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Villa, the new Liverpool

By Alan Kirwin :  10/01/2009 :  Comments (0) :
I can't be the only person who's taken note of Aston Villa's extraordinary run of good fortune this season. It's now starting to bug me for obvious reasons. Despite the lack of any forwards, we are chasing Villa & Arsenal for 4th place.

They say these things even out over a season. I was never convinced of that with Liverpool, and I'm not with Villa. In fact, what concerns me is that, by the time their luck changes (if it changes), their form and performances may pick up to compensate, making the catch up just as difficult.

So far this season they have been the beneficiaries of 5 own goals and 4 penalties, many of them deciders. They've also been the beneficiaries of outright spawn and gifts (the poxy late deflected winner at West Ham after being played off the pitch, Scott Carson's howler today, Jag's back pass etc).

I've looked at Villa's last 8 games, starting with the hugely fortuitous victory at Goodison. In fact, had we won that game, we'd now be level on points, regardless of the other good fortune (grrr!). But in their last 8 games they have W6 D1 L1. 5 of those 6 victories (including the one at Goodison) were undeserved. Today saw the run continue as normal, with an outright howler own-goal by Carson gifting Villa 3 more lucky points.

This bastardly good fortune shows no sign of abating, and it's pissing me off. We really have to win down there to keep this open, which we are capable of. But we are running out of rope.

On occasions, Villa can be exhilarating, but nowhere near as much as Martin O'Neil thinks. We've also had bits of luck this season, and played crap a few times whilst collecting points. But getting 5 own goals, 4 penalties and several free gifts is frankly taking the piss. This is not "making ones own luck" as they have by general consent been playing poorly for well over a month, with the exception of their home draw with Arsenal.

We have some big games coming up, none more so that Arsenal home & Villa away. I just pray that the fortunes of Everton & Villa swing before that game. My guess is that they will rediscover some form on or before that game and, combined with further good fortune, we'll lose and have to take 6th.

And then every time I look at the league table it brings a wry smile to my face. The idea that 4 teams qualify for the "Champions League" whilst only 1 quaifies for the Uefa Cup is patently absurd. That ratio used to be the other way around, with the Champions tournament being for, erm, Champions, and the second cup being for those that were near but not quite. Given the annual decline in interest & attendances in national cup competitions, allowing one Uefa Cup space for the winner is on the border of acceptability. Having 2 spaces for cup winners (or even cup runners-up!) is ridiculous.

Perhaps, if it ends up with Nottm Forest qualifying for the cup by losing 4-0 to Man Utd at Wembley, Everton can get special dispensation to qualify for finishing 6th. Just as, er, Liverpool did for missing out on 4th place recently.

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