Aston Villa vs Blackburn Rovers Match Preview

September 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Injury News, Match Previews 

Wednesday 22nd September

Opponent: Blackburn Rovers

Venue: Villa Park

Kick Off: 19:45

Tomorrow nights game against Blackburn Rovers symbolizes the start of a new era under Gerard Houllier at Villa Park. The Frenchman has been briefed by chairman Randy Lerner to get some silverware and the Carling Cup may well represent his greatest hope. The trophy was his first as manager of Liverpool in 2000-01 and the 63 year old hols fond memories of the tournament. He couldn’t have asked for a much harder 3rd round tie though against the side that Villa knocked out in the semis last year after the memorable 6-4 second leg victory. More Match Preview

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?

Rumoured Unrest Regarding Houllier Appointment

September 8, 2010 by · 10 Comments
Filed under: Hot topic debates, Villa Manager 

Reports today have suggested that the delay in Gerard Houllier’s decision to accept the Villa post may be due to a feared backlash from player’s and fans alike. It had already been rumoured that certain player’s, previously acquainted with the French boss were not keen on the impending appointment. It has now been touted that some of the fans less than friendly opinions on the decision may yet drive Houllier away. Read more

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

Deadline Day

So its transfer deadline day and it’s a hectic time, on the phone all day looking for new last ditch signings, bargain and loans isn’t it? Well no. Not at Villa anyway. The current managerial vacancy means no dealings this window other than the part exchange for Milner and Ireland. I’m trying to stay positive after a good win against Everton but it doesn’t help seeing the Blues making signings left, right and centre, most notably Aleksandr Hleb who Villa have been linked with on numerous occasions even prior to his Arsenal spell. So nothing to report and nothing to expect on the transfer front as the manager’s situation still overshadows any hopes of a team building exercise over the international break.

One positive note is at least there are no new boys, bigger boys or bullies coming in so squad harmony should be relatively high after the weekend. Just Ashley Young in action for England on Friday which should see Gabby Agbonlahor get a lengthy rest to recover from injuries. Warnock misses out once more due to the so called revolution of the England side with Kieran Gibbs getting the nod as Cole’s understudy.Young will face club captain Stiliyan Petrov if selected and the midfield workhorse is wary of a lashback from the Three Lions despite a depleted squad.

“We know how strong England are. They had a disappointing World Cup, but now they are going to show the fans that is all behind them, they will try to win the game because of that feeling.”

So, back to the usual business of discussing the next manager at the club. Interestingly this Monday saw Everton boss, David Moyes’ odds slashed quite drastically making him favourite with many bookies which will encourage many Villains. The Scotsman has scooped Manager of the Year awards along with his rave reviews at the club since arriving in 2002 and has impressed in all departments including his ability to pull in some big names for low prices (See Arteta, Pienaar, Cahill, Baines and the rest). The slightly scarily intense 47 year old certainly fits the boards criteria with his extensive Premier League experience despite still being somewhat of a whippersnapper in managerial circles.

USA coach Bob Bradley has now committed his future to the American dream so is out of the running although caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald is still in with a chance. The club statement from Paul Faulkner seemed to effectively rule KMac out but the current man in charge finally made his interest in the job known to chairman Randy Lerner and is still sitting pretty as one of the favourites for the job after an impressive victory against Everton. It is now thought by many that the two Scotsman who met in battle on Sunday are now to duel over the post at Villa Park despite the fact that Moyes ruled himself out just a few weeks back.

Still lurking in the bushes waiting to pounce on the opportunity is dirty dog Sven Goran-Eriksson along with the likes of Alan Curbishley and Phil Brown but there’s no doubt that most Villa fans would see Moyes as a major coup. Let me know what you think about the rumours and the lack of activity at the club and I’ll be sure to write about the new signings that won’t happen later on!


Quick Turnaround

If you had asked most Villa fans of their opinions on the rest of the season after Thursday night the responses may have been bleak but a new day brings new optimism into the supposed club in crisis. With the most brash of pessimists writing Villa’s European hopes off already by Friday just two days later the club find themselves sitting pretty in fourth. A gutsy 1-0 victory over an impressive Everton side was relieving not only due to the result but in the manner of the win. The reliable defence of last term hadn’t seemed to have returned from their holiday’s but were magnificent today under pressure in a game where they soaked up more than a sponge in a wet t-shirt competition.

The reunion of Dunne and Collins at centre back was a vast improvement with match winner Luke Young impressing at right back. Many will say that the result was not deserved but a battling performance was just what the doctor ordered and showed that Villa are no pushover’s. Although the result only takes off some of the humiliation of the midweek defeat it offers a much brighter outlook to the fans and chairman Randy Lerner. Will this win spark a mini revival or was it a fortuitous result that is unlikely to reoccur?

Over the last couple of days the manager’s position has been a massive talking point with MacDonald maintaining that he would make a decision on his availability after today’s game. Dutchman Ronald Koeman also threw his name into the mix with some clear intentions of hoping to fill the vacancy.

“In Holland we have always viewed Villa as an important club with a tradition of being powerful in Europe when I was younger, so I would be very interested in managing them if the job was offered to me.”

He revealed that he has had a number of offers but sees Villa Park as an extremely desirable destination after an impressive club record in Spain, Portugal and his native Holland. This interest though, appears to have been quashed this evening after the club finally released an interesting statement regarding their preferred candidate.

“Two of the traits we believe are of crucial importance are that candidates have experience of managing in the Premier League and a strategy for building on the existing strengths in our current squad.”

These revelations all but rule out the current man in charge along with Koeman and long running favourite for the job Bob Bradley. The shortlist appears to have been cut down further with candidates such as Jurgen Klinsmann and Otmar Hitzfeld not having the required Premier League experience that the board room are looking for. Does this mean that the candidates have been whittled down to the likes of Guus Hiddink (yes please), Sven Goran-Eriksson (no thanks) and Alan Curbishley (we’ll think about it)? Martin Jol would be a popular choice but has the statement opened the door to more unwelcome unemployed than before? The likes of Houllier, Southgate and Phil Brown are now in the mix but would this signify a step in the wrong direction for the club?

Also in the news this week was a very unnerving increase in interest in Ashley Young from Tottenham. Would selling the player be a huge mistake and a massive omen of what’s to come or does every player have his price? Congratulations goes out to Ashley on another well deserved England call up. In better news Gabby Agbonlahor was quoted saying that he would have no reason to leave the club for his entire career as he hopes to emulate the likes of Steven Gerrard as a one club man. At just 24 the striker is now Villa’s longest serving player and hopes to keep it that way so good on you Gabby! Views on today’s game, the manager’s position or anything else are wanted at the end of a day that has Villains smiling once again.

Up The Villa!