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Villa, the new Liverpool

By Alan Kirwin :  10/01/2009 :  Comments (27) :
I can't be the only person who's taken note of Aston Villa's extraordinary run of good fortune this season. It's now starting to bug me for obvious reasons. Despite the lack of any forwards, we are chasing Villa & Arsenal for 4th place.

They say these things even out over a season. I was never convinced of that with Liverpool, and I'm not with Villa. In fact, what concerns me is that, by the time their luck changes (if it changes), their form and performances may pick up to compensate, making the catch up just as difficult.

So far this season they have been the beneficiaries of 5 own goals and 4 penalties, many of them deciders. They've also been the beneficiaries of outright spawn and gifts (the poxy late deflected winner at West Ham after being played off the pitch, Scott Carson's howler today, Jag's back pass etc).

I've looked at Villa's last 8 games, starting with the hugely fortuitous victory at Goodison. In fact, had we won that game, we'd now be level on points, regardless of the other good fortune (grrr!). But in their last 8 games they have W6 D1 L1. 5 of those 6 victories (including the one at Goodison) were undeserved. Today saw the run continue as normal, with an outright howler own-goal by Carson gifting Villa 3 more lucky points.

This bastardly good fortune shows no sign of abating, and it's pissing me off. We really have to win down there to keep this open, which we are capable of. But we are running out of rope.

On occasions, Villa can be exhilarating, but nowhere near as much as Martin O'Neil thinks. We've also had bits of luck this season, and played crap a few times whilst collecting points. But getting 5 own goals, 4 penalties and several free gifts is frankly taking the piss. This is not "making ones own luck" as they have by general consent been playing poorly for well over a month, with the exception of their home draw with Arsenal.

We have some big games coming up, none more so that Arsenal home & Villa away. I just pray that the fortunes of Everton & Villa swing before that game. My guess is that they will rediscover some form on or before that game and, combined with further good fortune, we'll lose and have to take 6th.

And then every time I look at the league table it brings a wry smile to my face. The idea that 4 teams qualify for the "Champions League" whilst only 1 quaifies for the Uefa Cup is patently absurd. That ratio used to be the other way around, with the Champions tournament being for, erm, Champions, and the second cup being for those that were near but not quite. Given the annual decline in interest & attendances in national cup competitions, allowing one Uefa Cup space for the winner is on the border of acceptability. Having 2 spaces for cup winners (or even cup runners-up!) is ridiculous.

Perhaps, if it ends up with Nottm Forest qualifying for the cup by losing 4-0 to Man Utd at Wembley, Everton can get special dispensation to qualify for finishing 6th. Just as, er, Liverpool did for missing out on 4th place recently.

Reader Comments

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James Boden
1   Posted 10/01/2009 at 21:42:37

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I too am getting bugged by this Red Shite Syndrome that Villa must have been diagnosed with. It?s really irritating. They have literally been abusing their luck. We battered them from pillar to post and yet they somehow escaped with 3 points. 3 POINTS- what an injustice that was. Then against West Ham the most they deserved was a draw but as is per norm they got a hefty deflection.

Then Hull when they wrongly had a goal disallowed then Jammy Villa struck again, not once but twice. 1st with that own goal- if that silly tit of a defender used his left foot then it goes out. 2nd when although it weren?t a penalty they had the decision turned around. And if the ball had gone 1 foot lower it would have struck Youngs arm. Doesn?t that just top it off how fucking lucky they are.

Then today against West Brom when for the most part Brom outplayed them, but nope Villa?s luck strikes again. 1st off Agbonglohars strike was going nowhere but somehow scraped through Carsons body, and then in stoppage time that fucking Ashley Young (who I hate btw) tripped up Brom's man. Surely a penalty. Oh I'm forgetting Aston Liverpool don?t get decisions or bad luck go against them.
We have been superb from Tottenham game onwards but unlike Villa we don?t get the criminal luck they?ve been getting so I think 5th is best we can hope for.
PS Ashley Young as good as Ronaldo and Messi- Who exactly is Martin O?Neil trying to kid? Certainly not me...

