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Has Martin O’Neill’s Magic Run Out?


Throughout the year we have been given the chance to enjoy a breath of fresh air into the otherwise stagnant big four.  With slip-ups and controversy coming from the usual champions league spot contenders, many began to believe that there was a real chance for Martin O’Neill and his men to make a real challenge for a top four spot.

At first most were skeptical of anyone truly challenging for any of the spots that seem to be owned by Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United.  As the winter grind of the EPL season arrived and departed we were all given a chance to watch as Aston Villa continued to win in some of the strangest ways.  Deflected goals and late game winners became normal for Villa as they kept pace and actually started to gain ground on the rest of the table.  From this impressive form came the talks that maybe this was the year that the big four would be broken up.  Even Arsene Wenger began to show signs of agreement, “For me the so-called ‘Big Four’ in England is about to change. It won’t last much longer.”  For a while Aston Villa were a pleasure to watch with their mix of exciting youth and proven veterans, Villa supporters were showing up everywhere.  Rumors were even started that the FA was already considering Martin O’Neill as the replacement to Fabio Capello when and if the time comes.   Sadly as the winter months ended, Villa’s hopes and dreams began to melt away.  An earlier than predicted exit from the UEFA Cup and only 4 points from a possible 24 in the last two months has given Arsenal the opportunity to reclaim the last Champions League spot.

Now with less the 10 games remaining Martin O’Neill and his men seem to be in serious danger of losing what seemed to be rightfully theirs.  The doubters have reappeared and now there are many questions to be asked of the manager that seemed to be able to do no wrong.  Has O’Neill saved any magic for a late season push for a fourth place finish?  Or will it remain business as usuall as the big four maintain their dominance over the rest of the EPL?

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  1. David Allison

    March 24, 2009 at 7:48 am

    I seem to remember Villa getting an unusual amount of luck during their winning / unbeaten streak; a topic that I think may have been discussed on EPL talk. This run of luck provided them with a great deal of confidence and this, combined with the rub the green, turned them a winning side. I wonder, then, if their luck has run out and they are no longer getting the same questionable decisions they were receiving earlier in the season. And so went their confidence, too, perhaps…

  2. benni

    March 24, 2009 at 7:17 am

    There is still a chance, but its slim now. After the Man United game, though, looking at Villa’s fixtures, you’d expect them to pick up a fair few points. It looks moer likely they will finish 5th, but that is still an improvement on last season. Its not unfeasible to think they can finish the job next season – if they do some serious strengthening over the summer.

  3. Eladio

    March 23, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I don’t understand the line “in serious danger of losing what seemed to be rightfully theirs”. No team has any right to any spot in the league table. I think you meant to say, “in serious danger of losing what seemed to be firmly in their grasp”.

  4. Grunthos

    March 23, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    The whole run was a bit premature, really. The club has not yet fully recovered from the Doug Ellis era. But the Big 4 do need to keep an eye on the rear-view mirror, and it’s not just Villa that are closing in.

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