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[Archived] Rovers Vs Villa Preview 7th Feb K.o 3pm

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Ewood Park this Saturday will see the return of the greatest goalkeeper in Rovers history as we entertain Aston Villa on home soil. With the battle against relegation the tightest ever known, Sam Allardyce will have his unbeaten record on the line against Martin O’neil and his high flying outfit.


For 8 seasons, Brad Friedel was quite simply the best. His skill and love for the club produced a relationship with the fans that led him the being a firm favourite. His huge presence was frightening but what made him a great goalkeeper was his agility and reactions to make impossible saves.

A true professional who played almost 300 games for the club, made an incredible 152 consecutive league appearances saving us many points along the way.

It wasn’t just his contribution in the sticks, off the field as a person he was a gentleman who would always have time to speak with the fans, sign autographs and have photos taken. Signing his contract over a cup of coffee with John Williams stating his love for the club is stuff that legends are made off. He’s got his youth academy back in the states and also devotes a lot of his time to charity.

There so much good work in his Rovers career but I’ve rolled back the years and picked 3 of his finest.

The 2-1 win at Highbury, the cup final against Spurs and the draw with Manchester United last season. Words fail to describe how good he was in those matches.

I’m not sure why he left, so many rumours circulated whether it was Mark Hughes leaving,? Paul Ince in charge? No ambition from the owners or was it Randy and his cash? The official answer was the “opportunity” though personally I don’t think that’s the whole truth.

All said and done, he is now a Villain and having a great season at his new club.

I hope he gets a terrific reception on Saturday because he genuinely deserves it.

Aston Villa are comfortably fourth as they try to break the gulf of the top four and earn champions league football. Martin O’neil has produced a winning formula as his team have produced some good football this campaign with their outlet of pace upfront and team organisation.

Arsenal are struggling to keep up and Villa could be considered outsiders for the title as they are only a few points adrift of Manchester United in first place.

American money man Randy Learner took the keys to the club off deadly Doug and has been the dream ticket for the villa supporters. He has invested millions on players, training facilities, the ground and it’s surroundings but never craves the spotlight. He even has the club shirts branding Acorns, which is a children’s charity instead of having a lucrative sponsorship contract.

It’s hasn’t been all rosy at Villa though, John Carew fancied a trip to The Rocket Club for some late night stripper action the evening before they played Ajax in the Uefa Cup. Lets just say there were some fireworks when the boss found out.

The talented Ashley Young then got excited in front of his webcam and done some stripping off his own amongst other things which were then broadcasted to the nation which relates to a classic American Pie scene.

Although we are unbeaten under Sam, our poor execution of chances has seen us throw away vital points in recent fixtures. Our failure to capitalise most recently at the Riverside is similar to Villa’s last effort against Wigan where both matches were drawn 0-0. Is a goal fest on the cards?

Transfers may happen before the kick off date but there’s already a new fella El Hadji Diouf who will be available for selection and debut. After taking everything into account, personally I feel it’s a good deal for Rovers. He has made some mistakes but I’m going to give him every chance like I would to anyone who wears the famous blue and white halves.

I’ve asked fellow board member Trentvilla a few questions which he kindly replied

1.Nigel Spink was an instant hero after Rotterdam and kept the gloves for years. Bosnich did a stint and then your place has turned into a graveyard for goalkeepers, how do you think Friedel is settling in?

We've had some very average keepers in recent years like Oakes, Enkleman who I'm sure you know all about plus Sorenson, Carson and a way past his best Peter Schmiecal since the great days of Bosnich and Spink. We also had David James though who was a good servant to the club but none since Bosnich have been as good as Brad Friedel.

Despite having legs that look like my gran's and a bit of a dodgy start to his Villa career Friedel has been absolutely superb for us and I would say has single handily contributed a fair few points this season. For the first time in a few years we have a keeper we expect to save things rather than expect to (Please don't use that word again) up.

2. Villa are comfortably 4th and and only a few points off 1st. Surely you have to be considered as a Title contender?

No far from it. While the media may be starting to get carried away with our success you won't find many Villa fan's doing the same we are realistic enough to know we are a million miles away from a title challenge far more than the gap in points indicates. We still have to go to Old Trafford, Anfield and play Chelsea not to mention a few other tricky games.

We will let others talk about the title, like Arsenal (laughable isn't it) all we are bothered about is getting into that top four.

3. Martin O'neil has waved his magic ward and turned your club into a decent outfit, you must be happy with him in charge?

Happy? That would be an understatement I think a lot of people forget what a mess the club was in when he took over 2 1/2 years ago we were a club on the brink of disaster. The previous season under O'Leary we finished just 3 points above relegation and had we not beaten Birmingham towards the end of the campaign it would have been us and not them that went down our team was utter garbage.

Now in O'Neil's 3rd season we find ourselves with a squad brimming full of young, talented, committed, ambitious English players who together are the hardest working Villa side I have seen in 20 years. As I say happy doesn't even get close to it, Cloughie is often said to be the finest manager England never had, well I think O'Neill comes a close second.

