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Bolton Review – Why one wasn’t done!

It’s not that I didn’t care!

I didn’t get round to doing a preview due to a variety of reasons, but one was that Firefox crashed as I had just finished it and I couldn’t be bothered to do it all again!

Not that I will show the same attitude next season; I plan on running a proper site that will probably not be on WordPress. I may just concentrate on Vital Football though depending on what happens… it is not that I am disorganised, it is that I have a few irons in the fire and I am waiting to see what happens.

As for a review of the game, the problem was I didn’t see it all the way through. I tried to get it on the internet and got to see about a third of the first half and around half of the second half. As it was, I got to see both goals and from what I saw and heard, I didn’t miss much anyway.

Bolton got a point towards safety (although I would say they were safe anyway) and we got a point more than Everton did, which is now the important race. Of course it is still mathematically possible for us to qualify for the Champions League but we all know it’s now a million-to-one shot; if anything I am now thoroughly behind Arsenal to win the Champions League. After all, if they do, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway!

One word on Young’s goal – no, it wasn’t deliberate, but it was a fantastic cross which always has the possibility of going in when hit like that. I ould just like him to get back to doing that on a more consistent basis. Since his suspension he hasn’t been playing as well. Why that is I have no idea, but hopefully he will be back to his best next season.

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April 29, 2009 Posted by | Football, Soccer | , , , | Leave a comment

WHAM! Review

(No, I haven’t been to see the band…)

Just like the weekend before, it was a good game where I was annoyed we didn’t win. West Ham certainly had their fair share of the chances but so did we and a draw is arguably the right result. That said, 1-0 up with five minutes to go, you always have to be disappointed when you don’t go on to win. It was obviously disappointing that Rob Styles, who is THE worst ref in the Premiership, failed to give us a penalty. But the defending and failure to take chances of both teams meant that on this day, Aston Villa and West Ham were both their own worst enemies.

Neither side are great at the back, neither side could take their chances (barring on each, obviously) and both sides play some nice stuff. Both teams are also in what is probably their ‘right’ position for the season and may well still be there come game 38. That said, going on current form, Tottenham are probably the favourites to take the 7th spot, but with them still facing trips to Anfield and Old Trafford, I am sure the Spammers fans will be hopeful. Personally, I hope Fulham get there though, as I think Roy Hodgson has done a fantastic job. That said, I would like any of the London clubs to get it ahead of Man City. It just seems like footballing justice every time they lose a game of football.

Given the circumstances, we needed the three points. I genuinely felt that if we could take 19 points from our last 21, that Arsenal may slip up enough to give us a fighting chance of regaining 4th spot. Now, that is simply too much to ask. Obviously we must keep going until it is mathematically impossible but, much like our neighbours from West Bromwich, the painful defeat is now not just staring us in the face, it is giving us a big sloppy kiss!

When you consider our home form, the one thing it has to do is give us hope for next season; rectify it, and CL football in 2010-2011 will be a very real, distinct possibility. Maybe we will not be able to sustain the away form, but I don’t see why we should not and even if we don’t, turning these home draws into wins is likely to more than counteract any slip in points obtained away. I’m sure Arsenal will also point to games where they should have won, but the difference is, each of the last three seasons we have been progressively getting better, whereas Arsenal have progressively been getting worse. In addition, Chelsea will not have Guus Hiddink and consequently could face a downturn in form. Plus as we all now, Liverpool are one serious injury to Steven Gerrard away from slipping out of the top 4 themselves.

The top 4 are the top 4 and that is how it is. That is how it will finish this season, and they will – rightfully so – be considered the favourites to finish that way again next season. But in my opinion, the only guaranteed certs are Manchester United. After that, while the other three WILL be the most likely, I am sure that the likes of ourselves and Everton – and probably Citeh & Spuds – will be putting up an even tougher fight next season.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Football, Soccer | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Everton Review

Good game!

Personally I thought we deserved the win. Fair play to Everton, they played better football than I thought they would without Arteta. We made it easy at times though, as our defending was woeful.

I did have to enjoy the irony of David Moyes & perennial-whinger Phil Neville complaining about some decisions that went our way when you see the foul on Friedel for their second goal. Both teams had good penalty shouts turned down; from our point of view, Ashley Young does not help himself sometimes. He had one clear penalty not given but if he didn’t dive (which I HATE) then he would get more of these decisions. The irony is he very genuinely gets fouled a lot, so the extra dives just don’t seem worth it!

I thought we did well to come back, 2-0 then 3-1, against a genuinely very good Everton side, and as I said, in all honesty I thought we deserved to win it. I genuinely thought we would once we pulled it level. That said, at 3-1 I would have taken 3-3.

Ashley Young played well but I was surprised he got MOTM. personally, I would have put Milner, Petrov, Barry and Carew ahead of him. I was also pleased with Delfounso when he come on, it was a shame he missed that opportunity to win the game for us.

With Arsenal winning at Wigan (what the hell was that? “Nah, you’re alright mate, that aint a sending off”… WHAT?!) it makes it exceptionally difficult now. We need to win all 6 games and hope that Arsenal lose 3 of their final 6. With them still having to play the top 3 there is a glimmer of hope, but realistically it’s all about finishing 5th now. If we finish 5th, it is further progress. Let us hope that happens again next season.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Football, Soccer | , , | Leave a comment

Everton Preview

According to the OS, Carlos Cuellar (back) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (virus) are both injury doubts prior to Everton, but Steve Sidwell may be back in contention. Emile Heskey, Wilfred Bouma and Martin Laursen are all still out.

If they are both out, then it will be interesting to see if MON starts with Nathan Delfounso. Ironically enough, after all my harping on about 4-5-1, I would be inclined to look at 4-4-2 against Everton! I just feel that due to the type of game that Everton play, which is a lot of long-ball, the midfield may get bypassed enough that it would be worth starting with two up top. Especially as they are without Arteta, who is key to any variation in their play.

They are also without Anchibe, Yakubu, Yobo, and (probably) Vaughan. So while we have our injury problems, they could be there for the taking too.

I can not emphasise enough how much we need to win on Sunday. I wholeheartedly believe that we can still get 4th, but we HAVE to win on Saturday. Arsenal still have to go to Anfield and Old Trafford, they still have Chelsea toplay and even this weekend face a tricky trip to Wigan. I actually believe their good run and our bad run could have come just nicely, as there is enough games for the tables to turn again.

If we don’t beat Everton though, then I think it could all be over, and we will need to start worrying more about them and the team below us. I believe in us, and I believe Sunday can be the start of a good run, but even a draw is leaving us needing 18 points from the last six games; truth  be told, that is probably the case even if win.

Simply put – Sunday is an absolute must-win for Aston Villa.

Prediction: 2-1

April 10, 2009 Posted by | Football, Soccer | , , | Leave a comment

Two Pre-Season Friendlies Confirmed

The OS today confirmed that, in addition to the Peace Cup, we will also play the following two friendlies as part of our preparation for next season:

(A) Peterborough United – Saturday, 18th July – 3pm K.O.

(A) Colchester United – Tuesday, 21st July – 7.45 K.O.

I am still hoping, with Arsenal still having to play the top 3, that there will be a Champions League qualifier too!

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Football, Soccer | , , , | Leave a comment