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Villa Away... Is It Worth It?

By Tony  Marsh :  10/04/2009 :  Comments (28) :
Who ever gave the green light for football to be played on days such as Easter Sunday needs shooting. I mean what a choice we must make. Should we celebrate the Reserection of Christ Our Lord with the family or pop down to Birmingham to watch the Blues?

This is the predicament I found myself in earlier this week:

Wife: "What are we doing on Sunday then?"
Me: "This Sunday?"
Wife: "YES!"
Me: "Oh, I'm going to Villa."
Wife: "What Villa?"
Me. "Villa away.... you know, the match Everton are playing."
Wife: "OMG I don't believe this, you mean to say there's football on on Easter Sunday???"
Me: "Erm Yea. Why? ... what's the problem?"
Wife: "The problem is you're putting football before family matters again and this time it's on Easter Sunday when we should be all out together doing things and giving out Eggs."
Me: "None of my family like chocolate love."

WHOOSH, DING the sound of a TV remote bouncing off my swede.

Wife: "You think more of Everton than you do of me."
Me: "I think more of Liverpool than I do of you... JOKE, LOVE!!!"
Wife: "Your going to have some making up to do over this I mean it. NEVER again!" Blah, blah, blah.
Me: "OK, babe... but I have got the tickets now and there's no way out of it. I wouldn't've gone otherwise but don't worry ? it's an early kick-off. I will be back handy."

Door slams the sound of feet running up stairs and no sign of any dinner being made... FFS! the shit we get into going the match!

After all the aggro I have been getting over this game on Sunday, I was wondering if it's really worth us sending out a full team given the fact that we play the Mancs next week and 5th or 6th in the league is neither here nor there.... Winning the FA Cup on the other hand has to be our main priority from here on in.

Now I can be persuaded either way but I would hate for us to get more injuries at Villa. If someone like Cahill gets crocked, it would be a killer blow. Imagine if Tim Howard aggravates his injury and we end up with Carlo Nash between the sticks at Wembley.

The way it's gone for us this season, I am dreading the Villa match for the reasons above. I reckon most of our players who are guaranteed a start will have one eye on the semi-final any way and won't want to get a knock but (unlike me) they don't have a choice to make, they have to go down there and play.

So what do you reckon we do?

Send out a weakened side at Villa Park and keep all the key players fresh for that big pitch at Wembley? Or go at Villa all guns blazing and try to grab 5th place?

Man Utd are right under the cosh at the moment and every one of their games from now until the season ends will be like a cup final. I would just love it to go to extra time then penalties at Porto next Wednesday, leaving Man Utd knackered... Rooney limping off with a groin strain.

I reckon the pressure is beginning to take its toll on the Mancs and a fresh hungry side like us can take full advantage. If we get through this weekend unscathed then it really is game on.

As for me... well the wife has already started eating the Thorton's Easter egg she bought me and there's still no sign of any food on the table... but just wait until she finds out I am staying in London next Saturday night. That's going to be a real hummdinger believe me... COYBS.

Reader Comments

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Thai Indawongse
1   Posted 10/04/2009 at 22:24:57

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We should be going for FOURTH ? Everton for the Champions League!
James Wilhelm
2   Posted 10/04/2009 at 22:29:46

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Send out the strongest team. Score a confidence-boosting and faith-affirming three points and finish the game on 93 minutes minus any injuries. So, to answer your question again, send out the strongest team and make O?Neill fume.
Matthew Douglas
3   Posted 10/04/2009 at 22:47:08

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Haha ? the conversation part had me in stitches, Tony. To answer your question though... of course it's worth it. You play until it's mathematically impossible to finish 4th. That?s why you play the game... because the improbable happens.

All that?s needed is a bad run of form by Arsenal (who don?t have the easiest of run-ins) and a good run of form by us and we?re in. Never stop believing and never give up... ever!! A lot can happen in 7 games... you know this.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum.

Paul Daly
4   Posted 10/04/2009 at 23:04:51

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Comedy gold that... still smiling here...
Kunal Patel
5   Posted 10/04/2009 at 23:01:24

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Ouch!!! That?s a right ol? kick in the wotsits... of course, you could always take the wife down to London. A spot of shopping on Oxford St should be a sufficient enough cure.
Jay Harris
6   Posted 10/04/2009 at 23:07:32

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Tony... you CAN divorce the wife but you CAN'T divorce Everton.

We can't go half-hearted in any game otherwise we will get injuries.

I didn't realise until I read it but Villa have had more success against us than any other Prem team. Full steam ahead for a draw and then a morale-boosting semi win if only to shut the media up about Manure.

