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Which existing players fit the O'Neill system.


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by avfcinwales

Malcolm asks a question about the current squad

First off, while I hate O'Neill and think he's totally useless as a manager (after all if Strachan can achieve with Celtic something he never did he can't be much use can he), I do appreciate his ability to knit together players to suit a decent mid table Premiership side. :)

He's already increased the security of the defence, helped greatly by a more consistent Sorensen and Laursen’s brief return, to say little of a greatly improved Ridgewell, and from this basis allied to odd bits of luck we don't normally associate with the Villa since Taylor's first term, he's achieved a sound foundation.

He's brought in 3 players, none have set the world alight, but certainly an improving Sutton and a quality Petrov have improved options all round.

He is limited by the squad size, something I criticised O'Leary for when he spent most of his funds on Baros, and with the short time O'Neill had under Ellis restrictions, in the last transfer window, although I think he could have done better, he didn't do too bad in Petrov.

But with the future in mind, next summer, no further, I'm beginning to speculate on how many of our existing players will fit his expected formation.

This has to be speculative, like most of the posts often are primarily because we don't know the full depth of his and his team’s tactical knowledge.

OK as JG showed, when in doubt, pick a defensive system and before you know where you are you top the league, sustaining it by improving the squad is where it can go wrong, probably less so under Lerner than Ellis, because I don't see restrictions being placed, not the sort to worry O'Neill anyway, but its not going to be easy.

Firstly the squad is small and only the youth coming through has bailed him and O'Leary to some degree out, but for us to push on he needs experienced quality by the bucketful and quickly.

Which then begs the question, will he rebuild as he has in the past, with a tight defence, a strong flair free midfield and a target man supplied by one or two direct wingers. Will he buy 'cheap and cheerful' or go for the higher quality target, be they young potential or proven stars or compromise.

Not got a clue, although I'd speculate again, he'll for now build to achieve a sound base on which to build around.

If so he needs a sound backbone

Sorensen, no problem, there are few better in the Premiership

He needs 1 ideally two talented centre backs, Laursen clones without the knee problems.

He has in Barry, McCann and Petrov a decent basis, I'm very concerned about Davis as I was about Whittingham last year, he's not got much better, I hope Davis will or he won't survive beyond the summer, very sadly.

Up front he needs a target man and 2 wide players. Here he and I diverge, but no matter.

We have in Moore and Gabby two highly talented young strikers who brought through carefully will make decent, even top quality strikers, but both have a long, long way to go before they become Premiership permanents, especially in their present roles. As such I can't see again, sadly, much chance for either Angel or Baros to be long term considerations.

Neither really fit the O'Neill tactical scene, neither really offer options that would fit either, square pegs without doubt.

I'm not going to speculate on who he will buy, that is a game for threads on the message board, and its pointless, one thing we supporters can't know is the many workings and dealings that go on behind the scenes, we can't.

I will suggest his priorities are a commanding centre back, a target man striker and at least 1 wide provider, ideally right footed, in January.

In the summer starts the real work, and the real big test of O'Neill's talents. Then he has to prove whether he is capable of building a table topping European beating side

By then the honeymoon period will be over, here's hoping it finishes with European qualification.

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I think HATE is a strong word. In my opinion he is the BEST manager we could have had and he has my backing all the way. I've always said he will work miracles for us, but I did not think he would do it this soon. There is still 2/3's of the season to go and a lot can happen, but I believe this is the start of something great!

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how can people possibly question joint forth in league with 1/3 of season gone - Lets get O'leary back as perhaps we will do better.......

Hate O'neill and Totally useless manager - Sorry but its a totally useless post...

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I think some people appear to be taking Malcolms words at face value, when he says he "hates" MON he's being a tad ironic, its what others accuse him of as opposed to him actually disliking MON per se. He has his criticisms of MON and his concerns but as far as I'm aware he's never actually said he dislikes him (and actually meant it)

I aslo think people are guilty of reading the first sentence and making the rest up, imo the article makes some interesting points worthy of discussion but you need to understand that he doesnt hate MON

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Its amazing what people don't read isn't it

Proves a point I suppose

I'd better qualify it hadn't I mods.

I don't really hate O'Neill lads hence the smiley, its just that having commented on some of his mistakes as I see them, lots of people on here have taken to suggesting I do, hence the rather sarcastic start to the edict.

I had hoped that the rest of the piece qualified my real thoughts, but I hadn't allowed seemingly for the level of intelligence or perhaps, being kinder, the staying power to read all through the missive

Never mind

:bang::bang::bang::bang: :angel:

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The first two replies made me chuckle, unbelievable.

