An Armchair Villan #3: Shiny, Happy People
Last week`s downbeat prediction couldn`t have been any wrong. Whilst I may have been following the game through an old transistor radio whilst losing plenty of money on the horses at Newbury, thankfully, there was enough opportunity for me to cheer as Villa scored, making it look like I`d actually won some money.
Watching the highlights on Sky later that night confirmed my thoughts from the commentary. The performance, whilst West Ham had been poor, was a good one - and certainly showed that the players were determined to put a smile back on supporters faces after a tough week.
Without singling out particular players, the one thing that impressed me was the change in central midfield. Rather than Petrov dropping deep and Milner pushing forward, the two in the center of the pitch were taking it in turns - which paid off with Petrov`s excellent header. I don`t think we`d have seen that if O`Neill was still in charge.
Saying that, I think, at this stage, I`d be wary of appointing MacDonald as permanent manager. The West Ham result was great - but Thursday`s trip to Austria was deeply disappointing. The choice of squad was one you would have expected from the previous manager. I want Villa to be going into every game wanting to win, with a clear strategy in trying to win it. Putting out the reserves like that is disrespectful to the competition and the opponents. If we win on Sunday, then great - it was worth it. Lose it - and it all looks a bit silly.
The lack of names being linked to the club is pointing towards the appointment of MacDonald. When the only names are those who have put their names forward themselves, and don`t have a particularly great track record - it`s hard to look towards appointing anyone but MacDonald.
Still, we face Newcastle on Sunday. A much trickier tie than the West Ham game - if not because of the team we`re facing then the long trip up there. Villa have never had the best of luck at St. James` Park, but they`ve usually been entertaining games. Particularly when Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer started fighting each other.
There might be a bit of added bite this year. You see the poor Geordies weren`t very happy that they were relegated at Villa Park. I know. How dare we? Newcastle United are far too big to be relegated. But not to big to buy our failed cast offs such as Marlon Harewood or Wayne Routledge.
Forget the other 37 games you played. Forget appointing Alan Shearer as manager instead of a proper manager. It was the one game at Villa Park that got you relegated.
The lack of self awareness of how unimportant Newcastle are to English football is all rather amusing. Part of me thinks you can`t blame them - after so much hype from the likes of Jim White they are going to start believing it after a while. Then the other half of me thinks, yeah nice stadium but that`s about it. It`s kind of ironic that Mike Ashley owns the club - because whenever you venture out of the UK on holiday you can guarantee you`ll see a Mike Ashley look-a-like stereotypical Geordie in a zebra outfit. And know to avoid them or they will be trying to talk to you all week.
Anyway, to more important things. To those of you who are following my exile from VP after giving up my season ticket, you`ll be glad to know it lasted an amazing three weeks. I`ve booked tickets for the Everton game next week. All credit to the club - the offer they`ve got on that game for a fairly high profile opponent is really good value - and y`know, hopefully we`ll be seeing our new manager then too.
My prediction for Sunday? A well earned 1-1 draw will be a good result, I think.