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Comments (19)

While I am delighted with how the season has finished for us in the league, I have to say that Villa do actually have me worried in terms of next season. I know the league just finished yesterday but I just don't buy this idea that we are miles ahead of everyone outside of the top four.

The only difference between us and Villa this season was that their bad patch at the end of the season was a hell of a lot worse than ours at the start of the season. I know it was a very strange position for them to be in, ten points ahead of us at one stage and pushing Arsenal hard for fourth, but I think that Villa are a club that are heading in the right direction.

The club is on a sound footing, both financially and in the way it is ran. The squad is as good as ours and Martin O'Neill is astute enough to know that with a couple of additions to the squad he currently has, they could really challenge us next season for that best of the rest title.

While we have not been able to match Villa, Spurs or City financially over the last number of seasons, we have always shown ourselves to be more consistent than any of them over the course of a season. And I think that next season, this is what will be the difference between us and the rest. However, with teams like Villa getting stronger I think that we will have to be consistent over the course of the whole season to keep ourselves ahead.

Having an eight to ten game bad patch and getting away with it may now have to be a thing of the past. With our limited resources, and the fact that eventually teams like Villa, City and Spurs have to get it right means that season long consistency has to be our main weapon. Get it right and we will both fend the chasing pack off and continue to progress. Get it wrong and several seasons of hard work may count for nothing.
Kieran Fitzgerald, Dublin     Posted 25/05/2009 at 18:07:24

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Robert Jones
1   Posted 25/05/2009 at 22:30:11

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Of course their bigger bad patch was the only difference, not like we had an injury crisis that took away our entire strikeforce or anything.
Dave Southword
2   Posted 25/05/2009 at 22:35:08

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Aston Villa?s bad run at the end was only Football Karma. They had a great spell of results before that but in at least half a dozen games they were outplayed by the opposition but still scored jammy wins.

I think they were found out to a large extent at the end of the season. Stop their pacey players and they don?t have much else ? certainly no Plan B. None of their back 5 would get into our team.

I would certainly wait until the end of August to see where everyone?s squads are, but I?m looking up rather than down.
Graham Eaves
3   Posted 25/05/2009 at 23:12:39

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I?m no more worried about Villa next season than I have been this season. Next season they?ll be without Laursen and probably Barry, yeah they?ll buy one or two but hey ho....

Once Yak, Jags and Teta are back and we secure a decent RM (fingers crossed!) and we get a break with injuries, I can really see us getting into the top 4.

tom harries
4   Posted 26/05/2009 at 00:01:33

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’and we get a break with injuries’

You might want to rephrase that!

I’m not worried about any of the clubs below us in the table, if they go out an buy half a team there’s nothing we can do about that except go out and beat them again.

The club I’m worried about right now is Celtic!
Robert Jones
5   Posted 26/05/2009 at 00:16:09

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Tom - do you really think he’s gonna leave the 5th best team in the best league in the world for the 2nd best team in a backwater league?
Alan Kirwin
6   Posted 26/05/2009 at 00:56:17

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Your article us adrift on just about every point. Villa won 6 away games after being played off the park. O’Neill spent £40m last summer. They are one dimensional & rather tedious to watch as well. We have a much better squad, better manager, better teamwork, better football & more spunk.

Whilst I expect (as always) next season to be harder than this, I do not see Villa as our main threat, or evens serious one.

With our 3 best players back, and Anichebe and Vaughan and an emerging Rodwell and an established Fellaini and 1 or 2 others, I am starting to look up more than down.

Villa won 2 games in the last 3.5 months, both 1-0 against teams in bottom 4. They hve been found out. Expect to see them 7 - 10 next season.
David Ellis
7   Posted 26/05/2009 at 02:18:17

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Every team looks like it will be stronger "next year". It’s the same every year but it rarely turns out to be true. Players decline as well as improve. Teamwork gets disrupted by new arrivals. 50% of transfers simply do not work out as the new arrival does not replicate their old form in the new team.

Yes Villa and Tottenham and City have more money. Let them spend it as they do every summer. One of them will probably emerge as a serious challenger to us (as Villa have in the last two seasons and Spurs in the year before that). But we will still be in top 6 because we will hang on to our best players.

This season Spurs were undone by losing their best two players and then sacking their manager.

Villa have lost their key defender to injury (he has retired) and are likely to lose their best midfielder in Barry. They may even lose Ashley Young. The odds are they will fail to adequately replace these players. Carew is a declining force and Gaby Agbonlahor appears to have lost form/been found out. I think they are going backwards.

Spurs may be more of a threat. But then they are rarely consistent. City are unlikely to get a consistent team together in one summer.

The position is much better now than 3 years ago when we had Newcastle and West Ham with new owners and lots more money than we had - as well as clubs like Portsmouth and Middlesborough spending big.

If anything the competition is now less than it was then.

After following Everton for 40 years my advice is do not worry too much about the opposition - if we hold on to our squad we will do well.
Ian Tunny
8   Posted 26/05/2009 at 02:44:35

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The reason for our bad patch was because of the messing around in the transfer window and pre-season, but most importantly the players didn't know where they stood because of Moyes hesitating over his contract.

We have also had a much worse injury crisis than Villa, Villa are good and are very close there hasn't been much between the teams in the games we have had with them but we are a point and about 12 goals (goal difference) better than them, so really 2 points.

