Category: Aston Villa

I am Back!So is the Premier League!

Good evening all! After a brief hiatus chasing the ever elusive perfect GMAT score, I am officially BACK! AAAAAAAND so is the premier league! (Try not to contain yourselves too much, I know you missed me more). So many important events have occurred while I was on “holiday”, so I would like to begin my comeback by giving to you basically a tweet preview (120 characters….ish) of each Top Flight english squad to help kick off the 2015/2016 campaign! Should be easy…right?

Lets start with the easiest team to dissect:

ARSENAL

WIll Petr Cech be the high-caliber keeper that turns the gunners from choke-artists to proper contenders?Will Wenger sign another striker…Benzema?

AFC BOURNEMOUTH 

1899: Inaugural season; 1997:Club almost folds due to more than 7 million pounds of debt and unable to pay its players, supporters raise 1.4 million pounds; 2015: 1st EVER BPL season. #Moneyball

ASTON VILLA

No Benteke, delph, or Cissokho. Lets see what Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew can do. Brad Guzan… better be ready for action. Adama Traore?????

CHELSEA

Will the deadly Fabregras, Matic, , Oscaar, Hazard combo troll the BPL again and win the League? Is Douglas Costa more injury-prone than the glass-kneed RVP? Is John Stones the Batman to John Terry’s Bane?

MANCHESTER CITY 

Bye-Bye Dzeko. Is Sterling Liverpool’s or ManCity’s reckoning? Is he a selfish, underdeveloped youngin that will crack under pressure faster than batman’s back smashing on Bane’s Knee. Pellegrini out? Pep in? (Lots of Batman analogies today, huh?) 

MANCHESTER UNITED

No RVP. No Di Maria. LVG vs De Gea. LVG vs. the Glazers. LVG vs. Wayne Rooney. LVG vs. BPL. Rooney, Schweini and Schneiderlin to lead the way.

LIVERPOOL

RODGERS’ LAST CHANCE. No more Stevie G., Onto the Henderson Captaincy era. Will Benteke or Ings become the Luigi or Bowser to Super Mario. Millner earned this contract and will become a fast leader of the team. 

SWANSEA CITY

The Succesful Monk philosophy for 3 more years. Couple new faces…ahem Eder. Season opener vs. returning champs Chelsea is a tough draw.

SUNDERLAND

Coates, Kaboul, M’Vila in. Veringi, Wickford out. Giacherini stay.  Adam Henderson’s off-field woes postponed to next year. Will they be in the vyng for relegation. 

SOUTHHAMPTON

Big shoes to fill from Schneiderlin loss. Will the Stingiest defence in the BPL last season returrn to its surprising form. No Osvaldo and possibly no Fonte. Can Graziano Pelle score at the same rate this season. Lots of questions.

TOTTENHAM

Mo Po has his hands full. Spurs need a return to consistency. Lloris is looking for UCL football, will he convince the talented shot-stopper to stay. Is Harry Kane truly the next Bale? Sell Lamela?

LEICESTER CITY

Bad Choice in hiring Ranieri (Roma fan here). Already lost your best player in Esteban Cambiasso, who’s next? Son of Schmeichel?

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Steve McClaren has arrived. He now works for the worlds Stingiest Owner. Good Luck. Atleast you resigned Coloccini… lets hope for less reds this year.

CRYSTAL PALACE

My dark horse of this years BPL. Yohan Cabaye? What a steal! An influx of talent will only help solidiy a young and scary XI. Cabaye, Bolasie connection will be nice.

Norwich City

Fighting to not be relegated right back down to the Championship. 

WEST HAM UNITED

Farewell big Sam. Farewell Upton park? The era of Bilic is already in shambles by “sacrificing”Europa League. Andy Carroll may be healthy for once. Valencia injured. Downing was sold to his hometown club. Will Payet actually make the hammers better?

WATFORD

The signings of decent players like Behrami, Berghuis, Nyom and Britos will help this team produce some surprising results. Let’s hope they can remain afloat and stay in the top flight.


