Milito Must be Free in Order to Tempt Villa

February 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Villa are reportedly interested in bringing Barcelona deputy centre-back Gabriel Milito to Villa Park as the Argentinian looks to secure regular first team football with the possibility of taking the smallest step down possible in joining what is expected to be somewhat of a revolution under Gerard Houllier next season! The 30-year-old has featured under Guardiola on 11 occasions in all competitions this term, but having only completed the 90 minutes three times, is keen to move away and is being touted for sunny pastures new in the Midlands. Villa are apparently hopeful that the Spanish giants will allow the defender to leave on a free transfer, despite his contract not running out until 2012, successfully recouping a grand total of nothing on their 20m euro investment in 2007 (didn’t really pay off did it!) A cruciate knee ligament injury kept the Argentine national stopper, who has made 34 appearances for his country scoring 1 goal, out of action for nearly 2 years and effectively hampering his chances at the Nou Camp. His big money signing came off the back of impressive form for Real Zaragoza and Milito was able to earn 42 appearances in his first full season at the club. Since, he has been kept out by old hand Carlos Puyol and sufficiently younger hand Gerard Pique, picking up 70 appearances in his 3 seasons, 15 of which were in the Champions League, netting twice and receiving 11 cautions. The link may well suggest that one of Villa’s current centre-halves is surplus to requirements, with many touting this to be Richard Dunne, despite a decent return to form since falling out with the management at the end of last year. Worth it on a free? One would think so, but is he really any better than what we already have?

Ram Raid: Villa Rival Valencia’s Rami Bid

December 27, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

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.

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.

Aston Villa vs Liverpool Pre-Match Predictions

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Here are my predictions for this Monday’s game with Liverpool. I’m equally optimistic and pessimistic ahead of the match which will see Houllier return to Anfield. An uncertain defence of late doesn’t look like keeping a clean sheet any time soon against a Liverpool team who made a host of chances against Tottenham last week. On a positive note Agbonlahor looked sharp against City and we dominated the game despite defeat so I think we will get a few chances against a Liverpool defence devoid of Carragher and Agger. I’m hopeful of returns for Cuellar and Albrighton but may well be wrong! What do you think will be the score and who will feature in tomorrow night’s 8pm kick-off?

Possible Starting XI: Friedel; L Young, Dunne, Cuellar, Warnock; Albrighton, Clark, Hogg, Downing; Ireland; Agbonlahor

Key Man: Gabby Agbonlahor

Goalscorer(s): Agbonlahor, Ireland

Minute of First Goal: 53

Final Score: 2-2

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

Aston Villa Performances Overshadowed by Dismal Results

December 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Reports 

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
Filed under: Match Previews 

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

Hou’d be a Villa Fan

November 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Match Reports 

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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