Some are going to say there is too much emphasis put on formation and some are going to say that it was only one match. In response I'm going to say right off the bat that formation is very important and had Manchester United lost one more match last season and had Liverpool won one more match, Liverpool would be the current Champions. Just one more match?
You might also think, by the time you finish this post, that I'm getting overly frustrated, but Martin O'Neill got it so wrong yesterday and I don't care how he reacts to this, but how many times is he going to be able to get it wrong?
I'm not turning on O'Neill but when the team was announced yesterday, there was almost an acceptance that we could lose and while you'll think I'm just being melodramatic, it's about what you want for your club and if you are part of the tribe that have bought into the PR and spin from the club, then you'll be happy because we are seventh, but if you hold the club higher or you remember football from before the Premier League, you'll want more.
Before we get to the papers, I just want to leave you with this; Liverpool play 4-5-1 home and away and that flippant remark in the previous paragraph was meant to be flippant but not meant to offend anyone, but it can happen if we want it, it's just about do we accept what we've got?
What The Papers Say
News of the World
The real sting for Aston Villa was that they could not even manage a point against a struggling side who finished a man short; that the real heart was in Big Sam's side.
Rovers deservedly levelled midway through the first period with the first Premier League goal Villa have shipped in more than a month. Chris Samba, loitering at a partially cleared corner, outmuscled Richard Dunne in a heavyweight battle in the box to sweep home Ryan Nelsen's hopeful punt. Villa's manager, Martin O'Neill, who preferred the teenage talents of Fabian Delph to those of Nigel Reo-Coker in midfield, will no doubt concede it was not the first time they had looked uneasy when asked to deal with an aerial assault.
We were hoping to get something. Up until today we were perfect away from home. We were looking to continue in the same vein, but games here aren't easy. We are away from home and we have to deal with balls put into the penalty area. For the most part I thought we dealt with it and I thought we should've got something from the game.
Brad Friedel, Carlos Cuellar, James Collins, Stephen Warnock, Richard Dunne, Ashley Young, Fabian Delph (Emile Heskey, 57), James Milner, Stiliyan Petrov, John Carew, Gabriel Agbonlahor.
We had eight shots in ninety minutes and four of those were on target. Four shots on target in 90 minutes. I don't think we are going to score more than one or two with those numbers and we actually don't. We also made 267 passes of which 201 were successful and 66 failed.
Look back to Fulham and we had 375 passes and 307 were successful. That is why we beat Fulham and why we lost to Blackburn. Playing 451 means you pass the ball more, which means you keep the ball more, which means, if you have the ball, the other team doesn't and if they don't have it, they can't score. It is simple and I'm making it simple for a reason.
Man of the Match
I forgot to put this up yesterday, so I'm giving it to Gabby, just because he scored. It will be back for next week.
Bottom line, it was only one match, but it was a match we should have won. It was only three points but had we picked up three points yesterday and we win our game in hand we would be joint top. As it stands now, if we win our game in hand we are not even in the top four, not unless we win by four clear goals.
O'Neill made another mistake yesterday and as a supporter I have a right to be upset and I have a right to be frustrated. I also have a right to moan about picking a formation that doesn't work and I have a right to request he picks 451, because it works for us and it is about formation and if he can't get his head around this, then I don't care if he walks and I don't care if he is pushed, something Lerner will do.
Basically, we are not playing football in the 70's. Things have moved on and Martin O'Neill is no Brian Clough. He has to get away from that and he has to focus on the things that make us win and I'm sorry to say it, but I want more than top six for my club.
Yesterday was very important and it isn't just because we lost it was the way that we lost. The football was average, the fight was nowhere and not playing Nigel Reo-Coker was another mistake by O'Neill and one I think he made just because he could and for personal reasons, not for the benefit of the club and basically, as the custodian of our club, he has to work in the best interests of the club, not for personal gain.
So, that is over and to use a Martin O'Neillism, it will be forgotten tomorrow. Today, I'm going to read the papers, eat a big breakfast, cut the grass and try to forget about the football from yesterday.