Archie’s alternative abbreviated assessment – Aston Villa 1 – 1 Newcastle

Is Best are good as his record suggests?
As I get older it appears that there is less time for, well, everything, really.

While not that long ago I used to be able to park myself in front of the keyboard and rattle off the odd literary classic, these days it’s a bit of a push to find the time.

Of course there is still time to sit down and watch the match – if there wasn’t then serious adjustments would have to be made – but writing about it , well that’s getting to be tricky.

This week I found myself putting in a few extra hours at work trying to sort out a botched installation.

A colleague was in charge of a large project to upgrade a fire alarm system and got it so wrong that apart from installing sprinklers that actually belched flames instead of water, it’s difficult to see what else he could have screwed up.

But buried deep in this fog of grey cloud there was a sliver of a silver lining of the most comedic type.

Following the bollocking of a lifetime from the boss, Ali decided to put him in his place by responding by email and copying it to the entire mailing list.

Ali’s response reasoned that while he may have messed up the project, it was obviously the boss who was to blame for giving the project to someone who had no idea what he was doing in the first place.

Laugh? I thought my pants would never dry!

I do try to look for, and usually find , humour in the most unexpected places (officer?).

Nothing is taboo, which is why I find Political Correctness et al to be so depressing. With the planet in its current state we really need to be able to find “mirth-worth” where-ever we can.

If you banned all jokes that offend, may offend, or possibly may offend, then there’s not an awful lot left to laugh at. I would guess that in 99.9% of all jokes we are laughing at someone else’s misfortune. Whether it’s the Irishman, the Blonde or the Farmers daughter, someone somewhere has just fallen flat on their arse.

So imagine my delight when I found cause for chortle after the QPR match when I read that Pardew was telling the press that we are becoming a team “difficult to beat”.

At the time I remember thinking that there’s a big difference between us being watertight at the back and QPR not being able to hit the proverbial “Krul’s arse with a banjo”.

The Villa game, while hardly being the stuff of the Entertainers, was, quite literally a completely different ballgame.

It’s amazing what a difference 2 or 3 new players can make. Not to mention a few older ones.

Krul – 6

A couple of good punches was about it for Krul. That may be impressive for Barton, but pretty average for Krul.

Simpson – 6

I still think Danny boy is getting better – we’ve certainly had worse playing for us. Nothing spectacular, but he’s getting fairly mobile and is pretty handy on the wing.

Raylor – 7

A couple of minor errors failed to mar an otherwise reasonable performance. Maybe he has realized that Left Back is his best bet for regular football , and judged on recent performances, apart from occasionally demonstrating the decision making prowess of a traffic light when it comes to tackling, he’s impressed.

Coloccini – 7

Another good showing but was caught in the wrong place for the goal – wrong-sided by Agbonlahor he did an Ameobi (help I’ve fallen and I cant get up!) while trying to challenge. Otherwise a decent showing

STaylor – 5

So what happened? Did they give him Titus Bramble’s old locker? Was there something contagious in there?

Sorry – I cant even think of the word “contagious” without thinking of the joke about the 1” paint brush.

I’m not usually shy when it comes to having a go at Taylor, but this was way more disconcerting than his normal performances. He may have almost pulled off the volley of the season, but he didn’t , and all I remember is a completely mistimed header and a back heel that put Bent in for a sitter, that, fortunately, having spent time with the Mackems, he missed.

Cabaye – 8

I wasn’t particularly impressed when Cabaye first showed up but boy does he look special now.

Are we missing Barton? – Don’t think so.

Are we missing Nolan? Who?

He marshals well, passes superbly and takes a mean dead ball. Not to mention his ability to wave his boot in the general direction of their goal.

What I find particularly off-pissing at the moment is the fact that we are paying an entire squad 20 – 80 thousand pounds a week each and we are “impressed” when this guy shoots from the edge of the box. Surely someone else in the squad is capable of having a crack?

Tiote – 6

Still hasn’t quite made it back to the level he was at before he went home to renew his visa. Maybe he’s been chewing something he shouldn’t. They have some funny plants in Ghana

Getting there but got caught napping so many times Pardew needs to rethink his policy of serving warm milk and cookies before the game.

Gutierrez – 6

One of his slower games. Didn’t get the runs under his belt and didn’t manage to fall over anywhere near as much as usual.

An off day for one of our more consistent performers.

Obertan – 6

Hasn’t been here “cinq minutes” but strikes me as a bit of a hot and cold character. Or should that be “chaud et froid”?

In his defence he gets about a bit, but there again so did my ex-wife, and for some reason I never considered that a plus with her.

Best – 7

I’m in serious danger of having to start writing good things about Leon. I still don’t like him or rate him but with 9 in 12 games its now getting very hard to justify my routine criticism of him.

