Gabriel Agbonlahor and the sad decline of Aston Villa Football Club: There’s something awfully depressing about Aston Villa’s recent slump – something that has everything to do with Gerard Houllier, Darren Bent (7.8) and even Emile “Really big in Australia ” Heskey. A few seasons ago, Villa challenged for a Champions League place. These days, the team battles relegation, celebrates shaky wins over Reading, and fields players like Nathan Baker, who…well, need I elaborate? Gabriel Agbonlahor (6.8) – who once scored an opening-day hat trick, thereby convincing a lot of sad, middle-aged fantasy managers that It Might Be Their Year – is inconsistent, out of favor, and not quite good enough for the next level. In short, he’s a microcosm of everything Villa has become. But Gabby netted on Saturday. So sign him if you must.
Jermaine Jenas: Before Saturday’s match, Jenas (4.2) hadn’t scored a goal in a very long time. Indeed, he hadn’t done anything of note in about four seasons. But now he’s back, sort of. He’s 30 years old, he’s playing for one of the Premier League’s worst teams, and he’s going to make some changes in his life.
What happened to Grant Holt? I’ve come to the conclusion that Grant Holt’s (5.9) failure to build on his excellent first season in the Premier League – lots of goals, England talk, a cult following – has absolutely nothing to do with Steve Morison’s decision to shred paper in a lower division. (For those of you who don’t follow Morison’s career with the same fanatic devotion that fuelled my efforts to ascertain the name, history and industry standing of the paper-shredding factory for which he used to, erm, shred paper, the former Norwich number five now plays for Championship side Leeds United.) Holt just wasn’t very good to begin with. He missed that last-minute penalty not only because he’s English and therefore apt to miss penalties, but also because he’s an overrated one-season wonder whose physical fitness is not, shall we say, overwhelmingly impressive.
Lukaku: Lukaku (6.5) also missed a penalty, but I’m going to forgive him because I’ve spent more time than is wise imagining all the pain someone of his monstrous physique could cause someone of my not-so-monstrous physique. Sign Christian Benteke (7.1), too.
Luke Moore scores his second goal in two games: Speaking of inconsistent players who scored this weekend: Luke Moore (4.4)! Believe it or not, Moore is a former England Under 21 international (as is Cameron Jerome, which says it all). Moore will never be anything more than a mediocre, Championship-quality forward, but at the moment, he’s a mediocre, Championship-quality forward on a hot streak.