What Gerard Houllier should have noticed by now

It's early in the season but the league table is starting to look worrying. We are just three points clear of the relegation zone, we are not scoring and have suddenly started to get major injuries.

I have to admit that if we were to lose at Fulham I would start to really worry and at the same time we are also only three points from fifth place.

But with Manchester United and Arsenal to play in November, it is possible things might get worse and even with the likes of Milner in the midfield, we would struggle.

I am not saying that things are that bleak though because there are a lot of positives. But actions need to be taken now to help keep the Villa at the same level as they have been the last few years.

So what, in my opinion, do I hope that Gerard Houllier has learnt in his first month in charge of the great Aston Villa? To make it easy, I've compiled a list.

  • Brad Friedel is still a very good goalkeeper. I had my doubts early on and thought he was past his best but his performances this last month have been excellent.
  • In Luke Young and Stephen Warnock we have two superb first choice full-backs. Two great buys by Martin but he failed to really deal with Luke correctly when Luke was going through a difficult time.
  • Richard Dunne is suspect. Sorry but too many mistakes and the way he was turned twice by Jerome last Sunday was poor.
  • Carlos Cuellar is probably the best centre half at the club. He is one of the best centre halves in the country.
  • Steve Sidwell and Nigel Reo Coker are simply not good enough. Control, passing and shooting is just not of the standard for a club with aspirations of top four.
  • Stephen Ireland doesn’t want to be here. I thought he would be a good exchange in the Milner deal but he really does look lost.
  • Stewart Downing is the best footballer at the club. He is class and I would even be tempted to play him centre of midfield.
  • Ashley Young never takes anybody on and falls over too easily. I am so frustrated with Ashley because he has the talent.
  • John Carew is past his best and fails to hold the ball up. I have said for last twelve months that Emile is a much better player for Villa than Carew and have seen nothing this season to change that view.
  • We need some pace upfront and desperately need a fully fit Gabby. I worry he might not be fully fit before Christmas but oh how we need him.
  • Marc Albrighton and Ciaran Clark are quality and should be playing every week. Clark reminds me so much of the early Gareth Barry.
  • Barry Bannan and Eric Lichaj are both very promising and should be introduced slowly. Still not sure where to play Bannan.

Letter to Santa

It seems fairly clear that we need two things for Christmas and they are a creative central midfielder and a replacement up front for Carew. A goalscorer with pace who can hold the ball up. Any suggestions?


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