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[Archived] Blackburn Rovers vs. Aston Villa

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After the defensive shambles on Saturday, Rovers look to rebound against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon. We seem to have played Villa so many times during the last year, I’m sure both sets of fans are as fed up of the contests as I am, but bar drawing them in the FA Cup, we won’t play them again until the end of February!

The alert members of the message boards will know how my previews work, and probably have heard me bleat out that we haven’t lost when I have done a preview (Norwich 3-0, Middlebrough 3-2, Newcastle 3-0, Everton 0-0, Peterborough 5-2) so I sincerely hope the streak continues!

Aston Villa Factfile

Full Name – Aston Villa Football Club

Nicknames – The Villa, The Villans, The Lions

Founded – 1874

Ground – Villa Park, capacity 42,788

Motto – Prepared

All time team – Jimmy Rimmer, Charlie Aitken, Allan Evans, Paul McGrath, Steve Staunton, Dennis Mortimer, Gordon Cowans, Bruce Rioch, Dwight Yorke, Peter McParland, Trevor Ford.

Honours – seven 1st Division League titles, two 2nd Divison League titles, one 3rd Division League titles, seven FA Cups, five League Cups, one Charity/Community Shields, one European Cup, one European Super Cup.

The History - Memorable games at Ewood vs. Villa


17/01/1998 Blackburn Rovers 5-0 Aston Villa (Rovers’ biggest win against Villa in the Premiership era. A Tim Sherwood opener, followed by a Kevin Gallacher hat-trick and even a goal from Stuart Ripley! Gave Rovers the victory)

21/04/1993 Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Aston Villa (Sky game, that all but ended Villa’s title charge. A brace from Mike Newell and a Kevin Gallacher goal enough to beat the Villans)

19/02/1972 Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Aston Villa (The only meeting between the two sides in the third tier of English football)

19/10/1889 Blackburn Rovers 7-0 Aston Villa (Biggest ever League win over Villa)

02/03/1899 Blackburn Rovers 8-1 Aston Villa (A rather one sided FA Cup 3rd Round game sending Rovers through to the semi finals, were they would eventually lose to Wolverhampton Wanderers in a replay)

Overall Record at Ewood

Played 76 - Blackburn 40 wins – Villa 22 wins – 14 Draws – Rovers 154 goals – Villa 103 goals

Rovers/Villa lineup (a midfielder short, maybe someone can fill this in?)

1. Brad Friedel

2. Chris Price

3. Alan Wright

4. Gordon Cowans

5. Simon Grayson

6. Derek Dougan


8. Graham Fenton

9. Chris Sutton

10. Dwight Yorke

11. Stephen Warnock

The Interview

Those of you who remember one of my previous previews, will recall that I got a celebrity Boro fan Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown to answer some questions, Evertonian John Parrott also kindly answered my questions for the Everton preview.

Villa have many famous fans, alas none of them have replied to my emails! I agree Prince Harry and Tom Hanks were probably long shots but I tried my best.

Fear not, a good friend of mine from University and lifelong Villain Jaskiren will be answering the questions.......

[Q and A should be up by Tuesday pm – problems with internet]

The Game

Of course any team news can change, but Rovers and Villa will be without long term absentees Andrews for the Rovers, whilst for Villa, Nigel Reo-Coker, Fabian Delph, John Carew, Stilian Petrov and Carlos Cuellar.

One to Watch

Ashley Young

The England winger has been in sensational form to start the season, pace, strength and great crossing ability make him stand out. He seems to have risen to the challenge of being the “main man” since Milner departed. Usually deployed on the left wing (so he can cut in onto his right) he is equally as dangerous as a second striker and it is this position I expect him to play on Sunday. Rovers fans can only hope he picks up a niggle in the International on Wednesday!

Fantasy Star

Stewart Downing

For those who play fantasy football this will probably come as a surprise, Downing is ahead of Young this season on the official game, mainly due in part to his four goals and two assists. The left winger has benefited from a full preseason and has returned to the form that made him stand out during his Middlesbrough days. Pessimistic Rovers fans will no doubt remember the Downing inspired Boro team that thumped Rovers 4-0 at home back in 2004, he was terrific that day with two assists and a goal.


Still Available, via www.onerovers.co.uk, via telephone 0871 222 1444 and at the ticket office at the ground.

Adults - from £15.00

Seniors/Club 16-21 – from £12.00

Juniors – from £7.00


I’ll leave that up to you, although a 6-4 reversal of January would suit me nicely!

For inspiration

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Nice preview, looking forward to the q and a's.

For me this game would appear to have a home loss written all over it. Rovers just dont seem to able to cope with speedsters down the flanks and as Villa will come with Young and Downing down the flanks we could easily see Rovers staring at a scoreline akin to the spuds game after 60 minutes or so.

