February 29, 2012
There was a certain atmosphere of sadness in the air as Villa took the field against Wigan last Saturday - sadness because, in 90 minutes time, Villa would be saying farewell to a top-class striker for the remainder of the season.
What wasn't known, as the teams lined up at the DW Stadium, was that, come 5pm or thereabouts, Villa would be facing the reality of losing a second forward player of undoubted quality.
February 23, 2012
I’m not endorsing the sole use of video highlights to judge a footballer’s ability, but, as news broke this week of yet another injury setback for Fabian Delph, I couldn’t resist a viewing reminder of how good the player can be.
Villa fans have never seen Delph anywhere like his best in a claret and blue shirt and the creeping concern now is that we never will.
February 14, 2012
I have to hand it to Alex McLeish - the man is fast becoming a tactical visionary. How else to explain the gift he has, the extraordinary ability to see the potential in the team formations he selects, the tactics he chooses to implement, and the players he picks to follow his instructions?
Against Manchester City on Sunday, not the first time this season, McLeish completely bamboozled me with his starting XI; I felt as if I was on the receiving end of the original Cruyff turn, expecting one thing and then falling victim to something totally different, something leftfield. And this was leftfield, alright. McLeish pulled something pretty special from his locker of strange, dark coaching methodology.
February 10, 2012
It's strange how situations are interpreted. Personally, I've got Villa down as one of the more predictable teams in the Premier League, so it was surprising that certain television highlights coverage of last Sunday's match at Newcastle portrayed us as the complete opposite.
Unpredictable, because of our recent sequence of results? I think not. Inconsistent would be more accurate; occasionally, Villa win a game. More often than not, we don't. Sometimes we draw. All too often, such as at Newcastle, Villa lose. There's a kind of predictability about the team these days: you certainly know what's usually coming.
February 2, 2012
Alex McLeish wasn't bluffing after all.
'Nothing," the Villa manager had said, a week or so ago, when quizzed on what transfer window activity he expected to be involved in. Few doubted the sincerity of his brusque and honest response, though there was perhaps still a fleeting suspicion that McLeish was putting on an absolutely brilliant poker face.
Did the coy old boy have a sneaky deal or two under his sleeve?