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Dave’s Villa Blog

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

16-08-2008

Just a couple of extra signings before the end of the August transfer window and Dave Woodhall reckons Villa could be flying this season.

And what seems like a couple of weeks after last season ended, a new one begins. Or at least, the league programme does.

Villa have already played three games, easing their way through the Intertoto Cup and winning 4-1 in Iceland to make a place in the first round of the UEFA Cup virtually certain.

Now comes the real test, with a Premier League game against Manchester City at home on Sunday. A couple of weeks ago this would ghave been a real problem, especially since City are a real bogey side of ours. However, we’ve been signing players while they face uncertainty due to the ‘business activities’ of their chairman Thaksin Shinawatra.

Gareth Barry looks like he’s staying, which I’m in two minds about. On the one hand, he’s a quality player who would undoubtedly add to the team. On the other, he’d have been off by now if Liverpool had been able to stump up £18 million.

Do we really want a player whose heart isn’t in the club?

The coming season will be an interesting one. Additions to the defence should mean we concede less goals. Nicky Shorey and Luke Young are steady rather than spectacular players in positions where steady is an asset.

Carlos Cuellar looks very promising indeed – and we should know about quality central defenders, after having seen more than few of them over the years.

If conceding less goals will be harder, so might scoring them. Ashley Young played some teams almost on his own last season, and opponents will have worked out that our attacking threat come form him and set-pieces.

We’ve plenty of midfield options, but still lack a decent right-sided midfielder to provide an attacking threat if Young is out of action or being close marked. James Milner, who Villa have been linked with for almost as long as we were about to sign Steve Bull, fits the bill perfectly.

We also need another striker. John Carew is a handful for any defence but he can often be quiet and never seems fully fit. Gabby Agbonlahor is mercurial but lacks to consistency yet to become a top-flight goalscorer.

Marlon Harewood tries a lot but at this level he just ain’t good enough. We’ve taken one player from Blackburn already. Roque Santa Cruz would also be welcome.

At the moment Villa should be good enough for the top six. A cup run or two would be nice as well. There have been some decent new signings but no-one, least of all Martin O’Neill, believes that the job is over. With Milner and Santa Cruz the sky could be the limit.

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