Aston Villa - Drifting Villa Draw
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Bolton Wanderers 1 - Aston Villa 1

Reebok Stadium


Attendance: 18 413

Drifting Villa Draw

Best thing that can be said about that game is at least we didn't lose which we so easily could have.

You can write off the first half. Villa were quite frankly pathetic and the tactics from Martin O'Neill with Gabby as the loan striker stank.

This was a game we should have gone for the three points, if we'd started fast and gone for it Bolton would have panicked, they've only one win all season under their belt, they have a new manager in after weeks of turmoil and arguments so their confidence would have been low. Instead we sat back and allowed them to dictate the pace of the game and the Villa midfield at times were pedestrian at best.

We HAVE to be doing better against these teams, we simply HAVE to. I'm told there are improvements since O'Neill took over from David O'Leary but for me they are one and the same apart from the fact O'Neill is a nice bloke and the media's darling as opposed to O'Leary who wasn't liked and would probably be capable of upsetting his own shadow.

It is no good saying that Villa are in transition, that is just a throwaway excuse, today we weren't at the races and although we did come out more strongly in the second half, the goal we got was more down to luck and good fortune after the linesman signalled a Bolton throw in only to change his mind and give it (rightly) to Villa. Villa were quick at taking the throw with many Bolton players having their back to play walking up the pitch expecting their own player to take his time and then make the throw in. The ball was swiftly crossed from Gabriel Agbonlahor more at Luke Moore than to him and Luke chested the ball goalwards. 1-1 and so it stayed.

It could have been much worse for Villa. Zat Knight gave away a clumsy free kick for their first goal, gave the ball away cheaply several times and also passed back to Stuart Taylor so weakly that a Bolton player nipped in and possibly should have scored. Diouf also had a good chance when Taylor fumbled the ball. I can't think of many chances Villa created, in fact the only one of any measure was the one that resulted in a goal.

Ok, we have a point on the road, to draw on our travels isn't a disaster but the way we played very nearly was. It took Martin O'Neill 45 minutes to figure that his 4, 3, 3 (or more appropriate 4, 3, 2, 1) wasn't working and changed in the second half to 4-4-2 mystifyingly taking off one of his signings - Shaun Maloney - who did at least try to make a decent chance in the first half. The three man midfield certainly didn't work, Gareth Barry had an unusually quiet day (although in the first half he did make a timely interception to save a goal), Isaiah Osbourne is simply not ready yet and Stiliyan Petrov, although more lively than he has been of late, is still a very average player (unfortunately not bought at an average price).

You also have to - well you don't have to but I'm going to - question what an earth he bought Marlon Harewood for because he has hardly used him since his arrival. This looks like yet another total waste of money.

We have Derby County, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough coming up. All very winnable games BUT NOT if we play like we did today.

Villa are mid table and deserve to be. The links for Gareth Barry to Chelsea will grow more and more worrying the longer Aston Villa continue to drift in mediocrity. Time for an improvement. The way things are developing at the moment, Villa will not be worrying the top six for many a long year.

Doesn't make nice reading, but then it doesn't make nice viewing. Now I'll sit back and get slated for being negative no doubt... Slate away!

Stats: Click Here

Star Player

The Villa fans, once again in fine voice and deserving of a far better performance from the players.

Player Ratings

Stuart Taylor 6

Spilled the ball and nearly cost a goal, could have done better for the Anelka free kick.

Olof Mellberg 5.5

He is so obviously out of position it is almost criminal. Not his fault.

Martin Laursen 6

Not at his best today, gave the ball away cheaply at one point but luckily Bolton didn't take advantage of his rare error.

Zat Knight 5.5

He was average for Fulham, he is average for us. If he is keeping Curtis Davies out the team, just how bad is Curtis Davies? :o(

Wilfred Bouma 7

Played well today and made some very timely tackles.

Isaiah Osbourne 5.5

Not at the races

Stiliyan Petrov 5.5

I think he has been watching too much rugby as he only seems to be able to pass backwards?

