Aston Villa vs Chelsea Match Report

October 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Match Reports 

Saturday October 16th 2010

Aston Villa 0 – 0 Chelsea

This match report is a little overdue due to my unavailability this weekend but I did watch the game and it wasn’t exactly an epic. Villa went into the game with high hopes, especially as Chelsea’s injury list made exciting reading. No Lampard, Drogba or Alex to name a few, would have had Houllier looking to take advantage but an ever-growing absentee list of his own was beginning to look worrying. Agbonlahor remains a couple of weeks away from a return after groin surgery and he was joined on the treatment table on the eve of the game. Emile Heskey was forced to withdraw with a back problem and ever-presents, Luke Young and Marc Albrighton could also not be risked. Villa were looking to maintain a fantastic home record, having lost just once to the champions in their last 11 outings at Villa Park. Make that 12 as the two sides played out a forgettable 0-0 draw but the game did have its moments and a point a piece proved a fair outcome. More Match Report

Gerard Houllier’s To Do List: #2 – Release Some Deadwood

September 21, 2010 by · 9 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa, Hot topic debates 

Aston Villa’s squad has never been substantial enough in the past to have the luxury or selling or releasing players. The first team is still relatively small with only 22 players registered from an allotted 25. This number, however is backed up by numerous talented Under-21’s who do not have to be registered due to their age. With youth talent at the club, Gerard Houllier may look to release some of the first team players on undeserved wages in January and hence freeing up space and funds for new signings. Unnecessary Earners?

Kicked to the Curb?

Today’s main story at Villa Park surrounds an interview supposedly help with former player Alan Curbishley on Wednesday. The board hope to fill the managerial vacancy by the time Villa kick-off in their next league game against Stoke City next weekend. Curbishley who joined the club as a player from arch rivals Birmingham has been touted as a candidate since MON departed and it is now apparent that he was indeed shortlisted for the job. With the club stating that a manager with Premier League experience was a necessity, Curb’s has shot up to second favourite for the job. Whether this should be read in to too much is another matter as the favourite seems to be changing every other day but it is clear that the former Charlton and West Ham boss is in the frame.

So four days ago it was Koeman and two days ago it was Moyes, both of whom are still though to be in the running, but out of these three gaffer’s who would you most like to see at Villa Park?

Curbishley’s record is very decent at Premier League level considering the players he has dealt with. He took Charlton into the league before establishing them as a mainstay in and around mid table, a feat that hasn’t really been emulated since with Stoke looking the most likely. After leaving the Addick’s the club found themselves in turmoil as many a manager tried and failed to feel his boots. With West Ham he battled relegation and successfully so keeping the club up in a dramatic, down to the wire fashion before leaving two years ago. One main issue may be that he hasn’t managed since but this seems to have been through his own choosing as he is linked with nearly every job that has comes upon his departure. I hear he was very close to becoming a checkout girl at Sainsbury’s!

In other slightly less interesting news a 22 man squad was named yesterday with no shocks whatsoever from the 25 available places. Hopefully this paves the way for three superstars in January, who knows. The squad in full is;

Brad Friedel, Brad Guzan, James Collins, Carlos Cuellar, Habib Beye, Curtis Davies, Richard Dunne, Luke Young, Stephen Warnock, Eric Lichaj, Stewart Downing, Jonathan Hogg, Isaiah Osbourne, Stiliyan Petrov, Nigel Reo-Coker, Stephen Ireland, Steve Sidwell, Ashley Young, Moustapha Salifou, John Carew, Gabby Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey

If you’re wondering where the likes of Albrighton, Delfouneso, Delph and Clark are on the list they do not have to be submitted as they are under 21 and can be called upon at any time. They are joined by youth hopefuls such as Shane Lowry, Nathan Baker, Barry Bannan and Andreas Weimann.

