Familiar Places for Two Villa Faces
Vital Villa Preview!
Brad Friedel and Stephen Warnock will return to Ewood Park this afternoon for two reasons. Firstly, to realise how lucky they are to be able to call Villa Park their home and secondly, to pick up another 3 points and keep the Martin O`Neill (band?) wagon speeding on through the Premier League.
Yes, it`s League action once more after our rather uninspiring yet perfectly acceptable 1-0 victory over Cardiff City.
Nigel Reo-Coker finally makes his return, coinciding with Sidders being injured? Funny that.
In a rather uninspiring place,
Villa boss Martin O`Neill has claimed that there is nothing wrong with direct football. As the manager expects a long-ball-fest, he told avfc.co.uk:
"I expect us to have to defend very strongly to get through the 90 minutes. It will be pretty direct - nothing wrong with that, it's well within the rules - and we will have to try and battle that before there's any chance of us getting the ball down and playing it.
"I am just expecting a tough encounter. It will be a really, really hard game - a physical one - and one we need to be up for."
Getting nostalgic, Monny looked back to days gone by.
"Last season, when Sam thought we played very well, Gabby scored our second goal with a few minutes to go. But I just felt uncomfortable the whole afternoon. We had played well and looked in control but at one-up it's never comfortable. To be fair to Blackburn, they pressurised us all the way."
Taking a look at all things Team Brad USA, Daddy Brad believes nostalgia won`t factor into today`s soccer ball game, as he and the AVFC Claret & Blues start their road trip to Blackburn (is that near London?)
"I am looking forward to returning to Blackburn. But I can assure everyone, for 90 minutes it won't be a nostalgic feeling. I am going there with one goal in mind and that's three points for Aston Villa and to keep this terrific run going.
"Ewood Park was home for eight years. I had a great rapport with the fans and everyone connected with the club but I won't get emotional. Once the whistle blows, it's business. It's like any other game.
On the flip flop side, the Rovers return, to speaking about former players returning to the North West. Keith Andrews who`s only at Blackburn on account that Paul Ince being stark raving mad. Keith spoke to the official Blackburn Rovers website about former team-mate and last season`s player of the year Stephen Warnock heading back to Ewood Park.
"He deserves a great reception, because he was a great servant for the club over the last few years.
"He was a player that the fans loved and likewise in the dressing room. He was very well thought of on and off the pitch, and it was sad to see him go.
"But that's football. I'm sure he'll have a lovely reception off the fans and a lovely one after the game from us.'
Interesting to see what kind of reaction he gets, and then to compare that to what Gareth Barry receives as he returns to Villa Park very soon!
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has engaged in a bit of "point out the obvious" as has been the case for most mangers this and indeed last season when pinpointing the threat from the Villa squad. He [yawn] spoke to the official club website!
"As individuals we have to play to our best tomorrow, and if we don't do that then Villa can pick you off and make life very difficult for you, as we found out last season when they came here.
"Tactically we need to do a lot for 90 minutes to nullify a very potent, very pacy, quick, Aston Villa front line.
"If you leave them too many spaces, as we did last season, then they end up picking you off.
"And while you might be the best team in possession, against Aston Villa that doesn't mean anything really.
"You must concentrate when you lose the ball because these guys have so much pace, so they can go from one end of the pitch to the other in a flash and stick the ball in the back of the net."
Obviously did well in the "stating the obvious" module of the coaching badges!
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Blackburn are boosted by the fact that Brett Emerton has returned to first team action. Gael Givet is injured with a dodgy knee; apart from that it`s a full compliment for Big Sam`s men of long-ball.
Player to watch: El-Hadji Diouf
Always entertaining when Diouf is around, advice as given last time Diouf was in town, if you are sitting row one you may want to take a waterproof coat.
Aston Villa Team News:
As the media seem to be raving about, and as I wrongly predicted for the mid-week match, Nigel Reo-Coker is back in the squad. Some media outlets are suggesting he may well walk straight back into the starting line-up. Steve Sidwell, Emile Heskey (woohoo) and possibly even Ashley Young are doubtful for the match. Usual long term sick-notes still apply.
No place for Marlon Harewood, as he`s gone off to Newcastle United :`(!
Player to watch: Gabby [yawn] again!
Keep going, I'm starting to like you!
Match Facts & Stats
I really struggled to find a topical piece of music this week. Really struggled. There seems to be nothing of interest regarding Blackburn, or their team! So I just picked something I had in my car recently. Spacey!
Blackburn is famous (ish) for it`s cotton industry and expansion during the industrial revolution.
Blackburn have won the Premier League, fact! They won`t win it again mind you.
They were also one of the founder members of the Football League, however in comparison to their glorious visitors today.
Nigel Reo-Coker is a very naughty boy, and went to bed without dinner again this week. Rumour has it he wrote 'MON Smells' on the dressing room wall.
Mark Battenburg takes charge of this match which is not set to be in baking heat. No red cards from Mr Clattenburg, he has however booked Titus Bramble this season, the git.
Blackburn Rovers 0-47 and a bit Aston Villa
Welcome back Gareth! Manchester City at home a week Monday.
Thanks for reading folks!