Fulham vs Aston Villa Preview: Houllier Needing Win

November 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Match Previews 

Aston Villa travel to Fulham tomorrow in need of a win after picking up just 2 points from a possible 12. The away day at Craven Cottage is an exceptionally difficult one with Mark Hughes continuing Roy Hodgson’s accomplishment of making his side extremely hard to beat at home. Under normal circumstances many Villa fans wouldn’t be too disheartened with a draw but after a poor run of form culminated in a dismal performance against the Blues on Sunday, Gerard Houllier is in desperate need of three points. It has been hard going for the Frenchman so far but is only going to get harder in the coming weeks after injuries to his two remaining fit senior strikers. Team News

Villa Striker Shortage Beyond a Joke Following Carew Injury

November 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Injury News 

Yesterday I sang the praises of young striker Nathan Delfouneso to stake a claim for a place in Houllier’s plans for tomorrow, now the Frenchman has no choice. With Gabby Agbonlahor still recovering from groin surgery, the striker did take part in ball work for the first time today, and Emile Heskey revealed to be out for a month after injuring knee ligaments on Wednesday, John Carew now joins the ever growing injury list at Villa Park. Carew has suffered a calf injury that is likely to keep him out for at least three weeks to a month, similar to Heskey. The injury crisis has paved the way for 19-year-old Delfouneso to prove his worth on the big stage after 2 years of cameo appearances. How John Carew picked up the problem is unknown but many Villa fans are now starting to doubt the manager’s strenuous training regime after Luke Young and Heskey have both recently sustained injuries. More on Injury Crisis

Player Review: Why Nathan Delfouneso Deserves His First Team Chance

With my Player Review feature having singled out first team stars Ashley Young and Nigel Reo-Coker to date, I wanted to focus on one of the fringe players staking a claim for a first team place. Gabby Agbonlahor has been out for over a month and it is still unsure when he will return and the clubs striker woes have been added to by injury to Emile Heskey this week. Compile this with a lack of form and goals for John Carew and you start to understand why Villa have scored just 1 in their last 4 matches. The strikers have 1 Premier League strike between them which feel to Heskey with Stewart Downing being the only real threat in terms of goals with 3 in the league thus far. Depressed after reading that? Enter Nathan Delfouneso. Nathan Delfouneso Review

Heskey Adds to Villa Injury Woe

November 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Injury News 

Aston Villa front man Emile Heskey could be out for up to a month after sustaining a knee injury in training on Wednesday. The news comes on the back of the revelation that captain Stiliyan Petrov is likely to miss out for at least three months with the ligament damage he picked up in the 1-0 defeat to Sunderland. Heskey has been in good form under Houllier, having worked with him at Liverpool, scoring 3 in his last 6 appearances with two of those coming from the bench. The injury leaves John Carew and Nathan Delfouneso as the only fit first team strikers with Gabby Agbonlahor’s groin injury taking longer to heal than anticipated. With Carew lacking in confidence in the box and without a goal all season I think it should be time to give Delfouneso a chance after fine form with the reserves this season. More News on the Injury

Quarterly 2010/11 Season Review: Aston Villa Attacking Statistics by Player

November 3, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa 

Following on from my defensive stats accumulation, I have also gathered some attacking statistics for each midfielder and attacker in the current Villa squad. The stats again, show each player’s record thus far this campaign as well as their overall Premier League record for their combined clubs in parenthesis. The stats include each player’s shots on target ratio, the shots to goals ratio and the average amount of minutes on the pitch it takes each player to score. Again the findings do reveal some interesting results. I will list the top 3 players in each category regarding their attacking record as well as the bottom 3 culprits. Individual Attacking Stats in Full

What is Aston Villa’s Best Starting XI?

