Quoted: Houllier on New Downing Deal

February 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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“His (Downing) contract is long enough not to worry about that (two-and-a-half years remaining) – there’s no problem there. At the end of the season we will see.

“He’s improved a lot. He never misses training, he works hard with application, commitment and dedication.

“He is really focused. He’s a major part of our set-up here and I think he can play in several positions.”

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Darren Bent Official Press Conference Quotes

January 18, 2011 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Transfer News 

After signing for an initial fee of £18m, Darren Bent was unveiled as Villa’s record signing at 7pm in a press conference at Villa Park. Here are some of the key things that the striker has had to say about his new club along with manager Gerard Houllier’s opinions upon getting his man, who incidentally will wear the number 39 shirt until the end of the season; Read Here

Downing Subject of Dalglish Desire

January 17, 2011 by · 1 Comment
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Aston Villa’s leading goalscorer this season, Stewart Downing, is the subject of interest from new Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish according to reports. The former Middlesbrough man has also attracted the likes of Sunderland and it has been suggested that Steve Bruce may insist on including Downing in any potential Villa deal for Darren Bent though these are merely rumours. Liverpool are having almost as bad a season as Villa and Dalglish is keen to strengthen his squad with the England international high on his wish list. The winger has had a good second season at the club after injury stunted his progression last term. Downing has 6 goals in all competitions, 5 in the league, and has been one of the club’s most consistent performers all season. The £12m price tag which Villa stumped up 2 years ago is thought to be the sort of offer that could tempt Villa into a sale to fund Houllier’s overhaul of the squad, though Downing is not one of those that the Frenchman is keen to lose. A suggested price of £8-10m has been touted but I’m sure it would fall below the club’s valuation of a player who has improved this season since his big money move whilst crocked at the beginning of the 2009/10 campaign. How much is Downing worth and could the club risk losing him with Ashley Young’s contract set to expire and future at Villa still unknown?

Bruce Told to Back Off in Downing Bid

January 13, 2011 by · 1 Comment
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Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been told to look elsewhere for transfer targets after Aston Villa rebuffed an approach for leading league goalscorer Stewart Downing. The winger has had an impressive season this time around, putting a difficult start to his Villa career through injury and inconsistency behind him to become one of the sides most constant performers this term. The former-Middlesbrough man is the only of Villa’s outfield squad to have featured in every league game this season and is regarded by manager Gerard Houllier as one of the first names on the team sheet. Having scored 5 league goals, 6 in total, Downing has attracted interest from a number of clubs and it now seems that Sunderland made a formal offer. However, Villa have insisted that Downing is going nowhere and have informed Bruce to look elsewhere for a winger which appears to have switched his attentions to previous Villa target Charles N’Zogbia. Good to see the manager trying to protect his assets and it’s clear that the Frenchman knows who is and indeed isn’t in his future plans. How do you rate Downing’s season so far? One of Villa’s best this season but is that down to poor form from his team-mates?

Aston Villa vs Liverpool Pre-Match Predictions

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Here are my predictions for this Monday’s game with Liverpool. I’m equally optimistic and pessimistic ahead of the match which will see Houllier return to Anfield. An uncertain defence of late doesn’t look like keeping a clean sheet any time soon against a Liverpool team who made a host of chances against Tottenham last week. On a positive note Agbonlahor looked sharp against City and we dominated the game despite defeat so I think we will get a few chances against a Liverpool defence devoid of Carragher and Agger. I’m hopeful of returns for Cuellar and Albrighton but may well be wrong! What do you think will be the score and who will feature in tomorrow night’s 8pm kick-off?

Possible Starting XI: Friedel; L Young, Dunne, Cuellar, Warnock; Albrighton, Clark, Hogg, Downing; Ireland; Agbonlahor

Key Man: Gabby Agbonlahor

Goalscorer(s): Agbonlahor, Ireland

Minute of First Goal: 53

Final Score: 2-2

Villa’s Dip in Form Leads to Numerous Transfer Rumours

December 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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An awful run of results for Gerard Houllier has left Villa in 16th ahead of Monday night’s tie with Liverpool. Despite some decent performances a lack of results has led to a surge in the amount of players linked with the club ahead of the January transfer window. Read how reports suggest that Villa could be in for a change of No.1 as well as links to advanced midfielders and familiar faces up front. Don’t get too excited as Houllier has said that he only plans to bring in new faces in January and has also said that a striker is probably not one of them but this has not stopped the reports! Enjoy! Villa Transfer Merry-go-round!

Aston Villa Performances Overshadowed by Dismal Results

December 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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After a day to grieve over what was really a hit and run from the Blues on Wednesday I have had time to reflect and collect my thoughts! It seems at the moment that Aston Villa cannot buy a win and if you can find me a manager whose new job has started with worse luck then Gerard Houllier I’m all ears. A dominant and much improved performance from the forgettable 0-0 draw at Villa Park last month still saw Villa knocked out of the League Cup. A Semi-final with West Ham awaited which almost had me sobbing into my lonely corner of shame as Villa looked to build on their Final appearance last season. Without sounding too much like a broken record, Villa couldn’t really have been missing many more players once again against the Blues though a goal-scoring return did give us fans something to cheer. Still, poor defending in the first half and a lack of cutting edge meant that all Villa’s possession and passing football came to nothing in a 2-1 defeat at St Andrews.

Extended Match Report and Ratings

Villa Continue Dismal Recent Record

November 28, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa, Match Reports 

Gerard Houllier finds his Aston Villa team in an increasingly large rut following a 4-2 defeat to Arsenal due to an abysmal first half performance. The Villans have now won just one game in their last nine Premier League matches coming from an edgy 3-2 win over a massively under strength Blackpool side. The Arsenal loss was Villa’s first league defeat at home and despite a spirited second half fight back Houllier’s men were unable to overturn what was a fortunate 2-0 deficit by half time. Read more

10 Games in: Gerard Houllier’s Record and Review

Many neutrals and Villa fans had their doubts over the appointment of Gerard Houllier 2 months ago but how has he really done in his opening 10 games at the club. The pessimistic may have seen the choice of the Frenchman as somewhat of a sideways step after his tenure at Liverpool was left on a low point with the Anfield club. Despite this, Houllier had a terrifically successful spell at the club leading them to Community Shield, UEFA, FA, League Cup (x2) and Supercup glory, a feat which has surpassed any of his successors at Liverpool. After health issues seemed to stunt his progress with the club, many in the Merseyside remember Houllier as a negative and uninspired tactician as he looks to answer the critics who doubted him. Villa have had a stop-start season to say the least and some impressive performances and results have been overlooked due to the sides current inability to close out games. Here is why I believe the new manager has done a decent job in his opening 10 fixtures and why Villa should not be counted out of a European finish. In-depth Managerial Review

Hou’d be a Villa Fan

November 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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Wednesday 10th November 2010

Aston Villa 3-2 Blackpool

Aston Villa did things the hard way, as ever, in a thrilling encounter with Blackpool at Villa Park which saw Houllier’s side get their first win in 6 league games, running out 3-2 winners. A massive shock came when the Blackpool line-up was announced with no less than 10 changes made from the weekends draw with Everton. The remaining player from the 2-2 tie was Keith Southern who made his first league appearance for Holloway’s side on Saturday. Houllier must have seen this as great news but undoubtedly as a banana skin which was very nearly slipped on as his side twice threw away leads to set-up a nervy finish. An 89th minute strike from James Collins wrapped up the win with three points seeing Villa back into the top half of the table. Extended Match Report

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