Villa for Europe – Man City for the drop

by Martin

Monday, January 26th, 2009

At the start of the season I made two predictions that had eyebrows raised on this site. The first was that Aston Villa would comfortably make the top 4 in the Premier League this season, and the second was that a surprise club would be relegated. I named that club as Manchester City. Despite the interference of a royal family in the latter, I am pretty confident of both of them at the moment.

Its been a great Premier League season so far, and I never thought I would say that again. The top is interesting for once. Yes it looks like United will run away with it, but the other Champions League places are very much up for grabs. I am going to increase my prediction and say that I think Villa will finish in the top 3. With both Liverpool and Chelsea really struggling at present, O’Neil’s genius continues to shine. And as for Arsenal, well they are clearly a side on the wane, and a lightweight Russian, who may well end up at City anyway, is not going to change that.

The bottom, or the rest of the table as it is known is shaping up brilliantly. Sadly, I fear for Hull, after a brilliant start they are in freefall and its not looking good. West Brom are stick ons to go, but who will go with them? The wise money would go on Pompey, but I like Adams and I think he will keep them up. With Redknapp’s honeymoon period well and truly over Spurs are again looking like an average side with an average manager. He’s throwing money at it, and as usual treading all over Pompey in the process, but he isn’t the miracle worker people think he is. They will however stay up, I just hope its in a position below Portsmouth. Boro will be fine, as will a dull Blackburn under big Sam. And isn’t it refreshing to see Wigan and Fulham looking comfortable at this stage, good fanbase sides, with English managers and locally owned (yes I know its Al-Fayed but if his son hadn’t pulled a princess he’d be a citizen by now).

I think the last place will be between Stoke and Manchester City. Stoke are battlers, they’re not pretty but they like to make it hard for teams, and its worth them staying up to piss off the likes of Wenger. City are in trouble, big trouble.

I actually cheered when I heard that Kaka had said no. Thank God for that, a footballer concerned about more than money. Now he gets to play alongside David Beckham rather than Craig Bellamy. He must be gutted. I said when City was bought that it would end in tears and I think it will. Not because they are a bad side, they are not, they have a good manager with a good plan. But because once again people with money and no idea have got involved in a football club. The owners want instant success, the manager wants to build a team that can be a sustained threat to the big boys over time. We all know who will win the battle and that Sparky will be looking for work in a month or so, and that is wrong. You can’t go from where City are to the Champions League without a period of transition. Buying Kaka would have been a big error, as he would not have fitted in with the team they have. Not getting him will cost the manager his job, and probably the club their Premier League status. If the former happens, I will be hoping the latter does too.

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  • Stevie

    no chance on both accounts.

    City won’t go down and Villa will fade, they’ve yet to have their bad patch yet. They look average with Ashley Young

  • Martin Tibbetts

    I assume you mean ‘without Ashley Young’. I disagree, a 0-0 draw in the Cup with an average Championship side is exactly what Arsenal got, and is irrelevant to this. Villa have strengthened significantly with the purchase of Heskey, probably the best bit of business in the window and a gift for Agbonlahor who will thrive next to the big man. And they are still chasing more players if the gossip pages are to be believed. Meanwhile Arsenal continue to look like a selling club these days, and as I said above, if the Russian does come it won’t make them a great side. Make no mistake, Villa are in the mix for the long term now, or as long as MON is in the chair, his sides have never ‘faded’ in the past and don’t look like doing so now………

  • Darren

    I actually think they look a much better outfit with Ashley Young Stevie boy! But you’re right, they are yet to have a bad spell, where as Arsenal are having one big long one.

    If romours are correct then they will sign Mica Richards, N’Zobia & Ashavin. In reality we’ll end up with a teenager.

    Long way to go so hold tight!

  • Darren

    Villa keep winning, when will they drop points? thats what I want to know!!

  • Martin Tibbetts

    See Heskey’s goal last night! He is a confidence player and MON gives him that confidence. He wouldn’t have hit one from 25 yards under Houllier or Bruce, christ he wouldn’t have been facing the goal to do it! MON knows how he plays best and he will thrive at Villa Park, as will the strikers alongside him. 3rd place all the way now……

  • Darren

    i’m actually glad I didn’t have a bet with you mate. I actually think they are the best equipped to finish 2nd, they keep winning. When did they last lose a game? I do remember they were totally outclassed by Chelsea earlier in the season, but somehow MON has turned things around

    Although there’s still a long way to go and as I keep saying, they are still to have their blip.

    Quality goal, that was all he did, won a few headers and belted in a screamer!

    What I would like to know is why has this transfer window bee so bloody boring? It obviously always is as an Arsenal fan, no doubt I’ll be glued to SKy SPorts news praying we at least sign some one. Even on loan. Our kids are not that good, can someone please tell Mr Wenger!!

  • Matt Quinn

    We (villa) are in a title race now… and just to be able to say that is unbelievable, even though we will probably drop off.

    Again, last night, we didnt play very well but we won again. Were coming through our injury and suspension crisis too. Carew will be back soon, Ashley Young after saturday, Bouma is almost fit, Luke Young is back from a ban. Were just missing Laursen and then we will be back to 100% again.

    With regards to Man City- no way will they get relegated. They’ll finish 8th at the lowest. Bellamy is a great signing. I really like the way he plays and if he stays fit, think he will be a revelation. Wish Villa had signed him.

  • Darren

    Bellamy is like Boomer, wondering from town to town, Bellamy, he’s never gonna settle down!! He’s a complete mercenary though.

    I don’t think you need him. You have a decent forward line, plus there’s always Harewood for back up!

    City finishing 8th? No chance, they have some superb players but they can’t gel. Their away record is terrible, you need team spirit to grind out results away from home, what with the Robinho farce too, it can’t be an attractive place to go unless you’re a future Boomer!!

  • Darren

    I read this in the Mirror this morning too

    Aston Villa want to sign Newcastle striker Michael Owen on a free (Mirror)

    MON certainly knows what he is doing!

  • Matt Quinn

    I think if City win their game in hand, they go 9th. Bellamy has won Player of the Year at every club he’s been at (apart from Liverpool)… Norwich, Coventry, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham. Watch him for Wales… hes absolutely sensational.
    Aurelio at Liverpool said he was the most talented player in the Liverpool squad and played like a Brazilian.

    I will not be happy if Villa signed Owen. The top teams do not use “poachers” anymore. You need strikers to contribute to an all round game in todays football. Owen has possibly the worst first touch in football too!

  • Martin Tibbetts

    Not questioning Bellamy’s ability, its his temperament and application that are in doubt. And at a time when City need solidarity in the dressing room he is hardly the player to help it!

    Heskey and MON could do for Owen at Villa what they did for Cottee in his twilight years at the Foxes, but Villa don’t need him. They have good striking options who can stay fit for more than half an hour……

  • Darren

    if there was a list of the top 10 most hated footballers, he would be right up there. In fact, I feel another article coming on Martin!

    Owen is finished, he is living on pure reputation, he hardly contributes to any game these days. He scores 1 goal every 2 games and is mostly non exsistent

  • Martin Tibbetts

    You woudn’t print that article Darren, too many Arsenal greats in there……

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