4. Clearly the league is the priority but your still in Europe and the F.A Cup, Can you picture Villa engraved on a cup this season?

Villa win the FA cup? Not likely we've not done it since 57' but the captain of the great side side last week so it would be a nice tribute to a club legend. The sad truth is the FA Cup is bottom of this list of priorities while I think AC Milan will lift the UEFA a trophy would be great but modern football is such I think most Villa fans would rather a top 4 finish.

5. Deadly Doug sold up and in came Randy. Wealthy, keeps low key and seems to get anything oneil asks for. Is he the dream ticket?

Absolutely the best chairman in the country without exception he has done so much for the club and us the fans that many feel he deserves just as much credit as O'Neill. You all know about the backing he gives O'Neill and the fact he gave up million pound sponsorship contracts to have a childrens charity on our shirts.

What you might not know is that he made a section of the ground available for £75 junior and £265 adult season tickets this season, they were £50 and £200 last season. You might not know that I have only heard one interview with the guy in 3 years because he shuns the spot light so much, you might not know he has bought up derelict Victorian pubs around the ground and lovingly restored them for the fans out of his own pocket.

That he has spent £15m on the training ground, that he spent hundreds of thousands replacing mosaic's destroyed during the Ellis era simply because we missed them. Or you might not know that Randy's right hand man and club director posts on a daily basis on 4 Villa forums to help the club listen to the ideas of the fans.

Randy is the greatest thing that has happened to our club since winning the European Cup in 82'.

6. Heskey signs to strengthen your attack and scores on his debut. Do you think he’s good business and is there any other players on the shopping list in this window?

A smart signing and a real bargin just what we need at this stage of the season. As for other targets Brummie lads Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge remain high on the list of O'Neill.

7. The injury to Martin Laursen is a blow, how much of a loss is he?

Huge loss. Our inspirational skipper has been immense for us this season his loss will be felt however ironicly its perhaps the one area of the squad in which we are best equiped to cope. In his absence we still have Ceullar, Curtis Davies and the very under rated Zat Knight.

8. A lot has been said about our latest signing Diouf and he will be available for his debut against you. What are your thoughts?

A talented player but a disgusting individual who I wouldn't want anywhere near my club and I'm sorry to see sign for a decent club like Blackburn. I think its a sad indictment of the modern game that someone like Diouf is given chance after chance by clubs that said he is a good player and I understand why you got him.

If anyone can get the best out of him its Fat Sam but I would rather not see this guy in English football.

9. What do you think are the key battles which will win or lose you the game?

The key to this game will be the midfield and how much space you afford our key players and how exposed you leave your defence. The more you attack us the more danger you are in and the more the likes of Young, Milner and Gabby will exploit the space.

In terms of threats to us I guess that largelly depends on if RSC is still with you although from the outside McCarthy and Roberts look a nice combination.

10. If you could take any Rovers player to select in your side, who would it be and why?

Simple it would be Warnock. Since the injury to Bouma we've had a problem at left back Shorey hasn't worked out and we are currently playing Luke Young a very right footed RB at LB. Warnock is an excellent player would solve the problem and also fit in with O'Neill's young English criteria.

11. The previous fixture under the Ince regime saw us lose 3-2 at Villa park. Since Sam has been installed as the boss we are undefeated. What is your prediction for the match?

I think it really depends largelly on your approach. If you come out and attack us looking for 3 points I think you might be in trouble as it plays to our strengths if you sit deep and approach the game with a view a point is a good result you might turn us over.

I know that sounds odd but honestly away from home teams that attack us often get beat, we've won 9 away so far and we are better on the road than at home. If teams sit back and defend we seem to struggle to break them down.

I'm going to go for 2-1 Villa. Sorry but what did you expect.

P.S I'm looking forward to the visit to Ewood and wish you all the best for the remainder of the season after our game.

Many thanks again Trent villa for your contribution man.

A very important week for Rovers, the cup game and villa if both won could see us on the road to Wembley and climb towards the trail of a top half finish. Defeats would be a kidney shot and see us head to Old Trafford in the relegation zone with so much uncertainty and fear.

I think we will win the cup replay and go on to beat Villa 4-2. David Dunn and Santa Cruz are essential for the cause.

Good luck on getting Friedel’s gloves at the end, hopefully he will throw them into the bbe after the match.

Thank you and good night


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Great Preview.

Now I'm upset again. I would happily see Ince swing for us losing Friedel and gaining flipper.

But St Martin is THE best manager in the world, bar none, so I don't think we'll win this one. However Sam is canny enough that on a good day, with Dunn fit, we might just get a point.

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Can't see us getting anything from the game, if we were playing at Villa Park then i can see us with a chance. Their away record is better than their home record as their style of play, fast counter attacking on the break favours playing away. I'm kind of surprised many sides haven't thought them out yet or used tactics to counter their strengths.

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I think we have to sit deep for this one and probably look to hurth them on the counter. 451 would probably suit this game. I would love it if we sign a quality central player today. We need one.







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Can't see us getting anything from the game, if we were playing at Villa Park then i can see us with a chance. Their away record is better than their home record as their style of play, fast counter attacking on the break favours playing away. I'm kind of surprised many sides haven't thought them out yet or used tactics to counter their strengths.

