Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Oh, Referee !

So, as promised a quick recap of the midweek visit to Stamford Bridge, Outside of contentious (non) refereeing decisions , Chelsea got off to a 1-0 lead early on, with an unlucky Own Goal from new signing, Antonio Luna, whom could do nothing to prevent it. It was an early insight into how the rest of the night would pan out, though at the time, nobody suspected it.
Parity was restored when Benteke excellently dispatched a pass into the near post with essentially the last kick of the first half. Excellent, could the team rally in the second and get a perfect 6 points from 6 to open the season’s first week with?

As it turned out, no.
First, the referee decided not to send off a Chelsea defender, Branislav Ivanovich, for an elbow to the Villa goal scorer, Benteke. Apparently a yellow sufficed. Fair enough, at this point. Villa did still create chances, and later, a free kick was awarded to Chelsea, and the man that, arguably should have received a red card, was there to head home the cross. Anger ensued, although after some more missed chances, and some great goalkeeping from Cech in the Chelsea goal, a ball was crossed in to the centre of the box, and there to head home the cross, no wait, there to clear the ball, with the use of an arm was perennial hate figure John Terry. No penalty. Sheesh give us a break !

It finished with a 2-1 loss, although on another night, would have certainly seen a share of the spoils.
Before I get into another contentious issue, regarding the schedule, and the weekend’s home match against Liverpool, in what had seen Villa victorious in only 2 of the past 20 meetings, the first Home game of the new season, with a new sense of optimism around, I will take the time to reflect on my last article, where I mentioned women’s football, and I realise Hope Powell isn’t all there is to the game, and that shouldn’t discredit the work that other people involved with the game do. Hopefully, in 5 years’ time, women’s football will be on the up and maybe, a highlight show for the Women’s Premier League. This would be an amazing step up for sporting Equality.

So, on we go to the home fixture, which promised much, but didn’t really deliver in the end. Both sides started brightly , but it took a moment of sloppy defending and clinical finishing from Liverpool to open the scoring, of which came in the middle of a dominant spell of possession which saw Liverpool keep the ball for what seemed like 20 minutes, and thinking about it, it probably was. Liverpool showed exactly why they could be an outside bet of a championship this time, with stellar recruiting and excellent signings. The best of which was Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who last time he visited Villa Park, he conceded 6 in an abysmal appearance for his old club, Sunderland (the place where my mother was born) . No such repeat performance, who definitely kept his side in the lead with a string of quality saves to deny Villa’s endeavour. It finished with a 1-0 loss to Villa, who for large portions certainly looked like a team that had played three times in 7 days. Again, like the Chelsea game though, Villa need to convert the chances they get, but I’m sure with time, they will.

The peculiar thing about this seasons fixture list, is now, Villa won’t be at home, or indeed, in any kind of league action until Mid-September, when Newcastle visit.  It will seem quite strange, that everybody else will be playing, but I guess after the torrid start, with tomorrow’s League cup game to deal with also, bringing the total of 4 games in 10 days, the rest is well deserved. Except, it will also have an international break, where players fly around the world to represent their country and some of them might just have a kick or two. And if we’re all lucky, they might just kick the ball a few times too.
I guess with no league game to report on next week’s blog will either be not done, or discussing my thoughts on Ben Affleck as Batman, or Miley Cyrus’ controversy. 
Either way, keep your eyes peeled.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Is there any hope left in football ?

Hope, can mean anything to any one supporter, but for this article I’ll discuss hope as it stands as a word. Any flame of delight to shout about, when your teams losing 17-0 at home to Barnet (No disrespect intended) or when your team constantly goes 2-0 up to lose 3-2 .

I will start off with today’s news that Hope Powell; the England Ladies head coach has been sacked with immediate effect. At times it was a very promising era for women’s football, and her achievements in helping England get to the latter stages of tournaments, it definitely improved the coverage of the game in England. It was amazing to see the coverage of Women’s Olympic football, and it was definitely something the women’s game needed, though the men’s game, not so much.

I am sad to see the end of hope Powell's reign as England women's football manager. It has been good to see the spotlight on a sport which gets over looked especially one in women’s football. It has come from a long way of people saying, “Oh there was nothing on Television so I watched the women’s football Cup final”.  It was definitely a game which needed the presence of the Olympic Games to promote and show the world how glorious it could be.

 I do wonder, though, that in the high stakes game of trying to guess who the first managerial casualty of the season will be, how many of you thought this would be the first one? If you say you did, I’d call you a liar. Then I’d ask for proof, and when presented with the proof, I would then dis credit that proof, such as what is often done on Pawn Stars. At least football is back, and so begins week after week of asinine predictions, and stubborn on-lookers believing their team to be the best in the world, despite being in the 4th tier of football.

On a different note, I can find hope in that Aston Villa will silence a lot of people this season, and shouldn't be anywhere near the relegation zone. As a Holte Ender, the noise will be loud and proud for the majority of the season, and we can definitely feel more secure in retaining the services of the Belgian Beast. Phew. Keep up to date with my in season thoughts about the club that I, and so many others Love, Aston Villa.

Here is a taster, a reflection on the opening weekend of the Barclay’s Premier League match Away to Arsenal at the Emirates. The match finished 3-1 in favour of Villa, and whilst I fancied a sneaky 3 points, I definitely didn't really expect such a clinical victory. Happy Days, unbeaten going into a home clash against Liverpool, but wait!
Firstly, they have to play Away to Chelsea, as on the original date of the fixture, Chelsea are due to play for the Super Cup so let’s play this week. Superb.
More on this game will be featured in my forward to the Liverpool fixture which will be released Week commencing August 26th.

To sign off for this week, I will mention that with Alan Pardew’s recent comment that the Transfer window should be closed come opening Weekend. I agree, it would stop these sagas of will Wayne Rooney leave Manchester United, will Luis Suarez stay at Liverpool, or where will Christian Benteke play for the 2013/14 season ? Well, The Benteke saga was answered, when he withdrew his Transfer Request, and signed a new contract to stay exactly where he was, and The Holte End will have at least 18 goals to look forward to from him alone. To answer the statement, Yes, it should close when the season starts, as there are 2 months between seasons to get things done, to buy players, to sell players, to do whatever they need to do, and maybe if they miss a player, they can use Hawkeye to review their stupidity.

Thankyou for reading and I will see you at the same time, same place next week.