I hope MON builds a solid side and a difficult side to beat as much as anybody, but my concern is whether MON can build a flair side in the long term. Ok not something I'm giving much thought to ATM as just having a decent side is enough to make me happy right now, but in the long term I will want my jam, and that to me is to have a good footballing side that plays like Man.U, but I suppose you cant have it all can you!

First of all in the much more imediate future this January is about bringing in a couple of cover players and a couple of first team players that will allow us to function properly in a 4-4-2 like say left and right wingers!

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Good article (again) Malcolm.

I think being manager of Aston Villa is unchartered territory for MON. At Wycombe, Norwich and Leicester he was working at a lower level. Yes he won cups with Leicester but midtable was all he needed in the league to be seen as a major success and consequently that's all he needed to buy for. Similarly even with Celtic, the quality required to win the Scottish league was probably similar to that required to come midtable with Leicester - which explains why he brought some of them up with him when he moved.

It is a criticism levelled at managers like Allardyce, Redknapp & Curbishley that even though they are great at getting to, and sustaining, a certain level, they would never be able to take the reins of a Liverpool or a Man Ure and win the big trophies. For the first time in MON's career he is in control of a club in a major league that has all of a sudden been given the resources and (through no fault of his own) the fan expectation to win the big prizes. Midtable will no longer be good enough. Will he be able to take the next step from big fish in small pond to big fish in big pond? I expect he will, but it is still technically an unanswered question. He has gone from playing with the Curbishleys and the Pearces to potentially rubbing shoulders with the Ferguson's and the Mourinho's. When put like that it seems daunting.

I mention all of this because the 'unchartered territory' thing is apt when discussing what his ultimate 'system' will be. I think at the other clubs, perhaps excluding Celtic, he was forced to play a dour brand of football which negated the oppositions superior quality and 'brought them down to our level'. At Celtic I suppose his priority was Europe seeing as the League was seen by the fans as something that would be won anyway - so in that way he was once again a team dealing with teams of superior technique and quality (the Euro teams) so once again he had to adapt a milder form of 'bring them down to our level and beat them with experience'.

With Villa he ultimately wont have to do that. He will be able to create the system that he has always wanted to play. He wont have to pigeonhole our system into a budget - well not a restricting one anyway. But we don't know what the system is going to be. We have never seen MON in control of a team in our situation.

However, for the purpose of giving of my opinion on the current squad - If we are to presume that he will adopt a system similar to those used at his previous clubs then I think his priorities will be that commanding CB you mention. I think he needs 2 wingers because I frankly think Gabby is wasted on the right - and MON has said he would REALLY like to rest him, and we clearly don't have a left winger - even when Moore is fit. I would have Gabby up front alongside Angel. Angel is not a target man per se but he is well able to head a ball, well able to hold a ball up and he has the brain to set a through ball in motion - as evidenced by Vassell being his favourite Villa partner. Gabby, and to a lesser extent Moore, is the closest we have to Vassell.

I am not sure how many of these players can be bought in January. I don't want, or expect, MON to buy in January for the sake of numbers, so realistically I think maybe 1 will be bought in Jan and the rest will be earmarked for the summer - when no doubt many more will be bought amongst the priority players.

I hope, given his new combination of scenario/resource/expectation, that he will employ a more adventurous style of football, although I admit as a fan, the result is more important than the manner, but it would be nice to have a genuine flair player in there somewhere to give VP the X factor.

If we were to be overly critical of the current squad and start talking about Champions League qualification then I think we could say that we need 2 defenders, maybe 3 - 2 midfielders, 2 strikers and a stronger bench.

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I was talking with a few Celtic fans yesterday in Glasgow and the one thing that they said that was really interesting was the reference to his skills at making decisions which they attributed to his training / education as a legal person. It makes sense when you see the way he deals with questions just giving him self enough time to think through the right answer, saying the right thing generally. This apparently is the way he also does things in the transfer market which allows him generally to get the people that he wants.

January will be so interesting for many reasons as will next summer. I suspect that both will go a long way in shaping the way the club goes in the next 5 years

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WOW thanks BOF

You succinctly put many of my thoughts there very nicely.

I think there is a very good chance given the proper backing he should get, that he is capable of building a team able to, shall we say, compete at the top.

Where I have my doubts is whether his style of management is good enough to cope with the real top guys, even Sir Alex has a number two with 'special' European Credentials

My doubts centre around his age and the age of his backroom team and the time he has spent out of the Premiership, and of course his lack of European experience, even Gregory had more, I'd guess even O'Leary comes close.

The Everton match convinced me he still has enough to start us onwards, and although he's not yet had chance to show how far he can go, I do have some doubts, some of his short term decisions have been very 'old' thinking.

He's doing a great job though nevertheless and for me the introduction of Sutton who, lets face it, is still limited, has shown up for me the problem of Angel.