Gareth Barry 6

Quiet day at the office but one very timely interception and he did at least try to get the ball forwards.

Ashley Young 5.5

Average day today, didn't seem to get the ball as much and wasn't keen on the strong physical tactics produced by Bolton.

Shaun Maloney 6

Very nearly produced a chance out of nothing, did nothing to deserve being substituted as far as I could see. Still, what do I know!!

Gabriel Agbonlahor 6

Used his speed to decent effect but out muscled. Good bit of opportunist play to lead to the goal. Needs support as he isn't a lone striker.

Luke Moore (46 on for Shaun Maloney) 6

Scored the goal, what more could you ask. First goal of the season, lets hope it isn't his last!

Patrik Berger (46 on for Isaiah Osbourne) 4

Truly dire, not up to speed at all and a sorry sight for such a fantastic player.

Manager Rating

We are drifting alone with old fashioned football, average purchases (Ashley Young aside) and strange substitutions. Maybe MON had too long out of the game because at the moment this is long ball and average.

The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday October 28 2007

Time: 4:30PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Very harsh on Petrov, he was our 2nd best player behind Bouma imo.
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28/10/2007 16:32:00

Not sure VillaCrazy, 5 in the ratings means average, the least expected. 6 better than average but only in patches. Think the half way is about right! Anyone else got any match ratings, all down to personal opinions really, I saw our midfield over-run and not dictating the game at all. Petrov did do better than of late but he only passes backwards!
The Fear
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28/10/2007 16:43:00

All a team has to do is impose themselves on us and were struggling.This has been our worst period since MoN took over.We had wave after wave of Bolton attack and we wrong the end of the table once more injuries and suspensions kick in.
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28/10/2007 16:49:00

I dont know what happened to that post lol.The bits that got cut out there were Europe is out of the question on the basis of what were seeing and we could be back down the wrong end of the table.
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28/10/2007 16:52:00

I really don't know what you lot are getting so fired up about... A new manager and Bolton were bound to be trying to impress. And they had Anelka, and Noble back. We had Nigel out and a couple of understandable other changes that didn't seem to work. In short, a rather predictable situation i.m.o. I certainly forecasted a draw (probably 1-1) before the match. No surprises then.
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28/10/2007 17:04:00

...and I'd like to add that the nature of Villa fans is again becoming apparent. After we had beaten Chelsea there were no criticisms, nor after winning 4 home league games on the trot. Just because we had a stutter last week and a "trying to get rhythm back" performance today, everyone throws slugs. "Fickle", DOL said - about the only thing he had right during his time at VP.
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28/10/2007 17:06:00

The rating sum up how fans love to slate certain players. Petrov was our best midfielder, he out ran and out passed Barry and got past midfielders. He covered an amazing amount of ground and it was the kind of performance he should be giving us, he has been awful for us in the past, but he hasnt got a chance if he gest slated for today. Barry was a passenger, didnt run or put a foot in and lost the ball most of the time (in a similar fashion to the Man U game) but because he is our Bazza he is rated better than Petrov today. Knights back pass was poor but he did well to snuff out nearly every header (esp off davies and anelka) and cross at the near post and himself and Bouma did well to back up a pourous midfield and in Knights case, a very poor right back, otherwise it would have been more than 1 conceded - he was in fact one of the mian reasons taylor had few shots to save when bolton had all of the ball (the midfields fault). However the likes of Knight would have to play out of there skins every week to stave off criticism.
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28/10/2007 17:15:00

not sure you are right lurgy there. If we play well, most say so, if we play badly, most say so. I don't think much of this season has exactly been tip top personally.
The Fear
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28/10/2007 17:33:00

you are free mickey_villa to submit some match ratings, it is only my opinion and in my opinion Petrov at the moment is no better than average. He did play better than he has in the past but still mostly goes backwards and we lost the battle in midfield and he was in the centre of it.
The Fear
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28/10/2007 17:35:00

