I wanted to see what would be my best starting XI based on my Average Player Ratings section which accumulates the player ratings made with every match report. Going along with Villa’s much used 4-4-1-1 system this season, here are the 11 best players according to the ratings that I have given. Notable omissions include the likes of Warnock, Dunne, Petrov and Agbonlahor who have all had below average seasons thus far in my opinion. I’d just like to say this isn’t the team which I feel should start every game but is purely based on how they have faired based on my rankings. Many of the younger players have impressed although it is obvious, perhaps not to the manager, that they should not all be played in the same team. Do you agree with my rankings or are their any players that deserve a place or any that don’t in the XI I have named?
The Average Player Rating of the entire best XI is just 6.53. Not great.
The sides best performer this term according to the ratings is Marc Albrighton with 6.86.
The worst 3 performers thus far have been Habib Beye (5.25), Robert Pires (5.33) and Stiliyan Petrov (5.80)
I have comprised a list of the defensive statistics for each Aston Villa defender and midfielder (excluding wingers Marc Albrighton, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young), after dismal recent record. The stats show each player’s record thus far this campaign as well as their overall Premier League record for their combined clubs in parenthesis. The stats include the average amount of goals the team concede per game, the average amount of clean sheets the team picks up and the average number of shots on target it takes to concede when each player is on the pitch. I will list the top 3 players in each category regarding their defensive record as well as the bottom 3 culprits. Take into consideration that these stats were gathered prior to the Manchester City game. Read more
I have gathered some attacking statistics for each midfielder and attacker in the current failing Villa squad. The stats show each player’s record thus far this campaign as well as their overall Premier League record for their combined clubs in parenthesis. The stats include each player’s shots on target ratio, the shots to goals ratio and the average amount of minutes on the pitch it takes each player to score. I will list the top 3 players in each category regarding their attacking record as well as the bottom 3 culprits out of the midfielders and strikers in the squad. Read more
After yesterday’s shambles in Eastlands, unsurprisingly rumours mounted over the security of Gerard Houllier’s job at Villa Park. According to some sources the manager has now had a major argument with both Marc Albrighton, who apparently left for the team coach 15 minutes before his team-mates, and Eric Lichaj. The youngsters both made clumsy challenges to give away penalties in yesterday’s game and Houllier was far from happy with the pair. What one would urge the floundering Frenhcman to remember is that this is the first season for both players who are 21 and 22 respectively. Perhaps if he would grow up himself and start playing some of the more senior players rather than he wouldn’t need to play some many young heads in the same team as they are bound to make mistakes and can’t be blamed for doing so. I’m all for blooding your youngsters but they need a gradual involvement rather than being thrown in at the deep end. I don’t think it helps that the manager makes public statements such as “Lichaj had a nightmare”, as he did live on Radio WM. The American did have a game to forget but it’s his third competitive league start. The player needed replacing but Houllier refused to put the likes of Dunne or Beye on the bench even in the absence of Luke Young. Ridiculous. Emergency Meeting / Fofana Deal?
No excuses available for Gerard Houllier after an embarrassing 4-0 collapse at Manchester City. Errors from the inexperienced players are inevitable yet Houllier insists in playing at least 3 in every game. Carew, Ireland and Dunne all left out of the squad altogether once again which left Villa with a creche on the bench with Grandad Pires babysitting. Two clumsy challenges from Lichaj and Albrighton led to penalties and capped both ends of the drubbing and helped Mario Balotelli to the easiest hat-trick in history. The spot-kicks sandwiched a Lescott goal which didn’t cross the line but what does it matter anyway, and a Balotelli tap in after Friedel spilled a David Silva shot. Pretty much sums up the whole game which saw City climb to the top of the league for a few hours at least. To hear about Villa’s downfalls in full read the extended match report. Extended Match Report
It seems that Villa’s first January signing could be somewhat of a low risk effort financially. The club have reportedly brought 28-year-old Colorado Rapids’ striker Omar Cummings to the club on a trial basis with Houllier set to decide upon whether a loan move would be desired. Now who is Omar Cummings you say, well I don’t have a clue to be honest but I’ve done my research and now feel fit to be the Jamaican’s biographer, at least on his stats this season anyway! Cummings was the MLS side, the Rapids, leading scorer last term in a campaign which saw the Colorado based team win the league title. In 29 appearances he netted a goal every other game (177 mins), scoring 14 times, picking up 4 assists in the process. The Jamaican has made 19 international appearances, scoring on 5 occasions. Predominantly a striker, Cummings can also play as a winger were he has played in past seasons for his club though he showed his proficiency as a forward in his most prolific season yet last year. After scoring in his sides opening two fixtures he was unable to convert in his next eight appearances. Despite this he managed to finish the season on a high netting 9 in his last 9 appearances with 3 assists in the same period. In the previous season he served as a provider rather than a leading scorer, although he did manage 8 goals, laying on 14 assists from a wider position. Excited? Me neither really but who knows, he could be the best thing to come out of Jamaica since John Barnes! To read a full statement from Rapids managing director Jeff Plush, Read Here
Despite repeated rejections from the Villa board and manager stating that the club may have to cash in on Ashley Young, more reports have been circulating that the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham will make January moves in an attempt to force Villa’s arm in the matter. For the third season in a row it has been suggested that the club will offload their best player, after worryingly similar scenarios transpired with regards to Gareth Barry and James Milner. With player power growing ever more significant in the game it seems that many look to allow their contracts to run in order to mastermind their desired wages or destinations and Ashley Young looks set to join the list. With 18 months left on his contract the Villa winger is in an ideal position to manipulate a supposed desired move to one of the top four. Villa stated that they would sooner let his contract run out then sell him in January earlier in the month but this has not stopped countless rumours.
