Post-mortem: Clinical Aston Villa and the final day of the transfer window

The transfer window closes today and I am fairly confident we will see something happen. I'm not saying if it coming in or leaving or if it is a permanent deal or loan, I just think something will happen.

But this post isn't about today, ti is about Saturday and how we went to Fulham, played a little bit of football and took, as it turns out, a very good three points.

I say very good, because everyone else around us, apart from Spurs, picked up three points too and we are still seventh. If we win our game in hand we will however go fourth, but if Manchester City also win their two games in hand we they will go fourth, we will be fifth. See, it was an important three points.

What the Papers Say

Conrad Leach, Independent
For a team that has won at Old Trafford and Anfield this season, Aston Villa should have strolled to victory at Craven Cottage. Two goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor, in the space of four minutes just before half-time, settled matters but the visitors were unconvincing at the start and although Brad Friedel did not have to make many saves, there was some desperation in defence at the end.
David Lacey, Guardian
Previously only Chelsea and Arsenal had won at Craven Cottage this season and Manchester United had lost 3‑0 there a week before Christmas, yet Villa came off the back of four Premier League games without a goal to beat Roy Hodgson's team in some style.

The Manager

Martin O'Neill
I know that strikers obviously need to score goals to keep themselves alive and keep themselves full of confidence. I learnt from a previous manager that sometimes you don't always get your deserts on the day. Gabby's performance on Wednesday night against Arsenal was fantastic and the goals came to him today.

He took them today I think it was as much to do with his performance on Wednesday night. He got his deserts today and I thought he played excellently today as well.

The Players and Some Stats

Brad Friedel, Luke Young, Ricardo Dunne, King Carlos Cuellar, James Collins, Stewart Downing, Webcam Young, James Milner, Stiliyan Petrov, Gabby Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey.

Last season we lost 3-1 at Fulham, this year we pick up three points. That is an important point to factor in when looking at the League table as it has been said on several occasions that while we might not have as many points as last season and our position might also be a little worse - on a game for game basis, I think we are five points better off than last season.

So, we used eleven players and didn't make a substitution. I'm sure O'Neill knows what he is doing and as if to prove that, the team passed it about a little bit more in this game. We tried 320 passes, of which 247 were successful. Those passes created 13 shooting opportunities, which as you know, resulted in two goals.

Man of the Match

No surprises here, it went to Gabby with 56.2% of the vote. Actually that is a little surprising, I fancied he'd get more of the vote. Never mind. Ricardo Dunne came in second with 18.2% of the vote followed by Stand and Carlos. Even James Milner got one vote.

Final Analysis

It was an important result and we needed the three points. I think that victory will ultimately mean more to the team this season than any of us will accept as possible and with Spurs coming up next weekend, it it could be the catalyst for us getting absolutely what is needed next Saturday too.

Fulham is a harder place to go to than any other place in the League and knowing that it is possible to go to Fulham, pretty much dominate and leave with three points will hopefully give them the confidence to go to Spurs and do the same. If we do that next weekend, we will go ahead of Spurs and that would be really important, not only for our League form, but our confidence in the month where we play a League Cup final.

I'm not going to spend too much time on the match though. We were quite clinical on Saturday and it was an enjoyable match. I will switch attention now to the final day of the transfer window. Like I said, I can see something happening.

Transfer Window Watch

There is talk that we are after Michael Owen. I'd love this, really love it. I'd always be worried that he is going to break a leg but Michael Owen can score and the manager has spoken recently about a 20 goal a season striker and well, I fancy some of the chances we have created, would have been taken by him.

There is also talk that Nick Shorey is attracting interest from Roy Hodgson on a loan deal. Not sure if O'Neill will allow this to happen when we have a left back on the treatment table, but he did prefer to play a right back at left back instead of a natural left back at the weekend, so I think it is fair to say that Shorey is not in his plans.

Anyway, we are watching the transfer window and this is a fantastic excuse for me to sit at my desk all day and drink coffee.