Aston Villa's season hangs in balance

05 March 2009 10:09
Following the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday evening, which continued a poor run beginning with FA Cup defeat to Everton last month, Villa have opted for a much-needed change of scenery.[LNB]The sun-cream and golf clubs have been packed, but there is training planned, and work to be done if the club are to prove that their squad is not too small, too tired, too inexperienced to cope their own success this season.[LNB] Related ArticlesAston Villa show strain at City[LNB]O'Neill fears Arsenal win[LNB]O'Neill treats fans to dinner[LNB]Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill leaves key players out of Uefa Cup clash with CSKA Moscow[LNB]Chelsea give Guus Hiddink the perfect start[LNB]Aston Villa to renew interest in Manchester City?s Micah Richards[LNB]Looking to rebuild momentum after their loss at Goodison Park, Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager, surprisingly fielded a virtually full-strength side three days later against CSKA Moscow at Villa Park. O'Neill spent most of the match sitting in the technical area; as if he knew it was a mistake. The hard-fought 1-1 draw did nothing to get his team back on track, and fatigue contributed to their loss to Chelsea that Saturday.[LNB]His mind made up, O'Neill sacrificed the Uefa Cup, leaving eight first team players in England for the second leg in Moscow the following week. The fans were frustrated by another loss, of course, but the promise of a supper on the house for those who travelled to Moscow eased some of the pain. But free nosh or not, O'Neill's decision would stand or fall on their league performance against Stoke.[LNB]Villa totally dominated Stoke, and O'Neill was 190 seconds from seeing his decision vindicated before his side's concentration slipped at the crucial moment, and Stoke equalised. [LNB]Manchester City was the sucker punch, foiling their away form. Yet Villa are still three points clear in fourth place, and they must not become transfixed with Arsene Wenger and Co. As Gareth Barry said yesterday afternoon: "The talk has always been of Arsenal and ourselves and that looks like who it's going to be between. You have to look forward rather than behind you." [LNB]With Martin Laursen and Wilfred Bouma due back soon, this break in the sand dunes of Dubai could not have come at a better time. [LNB] 

Source: Telegraph