Vital Football

Latest Aston Villa News

Squad Or Team Next Season For Villa?

Squad Or Team Next Season For Villa?

Will Villa play with a Squad or stick with just a Team next season?

Many moons ago in what was, for me, almost a different lifetime, I came across an extract from the writings and thinking of Albert Einstein, the great mathematician, which in paraphrase stated "The work that we have made, as a result of the thinking that we have done thus far, creates problems that cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created the problems".

It sounds almost like gobbledegook, but it carries a fundamental truth along the lines of "If things go wrong or don`t work out don`t keep doing the same thing and hope that everything will sort itself out, because the chances are that won`t happen." Or, to put it another way "If you are in a hole stop digging".

In football terms that saying usually means, "If the squad has not done as well as might be expected then let`s have a change of manager". Certainly changing the manager will bring about a change of thinking, because every football manager, at whatever level of the game, has their own ideas about who are the best players and how the team should play the game of football. The trouble is that this approach can also be expensive, because a good player in one manager`s view may not be so regarded by another manager. Witness Erikson`s refusal to play Gareth Barry while for Capello he is a key player.

So a new manager will want to bring in his own men. Also, into this equation should also be added the style of play that a manager prefers which raises the question "Does the manager adopt the style of play to suit the players he has available or change the team to suit the manager`s idea of how the game should be played?" That is the fundamental position for any team, its supporters and the Board.

Of course over a period of time a really good manager, and reluctantly I must put Ferguson from Man U in this category, will put together a squad of players who are capable a adapting the way they play to compete against all other styles and conditions and to be successful. Would that Villa were in that position! This brings us nicely to where Villa and Martin O`Neill are at this precise time.

From the standpoint of all but the top three clubs Villa can be rated a success. The fact that we have improved year on year under MON`s guidance is beyond question. Here, however, comes the "But" and there are at least two big ones.

Firstly, we have played our football predominantly to one style, which once the other teams have identified; many have had little trouble devising a counter strategy which has frustrated us time and again. Secondly, and this is also a key point, once again we played virtually the same team week in week out regardless of the fact that this past season we had a larger squad of good players; who, because they spent most of the year sitting on their back-sides, have found it difficult to fit comfortably into the team when called upon to do so. Football is now a squad game as all the best clubs throughout Europe have been demonstrating for years and a really good manager is one who can get the best out of the whole squad not just a favourite twelve or thirteen players. Sadly, in my opinion, Martin has not yet demonstrated that he can do this consistently or, alternatively, that he has the courage to change a winning team to adopt new tactics and style to raise us to the next level.

I believe that MON is capable of doing so, if he adopts a slightly different mindset. Instead of running his players into the ground, which happened once again this year all the squad should be up and raring to go. Put it another way, do you seriously think Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes would still be playing top class football if they played for Villa? No, of course not, yet they are both match winners for United virtually every time they play.

So, where are we with regard to strengthening the squad for next season? Mind you this is only really necessary if there is going to be some regular player rotation taking place. But regardless of that we certainly need at least one striker who, firstly, is capable of scoring twenty plus goals a season and secondly, scores regularly not in fits and starts as both Gabby and Big John seem to do. That is regardless of whether or not the Fonz gets more starts (which I hope he does).

Also we need a play-maker, someone with vision and the ability to do the unexpected now and again so Martin can change the style somewhat if that is necessary and perhaps to give Milner a break now and again. I was going to say perhaps we need someone to challenge Downing and Ashley Young and also a Petrov replacement as well. They, along with Friedel and the three CB`s seem to be the ever presents (that is virtually the whole team I have listed). Then I realised that, reportedly, we have some superb young players in the reserve and youth teams that should be coming through to join the squad.

But they won`t, will they? Unless there is a change of approach and, as part of a strong squad, they get some first team experience; they will never be able to compete at the top level.

So we are back to where we started, the current thinking of the manager has caused a problem that cannot be solved by continuing to think along the lines he did last season. It takes some courage to be prepared to change your management style but, hey, MON has that in spades.

