Villa Get Massive Dose of De Ja Vu for Christmas

December 27, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Match Reports 

Rafael van der Vaart is fast becoming Villa’s most hated man, rivalling the entire Blues squad, after proving the decider once again as Houllier’s men fell at the 20 hands of Tottenham’s 10 men. A brace from the Dutchman once again was accompanied by a goal from Villa’s Marc Albrighton in a 1-2 home defeat for the Villans. Add to this an early injury to Villa striker Emile Heskey and I was almost tempted to copy and paste my match report from the season’s earlier meeting at White Hart Lane. Spooky Christmas stuff! The one change was the order of scoring with Tottenham taking a two goal lead rather than coming from behind as they did a few months back. The fact that Tottenham were reduced to 10 men, when 0-1 up after half an hour, made this defeat a real body blow. An alleged elbow from Defoe on Collins had seen Villa handed a significant lifeline in this one but the fact that Houllier didn’t have many phone-a-friends on the bench meant that his side were unable to capitalise. Extended Match Report and Ratings

Merry Christmas from AstonVillaBlog

December 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa 

I would just like to wish all the members and readers a very Merry Christmas ahead of tomorrow’s big game with awful television, alcohol and good food! I’d like to thank you for your continued interest in the site and hope to bring you more news and unique features in the New Year. I’d welcome any feedback on the site, constructive criticism is welcome but I take offence like a 7-year-old girl i.e. lots of crying and shouting so please go easy. If you have any ideas or have seen features from other sites that you feel would improve the site that would be great and I look forward to hearing them. Once again have a great Christmas and I’ll be back with you for a match report after we thump Tottenham, maybe! Have a good one.

Aston Villa vs Tottenham Match Preview

December 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Previews 

Sunday 26th December 2010

Opponent: Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Villa Park

Kick Off: 17:30

Aston Villa host Tottenham in their first double league meeting of the season, after losing a 0-1 lead at White Hart Lane they were defeated 2-1. The main difference in that game was Rafael van der Vaart and there’s some untimely news for Villa on the injury front for the Dutchman this time around. Not good. Early injury to Emile Heskey did not help us in that game after the rejuvenated striker had assisted for Marc Albrighton to net his first senior goal for Villa. The forward, now back from injury, will be looking to last the course this time and add to his goalscoring return against West Brom last time out. Returns from injury and alleged bust-ups have caused changes galore in the Villa starting line-up though impressive performances from the deputising young guns have left Houllier with a rare selection headache ahead of the Boxing Day clash. Read the full preview for in-depth injury news on both sides as well as stats on the club’s past meetings.

Full Match Preview

Houllier: Young a No-Go in January

December 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Gerard Houllier has quashed reports that the club may look to cash in on star player Ashley Young in January with his contract expiring in the summer of 2012. The manager has reiterated reports earlier in the week that Villa would be loathed, but willing, to risk letting Young leave on a free transfer at the end of his contract as they feel his worth in a playing capacity over the next two seasons would outweigh a cut price valuation due to the contract scenario. Young had looked set to pen a new long-term deal but after stating that he was happy at the club, revealed that he wanted to wait until the end of the season in order to ‘focus on playing’ before discussing terms in the summer. Houllier has confirmed that this will be the case despite interest from Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham stating that both he and the chairman were ‘brave’ enough to let the contract run as opposed to selling the club’s highest earner.

“Ashley knows that the club’s will is to keep him. I’ll keep him until the end of his contract and I’ll keep the club developing,” said Houllier.

“You have to be brave to do that. Mr Lerner is brave and I am brave.

“Ashley told us very clearly that he would like to end this season and see what he’ll do and we respect that.

“Let’s wait and see. At the moment I can tell you that we’ll assess things a bit later on. If someone comes with crazy money, yes. But in the meantime I don’t think he’ll leave in January. ”

McLeish Denies Carew Link

December 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

With John Carew out of contract next summer and pretty far away from convincing Houllier to reconsider a contract extension, reports mounted regarding a controversial bid from Birmingham. The Blues have picked up a habit of picking up Villa fringe players in recent years but this one is way too far fetched. Your welcome to Craig Gardner and Liam Ridgewell and you would be welcome to Carew on his current form but the big man is a cult icon at Villa Park and a switch to St Andrews would surely be suicide for the Norwegian. Carew’s recent decline has been extremely disappointing to see after the giant forward built up a strong affinity with the Villa faithful and all Villa fans would love to see him back to his best without question. Despite this, his heart doesn’t look in it anymore and fitness issues combined with a lack of effort have seen him fall below Nathan Delfouneso in the forward pecking order. McLeish confirmed that he was an admirer of Carew, and that’s all you’ll ever be mate, but a move had not been considered.

“I have always liked John Carew as a player and I tried to take him to Rangers.

“But he is not someone I have thought about.”

How do you feel about the recent John Carew demise? Will you be sad to see him go or is it good riddance as far as your concerned?

Villa Close in on Youngster Fofana

December 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Gerard Houllier is looking to the future and hopes to sign French hot prospect Guieda Fofana from Le Havre. The 19-year-old is highly rated in France and it seems Houllier is familiar with the youngster from his role with the FFF. Fofana impressed whilst captaining France at the European Under-19 Championships last summer and has represented his country from Under-16 level, recently obtaining 2 caps for the Under-20s. Villa are looking to tie up a deal for the defensive midfielder in January with a host of European clubs holding an interest. At just 18, Fofana was a mainstay in the Le Havre first team picking up 30 appearances and has been also obtained 17 caps this season for the Ligue 2 club scoring 1 goal to add to the solitary goal from his previous campaign. Unsurprisingly he is rarely amongst the goals though he has netted 7 times for the various French academy sides that he has played.

