My morning meeting cancelled so I've got time to put this up and have a nice breakfast and not need to worry about rushing to the next two, but I did forget to put up a poll for man of the match, so you're just going to have to run with whoever I pick for this match, sorry.
But, I just want to pick up on something someone has commented this morning about needing perspective and I just want to put it in black and white here. West Ham were second from bottom before the match last night and they were the worst performing home team in the league. Last season they were the 10th best team at home and the season before that the 14th best team in the league at home. We certainly do need some perspective.
There comes a time when we have to stop making excuses and look at the facts, or to coin a phrase, put things into perspective. I for one think Martin O'Neill is the type of manager that needs a huge amount of money and someone sitting above him providing him with the tools to do the job to make a successful team and either Lerner provides that or he doesn't. At the end of the day you have to hope that with 'top class' players or £30mn. players, we'd play better football and the net result would be more wins and less defeats.
Let's put things really 'into perspective' though for the way things stand right now; everyone knew what we were going to get last night; fight and determination and average football.
What the Papers Say
Paul Doyle, Guardian
Villa continued to threaten, but moments before half-time West Ham drew blood with the sort of counter-attack for which Martin O'Neill's men are more recognised.
Richard Rae, The Independent
While it might take a certain generosity of mind to suggest the curling long-range effort with which the young winger brought Villa level shortly after missing a penalty was unquestionably deliberate, Young's readiness to simply have a go gave Martin O'Neill's otherwise slightly pedestrian and at times out-played side another dimension. Even so, O'Neill must be painfully aware that on this evidence, of the three pretenders to Liverpool's crown – if occupancy of the fourth Champions League position can be so designated – the Villans' case may prove the most suspect.
Martin O'Neill I don't think we should have been beaten in the game, I think we did enough to get something. I thought we were in the ascendency in the first half. The keeper made a save from Stiliyan and we looked a real threat. Obviously the goal just before half-time disrupted us. But we came fighting back and missed a penalty of our own. Ashley Young scored a really good goal and I thought we were going on to win it. I just thought in the last 15 minutes we looked a little bit tired. When Habib Beye got set off, I thought let's not lose the game but that didn't prove to be the case.
The Players and Some Stats
Brad Friedel, Richard Dunne, Habib Beye, Stephen Warnock, James Collins, Steve Sidwell, Ashley Young, Stiliyan Petrov, John Carew (Luke Young, 87), Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey (Nigel Reo-Coker, 46).
We had fifteen shots, seven of which were on target against the eight of West Ham. We also attempted 289 passes of which 214 were successful against 321 attempts and 254 successful ones for West Ham. Why is it every team seems to pass more than us apart from Blackburn?
Man of the Match
Because I forgot, you are getting my man of the match for last night and it goes to Ashley Young. Not for the cross that turned into a goal but for his work rate and not needing the physio to come on. He looked well up for it last night and he really isn't far from the complete winger. I don't think he is one of the best in Europe yet, but you can see he has something about him.
Lots of fight and determination, but more from West Ham last night. More everything from West Ham last night if we are honest and I know I'll get a bit of stick today for my views and that is your right, but give someone above Martin O'Neill a big cheque with the aim of getting better in than we have and I think we can kick on.
The game really is about money these days or getting absolutely the right manager who is going to develop the football but also demand that fight and determination, but he has to be able to do both.
Oh and as for the 'they looked tired' comment; make some bloody substitutions then!