I find it hard to disagree that Aston Villa is not as strong a football team as say that of Manchester United, Liverpool or the Arsenal and I won’t bet on them winning the trophy just yet. However, after winning 5 league matches out of 6, getting the 4th place in the Premier League and being just 1 point short of Chelsea shows that they are surely catching up with them.
To know that you are playing to lose must be quite a tough position to find oneself in but it is strange that Coach O’Neill and his team are just fine with it specially after having earned 21 points from 27 which shows they are in top form. It was ironic to witness Aston Villa show their gumption in a match against the Arsenal which ended in a draw. Villa has certainly come far under the guidance of O’Neill as was obvious from the 2nd half comeback they made thanks to 2 fantastic goals by Gareth Barry and Zat Knight. This was a Boxing Day gift for Aston as the draw helped them in keeping their 3 points lead over Arsene Wenger’s side.
The character and determination with which the Aston Villa players defended their team against a loss from Arsenal was a revelation for me and fans all over. Earlier on if they had been placed in a situation where they were lagging behind a first class team such as Arsenal they would have given up long time ago but not this new team that Aston is developing into. Their confidence remained unwavering in the face of adversity and they proved that they were a courageous team that took destiny in their own hands. It doesn’t take long for the result of football matches to turn around and surprise all!
In addition to these newfound characteristics of Aston Villa as a team, the exclusive traits possessed by football players Martin Laursen, Ashely Young, Steve Sidwell and James livescore Milner are proving to be the driving force behind its’ new role as a strongly competitive side. I don’t see them letting anyone take them lightly and dismiss them so easily.
The only thing that worries me at the moment is a player getting injured and not being able to play. John Carew is already missing from the action so in such a case the coach will have to play either one of these 2 players, Marlon Harewood or Nathan Delfouneso. I am not saying that these 2 players should be rejected outright as they have a lot of promise of turning into future stars but it is experience and expertise that is needed by Aston at this point. They have too much at stake to leave anything to chance. Therefore, it won’t be unwise to suggest that they should seriously consider hiring a new forward.
The ouster of Carew due to injury has in some ways proved to be a blessing in disguise. O’Neill has experimented with setting up Barry, Sidwell and Petroy in the central midfield and has also deployed Milner and Young on the flanks. The result has not been disappointing. It makes me wonder if the Norwegian striker will find himself a place on the team when he is fit enough to return.