Just looking over the ratings again (and again, it is only my opinion!!) they are all - apart from Bouma on 7, within .5 of each other. can't see any wild discrepency there to be fair Mickey Villa. Welcome to the site by the way!
The Fear
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28/10/2007 17:36:00

yep, and you deserve to be slated. bad 1st half, good second. poor defending against utd but before that game, everything was rosy so it should be now. we are mid table after playing very tough fixtures. the only top team we haven't faced is arsenal. its looking bright to me, especially if we bring in a couple of good players in jan
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28/10/2007 18:15:00

If fans are given nothing to cheer about then they have a right to be annoyed the 2nd half against wham and the last 2 performances are not on.Any expectations I had for this season are well and truly gone,its on the pitch for all to see.
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28/10/2007 18:19:00

Ratings look about right to me. We were average at best. You look at the top teams - they play faster and manage to pass to their own players. Too many times today Villa had the ball but no idea what to do with it or where to go - hence the good old up and unders. Yes Villa fans are quick to moan - and the reason now, for me, is that I thought we were going to move on - and it doesn't appear to be happening. Why not? The cash is available, the will is there but the means, i.e. quality players, appears to be missing. I agree the Maloney situation is strange. He looks a talented player but hardly gets any time to show it. Why was he bought? No doubt Big John will be back next week - I just hope it doesn't lead to even more balls being lumped forward. Hope they concentrate on passing and moving in training this week. Disagree on one point, many refs would have given Zat's foul to Villa for backing in by Davies.
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28/10/2007 18:21:00

There's a difference, Jonathan, between criticising a specific performance versus a damnation of the state of play in general. The above article seems to include hypercritical statements of the general situation, not just today's situation. viz: "I'm told there are improvements since O'Neill took over..." and "It is no good saying that Villa are in transition..."
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28/10/2007 18:23:00

Big knee jerk reaction IMO. Yes a ***** poor performance but Fear you are forgetting we got a good beating against Manure last week which would have knocked our confidence and had Carson and NRC out who have made a big difference to us this season, take the point and move on. We will have NRC,Carson,Carew back next week and also have Berger finding fitness. Curtis Davies is primed to replace Knight and lets hope Harewood continues to knuckle down and show what he can do in the reserves to at least become a regular on the bench. Far too negative!!!
Report Abuse
28/10/2007 18:42:00

Just watched Arsenal and we are so far behind. This is looking like last year when we started well then drew loads and eventually couldn't win or draw. Hope not, but other than the goal and 2 mins from Maloney we didn't look ike scoring.
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28/10/2007 19:05:00

So we miss NRC THAT much? Petrov cost 8.5m and should be a good stand in surely? I see a fairly average team, with fairly average results and one that will remain around 9-10 this season. Not negative, just what I see. I'm not forgetting Man Utd at all, we were awful against them as well. Sorry I can't see the positives, you are all very free to submit your positive articles, I just don't see any real strides forward, I see Harewood and Maloney both bit part players or not used - Harewood was nearly 4m. Petrov is average at best, he has a few ok performances but largely for the money paid is pretty poor. John Carew everyone is saying is back soon, well good but will he start to score regularly?
The Fear
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28/10/2007 19:06:00

Don't worry Lads I can see a glimer of light at the end of the tunnel, Big John, hokey-cokey, Carson and hopefully davies replacing knight will improve our team for next week and
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28/10/2007 19:10:00

(sorry pressed enter) continued........ a rousing victory against derby with big john gettng back to scoring form will set us up nicely for the derby which we'll win and then back to back wins against boro and blackburn will see all our hopes diminished and a lot of faith restored in MON. OR SO WE HOPE.....
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28/10/2007 19:12:00

the_lergy sir, I feel that way. Not knee jerk reaction, a season and 10 games and still long ball like today. No real movement in the transfer window, no big change of tactics, we are stuck playing 90's football 60% of the time which is a shame because when they bring the ball down and play they look ok. Only great signing is Ashley Young. Anyway, we'll see at the end of the season, hopefully we'll have less games like today and be in the top six, at the moment I can't see it though.
The Fear
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28/10/2007 19:12:00

I think it showed today how much NRC was missed. Petrov looked a great buy and started well. Yes he has been poor but may find his form again and has to be given another chance not just cast aside as a waste of money. I see real strides forward off the pitch and this constant sniping at the players *****es me off. Just look at your last remark about Carew, sums you up lately!!!!!!!!!!
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28/10/2007 19:23:00

OFF the pitch massive strides. On the pitch not yet.

