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[Archived] Aston Villa V Rovers


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Apologies for the delay but I've been laid up in bed for the last few days with flu. Original preview is sat on my works computer so here's another one.

Rovers return to league action on the back of an excellent 3-0 UEFA Cup victory against Basel. I'm sure we are hoping for more of our second half performance and less of the first half, playing for 90 minutes rather than 45 always helps when trying to win a football match. We take on the team recently purchased by Randy Learner (phnar phnar!!) and managed by my preferred choice for England Manager, Martin O'Neill. Will there be fireworks at Villa Park on 5th November or did they stop all the malakey after the incident at Wolves a few years ago, who knows!!.


Our record with Villa makes for interesting reading. Out of the 164 games we have played Villa have won 58, Rovers have won 55 and the other 31 games have resulted in draws. Not a lot in it at all. I suppose we can all hope for a similar result to our first seasons meetings way back in the 1888-1889 season (if you require details of this season please ask Jim as I'm sure he remembers it well), we thumped Villa 8-1 in the league followed up with a 5-1 win in the FA Cup, Villa also beat us 6-1 in the league that season. Over recent seasons the results in the League have been fairly close, we went down 1-0 at Villa park last year although we did beat them 2-0 at Ewood.

2005 - 2006

Villa 1 - Rovers 0

Rovers 2 - Villa 0

2004 - 2005

Villa 1 - Rovers 0

Rovers 2 - Villa 2

2003 - 2004

Villa 0 - Rovers 2

Rovers 0 - Villa 2

2002 - 2003

Villa 3 - Rovers 0

Rovers 0 - Villa 0

Villa 1 - Rovers 4 (FA Cup)

2001 - 2002

Villa 2 - Rovers 0

Rovers 3 - Villa 0

I suppose the most memorable match for me was the 4-1 FA Cup match where we witnessed a comeback from Matt Jansen. In only his second game since the infamous Scooter accident, Matty scored a delightful volley and a header, he got the man of the match award and many thought he was over the worst of it and would return to better things with Rovers.


For some reason our transfer dealings with Villa have been extremely limited, in the whole history of our clubs we seem to have spent around £1m on players from each other. Our biggest signing from Villa was Simon (Larry) Grayson, costing an unbelievable £750k, whilst their big money signing from us came in the form of Alan Wright who they paid £1m for. Out of our current squad our only ex Villa player is reserve Goalkeeper, Peter Enckelman.


Although Villa were unbeaten in the league intil last week, our form is very similar. Out of the last 8 games we have each taken 11 points. Villa sit one place above us in the form table as they have a better goal difference.

9 Aston Villa P8 W2 D5 L1 F9 A7 GD2

10 Blackburn Rovers P8 W3 D2 L3 F9 A9 0


The Top Scorers league currently makes for interesting reading. Sitting in joint 3rd position is our very own Benni McCarthy with an impressive 7 goals in all competitions. He currently finds himself behind Drogba and Crouch, and is looking like one of the bargains of the season. He is placed above the likes of Henry, Saha, Johnson, Rooney, Angel, and the player he replaced, Bellamy, doesn't even make the top 20. Villa do have 2 players featured in the top 20 with Angel on 5 goals and Agbonlahor on 4. i guess our only concern would be the lack of goals from our other forward players, Nonda and Jeffers have 1 each and Roberts has failed to score.


This is an area where our lack of depth in the squad could cost us. We currently have 6 players sidelined though injury, this includes our central midfield pairing of Savage and Reid, our first choice centre half, Nelsen, our revitalised right back, Emerton, and our most expensive striker, Roberts. Peter Enckelman is also currently injured. Out of all of these the only one with a slight chance of making Sunday's match is bert, who faces a late fitness test. Villa have 5 players injured although Physioroom state that 4 of these could return on 5th November (McCann, Samuel, Delaney. Whittingham).


Villa will certainly take some beating at Villa Park, they will be bouyed on by a confident crowd and will see it as a game that they should win, however Rovers are no mugs these days, and will also see it as a winnable game. Lets hope we start well and set the tempo of the game. I'm predicting a draw although I would love to be proved wrong. A Rovers win will see us go level with Villa on 15 points.