Simon Templeman
2   Posted 11/01/2009 at 08:07:24

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No Alan, you are not alone, I have a Villa season ticket holding workmate and he?s embarrassed most Mondays. Trouble is their luck seems to be holding out bar the Arsenal game.
Nick Entwistle
3   Posted 11/01/2009 at 08:59:46

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True, Villa have had good fortune, though we?ve picked up many a point via a late show. What I think is to be careful of your view point Alan is that we don?t start moaning and relating our position to the bastard good luck of other teams like the big 4 fans regularly do with each other (Lyndon?s latest article is true and just of course!).

It's what we do that counts so if we fail by end of season in 5th with Villa a point ahead, so be it. I mean come on, at least a non big 4 team are getting some luck their way, good for them.

Ben Higgs
4   Posted 11/01/2009 at 09:01:47

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I too work with a Villa fan (from Newcastle, come on). Some of the crap he spouts is unbelievable, he actually thinks the 3 points were deserved because they score 3 goals away from home!!!! in total they passed the ball 3 times to score 3 goals and only about 15 passes more in the whole game. If they were to come to Goodison next week, we?d stuff them. It?s not just recently I?ve started hated the Villa ? it?s been since O?Neill took over. I?m just glad he?s not Liverpool?s manager... Jesus Christ, imagine that.
Robbie Carew
5   Posted 11/01/2009 at 09:20:42

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The worst thing is my mates at school, they are glory supporters of Man United (one lad has never been to Manchester in all his life) and they all praise Aston Villa for being English and a good team. Our whole defense is English, and then there?s Vaughan, Osman, Gosling etc... plus we're gonna thrash them at their place.
Anthony Dyer
6   Posted 11/01/2009 at 09:27:38

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I honestly think that we won?t catch Villa as they?re having a season like we did in 2004-05. I don?t begrudge them that, if they carry on with this lucky streak they might even become Champions, if it stops our neighbours then who are we to argue.

Arsenal are the only team Everton have a realistic chance of overhauling, unless the next few games result in victories. It does make me wonder where we could have been if we had started the season all guns blazing, we may have been dreaming of the Title too.

Dave Wilson
7   Posted 11/01/2009 at 09:34:11

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Alan

Although comparing Villa's season of good fortune, with the 40 years of logic-defying luck enjoyed by the shite is a bit harsh, I can't disagree with anything you say.
Unfortunately we?re going to have to be patient here, the last minute penalty decision yesterday proves Villa?s luck isn't about to run out just yet.

They have some decent players, but they also have players who will be found out at the business end of the season.

Relax, we will reel them in...
Darrel Pugh
8   Posted 11/01/2009 at 10:18:48

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I am particularly bothered by Villa?s luck also that luck is now starting to be supported by Ashley Young?s standing as a player. Notice how, since he has become recognized as an England possible, he has turned into a horrible arrogant diving little player? He puts as much effort into Gerrard-style diving a does taking on players, luckily they won?t keep him as we know the big 3 will come knocking in the end and you can include Barry in category.
David Alexander
9   Posted 11/01/2009 at 10:24:07

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One of the tests of a good side is winning when you're not playing well ? Villa clearly pass that test.

Gifts and pens may be "lucky" but you still have to take them, like when Pienaar scored at Tottenham, or more to the point like when the Yak missed that pen on Day One of the season (how diferent could our start have been if he had stuck it away?)

The thing for me is Villa have ridden their luck and taken their chances, we haven't been as ruthless, we seem to spurn opportunities to push on (like we did away in Florence last season with our worst display of the season).

Everton have to become ruthless and have to keep doing well. The table doesn't tell lies over a whole season, if Villa finish above us then fair play to them ? it's up to us to be a better side and finish above them regardless of their "luck".
Stefan Tosev
10   Posted 11/01/2009 at 11:34:30

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Wow, Neil that was one insightful and well thought post - congratulations
Brian Waring
11   Posted 11/01/2009 at 12:11:33

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Through the season most teams will hit a patch were they seem to have the rub of the green (apart from the shite who have it all season). If you look at it this way, if we wouldn?t have had late winners against Fulham, Man City etc. Outplayed by West Ham, and nicking it with a mad 4 mins. Fellaini?s goal yesterday was a mile offside, we wouldn?t be in the position we are in now. So we find ourselves where we are now, by our own slice of luck.
Villa?s luck will run out, and hopefully we will be close enough to capitalize on it.
Lee Jamieson
12   Posted 11/01/2009 at 13:39:31

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Villa do seem to be on a good luck streak I wonder if O?Neill has put the lottery on lately. Although to be fair we have had a few fortunate games. West Ham with 75 minutes gone we would have been happy with a point let alone three and the same could probably be said for the Bolton game. I think fourth place is up for grabs as the Arse just can?t get it together two weeks running. I'm afraid it will come down to the last few nail biting games. However, if we did make fourth place what's the odds for us drawing Real Madrid to qualify? We always get the hardest teams Villarreal, Mettalist, Standard Liege... why can't we get some no hopers from Norway or Greece or somewhere?
Robbie Muldoon
13   Posted 11/01/2009 at 13:47:37

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Oh how I would have loved Martin O?Neill at Everton.

