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Houllier's still at the drawing board at Villa

Houllier's still at the drawing board at Villa

Jonny's Soccermongery site

While Villa extended their unbeaten run to seven against Birmingham City, there wasn't much ease about our game.

Part of it was down to the tactics of Alex McLeish, who very effectively stopped Stewart Downing and Ashley Young's flow in midfield.

But it was mostly about Gerard Houllier's inability to stamp his authority on the club. He's preparing and fielding Martin O'Neill's squad. Houllier has to fashion Villa to his mould.

A goalless draw is probably a fair reflection of a game full of bluster and effort, but there were no thoroughbreds in this derby.

Blues had a penalty claim, so did Villa. Ciaran Clark, Barry Bannan, Ashley Young and Nigel Reo-Coker might've snatched it.

Houllier is not yet a big figure at Villa Park. He needs to impress his personality on the club for the team to rise again.

Saying things like we 'will finish somewhere between seventh and twelfth' hardly echoes around the halls of Villa Park like the words of Churchill. And he's repeated that phrase.

All this after inheriting the baton from Martin O'Neill, who steered Villa to three sixth-placed finishes in a row.

Villa need to maintain the momentum of the last few years if we're to keep pace with Spurs and Manchester City. Liverpool's stunning decline affords clubs like these a great opportunity to gatecrash the Big Four Party.

Villa should take the initiative but it starts with Houllier cutting a bigger figure.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Jonny Gould
Date:Monday November 1 2010
Time: 2:48PM


astvila123, i hope so.
01/11/2010 17:41:00
astvila123, i hope so.
01/11/2010 17:41:00
I'd be happy with a gago/diarra/flamini mould player, abit of goalscoring flair up top and we are sorted.
01/11/2010 19:47:00
well gerard has got about 8weeks to start picking up points with the players he has got now. because come jan we could be down with dead men. and that will be ajob getting out of
one match ban
01/11/2010 19:57:00
Finishing below 10th would be very poor in my eyes but any higher than 8th would be a bonus after all we have gone through... Having said that I do really think we will finish 7th...
01/11/2010 22:37:00
I must admit that I personally wasn't actually performing cartwheels, or clapping my hands with joy when Gerard Houllier was rumoured to be on Randy Lerner's hit-list of possible targets for the managers job here at beautiful Brummagem B6. Mind you, I didn't actually applaud the arrival of Ron Saunders at Villa Park back in the summer of 1974 either, believing on both occasions, 1974 and the late summer of 2010, that there were much better candidates out there. As with Sir Ronnie though, I'm starting to warm very much to our new French gaffer, and can admit to seeing definite signs that he might not be the disastrous appointment that I believed he might just be. Sometime it feels good to be wrong.
19/11/2010 19:24:00
I accept that because of our crazy and ever increasing injury situation, Gerard's hand has been forced somewhat into having to introduce the more youthful element of our squad into the world of premier league football, but there are many teams out there who would never have coped with the loss of key players as we have done, yet Houllier has helped steer the club through some rather troubled waters. Maybe a top six finish is not yet out of the question. Certainly no competitor out there has looked convincing to date, so maybe the positions second through to sixth really are up for grabs.
19/11/2010 19:29:00
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