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gray has to be dropped, 2 shocking performances and was taken to the cleaners lastnight, give jay his chance.

Agree completely. I worried everytime he got the ball and he showed very little going forward which is meant to be one of his strengths (he did get forward a bit once we were comfortable but looked lacking in ideas once there). He never seemed to be able to see a pass forward. I would definatly get J in the team. He is young and could improve vastly if given a run. He also gives us more hight in defensive. Gray is a target for any team looking to play direct balls over the top. Grey has to play to his best to be considered OK. He didnt play bad last night but for me he is just not good enough.

Edited by Moppy
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Suprised to see Emerton in there, but if he makes it, great!

Without Sav we are in a bit of a pickle. In my opinion it is time for 451. Villa are looking good and are at home and physically fresher.


    Pedersen                          Bentley
                 Tugay      Gallagher

          Niell     Oiijer    Zurab  Emerton


Subs: Brown, Henchoz/McEverly/Gray, Peter, Nonda, Jeffers

Any more injuries and we are in trouble. The one to really worry about is the axe as if he goes we literally have nobody who can come in and do his role, not even in the reserves. We would have to start playing Zurab in midfield.

Edited by joey_big_nose
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This will be a tough game but hopefully rovers will start from the off this time instead of waiting till the second half as we have in the last two games.

Rovers team picks itself and looks rather exciting bar 2 problem positions:

1) Left back.

If Emerton isn't fit enough for 90 minutes rovers have a range of unappealing options at left back. Gray whilst an improvement on the West Ham game is slow, too easily beaten and has shocking ball control.

Opton 2 is McEveley who whilst more committed also switches off at times and has even less pace.

Option 3 is Matteo. Nuff said.

Personally I'd go for what someone else said in another thread (I can't remember who). play Todd at centre back move Zurab to right back and Neill to left back. However I can't see us doing that as Todd really is out of favour in the worst way and the only other possibility is doing that with Henchoz. Would be a bit worried about that as his lack of pace would be a great invite for Baros and co's pace, but overall it'd be better idea than using one of our ineffective reserve left backs. Hopefully Emerton will be fit.

2) Centre mid.

With Savage and Reid out the only other recognised centre mid is Mokoena who has been poor so far this year. However Mokoena is a defensive midfielder and does add a little bit more steel to the midfield than the other options.

The other alternative is putting Gally on the wing and moving Bentley inside. I wouldn't really favour this as this midfield would be lightweight beyond belief. You can't really imagine Tugs and Bentley holding their own in a midfield scrap, and nor is Gally recognised for being able to get stuck in. This midfield alternative to me would be overrrun.

Based on that my team would be :

Brad, Neill, Zurab, Ooijer, Todd (Emerton if fit), Tugay, Bentley, MGP, Mokoena, Benni, Nonda.

subs, Gally, Jeffers, Gray, Todd, Brown

Prediction 1-1 with pederson scoring for us.

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Draw at best. Hope we do go for 5 in midfield to sure it up. I would have Bentley in the middle with Gally on the wing. With the Axe behind hopefully the lack of tackling power from Bentley and Tugay (although Tugay was getting stuck in yesterday) will be countered.

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This is the first Villa away game I have missed for a few years, works does sometimes get in the way of my weekend entgertainment :(

The thing with Villa that concerns me most is the pace of Baros and Ablonghalor (sp). The youngster is gonna have a field day against a very poor Gray, Baros can cause havoc with his turn of speed as we saw when he made his Villa debut versus us.

Another little worry is the sight of McCann making hs Villa comeback. he has always been a thorn in any Rovers side.

I would love a Rovers win but the Eurogame may have taken a little too much out of the legs.

2-0 Villa :(

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dont see how we'll get anything out of this game after a very tough game on thursday night. without savage in the centre and emo at right back, we might not even have the legs. surely tugay can't keep playing twice a week? i'm hoping for a draw, but i reckon we'll lose this.

villa 2 (petrov, sutton)

rovers 0

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