We woukd be in the Champions League by now I reckon.
Declan Brown
14   Posted 11/01/2009 at 14:21:20

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Robbie Muldoon. Good call lad. I?d have Martin O?Neill at Goodison any day of the week. The man is an inspiration to his players, he definitely has a touch of Cloughy in him!!!

Tony Marsh made that same call a couple of years back when Villa were in the bottom half of the table and he took a slaughtering for suggesting him instead of Moyes. Wasn?t far wrong after all was he?

I can understand the anger towards Villa?s luck, but right now, I don?t care who breaks the Sky 4 cartel up, us, Villa, Spurs or anyone, someone has to do it, the sooner it's done the better it will be for the Premier League as a competition.

A while ago I thought Moyes was going to crack it, and I still think with a bit more time, more money (spent wisely of course), less huffing, more decisiveness in the transfer market and an improved record against the Sky 4 will soon see to that.
Aiden Doyle
15   Posted 11/01/2009 at 14:45:17

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Martin O’Neill’s a damn good manager for sure but, to get Villa to where they are, he’s been able to spend twice as much as Moyes, in less than half the time. That’s a pretty serious competetive advantage. Maybe he could equal or exceed Moyes’ achievements, but it’s far from the certainty that some of you guys seem to think it is.
Brendan McLaughlin
16   Posted 11/01/2009 at 15:33:58

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@ Declan Brown. I also remember that Martin O?Neill call by Tony Marsh. The only thing is he also mentioned ?Appy ?Arry in the same breath & look how Spurs have rocketed up the table since he went there. Perhaps Mystic Marsh ain?t so mystic after all.
Dave Wilson
17   Posted 11/01/2009 at 15:31:38

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This is getting stupid

Martin O'Neill? Martin O'Neill ? FFS!

I thought you guys were glad to see the back of hoofball, Martin O'Neill is dedicated to hoofball, he did it with Leicester, dispite having one of the finest strikers in Europe he brought people like Hartson to Sellic so he could play that way again and he?s doing it now.

This is the Martin O'Neill who described his team's desperately poor erformance yesterday as "at times breathtaking"! He's strictly crash bang wallop and will never change, BTW how many times has he finished above Moyes?

Declan Brown ? "Tony Marsh made this call a couple of years ago" ? Was that before he was screaming for Mark Hughes and Dodgy Harry ? both of whom are facing the drop dispite spending a king's ransom ? or after?

DM made a mistake yesterday, so what, all managers make mistakes, he?s doing a terrific job and will finish above crash bang wallop Martin again.

Joeynkoo Ludden
18   Posted 11/01/2009 at 17:57:16

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Alan,

I believe Villa have drawn CSKA Moscow in the UEFA cup. I don?t think luck and decidedly favourable refereeing decisions will help them through that tie, and it will be interesting to see how, should it happen, their exit from Europe will affect the sides league form. I think a lot of us agree that until either Pips tackle on Ronaldo or the Kevin Brock-esque backpass from Jags (v Villa), we had been way off form in terms of results and style of play since going out on penalties to Fiorentina. That knocked us hard and Moyes was unable to pick the players up. Indeed the summer, rather than convalescing the situation, compounded it with lack of transfer activity and the never ending story of Moyes? contract, will he wont he sign a new one. Hopefully the same affect will be felt at Villa Park should they go out. They have a fairly ordinary side, once Agbonlahor and Young stop playing out of their skins.

