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Everton preview & the state of affairs


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The enforced 2 week break between the Wolves game and the game against Everton has been quite telling and it has also been a blessing in disguise in my opinion.

Even just using the VillaTalk forum as a microcosm, there has been a lot of soul searching and a lot of discussion and reflection about what to do about our current predicament. What is the 'right' thing to do versus what we feel as fans we should be entitled to do. Support at all costs, hatred of the manager, support during the match, protest before or after plus every shade in between all of the above. The pros and cons of all approaches have been discussed at length.

I imagine and I hope that a similar kind of soul-searching has probably happened within the squad. Reflecting on where they are versus where they probably felt they would be at this stage in the season.

How we acquit ourselves at 3pm on Saturday will go a long way towards showing whether we have the bottle for the fight and whether we used the break to re-charge the batteries and come back with a newfound hunger both on and off the pitch. It will tell us whether we have used the break in the right way, or whether we have wasted it like so many dropped points in a season.

For me, it's not just because we have 8 games left that it can be seen as a 'new season', or '8 cup finals' or [insert favourite cliché]. No, it's the gap that has elapsed between game #30 and game #31 that has also hit the reset button.

Fans can; and do; squabble over this and that with regards to Villa. Often in a very passionate manner as you would expect. But these same fans who attack each other on a message board can not deny that they will always share one common ground with the poster on the other side of the coin. Ultimately, the good of Aston Villa Football Club is all that matters. They only differ in their approach to achieving this goal.

If the Everton match had followed the Wolves match in consecutive weekends then the team might well have potentially stumbled from one inept performance into another. And the fans might have continued one disillusioned outing with another. But I think the international break could not have come at a better time for Aston Villa. It has given the fans and the players an opportunity to take a step back, take a breather and as I said, to reflect. It has given Houllier and his troops a much-needed opportunity to take stock once again and take another look at what is needed for the run-in. If what we are hearing from the recent interviews is to be believed then this is precisely what they have been doing, which at least sounds like a good thing.

Now we could certainly have picked an easier fixture to 'start our new season' with. Going to Goodison Park is never easy at the best of times. Doing it when Everton have, themselves, had a disappointing season by their own standards and just when they appear to be turning a corner will only make it more difficult than usual. Doing it also when Villa's confidence is fragile both on and off the pitch means that we need to get off to an absolute flyer on Saturday afternoon. If we were to concede the first goal then it could be a long long afternoon, it could be a mid-season break wasted, it could be another nail in the coffin and more dangerously it could be 1 down, 7 to go.

So for the love of all that is claret and blue, please please forget your differences on Saturday and in the run-in and get 100% behind the players throughout the match, particularly when things aren't going their way. They need you now more than ever. I hope that those of you travelling up to Liverpool for the match will be intent on putting your views of Houllier to one side, certainly for the duration of the match and supporting the team to your absolute maximum. If you think you don't influence their performance then you are badly mistaken. If you want to maximise the club's chances of being in the Premier League next season then do your bit in the firm belief that it will spur the players to give that bit extra for the shirt.

UTV!!

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Very good post and I totaly agree... It's time to fully get behind the team and spur them on for the full 90min... If we goal goal behind then sing LOUDER! We need Villa and they need us!

UTV!

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The most important thing to come out of the two week break, IMO, is that the manager has had the opportunity to see Ashley play in a 4-3-3 in a wide position and, for the last 20 minutes or so on Tuesday, in a 4-4-1-1 and if he hasn't managed to work out over those 180 minutes what position Ash delivers best from then it really has been a wasted break for me. Interested to see how the team lines up at 3pm tomorrow.

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In many respects, it's becoming make or break time for the club, M. Houllier, the players and the fans.

We all need to pull together whatever we think of the management team. If we lose this weekend, I fear for our safety despite the next couple of fixtures which we should win.

UTV

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