In true Best fashion he hammered it home from 27cm out. While not wishing to detract too much from his obvious shooting ability I do feel obliged to point out that he did set up the goal by missing the initial header from 29 cm out.

Please feel free to get all moist thinking about Best’s record but, I’d be a tad more impressed if he could bang them in from a little further out.

I suppose the up-side here is that at least the ball is getting to him.

To me, Leon Best is like broccoli. I just don’t like him.

Ba – 6

Needs to reset his watch. Commentators tell us he is still fasting for the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan. As Ramadan finished 3 weeks ago I think he should seriously consider at least trying a sausage sandwich.

He strikes me as the type of forward who will just click and start putting them away, but until then………..

Sammyobi – 6

There are times when you watch a match and can’t understand why the manager isn’t playing to your strategy.

Personally considering our dearth of players who can get forward and cause problems, I’m waiting for the day when Sammy “the Cameo” Ameobi can measure his time on the pitch in minutes more than seconds.

This is a lad who needs the stage.

Shameobi – 5

Despite slagging off Best, I was surprised when Pardew took him off and put on Shola instead. He fell over, fell asleep and fell well short of the mark.

Marveaux – 7

In the brief time he was given he passed well, moved well and had came close to scoring, but spoiled it all for me by passing to Shola, something guaranteed to kill a promising move stone dead.

This looks like one to watch for the future.

What was a surprise for me in the game was the reception afforded Shay Given.

Given is class and served the club well for many years. Apart from Shearer there can’t be many others who have contributed so much to club and deserve the respect and recognition for what they have done.

So if you were part of the small group who booed him you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Booing Given? WTF?

We made chances, came close and had a few players on the pitch actually trying.

I hope those who kicked up such a fuss when our old guard left in the summer have seen the youth, enthusiasm, speed and creativity that we now have, have settled down a bit and will get back to supporting the team.

It’s not about those who have gone but those who remain. Its not about bringing in expensive players, but bringing in good ones. It’s not, and this may come as a shock to some of you, about the words on the roof, or the font used. It’s about what happens under it.

I’ve got socks older than that particular roof so lets lay off the whinging about insignificants and get on with supporting the team.

Regardless of our current position there’s still a long way to go, but our new signings combined with our young talent coming through are making it interesting.

The defence is still a bit “clockwork penguin” at times but there’s certainly hope.

53 thoughts on “Archie’s alternative abbreviated assessment – Aston Villa 1 – 1 Newcastle

  1. Superb write up archie; have to say best doesnt have the most natural ability but he knows where the net is.

    Cabaye is such a key player; lets just pray nothing happens to the lad; our system hinges on him.

    Im still waiting for something to go wrong…unbeaten, new boys starting to play great stuff, forest coming up HBA back, the lads off ramadam, carroll and enrique rubbish for liverpool, santon could be back next week…..

    Good times…. we will probably sack pardew now


  2. Broccoli 😀 harsh but still 🙂

    Bit hard on Taylor for one mistake I think but I don’t want more arguments between Taylor bashers and lovers again


  3. i think that the criticism of best is harsh in all fairness, he isnt the most talented player to ever grace our forward line but he works hard and takes his chances regardless of where they fall to him. remember a certain striker called van nistelrooy, he forged a pretty decent career based on scoring within the 6 yard box!!


  4. Jobey (sorry – Archie): Even when I disagree with you I love these write-ups. Without some digs at players it would be pretty boring around here, and yours are never without the wit to justify their inclusion.

    Broccolli. Yum.

    I think Pards deserves some recognition too. He got it very wrong at QPR, so, in direct contradiction of the customary denial, excuse-making and repetition of mistakes, he said he’d got it badly wrong, changed things and got it right. Which not only makes him a very promising manager; it makes him a lot more likeable.


  5. Actually thats a good point.

    Archie, you need to include a manager performance rating, so that we can assess Pard’s at the end of the season.

    Would be great if we could have our own blog player ratings too, but I’m assuming thats a lot of work.


  6. I know there’s no UK TV for tomorrow, and I’m not sure it’ll even be filmed so not particularly hopeful of an online stream. Shame. Should be very interesting to see how things pan out with the likely player changes.


  7. I think in Ba, Best and shola we have 3 strikers who offer much of a muchness.. fairly interchangeable and if anything, we are missing a different type of forward to play alongside any one of them – maybe arfa or maybe the one that got away in the summer… Besty is getting the goals so the shirt is his for the moment.

    Need more from the wingers – who saw plenty of the ball but didn’t take anywhere near full advantage of promising positions. Marveaux looks like he could be much more direct than either and I’d have him in ahead of Obertan for the next league game.