I actually believe it was neither Pip nor Jags that has made us turn a corner this season. I think it happened when Moyes hand was forced and we started playing the 4-6-0 system. Gone was hoofball. Arteta in defensive midfield (where he was apparently awesome for Rangers some years ago). Since losing the Yak v Spurs, we have scored in 6 of the seven games, and kept clean sheets in 6 out of those 7 also. The Villa smash and grab aside, we have won 5 drawn 1 (Chelski) in that sequence also. Jags and Lescott look comfortable in central defence, Baines at last being given a much deserved chance at left back, and it was noted even by Boro fans after our win at The Riverside, that despite us having no strikers on the park, every attack we waged saw more blue shirts inside their box than red shirts in ours when they were on the offensive.

We have 4 huge games next. I?m struggling to decide which Anfield derby I?d prefer us to win if we can?t have both. Is the cup our most realistic chance of Uefa Cup football next season, or is chasing down 5th or 4th in the league? I know a league win is doubly sweet as not only does it advance us but it hinders their title challenge. I can?t help wanting to finish as high as possible, but also desperate for some silverware. I guess we will just have to win both derbies then!

Looking past the big 4 games though, the subsequent 7 league fixtures are all inimitably winnable: Bolton (h), Newcastle (a), West Brom (h), Blackburn (a), Stoke (h), Portsmouth (a), Wigan (h). A nice sequence if we can continue a run of form akin to the last 7 games (dependent on whether the big 4 games knock or bolster confidence). In amongst these fixtures Villa play their CSKA double header, before we play the crucial away match at Villa Park on 11th April. We?ve beaten them their once in, is it 20 years now? A 1-3 win a few years back, a repeat of that result and style of play in this season?s fixture would be most welcome.

COYB!
John Hill
19   Posted 11/01/2009 at 19:29:13

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God this is pathetic, luck what is wrong with you lot? We must be winning, so there is nothing to moan about, is that it.

To get lucky goals and penalities you have to be in the box and have your oppositions under pressure constantly, that’s what makes your luck.
I seem to remember a couple of deflect goals for us recenlty, Spurs, Sunderland and an dubious offside goal decision against Hull, LUCK?

As for Martin O’Neil vs David Moyes give me DM any day of the week.

Can’t believe this driffle.

Paul Kenna
20   Posted 11/01/2009 at 19:37:53

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I am a Villa season ticket holder and I am never confident going into games mostly due to our style of play - we never dominate games, but MON has created a style of play that is effective at winning football matches. The bad news for Everton fans moaning about a lack or abundance of luck is that if MON stays long term the side will develop and get even more effective at winning football matches. I am too young to remember but my Dad keeps telling me that in the late seventies no one knew how Nottingham Forest kept winning games but they did - MON has obviously taken inspiration from Brian Clough (who wasn’t too bad a manager by the way), as we all know he is a fantastic man manager and can get any player to play well above their level - players want to play for him. You don’t get lucky this many times without doing something right. Pace and talent win games and at the moment Villa have it. The only achilles heal at the moment is when teams come to Villa Park and sit back - we struggle to break teams down. Villa a lucky team I don’t think so - if you were at the Arsenal game when we hit the post/bar 3 times and had 1 cleared off the line before Arsenal went up the pitch and scored with their first shot! (Even the Arsenal fans were singing "We’ve only had one shot!") I think you would agree! I think we just keep putting the ball in the right places and keep doing the right things - the rest takes care of itself.
Joeynkoo Ludden
21   Posted 11/01/2009 at 20:18:45

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Paul - Im a brummie mate, and I can tell you that your assessment of MON and the Villa is not what it was this time last year. Infact, a great deal of my Villa mates were getting quite annoyed with MON and even had talk of getting rid. MON comes across like your mad uncle that no one wants to talk to when he gives an interview, and the feeling down here at the start of the season was not one of optimism. Villa have ridden their luck (you played well v Arsenal but you should have lost and were fortunate not to; you were damned lucky v us, and normally only the redshyte have penalties against them overturned minutes later by the ref like you had at Hull).

As a poster above has said, we have had some fortune too, but not much. I like the villa - to some extent - and I wish you well, but I doubt that too much has changed since last year, and once the bubble bursts its hard to patch it up again. Add to that the hardest part to come for your boys - if you do stay top 4 or 5 this season, you are going to have to beat that next. Is that possible? What will the fans think when next season sees a lower league finish than this one?

