April 28, 2009
Martin O’Neill and his scouts were “up and down the country” this week, searching high and low for players to bolster Aston Villa’s squad. With the club in the midst of a 12-match tailspin and midfielder Gareth Barry likely to leave Villa Park in the summer, the manager has tagged squad depth as his top priority as he prepares for the reopening of the transfer window.
Here’s hoping he has eyes and ears in Spain, Belgium and Russia as well. For while his domestic search will surely turn up one or two decent prospects, O’Neill’s best options are currently plying their trades on distant shores.
April 17, 2009
It’s taken eight months, but I’ve finally soured on Curtis Davies. In that, I suppose I’m no different than the manager. Had both of us—particularly him—lost faith in him four months sooner, Aston Villa might have bolstered their defense in January and avoided the swoon they now find themselves in. Hindsight is wonderful, isn’t it?
April 10, 2009
It’s about to get very, very dicey. Currently nursing a one-point lead over Everton for fifth-place in the Premier League table, Aston Villa’s winter swoon has become a spring slide that now threatens their place in next season’s Europa League. Whatever their fate, it will probably be decided when the Toffees visit Villa Park on Easter Sunday.
April 3, 2009
On April 15, Steven Defour will turn 21. Most footballers his age would just be breaking into the first team. Not Defour.
Despite his slight frame—he’s 5-foot-8—Defour has played professional football since 2004. He broke into Rene Vandereycken’s Genk side as a 16-year-old and made his international debut for Belgium just two years later. Vandereycken is now the head coach of the national team, and Defour has claimed more than 20 caps.
He’s also the captain of Standard Liege. Last season, he took his club to the Jupiler League title and received the Golden Shoe as the most valuable footballer in the country.