Friedel Quashes Bust-Up Reports

Aston Villa keeper Brad Friedel has been quick to deny reports of a bust-up between Richard Dunne and assistant manager, Gary McAllister. The rumours come as one of many stories regarding a lack of harmony at the club since new manager Gerard Houllier’s arrival three months ago. Dunne was dropped from the Villa starting line-up along with fellow countryman Stephen Ireland who was omitted from the squad entirely. Many Villa fans had been calling for the move to replace Dunne with the returning Carlos Cuellar for some time and it had first appeared that Houllier had been heeding this call. However, suggestions were made of a bust-up between the Villa centre back and Houllier’s right hand man which had apparently shocked much of the Villa squad and may have led to his demotion to the bench. Friedel stated that the side were lacking confidence after a dismal run and that meetings had been held with and without members of staff between the players. When asked of the reported fracas between McAllister and Dunne he said:

“I never saw a proper bust-up at all, although I know he was left out of the team on Saturday.”

More rumours circulated today that yet another Villa player had fallen foul in Gerard Houllier’s Christmas card list. According to sources from the Daily Mail, Habib Beye was involved in an angry confrontation with Houllier during a routine training match. It is reported that the defender reacted furiously to being told to curb his tackling and of his lack of opportunities at the club. Beye has already been linked with a move away in Villa Park to cut the club’s wage bill as one of the bench-warmers of the side. If the reports are true then he may well be a step closer to a departure and if factual, then he would join the likes of Dunne, Ireland and Carew who have been rumoured to be on bad terms with the new Villa management. What do you make of all the apparent lack of harmony behind the scenes? Is it all being blown out of proportion or are the mounting stories a concern under Houllier who has appears to be incapable of staying out of the papers of late.

Villa’s Dip in Form Leads to Numerous Transfer Rumours

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Transfer News 

An awful run of results for Gerard Houllier has left Villa in 16th ahead of Monday night’s tie with Liverpool. Despite some decent performances a lack of results has led to a surge in the amount of players linked with the club ahead of the January transfer window. Read how reports suggest that Villa could be in for a change of No.1 as well as links to advanced midfielders and familiar faces up front. Don’t get too excited as Houllier has said that he only plans to bring in new faces in January and has also said that a striker is probably not one of them but this has not stopped the reports! Enjoy! Villa Transfer Merry-go-round!

Quarterly 2010/11 Season Review: Aston Villa Defensive Statistics by Player

November 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa 

Mainly down to having far too much time on my hands and being a stickler for a good stat, I decided to comprise a list of the defensive statistics for each Aston Villa defender and midfielder (excluding wingers Marc Albrighton, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young). 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. Exciting stuff I realise but it does reveal some interesting results. I will list the top 3 players in each category regarding their defensive record as well as the bottom 3 culprits. Individual Defensive Stats in Full

Double Fitness Boost for Villa Ahead of City Derby

October 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Injury News 

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier today confirmed the return of John Carew and Luke Young ahead of the Birmingham City game on Sunday. Carew was expected to return from the illness that kept him out of the midweek clash with Burnley but is likely to have to make do with a place on the bench after Emile Heskey impressed once again in the cup tie. Gabby Agbonlahor is still a couple of weeks away from a return though Luke Young should feature at the weekend. The news will come as a shock to many Villa fans after Houllier had played down reports of a return in the coming weeks. Whether Young is fit to start is unsure but if he does it would mean a return to the bench for Senegalese international Habib Beye and most likely Carlos Cuellar too. Houllier also revealed that local lad Marc Albrighton was distraught at being unavailable through suspension for derby day at Villa Park. The young winger was sent off for a professional foul in the Carling Cup after Villa had regained the lead in extra-time.

“John Carew seems to have recovered from his flu. We need everyone. Not having Gabby, it is good to have John and Emile.”

“Marc Albrighton is suspended. The boy is devastated – very downhearted. Luke Young should be involved.”

Aston Villa vs Birmingham City Pre-Match Prediction

October 29, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa, Pre-Match Predictions 

No self-respecting Villa fan, especially one who runs a blog viewed by other Villa fans, is ever going to bet against his own team in the derby with the Blues. It would be like betting that Scotland would beat England, you just can’t bring yourself to even comprehend the possibility. Villa do have key players missing and I beg that Houllier drops Beye for Cuellar, I know he’s not a right-back but he’s also not Habib Beye! These issues aside people do forget that the times of our depressingly under-strength squad depth are nearly over. Nearly. I have to predict a home win and thoroughly believe that we will win. Maybe not 5-1, maybe not even 2-0 but scrap that, I’m going for 2-0. Am I biased? Yes I am, but what do you think the score will be, who will score, and do any of you dare to bet against the Villa? I want to hear from you!