I love him to death but he's a striekr who likes to be in the thick of it and he needs chances to convert

He's another square peg for me and it shows.

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of the Premiership, and of course his lack of European experience, even Gregory had more, I'd guess even O'Leary comes close

You keep going about his supposed lack of European experience, then you back up it with "facts" like the above. Less European experience than John Gregory? Sure about that? Same for O'Leary.

He got a team that receives a fraction of the TV money English teams do to the final of the UEFA cup, and only lost to the team that won the Champions League the following season, managed by possibly the best manager in Europe. He also got Leicester into Europe, which is quite incredible when you think about it.

He's never been at a club in a position to do consistently well in Europe before, bu now he just might be.

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I think some people appear to be taking Malcolms words at face value, when he says he "hates" MON he's being a tad ironic, its what others accuse him of as opposed to him actually disliking MON per se. He has his criticisms of MON and his concerns but as far as I'm aware he's never actually said he dislikes him (and actually meant it)

I aslo think people are guilty of reading the first sentence and making the rest up, imo the article makes some interesting points worthy of discussion but you need to understand that he doesnt hate MON

A very noble effort in bailing Malcolm out...... perhaps you know him better than most.

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The first two replies made me chuckle, unbelievable.

I hope MON builds a solid side and a difficult side to beat as much as anybody, but my concern is whether MON can build a flair side in the long term. Ok not something I'm giving much thought to ATM as just having a decent side is enough to make me happy right now, but in the long term I will want my jam, and that to me is to have a good footballing side that plays like Man.U, but I suppose you cant have it all can you!

First of all in the much more imediate future this January is about bringing in a couple of cover players and a couple of first team players that will allow us to function properly in a 4-4-2 like say left and right wingers!

I think your concerns have validity and I'm sure everyone feels the same way that we do want free flowing football at some stage..... but the transition is not easy and must be delicately managed, with quality signings that take time to capture.

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Good article (again) Malcolm.

I think being manager of Aston Villa is unchartered territory for MON. At Wycombe, Norwich and Leicester he was working at a lower level. Yes he won cups with Leicester but midtable was all he needed in the league to be seen as a major success and consequently that's all he needed to buy for. Similarly even with Celtic, the quality required to win the Scottish league was probably similar to that required to come midtable with Leicester - which explains why he brought some of them up with him when he moved.

It is a criticism levelled at managers like Allardyce, Redknapp & Curbishley that even though they are great at getting to, and sustaining, a certain level, they would never be able to take the reins of a Liverpool or a Man Ure and win the big trophies. For the first time in MON's career he is in control of a club in a major league that has all of a sudden been given the resources and (through no fault of his own) the fan expectation to win the big prizes. Midtable will no longer be good enough. Will he be able to take the next step from big fish in small pond to big fish in big pond? I expect he will, but it is still technically an unanswered question. He has gone from playing with the Curbishleys and the Pearces to potentially rubbing shoulders with the Ferguson's and the Mourinho's. When put like that it seems daunting.

I mention all of this because the 'unchartered territory' thing is apt when discussing what his ultimate 'system' will be. I think at the other clubs, perhaps excluding Celtic, he was forced to play a dour brand of football which negated the oppositions superior quality and 'brought them down to our level'. At Celtic I suppose his priority was Europe seeing as the League was seen by the fans as something that would be won anyway - so in that way he was once again a team dealing with teams of superior technique and quality (the Euro teams) so once again he had to adapt a milder form of 'bring them down to our level and beat them with experience'.

With Villa he ultimately wont have to do that. He will be able to create the system that he has always wanted to play. He wont have to pigeonhole our system into a budget - well not a restricting one anyway. But we don't know what the system is going to be. We have never seen MON in control of a team in our situation.

However, for the purpose of giving of my opinion on the current squad - If we are to presume that he will adopt a system similar to those used at his previous clubs then I think his priorities will be that commanding CB you mention. I think he needs 2 wingers because I frankly think Gabby is wasted on the right - and MON has said he would REALLY like to rest him, and we clearly don't have a left winger - even when Moore is fit. I would have Gabby up front alongside Angel. Angel is not a target man per se but he is well able to head a ball, well able to hold a ball up and he has the brain to set a through ball in motion - as evidenced by Vassell being his favourite Villa partner. Gabby, and to a lesser extent Moore, is the closest we have to Vassell.

I am not sure how many of these players can be bought in January. I don't want, or expect, MON to buy in January for the sake of numbers, so realistically I think maybe 1 will be bought in Jan and the rest will be earmarked for the summer - when no doubt many more will be bought amongst the priority players.

I hope, given his new combination of scenario/resource/expectation, that he will employ a more adventurous style of football, although I admit as a fan, the result is more important than the manner, but it would be nice to have a genuine flair player in there somewhere to give VP the X factor.