Houllier Wont Rule Out Friedel Contract Renewal

December 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Gerard Houllier has revealed an intent to hold talks with veteran goalkeeper Brad Friedel early next year to discuss whether both parties are interested in agreeing a new contract. The American will be 40 next year and the manager has confirmed that he is on the lookout for a future replacement for Friedel with a host of names being linked. It was believed that Rangers keeper Allan McGregor was top of the list but according to reports, although the Villa management were impressed by the Scotsman over various scouting assignments, the club feel that at 6 foot tall, he is too short. Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller, 30, has apparently replaced McGregor as the priority target though the likes of young Championship stoppers’ Jason Steele and Scott Loach have also been linked. Houllier seemingly left the door open to Big Brad to sign a new contract after it was suggested that his time would be up at Villa Park come the end of the season.

“We are looking at several goalkeepers – and we’ve told Brad

“We’re looking for a keeper for the future.

“If Brad is fine in February, then we will keep him. We’ve told him that, if he feels OK.

“I’ve spoken to him and said ‘obviously, you’re 39, so I need to look to the future but I’m perfectly happy with you’.

“And, if he feels fine, why not? We’ll ask him in February. If he feels alright, we’ll keep him.

“If he stays, he’ll stay as the first-team keeper.”

Houllier Looks to Want-Away Makoun

December 23, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Jean Makoun is considering a move away from Lyon after the signing of Yoann Gourcuff in the summer has seen the Cameroon international slip down the pecking order. Injury to the summer signing and Lyon’s other first choice centre midfielder Jeremy Toulalan has seen Makoun gain some sporadic appearances this year but the 27-year-old former Lille man has revealed that he is searching for first team football once again with Gerard Houllier hotly tipped to fight for his signature.

“The winter market? There are clubs interested,” he told L’Equipe.

“Lyon opened the door and haven’t ruled out a sale. I hope they haven’t changed their mind.

“I know I am on the fringes of the side, with Yoann Gourcuff and Jeremy Toulalan almost fit again.

“I play, then I don’t play. It is frustrating. I have always played and I want to carry on playing.

“I could do that at Lyon or maybe somewhere else. It is a complicated situation at the moment.”

Makoun has been linked to Villa in recent months and I completed a review of the Lyon midfielder in a rumour mill feature at the start of last month which you can read here.

Bentley Keen on Villa Loan

December 23, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

David Bentley is keen to escape from a pretty miserable tenure at Tottenham after chances have become more and more limited under Harry Redknapp this term. Spurs splashed out a hefty £15m for the winger, who despite being out of favour, has impressed when played and was hotly tipped for an England call-up after a fantastic few seasons at Blackburn after starting out Arsenal. Bentley returned to haunt his former employers with a memorable goal against the Gunners for arch rivals Tottenham, the highlight of his seasons with the club. Due to the sizable amount spent on the player, now 26, Redknapp will be keen to recoup a reasonable chunk of the £15m spent but the likelihood becomes less likely with the more time the midfielder stays on the bench. For that reason a loan move has been touted with former club Blackburn interested along with his old manager Mark Hughes, at Fulham. Bentley is believed to be keen on a reunion with the boss whom he flourished under and a short move across London may be on the cards. Despite this Villa have been suggested as long-term admirers of Bentley who is also reportedly keen on a switch to the Midlands club. Does the club need another winger? Bentley can play in a more central role but is undoubtedly more useful as a wide-man. With Downing top scorer and Albrighton being Villa’s best player this season would the move be worthwhile? Opinions…

Villa Prepared to Let Young Contract Run

December 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

It appears that Villa are looking to buck the trend of having to sell their best players by simply letting their contracts run out instead. Star man Ashley Young has been linked with many of England’s bigger boys for many years now but things looked up for Villa earlier in the year after Young revealed he was happy at the club and was interested in extending his current deal. Young is the club’s highest wage earner and was set to sign a new long-term deal before changing his mind in order to ‘focus on playing football’ (not good footballing noises)! A move back to his hometown of London was the main link in the summer with Tottenham thought to be keen. A decent start to the season has seen the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United renew interests which led Houllier to set a farcical £80m price tag on the 25-year-old.

Young’s current deal expires in 18 months and the club face another Barry/Milner situation wherein their best player is reportedly not interested in extending his contract. In the past the board have looked to cash in on such assets with Barry and Milner both leaving for Manchester City, a club who shockingly haven’t really been accredited with an interest this time around. After such dealings led to the resignation of Martin O’Neill in the summer and the criticism of fans and pundits alike, it seems that Lerner is determined to hang on to the club’s prized asset. It has been reported that Villa are not willing to sell Young in January and are certainly not prepared to let him go for a cut-price in the summer having spent £10m on the ex-Watford man four years ago. This would mean that if Ashley decides not to sign a new deal this year then he would be allowed to leave the club on a free in the summer of 2012, a scenario which the Villa management see as more valuable to the team then relinquishing any of the ‘£80m’ price tag. Oh dear is all I can say, sinking feeling returning, got to sort out this de ja vu!

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