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Is Our Squad REALLY 'That' Bad To Be 15th?

Is Our Squad REALLY 'That' Bad To Be 15th?

A quick companion to another article I`m working on.... I say work, I should really say 'work`... bit hard this running a football network for a living malarky really... nearly time for my massage and I`ve a pedicure later...

I digress:

Just looking at our squad, with all the talk of us being (again) in transition:

Our squad:

Shay Given one of the best GK`s going, Ireland international
Bradley Guzan, not a bad keeper, US international, good back up

Alan Hutton, McLeish signing, Spurs fans weren`t very complimentary about him, think we can see why perhaps although he has improved a bit lately?

Stephen Warnock, gone way off form, was decent when he first came, has played twice for England, gone backwards since GH but was decent when we first had him under MON

Richard Dunne, not my favourite following last seasons exploits but again, an international player

James Collins, same as Dunne, however, again, an international player and was solid under MON

Carlos Cuellar, always solid imho, been linked before but never called up to Spain team

We then have the back up of Ciaran Clarke who before his injury was shaping up nicely and other youth players.

Stephen Ireland, mercurial, enigmatic, but if handled right, a possible gem? International before he retired

Charles N`Zogbia, again a McLeish buy, France international (2 caps)

Jean Makoun, no idea, shipped out without being given a chance despite us being told that we are short on players. A Cameroon international.

Marc Albrighton, England U21 and an up and coming player, or at least he appeared to be, he`s had limited chances this season

Fabian Delph, big question marks for the price tag and out on loan right now

Stiliyan Petrov, you don`t get more experienced from this international player, he also bleeds for the cause. He might be coming to the end of his Villa career but he`s been an important player imho

You then have the emerging Barry Bannan (question marks for me, seems to have an attitude, but hopefully he`ll settle into a decent player) Chris Herd, Daniel Johnson, Gary Gardner and Samir Carruthers.

Darren Bent... international, play him right, he scores

Gabby Agbonlahor, international, play him right, he scores

Emile Heskey, international, moving on................!

Then we have the emerging Andreas Weimann.

Ok, so some decent players in the mix IF managed right? Few I`d like to see gone and replaced (that goes for any squad and any fan though obviously?!)

Now... we are 15th in the table.

Which of the teams above us have better squads?

Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool for sure.

The rest?

No, I`m sorry, they have some players I`d like but I can`t see that any of these are better, or SO much better than us. Can you?

Man for man, how many of each teams players would you swap for ours? IF ours were on form, managed right and playing to the best of their ability (comparing like for like and similar form for the other teams players?)

Transition yes, because a new manager wants his own players in but does that excuse our capitulations, no shows, the many excuses and all the lapses we`ve seen this year?

Sorry, I don`t think so and although he will never point towards himself, surely the buck stops with the manager? Has he convinced himself that he is so much in transition that he isn`t to blame for the results? Or...?

6 Newcastle 30 2 50
8 Sunderland 30 5 40
9 Everton 30 -2 40
10 Swansea 30 -2 39
11 Norwich 30 -6 39
12 Stoke 30 -12 38
13 Fulham 29 -3 36
14 West Brom 30 -5 36

For me, with our players, especially the strike force (when fit obviously) we have when played correctly and supply is given to them, we should be top eight. I can see little reason for WBA, Norwich or Swansea being above us squad wise, apart from good management?

Opinions (slightly above the 'McLeish is a swear word` please)

Do you think any of those squads ARE head and shoulders above us?

And yes, I know, the season isn't over yet, we could end up above the teams named, however....