According to one source United are closing in on a deal worth £13m, significantly less than the £80m price tag Houllier suggested in recent times. That price is surely way-off unless Houllier wants to face the wrath of even more angry fans than he currently does. Perhaps more feasibly and interestingly to that matter, it has been suggested that Tottenham are lining up a player’s plus cash move although the last one involving Stephen Ireland hasn’t exactly payed off as yet. The likes of Robbie Keane, David Bentley, Niko Kranjcar and Jamie O’Hara have all been touted as potential make-weights in a deal for the 25-year-old with two from above plus cash most likely. The Sun reported that a source at Tottenham has said:
“It’s no secret Harry is a big fan of Ashley Young and would like to take him.
“So he’s hoping the likes of Keane and Bentley could tempt Villa into doing business.
“That way Houllier gets a proven goalscorer and a like-for-like replacement, not to mention a few bob to add to his own kitty.”
I’d certainly take Kranjcar and probably Bentley, still unsure about Keane and O’Hara but I did like the midfield man at Portsmouth. All four you’ve got a deal I reckon! Thoughts?…
After reports suggested that Valencia were set to poach France international centre-back from Lille it was revealed that they may have to compete with Houllier’s Aston Villa. The 25-year-old has broken into the French national set-up this year and is a favourite of new manager Laurent Blanc having picked up 6 caps, 1 of which was against England a couple of months ago. Rami has been at Lille for his entire career and has been a mainstay and key player in the Ligue 1 sides impressive recent progress. In the last four seasons with the club Rami has played 109 times and scored 8 goals, with the no-nonsense defender incurring 29 yellow cards in the process. The Moroccan born centre-back is strong and athletic and will be no stranger to Gerard Houllier during his role at the FFF. A price tag of around £4-5 million has been touted by I would suggest that it would take more like 7 or 8 to tempt Lille from parting with one of their prized assets. Houllier is seemingly looking to replace last year’s player’s player of the season, Richard Dunne who is one of a few to have fallen out of favour at the club after apparent ‘disagreements’ with the management team.
It was reported in the Daily Mail yesterday that John Carew would snub interest from Fulham and Birmingham to join another of Villa’s local rivals, West Brom. The Baggies are thought to be keen to offer support to summer signing Peter Odemwingie up front after the likes Antoine Fortune have failed to sparkle this season and Di Matteo sees the big man as the perfect foil for the pacy Nigerian. Carew is believed to prefer the prospect of the short switch to WBA after gaining a status as somewhat of an icon at Villa Park. There is also interest from Europe with the likes of Fiorentina among potential suitors though the Norwegian is thought to fancy a stay in the Premier League. With his contract set to expire in the summer and after a bust up with the new manager, who incidentally shipped Carew off to Villa from Lyon, it now appears that a cut price deal in the region of £1m should be enough to see a sale. All I can say is that if it does come to fruition West Brom will have a bargain on their hands despite the fact that Carew is not the player he was it seems a dip in form and work rate may be due to a lack of love for any club ran by the French manager!
Tuesday 28th December 2010
Opponent: Manchester City
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium
Kick Off: 15:00
Aston Villa head to Eastlands in what is set to be James Milner’s first game against the club since moving to Manchester City in the summer. Villa’s Player of the Season left the club with a parting gift when he netted against West Ham in the 3-0 victory on the opening day of the season but will not be in such generous mood when Houllier takes his men to Manchester. Milner will be accompanied by fellow ex-Villa favourite, now not so much, Gareth Barry as Mancini looks to top the league as season enters the New Year. The Italian’s side will do just that with a win although it may only last a few hours with table-toppers and fierce rivals United to play later in the day. Fortunes are quite the opposite at Villa Park after the defeat to Tottenham on Boxing Day left them just 5 points off bottom club Wolves (sob). The two games that you want to be must wins to revive your season would be City and Chelsea away but that is what faces Houllier and his not so merry men! Read more