Writer: J P Fear
Date:Friday December 2 2005
St James Park
Wow, just which manager is under the most pressure?! Both teams went out of the Carling Cup this week, Souness shouldered the blame and apologised to the fans for his teams performance, but at least it was against Premiership high flyers Wigan. Villa on the other hand lost to League One club Doncaster.
Reports in the Express today suggest O'Leary is one loss away from the sack. Previous reports had said the same about Souness. Our last poll asked if O'Leary should be sacked with 93% saying yes. This will be a massive game for both teams and it doesn't take a genius to realise that the managers will be praying for a good result.
Solano says: 'Three points is the most important thing after Wigan, it's not about me and Aston Villa. I know them very well as they're all my ex-mates, but the most important thing is to respond to our fans. We have top players at this club, and we need to prove that on the pitch on Saturday and show our character. We have to show the fans how far we can go with this team.'
O'Leary says: 'The buck stops with the manager.' So does the million pound salary though!
Ellis says: 'I was disgusted by the team's performance. Take nothing away from Doncaster...But the way we played left me feeling humiliated and embarrassed'
Reports are mixed as to whether Michael Owen will be fit, as he is still struggling with a groin injury, some reports say he will face a late fitness test, others that he will miss his fourth game in a row. Emre is still out with a hamstring injury, Dyer has flu and Babayaro is suspended. (from): Given, Harper, Ramage, Boumsong, Bramble, Elliott, N'Zogbia, Parker, Solano, Bowyer, Luque, Clark, Faye, Brittain, Shearer, Ameobi, Chopra.
Say no more.
Hendrie is pushing for his first start of the season as James Milner is unavailable due to being a Newcastle player! Bouma may be in contention and you can bet your mortgage on Angel being dropped back to the bench (at best) with Phillips taking his place, as long as Phillips is over his stomach bug that is! (from): Sorensen, Taylor, Hughes, Delaney, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Samuel, Bouma, McCann, Hendrie, Davis, De La Cruz, Jumper Jumper, Barry, Baros, Phillips, Angel, Moore.
Midfielder Barry because Newcastle - according to reports - are certainly watching him.
Villa are 15th with 15 points
Best case: Realistically with goal difference etc 14th
Worst case: 17th
Current form league: 11th
Away form league: 13ths, 2 wins, 1 draw, 4 losses
Last six games: W L L L W W
Newcastle are 12th with 18 points.
Best case: 9th (realistically with goal difference)
Worst case: 14th
Current form league: 9th
Home form league: 12th, 3 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss
Last six games: L W W W L L
Last season: Bowyer and Dyer were sent off for fighting each other! Villa won 3-0 (Angel, Barry x 2 pens)
Prem: Newcastle 13 wins, Villa 4, Draws 7
Record in the Prem: Newcastle 13 wins, Villa 4 wins, Draws 7
Record at St James Park: Newcastle 8 wins, Villa 2 wins, Draws 2
Alan Wiley. 11 matches, 2 reds, 32 yellows.
Mystic Mug said 2-0 to Villa against Doncaster and has now thrown out any thoughts of positivity. Away loss. Newcastle 1-0 Villa. And just as you give up on Villa, yeah, I know, you've heard it all before and this season, it isn't working!
17/12/2005 MANCHESTER UNITED
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