A point at Villa park is nothing to be sniffed at, just can't help but think how sweet three points would have been, then again what's the point in wondering about all the ifs and buts, reality must be dealt with. It certainly leaves a lot of pressure on the home game against the mancs this weekend. It was an interesting game last night, slightly contrasting styles and some decent football, a mixture of poor finishing and some excellent defending meant that the deadlock was never broken.
It could all have been very different had Manuel Almunia not got down extremely well to a very firm Agoblahor shot in the first few minutes, he tipped it wide and this was a top notch bit of goalkeeping. Friedel was forced into a slightly less tricky save when Denilson cracked in a decent left footed effort from the edge of the box. The game was fairly rapid from one end to the other, Villa preferring to play on the counter than investing too many bodies forward at any one time. Thomas Vermaelen, in landing seemingly innocuously having jumped for a header, then hobbled off injured. Hopefully it's nothing too serious, he did try to play on for a few minutes on it which must be a good sign, fingers crossed. Defensively we coped reasonably well with everything that Villa threw at us, Gallas was particularly good, Almunia too, Young did catch Clichy out a few times.
The best chance of the game came when Cesc drifted past a couple of defenders towards the end of the first half, he shot low and hard against the base of Freidel's right hand post, Rosicky looked set to fire it home on the rebound, alas Ramsey got in his way. Dunne saved Villa with a vital last ditch clearance at the feet of Villa, Downing then headed wide with what was probably Villa's best opening of the game, Arshavin nipped clean through to be blocked by Friedel, Rosicky was terribly unlucky to see his effort crack back off the underside of the bar.
Overall we were a tad unlucky to only get the point, Villa never really opened us up, they put in some dangerous crosses which we defended well, but we looked the far more likely to score. The game was slightly cagey, Villa were never going to leave themselves open by playing like the traditional home side, on another day Rosicky's effort would have bounced the other side of the goal line or Ramsey would have moved out the way to allow Rosicky to side foot home. The spat between Wenger and O'Neill was nothing but a bit of media spin, in reality Arsene said nothing offensive, he just stated some pretty basic stuff that appears to have been twisted before being played back to O'Neill by some disingenuous hack
I am a great fan of Arsene Wenger, so what I say now must be seen in context, I really do fear if we do not strengthen by the end of the window then we will be jeopardising our chances of success this season. If Vermaelen is out for a few weeks then there is no doubt that we need another centre back on board, it is not good enough to have only Gallas, Campbell and Silvestre for the next couple of months, it's a simple as that in my eyes. The apparent collapse of the Smalling deal is a blow because he appears the exact kind of player we need to have floating around in reserve. We have both the Champions league and Premier League to fight for, we need more depth in the squad, it's getting beyond a joke. Even if Eduardo was not injured I would say we need another striker for the rest of the season, three strikers is a minimum number for me, so with Eduardo injured for who knows how long, Bendtner just back from a long lay off, it is absurd to not be lining up someone to fill this short term gap for a few months.
It really would be such a crying shame if were to leave such gaps in our squad before such an important run in. Buying in a couple of experienced pros in these positions would guarantee nothing, we may well end up with nothing even with them, but if we do not it will be so frustrating to be thinking 'what if we had strengthened' those blatant deficiencies in our squad. I agree with Arseblogger when he talks of the nonsensical arguments of stifling the development of the Velas and Walcotts of this world. All I am asking for is a couple of short term signings that will plug the gaps until the end of the season when RVP will be fit and when we can bring in another young centre back who can be groomed for a the future.
ps Great news that Thomas Vermaelen has no break and will be back fairly soon, also good news that Eduardo is only out for a few days with his hammy. Eboue and Song are also back in training and will surely be available for selection at the weekend.