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Aston Villa Preview



71 members have voted

  1. 1. MOTM?

    • Friedel
    • Ooijer
    • Samba
    • Nelsen
    • Warnock
    • Emerton
    • Mokoena
    • Dunn
    • Bentley
    • McCarthy
    • Santa Cruz
    • Roberts
    • Reid
    • Pedersen

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Our first home outing in what feels like months but will actually be twenty five days by the time Wednesday 8.00 comes along, and it will be the first of a spurt of home games, (Newcastle, West Ham, Arsenal in the cup and Chelsea) Wigan away aside, which will probably go a long way in shape the rest of our season. First up it’s the Villa from our wonderful second city, and following two draws and a defeat in our last league games, its time to get the show back on the road again. It's my first preview so go easy on me.

I've never really known what to make of Aston Villa. In my years of following football, aside from winning the European Cup when I was three (One of four English clubs to do so), they've not done a great deal. Surprisingly, they're the fourth most successful team in England with 21 major trophies. However, a league cup win against Leeds in 1996 aside (when even Savo Milosevic scored, remember him!!) has only deflected away what has been a pretty mundane past ten years or so for the Villains, despite what can be a passionate home following and more than decent away support. I reckon that if Aston Villa were still at school, their end of term report for the past dozen years would have read "Could do better!" They were rubbish in the last cup final at the old Wembley against a pre-Abramovich Chelsea and I reckon if you asked their fans, the majority of them would reply that they've been a bit of a let down recently. A bit like when your Mum told you that the tooth fairy wasn't real or how you used to look up to your older cousin who you only see once a year at Christmas time. You used to look forward to seeing them as when you were growing up you thought they were pretty cool, and now, when eventually they turn up, they've bought you a crap present, are wearing matching knitted jumper and socks, have developed a beer belly, a career in IT, ugly wife and generally they're pretty dull.

Admittedly, I was only three years old when they won the European Cup, so I'm reckoning that they had a decent side. Correct me if I'm wrong, but along with Rovers and Everton, they're one of the three sides to be founder members of both the football league and the premier league. Also, I'm reckoning that they'd come joint last along with Scunthorpe if you polled Rovers fans when asked "Which team do you most hate who play in Claret and Blue?"

I've no great recollection of any great games between the two. I suppose the 4-1 win in the FA cup a few years back at their place was a highlight. I was also at Villa Park during the championship winning season. Colin Hendry scored the winner, but the abiding memory of that day was listening to the chap next to me who had his ear stuck to a radio, and kept shouting out that United had scored again, which they had, and went onto win 9-0. Going back even further, I seem to remember a 4th round FA Cup tie at Ewood c1990-91 when we were in the second division and they were in the then 1st division. If my memory serves me well, we drew 2-2 (Garner and Sellars (cycle shorts and all)?) and got stuffed 3-0 in the replay.

Another one of the premier league clubs to have been taken over with foreign investment, Randy Learner took over the club some days after Martin O'Neill was installed as manager at Villa Park back in August 2006, and he seems to have steadied the ship without being spectacular. From the outside looking in, they seem to have a team very similar to Rovers. Wednesday's colossal boob aside, decent goalkeeper, solid central defence (Would you pick a fight with either Melberg or Laursen?) and workmanlike without being spectacular midfield –For Dunn and Savage, read Reo-Coker and Barry. Both front lines have goals in them with no over paid supposed mega stars in sight. There's also the English talent at both clubs. Surely Bentley, Agbonlahor, Young and Derbyshire will graduate to the England first XI sooner rather than later. Gareth Barry has deserved his England place on form this season in front of fat Frank, and having already beaten Chelsea this season, and with three wins out of the last four, including a late win against big club, and a 3-0 stuffing of Middlesbrough, their confidence will be sky high. Their away record is on a par with the blue and whites, having only lost one game on their travels. It promises to be a tough 90 minutes.

I signed up to the Villa message board and asked one of their members the following questions. Thanks to Jonathan from vitalfootball for taking the time to complete this. Safe to say, I think our very own Mr Savage may be off his Christmas card list.

