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Dave's Villa Blog

OUT OF TOON

03-11-2008

These are happy times for Villa fans. Progress in the UEFA Cup, and the chance to advance their claims for next season's Champion's League with tonight's trip to Geordie-land.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been able to put pen to paper, or rather press fingers to keyboard, but all matters claret and blue seem to have been going quite well in my absence.

Villa eased into the group stages of the UEFA Cup, where they kicked off with a straightforward win over Ajax. This was a night when the name of the opposition was the biggest thing; they weren’t a patch on the great Ajax sides of the past, but I’m sure that in years to come people will look back on the Dutchmen as a notable scalp.

It was certainly interesting to see their supporters, some of who were determined to use the English as role models, even if they were twenty years too late, and others were singing to us in perfect English.

Recent wins at Wigan and at home to Blackburn were efficient rather than spectacular. Maybe we’re suffering from too many games in succession – the Villa squad certainly isn’t strong enough at this moment to play two games a week for very long, which is why it needs to be strengthened in January. The fringe players haven’t made the most of the opportunities they’ve been given, and the likes of Wayne Routledge and Marlon Harewood can’t have much of a future.

Tonight, we’re up at Newcastle. We seem to play there on TV more than anywhere else, which is a bit of a bugger for anyone who wants to travel away. Still, supporters couldn’t be bothered protesting when the game sold itself to TV, so we can’t complain now. Which is another argument entirely, and one best left for another day.

Newcastle got their first win in ages last week, even if they didn’t look too impressive against the freefalling Albion. That should give us enough cause for optimism although the fervour aroused by the passionate supporters of everyone’s second-favourite club will no doubt make for a Super Setanta Spectacular. I think that’s called sarcasm. Three points are definitely achievable to get us back into the top four and ensure Villa Park an even more attractive destination for any player Martin might want to sign when he gets the chance.

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