  8. Agree at 7. I’m beginning to like these writeups. Hope to see them continue after each match.

    2 wins this week and I will be completely buzzing.


  9. Really can’t understand people calling for Obertan to be dropped. I think his movement and his ability to take the ball from defense to attack on the right side, really relieves a lot of pressure on the midfield and Jonas.

    He has also been given Simpson a lot of help in defense, almost mirroring Jonas in workrate.

    The only thing both he and Jonas lack are a quality final ball.


  10. Good write up, Archie. I understand how some players just don’t sit well, but I don’t get the fairly widespread criticism of Best. He may not score any scorchers, but he’s extremely active and being in the right place at the right time isn’t always luck – he’s got a knack for it. And compared to someone like Shola, who doesn’t do much of anything, Best’s movement and energy can open things up for other players, even if he doesn’t put one away himself. I get the feeling that Best is one of those players who makes people say “Yeah, he’s scoring goals now, but he’ll revert back to the norm at some point”, when in reality, he’s finally gotten his chance and is showing how good a player he really is. I’m not saying he’s top class, but he’s good enough to be starting for us, as well as a good number of other Premier League sides.


  11. Why is Taylor’s rating far worse than Colo’s when it was his mistake that caused a goal? Plus by the look of it Taylor had to mark Bent, who I’d say is the far harder striker to mark? It’s ridiculous.

    Also Obertan to be dropped? Do people not understand how his pace alone is a major asset as we aren’t blessed with pace. Also Marveaux needs to play in the centre, too small for the wings and to be able to link up with Cabaye. It was obvious they understand each other in the ten mins they played, Cabaye couyld have scored 2 with Marveaux getting both assists.


  12. Agree on the wingers, although I think it’s partly because Cabaye attracted so much attention they looked poorer by comparison. Both sides did their bit in terms of attacking defenders and in defending – but the best crosses all seemed to come from LBs, Tiote and Cabaye.

    Not to worry – it’ll improve. And having Benny to aim at is going to help a lot and give them more options for short passes infield rather than going for the cross each time, which is far more likely to end up with lost posession.


  13. I think Best also has some excellent skills to compliment his positioning. He’s shown several times how he can turn a defender and hit the target in very limited space and time.

    Frankly I don’t give a monkey’s flange as long as he keeps scoring.

    Flange. 🙂


  14. An excellent article esp about the moaners. They’re very quiet at mo but they’re still there. Read recently about how good Cab is but its only money in the bank for Ashley! I mean can these losers just not enjoy the footy they’re watching?


  15. Whumpie whilst I tend to agree Best had a good game there’s no getting away from the fact that as a direct result of needless mis-control (Ball bounced off him twice) 5-seconds later, we needed to clear two balls out of our six-yard box

    Look at the sitter Bent missed


  16. —————————————-





    OBERTAN========BEN ARFA=========MARVEAUX








    JONAS*=========BEN ARFA’======MARVEAUX^


    ^ SAMMY IN AT ~65 MIN




    p.s XXXX





    ===============BEN ARFA===============



  17. because Pardew said he will play, and he is READY to play, and manager sees him in training and i think he knows better. p.s i think starting the game gives more confidence to the player,and players like ben arfa needs a lot of confidence to play their best game. i think half of the game for benny would be ok, don’t you?


  18. No way HBA will start. Pardew has been very careful with all injuries and will take it slowly. Pards said that he would have only gotten 10 minutes at Villa. So, in other words, he’s not ready to start and the manager knows that


  19. Excellent article. Good summary of player performances. Maybe a little harsh on Tiote. I saw definite improvement from previous games and he didn’t get a yellow! Cabaye was MOM for me. Outstanding performance.Villa were much poorer than I was expecting. Must pick up points against Blackburn. Would love to see Ben Arfa start against them. Santon is looking hopeful as well.


  20. Nice article, I think you were well harsh on your ratings though. I’ve not seen us play as well as that in ages, and no one deserved less than a 7 in my opinion.


  21. Archie another good article.
    But I think you must be having a bit of a laugh about Saylor or else your dislike for him is clouding your view, or maybe its just an age thing.
    How can you turn a blind eye to the fact that Colo cost us a goal when it comes to marking him, but you feel the need to have a dig at Saylor.
    As I said when they scored that Colo’s cock up would be brushed under the carpet, but if it had off been Saylor some fans would have demanded his head.
    I just cant understand some fans hate of Saylor, and think its real sad that some fans cant get behind him rather than take every chance they get to have a pop at him.


  22. Good write up, don’t disagree with all the scores but then you’re giving your ratings not mine 😉
    Agree with Dave, if Saylor had made the mistake for the goal people would be lining up to have a go at him.