Birmingham (Home) – Sunday 31st October

Possible Starting XI: Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Downing, Reo-Coker, Sidwell, Young; Ireland; Heskey

Key Man: Emile Heskey

Goalscorer(s): Heskey, Delfouneso (sub)

Minute of First Goal: 52

Final Score: 2-0

Houllier’s Brilliant Big Brad Selection

October 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Match Reports 

Wednesday 27th October 2010

Aston Villa 2-1 Burnley (AET)

Villa have made it through to the Quarter Finals of the Carling Cup thanks to a 2-1, substitute inspired win over Burnley after extra-time. Villa dominated much of the first half and should have been in front but a lack of goals is still a real worry ahead of the Blues derby on Sunday. Burnley capitalised on Villa’s poor finishing and came out strongly in the second 45, putting the home side on the back foot for much of the half. It took substitutions from Houllier to change the game with Heskey and Downing both introduced to great effect. The former put the home side ahead with 5 minutes remaining but Villa failed to protect this lead with Burnley equalising on 89 through captain Clarke Carlisle. A stunning goal from Stewart Downing sealed victory for the hosts despite a Marc Albrighton red card in extra-time. Extended Report and Ratings

Aston Villa vs Burnley Pre-Match Prediction

October 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Pre-Match Predictions 

Gerard Houllier will be looking to capitalise on the opportunity to get back to ways against weaker opposition in Villa’s Carling Cup 4th round tie with Burnley. Defensive absences, notably with both starting full backs missing, will give Brian Laws men hope. I believe that the youngsters who impressed in the last round such as Bannan and Delfouneso joined by Albrighton and Clark will have enough to see off inferior opposition tomorrow night. The mix of this youth and experience from the likes of temporary captain Reo-Coker should provide the fans with another glimpse of the bright future ahead at Villa Park. Tough to call the starting line-up in this one ahead of Birmingham on Sunday so let me know who you think will be given the nod.

Burnley (Home) – 27th October 2010

Possible Staring XI: Guzan; Lichaj, Clark, Cuellar, Beye; Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Sidwell, Bannan; Ireland; Carew

Key Man: Marc Albrighton

Goalscorer(s): Sidwell, Carew, Albrighton

Minute of First Goal: 33

Final Score: 3-1

Lady Luck Not Shining On Houllier’s Villa

October 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Reports 

After another tight game at the weekend led to a disappointing defeat it seems that Gerard Houllier may just need a little luck to revert back to winning ways. Decent performances in the club’s last 3 games have bought just 1 league point and perhaps the reason for this being 1 league goal. After starting promisingly against Tottenham, a club whom Villa have previously seemed to fear under MON, Albrighton gave Villa a deserved lead. Rafael van der Vaart proved to be too hot to handle, despite arguably warranting a point from the tough clash at White Hart Lane. The champions of Chelsea were next up at Villa Park and Houllier’s men more than matched their opponents for most of the game. Other than two efforts that hit the woodwork for the visitor’s Villa had more real chances and could have nicked the points late on through Reo-Coker. Saturday’s defeat to Sunderland was probably the most crushing of the lot after again starting brightly, Villa were beaten by a Richard Dunne own goal. Sunderland Match Report

Sunderland vs Aston Villa Match Preview

October 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Injury News, Match Previews 

Saturday October 23rd 2010

Opponent: Sunderland

Venue: Stadium of Light

Kick Off: 15:00

Villa travel to Sunderland with a commendable away record against the hosts. Gerard Houllier’s side have stretched out an unbeaten run of 5 games against the Black Cats and will be looking for a first win in 3 after defeat to Tottenham was backed up by a good draw with Chelsea last weekend. Steve Bruce’s men have only lost once at home in their last 14 outings and will be looking to extend an impressive unbeaten run of their own. The home side haven’t lost in 6 games but have become early contenders for draw specialists with results tied in their last 5 games, 6 in total this season. Bruce’s side have capped a decent start to the season by taking points off of the likes of Liverpool, although that doesn’t seem too much of a feat right now, Arsenal and Manchester United. Villa will have a strong squad available after recovery from injuries and will be looking to build on the battling performance that earned them a point against the champions. Team News and Previews

Injury Updates Ahead of Sunderland Clash

October 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Injury News 

There is mixed news on the injury front with Luke Young out for at least the next 3 matches due to a torn hamstring but possible weekend returns for a number of others. Young injured the hamstring in training on Friday ahead of the Chelsea game leading to a surprise call-up for ‘Sunday, Monday, Habib Beye’. The Senegalese international put in a decent performance and may have done enough to retain a starting berth at right back over fit again Carlos Cuellar. News on Dunne, Albrighton and Heskey

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