I will be the first to admit it if it turns out my hatred for Emile Heskey was shortsighted. The erstwhile striker sure seems to have something to prove lately, and Gérard seems to want to give him the chance. Hey, if it's good for Villa, we're all happy.
It was this line of thinking that brought me to this week's Friday Feedback question. How many times have you declared something, had it turn totally against what you predicted, and not even cared a whit. The outcome was able to overcome your prejudices, and our natural desire to be correct. So, our answers are below, and I hope we'll be able to find yours in the comments section.
What, with regards to soccer, would you most like to be proven wrong about?
Aaron: I'm a pretty firm believer that the Premier League will never really change, or at least if it does that the change is so slow to develop that it might as well be glacial. There will always be an innovative manager or two-Arsene Wenger comes to mind at the present, Mourinho in recent years as well-but the majority of the teams play a style similar to the great Wolverhampton teams of the 1950s who themselves played a style similar to the great teams of the 1930s and so forth. The formations have changed drastically throughout the years, but the strategy is largely the same-defend, kick the ball long and run at people. The teams that are perennially at the top of the table, with their resources and their lessons learned from Europe, often have the players to do things differently. But the rest of the teams don't, or at least they think they don't, so they stick to what they've been doing all of these years.
There's also this bizarre fascination amongst a lot of fans in England with playing the game this way. If Bottom Table Team A go out and play a 4-4-2 and kick it long and play physical football and lose, well, that's life at the bottom of the table. If they go out and play a 4-2-3-1 and try to control possession and attack and lose, people are calling for heads. Which is quite frustrating. But I don't really expect that to ever not be the case. And that's something I'd love to be wrong about.
Gareth: I've often been resigned to the notion that Villa's period of league and European success could never happen again. Before the advent of the Barclay's Premier League Presented By Nike And EA Sports and the Heineken UEFA Playstation Champions League Ford F-150, there was a greater chance that a club like Villa could rise to the top without massive financial investment. However, that possibility seems completely gone these days.
Kirsten: I'd love to be wrong about Frank Lampard's career being over.
Really, though, I want to be wrong about Houllier. I was an outspoken critic of his appointment, believing that somehow I knew better than Randy Lerner and co. about what Aston Villa need. But I don't think we can judge Houllier on two games. Villa have a tough schedule over the next two months, and then we have a fun transfer window to get through. I want Gérard to prove me wrong, show me that Villa can have an excellent season, that they can make decent pickups and play a different style then we've become accustomed to after the Martin O'Neill years.
Robert: Emile is my obvious choice, but I've talked about that already. So instead, I'd like to be wrong about my general thoughts for the club. As it stands, I think we're a team poised to finish 8th or 9th in the Premier League and miss out on European play. As Aaron has written about, we've got a lot of trouble in the central midfield, and unless someone can step up, it's going to hurt us.
That said, if Stephen Ireland, or NRC, or anyone can come through in ways we don't expect, the club could have a shot. I'd love to eat my words on this prediction a few months from now as Villa are battling for a Champions League spot.
So what do you want to be wrong about? Let's hear it below!