John Carew comment sums me up? I just asked if people think he'll start scoring, can't help the fact he hasn't as yet. I loved Baros, sorry for having that as an opinion as well! :-p Big John has come with a massive reputation and I hope he explodes onto the scene at some point, if he does we could well push for Europe as a striker on form gives the rest of the team massive confidence. But he hasn't had a great fitness or scoring record as yet and as he is just coming back from injury we can't expect too much too soon. If we carry on like today against the average teams then this season will be another where we just drift. If that makes me negative then okey dokey.
The Fear
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28/10/2007 19:43:00

The General in his thread on the forum:
Before anyone says anything about the game today, it was one I thought we should have won...but didn't. I think the match report written on the site is pretty accurate. When we have a game like this one, we need to put it in the win column. Yes, one point is better than none but...we need to win. I look forward to the next few weeks and putting 9 points on the board...we need them. And on that note, I bid you fairwell...!
The Fear
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28/10/2007 19:52:00

"knee jerk reaction, a season and 10 games and still long ball like today."... I've said to someone else, J, that that to me does not matter so long as Villans play like they mean it - AND cause the opponents' discomfort. You speak about the Man U match, but in the first 20-30 minutes, we did give Man U discomfort. It was defensive howlers that effectively lost us the match. Perhaps it's just stylish football you expect to see - I say fine if we have the players to play it, but if this team cannot then to win with commitment and a swashbuckling style is the next best thing. We may have lost the rhythm just now, but it will return - no doubt about it.
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28/10/2007 20:12:00

I have to agree with The Fear, we have not moved on in 18months, I think we where poor today and think we've been poor all along. some results along the way have masked poor tactics and a poor team, today, it was a case of pass backwards to any available player, then the last one hoof it forward, what a load of crap
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28/10/2007 20:28:00

18 months ago we would have had no hope of beating Chelsea 2-0! I think it's little soon in the season to be too pessimistic. Having said that, I can understand the frustration regarding today's result, as I was expecting us to win in style. My glass is still half full though!
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28/10/2007 21:04:00

Poor performance today, but 18 months ago we would have lost that match, so progress is being made. The club, on and off the field, IS definitely moving forward but perghaps a little slower than some would like. We now have a great team spirit and togetherness, that definitely wasn't there 18 months ago. Obviously more quality players are needed in January to increase the speed of the progression. Give Petrov another chance. He has been disappointing, but he had a decent, not outstanding, game today. With another couple of decent games, and the crowd supporting him, perhaps he will be able to gain the confidence to produce the form we saw in his early Villa appearances. Luke Moore always looks a threat off the bench, but not so effevtive from the start. young had his poorest game of the season, and I think it may be time to give Curtis Davies his chance alongside Laursen. MUST get a quality right back and natural right sided player in January.
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28/10/2007 21:21:00

Happy to give Moore as many chances as he wants! Is Marewood fit?
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28/10/2007 21:47:00

Just watched Arsenal and we are so far behind. Villan444....... Seriously, that could be a statement from a fan of most clubs in the world, get real. Yes we were poor, yes we need to do better, and yes some time ago we would have folded and lost, but we didn't, we got a point away from home, would have liked three but such is life. The MON in charge will get it right in the end, I didn't see any reason for panic, although Taylor did on a couple of occasions ; )
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28/10/2007 23:37:00

OMG, will you lot get a grip, so we beat Chelsea (WHAM beat United twice last season and look where they finished), woop-de-doo, are you gonna drag that result up every time we play crap? MON is stopping us progressing, its no point clutching a straws and slagging off fans who have got the bollox to tell it the way it is. Really really frustrated by the snooty superiority complex of some of the people on here.
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29/10/2007 08:38:00

