Houllier to hold showdown talks with FFF

September 7, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Injury News, International Football, Villa Manager 

It was announced today that Gerard Houllier will meet with the FFF to discuss the job offer from Aston Villa. It is highly expected that the Frenchman will step down from his post as Technical Director of the French national team. Reports suggest that the 63 year old has been offered a two year contract at the club and in a managerial role. More on Houlliers’ role at the club

Villa Reserves Trounce Blackpool

On a day when all Villan’s have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new manager the current staff and reserve team in particular, have been going about their business in an impressive manner. The game took place at Bodymoor Heath and resulted in a 4-0 victory to Villa’s second string with some impressive performances from some of the clubs young guns.

more match analysis

Aston Villa vs Everton Match Preview

August 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Injury News, Match Previews 

Sunday 29th August 2010

Opponent: Everton

Venue: Villa Park

Kick Off: 16:00

At the end of a very bad week for Aston Villa a match up against Everton may not be ideal to remedy the pain caused by Newcastle and Vienna. The home sides record against the Toffee’s makes for interesting reading having not lost in their last 8 encounters of the most played fixture in English football.

Boosts for the Villain’s include the likely return of Stewart Downing, Stephen Warnock and Richard Dunne after they were rested in midweek. John Carew is looking to return from a knee injury with fellow strike partner Gabby Agbonlahor also hoping to be fit after coming off against Vienna with a calf problem. It is likely that the unimpressive Curtis Davies and Habib Beye will make way but Heskey should keep his place after a decent performance in Europe.

Everton have no real injury worries with captain Phil Neville and Joseph Yobo the only real doubts for the game. The visitors will no doubt be looking to profit from a disastrous Villa spell and are hoping for the first win of the campaign. Failure to do so would result in the worst league start for 10 years though Moyes’ side have lost just once in their last 13 games.

Villa new boy Stephen Ireland will be looking to build on a decent performance on Thursday in his home league debut and should cause Everton problems. An undoubtedly strong midfield for the opponent’s will look to exploit a shaky Villa defence with advanced playmakers such as Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar. The main threat for Villa may be an aerial one as they have struggled with crosses recently and the imposing danger of Tim Cahill who has 4 in his last 4 against the Villa will need to be dealt with.

Overall a defensive master class is needed and a clean sheet would be a godsend for Kevin MacDonald. This, backed up by a goalscoring start to the league campaign for Gabby Agbonlahor would certainly turn Villa frowns upside down with the possibility of moving into the top 6 with a win. 3 points would definitely quash any thoughts of a crisis at the club though a draw may not be a terrible outcome.

Possible Starting XI: Brad Friedel; Luke Young, Richard Dunne, James Collins, Stephen Warnock; Ashley Young, Stiliyan Petrov, Stephen Ireland, Stewart Downing; Emile Heskey, Gabby Agbonlhaor

Martin’s predicted scoreline: 2-2

Aston Villa vs Rapid Vienna Preview

August 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Injury News, Match Previews 

Thursday 26th August 2010

Opponent: Rapid Vienna

Venue: Villa Park

Kick Off: 19:45

Thursday night sees the home leg of Villa’s Europa Cup Qualifying tie against Austrian unit Rapid Vienna. After a decent, if unimpressive result in Vienna left the tie in the balance at 1-1 Villa will be looking to exact revenge on the side that knocked them out of the competition at this very stage last season. A depressing night almost exactly one year ago saw Villa crash out on away goals after only managing a 2-1 home victory in response to Rapid’s 1-0 aggregate advantage. The season could have been so different if Ashley Young had not missed a penalty to send the Villains through and the same player may well be the key to victory this time around. The departure from the competition may well have benefited us in the long term with two much needed domestic cup runs and a Carling Cup robbery by Manchester United and more specifically Phil Dowd but we’re not bitter.

The first leg saw caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald field a very youthful starting XI and it seemed to be working early on in the game. An impressive run and delivery from Marc Albrighton was converted by Barry Bannan for his first senior goal. However after that high point we struggled especially from high balls into the box and looked shaky with an unfamiliar back four. The inevitable reply from the home side came from an inevitable source after a cross from Rapid star man and captain Steffan Hofmann was glanced in by target man Nuhiu.

Hofmann will no doubt be the man to target in this game and stopping his impressive deliveries into the box will be imperative. A much changed side is expected after a dismal display against Newcastle though many first team regulars are expected to return from the first leg. Brad Guzan may still be preferred in goal although it is likely that Friedel will come in and a much stronger back four will be required as a clean sheet would ensure progression to the group stages. Richard Dunne will need to improve after a far from inspiring display against the Toon and last season’s regular partner at the back James Collins may be in line for a return. Carlos Cuellar is also back in contention after recovering from injury and will look to push Luke Young for a starting berth.

In midfield new signing Stephen Ireland is available and wingman Ashley Young is expected to start. Young could be crucial to success as the Vienna back line also looked far from solid in the last game and MacDonald will be looking for him to cause the sort of trouble’s that Marc Albrighton was able to cause early on last time out. The aforementioned Albrighton may be given a rest after starting all of Villa’s opening 3 games so far and captain Stiliyan Petrov should also come in.

Up front the goalscoring return of Gabby Agbonlahor in a 45 minute spell in a friendly this week see’s him back in contention and Carew and Heskey are also fit and available. Pace may be preferred as Vienna’s ageing centre backs were caught out on occasion by Emile Heskey in Vienna. I predict that despite losing 6-0 at the weekend, MacDonald will stick to a familiar set up and as long as we can get at the defence, progression to the next round should not be an issue. A clean sheet would mean that we would not even need to score but an early goal would really help settle the nerves and a much improved defensive display will be required. Two known absentees are Stewart Downing and Stephen Warnock who will be rested after starting all of Villa’s games thus far.

Martin’s predicted starting XI: Brad Guzan; Habib Beye, Richard Dunne, James Collins, Luke Young; Ashley Young, Stiliyan Petrov, Nigel Reo-Coker, Stephen Ireland; Gabby Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey

Martin’s predicted result: A comfortable 2-0 win for the Villa

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