Anyway, this is a toffee website so sling yer hook :D
Kevin Chung
22   Posted 11/01/2009 at 23:37:30

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I hate Villa. Only second to Redshite.
Matthew Mackey
23   Posted 12/01/2009 at 08:46:59

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As an Evertonian living in the West Midlands I can fully indorse yours and everyone else?s comments here. You cannot imagine just how fucking annoying it is round here with Villa fans coming out the woodwork telling all us non-Villa fans just how good they are and how Martin O'Neill is the new messiah. I have NEVER met a set of so called fans who are so full of themselves. At least the RS from across Stanley Park have actually won things over the years to back up their claims, but Villa !? aaaaaaaaarrrrr!!!

There?s a joke that goes round this area of the world and it goes something like this: How do you tell the difference between a Villa fan, a Bluenose (Birmingham), a Baggies fan or a Wolves fan? The answer????COZ IT?S ALWAYS SOMEBODY ELSE?S FAULT? !!

When ever we play crap most of us with an once of intelligence say we played crap. And round here it?s the same with Birmingham, West Brom and Wolves fans. They seem to freely acknowledge that when they have played a crap game they hold their hands up and say so. But Villa fans?.OMG ! You just can?t believe some of the turd-like excuses they come out with. They seem to think the world owes them a favour and that MON (Martin O?Neill or is that Man Of Nonsense?)

I am confident that it won?t be too long before Villa?s long run of luck will come to an end. The law of averages surely must come into play. It?s not too long now until they play Man U at Old Trafford and the RS at Anfield and for once in my life I?ll be hoping that both of them give the Villa a damn good spanking and thus restore parity.

Finally and looking at it in another way, they are in a similar position to what we were last season when we were chasing a top four place + Uefa Cup last 16 etc etc. We failed because our squad was not big enough or diverse enough to last the full season and so we just got over the line in 5th at the very end. I see Villa going the same way. Their squad is NOT as good as the Man Of Nonsense suggests and I believe that having their fingers in so many pies with a relatively small squad will eventually end in tears and when that happens I for one will not be crying in my tea.
Paul Connell
24   Posted 12/01/2009 at 10:38:25

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At the moment Villa have luck, momentum or whatever you want to call it but I am honestly not worried a out them. Let?s see how their squad holds out in March and April if they're still in 3 competitions. That lanky fella aside, they?ve had no injuries to deal with. While I admit they?ve got 2 or 3 outstanding prospects they haven?t got quality in depth.

Could they cope with losing 4 key player the way we have losing the Yak, Vaughan, Saha and Victor? ? that?s the equivalent of them losing Young, Agbonlahor and Milner, would they still be winning? I don?t think so. Trust me there luck will fail and there squad will break. I wouldn?t bet on us pulling 6 points back on any of the other teams above us but I predict Villa will drop plenty of points between now and many to poor opposition as well.

Tony Marsh
25   Posted 12/01/2009 at 13:11:06

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I agree Alan Villa are spwany but would sooner the Staus Quo remain the same at the top of the table? If Everton can not break the cosy set up that the Sky 4 have had for years then let Villa do it. I would love to see Arsenal or Chelsea drop out of the top 4 this season and sit back and watch them self destruct.

Unfortunately for us, we don't have a chairman with any ambition or business acumen that would enable us to push that little bit harder in the Premier League. We are 6 players short of having a real go and BK doesn't have a pot to piss in so Villa will do for me. Saying that, I also think they will blow up in February when the dreaded Uefa Cup campaign starts again.
Nick Entwistle
26   Posted 12/01/2009 at 13:17:37

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Dave Wilson, Who did Leicester have that were one of the finest strikers in Europe when O?Neil was in charge? Obviously you don?t mean Heskey (surely?), and I know they had Cottee for a while, but again surely no. Muzzy Izzit? Oh I don?t know...
Joeynkoo Ludden
27   Posted 12/01/2009 at 20:20:53

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Matthew: "At least the RS from across Stanley Park have actually won things over the years to back up their claims, but Villa !? aaaaaaaaarrrrr!!!"

I'm no Villa fan, Matthew, but surely you know they have won the European Cup? Like us, they are a massive club built on history and tradition (founder members ? in fact, as my Villa mates remind me, we are all guests in the league they setup. I hate it, but the Villa chairman was the chap who, along with the likes of us, actually organised the Football League).

Now I know they are having a bit of luck and riding high, a falsely high position you might say (you might say the same about us too), but that?s no reason to paint ?em with the same shyte covered brush as the RS. I'd sooner share a pint with a Villain that a gobshyte.


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