Rovers have to combat the flanks and take the threat of Young out. he pulls the strings whilst in the middle villa have a star in albrighton.

Would love to see a Rovers win but for me its death on tv again as Sam fails to deliver a home result.

1-2 villa

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The Interview

Those of you who remember one of my previous previews, will recall that I got a celebrity Boro fan Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown to answer some questions, Evertonian John Parrott also kindly answered my questions for the Everton preview.

Villa have many famous fans, alas none of them have replied to my emails! I agree Prince Harry and Tom Hanks were probably long shots but I tried my best. Fear not, a good friend of mine from University and lifelong Villain Jaskiren will be answering the questions.......

[Q and A should be up by Tuesday pm – problems with internet]

If the problems persist, apparently there's a bloke called Cameron who lives above his workplace in central London.:rolleyes: He's said to be a Villa fan, although he's possibly trumped by the earlier of our two Honorary Vice-Presidents?

Don't think he's a regular on the Holte End, though.

Since learning of that "connection", there's no other team I'd rather see us beat!

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Is Olsson going to be fit for this one?

Interesting for me to see if Sam will let Roberts start or not. A bit mystifying why he doesn't when he has been scoring and looking much more of a handful than Kalinic. I kmow he is supposed to be an "impact player" but really 2 in 2 is enough to get a spot when Kalinic has done very little (nice turn though!)

If we can get Roberts, Dunn, EH Diouf and Hoilett into the starting XI - supported by Olsson and Emerton out wide - we might actually have enough in the team to worry an opposition defence for once.

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Great preview- good read.

I guess it will be best to see who limps back from the mid-week friendlies before predicting. At least Phil Jones can only hurt himself in training.

Would be great to win this one but have a very uneasy feeling about it. Critical we cut out the silly goals concessions.

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Robert Pires has just been on French TV and said that he expects to be in the squad for the game on Sunday. He hasn't signed quite yet, despite the reports on the Villa site, but he's been training with Arsenal for the past two months so he is fit and could go into the team.

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Nicknames – The Villa, The Villans, The Lions, The Vile

FTFY :) Good preview.

I'm grateful it's not at Villa Park, as I'm heartily sick of it.

Villa aren't without their problems lately but have a much better side than we do. We've been coping, more or less, with poorer clubs but against better teams we look fragile.

Away win :(

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Here's the delayed Q and A.

A massive thanks to Jaskiren for his time and effort.

The Game

Villa's recent record at Ewood has been good, are these the sorts of games Villa should be winning?

That would be quite disrespectful to Rovers; there are no “bankers” in the Premiership. If we were gunning for the league, you’d have to say yes. But we’re not. I’m not sure even the most hardened of Villa fans would see Rovers away as anything but tough.

Who should the Rovers fans fear the most?

Stewart Downing. There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the young kids, especially Marc Albrighton, and rightly so. But Downing has come into his own this season and is living up to the £10m (rising to £12m) we paid for him. He didn’t have a pre-season last year and returned midway through the season after sustaining serious injury. This year he has had a positive pre-season and currently sits as our top goal scorer. He’s given that experience and touch of class at important times this season.

Who should the Villa fans fear the most?

David Dunn, if he plays. Always been a classy player, who has tormented on most occasions we have clashed. The fact that he had a spell in the Midlands with Birmingham adds to the spice. He always seems determined to have a good game against us. It’s probably due to the booing he receives from us!

The Villa

Gerard Houiller, a step up or step down?

I think Martin O’Neill took us as far as he could. The football at home had become dull, stale and predictable. We became the most “fashionable” and energetic long ball team in the Premiership under his tenure. Houllier has been a breath of fresh air. We’re playing good football under him, playing it around and having a go at teams in a positive manner. He seems more tactically astute and the current league position doesn’t represent how well we have played under him thus far. I think he’ll bring that player with touch of flair to Villa Park too, something we have lacked for many, many years. But having said that, he seems more than willing to give the youngsters a go – something O’Neill was seemingly unwilling to do.

James Milner propelled you to 6th last season, then left, are you worried Ashley Young will be the next one to go?

The warning signs are already there – Ashley’s contract is up in 20 months and he isn’t willing to discuss a new contract until the summer. Personally, if we can get £20m for him, I’d take it. Tottenham and Man City are most likely interested, so he does hold the cards in this situation unfortunately. He has always come across as quite loyal and does enjoy his football at Villa Park. But I think he may be off. So am I worried? Slightly. But I’m sure Rovers fans can appreciate – it’s not that we’re a selling club, we simply have no choice than to sell these players that want to go for the crazy money, at crazy prices.

Are Villa still the side to beat when talking about 6th?