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

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Monday March 26 2012
Time: 3:01PM


Technically we have a top quality squad but a combination of poor management and lack of desire from players has landed us at the bottom (wrong) end of the table. For us to perform to the optimal level a lot needs to change starting with the manager and then get rid of the trouble makers (we all know who they are), only then can we move onwards and upwards.
Green Villan
26/03/2012 15:10:00
Hi, I wrote a piece for this site which you kindly published back in December. I mentioned in the article that I was living in London and have been for the past few years. I had to give up my season ticket under the final season under MON due to the cost of commuting very other week. This season I've been to a few Arsenal games thanks to a mate of mine. So on Saturday I went along with my dad thanks to my mate sorting us out a couple of tickets. This meant we had to sit with the Arsenal fans so we were a bit worried that we would have to keep quiet if villa scored. Of course we had no problems there seeing as we didn't have a single shot on target! lol. My point is that it was very interesting to see Villa from the other side, as an away team visiting. The Arsenal fans around us didn't seem to say a single word about villa. It was a bit like being at villa park when teams like Wigan, Blackpool or Bolton visited us. There didn't seem to be any fear that the visiting team would make any kind of impact. It was pretty hard to take seeing Villa as irrelevant and an easy 3 points in the eyes of the Arsenal fans. Our performance was beyond shocking, it was spiritless and clueless. It made me think that perhaps the way we have played under Mcleish this season has altered the clubs identity and we are now perceived as a bottom half of the table team. Maybe this status has gradually rubbed off on the players and they have started playing like that type of team. If Mcleish is saying stupid things such as "we need to be realistic" to the fans then god knows what he's saying to the players behind closed doors each week in training. There doesn't seem to be any belief in our performances at all. I'm just speculating but maybe this has something to do with it. Bottom line is, the teams too good to be where they are. A good manager would have these players in the top half of the league and consider it transitional before a Europa league push next season. I fear if Mcleish get's another season then this transitional period will be us pushing for top 10 next season. No ambition, no belief ad no spirit. :(
26/03/2012 15:48:00
I think you have answered your own question and yes we are that bad to be 15th! You pick faults with virtually every player, throw into the mix injuries and its easy to see why we are where we are. Look at our bench on saturday and the first 11 wasn't exactly great!!
26/03/2012 15:52:00
Fear, I have believed that McLeish has needed time. However you have written a good article and its hard to argue with your main conclusion that the squad is better than 15th. So why are we where we are? There is only one conclusion - there seems to be a lack of real desire to win at the top. I'd rather take the occasional pasting but see effort and a will to win than some of the performances to date: away at Wigan comes to mind as a dreadful display for no reason at all..
26/03/2012 15:55:00
The one question I would ask is how many of our players would a top 10 side actually want to buy? bent probably and Given maybe. Other than that I can't see a lot there!
26/03/2012 15:57:00
Even though we've had a poor season, we are still not very away from the teams you've listed. That just shows how generally mediocre the Premier League is. More importantly, it shows how vital teamwork and motivation is. We seem to lack both at the moment.
26/03/2012 15:58:00
Just following on from my earlier comments: I would buy the transition argument if I could see improvement but the sad fact is that we seem to be getting worse, not better. And the excuses are getting worse too. To blame the lack of Jenas when we knew the risks when signing him seem to make that argument appear desperate.
26/03/2012 15:58:00
All those teams above us would say the same things about our players. Bent and Given are the only 2 stand out players in our side. The rest of the team are distinctly average. If nzogbia and ireland can get firing next season then we could see an improvement. i think our youngsters on current form are way overrated. Albrighton has had loads of chances this season, about 20 apps and hes been utter garbage
26/03/2012 16:02:00
i think to show no real improvement throughout the season is just bonkers... But then the team shows what it can do against chelsea away? I know they aren't the best at the moment but explain that one? Just a few key players on form? I don't know I just get the impression he isn't a great man manager...
26/03/2012 16:28:00
This is where the confusion comes in Gordonsleftboot, think we both struggle on a similar line to be honest, logic says he needs time, transition, needs to bring in his own players etc... but the proof in front of the eyes just argues the opposite to me and the capitulations or even worse, the games where we look like we've just given the oppo a training game is a major worry. The winning spirit has to come from McLeish. One of his quotes is saying he can't tell them every single thing to do, (he does micro manage on the touchline, bit more than many, not as much as some I guess) but he misses the point, you instill the fight into the players, they then go out and do their job. The fact he is telling them which blade of grass to stand on is undermining and confusing to them.
The Fear
26/03/2012 18:03:00
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