Di Matteo and Shorey Urge Carew Move, Petrov Says Don’t Go

January 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

John Carew – discuss… The former Villa favourite has had a dismal beginning to a stop-start season in which he has re-fallen out with former manager Gerard Houllier and produced some abject and effortless displays in front of his adoring Villa fans who are becoming less so with every day it seems. The Norwegian, now 31, is yet to score in any competitions this season, missing a penalty in the process, and has slipped to the bottom of the striker pecking order. The big man has not even been involved in warming the Villa bench in the last month after disagreements with the boss over some pretty unoffensive comments in the press. With his contract out at the end of the season, Houllier urged Carew to prove that he warranted a new contract and was met by angry reactions from the striker after the quotes were allegedly ‘lost in transaction’ between somewhere between Birmingham and Norway (if you can find them please let me know as I can’t really see the Carew’s problem?). West Brom were linked with an interest last month and in the last couple of days, manager Roberto Mancini has confirmed a desire for Carew to make the short switch. To read the Italian’s comments along with input from ex-Villa, now Baggie, Nicky Shorey and Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov, click here

Villa to Fight Liverpool for Attacking Midfield Prospect

December 14, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Aston Villa are the latest side to be linked to an admiration for Swiss starlet, Valentin Stocker. The 21-year-old attacking midfielder plays for top Switzerland outfit Basel and has attracted interest from a host of club’s with impressive performances at club and international level despite his young age. Stocker has made 7 appearances already for his national side, netting an impressive 3 goals. His club record isn’t much worse having scored 8 times from 28 games in all competitions from midfield, almost 1 in 3. Add to this a total of 6 assists in 15 league appearances and you could be forgiven for getting a little excited. The 21-year-old broke into the first team set up at Basel when he was just 18 scoring 3 times in 11 games in his first season. 12 goals in 31 games last year in the league, accompanied by 10 assists, shot the Swiss midfielder into the limelight. Liverpool have reportedly shown an interest but Houllier will be keen to bolster his midfield after injuries to the returning Nigel Reo-Coker, Stiliyan Petrov and Steve Sidwell. Exciting link this one having researched the lad!

Houllier Welcomes Heskey Return Ahead of Derby

December 9, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa, Injury News 

Villa striker Emile Heskey is set to recover from a knee injury which has kept him out for over a month, just in time to face Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. The 32-year-old had recaptured some form when reunited with former boss Gerard Houllier but a decent run of 3 goals in 6 (unheard of for Heskey!) was cut short by an injury picked up in one of the new manager’s double training sessions at the end of October. The forward needed surgery on the knee but proceedings went well and the ex-England international should be in for a timely return to face Di Matteo’s side.  Nigel Reo-Coker had his first training session with the senior side yesterday but Houllier revealed he is unlikely to feature at the weekend and captain Stiliyan Petrov should return to training within the next few weeks. Speaking about the progress of Heskey, Houllier was full of praise of the big man stating:

“Emile will definitely be involved on Saturday. It’s down to other people to analyse the minutes we’ve played with Emile, the goals he’s scored and made. But you would see the difference, he works hard for the team and we’ve missed him.”

With regards to the impending return of Petrov and Reo-Coker, he said:

“Petrov is ahead of schedule and in two weeks he should be back in training.

“Reo-Coker had his first full training session with us on Wednesday. I’d be surprised if he is in contention (for Saturday).”

Liverpool vs Aston Villa Match Preview

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Previews 

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

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

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

Aston Villa vs Blackpool Match Preview

November 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Previews 

Wednesday 10th November 2010

Opponent: Blackpool

Venue: Villa Park

Kick Off: 19:45

Villa will be looking to put a turbulent week off the field in the past with a winning performance on it as the Midlands club play host to newly promoted Blackpool. Gerard Houllier must have been ready to celebrate when his side went into the 94th minute of the weekends match with Fulham 1-0 up. A last minute equaliser from Brede Hangeland crushed Villa hearts to put a dampener on an otherwise impressive performance. The result means that Houllier’s side are now without a league win in 5, during which the clubs only two goals have come from Marc Albrighton. Blackpool are having a decidedly happier time in their debut Premier League season having shocked fans and pundits alike to see themselves in the dizzying heights of the top half. Villa lay in 14th place in the league just 3 points above the drop zone but also just 3 points off a 6th placed finish in a tight league table. Extended Match Preview

Hero to Villain – Albrighton Pays Penalty for Late Foul at Fulham

November 6, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa, Match Reports 

Aston Villa missed the chance to climb the Premier League table with a win at Fulham after the hosts equalised in the 95th minute to break Villa hearts. Villa came into the game without a win in 4 and without a goal in 3. These daunting stats were worrying with Villa missing their 3 senior strikers going into the game. A first start for Nathan Delfouneso was the result of Houllier’s injury woes but it was the last Villa player to score a league goal, Marc Albrighton, who gave Villa the lead. The manager also handed a start to youngster Barry Bannan who impressed and set-up the goal expertly. Villa could not hang onto their lead from the first half and dramatic late equaliser from Brede Hangeland but a sever dampener on an encouraging display. Goal-scorer, Albrighton was left with his head in his hands after needlessly giving away the free-kick which assisted the late and bitter blow to the visitors. Extended Match Report

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