I fired off this foul-mouthed string of consciousness to my buddy, a Liverpool fan; it contains a good deal of my thoughts on Villa and how the Football pundits get off on downgrading us. It's also absolutely the case that the media has left Liverpool out of the "big clubs" discussion now that flavors of the month City and Spurs have come onto the scene, but I contend that the media is, as usual, misguided and easily enamored. Liverpool are my surprise title contenders this year, and while I don't see them actually overcoming United and Chelsea, I see Arsenal on the decline, Spurs unable to juggle league and European football with a thin, injury-prone squad, and City as the usual mess/circus they've become, while all LFC have done is add quality and stability in the boardroom and on the touchline. So, without further ado (apres le jump):
I've been reading a few previews, and have noticed a few trends: first, everyone licks United and City's balls. Second, everyone hates our teams. The average LFC prediction is 5th, and Villa 10th - that asshole Nick Webster predicted us to finish 13th, below the quality of Sunderland (12th), Bolton (11th), FULHAM (10th), Everton (9th), WEST BROM (8th), and STOKE (7th). For fuck's sake. I'm not saying Villa will contend for the Champions League, but why the hell can't we finish ahead of these shitty teams? People are enamored with Sunderland, but they lost their two best players, Bent (cough) and Henderson (cough), are weak at the back, and lack quality up front! And West Brom 8th and Stoke 7th? West Brom have 15th written all over them, and Stoke will probably finish 13th. Yes, they're tough at home, but they haven't changed in 3 years, and I'll bet my ass every manager in the league knows their tricks by now! I'm fully aware that our teams have been through a bit of turmoil over the last year or so - LFC with the ownership bullshit, and Villa with a manager carousel sparked by that little fuck walking out 5 days before the season last year, and us hiring a guy with a heart condition (I actually think he did a good job). But things have changed, and there's a lot more stability around our two clubs; LFC have committed ownership who have bought (ahem) Carroll, Suarez, Downing, Henderson, and Enrique to play along side Gerrard, Kuyt, Maxi, Mireles, Carra, Skrtel, Glen Johnson, etc. You guys are loaded with quality. LOADED. Stevie just needs to get healthy. And while Villa sold two quality midfielders (again, sigh)...we replaced Downing with N'Zogbia, which I'm absolutely fine with, and replaced Friedel, who I loved, but he was looking increasingly unstable, with Shay fucking Given. I watched Villa's two games in the Asia Trophy, against Blackburn and a loaded Chelsea side...Given looked incredible. He makes video game saves. We fucking STOLE him for 5mil. We didn't replace Young with a new signing, but I think Albrighton will step up and take his place. If anything, Albrighton is more physical (for a small guy, too!), and isn't a diving, self-centered fuck. Don't get me wrong, Ash is a great player, but his insistence on taking every corner, every free kick, and every PENALTY, only to sail them into Row Z...it was holding us back. He was the worst penalty taker I've ever seen. From 5,000 miles away, I could stare into his eyes and see that he was going to miss. Now Bent can have them all, and he'll bury them all. Both of our teams' biggest problem recently has been inability to take 3 points from lesser teams. I think that's going to change this year, and if LFC can finish 6th and Villa 9th with the amount of bullshit we went through last year, there's no reason we can't contend for the CL and Europa League respectively.