Agreed Steff, they are in a different league but we are not improving anywhere near the same rate as any other teams in the top half. There is a slight improvement but we need to improve the rate at which we are. 5 year plan. Everyone else has a 3 year plan.
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29/10/2007 08:46:00

I hate it when people talk about the '5 year plan' surely the next game is always the most important and how the hell can you make a 5 year plan in the prem anything can happen!
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29/10/2007 09:08:00

You can't compare us to Arsenal FFS.....try comparing us to West Ham or to Tottenham or Everton if you want to be taken seriously. Even Bolton and Portsmouth! We're stacking up nicely against those guys in my opinion. Now the next 3 games we've got coming we really should be looking for 7 to 9 points as a target, then see where we are. Anelka was the difference between the 2 sides at the end of the day, and he's class - agree we should be going for guys like him, but I can't see it. He isn't going to stick around at Bolton though for sure....
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29/10/2007 09:18:00

We need to take a look at Blackburn. Look at their signings, all experienced international players who are doing the job. We lack a a proper goalscorer and without one we won't get into europe. Look at our competetion. Blackburn: McCarthy and Santa Cruz Everton: Yakubu and Johnson (Not at mome for him) Man City: No-one but they can grind results and have Elano's class. Newcastle: Owen (when fit), Viduka (not at mome), Martins. Pompey: Kanu and Benjani (now) Spurs: Berbatov, Defoe, Keane, Bent. West Ham: Bellamy, Ashton. They all have a goalscorer or more and all we have is Gabby who is still learning. Young won't break 10+, neither will Moore and Carew has shown nothing which indicates he will.
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29/10/2007 11:19:00

Blackburn were rubbish yesterday, only had a couple of shots on goal. One was deflected.
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29/10/2007 12:50:00

Yatesy, I originally compared to Arsenal because they are the best around at the moment. West Ham were bloody lucky not to get relegated last year so what is the point of that. Spuz have been spending freely for 5 years and are ahead of us and Everton have already been shown up when they made it into Europe ahead of their time. Bolton???? I mentioned 5 year plan because that is what the club are always on about and they use it to keep everyone quiet. If we are to make a good comparison with another team (which is not what I originally was on about) then look at Man Citeh. Bar their beating at the weekend they have spent loads and done really well with a good manager which is what a lot of our fans would have been expecting of us this season. I don't see their new owners saying that its gonna take five years.......
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29/10/2007 13:38:00

mackaavfc, well said m8
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29/10/2007 14:41:00

Thought our best three performers on the day, in no particular order were Stilyan (Stan the Man) Petrov, Shaun Maloney, and Freddie Bouma, otherwise it was a performance to forget. It made me question whether we've taken even the slightest step forward since the nightmare days of David O'Leary. The first half shambles was unforgivable, a disgraceful showing, lacking in spirit, passion, or ability. A better team than Bolton, and there are a lot of clubs included in that collection (including a certain BCFC who lie in wait) would have finished us off well before the interval. We were very lucky to be only one goal behind at the break, very much second best in everything that took place in the first forty-five. Not good enough I'm afraid. A slightly improved showing in the second half, but lets face it, we couldn't have been any worse.
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29/10/2007 15:38:00

Far too short sighted, we'll play far better and lose this season. I'd like to see both Davies and Maloney given extended runs in the team.
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29/10/2007 18:55:00

if my memory serves me right nigel-not-reo, we beat the 'kids' 3-1 in 96, and sir alex had been there manager for 10 years by then!
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29/10/2007 21:02:00

Mackaavfc and eltoro typical glory hunting fans who want instant success. How many games are you prepared to give ONeill? Tell me a better manager?
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29/10/2007 21:10:00

