Thursday, July 20, 2006

It had to happen - O'Leary is out!

Good day today - actually went to ward rounds (not that I was missed by the ward physician, Prof TM Chan) and tutorial. Must say, my fellow group peers are rather quiet. Despite the fact that it is the students who have to present what they have found out about the objectives, it was mainly the professer (this time Prof CK Chan) who was mainly doing the talking. The professor made it a point to get people talking.

On another note, people who know me best know that I love football, or more specifically Arsenal Football Club. Because of this, I'm quite knowledgable about the English Premier League. In preparation for the upcoming season, starting on Saturday 19th August, I'm going to give my own opinion about the twenty clubs occupying the upper echelon of English football. I'm going to leave my team last, so I'll start off with Aston Villa. This is appropriate, since David O'Leary has just left "by mutual consent" from the club.

Aston Villa are a club in isolation. Thanks to the relegation of Birmingham City and West Bromich Albion, the Villans are the only team left in the Midlands. The fans are isolated from the club thanks to the chairman Doug Ellis, a.k.a Deadly Doug (known for "firing" managers at machine-gun rate). The now former manager David O'Leary isolated himself from the players and from the fans.

Getting rid of David O'Leary is only a short-term solution to appease the board, the players and the fans. Whoever comes in to replace O'Leary knows he has to work with the current players and with a tight shoestring budget of zero pounds. Yet I cannot see anybody wanting that job if Doug Ellis remains. It should be Doug Ellis who has to go. He shows no ambition as a chairman, wanting the club to challenging for trophies but managing them like they're lower league side. At times, a football club has to risk some of its financial capital to sign players and to improve the club.

At least the players should be happy. Even though the caretaker manager was under David O'Leary, everbody goes in with a clean slate. This means isolated players such as Juan Pablo Angel, Eric Djemba-Djemba and Jlloyd Samuel may have a future at the club. A new manager might convince a lot of the stars to stay.

Positional review

Goalkeeper: Thomas Sorenson, Stuart Taylor

Sorenson is a relieable goalkeeper but his main weakness is his inability to communicate with his defenders. Taylor himself will be occupying the bench most of the time.

Right back: Mark Delaney, Ulises de la Cruz, Aaron Hughes

Villa really need a young right back. They used Aaron Hughes most of last season but he's centre back by trade and doesn't appear to get down the touchline that often. Mark Delaney appears he wants to leave with a year remaining on his contract and de la Cruz is supposed to be out of contract.

Left back: Wilfred Bouma, Jlloyd Samuel (Gareth Barry)

They should really put Gareth Barry at this position whilst selling Wilfred Bouma. He's crap and I can't believe he was bought for 3.5 million pounds. Jlloyd Samuel was impressive a few seasons back and under the right manager could be again.

Centre back: Olof Mellberg, Liam Ridgewell, Martin Laursen, Gary Cahill

If they can get Martin Laursen fit again and Olof Mellberg to stay, this might be one of Villa's strongest positions. Liam Ridgewell had his critics at Christmas but he and Gary Cahill impressed during the 2nd half of the season.

Right midfield: Lee Hendrie (Ulises de la Cruz)

One position that Villa needs to improve upon. They were going to buy James Milner but Newcastle have decided they want to keep him. Lee Hendrie wants to go but I think Villa should keep him and try to get some competition in this position.

Left midfield: Gareth Barry, Patrick Berger, Peter Whittingham

With Gareth Barry & Patrick Berger cementing this position, I believe Whittingham should leave now to get regular starting time, even if it means dropping down a league. But Villa really should buy a new left winger. Gareth Barry is more ideally suited as a left back whilst Berger is past his prime.

Central midfield: Gavin McCann, Steven Davis, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Mathieu Berson

Whilst Gavin McCann and Steven Davis are automatic choices, Djemba-Djemba should be sold (he clearly cannot play in the Premiership) whilst Berson should be given a chance. What I've seen from Berson has impressed me to believe he can play in the Premiership. Another midfield, most ideally a playmaker, is what Villa need in this position.

Forward: Luke Moore, Milan Baros, Kevin Phillips, Juan Pablo Angel

Villa's strongest position by a long mile. With Luke Moore showing improvements and Milan Baros scoring goals when he's fit, Villa should be challenging further up the table (but they not). Kevin Phillips can play deeper, due to his age, whilst Angel should provide height in the penalty box. However the Columbian is far from happy and might move.

Right now about ten players could come and go from Villa, depending who's the manager. I don't think Villa would be challenging for trophies this season. Staving off relegation would be the best trophy.

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