Seven Days of Villa (3)
Monday 11th January
Understandably, most of the talk in the media is about Salifou and the support he is getting off the club. In strange news, Dwight Yorke says that his dream is to one day manage Villa. Mad.
Tuesday, 12th January
MON confirms that Nicky Shorey will not be going anywhere on a permanent deal yet. I am sure that will change in the summer.
Wednesday, 13th January
The Daily Star print a story - and some other sites that are nearly as credible (make your own interpretation of that) also latch on to it - which suggests that Randy Lerner is flying into the country to reassure Villa fans that he isn`t looking to sell, or that he hasn`t lost interest, or some baloney. No Villa fans were actually concerned and no-one that isn`t a Villa fan probably cared and consequently it appears to be a waste of paper, but whatever.
Thursday, 14th January
Blackburn 0-1 Villa. Good start to the semi-final. In all honesty, I felt that we should have been more than one goal ahead at half-time. That said, if I was a Blackburn fan I would be absolutely miffed at the state of their defending when we scored. In the second half Blackburn played much better, but we probably still should have scored a second when hitting them on the break. It`s a good start and we have every reason to be confident but we are Aston Villa, so…
Friday, 15th January
Apparently, our friendly neighbours have had a £3m bid for Craig Gardner turned down. Oh and the Wigan game has been rearranged for Tuesday March 16th, although if either of us have an FA Cup replay then it will get postponed again.
Saturday, 16th January
All talk today is focussing on the game tomorrow with West Ham. Apparently Heskey is an injury doubt.
Sunday, 17th January
Villa 0-0 West Ham. For the first time this season - other than the aftermath of the Wigan game - my confidence that we can finish in the Champions League places has left me. I hope it is only temporary. Unfortunately, this is the type of game that makes me ask MAJOR questions about MON. I am sure he`d tell me that`s why he`s doing what he`s doing and I`m doing why I`m doing, but I`ll continue anyway.
First of all, do we have a tactical plan beyond swap Carew for Heskey?
Secondly, I don`t pretend to be qualified to be a Premiership manager but when playing at home against a team like West Ham who are going to defend as stoutly and as deep as they did, surely I am not the only one that thinks it makes absolute sense to have Luke Young at right-back rather than Carlos Cuellar? You know, someone who can offer us something going forward, like overlapping and so on?
Thirdly, when we have players on the bench that can not get onto the pitch to try and change things (other than the aforementioned Carew/Heskey swap) when the game is going as it was on Sunday, what message does it send to them?
Fourthly, what instructions are given to Gabby when we play 4-4-2? Because when we play 4-5-1, he is effective in his movement but when we play 4-4-2 he is virtually at a standstill; in fact the lack of movement up front is soul destroying!
Finally, shouldn`t somebody like Marc Albrighton be available on the bench as another option in case 'Plan A` isn`t working?
These questions have obvious answers as far as I am concerned, but then I don`t get paid a lot of money to make these decisions. The thing is I have defended MON on many occasions - and still do where applicable, as some of his detractors appear to be bordering on insanity - but this is the type of game that makes me believe he is not capable of taking us any further.
Let`s hope we play better on Wednesday; for the record, I believe we will.