Thursday, 29 September 2011

We're Trying Without Wings

Ok, firstly apologies for the title/memories of appalling music - I had to find a snappy title. Secondly for the literary inaccuracy... we aren't literally ( (c) J. Redknapp) without wing(er)s, but sometimes it feels like we're playing with dead weights on the wing... anyway I digress.

Now, it’s not been an amazing start to the season… we could have done a lot better, but we could have done a lot worse. That discussion is not for this day. The key issue at the club right now, for me, is the lack of impact from the wing.

Last season was very promising for Albrighton, and with the departures of the entire (bar him) wing contingent, now was the season for him to really come to the fore and establish his place in the team – and unfortunately for him, and for us, he hasn’t.

 In fact whilst it looked last season like Barry Bannan’s Villa career may be slipping away and Albrighton’s taking off, there has been a dramatic reversal. All of a sudden, Barry is the magic man, and Albrighton’s introductions (as heard by myself against Newcastle and QPR, as well as 20 minutes into the game v Bolton) are being greeted with groans. And their respective performances on the pitch this season reflect this, with QPR for example, Albrighton’s contributions were giving away a silly free-kick, not squaring a ball across to the advancing Weimann for a good attempt on goal (Instead going for personal glory, failing spectacularly at that), and getting Armand Traore sent off.  Although to be fair he ddn’t have that many minutes on the pitch. Bannan’s was a sprightly performance with delightful passing, the touch of a magician at times, confidence on the ball, testing the keeper, and naturally, netting the penalty which gave Villa the lead.
Albrighton needs to snap out of the slump he’s in – it’s counter-productive for the club and for him. This is a task for Albrighton, McLeish, the staff and his teammates. Albrighton must be flowing with confidence again, like he was when he burst in last season. It is the worst possible timing for both wingers to be so short of form and confidence when Villa desperately need them to replace Young and Downing. This has also reflected on Bent, who  although has had a groin strain and not been 100%, he has had limited supply from said wingers, as well as not being up to standard this season. So Charles, Marc, please snap out of it. Get into training early every week and just practice practice practice. Get yourselves into the right frame of mind, get smiles on faces, and for McGrath’s sake repay some of the fans who placed their faith in you with some very good, positive play (and maybe a few goals/assists) vs. Wigan. Should you both play.
On that note, Barry Bannan has been declared Villa’s Player of the Month, and richly deserved. Gabby Agbonlahor and Shay Given are the only two players for me who have been better than Bannan this season. Maybe Dunne as well.

Certainly things are not doom and gloom, but three points really really really is necessary this weekend, so PLEASE you Villa boys – go out there, put in a tremendous performance, win by a comfortable margin, and above all, give yourselves confidence before we head off to the Etihad Stadium/Eastlands/City of Manchester Stadium/whatever the hell it’s called, because we’re going to need to show our teeth when we play Man City. I want passion in that game. I want no fear from us whatsoever. I want the Man City players glancing uncomfortably at our players. I want Sergio AgΓΌero saying “Richard Dunne!? FUCK THAT! I’m not going on the pitch! You can’t make me Roberto! What!? No! Look at him! I’m not going! Raarrgh!”. Above all, I don’t want a repeat of the shambles last year up there.
Anyway, Wigan first. Let’s break the habit of a lifetime and actually beat the mothers at home. Come on you lions! UTV.

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