In some positive news right back Luke Young has expressed his desire to stay at the club and move on after a difficult season last term. The ex-England international was strongly linked with a move to Liverpool this summer but opted against a switch and has started all three Premier League games thus far. This is great news as Young was unlucky not to play more last season after having a fantastic first season at the club and he looks back to his best now, especially in last weekend’s victory against Everton, netting the winner. This should mean that Cuellar, who is far from an inspired right back, should fight for a centre half spot, where he has turned in a number of impressive performances.

Although it is too late to get excited about since the deadline is passed, it is typical that Villa were linked with a player today. Sporting CP striker Yannick Djalo is rumoured to have been a deadline day target, although it is thought that the club may revive their interest in January. Djalo is a pacey, young striker who abused Manchester City scoring twice in a pre-season friendly earlier this summer so if we were to sign him it would be just grand if he could do that to them again later in the campaign because we don’t like them much!

UTV!

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

Dark Day for Villa

August 27, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Aston Villa, Villa Manager 

It seems relaunching this site has cursed Villa to some extent. A 6-0 crushing defeat to Newcastle being followed up by an unceremonious dumping out of the Europa Cup at the hands of an old enemy. Villa lost 3-2 at home to Rapid Vienna who have knocked us out at the same stage in consecutive seasons. The tie ended 4-3 on aggregate against a side who we should be beating comfortably. Please see the full round up on the Match Report page of the site. Although it is early days it appears that one of last season strongest defence’s would now struggle in a junior Sunday football league. Conceding 9 in two games against inferior opposition does not exactly instill confidence for the rest of the season.

Will Kevin MacDonald call time on his short reign thus far at Villa Park and more to the point should he? It is clear that the player’s would like to know who will be leading them into the new campaign and the uncertainty appears to be affecting them. Mistakes were made tactically in the game resting players who, after a full pre-season and just 3 games under their belts, should not need resting. I feel the outcome would have been different had Warnock started in place of Beye who was at fault for 2 of the 3 goals. Curtis Davies was poor once more and should do his talking on the pitch rather than moaning to the media about not being played because frankly Curtis, if you’re going to play like that every week you’re better off in the reserves.

Stephen Ireland looked in good shape but may be wondering what he’s gotten himself into since joining the club and the likes of Heskey and Albrighton also put in good shifts. It was in the defensive third where we looked dismal and when the ball is delivered into the box at the moment we appear to be giving away free gifts to opposing sides who are more than happy to accept. Are some players surplus to requirements at the club and who do you think should be bought in?

In other news youngster Harry Forrester will be hoping to gain some invaluable first team experience at a decent level after agreeing to join SPL side Kilmarnock on loan. The 19 year old forward who was signed from Watford has impressed in the reserves and we wish him all the best for the season and look forward to him coming back bigger and better.

Who do you think should be the next manager? Where is it going wrong on the pitch at the moment? I want to know your opinions or if you just want to have a good moan about the club that’s fine by me. The site is now fully up and running and updated so keep checking for updates and surely things can only get better? Or maybe worse?

Aston Villa vs Rapid Vienna Match Report

August 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Match Reports 

Thursday 26th August 2010

Aston Villa     2 – 3     Rapid Vienna      (Rapid Vienna win 4-3 on aggregate)

The nightmare returned to Villa Park tonight as the Villains crashed out once more to Austrian outfit Rapid Vienna. It was exactly one year ago that Vienna came to the Midlands and managed a 2-1 defeat which saw them through on away goals. A case of lessons not being learned may have eventually lead to the home sides downfall once more and a feeling of de ja vu was not what the doctored ordered for Villa. Another penalty miss cost us dear and spurned opportunities at one end were only bettered, or worsened in this case, by woeful defending at the other.

Villa set up with a strong line up with recalls for fit again James Collins, Carlos Cuellar and perhaps not so fit again Gabby Agbonlahor. Brad Guzan kept his place in goal from the first leg though ever presents thus far, Stephen Warnock and Stewart Downing were rested alongside Richard Dunne.

