A 2-1 victory against local rivals Wolves brings new manager Gerard Houllier his first 3 points at the Villa. Stweart Downing netted his third of the season to give Villa the lead before an equaliser from Jarvis looked to see the game heading for a draw. After a fantastic substitute appearance against Blackburn in midweek, Heskey was rewarded with a start and capped a good performance with an 88th minute winner to see the away side rise to 5th in the league. More Match Report
I won’t be submitting a match report on Wednesday’s game as I was way and unable to watch the tie unfortunately. From the highlights I’ve seen and what I’ve read, a poor start to the match was turned around by some profitable changes by new manager Gerard Houllier. Villa fans should take heart in the fact that it appears the Frenchman can change tactics and indeed the game if things aren’t going so well. MON always seemed reluctant to make changes both pre-match and during games to revitalise flat performances. Who would have thought that Emile Heskey would be introduced to the usual groans when needing to score goals, and change the game with 2 vital contributions? His goal was uncharacteristically well taken and didn’t go in off his face or stomach and one could even say that he meant it! The strike signified his first touch of the ball after being brought on in place of the ineffective John Carew. Perhaps more impressive was the inch perfect cross to kill off the game and provide Ashley Young with a simple tap in to seal the game 3-1 in Villa’s favour.
Good displays from the youngsters on show will also encourage Houllier and the faithful with the likes of Lichaj, Clark, Bannan and Delfouneso all playing major parts in the victory. With the team that was fielded, 3-1 has to go down as a magnificent result and the players showed a fight that hasn’t been there since the 1-0 win over Everton last month. The manager also was confident enough to bring young Nathan Delfouneso into the fray once Gabby had picked up an injury which will please many fans who have been longing to see the striker given a chance at the club. Undoubtedly there will be large scale changes once more ahead of the derby with Wolves on Sunday though Heskey may well be rewarded with a start ahead of Carew who has been pretty dire thus far. I would imagine Ashley Young will revert back to starting in a central role after netting 2 goals from that position after being moved off the wing against Blackburn. A full match preview will follow along with predictions and injury news.
A third attempt at my new prediction feature, in which I have been too optimistic it seems in the. After predicting a draw with Stoke and a win against Bolton I’m still going to stick to my Villa guns and predict a win for Houllier in his first game. The team line-up represents a much tougher challenge than the Bolton game which I guessed correctly with the new manager bringing in new ideas and tactics but I’ll have a punt. Please test yourself against my predictions and I’ll give an honourable mention anyone who can get the team line up and result bang on!
Blackburn Rovers (Home) - 22nd September 2010
Possible Starting XI: (4-4-2) Friedel, L Young, Cuellar, Collins, Warnock; Albrighton, Ireland, Reo-Coker, A Young; Agbonlahor, Heskey
Key Man: Gabby Agbonlahor
Goalscorer(s): Gabby Agbonlahor, James Collins
Minute of First Goal: 37
Final Score: 2-1 (AET)
Filed under: Aston Villa, Injury News, Match Previews
Wednesday 22nd September
Opponent: Blackburn Rovers
Venue: Villa Park
Kick Off: 19:45
Tomorrow nights game against Blackburn Rovers symbolizes the start of a new era under Gerard Houllier at Villa Park. The Frenchman has been briefed by chairman Randy Lerner to get some silverware and the Carling Cup may well represent his greatest hope. The trophy was his first as manager of Liverpool in 2000-01 and the 63 year old hols fond memories of the tournament. He couldn’t have asked for a much harder 3rd round tie though against the side that Villa knocked out in the semis last year after the memorable 6-4 second leg victory. More Match Preview
Aston Villa’s squad has never been substantial enough in the past to have the luxury or selling or releasing players. The first team is still relatively small with only 22 players registered from an allotted 25. This number, however is backed up by numerous talented Under-21’s who do not have to be registered due to their age. With youth talent at the club, Gerard Houllier may look to release some of the first team players on undeserved wages in January and hence freeing up space and funds for new signings. Unnecessary Earners?
Filed under: Aston Villa, Injury News, Villa Manager
After a pretty poor result against Bolton on Saturday backing up a loss to Stoke the previous Monday, Villa fans are looking forward to seeing the tactics Gerard Houllier employs in his first games in charge. The Frenchman along with his new assistant Gary McAllister took their first training session today and a string of first team player’s have backed the new manager to lead them to glory in the future. Read more
Today signalled the start of a new era at Villa Park with new manager Gerard Houllier and his back room staff taking charge of their first training session. After a questionable start to the campaign I will be looking at some of the things that Houllier should be considering in order to improve the clubs fortunes on the pitch. In my opinion, first port of call is to drop some of the first team regular’s, some of whom just haven’t started this season. Here I will discuss who could be left out and why. Changes To Be Made
Before today’s game with Bolton it was confirmed that Gary McAllister was to be the new assistant manager under Gerard Houllier. The Scotsman attended the game alongside the new manager, watching the 1-1 from the stands. McAllister will link up with Houllier meaning his breif spell as first team coach at Middlesbrough has come to an end. The former Liverpool player, signed by the Frenchman, has had brief spells in management at two of his previous clubs in Coventry and Leeds United. More club appointments
Villa could only manage a draw against a weakened Bolton side at Villa Park this afternoon with the game finishing 1-1. Kevin MacDonald would have been hoping to end his 6 week rein at the club on a high but hands over to Gerard Houllier with a distinctly average record. Villa are yet to face any of the top 8 from last season so would have been hoping for a better record than 2 wins, 2 defeats and a draw but it’s not an awful start. Match Report
Filed under: Aston Villa, Pre-Match Predictions
Time to test yourself against my estimations in this week’s home tie with Bolton. I came close on Monday with a 1-1 prediction against Stoke only to be beaten due to a poor refereeing decision so I’m hoping I’ll be on the money this week. Let me know your predictions guys!
Bolton Wanderers (Home) – 18th September 2010
Possible Starting XI: (4-4-1-1) Friedel; L Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock; Albrighton, Ireland, Petrov, Downing; A Young; Agbonlahor
Key Man: Ashley Young
Goalscorer(s): Ashley Young, Stephen Ireland
Minute of First Goal: 24
Final Score: 2-0