A third of the season in already- how are you rating Villa's efforts so far?

We are doing ok, nestled nicely within shouting distance of Europe but to be honest, until at least January I don't think the league means a great deal. If we can win our game in hand v you guys, we'll be sitting far prettier that is for sure. The style of play has been a bit ugly at times this season but we now have the knack of winning even when we aren't playing brilliant. Not a bad habit to get into I'd say!

Has Martin O'Neill had the impact that you thought he would have?

Early days. Part of me feels we could be more sorted but the other part looks at the likes of you guys who have given your manager the backing and time to get things sorted. The jury is mainly out on MON with the transfer window activity or lack of last summer. If not for that I think most would be without many questions. It did seem strange when we were bringing in the likes of Marlon Harewood though when there is money available to buy better. Nigel Hokey Cokey could blossom into a very useful player for us. Do players blossom, probably not but I've had a drink so maybe I've got in touch with my femine side.... or maybe not! I do think style wise we could be more sorted by now and I can't believe that we were left without a recognised right-back BUT given time I'm sure things will be very favourable at Villa, the manager is highly rated and certainly has the backing of a great owner.

Would you have O'Neill as England manager?

I would have had him as England manager before he came to Villa, I hope the FA have missed out on him now purely because Villa have had enough of the manager merry go round. I'm really unsure whether MON would want the job, I guess he did otherwise he'd not have gone for the interview in the first place but after being passed over for an average choice (McClaren) would he really go back to them? I am uncertain, with the strength of feeling amongst the home nations, that an Irishman would really want to lead out the England team? Time will tell I guess.

£10 million for Ashley Young- Bargain or have Watford laughed all the way to the bank?

That is the problem with January buys, you either pay what the club want or you don't get your man. I think everyone was surprised at the price as he wasn't proven at the top level but to be fair he has come on leaps and bounds this season and looks worth every penny - if indeed anyone can be worth that sort of money. I can see him becoming a real star both for us and for England, his pace is frightening.

Who's been your key player this season?

Gareth Barry is the engine of the team, even when he doesn't look like he is in top nick he still keeps things ticking over. Martin Laursen has also been immense at the back, he really wouldn't be out of place in any team in Europe on his current form, just got to hope he is now over his injury nightmares, the guy seems a really good bloke and deserves the luck after being brave enough to fight back twice.

Favourite player who has played for both clubs? (Depending on how old you are I can only come up with Chris Price, Alan Wright 'Sid' Cowans and Chris Sutton)

Sid was a legend, we even had a fanzine named 'missing Sid' but he always returned home no matter where he was transferred to and is now involved in the youth set up. His passing ability and vision was just amazing. Chris Sutton we got too late, he was immense for you guys obviously but he did do a job for us the one season before he unfortunately picked up his head injury.

What's your impression of Blackburn this year?

Losing the physical label and starting to make people sit up and take notice. I truly hope you have a slump as I want to see Villa finish above you, no offence !!

Which player are you most wary of?

That ugly git who moved from West Ham to Man Utd, he scares the bejesus out of me. But I take it you mean which Blackburn player. I like David Bentley, he looks quality but I guess the one to keep quiet is a player we were linked with about 1000 times when John Gregory was our manager, Benni McCarthy.

Robbie Savage is likely to get dog's abuse, but is it likely to be worse, better, or on a par with what Liam Ridgewell will get later on in the season?

Lilly Savage is a t**t. Liam Ridgewell is just a player making a living, he wasn't in the managers plans and he moved on. So Savage will get the most abuse and to be fair, he'll love it as he seems to thrive on winding up the away fans.


If I was going to sound like a pundit, I'd say it could go either way with both teams in form. Our away record has been diabolical but hopefully picking up the away win against the Blues will change that. 1-0 to Villa in a tight encounter.

Bit of a leftfield one this one but "Would you rather listen to non- stop hip hop on unremoveable headphones or have a limb broken by a mallet?