Villa were unable to maintain a 2-1 lead in the game and could have been helped by a more convincing scoreline in the first leg to ease the same nerves that were present last time. MacDonald decided to field a weakened team in the first leg which was something that MON had done the season before and was punished for and, although the team that started should have managed to see off Vienna, some questions must be asked of the caretaker boss.

The game started well for Villa with a chance falling to Gabby Agbonlahor after just a minutes action. The pacey striker could only find the keeper’s gloves however with a left footed strike after a neat through ball from Ashley Young. Young was impressive throughout the first period and after a lovely ball from Petrov he delivered a teasing low cross that was this time converted by Agbonlahor. The signs were good for the home side who looked comfortable and new signing Stephen Ireland began to settle into the game and pull the strings for Villa.

A real blow occurred when Agbonlahor, who had been bright, pulled up with what appeared to be a calf strain and was replaced by Marc Albrighton in the 38th minute. The young winger played admirably once more upon his arrival into the game and engineered a chance for himself early in the second half which he dragged wide. Dismal defending from makeshift left back Habib Beye began what proved to be a defensive collapse. After dallying on the ball the full back failed to clear his lines before being dispossessed and the resulting cross was headed home well by Atdhe Nuhiu.

Ashley Young was then bought down in the box after a clear foul by Marcus Katzer but the referee overlooked the penalty claims. Moments later the home side were awarded a somewhat more dubious penalty for a supposed tug on Emile Heskey. Captain Stiliyan Petrov stepped up but his effort was tame and easily saved to the goalkeeper’s right before Heskey’s reputation preceded him missing the follow up when it was easier to score.

Villa did then make the breakthrough after a flicked effort by Petrov was saved and the ball was shipped back out to Ashley Young. The wideman delivered and the ball was half cleared to Habib Beye on the edge of the box who’s volley was turned in via the midriff of Heskey, his first goal since February. The travellers hit back immediately and went ahead on away goals after a confusing clearance by the shaky Curtis Davies went behind for a corner. The resulting corner lead to a flick off a Villa head finding Mario Sonnleitner who’s header just crept over the line after Guzan got a hand to it. The American stopper would have hoped for more as his feet slipped from beneath him and he failed to get a strong enough hand to the shot.

More poor defending by Habib Beye saw the visitors claim a breakaway third goal to kill off the match. The Senegalese international gave the ball away on the halfway line and was exposed out of position when substitute Christopher Trimmel picked out fellow bench warmer Rene Gartler to tap home. The striker was left free at the back post by Cuellar due to poor full back play, reinforcing the fact that the Spaniard is a centre half and should be employed in that position. Despite Villa’s best efforts, replacing Reo-Coker with Delfouneso and throwing James Collins up front, they could not conjure another goal and the sinking feeling returned to the Villa faithful.

Villa Player Ratings

Brad Guzan – 5 – unconvincing, should have done better with the 2nd Vienna goal

Carlos Cuellar – 5 – rusty, struggled for pace against winger and caught napping at the back post

James Collins – 6 – strong, good dominance and an attacking aerial threat

Curtis Davies – 5 – poor, obvious that he is not up to match fitness after months without playing

Habib Beye – 4 – dismal, at fault for 2 goals and nervous out of position

Nigel Reo-Coker – 6 – average, assured in possession but could have scored

Stiliyan Petrov – 6 – industrious, good ball retention but awful penalty

Stephen Ireland – 7 – promising, controlled and looked comfortable after slow start

Ashley Young – 6 – faded, superb start and assist but faded and became agitated, some poor crosses

Gabby Agbonlahor – 6 – injured, good until replaced with neat if simple finish

Emile Heskey – 7 – tireless, great work rate and link up from the big man who deserved his goal

Subs

Marc Albrighton – 7 – lively, ran at the defence and caused problems with decent delivery

Nathan Delfouneso – 5 – no time to impress, should have been used earlier

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