This Is Villa Park

This Is Villa Park

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Get Thinking McLeish.
I normally only like to see and seek the positives in Aston Villa performances of late, to let's say hide the cracks that are starting to appear.

Wasting chances, leaving attacking to the last ten minutes and playing with hardly any passion for the badge; I can't seem to think of anything McLeish could do more other than drop the negative tactics he seems to possess.

Let's take the most recent game as an example; Manchester City. Defensively it was well organised for the majority of the match. Every player had another man to mark, which in the first half worked extremely well to shut down the opponents. Yet, perhaps after a half time team talk, gaps started to appear as marking seemed to have been forgotten. However, we offered hardly anything going forward. That may have been down to City's back line or Villa's tactics. Most would probably agree with the latter. Even in the last ten minutes, when we left it too late, wasted opportunities cost us a point at least. Although, I'd like to point out that the four clear cut chances we had, three of those were from defenders. What does that say?

Charles N'Zogbia.

A spat with Stephen Ireland and Charles N'Zogbia at Newcastle perhaps cost us that game last night, as possibly our two creative midfielders weren't on the pitch. Once N'Zogbia came on, the game and tempo from Villa livened up.

Despite his slow start to his Aston Villa career, he has now hit the ground running. Our most attacking intent last weekend and the quick feet in yesterday's game, McLeish should have shook off last week's arguments and wiped the slate clean.


McLeish's tactics have held back Villa's attacking players in my honest opinion. The Tottenham Hotspur game optimised it. Alan Hutton as a right winger instead of a natural attacking player.

Obviously we can't just blame it all on the manager. He plays a huge part in the running of the club and how the team are set out yet he can't influence how the team plays. He can't go onto the pitch and score goals for them, defend for them and become the next Shay Given.

He can only do so much, let's face it.

Players earning an enormous amount of money each week only seem to be bothered about the money. Except a few; Gabby Agbonlahor, Marc Albrighton for example. As a fan, to pass the test you have to sweat blood, tears and claret and blue to be an Aston Villa player that can be accepted by the faithful. My view is that there aren't enough off these guys playing for the badge, giving the crowd something to cheer about and just play football to their greatest ability.

Fans have said in the past that they'd rather lose three or four nil and play with heart and passion than lose one nil and give nothing what-so-ever. I accept that point because after all if they all did then it shows that they care.


Instant Impact.

One man who's changed the scales has come in the form of Robbie Keane. He offers an experienced head, composure on the ball and the odd goal here and there. The missing link between midfield and Darren Bent. He can pick out a pass that dissects the defence, take Newcastle for example when he freed Bent for a one on one situation with the keeper.

Robbie Keane against Queens Park Rangers played and contributed so much to the team in the form of an 85% successful passing rate. It's not just the QPR game that Keane has made an influence as most games he has played his presence has played a part in Villa's games.

Scoring three goals in the five games he's played, this was an intelligent move from McLeish in the January transfer window however, I'm sure he's now seeking the LA sunshine.


We still have to realise that this is a transitional season, as was last year. But when Martin O'Neill set the bench mark of expectation at star height and then left five days before the start of last season we should really have been prepared. Too many changes were made to the squad and to the setup last season and the departures of Stewart Downing, Brad Friedel and Ashley Young made this season even harder.

Let's face it, with the squad we have we shouldn't be fiftieth in the table, yet the table never lies as they say. There have been a lot of missed opportunities, story of Aston Villa, and that has cost us. QPR at Loftus Road; one nil up and an own goal costs us. One nil up against Newcastle at Villa Park and we lose two points. Many times have we had the lead and lost points because of it.


The role of the crowd is crucial. At this moment in time we need to get behind the team. In my opinion, we don't have to back the manager, but we have to back the players. We need to be the twelfth man because it can be the little bit of added fuel to the fire for the players.

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