Post-mortem: Aston Villa give us exactly what we all expected

I'm an easy man to please. Wake me in the morning with a coffee and a bacon sandwich and I'll be happy all day. Bring a beer to me after dinner and tell me to watch the football and you'll make me happy all night, to the point where you can ask for pretty much anything and as long as you ask, when bringing me another beer, you are very likely to get your wish.

I'm not complicated either. If something works, I stick with it but for the love of God, Martin O'Neill is making my life complicated.

I mean, even Marky Mark predicted this a draw and before the match, I told you that if I was a betting man, I'd have money on the draw.

It really is getting to the point where when someone says Martin O'Neill doesn't know what he's doing, I'm finding it hard to disagree. However, my view is he needs more quality in the squad and as long as Lerner backs him up this summer, then I fancy we'll start to see better football and a more modern day formation next season. He can't continue with 4-4-2.

More on yesterday in the final analysis at the bottom. I want to leave the match yesterday for now otherwise I fear I'm going to accidentally come across a name and then I'm going to let rip at Martin O'Neill and doing that too early will only foster anger in the comments.

What The Papers Say

Duncan Castles, The Guardian
The game developed into a question of whether a poor Villa would breach the home side's insecure defence. After a series of set pieces, Marlon King ­miscleared on to John Carew's boot for the Norwegian's shot to provide the answer.
Jeremy Cross, The Independent
Villa, meanwhile, showed few signs of waking from the slumber that has transformed O'Neill's team from impressive to mediocre in just a few months. Gabriel Agbonlahor demanded a smart save from Brad Jones but there was little enterprise or energy to their play.
Sandy Macaskill, Telegraph
Villa had tried to pump themselves up before kick-off, Ashley Young high-fiving his way around his team-mates before assuming a position in the pocket – an unusual one for him – but they took an age to warm up.

T-Shirt Winner

Everyone as good as predicted 1-1 for yesterday as it was the most predictable result with the team O'Neill put out, but if your user name is Craigy1874 you need to be contacting me. There is a link in the main menu above to the contact page.

The Stats

Middlesbrough: Bradley Jones, Matthew Bates, David Wheater, Justin Hoyte, Robert Huth, Julio Arca, Gary O'Neil (Josh Walker, 72), Adam Johnson, Stewart Downing (Marlon King, 23), Sanli Tuncay, Marvin Emnes.

Aston Villa: Brad Friedel, Carlos Cuellar, Nick Shorey, Curtis Davies, Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, (Nigel Reo-Coker, 70), James Milner, Stiliyan Petrov, John Carew, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey.

Goal Attempts (On target): Boro 10 (6), Villa 8 (6)

Goals: Tuncay 14 (1-0), Carew 57 (1-1)

The Manager

Unfortunately, we came in and found out Everton had won. But we still have plenty to play for. We have to try and win now on the final day of the season at home and obviously hope Fulham can beat Everton. We will be fighting for it and everything is still to play for.

Man of the Match

I didn't put this up yesterday, I forgot, but seeing as I've predicted most of the results the past few months and I'm going to predict a win for Hull and us next weekend I'm going to predict that John Carew got the man of the match award, simply because he scored.

Up News: Newcastle

I'd love to see Newcastle relegated and that smug git Shearer get what is coming to him. I cant stand him on TV and the way he has acted over the temporary job at Newcastle, I think, has done a disservice to his club.

The players don't have to play for him and there is no chance of 'new manager syndrome' kicking in, because he isn't the new manager. He should never have taken the role but it's a no lose situation for him and I fancy we will beat Newcastle and we will send them down.

I'd have liked to see West Brom stay up, just so we can have a few more matches to look forward to next season (there is nothing else to play for), but I fancy now that Hull will beat United and that will be enough to see them stay up.

Final Analysis

Is James Milner a right back? Is Emile Heskey a midfielder? Why have we spend over £15mn. on two players to play them wildly out of position? The rumour today is we're going after Stewart Downing and we're willing to pay £12mn. for him. If O'Neill spends anything over £6mn. on this player, when we already have Ashley Young, I will seriously start to question him.

Yes, Downing will have a few good games in a season, but he isn't anything special, certainly not £12mn. special. He will be another Milner and for all his running and his dedication, Milner is a shit right back.

But, the manager paid £12mn. for him and if that is where the manager thinks he is best suited for us, then that is where Milner will play. You could tell Milner to run until he drops and he probably would. Milner is like a loyal sheep dog. Whistle and he'll do whatever you want, then ask him to dribble a ball round two players and he'll fall over himself time after time but eventually, one day he'll do it. For a dog with lots of energy and commitment, you'd pay £12mn. every single day of the week. He'll win you tournaments and special blue ribbons.

As for calling him 'magic' this week, well, he's not even remotely close to Merson and he just about gets the 'magic' moniker. My point is, if the manager is putting him at right back now, surely he can't have that much faith in him as an attacking player? Actions over words every day of the week.

It comes down to quality in my opinion and while I'm probably deluding myself, I want to have a little faith in the consistency position. Changing managers can not be good and I want to see what it will be like with the same manager for five seasons. I don't think changing owner will necessarily have a negative impact so if anyone is interested in making Aston Villa great again; apply to Randy Lerner who rumour has it, will sell for £120mn.

Also, for the record, this isn't a pop at Milner. He can only do what he is told to do and it's not his fault if he can't cross or beat a man on a regular basis. I'm not knocking him; you can not knock a player that puts that much effort in. I'm ultimately mocking O'Neill, a bit like I wasn't really knocking O'Leary towards the end of his time at Villa, as he couldn't be blamed for his shit managerial skills.

Anyway, we are sixth. I predicted this at the start of the season and I fancy that is exactly where we are going to end up. But do you remember how I came to the prediction? It is based on the skills of the manager and the quality he has in the team. For example; you could put David O'Leary in charge of Manchester United and I wouldn't predict them to win, but with Sir Alex, I would.

Martin O'Neill is a top six manager, which means that he needs to have the quality player to get higher.