Meh, I saw them at Fratton Park and thought they were average. They grounded out the result, but they got boxed in a few times. Portsmouth just lacked the cutting edge.

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The head-to-heads with the 13 fellow strugglers are critical but we have also got to try to take points off the top 6 as well.

Villa have been getting results but their performances have been going off the boil recently so this could be a good time to play them.

The Villa midfield is very strong so I guess hitting the front players early will be Sam's order of the day.

We owe Villa after so many good performances against them have gone unrewarded. However, we could easily get another thrashing and we could really do without Brad being in inspired form as well.

Result could go any way but we could well win this one.

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Can the original poster please change the font colour? Its nearly impossible to read

I fear whoever we play on the right will not be able to handle Agbonlahor when he cruises over there and Young would be a problem.

O'Neil will know this and most likely exploit the hell out of it.

Think/pray that Nelsen and Samba can hold attacks down the middle.

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Nice read but awful colouring !!!

Got to see Rovers take the bull by the horn and score early.

2-1 Rovers

Can the original poster please change the font colour? Its nearly impossible to read

I've tired to change the color font but there is no edit option on my page, so I can't access the post.

Perhaps one of the mods could do the job?

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Its simple

- as I said in the game at Villa Park - we need to go for the achiles heal of Friedal and aim to get Freekicks around the edge of the box.

Ensure Barry is shackled and doesn't get the freedom like he normally does and keep our eyes on Gardner who always seems to play well against us.

See simple :wacko::unsure:

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Its simple

- as I said in the game at Villa Park - we need to go for the achiles heal of Friedal and aim to get Freekicks around the edge of the box.

Ensure Barry is shackled and doesn't get the freedom like he normally does and keep our eyes on Gardner who always seems to play well against us.

See simple :wacko::unsure:

yeah but free kick taking at the edge of the box is pretty much our attacking achilles heel. with savage and bentley gone peds does well but rarely actually scores

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The last few home games have provided excellent entertainment with the exception of the first halfs, hopefully Rovers can do their normal first half routine and not concede, then build up to go onto a barnstorming finish.

Villa are a good team but they are beatable and Rovers have the personnel to put the ball past super Brad Friedel.

This game should be one NOT TO BE MISSED, there are so many positives for Rovers take into this game, the players know there is no margin for error, they are pros, they know they can deliver, now is the time that they will DELIVER.

Arte et Labore

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Id say we owe them one after the Villa Park match.

Draws in recent weeks means that we are a bit under pressure to get the 3 points.

Hi all.

Not here to flame so please don't take my posts as such.

In regards to the above post this is something I think will play into our hands as we are always at our best when teams attack us and look for the win our problem is breaking teams down that don't. In my view Fat Sam (sorry) is a smart cookey tactically and will be aware of this element to our game and will play accordingly you will obviously look for the 3 points but I think you will be cagey about it and try and close the game down.

I would imagine you will try and bypass the midfield quite a bit as this is our obvious area of strenght with the likes of Young, Milner, Barry, Petrov and Sidwell all likely to feature. I wouldn't worry about Gardner too much he isn't likely to be in the starting line-up.

As for up front Carew is available again so it will be a choice between Gabby, Carew and Heskey although we may just play one upfront as we often do.

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yeah but free kick taking at the edge of the box is pretty much our attacking achilles heel. with savage and bentley gone peds does well but rarely actually scores

Indeed - but we still have Pedersen - the question is he he upto it nowadays though (evidence would suggest not) , we have Carlos in the wings who we know can and McCarthy is not bad - add Dunn into the mix and we do have decent possibilities.

One thing I have always found strange (although of no use at moment) is why Emerton has hardly ever taken them ( ala Villa Park last time out) Im sure he does for his country and has certainly scored a few if my memory serves me.

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Ashley Young up against Ooijer worries me, Simpson has pace I guess but that would be a massive risk. Not much cover on the right from Diouf either, we'll really miss Emerton in this game.

The obvious pace of Agbonlahor and Heskey will cause Nelson a lot of problems as well, hopefully Samba can keep up with the physical side of things. Robbo is going to need a good game too.

With that being said I think we can hurt them too, they'll miss Laursen and we still have 3 good strikers. Trentvilla mentions Luke Young is out of position and very right footed playing at left back, maybe Diouf can cause him some problems on debut.

Let's just hope Friedel doesn't have one of his blinders against us, Villa will be favourites but we definitely have a chance of nicking it, I'll sit on the fence and go 2-2.

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Well I'll go for 1-1 as we have been mighty tough to beat. Real test this as to how far we've come under Sam.

Just wondered if Ince might still be here with Freidal between the sticks?

Anyone want to speculate how many points Robbo's got us this year?

Mmmm......BFS might be doing a better job than we thought. If we still had Brad.....Mmmmm.

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Ill be watching this game on tv, and i would be happy with a point. The important thing is that hopefully the teams around us, will not win. I do think we need to start winning a few games or this is going to be touch and go come the end of the season.

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