Then an untypical Moyes team sprint to the finish and dream about 4th but only if the whole Arsenal squad is injured... but I?ll settle for 5th and the FA Cup for this year.
Scott Stevenson
7   Posted 10/04/2009 at 23:18:38

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Yo COYB. Full team against Villa a must, then we have a team full of confidence to beat Manure next Sunday ........coyb, coyb, coyb.
Dennis Stevens
8   Posted 10/04/2009 at 23:16:04

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This may well be the first time we’ve ever played on Easter Sunday, but we certainly played quite often on Christmas Day back in the day, so maybe that should be considered a reasonable trade-off. Anyway, I don’t think we can re-arrange the association football fixture list to work ’round everybody’s differing superstitions.
David Gerrard
9   Posted 10/04/2009 at 23:27:31

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Look what happened to Villa when they sent out a weakened team in the Uefa Cup. Keep our best XI playing together and playing well.
Dick Fearon
10   Posted 10/04/2009 at 23:45:54

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Hey Tony, a faint heart may never win a fair lady and the bird may already have flown the coop, leaving the stable door wide open, and every dog may have its day, and bearing in mind other old sayings but in your place, I would rather be watching a full strength Everton take Villa to the cleaners.

What are you, man or mouse? Go for it lad and suffer the slings etc etc.

Paul Dewhurst
11   Posted 11/04/2009 at 00:28:27

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Jay Harris - Most teams in the prem have won most points or scored most goals against us, because we have: a) been ever present in the Prem; b) been shit for most of them seasons. Almost every other week one of those stats pops up on BBC Sport website so I would not worry any more than usual!!!
Martin Cutler
12   Posted 11/04/2009 at 01:25:39

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Amusing post but the answer is a DEFINITE RESOUNDING YES... put out our strongest possible team (use subs / younger players if at all possible) but definitely go for three points against Villa (the fact that it's Villa is irrelevant ? no matter the opposition, we should always go for the 3 points).

Beating Villa would be the biggest tonic prior to playing Utd and they have to play Sunderland (fighting to stay up) and then a crucial/crunch game against Porto!


John Crook
13   Posted 11/04/2009 at 02:34:42

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I think Moyes should try and end this game with the intention of how we will start at Wembley. I personally would leave Cahill and Saha on the bench but bring them on late as I think both will start the semi. Villa away team:
Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines; Osman, Rodwell, Neville, Pienaar; Fellaini, Jo... with Saha and Cahill replacing Rodwell and Jo for the semi.
Matt Traynor
14   Posted 11/04/2009 at 03:47:45

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Tony, as ever, I like your writing style, and sympathise with your wife!

I?ve been in love with Everton since the day I was born pretty much. In fact, me mum tells me she took me to a game at Goodison before I was born.

The day Everton send out a reserve team in a league match (unless we?ve won the league and are resting players prior to our CL Final appearance) is the day I will finally stop loving football...

It would be an insult to the fans who shell out their hard earned to go watch. Why worry about Man U? History shows that when the odds are stacked against us, we can come up trumps. I worry more about games against the West Broms, and Hulls than I do about the top 4...
Dave Wilson
15   Posted 11/04/2009 at 06:47:15

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Fair play to you, Marshy lad, you?ve got some balls telling your missus up front.

I?ve got a cunning plan... All the family are coming around so my missus will be enjoying herself in the kitchen at the crack of dawn; about 10:00am I?ll start to "help her"... She?ll last about 5 minutes before she?s kicking me out from under her feet. I?ll be on the M6 before she?s finished peeling the spuds

Moyes should look at each player individually; ie, if Cahill is still struggling, give him another week to recover, but if people like Osman and Fella need the game to continue to sharpen up, play them. I just hope we have a real go, whoever plays ? Villa are already feeling sorry for themselves, an early goal for us would be perfect.

Gareth Humphreys
16   Posted 11/04/2009 at 07:38:24

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With the size of the squad, I don?t think we?ve got much option 1 if we did, I would have all the first teamers on the bench.

Best XI that we could play I think would be Nash; Jacobsen, Lescott, Jagielka, Baines; Van der Meyde, Castillo, Rodwell, Gosling; Jo and Vaughan and there is a fair chance we would get pasted.

Play the best XI I say, give Villa a spanking, and go to Wembley full of confidence.

Derek Thomas
17   Posted 11/04/2009 at 07:50:29

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Well done Tony, you have opened, on a number of fronts, a right can of worms.

1) Pragmatically; Since the Portsmouth loss and Arsenal?s form, 4th is a dream for both us AND villa.

2) Morally; We might suppose that the Club has an obligation to put out, in terms of players and commitment the best that it can.

3) Ethically; To play to up to the spirit AND letter of the rules.

4) Historically; Back in the day when the much missed better standards were supposed to be all pervading, we fielded a weakened side and took the £5k fine on the chin and did it anyway.

5th or 6th? It doesn?t matter, the yawning pit of the waste of space that is the new Europa (play 17 games to win it and walk away with £1 or 2 mill if you do) Cup beckons no matter what happens.

All very nice for an away day jolly on the piss, but in real terms....?? Nah.

Bigs up our profile for new players...?? hasn?t happened yet.

Gives us a better coefficIent for when we EVENTUALLY (???) stumble into the CL... Maybe.