If we were to be overly critical of the current squad and start talking about Champions League qualification then I think we could say that we need 2 defenders, maybe 3 - 2 midfielders, 2 strikers and a stronger bench.

Ron Saunders had acheived very little before taking over villa so I'm not sure what can be deduced by examining a mans career at previous clubs...... It Took Alex Ferguson 5 years to take a grip clearly a period of time totally unacceptable by some fans and probably MON himself......The one thing certain about Martin O'neill is if you were asked the question on Millionaires who is the most popular Manager in British Football and was unlucky enough to not be a football fan the "ask the audience question would be delivered with a resounding 100 %

......Have faith, his teams will be a transition and we are lucky enough to be around to watch it happen

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WOW thanks BOF

You succinctly put many of my thoughts there very nicely.

I think there is a very good chance given the proper backing he should get, that he is capable of building a team able to, shall we say, compete at the top.

Where I have my doubts is whether his style of management is good enough to cope with the real top guys, even Sir Alex has a number two with 'special' European Credentials

My doubts centre around his age and the age of his backroom team and the time he has spent out of the Premiership, and of course his lack of European experience, even Gregory had more, I'd guess even O'Leary comes close.

The Everton match convinced me he still has enough to start us onwards, and although he's not yet had chance to show how far he can go, I do have some doubts, some of his short term decisions have been very 'old' thinking.

He's doing a great job though nevertheless and for me the introduction of Sutton who, lets face it, is still limited, has shown up for me the problem of Angel.

I love him to death but he's a striekr who likes to be in the thick of it and he needs chances to convert

He's another square peg for me and it shows.

Malcolm.... A part of the fun on these sites is to pit your wits on predicting what will the future hold..... despite your little bit of fun in camoflaging your " I hate the manager" and your pals buying in to your Style of humour I am still not convinced you have put David O'leary to bed.Amongst the notably sensible comments there lies a dark side that is either impatient or downright mistrusting of this Manager.For Sure....No one can be sure if he will get it right.......My Predictions is he will with resounding success, but i do not think he will do it in the short term.

I have to accept at face value ( or do I.... I'm not really sure now) that you do like the manager...... Albeit I have to say I would have no joy what so ever in saying on this site joking or not " I HATE THE MANAGER" I just respect him far too much to play games like that.

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Ron Saunders had acheived very little before taking over villa so I'm not sure what can be deduced by examining a mans career at previous clubs...... It Took Alex Ferguson 5 years to take a grip clearly a period of time totally unacceptable by some fans and probably MON himself......The one thing certain about Martin O'neill is if you were asked the question on Millionaires who is the most popular Manager in British Football and was unlucky enough to not be a football fan the "ask the audience question would be delivered with a resounding 100 %

......Have faith, his teams will be a transition and we are lucky enough to be around to watch it happen

Nothing is 'being deduced'. In fact if you read my post thoroughly you would see that I actually point out that 'what went before' can NOT be used as a guide for what will happen to us, but that I chose to comment on the squad 'for the purpose' of responding to what Malcolm asked anyway.

I also went on to say that "I expect he will" be able to make the jump to consistent big fish, so I don't know what the 'have faith' comment was referring to - as I clearly already DO have faith.

For me to mention that he technically has never been in a major league with a club equipped to win things is not a criticism, it is a fact, and to jump on such a comment and try to turn it into me criticising him is exactly what annoys people on here i.e. that people in here are seemingly not allowed to make a point about MON if it doesn't sing his praises from the rafters. To repeat - I am not criticising him, I am merely pointing out something that he has not yet done in his career - while also pointing out that I believe he will have no problem in achieving it.

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In 2003, O'Neill was number 5 in the manager of year awards from World Soccer magazine, after Ancelotti, Lippi, Mourhinho and Ferguson.

Not rated?

It's getting ridiculous now. Who said he's not rated ? Your post is the first post in this thread to use the word 'rated' in any context. It is only people mis-interpreting the posts that have gone before who think this is some kind of MON-bash when nothing could be further from the truth.

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In 2003, O'Neill was number 5 in the manager of year awards from World Soccer magazine, after Ancelotti, Lippi, Mourhinho and Ferguson.

Not rated?

It's getting ridiculous now. Who said he's not rated ? Your post is the first post in this thread to use the word 'rated' in any context. It is only people mis-interpreting the posts that have gone before who think this is some kind of MON-bash when nothing could be further from the truth.

Both Malc and TRL (2 that prominently come to mind) have often in their posts made reference to that fact that MON is "not rated highly" outside of this little island of ours.

Martins point suggests otherwise.

That is the point he is making here, and IMO it's a valid one too.

(may possiby not be the right thread to make the point though).

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