Not Sven again

Paddy Power suspended betting early on Wednesday afternoon, on Sven-Goran Eriksson becoming next Aston Villa manager after a massive surge of bets on the Swede to be the man to relace Martin O’Neill.

As is usually the case in these markets, Betfair is generally a good indicator to see if anything is happening, and they have Eriksson at 3.05 favourite. Liquidity is currently very low, which would suggest there is not much good information out there on the likelihood of this happening at the moment.

With a bit of luck all this is just a rumour that got out of hand, and Randy Lerner is not that desperate to give Sven the job. I do hope though, that Lerner dosen’t make a rash decision and give him the job just because he is available, and the season is about to start.

So far Eriksson, who seems to be the parasite of English football, is yet to claim to have always been a lifelong Villa fan, but his agent has thrown his hat into the ring on his behalf.

Lerner Defends Himself

It is hard to know what to make of the situation at Villa now. On one hand Martin O’Neill would appear to have damaged his reputation walking out in this way, this close to the start of the season.

From Randy Lerner’s response on Wednesday, where he stated that the two men “no longer shared a common view as to how to move forward”, it would suggest that he is saying that O’Neill didn’t except the financial restraints being placed on him.

On the other hand, it has been common knowledge for some time now that Lerner had called time on big spending, and he made it clear to everyone that players needed to be sold before new ones could come in, that the books needed to be balanced.

O’Neill would have been well aware of this. So why quit now?

Could it be that O’Neill maybe reluctantly accepted this, but then was told that the amount of money that would be made available to him from the proposed sale of James Milner to Manchester City would not be the full amount recieved?

If so, O’Neill could rightly say that Lerner has gone back on his word!

Who would be a referee?

Martin O’Neill said it was a clear penalty, Alex McLeish said it was definately not a penalty, even Andy Gray said on Sky Sports that he could understand why the referee got it wrong.

They are the differing biased opinions of the same incident that make refereeing in the Premier League an almost impossible job.

The decision to give a penalty for Roger Johnson’s challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor was the incident that decided the midlands derby in Villa’s favour.

Yes, Alex McLeish has a point, you can’t assume that something is a penalty, or at least you shouldn’t assume. But what are the alternatives?

If referees stop making decisions because they are maybe not 100% sure, you could end up with situations where no penalties are given unless someone is kicked up in the air 10 yards away from the ball.

Look at Howard Webb lately, the poor bloke is too scared to give a penalty these days such is his loss in confidence. Is that where we want to take refereeing too?

The likes of McLeish, O’Neill, the other managers and players all have a responsibility to cut the officials a bit of slack when a decision is as tight as this one was.

I accept that when a ref or his assistant gets an absolute stick on one wrong, he is fair game for criticism. The two penalty decisions at Wembley involving O’Neill and his Villa team, or the off-side Drogba goal at Old Trafford spring to mind. They were all indefensible.

For the record I thought it was a good tackle, but can fully understand why the referee gave it, and attach no blame to the ref.

Wenger insults O’Neill this time

Arsene Wengers claim that Aston Villa are a long ball team is yet another cheap swipe from this bitter, twisted, bad loser.

Ok, so Arsenal didn’t lose, and in fairness to Wenger he openly admits to being a bad loser.

Arsenal are also the best side to watch in the country by a mile, and Arsene Wenger should be applauded for the way his teams play and have played over the years, they are a joy to watch.

I also admire the work Wenger puts into youth, the fact that he is prepared to develop a player and put him in the first team, rather than go out and spend £15 million.

But why is it that after every game he dosen’t win, someone seems to get lashed out at? He ruins himself in my view.

If it’s not the referee’s fault, then the other team were too physical, or didn’t want to play football in the correct manner, etc.

It may be the case that Villa can be a little direct at times, it may also be the case that Villa were more direct on Wednesday as they didn’t fancy their chances at playing Arsenal at their own game, but what has Villa’s tactics got to do with Whinger?

Villa can and do play some decent football. just look at James Milner’s goal at Blackburn a couple of weeks ago, they also like to get the ball forward quickly at times, they are not like the Wimbledon of old though.

Basically his complaint can be summed up as follows.

The fact is that Villa didn’t play the way he wanted them to as they would have got beat. Villa adopted tactics that didn’t play into Whinger’s hands, and when his side was incapable of overcoming that and winning the game, he had to find a scapegoat for the fact that he and his team are still not good enough.

Why can’t the man show some dignity after a game and just accept it when his team are not up to the task? Other managers can do it, so whats his problem?

After all it could be said that he has built a ‘one man team’. As when Fabregas is not playing they don’t look half the side they do with him in it. I don’t see Martin O’Neill coming out and throwing that at Wenger.

Maybe that is because Martin O’Neill has more class. Grow up Arsene.