the end of 3 games in 7 days. However we need the momentum to move towards the Arsenal and Liverpool games, so if we can get through this injury free with 3 points, weŽll be very well placed to get 4-6 against the other two, so fingers crossed for lots of reasons...
barcavilla
Far too early to say, i love the way weŽre playing at the moment, but what happens for instance if we lose Milner to injury? its the only poor area we have for backup. Hes the only creative midfielder we have. I worry about this stoke game. It will be tough, gritty and painful, i can see a few injuries after this one, and i cant think of a worse team to play at the end of 3 games in 7 days. However we need the momentum to move towards the Arsenal and Liverpool games, so if we can get through this injury free with 3 points, weŽll be very well placed to get 4-6 against the other two, so fingers crossed for lots of reasons...
barcavilla
I agree with barcavilla, it is entirely too early to say. I think it comes down to the games against the mid/lower table teams. We, for the most part, show up and put a great fight up to the "Big 4" and certainly did against City and Tottenham. However, we have to look at some of the earlier results this season. Loss to Wigan at home? Yeah it was a slow start and we weren't quite ready and our defense didn't play great and our (insert excuse here). Well that right there is the difference between top 6 and top 4. Those excuses. I think we are the same position as we were last year. Contenders, however we can't keep dropping points to teams that we really should be beating. By my calculations we should be on 39 points right now, that is if we were in better position to challenge the top 4 this season. But we keep dropping the points to the teams we should be beating. If we pick up those points in the future, I say we are a shoe-in
TheYank
I agree with barcavilla, it is entirely too early to say. I think it comes down to the games against the mid/lower table teams. We, for the most part, show up and put a great fight up to the "Big 4" and certainly did against City and Tottenham. However, we have to look at some of the earlier results this season. Loss to Wigan at home? Yeah it was a slow start and we weren't quite ready and our defense didn't play great and our (insert excuse here). Well that right there is the difference between top 6 and top 4. Those excuses. I think we are the same position as we were last year. Contenders, however we can't keep dropping points to teams that we really should be beating. By my calculations we should be on 39 points right now, that is if we were in better position to challenge the top 4 this season. But we keep dropping the points to the teams we should be beating. If we pick up those points in the future, I say we are a shoe-in
TheYank
Looking at the future fixtures I think we could be title contenders (yeah I am an optimist). I feel as though we could finish with anywhere from 70 to 80 points, if we play our game every game. No more slacking against teams we should be beating and show up to every game against the big 4 looking for a win. If we do that, I think we should find ourselves in the top 4 and maybe (if everything clicks) in a title position
TheYank
Looking at the future fixtures I think we could be title contenders (yeah I am an optimist). I feel as though we could finish with anywhere from 70 to 80 points, if we play our game every game. No more slacking against teams we should be beating and show up to every game against the big 4 looking for a win. If we do that, I think we should find ourselves in the top 4 and maybe (if everything clicks) in a title position
TheYank
way too early to say but it looks good. we have strength in depth for a top four spot but that means nothing does it! Players have to show up in every game now to keep their place which helps the cause. Injuries can wreck any team at this level and so I hope we are lucky in that respect. UTV and 3 points vs stoke.
holte ender 1969
way too early to say but it looks good. we have strength in depth for a top four spot but that means nothing does it! Players have to show up in every game now to keep their place which helps the cause. Injuries can wreck any team at this level and so I hope we are lucky in that respect. UTV and 3 points vs stoke.
holte ender 1969
everyone should expect about sixth and hope for 4th...no disappointments that way!!
Steve64k
everyone should expect about sixth and hope for 4th...no disappointments that way!!
Steve64k
 

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