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[Archived] Preview: Aston Villa v. Rovers 20th August 2011

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Please pin mods.

It's time to forget the Wolves escapade and move on to our next opponents. I'll try and make this as neutral as possible without any references to our current situation as we have loads of threads for that. So here we go.

I think the fixture gurus got this one in early as they expect us to play a good few times before the end of the season. Including the Asia cup pre season friendly we've played them 9 times since the start of the 2009/10 season. Despite this I know very little about them, and can't be bothered to look up their history, so this is winged from my addled memory. In recent times (see Premier League invention - sorry older people, I know they won the European Cup but my age precludes me from being an expert on football prior to about 1986) they have been nothing to write home about.

It's argued (mainly by the fans and Brum centric journalists) that they should always be up there as they are a big city club, have an owner with pots of cash, a good youth system, and a "history". It seems to elude them though. Since the credit crunch their best players have all left for the North West (2 to City, 1 to Man U, 1 to Liverpool) leading popular opinion to sway toward their owner either not having cash anymore, or deciding to stop funding a perennial money pit. I know that if I had oodles of cash I'd keep well clear of a football club. It's about as sound a money making venture as chocolate fireguards. Unless you are called Venkys. Then it's a definite winner. The more the merrier in fact. As the old adage goes; you have to speculate to accumulate.

They did have a good run in the early 90's under unfortunate racist Ron Atkinson. Since then they have rarely threatened either end of the table, or any of the cups. They did win goal of the season more than once during that era. One was a cracking move involving more than 3 passes that I can't find on YouTube, and the other a great individual goal from Dalian Atkinson (remember him?);


Also sometime during this golden age I had a mate who played for them. He said that Mark Bosnich was the biggest c0ck he'd ever met. Did he smile when old Bozza ran afoul of the authorities due to his penchant for snorting the white stuff.

Anyway, back to the preview. As far as this close season goes they've not been that busy. Last season's manager, Gerald Houllier, decided to pack it in over concerns for his dicky ticker, which was probably the sensible option. This started the usual Sky driven frenzy on who was going to replace him. Former (and still for many) Rovers darling Mark Hughes thought he was quids in so resigned from Fulham, only for Villa to trump him and appoint Alex McLeish. Villa fans were up in arms over this, not only had McLeish, or Big Eck as no one I know calls him, just overseen a relegation but that team happened to be Birmingham City; Villa's hated rivals. This appointment was an early Christmas present for the ubiquitous Sky reporter outside football ground as he could interview any number of seemingly non-working malcontents happy to moan about it being a bad decision. Since then though it's been quiet. They signed N'Zogbia from Wigan and that's about it.

Villa should be a decent day out for those willing to fork out £40 for a ticket. It's only 2 hours from East Lancs so there is plenty of time to get down and back in a day. I seem to remember reading on here that there was some bother at one of the fixtures last year but am not certain. Villa Park never struck me as a place to expect any trouble.

I'm not one for going to away games as they are a bit of a hassle, I much prefer the comforts of Ewood. However, I've been to Villa Park twice stretched over about 10 years, both on New Year's Day for some reason. I like their ground. It's big enough, decent enough parking, and plenty of stuff close by. The away end is a bit crap as it straddles the corner flag, if they give out a big allocation. If it's a small one fans are stuck low down to the left of the goal looking at the massive Holte End.

The first one, maybe 1994(?) was played on a sunny but cold day. We won. Shearer inevitably scored* from a Le Saux jinky run. He may have bagged another. I'd check but see above. I do remember watching David May try to boot the ball at the mascot for the entire warm up.

The 2nd one was 2004(?). We got beat. It was pouring down, and about 50 Rovers fans turned up. All in a thoroughly miserable day out. Anyone else suffer through it?

As is popular in these previews, a list of players who have played for both clubs is usually put forth. Also popular is noting how many of them actually did better once they'd left. Here's my stab, in no particular order;

Alan Wright - good full back who got injured and lost his place to an even better Graeme Le Saux.

Brad Friedel - hero for us, not so much for Villa. Say what you want about Ince, and pretty much all of it regarding him and Rovers isn't complimentary, he did well selling Friedel and getting Robinson in as a replacement.

