Let's get the rumours out of the way first as tonight is football and deserves a little attention. Apparently, according to Mirror Football, Martin O'Neill is willing to table a £12mn bid for West Ham defender Matthew Upson.
Upson is 30 years old. Do you they think Martin O'Neill is mad? Moving on, The Times are suggesting that the deal for Distin can now be completed. Either way, it looks like Martin O'Neill is going to bring in his twenty-seventh central defender. Hopefully soon, he'll find a couple that he is happy with.
O'Neill needs players to really strengthen and intelligent players to help improve the football or he needs the perfect season. If he doesn't get one he will need the other or I fear for him this season. Only eleven days left, surely the money is going to get spent soon.
SK Rapid Wien v Aston Villa FC
Any team used to winning or playing with belief is going to be hard to beat, just look at Burnley last night or Wigan last Saturday. Unfortunately, we are playing with neither at the moment and our football is very predictable, to the extent that it is becoming quite depressing.
The thing is, the 'Green Whites' (nickname for Rapid Vienna) are not having the best of it at the moment either; currently seventh after three games. However, they did finish the league second last season and they are a strong side that are used to winning and I suspect they will believe they can beat us.
Aston Villa Squad
When you only have a small squad and you have your favourites, it doesn't make it difficult picking a squad. This is the one O'Neill has picked for tonight.
I'm not going to talk about those that haven't made it as it's only stating the obvious. I will say my preferred formation with those players would be 4-5-1 with Friedel, Lichaj, Cueller, Davies, Shorey, Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Milner, Young and Agbonlahor. Now, I don't need to spell it out how they would play, but I will say it will be about passing, creating space (forwards and backwards) and about Gabby running the channels and pulling defenders.
But my head says we will play 4-4-2 and we will hit it long, lose possession randomly and occasionally, instead of passing the ball to a player, we will walk it to him, making it even more difficult for us. We will also play with lots of heart and determination.
The game against Vienna is very, very important for us. I would love to play in the group stages - that would be important again for the development of the younger players in the squad - and the senior ones too.
We will be striving very hard indeed to get through. Vienna beat Liverpool in pre-season - it will be an extremely difficult tie.
Bottom line, this is over two legs and I actually don't, in fact I know, we don't have the squad as of today to take this tournament seriously and ultimately that is why O'Neill is going to need the 'perfect season', because it is his fault, nobody else.
My heart says we will win, my head says we will draw or lose. I really do think it comes down to formation, quickly followed by how we play the game. If we are just going to hit long then we are going to give the ball away quite a lot and when you play teams that like to keep the ball, that isn't good for business.
Live blog later, with links and other goodies for you. Until then, I'm thinking about doing some image manipulation.