Posts Tagged ‘Aston Villa’

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In two minds.

November 25, 2010

Now, I think everyone will agree this was not the response from the team we have been looking for, eh?

I have deliberately refrained myself from writing the post last night, as I thought to myself that it would be counterproductive to act upon emotions and that I could say something I could regret later. Trust me, my big mouth got me into various degrees of trouble more than once in my life!

But guess what? I am still fuming after the naive and gutless display I had the displeasure of watching on Tuesday – once again, it just showed that this team still has no clue whatsoever and I don’t even want to go anywhere near the subject of dedication, pride and playing for the shirt: I have read about Frank McLintock bursting into the box at the E******s to give some Spud bookie a piece of his mind and probably a little bit on top of that for his overzealous celebrations on Saturday. No matter what you think of this kind of behaviour, this came straight from the heart of a true legend and perhaps the ‘best team’ Our Glorious Leader has ever assembled should take a leaf out of his book and at least show some hurt pride by giving the pretty average Braga a good tonking.

The first half was one of the most boring 45 minutes of football I have seen for a long time, I thought to myself ‘here we go again’. The fake Arsenal created more chances, without really troubling Fabianski, but their keeper might as well have gone home and they would still have won the game, as we have managed a precious one attempt on target throughout the 90+ minutes. That being said, I would take 0:0, as there are the days when you just can’t do zilch – this is when you admit it, shut the shop and play tidy game to get a draw, simple as that. This would see us qualify to the next round and we could rest players for the Partizan game. Now it is mathematically possible for us not to qualify to the next round, and if my memory serves me right (which it does), the last time we failed to go past the group stage was when we were drawn in an ‘easy’ group. Quite frankly, we need a high pressure game involving the first teamers just five days before playing ManYoo like a hole in the head – good job, Arsene, fielding an understrength team against Shakhtar does not seem like such a good idea now, does it?

You could excuse athletes for having difficulties learning from their mistakes, as most of them are pretty thick, but it is the manager’s job to find a way of drilling stuff into them and making tough decisions when there are no effects – it just seems to me that the players are lacking as far as the bread and butter stuff is concerned and failure has been tolerated for far too long for them to give a monkey’s. The mindset of the team is seems to be rotten to the core and the manager needs to act in the manner required to create impression that the heads will roll if it does not improve. I once wrote that it’s about time to replace the carrot with the stick and whack the shit out of the donkey, or it will just get fatter and won’t move an inch forward. As I said in my last post, if you get too much too soon, your attitude may leave a lot to be desired and the only way to eradicate that is to learn the hard way.

Anyway, we play another toughish game this weekend and AW faces Herculean task to lift the team – it’s almost as hard as it is  for quite a large section of the club’s fanbase to get to look forward to it. Being a loyal supporter, I will definitely try very hard: they are my team and I will try to lift myself to go all ‘Come on you rip roaring reds!’ on Saturday…

Thank you for reading!

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Two is the magic number.

January 28, 2010

Two zeros on the scoresheet. Two points dropped. Two players injured. Hit woodwork twice. Result: two points off the top, although the leaders have a game in hand. The next two games are absolutely crucial as far as our title chances are concerned. Hell, getting results there is vitally important in order to finish no lower than third spot, looking at the Premier League table – 6th placed City, having only played 21 games to our 23 would be far too close for comfort, should the worst case scenario unfold. Why is finishing in the top three so important, you will ask: take into the consideration that it is the World Cup year and I would rather not have to go into the early Champions League qualifiers, as it would deprive our players of much needed rest – our team is packed with internationals and I would prefer to start the next season proper as late as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, but I go into every game expecting that we will get all the points, as it is really no fun otherwise – this is what being a fan is all about, right? I wrote yesterday that nothing less than 3 points will do for me and I was genuinely convinced that despite the fact of trip to Villa Park being a notoriously tough fixture (just ask Chavs), we would come up trumps. Members of ‘glass half full’ brigade will say that it’s not too bad a result and I would be inclined to agree, given our lineup. When I first saw the team assembled to face Villans, I really felt for Cesc who was asked to orchestrate our midfield play partnered by two lightweights in the shape of Ramsey and Denilson. Again, let me explain: that’s some grossly unbalanced midfield, if I ever saw one – three players of the same kind, with the only classy one being Captain Fantastic and the other two just making up the numbers. Unsurprisingly, Denilson was his normal useless passenger self, bar one good scoring attempt and our young Welshman was again guilty of not keeping things simple and doing the best piece of defending for Villa by getting in Rosicky’s way when the latter wanted to smash in the rebound after Fabregas’ shot cannoned off the post with the keeper beaten. The goal was gaping with Friedel being nowhere and only shit luck or Ramsey could have prevented us from going one up right before the break. Sadly, it was the latter.

We have got equally unlucky in the second half when Rosicky received a clever pass from Cesc, following a nice break by Arshavin, which ended up with their goalie thwarting his shot. The ball went skywards, the brilliant Spaniard cushioned it towards TR, who frustratingly blasted it against the crossbar. If that didn’t tell you that it wasn’t our day, then maybe injuries sustained by Verminator and Dudu will leave you convinced. While we know that our Crozilian has just pulled a hamstring, which apparently is just a minor niggle, there is no solid confirmation if we should or should not worry about whether we will see TV anytime soon. Now let me put it this way:  I love Eduardo, but his temporary absence from the squad will not have as much of an impact as having half of our best CB pairing for years out of the contention for God knows how long. Hopefully, we will know a bit more today.

Our Belgian was replaced by Sol Campbell who once again was very impressive – I had my doubts whether he could handle playing multiple games in the short period of time, yet he proved that he was much fitter than anyone would care to give him credit for. Yes, he has lost a few yards of pace, but he should be able to make up for it using bags of experience he has. The way he pulled down Dunne and pleaded innocence immediately to get away with it was absolutely priceless. If he manages to pull us through the next few games in the same fashion, then I will be getting his name printed on my new home shirt, due to be announced anytime soon. Rumour has it that we will finally get to look like Arsenal again with all white sleeves – I deliberately bought only the away kits this season and the last, as our current home outfit makes us look like Charlton.

Before this ‘make or break’ period started, I said that I will be happy with seven points from four – this is not how I planned it, but we can still equal or better my estimate. The next home game against the fired up ManYoo, who have just beaten their nearest rivals to the Carling Cup Final will show what we are really made of – we should have Song back and Bendtner will have a few more training sessions under his belt to shake off the rust. He looked reasonably well yesterday and we might have fared a bit better, had he started in place of our No.9 who looks worryingly off pace.

I will not tear into below par performances of a certain few, it should be enough to say that one can only hope that we will not see too much of them in the upcoming matches – please Arsene, see the light: they are not good enough, they don’t have the ‘qualitee’, and should not be anywhere near the first team. With just the mere few days of transfer window left, something must be done. We have the best chance for years and not addressing all-too-obvious shortcomings would be bordering on professional negligence. Please, please, please…

I will be back tomorrow, hopefully with good news on Vermaelen as well as with my thoughts on the last three days of the transfer window. As Wrighty7 likes to say: keep it Goonerish 😉

P.S. Since we didn’t score any goals (luckily, neither did they)  and the highlights of single non-scoring chances are quite hard to come by, these who didn’t watch the game or simply want to relive it are welcome to check out the highlights here.