  23. @36. agreed. collo seems to be immune from any criticism, not that he has done much wrong mind, but it’s open season on Saylor among some supporters. I personally think the guy has been great this season.


  24. Archibald, appears from your comments, you are letting personal likes and dislikes flavor your evaluation, no ?
    Well at least you are either honest enough or (fill in the blank) to admit it.

    Yes Cabaye is beginning to show why he plays on the French national side, an excellent play-maker, something we have lacked since Parker and as we have Tiote to do the sweeping up, leaves him along with a steadily improving Obertan and Marveaux, the ability to pressure the defense and possibly get a few goals.

    That, with a combined pairing of either Best or Ba, in front with Ben Arfa just behind, should in fact give us a real goalscoring threat,

    To rely entirely on strikers to score is an outdated tactical approach, to-days game requires goals from both so called midfielders and forwards.
    The 4-4-2 is as outdated as the old 2-3-5, well almost !
    Though there are various combinations that should be employed , depending on who the opponents may be, horses for courses !

    We appear to be jelling into a fairly decent side, with some competition for places, but still lack quality in depth and have to strengthen our back four more than anything, hopefully our owner is aware of that and comes through with one or two reinforcements during the next window.


  25. Archie-

    That was a great write up. I think you should give a manager rating for sure though. In this case- I’d give Pards a 9. He got the tactics spot on, and we were horribly unlucky not to get all 3 points.

    Props to Pards for admitting his mistakes against QPR too. That was absolutely class. I can’t stand it when managers pull a Wenger and criticise everything but themselves.

    Bring on Forest, and may HBA score 5 goals!


  26. Chuck-

    I agree about the 442. We have the team to create a very attacking and balanced 451. Usually, that’s a defensive lineup, but when you’ve got Cabaye and HBA, c’mon… who even needs strikers anyway lol 😉


  27. Well said Chuck @41. We could still use someone who could actually cross a ball however. Most of our attempts dribble along the ground and are easily picked off by the defenders. Surely crosses are still practised? Obertan appears to be as bad as Jonas at it. Very strange. Not that Best is a great header of the ball but still a miracle may happen and Shola could get on the end of one or even Ba. Ba still looks slow at times to me. Surely he can’t be that out of shape. And the whole Ramadan thing has been used as too much of an excues for me.


  28. On a different note it is hilarious to read Mancini complains of lack of squad depth after the draw with Fulham! How can the man keep a straight face? If he has a lack of squad depth now the what size squad does he want? How about a nice 50 man squad each on 250K a week. Would that be enough Mancini? Probably not. Talk about desperate for excuses.


  29. Don’t forget that Benny’s been playing full games for the ressies. I think he’ll start and be subbed when he tires or at 60 mins.


  30. The Mancini thing is absolutely jaw-dropping.

    Do these idiots not ever take a step back into reality?

    Utter, utter twat. With respect to the ‘true’ light-blue supporters, I hope the whole Citeh experiment with oil money goes horribly sour very soon.


  31. @47. unfortunately, those city owners will never run out of money as they have access to national oil resources and other busniesses. They only way it can fail is FFP is enforced and that sham of an advertising deal is deemed in excess of fair market value. Not holding my breath on that one.


  32. And by the way, suprised they doidn’t fire mancini on the spot. All that money given to him and he complains about it? The guy lucked into the easiest job in football and still wants more. What a tosser he is


  33. In all honesty I dont like rating Pardew because most of the time I cant figure out what our tactics are.

    OK – sometimes we put everyone in the box and sometimes we dont. Sometimes we push Simpson forwards, sometimes push Jonas back.

    Sometimes Shola falls over and sometimes Shola falls over.

    I honestly dont think we have tactics as such – its like we get together in the tunnel on the way out and say “Anybody got any ideas?”


  34. Agree with Dave at 36.

    A lot of fans seems to have a gripe with players for what they might do inthe future or what they look like doing.

    Slate them when they do something wrong, not because they might


  35. Nice post, liked the first bit, not so much the second bit. The ratings seemed fair. more accurate than say The Leon Best criticism seems unfair. Would you rather him have the “talent” and “class” of Fernando Torres and hoof them wide or do his job and score goals for a team which currently is less than prolific. Given made a good save on his first attempt and he did will to recover and stick it in. If Leon Best continues to work hard and score goals I am happy for them to give him the #9.

    I am excited for the future, if we can get players like Marveaux and HBA in to the side I think we will see more chances and more goals. Being pessimistic by years of conditioning, it’s understandable the skepticism about Carroll, Nolan, Barton and Enrique leaving for little money. It was a considerable risk, but one which is paying off… for now.


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