Liverpool vs Aston Villa Match Preview

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Monday 6th December 2010

Opponent: Liverpool

Venue: Anfield

Kick Off: 20:00

Gerard Houllier will make an emotional return to Liverpool in Monday night as he takes his Villa side to Anfield in desperate search of a win. The Frenchman will no doubt have had his eye on this fixture since moving to Villa and his ties with the club are just one of a number of potential reunions. Houllier’s No.2 Gary McAllister was brought to the club by the manager is a playing capacity and in a short stint with the club the Scotsman became a cult hero. Among the playing staff to have plied their trade in Merseyside include Brad Friedel, Stephen Warnock and Emile Heskey, though the striker is unlikely to feature through injury. Extended Match Preview

Villa Injury Update Ahead of Liverpool Trip

December 4, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Injury News 

Barry Bannan is the latest player to join the Villa Park injury list. The young midfielder limped off in the 2-1 defeat to Birmingham in midweek with a groin injury and is unlikely to recover in time for the trip to Anfield on Monday night. Gerard Houllier was erring on the side of caution as he didn’t want to aggravate the problem which would only deplete his squad further. Speaking in a press conference on Friday, Houllier stated:

“I don’t think Barry will be able to play. I’ve got my doubts because it is a groin strain which he picked up against Birmingham.”

Positive News on the Long-Term Injury Front

Hogg and Gardner Sign New Contract Extensions

December 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Jonathan Hogg has become the fifth product of the Villa academy to commit his long-term future to the club in recent months. After a torrid time with injuries the workman-like central midfielder has turned his Villa career around and earned a new two-and-a-half year deal with the club. Hogg has started 4 games thus far for Houllier’s side including impressive performances on his Premier League debut in the 2-2 draw with United and a battling display at local rivals Birmingham. The 21-year-old has not been overawed in some massive games for the club and his sufficiently impressed the new manager for him to hand Hogg a new contract. Hogg joins the likes of Ciaran Clark, Barry Bannan and Marc Albrighton to sign long-term deals with the Villa youngsters offering a glimmer of hope in what should be a bright future after hard times of late. In other news 18-year-old midfielder and brother of former player Craig, Gary Gardner has also signed a new contract with the club. Gardner is returning to fitness after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with cruciate ligament damage stunted a youth season in which he had managed an impressive 14 goals from the centre of the park. The England Under-20 international is hoping to follow the likes of Hogg into the first team and has earned himself a new a contract extension until 2014.

Aston Villa Performances Overshadowed by Dismal Results

December 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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After a day to grieve over what was really a hit and run from the Blues on Wednesday I have had time to reflect and collect my thoughts! It seems at the moment that Aston Villa cannot buy a win and if you can find me a manager whose new job has started with worse luck then Gerard Houllier I’m all ears. A dominant and much improved performance from the forgettable 0-0 draw at Villa Park last month still saw Villa knocked out of the League Cup. A Semi-final with West Ham awaited which almost had me sobbing into my lonely corner of shame as Villa looked to build on their Final appearance last season. Without sounding too much like a broken record, Villa couldn’t really have been missing many more players once again against the Blues though a goal-scoring return did give us fans something to cheer. Still, poor defending in the first half and a lack of cutting edge meant that all Villa’s possession and passing football came to nothing in a 2-1 defeat at St Andrews.

Extended Match Report and Ratings

Aston Villa Face Blues in Must Win Quarter Final: Match Preview

November 29, 2010 by · 2 Comments
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Villa travel the short journey to St. Andrews in what is a massive League Cup Quarter Final draw with fierce rivals Birmingham City. The two sides met last month, producing probably the dullest derby in decades and a strong contender for worst Premier League game of the season. Villa were riddled with injuries and remain severely depleted as they look to turn around a poor run of results. A spirited comeback against Arsenal on Saturday was all in vain due to a dire first half display but did encourage some fans ahead of the nail biting clash on Wednesday. Houllier’s side have won just 1 in 9 in the league though they qualified for this stage of the cup with a tense 2-1 extra-time win over Championship Burnley. Birmingham reached the Quarter Finals at the expense of League One Brentford who pushed the Blues all the way but were beaten in a penalty shoot-out. Read more