Date:Tuesday June 1 2010
Time: 8:55AM


Interesting. I think MON is more than capable of overcoming the problems his thinking creates, however, I'm not sure it has created too many problems! What I think is happening is evolution. As we improve, team's feel thay have less chance of beating us at home, thus set themselves up defensivley for a point. Currently we just don't have the quality (and maybe creativity) to consistently overcome this. I'm sure MON wants to address this! As per rotation, we certainly didn't fall away this season, quite the opposite despite competing on 3 fronts. MON's been instilling mental toughness into the 'team' which has improved us. Finally, I don't think we have the quality to rotate and still play at the level MON requires. I'm sure he'll want to improve the team to allow this. I personally think rotation is overrated and it's vital to have a core 'team' of quality players. The best teams simply have a bigger core and this takes time.
01/06/2010 10:22:00
Interesting analysis! Robert De Niro is quoted as saying 'The talent is in the choices'. The problem with MON is he has options and choices but refuses to utilize them. Imagine how Delph or the Fonz must feel, warming the bench, while a predictable Villa get draws against teams they could and should have beaten. Bannan and Albrighton (both born within weeks of Delph) must wonder if they'll ever see first team football. I can't see anything in 2010/11 but journeymen signings, predictable tactics, and lame excuses about 'tiredness' (i.e more of the same). I'm already looking forward to 2012/13. At least we might might finally see some of the fringe players by then.
01/06/2010 15:46:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment


Recent Aston Villa Articles

Garde Talks Duverne & Fleetwood Friendly

Manager Remi Garde has been talking about the importance of fitness coach Robert Duverne and in today's friendly against Fleetwood Town we WON!

Striker Who Scores Linked With Villa Exit Shocker

Baffling... Kozak being linked with a Villa Park exit...

Garde Talks Gardner & Kozak

Manager Remi Garde has said that he'll be closely assessing the fitness of Gary Gardner and Libor Kozak in today's behind closed doors friendly against Fleetwood Town.

Pre Watford Information

With stepped up security for games following the events in Paris, Aston Villa have released a brief statement ahead of the Watford match.

Archived Vital Villa Articles

Vital Villa articles from

Site Journalists

J P Fear
Mike Field
Steve Wade
Turkish Penguin
Chris Heath
M Calucar
JuanPablo Angel

Current Poll (see more polls)

Everton MotM
Suggested By: Site Staff
Sub - Sanchez69%
Sub - Gestede0%
Sub - N'Zogbia1%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Leicester City 13 8 4 1 28 8
2 Man Utd 13 8 3 2 27 10
3 Man City 13 8 2 3 26 14
4 Arsenal 13 8 2 3 26 12
5 Spurs 13 6 6 1 24 13
6 West Ham 13 6 3 4 21 4
7 Everton 13 5 5 3 20 8
8 Southampton 13 5 5 3 20 5
9 Liverpool 13 5 5 3 20 2
10 Crystal Palace 13 6 1 6 19 1
11 Stoke 13 5 4 4 19 -1
12 WBA 13 5 2 6 17 -5
13 Watford 13 4 4 5 16 -2
14 Swansea 13 3 5 5 14 -4
15 Chelsea 13 4 2 7 14 -6
16 Norwich 13 3 3 7 12 -8
17 Newcastle 13 2 4 7 10 -12
18 Sunderland 13 2 3 8 9 -12
19 AFC Bournemouth 13 2 3 8 9 -13
20 Aston Villa 13 1 2 10 5 -14
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Renault takeover deal pretty much done
Latest Vital Boxing News
Tyson Fury on Doping!
The Vital Football Members League

Aston Villa Fixtures (view all)

Nov 28 2015 3:00PM : Watford (H)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 5 2015 3:00PM : Southampton (a)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 13 2015 1:30PM : Arsenal (H)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 19 2015 5:30PM : Newcastle United (a)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 26 2015 3:00PM : West Ham United (H)
Barclays Premier League
Dec 28 2015 3:00PM : Norwich City (a)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

1.Pride of Lions903
2.The Fear554
Vital Football Comment