James Milner, Stan the Man and a Swedish rumour

Backwards posting today so I'm beginning with the Swedish rumour and unfortunately Olof Mellberg isn't coming back after Martin O'Neill convinced him he made a mistake in not getting him the contract when he was willing to sign it, no, it's Swedish central defender Jonas Olsson.

Olsson isn't a bad player and has done well for the Swedish U21 team, he is strong and has a similar spirit to Mellberg, which will win the fans over quickly, but I'm still to be convinced that he can play at the top level, but he's the type of player that can easily convince me.


It is just a rumour though and we are apparently linked with the likes of, you guessed it, Everton, Pompey and Blackburn.

Moving on, Stan Petrov has spoken about him committing his future to Aston Villa and he's suggested that he may sign a contract next week or in the summer. I can't see him not signing, can you?

Stan Petrov, May 4th 2009
We have had a few talks and we will see where it will end up. It could happen next week, and it could happen in the summer. I don’t think anyone has ever heard me say I was ever unhappy at Villa.

I am going through a better time on the pitch now, though, and as long as I go out and perform well for the team and the fans then I am happy.

Petrov is staying, unless Liverpool only want to sign Barry if they get Petrov at the same time or Manchester United see him as a replacement for Carrick who is convinced his long term future is at Villa Park alongside Carlos Tevez who has refused to wear the red shirt again unless he gets his summer move to B6. Petrov will sign, he's probably just haggling over more money.

Lastly for this post, but I suspect they'll be another one later, my weekly pop at James Milner.

James Milner, May 5th 2009
It has been a poor run and we know we should have done better but it's about what you take from them and how you bounce back. If we are in the same position next year with 10 games to go, hopefully we'll see it through and go one better. But it's very rare you'll find a team that goes through a season without having a dip in form.

It's about how you recover from that and we had a spell where we weren't putting in good enough performances but since Manchester United we've come away and had some good performances.

We beat Hull, a team that hadn't won in so long that they've probably forgotten how to and we don't need a player coming out as if it is all over and telling us about bouncing back. We needed to bounce back in February and March, not wait until April. It's also about practising crosses in training.

But he is right, it's about how we recover, but have we? I don't think we have. In my preview, I put Hull down as a victory only because they were such a poor team, but I'd predicted draws for the previous three matches and I won't be confidently predicting three points at the weekend either.

At the end of the day we only had a couple more shots on target than Hull and we're up against a team this weekend who have a better home record than we have away record and it will be a proper test, because Fulham are a team we should be beating, regardless of where they sit in the table.

As for good performances Jimmy, that match against Bolton was possibly the worst performance all season. Come on, put things into perspective and instead of just crossing, with hope, if you're not extremely confident of getting it to a Villa player or you're not quick enough to beat the first man, don't just kick it and give possession away, hold on to the ball and play it across the ground to man in space. That or practise your crosses, we can't score if you don't have the ball.

Right, that is my little moan for now, but did anyone see the Chelsea match last night? I'm not convinced Barcelona deserved to win last night but I think over the two legs they deserved it, which should be enough for Chelsea. As for how some of their players acted at the end and in particular Ballack, during it, well, it just brings shame on the English game.

But I do think Graeme Souness had something last night when he said that UEFA wouldn't be unhappy that it was not two English teams. I'm not suggesting the referee was under orders, but Chelsea should have had a penalty or two last night and you can't really see any other result other than quite a bit Manchester United win.