Post-mortem: Aston Villa look favourites for fifth, but sixth is still possible

Yesterday, while not the result any of us wanted, sort of ended up as we all expected it would. We dropped points but Everton, with one eye on a cup final, lost at home, meaning we kept our seat at the top of the second group and well, allowed ourselves another week of positive spin from the club site.

Gareth Barry and Martin O'Neill have as good as said this week that fifth place would be an improvement on last season and while it is stating the obvious, it also needs a little clarification. Basically we have to finish fifth, to justify the nearly £50mn. laid out last summer or we spent all that money to stand still.

If we finish fifth, then Martin O'Neill can justify further expenditure in trying to get a seat at the top table next season, something we all have to fancy possible, even with the likes of Manchester City, Everton and Spurs all wanting the same. However, if we remain in sixth place, it won't be that we haven't had a good season, just that £50mn. is what you have to spend to stand still in this league.

But we have a few more games to go before we know where we are going to finish and what we need to do now is look at what some are saying about yesterday.

What The Papers Say

Jeremy Butler, News of the World
It was only four months ago Martin O'Neill put Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka on red alert by warning that Ashley Young had just entered their world-class stratosphere. Well, Ronaldo and the rest of the football elite can stand down now as the Young phenomenon has turned out to be nothing more than a shooting star.
Graham Chase,
Villa have collected just four points from a possible 27, but O'Neill maintains his side cannot be criticised and that Young, on the shortlist for the PFA young player of the year award that will be announced tonight, has not been affected by his own barren run.
Duncan Hamilton, The Sunday Times
In the past two months, with Aston Villa’s form sagging like a slowly deflating balloon, Martin O’Neill has become a victim of the dreaded Great Expectation syndrome. It usually infects clubs who overachieve and the principal symptoms are barely concealed frustration among those who follow them, and unjust grumbling about the manager as a consequence. Villa are emerging as a classic case history, which is a pity.

The Goals

Webcam (43) 1-0; Cohen (60) 1-1

Man of the Match

There was a poor turn out for this vote and I'm not surprised, the match was very poor so it was hard to give it to anyone. Ashley Young, as you can see above, has come in for a bit of stick today which I don't think is right but of the few that did vote for the man of the match yesterday, it is shared between him and Petrov.

Up Next: Hull at Villa Park

I like Monday night football and you've got to fancy we can beat Hull at home. We might desperately need the three points because there is every chance Everton will be fifth as they will be playing Sunderland the day before.

I'm not going to go all out and predict anything at the moment, but unless we shake things up, we might not pick up anything against this team as they will be fighting for absolutely everything because just like we might be fifth, they might be in the bottom three, if Boro beat United. Okay, scrap that, but they will still be fighting for everything.

Final Analysis

Yesterday was a poor game of football and if I had to give the game a score out of then it would be a three or four. It wasn't that we cancelled them out or they cancelled us out, it was just an expected result and performance.

It really was such a poor game that I can't actually get that interested in writing stuff I've probably already written, so I'm going to leave it at that.

We need to spend in the summer.