How about Mark Hughes tarzansbrother? Limited resources but pulls good players out of hats. OLeary bought better than this - Laurson, Bouma, maybe Baros, McCann for just a million - oh and he bought a right back too. He had limited resources not a great boss like Randy. No I'm not an O'Leary fan and not trying to re-write history either. But his buys were ahead of Mon's so far even with DD on his back.
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29/10/2007 21:50:00

Come to think of it, Atkinson turned the club around one Summer with about 8 or 9 buys - and without spending a fortune. GT first time also made some very astute buys - plus Crouch second time around. Its time we put the current activity into the context of the past - and it doesn't look that great.
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29/10/2007 21:53:00

GLB I agree about Hughes looking like a good manager who can find a player for the right price but surely with ONeill we have the right manager. Yes some of his signings have yet to show their worth and also he is being slagged for buying squad players but I cannot understand this thinking that we can just go out and buy top drawer players ahead of the top 4 and also the other clubs in europe or offering stupid wages. We have even got fans on here asking wether Angel/Ridgewell should have been sold and in one instance J Fear making out Baros to be the worlds top striker who we should have built our squad around. IMO I think we are moving forward but it is going to take time.
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29/10/2007 22:44:00

Tarzansbrother I have no problem with any of the players sold - none would take the club where it is trying to go. But other managers such as Hughes have shown that you can get better players without spending great sums of money and whilst it will take time to build, that building will only happen if we increase quality. Several of the new buys seem to be simply new for old and no/ little improvement. Ridgewell - Knight? Cahill out on loan? Baros/ Carew - yes Carew tries but is he a better striker in terms of goal potential? By now we should be seeing the development of a better squad and team with improved results. What worries me most is that we start many games with an indifferent attitude and only seem to play for 45 minutes.
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30/10/2007 08:05:00

glory hunters! 'TARZANSBROTHER' give me a fufcin break, I'm not after glory, I've followed Villa through thick and thin, top of the 1st divison, to down in the second division, all I want is well played football! we are crap, make no bones about it, we have a poor team and at this moment a manager who imploys bad tactics, sundays game was a disgrace. someone said to me we should be beating teams like Bolton! why should we, man for man they have a better squad than us, right now i would take at least 6 of their players and swap with ours. Anelka, jaaskelainen,Nolan,Davies,Campo,even diouf, wake up tarzan take your head out of cheeta's arse and see whats happening on the pitch!
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30/10/2007 08:13:00

Bolton a better squad? Are you for real? Their players have really set the world alight this season and surprise they started to have a go when a new manager was in town. Go and watch Manure or Arsenal, you will get your glory instantly then!!!
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30/10/2007 08:34:00

the words above, written by a child, shouldn't you be at school Tarzans brother! so if you think we are better in those departments that I've named, then which players do you think we have to dislodge the likes of Anelka, Jaaskelainen, Nolan, Davies,Campo, and Diouf, lets start with Anelka, world class, make no mistake, so who at Villa would keep him out! then Jaaskelainen, same again who would you play instead, Carson, Taylor, I'd have jussi anyday. then Nolan, not your normal sort of classy midfielder, but he will run all day, break up play and attack whenever poss, we've got coker, enough said there then, move on to Campo, excellent midfield playmaker with great vision, great touch, ex Real Madrid, another great buy from big sam, and us, well you could say Barry, I think they'd play well together, I was thinking more about petrov as being the one to stand down, and you?, then Davies and diouf you can pick either one I'm sure they'd stroll into our squad right now, both can score, jesus to honest I'd take gary speed right now over petrov. you talk about getting glory instantly,we've been waiting since 81-82, DO YOU KNOW WHAT YEAR IT IS! at the end of the day we're playing poor football,its nothing to do with glory, I wouldn't be that *****ed of if the tactics were right but the players were wrong, but thats not how it looks to me, we don't play good football, watch the game, read the papers, the mirror said, desperate, and I for one agree. and just to finish tarzan, how many times in the last few years have we finished above Bolton?
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30/10/2007 10:45:00

Come on lets not confuse the old regime with the new one! MON and the board have had just over a season so far. The question still remains, how long are we going to give the revolution?
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30/10/2007 20:32:00


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