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Dave Woodhall’s Villa Blog



Have Villa squandered a chance to make the Champions League by failing to bring in more than one player during the transfer window. Dave Woodhall reckons it looks that way after Saturday’s trip to Fulham. Nice ground, though.

Fulham is one of the best away trips of the season. Easy journey down on the Chiltern line, then the tube to Putney Bridge and a few pints in a nice, quiet pub I’ve no intention of telling anyone about because I like it like that.

Then a stroll through the park and into one of the few proper football grounds left in the Premier League.

This season had seen some obstacles placed in the way of my enjoyment, what with a shift to Sunday afternoon, then maintenance work on the railway and tube lines leading to a few detours, but the rest of the day was as good as ever. Until kick-off.

Saturday’s results had favoured us and Villa could have gone fourth had we won by five clear goals. Not that this was ever going to happen as the team gave probably their worst display of the season.

Agbonlahor was quiet even before his injury, Gareth Barry didn’t do a great deal and Stilyan Petrov must surely have proved by now that he isn’t good enough for the Premier League.

Without the suspended Ashley Young there wasn’t any creativity, and the worry must be for the rest of the season that other clubs will have found out that he’s our major source of inspiration. Stop Young and you stop Villa.

Even when we went a goal up thanks to ex-Villa player Aaron Hughes there was the feeling that it wasn’t going to be our day. Jimmy Bullard’s free-kick might have been heart-warming and all that guff, but I’d much rather Scott Carson had managed to save it, as he should have done.

A disappointing performance, and I have a horrible feeling it won’t be the last. A few of our players are starting to feel the effects of a long run in the side and should be rested. Trouble is, of course, that we’ve no adequate replacements.

The internet and every other medium has been buzzing with debate since the start of the month about whether or not Martin O’Neill made a mistake in not signing more players in January. I’ve given my opinion before, and at the risk of being a repetitive doomsayer, I’ll say it again. We’re doing well, but there’s still room for improvement.

We’ve never had a better chance to get into the Champions League, but the odds against it are longer now than they were a fortnight ago.

Which are the best grounds to visit for an awayday?

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