This isn't about Barry - it's about Villa's season
By Ian Robathan
Monday 05 Oct 2009 09:17:00
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The visit of Manchester City tonight has been predictably been dominated by the talk of the return of Gareth Barry. However, for Villa, this game is far more about defining how the season could pan out.

It is no good kidding ourselves, Manchester City have spent a lot of cash and on some very good players and they should be in the top four or at least challenging very strongly for it all season.

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Therefore for Villa it is a very good test of where we want to be and whether we can stay up there and challenge alongside City.

The debate has been raging since the Blackburn defeat on formations and personnel. While there is no doubt Reo-Coker was wrong in what he had done and I agreed with him not playing last week, for this game he has to play.

Man City play a central three midfield and we can not afford to be outrun in there and the obvious more is to swap an ineffective and seemingly-disinterested Carew for NRC.

This game in many ways will suit Villa: we are a counter-attacking side and we do like teams to come onto us and Man City will do that.

Actually their away form has been a bit sporadic with a comfortable win over Blackburn but scrapped a win against Pompey and unconvincing at the back against Man Utd. So this is an game they will look to as important but equally will be wary of our counter attacking threat.

For me the key player is actually the old boy who's had little coverage compared to Barry – Richard Dunne. Against Blackburn he threw in one of those games he can have but at his best he is a dominating leader at the back.

Tonight he has to have a good game to repeal the thread of a returning and angry Adebayor and if he does we have a great chance of all three points.

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