Possibly. We have finished 6th for three seasons running. But I think this is a season of transition for Villa and we’ll come back stronger next season. Our youngsters (Clark, Albrighton, Bannan and Delfouneso) are getting playing time and they have big, big futures in the game. But in terms of 6th, it’s probably out of our reach this season. I think 8th or 9th is more realistic.

Bannan, Clark, Albrighton, Delfouenso the future looks bright at Villa, how have they adapted to the team and are there more in the pipeline?

Absolutely class. Barry Bannan is only 5ft 5 or something like that, but he plays football in the way it should be. He can pick out that pass, he has that vision. Cieran Clark reminds me of a young Gareth Barry. Remember, Gareth started as a defender and was slowly switched to a full back, a left midfielder and then eventually a central midfielder. Cieran is comfortable on the ball, and seems to always play with his head up. Houllier has actually played him in the middle of the park a couple of times this season. Marc Albrighton; well he’s been a complete revelation. Local lad, Villa fan and an attacking fullback, can the Villa faithful ask for much more? I’m sure you’ve seen him, and he will be a big threat at Ewood on Sunday. Good luck to your left-back! Nathan Delfouneso has represented England at all levels, except the seniors. He is more than capable, but there are rumours circulating he enjoys life off the pitch a bit too much. I hope he isn’t getting distracted because he has the potential to be a top striker.

Look out for Fabian Delph and Gary Gardner in the future. They are going to be top class! Rafa Benitez has been sniffing around Gary Gardner in regards to brining him to Inter Milan. Unfortunately, both players damaged anterior cruciate ligaments earlier in the year. I honestly believe both will represent England at senior level, as long as they make full recoveries. Remember the names!


Gary Gardner (yes he's Craig's younger brother) a future star?

The Unspoken Prejudice

I know after the 2007/08 fixture you were racially abused outside the ground. With the potential Indian takeover at Rovers, do you feel enough is being done to combat racism in football?

Hey, let’s put one thing straight right away; it was one silly man, not a reflection on Rovers at all. We won 4-0 and tempers were high, and the guy saw an easy target. It was pretty scary for a minute, though. Thankfully the police were fantastic with me and the situation.

As for racism in football – it’s not something I’m witnessing across the country if I’m honest. What more can the authorities do? You are always going to have it, unfortunately. Things are certainly better than 20-30 years ago (according to my Dad). I feel more minority communities should get involved in football and go to games – there’s some kind of stigma attached to football and football supporters when it comes to Asians. They are just as much the issue as the issue itself – if that makes sense!

Do you think Indians both back in India and in this country will get behind Rovers if they are taken over by Venky's?

Well I’ve never been to India but I would say so, yes. Even if you can get 1% of India to become interested in Rovers, you’ll be cashing in. Football is growing over there at a rapid rate, especially the Premiership. One thing with Indians though, they only buy into something they see themselves making a return on. Football isn’t one of those things but they clearly seen an opportunity. If you can get the Indian market behind you, you’ll be laughing. I think it’s very, very possible.

In regards to this country, definitely. Indians are a loyal bunch and I think they would warm to an Indian owned club. If you could attract a few British Asian players to your club (through your youth academy) and bring them through, that would help immensely. The first club bring through a top, top British born Asian star will attract GREAT support. Good luck to you!

Which ground/club do you feel handle the race issue the best?

Hard to say. I think the FA promotes it across the country. Fair play to them.


1. Young or Milner? Young

2. Claret or Blue? Claret

3. Yorke or Atkinson? Yorke

4. Muller kit or FxPro kit? Muller

5. Villa Villa Villa or Empty Seats my lord? Villa Villa Villa

6. Lerner or Ellis? Lerner

7. Holte End or Trinity Road? Holte End

8. Andy Grey or Stan Collymore? Tough one; Stanley!

9. Gabby Agbonlahor or Gabby Logan? Come on! Gabby!!

10. KFC or McDonalds? KFC

11. Mario or Luigi? Mario

12. Angelina or Jennifer? Angelina


Tough Call

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  • Moderation Lead

We won this one last season (albeit with a late pen), though we did have 10 men! I've been encouraged by our last 2 performances (and the Chelsea one), I think we can win this one-

2-1 Rovers :)

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Very good Rog, enjoyed the read, especially the Q & A. Thanks to Jaskerin.

the result may not be so enjoyable. More overall pace than spuds, both wings, through the centre and even a couple of FB's that will leave ours standing.

Praying for at least a point.

Chelsea 0 Sunderland 3...


Attack! Attack, Attack Attack Attack!!


Defend! Defend! Defend like your life depends upon it..

(much much quieter)

Entertain! Entertain! FFS Entertain!

(almost inaudible)

Come on you Blues!


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