Villa Continue Dismal Recent Record

November 28, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Match Reports 

Gerard Houllier finds his Aston Villa team in an increasingly large rut following a 4-2 defeat to Arsenal due to an abysmal first half performance. The Villans have now won just one game in their last nine Premier League matches coming from an edgy 3-2 win over a massively under strength Blackpool side. The Arsenal loss was Villa’s first league defeat at home and despite a spirited second half fight back Houllier’s men were unable to overturn what was a fortunate 2-0 deficit by half time. Read more

Villa’s Youngsters set to Benefit from Pro-Pires

November 17, 2010 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa, Transfer News 

My first rumour mill prediction appears to have come true with Robert Pires close to agreeing a deal with Villa this week. The Frenchman is unattached and therefore is available for an immediate free transfer. At 37 the veteran does represent a minor gamble on Houllier’s part but with only wages to pay to the former Arsenal man the risk is just that, minor. Pires could be in line to make the trip to Blackburn on Sunday if he passes a medical in the next two days. The player feels that this won’t be an issue having trained with his former club, Arsenal for the past two months. The signing would come in the wake of somewhat of an injury crisis at Villa Park with no fewer than 10 first teamers absent last time out. The 2002 Footballer of the Year is seen to be the perfect role model for the likes of Marc Albrighton and Barry Bannan in particular and brings a wealth of top-level experience to benefit the senior squad. Pires has the backing of old boss Arsene Wenger to succeed under compatriot Gerard Houllier at Villa with the former France international eager to get going as soon as possible. What Pires has had to say

10 Games in: Gerard Houllier’s Record and Review

Many neutrals and Villa fans had their doubts over the appointment of Gerard Houllier 2 months ago but how has he really done in his opening 10 games at the club. The pessimistic may have seen the choice of the Frenchman as somewhat of a sideways step after his tenure at Liverpool was left on a low point with the Anfield club. Despite this, Houllier had a terrifically successful spell at the club leading them to Community Shield, UEFA, FA, League Cup (x2) and Supercup glory, a feat which has surpassed any of his successors at Liverpool. After health issues seemed to stunt his progress with the club, many in the Merseyside remember Houllier as a negative and uninspired tactician as he looks to answer the critics who doubted him. Villa have had a stop-start season to say the least and some impressive performances and results have been overlooked due to the sides current inability to close out games. Here is why I believe the new manager has done a decent job in his opening 10 fixtures and why Villa should not be counted out of a European finish. In-depth Managerial Review

Hou’d be a Villa Fan

November 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Wednesday 10th November 2010

Aston Villa 3-2 Blackpool

Aston Villa did things the hard way, as ever, in a thrilling encounter with Blackpool at Villa Park which saw Houllier’s side get their first win in 6 league games, running out 3-2 winners. A massive shock came when the Blackpool line-up was announced with no less than 10 changes made from the weekends draw with Everton. The remaining player from the 2-2 tie was Keith Southern who made his first league appearance for Holloway’s side on Saturday. Houllier must have seen this as great news but undoubtedly as a banana skin which was very nearly slipped on as his side twice threw away leads to set-up a nervy finish. An 89th minute strike from James Collins wrapped up the win with three points seeing Villa back into the top half of the table. Extended Match Report

Aston Villa vs Blackpool Pre-Match Prediction

November 9, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Pre-Match Predictions 

Villa play host to newly promoted Blackpool on Wednesday night who have been overlooked in all of their games thus far. The Seasiders have impressed many in their attacking play and deservedly find themselves in mid-table with 14 points from 11 games. Villa lay two places and one point behind Blackpool meaning a win would overtake the visitors with the home side unbeaten at Villa Park in the league this season. If Villa can score first then I’m going to join all those who have been mugged off when predicting against Blackpool and go for a comfortable home win.

Possible Starting XI: Friedel; L Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock; Albrighton, Clark, Bannan, Downing; A Young; Delfouneso

Key Man: Ashley Young

Goalscorer(s): Bannan, Delfouneso, A Young

Minute of First Goal: 16

Final Score: 3-1

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