Art for art's sake (read joined-up footy); money for God's sake sang 10cc.

Again maybe


FA Cup = Gloooooooorrrrry !!!
Paul Connell
18   Posted 11/04/2009 at 07:57:20

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I was listening to some of the shit coming out of Martin O'Neill's mouth yesterday, condescendingly acknowledging it is "apparently emanating" from Goodison that we have a chance at 4th. I sensed indignation in his voice that he was using Moye'ss ambition to motivate his players as if we have no right to be involved in his fight for 4th.

I for one think the chance has gone for both clubs but the only outside chance of 4th is ours. The fact is we have finished above Villa the last 2/3 seasons, we have a much better defense and score as many goals. I for one want to see us go all out and treat this as our biggest league match of the season.

Resting Cahill is unthinkable, he is our key man wherever he plays. We are a momentum side, historically we either have great runs of form or shocking runs. Let?s ram MON's arrogant, sarcastic tone back down his throat, get revenge for that ridiculous smash and grab in December, and go to Wembley on a great run, fresh from a week's rest while the Mancs are knackered.
Neil Pearse
19   Posted 11/04/2009 at 08:55:20

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Nice one Tony, have you thought of becoming a playwrIght?

It would be wonderful if Villa tumbled to sixth or even seventh this year (come on you Hammers!). Despite all their advantages of money and owner, they have scarcely played well this year and have been extraordinarily lucky (their luck ran out about a month ago, so since then they have been playing like the average mid-tablers they are).

MON is over-rated just because he is the favourite of the self-satisfied MotD luvvie set - one of which please God will be the manager of a relegated team come the end of the season.

Brian Baker
20   Posted 11/04/2009 at 12:28:26

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Good peice Tony. I am constantly argueing with Mrs over watching live football, especially on a Sunday, so I have every sympathy with you.

On the question of 4th. Don?t forget Arsenal have yet to play the 3 teams above them, which is potentialy 9 dropped points, and of the 3 teams in the so called race for 4th, Villa have the easiest run-in.

Of course my money would be on Arsenal, but that's any easy bet, but I would out my house on any of them.
Tony Williams
21   Posted 11/04/2009 at 14:08:59

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I am in two minds... I want us to be safe for the semi ? however, as Villa have already shown this season, you send out a poor side and lose... it certainly affects your team.

To be honest, I have only seen Moyes rest players on a couple of occasions, the last being Lescott when he was on 4 yellows, the day before the cut-off period.

Our squad is too small and he has to look at the Villa game as a must-win to press on to Europe.

I don?t know what to think but, as usual, hindsight will be a wonderful thing if it all goes pear-shaped.
Anthony Dyer
22   Posted 11/04/2009 at 15:13:31

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Go for the points tomorrow as a positive result will build confidence for the Semi. Cup ties, especially Semi-Finals can be totally unpredictable, so it would be wrong to put all our eggs in one basket.

The Tim Howard situation is a bit alarming though, why is it when a major game against United is in the offing, he either starts playing a bit wobbly or misses out? I have a horrible feeling that Nash will start at Wembley...
COYB ? we?re due a win away from Goodison!

Neal Kernohan
23   Posted 11/04/2009 at 18:05:21

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Anyone got any links to the game tomorrow? At work and want to watch it on the web.
Ped Pearl
24   Posted 11/04/2009 at 21:28:32

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Neal - should show the game tomorrow... its the best by far. They will ask you to download their software (but that only takes 1 min). Links to Ssetanta and other channels are on the right side of the page.

Great post Tony. While I will be nervous hoping for no further injury problems, we have to go into next weekend's game at Wembley with as much confidence as possible.
Peter Roberts
25   Posted 11/04/2009 at 22:04:45

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Tony, I share the sentiment. I have no idea which atheistic programme planner decided that football should be played on the most important day of England?s predominant religion ? no doubt those idiots at Sky have put the wind up a team formed originally by a Methodist Church...

If Christ himself could deliver any justice tomorrow on the Day of Resurrection it?d be that we stick 5 past Villa and completely demoralise them ? I just however can?t see it.
John Callan
26   Posted 12/04/2009 at 13:21:34

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Tony, I now understand why you have such a negative point of view, you need to vent your anger on someone having a missus like that.

But seriously, I agree with the choice. If in two weeks someone said to me you have a choice you can secure fifth place (fourth is no longer a chance), or get to Wembley for the final its a simple choice. Problem is, if we go to Villa and let them walk over us, the damage it could do to team confidence.

I think Moyes will always go out and demand 100% from his best team and today will be no different.

And don't forget ? Bring flowers on your way home.
Conor Waters
27   Posted 12/04/2009 at 14:58:53

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I believe Everton were around long before the missus was Tony....
Stewart Littler
28   Posted 15/04/2009 at 15:54:10

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Tony, I think you’d best tell her now then that we play twice over August Bank Hol next season cos of world cup - unless you wanna divorce!!

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