Feb 282009
 

It feels odd to be saying it, but United’s emerging charge to the Premiership crown is a good thing, because it could do us a number of favours in our quest to overhaul Villa and get into the Champions League – the fixtures fall in such a way that seriously benefits us if the league picture is decided ahead of time.

Villa have just played and lost to a Chelsea side still feeling their league games to have importance – it is too early to write themselves off or consider their position in the top four safe. Trips to Anfield and Old Trafford are coming up for Villa, with neither match coming close to any Champions League game. Both with be tricky for Martin O’Neill’s side, as they are likely to face full strength teams.

You might argue that this is hardly a problem for them, given that we still have to face Chelsea in addition to Liverpool and United. But crucially, we play those three fixtures far later in the season, at a time when the league could well be decided, leaving our opponents to rest players for the Champions League.

Our trip to Anfield comes three days after the crucial quarter final second leg, and Chelsea come to the Emirates three days after the semi. United are our penultimate opponents, and if they maintain their current lead (as seems likely), they will have lifted the Premiership trophy by then. If English dominance continues in the Champions League, and United are flying towards the title, do you really think even our rivals will field strong sides?

Liverpool have a history of resting players for the Champions League, United are seeking an unprecedented number of trophies and won’t want to jeopardise it, while Abramovich craves the Champions League above all others.

Our run-in looks horrendous on paper, with three huge opponents in our final six games. But it wouldn’t surprise me if O’Neill was the one calling foul at the end of the season, with weakened sides helping us finish strongly. I’m sure the irony of him taking a shadow side to Moscow this week would be lost on him.

Yeah, I’m still optimistic.

  20 Responses to “United’s dominance is playing into our hands”

  1. good lad :)

  2. Good point and well made. Cheered me up that, thanks.

  3. You do make a very interesting point. I was thinking just that a few days ago actually. I even thought that Man Utd would of certainly won the Premier League by then, no only would they rest players, but I believe Sir Alex would give us that result…out of respect, out of courtesy, out of the fact the top 4 may want to stick together. Knowing that English footballs dominance would be preserved with Arsenal in the Champions League rather Villa.

    The fact is: Arsenal are leaps and bounds better than Villa, and are a much bigger club to represent England in Europe. Villa cant even break through to the Quarters of the Uefa Cup. Losing to CSKA.

    I think Man Utd would find it in English footballs best interest to (if it came to it) allow Arsenal to get that 4th spot.

    Thats my feeling.

  4. Are you crazy? Fergie would never even think about giving Wenger a helping hand. Why should he want to? And why should he be bothered about English football’s best interests.

    I think he would love Villa to do Arsenal for one of the 4 top spots. And if Villa do beat Arsenal to it then they have proven themsleves to be one of the top 4 teams in the country wheras Arsenal will have proven they are not.

    plus, you’ve got blinkers on if you think Arsenal’s squad is miles ahead of Villa’s. I’d say it’s pretty close, though Villa have a better winger

  5. @ Bertie,

    To be honest, Arsenal’s squad is miles ahead of Villa’s. Villa have had hardly any injury worries all season and have fielded very few players in the league.

    If you look at the players we’ve had missing for long spells and imagine what the season would have been like if we had a similar fitness record to Villa’s, you will see how much our perceived lack of depth is exaggerated.

    Then there is the issue of the number of players we had represented internationally over the summer months compared to Villa’s. Massive difference in rest periods that our players received.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if more Villa players start to pick up knocks as the season progresses, just as some of our best players return to fitness/sharpness.

    Cesc + Arshavin + Rosicky = me wetting myself in anticipation.

    To tell you the truth, I’m not just optimistic about securing a Champion’s League place, I’m quite confident.

  6. thanks for the pick me up, mate…let’s hope we kill the cottagers tomorrow…c’mon you gooners!!

  7. Villa are already running out of steam and we have Theo, Eddie, Cesc, Ade (love him or hate him) Rosicky all coming back, Arshevin looking good, Diaby beginning to show what he can do, Denilson likewise …. I see Martin O Neill and the Goose wondering where the hell we came from as we leave them eating Gunner dust.

  8. your theory has one serious flaw in it – what if Arsenal are one of the teams still involved in the champions league up ’til atleast the semi-final stage? Arsenal only have to finish the job off against Roma & could quite feasibly win their next round & they’d be there. Only the Utd game has a realistic potential for playing a weakened side.

  9. Well noted nightmook. And i actually anticipate us going really far in the Champions league

  10. nightmook – the point is, we’d try to balance things by changing one to three players per game, whereas if the other three have nothing to play for in the league, you could see eight to ten changes, seriously weakening them in the league.

    Liverpool have fielded a complete reserve side before in the league – we won’t do that, which may hinder our Champions League hopes this season as our players won’t be as rested as, say, any other English clubs, but it does help us in the Premiership.

  11. @ Kuntyballs

    “To be honest, Arsenal’s squad is miles ahead of Villa’s.”

    You’re blinkered and dreaming. btw, I support neither team.

    “If you look at the players we’ve had missing for long spells and imagine what the season would have been like if we had a similar fitness record to Villa’s, you will see how much our perceived lack of depth is exaggerated.”

    I’m not talking depth. How can you predict how Arsenal would have fared with a full squad. You can’t even score a goal against anyone ffs! If your squad (+ depth) is that good then why is that?

    “Then there is the issue of the number of players we had represented internationally over the summer months compared to Villa’s. Massive difference in rest periods that our players received.”

    and your point is?

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if more Villa players start to pick up knocks as the season progresses, just as some of our best players return to fitness/sharpness.”

    who knows. knocks is down to luck to a fair extent

    “Cesc + Arshavin + Rosicky = me wetting myself in anticipation.”

    Hee hee. Cesc can play but has only banged goals in for a couple of months last season. This season has not been the same. Which is the fluke? last year, or all his other years? Arshavin – completely unproven in EPL. Rosicky – Oh yeah. makes the opposition quake with his goalscoring prowess!. Wake up and remove the blinkers.

    “To tell you the truth, I’m not just optimistic about securing a Champion’s League place, I’m quite confident.”

  12. Pride comes before a fall

  13. So, 8 points behind 4th with 11 games to go. I would be a bit nervous myself, not confident.

    Maybe you’re better off trying to protect your UEFA cup place from Everton. The same Everton who have had no strikers for most of the season, otherwise you’d be 6th already ;-)

  14. heh spoke too soon. 6 points then :)

  15. Bertie – the UEFA Cup slot is not an issue. After United’s win in the League Cup final, the sixth placed side will also be there. So everyone’s in.

  16. True enough. Utd hadn’t won when I posted. You should be alright then ;-)

  17. Heh, yeah there is a huge gap from sixth to seventh, even we can’t drop that far :)

  18. Looks like Pete & Bertie’s spat can be side lined. Gunners back in 4th. And to stay. Possibly 3rd? Doubt it, but who knows. A much more mature squad is emerging, Song, Denilson and Eboue much better than I thought. Bendtner missing sitters but still contributing. Providing. These guys will come good.

  19. […] they’ve now had the worst of their fixtures, while we still have to play the top three. As I’ve said before, we could really do with United regaining their lead and ending the league season early, so that we […]

  20. Credit where credit’s due. I couldn’t see both Arsenal stringing a good run together and Villa blowing it as badly as they have but both have happened.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.