November 1, 2010 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa, Hot topic debates 

I have decided to use my Average Player Ratings stats to decipher who have been Villa’s best starting XI this season in the familiar 4-4-1-1 formation. The ratings started after the 6-0 defeat to Newcastle which should be taken into consideration and Carling Cup performances are included. Each player must have featured at least 3 times for Villa in the last 10 games. Villa’s Top XI Performers

Houllier Team Selection to Blame for Lack of Creativity

November 1, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa, Match Reports 

Sunday 31st October 2010

Aston Villa 0-0 Birmingham City

Sunday afternoon saw the epic battle between fierce rivals Aston Villa and Birmingham that wasn’t so epic at all. A competitive game which lacked creativity, imagination and overall quality turned into a bit of a Halloween nightmare for the home fans. Villa set up with a defensive line-up which had many Villans scratching their heads in what is the most important game of the season for the majority of the home support. Gerard Houllier’s team selection will be questioned after setting up with what appeared to be a 4-1-4-1 formation. The tactics left no room for flair and attacking threat in a first-half in which I hate to say, Birmingham should have led. A lack of support for Emile Heskey in the opening hour of the match seemed an extremely negative approach which Alex McLeish and Blues fans would have loved. To this point I haven’t really questioned any of Houllier’s decisions come match-day but I have to concede that a more attacking Villa line-up should have won the game on Sunday. A full yet brief match report follows, summing up what was a drab and disappointing affair at Villa Park. Report and Ratings

Double Fitness Boost for Villa Ahead of City Derby

October 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Injury News 

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier today confirmed the return of John Carew and Luke Young ahead of the Birmingham City game on Sunday. Carew was expected to return from the illness that kept him out of the midweek clash with Burnley but is likely to have to make do with a place on the bench after Emile Heskey impressed once again in the cup tie. Gabby Agbonlahor is still a couple of weeks away from a return though Luke Young should feature at the weekend. The news will come as a shock to many Villa fans after Houllier had played down reports of a return in the coming weeks. Whether Young is fit to start is unsure but if he does it would mean a return to the bench for Senegalese international Habib Beye and most likely Carlos Cuellar too. Houllier also revealed that local lad Marc Albrighton was distraught at being unavailable through suspension for derby day at Villa Park. The young winger was sent off for a professional foul in the Carling Cup after Villa had regained the lead in extra-time.

“John Carew seems to have recovered from his flu. We need everyone. Not having Gabby, it is good to have John and Emile.”

“Marc Albrighton is suspended. The boy is devastated – very downhearted. Luke Young should be involved.”

Player Review: Nigel Reo-Coker

October 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Player Reviews 

Who better to occupy my second instalment of Player Review than Villa’s new temporary captain, Nigel Reo-Coker. The 26-year-old was handed the honour of the club armband after permanent skipper, Stiliyan Petrov was injured in last weekend’s clash with Sunderland. The knee problem is likely to keep the Bulgarian out of action until the New Year but the unfortunate nature of the injury for Petrov symbolises an unbelievable turn of events in the Villa career of Nigel Reo-Coker. After featuring in 8 of the 9 league games thus far, just 2 less than the whole of last term, the midfielder has impressed new manager Gerard Houllier and fans alike with his tireless performances in the centre of the park. It is perhaps not a surprise that the London born player was entrusted with the captaincy having led both of his previous clubs, Wimbledon and West Ham, from the age of 20. Reo-Coker has also captained Villa on numerous occasions, most notably lifting the Peace Cup in last year’s pre-season, and his ability to lead by example made him an exemplary candidate for the role. The tenacious England Under-21 international will guide his team out for the first time in the league this season against fierce rivals Birmingham on Sunday. Full Reo-Coker Review

Aston Villa vs Birmingham City Pre-Match Prediction

October 29, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa, Pre-Match Predictions 

No self-respecting Villa fan, especially one who runs a blog viewed by other Villa fans, is ever going to bet against his own team in the derby with the Blues. It would be like betting that Scotland would beat England, you just can’t bring yourself to even comprehend the possibility. Villa do have key players missing and I beg that Houllier drops Beye for Cuellar, I know he’s not a right-back but he’s also not Habib Beye! These issues aside people do forget that the times of our depressingly under-strength squad depth are nearly over. Nearly. I have to predict a home win and thoroughly believe that we will win. Maybe not 5-1, maybe not even 2-0 but scrap that, I’m going for 2-0. Am I biased? Yes I am, but what do you think the score will be, who will score, and do any of you dare to bet against the Villa? I want to hear from you!

Birmingham (Home) – Sunday 31st October

Possible Starting XI: Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Downing, Reo-Coker, Sidwell, Young; Ireland; Heskey

Key Man: Emile Heskey

Goalscorer(s): Heskey, Delfouneso (sub)

Minute of First Goal: 52

Final Score: 2-0

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