Date:Monday December 27 2010
Villa are struggling and as long as we are 4 points above the drop zone then we have to admit, we are in a scrap at the moment. But last night's squad showed that the fully fit John Carew, Richard Dunne, Habib Beye and Stephen Ireland didn't even make the bench.
Houllier surely has made the right decisions by getting the dead wood and moaners out of our squad and planning to sell them in January is a good move, but, have all these arguments, public criticisms and fights come at the worst possible time?
Emile Heskey got injured last night and no doubt will miss the following games leaving Villa in a bit of trouble with Ashley Young more than likely sitting out at Man City; surely this would be the time John Carew should step in? If my memory is right then he scored our only goal at The City Of Manchester Stadium last season so surely after last nights performance showing we really miss a target man when Heskey went off, shouldn't Carew start against Man City?
But Houllier has slagged Carew off in the press already, clearly they don't get on, he won't even put him on the bench anymore and our once Holte End Hero is now surely leaving in January.
Stephen Ireland's career at Villa has so far been a disaster. But with Ashley Young out injured for a little while, surely having Stephen Ireland given another go in Ash's central role should be what Houllier does next. But Houllier criticised Ireland in the paper ages ago and hasn't looked back since dismissing him as an option with Ireland presuming never playing for Villa again.
Same goes for Habib Beye despite Beye playing extremely well in his once match against Chelsea. I can understand we need the big earners to leave Villa but surely causing these problems during the season is disrupting the squad who are still playing. We are 15th in the league and against Tottenham (a game we knew from the previous game at WHL would be bossed by Van Der Vaart) surely Nigel Reo-Coker (who is now match fit) should have started instead of a very young Jonathon Hogg.
It seems NRC wasn't played because he is stalling on contract talks and wants out unless he gets £50k a week according to the French one and speculation is now mounting that as a result of holding the club to ransom over the contract, Houllier won't play him. Also Delph started last night, was great to see him back! But why did he start? Houllier seems happier Delph is back rather than Petrov which seems strange. Actually it doesn't because Gary McCallister will have been telling Houllier all week from his Leeds Utd days just how much he rates Fabian.
What Gary will have failed to mention however is that Leeds were in League 1 at the time and playing against the likes of Modric and Van Der Vaart is quite a big jump. It does seem stupid though that because of these arguments going on and Houllier making rash decisions that we saw Hogg mark VDV, Bannan on the bench, NRC not play, Pires come off the bench ahead of Bannan and no Carew to replace Heskey. It makes you wonder, fair enough to Gerard for saying it like it is to people and saying 'You're not good enough,' but surely there is a time and a place? Maybe January 1st?
I don't know about everyone else but having Ireland play off Heskey with NRC and Bannan behind I think would have been better than what we saw with Hogg and Delph.
The good news is though that in January Houllier is being backed with money to go out and buy players (confirmed yesterday by Paul Faulkner). The bad news is Houllier will be spending the money, and I do worry because if he finds it so easy to make these rash decisions with our current players, I hope he doesn't do the same when he buys players. We need players that are good and have great ability and that are proven, not players who are cheap, french and had a good game 1 time Houllier saw them play.
I just hope his decision making in the window is better than his decision making in the dressing room.
Date:Monday December 27 2010
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