Blackburn Preview: Collins, Cuellar and Makoun Out

February 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Previews, Pre-Match Predictions 

Aston Villa play host to Blackburn on Saturday for the umpteenth time in the past three seasons. Having lost 2-0 in the league meeting at Ewood Park, Houllier’s side exacted some revenge in the FA Cup last month with a convincing performance backed up by an impressive 3-1 victory. However, Houllier has a few more selection problems this week through injuries and suspensions alike. Steve Kean should bring a reasonably full strength side to Villa Park, with captain and reported Villa target Chris Samba set to recover in time from a virus. Despite constant success from Villa’s part in their numerous cup clashes with Rovers, the visitors have the strong upper hand in league meetings having won the league meeting earlier this term, and done the double over Villa last season. Both sides are short of form of late having not won in their last three outings, though Villa’s home record should see them through this one, and hopefully avoid the drop come the end of the season with relegation a real possibility having drifted to just three points above the deadly 18th place. Team News and Pre-Match Predictions

Random Stats: Saving Villa’s Bacon is Dunne Deal

February 25, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa 

Just a couple more random stats from Opta for you and one in particular which goes some way to proving Richard Dunne doubters wrong! The Irish centre back has made 10 last-man saving tackles in the league this season, more than any other player in the division! I’ve been impressed with the defender since his return to the first team and he appears to have lost a little of the timber he was carrying at the start of the season. Being the best saving-tackler in the league certainly backs the fact that despite being somewhat of a unit, Dunne is no slouch. Another little, less impressive stat for you is that Ashley Young has won 3 penalties for Villa this term, again, more than any other player in the league. Doesn’t seem like a particularly high figure but does allude to the fact that the attacker is prone to a little time on the deck! If it wins penalties, in this age of the game it can’t be a bad thing but I’m sure all Villa fans would like to see him stay on his feet more, he can only do more damage that way!

Quoted: Houllier on New Downing Deal

February 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Quoted 

“His (Downing) contract is long enough not to worry about that (two-and-a-half years remaining) – there’s no problem there. At the end of the season we will see.

“He’s improved a lot. He never misses training, he works hard with application, commitment and dedication.

“He is really focused. He’s a major part of our set-up here and I think he can play in several positions.”

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Villa to Reignite Interest in French Duo

February 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

The Daily Mail claim that, despite being unable to agree terms with the youngster in January, Guieda Fofana is back on Gerard Houllier’s radar, though the French boss may have to battle off interest from Bordeaux for his compatriot. The defensive midfielder is one of the hottest prospects in France and joins a string of upcoming players to have been likened to Patrick Vieira in his hay-day. A fee of around £1m was touted to have been accepted by Le Havre for the 19-year-old in December but that figure is likely to rise with interest mounting in the France Under-20 captain. Houllier Back in for Hoarau

Quoted: Houllier on Shopping Abroad

February 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Quoted 

“Football has become open to Europe and open to the world because you have a lot of Brazilians in the Champions League over the last six or seven seasons.

“You need to know now that all clubs buy players from all over the world.

“I believe we were one of the last clubs to put out 11 English players in one game.

“But we’ve got to understand there is not a Europeanisation but a globalisation of football now.

“I think this won’t stop. The main thing is to be able to get some young players from other countries and bring them here early because they would get the feeling of the club.

“We have a few players, one from Austria and one from Hungary, and I think those players are very much part of the Villa youth team.”

Random Stats: Ashley Young Assist Rate

February 24, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa 

Just found this little factoid out that I though I’d share with you! Of the top 50 playmakers, Ashley Young is joint 7th on the all-time assist rate list in the Premier League since it was formed. According to Premier Soccer Stats, Young has made 76 assists since joining the club in January 2007. Of this number, 45 have come from open play, with the remaining 31 coming from dead ball scenarios i.e. corners etc. Having played 146 times in the Premier League since signing for the club, the 25-year-old has an assist rate of 0.45 per game. This is bettered only by some of the leagues greatest ever players. To see who is above Young and how he fares against those still playing today click here

So Called Villa Revival has Achieved Nothing Yet

February 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa 

With very little going on on the transfer front  in between games since last month, I decided to take a look at what some, including myself, hoped was a mini revival for the club after the decent signings made in the transfer window. The 1-0 victory and debut winner for Darren Bent is undoubtedly the highlight of the last two months, but has only been supported in the league by a decent, if not expected win away at Wigan. In the 8 league games since the turn of the year Villa have won the two aforementioned fixtures, drawing 4, and losing to the likes of United and Sunderland in the process. The defeat against the latter is definitely the down-point since the New Year, but equally uninspiring draws against Fulham and Blackpool of late have left Villa just 3 points off the relegation zone, and 5 points off of bottom club Wolves. How Villa’s League Form Fares

Quoted: Bradley on Hoping to Start and Sign Permanently

February 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa 

“The main thing for me is to show I’m a guy who should be on the field every week.

“That’s the challenge, whether [Makoun] is suspended or not.

“It’s always been something I wanted, to come and play here.”

When asked whether he hoped to make his loan move a full-time switch, Bradley added:

“I want to get to the end of my career and say I played in the biggest games for the biggest clubs.

“Until now there aren’t really any Americans who have played consistently at the top of leagues, fighting to win Europa Leagues or Champions Leagues.

“To play on a good team that is able to win something would be special.”

Quoted: Bent on Price-Tag Pressure, Carroll and Torres

February 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa 

On Joining Villa

“It’s been really, really good. My form feels as if it’s going really well. I got an opportunity for England and managed to play 90 minutes which is something I’ve not done before.

“As far as my move to Villa goes, everything seems positive at the moment. I definitely made the right decision.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute since I’ve been here. I’ve settled in really quickly. The team has been playing well.

“When you join a new club, you need the fans to get right behind you from the start – and the Villa supporters have certainly done that.

“It’s been great to get amongst the goals too. When you join a new club, it’s always important as a goalscorer to get off the mark.

Price-Tag and Carroll/Torres Transfers

Quoted: Bannan on Houllier

February 22, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa 

“The gaffer has been brilliant with me and kept my head up.

“He let me know I’m a big part of his plans. He didn’t have to go out of his way to do that, but he has which was reassuring.

“I know I’ve come a long way in a short space of time.”

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