Writer: J P Fear
Date:Thursday August 17 2006
If somebody had told you at the final whistle of the final game of last season against Sunderland we would be starting the new season off as the first visitors to Arsenals new Emirates Stadium minus James Milner and no new additions just how do you think you would have felt?
Well that is exactly the situation but when that whistles blows to start the 2006/2007 season on Saturday I fully expect to be amongst a crowd full of more optimism and hope than I have been for years and years!
The first game of the season is always exciting but this is something else, something special. For once the excitement is not about seeing new players or even old players who we have pined for over the summer. No this year its about genuine believe that finally Aston Villa are being put back on the right track for glory!
It`s been a rollercoaster of a summer, unbelievable lows matched only by unbelievable highs. Somehow the football is just never going to live up to the adrenaline pumping news coming out of Villa Park in recent weeks! We were told we would never get O`Neill to manage us, well we have. We were told we would never get rid of Doug Ellis; well we very nearly are…if anything this actually playing football lark is going to ruin all our enjoyment! Lets just hope we don`t get brought back down to earth with too big a bump.
As we will be starting with a similar side that went there last season and capitulated 5-0 its also a chance to see just how much difference a manager can have on team. Hopefully we will see signs of organisation and motivation that were so sorely missing last term. We cant expect miracles, we are not going to have become world beaters over night but what we can expect is passion and pride aplenty, both from the players on the pitch and the management on the touchline, and oh what a breath of fresh air that will be!
Arsenal too will have their own injury worries. Senderos springs to mind, and with the on off transfer of Ashley Cole they may have defensive frailties (yes I`m talking about you Pascal Cygan!) but they still have a pool of talent that we can only dream off. It`s going to be tough but never say never in this game. If nothing else it will be a good gauge to see just how far we have to go over the next couple of years.
Predictable player to watch shout, but he is supreme.
There are some injuries doubts, namely Baros, Bouma and Cahill. Steve Davis has declared himself fit but will he be handed a starting role even though O`Neill has yet to see him play at first hand? Martin Laursen looks likely to be handed a place on the subs bench at best.
This is not a game to worry too much about what is happening on the pitch, it`s a game to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Aston Villa F.C. It`s a game to welcome Martin O`Neill and wait in anticipation as Doug's letter of resignation gets closer and closer! It`s a day for the fans to show that this Lion is ready to roar once more!
Mystic Mug returns with some optimism. He says an opening day draw will do and goes for 1-1
Words by Aronno7 apart from Mystic Mug and Arsenal player to watch.
Leave your match predictions in the article comments below. (if you want to naturally!)
Date:Thursday August 17 2006
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