Date:Friday December 7 2007
Play up Pompey, Pompey play up, just leave that sodding bell at home! Villa look to bounce back from last weeks defeat against a side with a familiar face between the sticks.
Martin O'Neill this week has given an in-depth interview over just who he thinks should take over as the next England manager. Having repeatedly ruled himself out of the running he told the Times: '(Let's) just say I think Jose would be an excellent choice, simple as that.'
That's that then!
Villa captain Gareth Barry, who if it wasn't for the fact there’s few alternatives would have been given a rest by now is looking to extend the winning run over Portsmouth at Villa Park, who have failed to beat the AVFC Claret & Blues on their turf since 1970.
Speaking to avfc.co.uk he muttered:
'They will come here full of confidence because of the way things have been going, but we are the home team and I'm sure we will take the game to them.
'Our record is pretty good against them at Villa Park, and we have had the odd victory at Fratton Park too.'
The longer serving members of the squad will recognise a familiar face playing for the opposition in goalkeeper David James, who has in recent seasons improved his form drastically. James was unlucky not to have been given an England recall as Scott Carson made the mother of all errors in England's 3-2 defeat at the hands of Croatia.
Villa's captain knows full well that beating James will be a difficult proposition, however couldn't resist a cheeky dig at the former Villans error-prone nature:
'His stature makes it frightening for any attacker when he comes out to collect crosses. He is dominant all around his area. He is a great shot-stopper, he has got a bit of everything.
'He makes mistakes- like all goalies do, and that's what we will be hoping for- that he can make one or two tomorrow.'
Quotes regarding the game have been few and far between from Pompey FC, possibly due to their official website being an atrocious confusing mess.
So instead, here's a few belters from manager 'Arry Redknapp regarding his recent arrest:
'They searched the house and took a computer away that I bought my wife two years ago - I think she learnt to turn it on four weeks ago.'
'I held a meeting with my players. I told them about the agent and that allegedly he had paid some of his fee to the player. All of them wanted his phone number because they had never heard of an agent who wanted to give a player any money!'
'I have received texts from many players who I have worked with - and top managers - and I have really appreciated them. Of course, I couldn't get e-mails because now I haven't got a computer.'
Villa welcome back Nigel Reo-Coker who has now served his (latest) suspension.
The 'Soulja Boy Crank' fan is likely to go straight into the starting line-up as the recently impressive Stan 'the man' Petrov is out for two weeks with hamstring troubles.
Aside from that expect a relatively un-changed side. Luke 'Shrugger' Moore may return to the bench having scored in the reserves. Villa this week exercised their right to extend his contract, hopefully so we can command a decent fee for him in January.
(For those who don't understand the Soulja Boy reference, click here)
If you look at his official squad animation the guy looks like one angry boy.
If you look at the Villa V Arsenal highlights, you'll see a finish that's more finesse than flippin nutter.
Gardner is quickly becoming a great asset for Villa with the added bonus that he can play in a number of different positions including as a makeshift right-back.
Portsmouth are missing Lauren (hamstring), Martin Cranie (broken leg) and Linvoy Primus (knee) which can only be a good thing for Villa.
Pedro Mendes is expected to continue in central midfield, a player that when he is in possession of the ball, Scott Carson should perhaps take note of!
Another player that Scott Carson will no doubt be wary of is Niko Kranjcar.
I'd expect him to be given a shoot on sight policy, just to see if Scotty is still a little bit on edge about the Croatian.
Vital Pompey said of him: You expect something to happen when he is on the ball every time, as he is showing his true quality this season, the type of quality that I believe will make him a world class talent and quite possibly Croatia's finest ever footballer in time.
Did you know that Pompey have a supporter that changed his name by deed-poll to show his unwavering love for all things Portsmouth?
His name is John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood.
No seriously, it is!
Portsmouth have been in existence since their formation (funnily enough) in 1898 by brewery owner John Brickwood.
They are now owned by Alexandre Gaydamak, who donated $1million to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What a nice chap!
Pompey are investigating plans to improve their stadium, including turning the pitch through 90 degrees in order to expand into available space.
It is reported that they now have a roof for the away fans. Villa fans made it into BBC's 'quotes of the week' last season with the chant 'Randy Randy buy them a roof.'
Not you again!
The referee this week unfortunately is Mr Mike Riley, who is this articles picture.
Referee's don't get enough credit for the job they do!
You may remember Mr Riley from this seasons opener against Liverpool, gifting Steven Gerrard the opportunity to fire in a late winner at Villa Park.
Villa to win 2-1! I dare say Mystic Mug will be along in a bit.
Villa go on the road again next week as they make the long journey to Sunderland on Saturday 15th December (kick off 3pm.)
Date:Friday December 7 2007
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|16. AFC Bournemouth||37||11||8||18||-22||41|
|20. Aston Villa||38||3||8||27||-49||17|
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