Steven Warnock - made the World Cup squad in 2010 after his first season. Couldn't get a game 4 months ago.

Shay Given - didn't play much for us, has only just signed for them. No comments.

Gordon Cowans - instrumental getting us up in 1991. Hardly played after that, and went back to Villa. He was Tugay before Tugay. Class on the ball. I was surprised he didn't play much (if ever) for England.

Chris Price - marauding full back in the late 80's. Did well at Villa. Came back and help us get promoted before moving on. Nearly died in Australia earlier this year didn't he?

Who knows how the game will pan out. Early season fixtures have a tendency to be a bit unpredictable. Hopefully we'll have some players back from injury. Maybe we'll have signed our "marquee player" too? I really have no idea. Based on history, we'll get beat.

*It's a shame that the new generation of Rovers fans didn't get to see Shearer play. It's been 15 years since he left. We are presently scraping the bargain barrel for strikers. He really was the finest around.

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We have a chance if the defenders are available, and Petrovic and Nzonzi in midfield, although you do have to wonder where any goals will come from. I suppose my preferred formation would be:-






Subs:- Bunn, Hanley, Salgado, Dunn, Pedersen, Rochina, Goodwillie

Maybe bring Bruno in at RB if he is any good.... the above is actually quite a good team, although sorely lacking in goals from the forwards, provided Petrovic is as decent as people claim. Get a more prolific striker in for Roberts and I would actually be quite content....

I would like to see really good shape and discipline in the side, as we showed in the six games at the end of last season but were totally void of on Saturday just gone...

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darren bent 1 goal nzogbia 1 goal......................entire rovers team 0 efforts on goal and thats just how i suspect the 1st half will go too scary to consider a 2nd half away at a team with good attackers.

we don't have a spine to the team and its killing us............and for the love of god salgado can't play against nzogbia it'll result in the dream home debut for nzogbia.

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Rovers to continue their tri annual perfomrnaces at Villa Park.

Despite the loss of Downing and Young, both regular scorers against Rovers, they will win easily 4-0.

Our old nemesis Emeeeeele to put us to the sword.

Silver lining - Kean to be removed from his role directly after the game after insinuating their are positives to be taken from the game, there are still 4 active bids on the tables of other clubs and that he is absolutely positive there is a role for him at the club and he has the support of the players who I may add there has been NO bids whatsoever for.

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Mark Hughes will be new rovers manager.


would you take a girl back thats already dumped you? i did as a teen and ended up getting dumped again!

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Thanks for the preview, speeeeeeedie.

I'm not holding out many hopes for this game - it's reminiscent of the game we played at St. Andrews about this stage of last season. As is his wont, McLeish'll presubably be putting the emphasis on defence so it's up to whoever's in charge of our team on Saturday to come up with a reasonably attacking eleven.

I've not a clue what our centre-back situation will be; so, until that becomes clearer, I'll say no more than I expect a low-scoring game with hopefully Rovers coming out on top.

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will we have a manager for this game?

Not if Steve Kean is still employed by Rovers.

Good preview- I think that Atkinson chip was on the same day Shearer scored with a glorious chip in our 7-1 demolition of Norwich to go top of the League.

Until our 4-1 hammering last season we had a habit of going to Vill and playing very well in a defeat. Go back some five years or more and Villa Park had been quite a happy hunting ground for Rovers.

Even at full strength, we are going to do very well not to lose this one.

Still, there is quite a hoodoo on home teams so far this season so I will go for 0-0 as Villa look a bit toothless at the moment.

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I do try and be positive but I can't find any way to see anything other than a comfortable home win. 2-0 without breaking a stride.

My only hope is it could be a good time to go at them seeing as a few of the fans may still be against their manager and it could be edgy.

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Absolutely no chance. Watched Rovers game and they looked like a lower division side; totally lacking any cutting edge. Cross after cross from a wide open Salgado and no one on the end of them. Hope they get a result but Rovers will be lucky not to get a hammering.

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Bit of pressure on them, having lost couple of key players over the summer plus first home game for the new manager.

Probably will be important to keep them quiet, frustrate and hopefully the crowd will get on their backs.

Was going to go to this one but not really feeling it.

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