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Dave’s Villa Blog

OPENING A SECOND FRONT

01-02-2010

Dave Woodhall is watching the Villa make steady progress and wondering about renewing his passport.

Last Wednesday we played Arsenal at Villa Park. This is usually a classic game; for the past few seasons they’ve provided us with some of the best entertainment seen at Villa Park in years. They’ve often won, but we’ve managed to get a point on occasions.

This season, though, the game was intriguing rather than enthralling. Arsenal passed the ball around sublimely at times. Arshavin and Fabregas are two of the most gifted footballers in the world and it’s a pleasure to watch them even when they’re the opposition. But so often this brilliance is over-elaborate and with no end product.

Villa counted this with some more direct, quicker breaking that could also have resulted in goals, but as has been the case too often this season, we ran out of ideas too quickly. Hope springs eternal and there’s still that fourth place to play for, as well as the dubious pleasures of the Europa League.

Arsenal was followed by the best way trip of the season. Craven Cottage should have a preservation order placed on it. In an era where clubs seem to be vying with each other to produce the blandest, most identikit stadium, the idea that you can walk through a riverside park, past joggers, sunbathers (maybe not in January but you get the picture) and old ladies walking their dogs, on the way to the ground is a throwback to the days of the maximum wage.

Villa, scoreless in four games, were two up at half time thanks to Gabby Agbonlahor, who took the time to remind us that when it comes to exciting young talent Villa have got a fair bit as well. We were under pressure in the second half, which enabled Richard Dunne to show that he’s the best signing of the season anywhere in the Premier League, and coped without too many problems.

The weekend’s fixtures have seen us in seventh place, which might get a place in Europe depending on how the cups pan out. But as we’re already in the final of one and this is definitely our year for the other, league places aren’t that important for now. My passport runs out in the summer and I’d hate to miss that vital Champions League qualifier in Vladivostock.

I’d be a lot happier if we had a flurry of late transfer activity today but it looks like that’s not going to happen so I’ll have to console myself with the adage – In Martin We Trust.

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