Their best defender has also had to retire. I just feel we are and will be slightly better than them again next season.

The question is, are we good enough to break the top 4? We?ve given them all a game this season, beating Liverpool, Man Utd on pens, 1 minute away from beating Arsenal, draws against Chelsea, but surely a victory on Saturday.

I am confident we will have Champions League football sooner than we think. This Everton side has even surprised me on so many occasions and I consider myself to be one of the most positive and optimistic of Evertonians, so from now on I believe anything is possible.
Jamie Crowley
9   Posted 26/05/2009 at 02:58:38

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When you run a race you look forward, not over your shoulder at the person chasing you.

We?re in such a better position than Villa ? see Alan and Graham?s posts as I?d just recycle exactly what they said.

Alan Clarke
10   Posted 26/05/2009 at 08:36:02

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The main problem for all those other clubs mentioned is there is always a massive overhaul of players each year. Take Tottenham for example, last year they bought Pavlyuchenko, Corluka, Modric, Dos Santos, Bentley, Gomes, Fraser-Campbell and Gunter, as well as Hutton and Woodgate still settling in. In January they bought Palacios, Defoe, Keane, Cudicini and Chimbonda. This year they?re listening to offers for Bent, Bentley, Pavlyuchenko, Huddlestone and possibly Lennon and Jenas.

We all know how much ?Appy ?Arry loves to wheel and deal in the transfer market so their player turn over will be high again. Tottenham fans seem almost happier during the closed season while they?re buying these high profile players than during the season itself. Man City will be similar and Villa have lost Laursen and are likely to lose Barry. Two massive players for them that they will do well to replace.

Everton on the other hand will be selling or losing NO players (Van der Meyde aside). We are likely to add one or two. We are building and will have the greatest consistency going into next season. This counts for so much more than a load of money being thrown around for mercenary players disrupting team spirit and time being wasted waiting for players to ?gel?.

Marcus Choo
11   Posted 26/05/2009 at 10:24:46

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Villa? Pfft! Not worried in the least. Their game against Newcastle proved just what we knew all along. They?re a lucky team... needing an own goal to beat probably the worst team in the Premier League! They?ll be losing their captain Barry in the summer, they?ll be without Laursen permanently (how good were they without him throughout the season?), Agbonlahor is looking increasingly like a Championship material player, and by next year everybody is going to suss out Ashley Young.
Erik Dols
12   Posted 26/05/2009 at 10:59:50

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The only difference between Hull and ourselves was that their bad patch was a lot worse than ours. Still I do not fear Hull for next season.
Phil Bellis
13   Posted 26/05/2009 at 11:10:17

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Not a lot said about new media darlings, Villa, by the luvvies on MotD, was there?

Aston Villa: Wimbledon with Speedy Gonzales!

Simon Walker
14   Posted 26/05/2009 at 11:30:54

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In the first 9 games we got 2 wins, 3 draws, 4 losses and 9 points, an average of 1 point per game, in the remaining 29 games we got 53 points, 1.83 points per game, if we’d have settled in to the season faster we could realistically be anything add about 7-8 points to our finishing total and we’d be 8-9 points clear of villa right now which would have put us into a very close race with Arsenal for fourth spot, and who knows what would have happened then...

I think you only have to look at the sides to say that Everton are just a better outfit right now and as long as we don’t start badly I realistically see a battle for fourth happening next season, whether we get it or not is another thing.
Iain Love
15   Posted 26/05/2009 at 18:05:23

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As the previous posts have said, Villa aren?t that great and I wouldn?t worry about any other team outside of the top 4. Every year for the last 6 or 7, at least 11 or 12 other teams have spent more than us, yet we have delivered more than them in the league. If you look at Pompey before 'Arry left, they looked really good but ended up selling their best players.

Newcastle have 15 players on £50k a week or more and their best player Bassong was on reputedly £5k a week?

We are looking good to maintain our position, taking that next step ? which is why I'm a bit worried about Celtic, they offer Champions League every season and, let's not kid ourselves here, if Moyes does ok in that competition, then Manure will have him.

Neil Scott
16   Posted 26/05/2009 at 20:35:30

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Nonsense. Celtic may offer Champions League but they don?t offer a domestic league worth talking about and without that how will you ever be good enough to win the bigger prize.

Moyes will go back up there one day but only after Old Trafford and only to manage their national side I reckon, as club football surely can only take a major step down after that.

And to respond to the earlier post, we are becoming a really settled top team now, coming into its best years, without any of the fears of years gone by. In fact teams like Villa now fear us. They got away with robbery at GP and their inflated league position was a bubble that was always ready to burst sooner or later.

We on the other hand finished at a canter even with glaring omissions. You can see the players and the manager believe.

And that's what we?ll take into next season. Self-belief, a winning squad, and I hope to God the FA Cup!!!
Gary Hegarty
17   Posted 26/05/2009 at 21:20:54

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Another point that seems to have been overlooked is the average age of our first team squad. With the exception of Captain Nev, it's a case of spot the 30-year-old ? a massive plus when you are looking at the longevity of any team.
Gavin Ramejkis
18   Posted 27/05/2009 at 02:03:53

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Keiran you forget to mention the possibility that Barry and Carew could both be bought from under their noses at Villa leaving substantial gaps.
Mark Stone
19   Posted 27/05/2009 at 10:29:51

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Every team has a bad patch at some point in the season.

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