I'm a sadist, could I go for both please. Is there a charge or do you lay this sort of entertainment on for all visitors to Ewood Park!?

Before I did a bit of internet surfing to check out previous season's results between the two at Ewood, I thought we had an excellent home record against them. Turns out I was wrong. Don't scroll down any further unless you want a fright.

2001-2002 3-0 Dunn, Duff, Cole

2002-2003 0-0

2003-2004 0-2 Moore Angel

2004-2005 2-2 Ferguson, Emerton Angel, Melberg

2005-2006 2-0 Todd, Bellamy

2006-2007 1-2 McCarthy, Berger, Agbonlahor (Barry missed pen)

Two wins, two draws and two defeats in the last six seasons. Come on Rovers, we should be beating teams like these if we have any aspirations of becoming a solid top sixish team.

So there you go guys and gals, a tough match I reckon, but I think we'll squeak this one 2-1. Hopefully, McCarthy will be fit and both he and Dunn will net for the Rovers, who cares for them, with Villa bringing infinitely more fans than big club managed to and the Blackburn end giving the chim chimmery song a November evening run out!.*


* Possibly the first match preview where anyone has managed to get Gordan Cowans, Chris Price and Scott Sellars mentioned!

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Melberg and Bouma at fullback for Villa, two centre halves, slow ones at that ! Most players can run faster than these two running backwards, trouble is Pedersen can't. Bentley and Dunny out wide I think, Santa Cruz and Roberts up front with Savage and The Axe in midfield, Emerton at right back ,we need someone with pace to deal with Young.

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Another great preview.

We lost this one last year and it is a toss up as to whether we will lose it again this time out.

Agbonlahar and Young are mighty quick and Carew is quietly doing what he always looked like he would be capable of doing in the English game- a bit like our Roque in that respect.

Hughes will have a radically diofferent side playing from that which started at Craven Cottage. Roque and Jason up front together in terms of physical presence is going to leave a lot of tired and bruised Villans come Thursday morning. For the first time this season, Sparky has a full midfield complement to chose from and his selection will be very interesting.

I suspect MGP will be benched.

At the back, a repeat of the Fulham performance and we will be punished by Villa but slightly different personnel gifted the Mancs victory at OT.

Rovers 1 Villa 3 I'm afraid. Just don't have a good feeling about this game and our ability to play good football far enough forwards to exploit Villa's slow coach full backs.

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Well its a shame so many of you think we will lose this game, i mean no way are Villa as good as somne of you are making out! They are not United and we are Blackburn Rovers. Lets keep the defence tight give them no time on the ball and bring in savage for tugay. Watch there pacey lads and lets give them something to worry about, weve been having a great season so far so lets hope we can keep it up.

1-0 samba with a header.

We can do this fellas, as if some of the villa young lads will be up for ewood on a cold night.

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Well its a shame so many of you think we will lose this game, i mean no way are Villa as good as somne of you are making out! They are not United and we are Blackburn Rovers. Lets keep the defence tight give them no time on the ball and bring in savage for tugay. Watch there pacey lads and lets give them something to worry about, weve been having a great season so far so lets hope we can keep it up.

1-0 samba with a header.

We can do this fellas, as if some of the villa young lads will be up for ewood on a cold night.

I reckon it's down to recent encounters where Rovers have made Villa look really good. I remember the away game the season before last (Baros's debut). Villa beat us 1-0 and looked great in a season they spent flirting with relegation.

I reckon we'll win it but won't be surprised if we don't.

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I agree with Dunnfc, Villa are a good, Pacey side, but they're not that good. They've had some good results this season, notably against Chelsea, but they were destroyed by United and looked extremely vulnerable against Spurs. I think if Benni and RSQ are fit then we'll have too much for them:

Rovers 2 Villa 1

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I was there at the home defeat last season as it was my first game ever and i was VERY disapointed. I hope they make it up to me! Yes i said they need to make it up to me! I say 3-2 us hands down! Would love to see us get back to the business at hand and start winning again.

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