Advanced Look Ahead to Reebok Road Trip

December 5, 2011 by
Filed under: Match Previews, Pre-Match Predictions 

Villa face a Bolton side this weekend who have the worst home record in the Premier League having won just 1 and lost 6 of their opening 7 games at the Reebok. Despite this, Bolton’s home advantage makes them slight favourites according to SkyBet and Betfair football, with a draw unsurprisingly the longest odds with Owen Coyle’s side the only team yet to draw a game all season.

Perhaps the most important issue which I yet to be resolved is that of the wrongful dismissal of former Villa-man Gary Cahill in Bolton’s last match against Tottenham. The club already insist that they will appeal the decision and the likelihood is that it will be overturned, meaning the defender will be able to face his old club.

That could be bad news for Villa as Cahill proved to be the catalyst in a Bolton comeback in this fixture last season, with the 25-year-old twice netting equalisers before Bolton eventually ran out 3-2 winners. McLeish, who desperately needs a win with games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all still to come in the month of December, will therefore be hoping the FA do not rescind the red card handed out by Stuart Atwell, though if sense prevails they will.

Villa could be without keeper Shay Given and midfielder Jermaine Jenas who were both injured in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United last weekend, with Sky Sports confirming that McLeish hopes the problems aren’t serious.

Despite the long odds, a punt at a score draw could be decent bet, with 4 of the last 6 league meetings between the sides at the Reebok ending in this outcome, though Bolton’s weak defence will be pleased to host a failing Villa front line who haven’t scored in 3 matches.

Villa could welcome Charles N’Zogbia back into the side after McLeish revealed that he holds no grudges over a disciplinary issue which saw the Frenchman dropped for the game against United. Captain Stiliyan Petrov is likely to return to a midfield which was poor in terms of distribution while Marc Albrighton will hope that a decent work rate rather than a showing of any real quality last time out will be enough to see him keep his place.

One player who could also come back into the line-up is Emile Heskey, with the veteran appearing in most away games so far in a 4-2-3-1 formation, but with McLeish knowing that a draw is not really good enough given the club’s testing Christmas period, a 4-4-2 formation would surely make more sense against a side that have conceded more goals than any other team in the league this season (34).


2 Comments on Advanced Look Ahead to Reebok Road Trip

  1. Ben Freer on Mon, 5th Dec 2011 16:34
  2. I’m not ITK but I believe that when Aston Villa lose this match – Alex McLeish will (with some pushing) fall on his sword and resign as manager of Aston Villa.

    He is totally out of his depth at Aston Villa and his woeful management style will see him lose his job. I notice that his odds are shortening to be the next manager to be sacked in the premiership.

    In all my years of supporting Aston Villa I have genuinely never wanted Villa to lose a match before but come Saturday I want to see Bolton put the final nail in McLeish’s coffin.

  3. brazos on Thu, 8th Dec 2011 10:53
  4. I live in Spain. I´m 60. I´ve supported Villa all my life. I will continue to do so. It is just so hard. There appears to be so little happening in terms of buying even half decent players and those that make the grade….we sell! All I can say is that I live in hope every single time Villa play and this season……..hopes are dashed more often than not. Us fans tend to discuss memories of Villa today….that´s not good enough for such a great club. Despite the gloom and doom I´m hoping for a win at Bolton….God help me!!!

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