WEST BROMWICH ALBION

Ricky Lambert + Saido Behrani connection may be a match made in heaven. The 22 year-old is loooking to build on last year’s successful campaign that was filled with 20 solid goals.

EVERTON

Tim Howard looks like he enjoyed his off season, possibly too much. Let’s hope he wwill come into the season strong and in top form.  Romelu Lukaku will look to net many more with the help of new-boy Tom Cleverly.  May be a contender. 

STOKE CITY

May be a surprising contender as well to finish close to the top of the table.  What they lost in Asmir Begovic, Stoke gained with Shay Given. Look to Marco Van Ginkle to shine and push this young team throughout this season. Xherdan Shaqiri could definitely help!

Do you agree? disagree? please lets us know what you think! Thats all for now folks. 

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Aston Villa Forced To Cancel October’s Goal Of The Month Competition Because They Didn’t Score Any Goals

From Bleacher Report:

This could be one of the most pathetic things I’ve read all season. Granted they scored this Sunday in a loss against Tottenham but before that the last time they scored was in a 1-0 win against Liverpool (Who isn’t beating Liverpool these days?). They should have just replaced it with a Save Of The Month competition because Brad Guzan has had his work cutout for him these days, as per usual. The funniest part about this if they had ended up scoring a goal in their last game of October would they have still cancelled it? Or would have that won by default? Winning by default somehow would seem more pathetic than canceling the entire competition. I bet Aston Villa’s management team will think twice in the future before green-lighting a similar competition.

Coach’s Corner: Defensive Masterclass from Aston Villa

So, you take a few days, you see some Champion’s League soccer, and still you wonder, how the heck did Aston Villa thwart Liverpool’s almost omniscient attacking force this past weekend?

You could go out on a limb and say Senderos lashing out at Ballotelli multiple times and Hutton putting in some timely challenges were defining factors in that game. But, if you asked me, it came down to one thing…

1) This man:

gabby a

 

And you say, “no way, soccer is a team sport, how could one man change it all.” Let me explain. Gabriel Agbonlahor changed the entire way Liverpool players. Going forward he is always going to be an issue. He is more athletic than he looks, he is strong, he is committed to the cause, he pressures the back four relentlessly and makes it difficult for anyone to get comfortable on the ball. Liverpool is a rhythm based team. The Reds need to complete some passes and string some joy together in order to feel confident and take risk going forward. If not, they lock themselves into defensive mode and hope to catch one on the break. One man doesn’t put Liverpool in that mode but Mr. Agbonlahor certainly tried to do do. But that is neither here nor there.

 

The real reason Villa’s performance was so impressive was because once Liverpool was able to break the pressure and have a bit of possession, this man once again created a massive problem for the Reds. It is well documented that Captain God, better known as Steven Gerard, has taken on a deeper lying playmaking role under Brendan Rodgers and can ping a ball anywhere he wants given time and space to do so. It is also well known that his athleticism is not what it used to be and that when taken out of games, Liverpool does not have another exceptional deep lying player with that kind of passing ability. You would hope that Jordan Henderson can eventually find himself there, but not yet. He isn’t ready.

hendogerardn

Finally to my point about Gabby A. Whenever Liverpool maintained possession, he would sit on Steven Gerard. Watch the game again, take notice of Agbonlahor’s defensive movement and also his constant awareness of where Gerard is. He is constantly glancing over his should to find Gerard’s positioning and he never leaves his side until he knows someone else is marking him up. This does a couple of things:

1) It makes someone else try and make the game. In this case it was Jordan Henderson or one of the two centerbacks stepping forward. We all know that as much the modern CB is a ball player, they are in no way close to the technique or vision that Stevie G has. And when Jordan Henderson drops back he tends to try and continue to play short passes when at times it is a longer pass that will find more space for the entire team. Plus, Jordie enjoys one too many touches every now and then!

2) It forces Steven Gerard higher up the pitch. This in itself did a few things as well. It clogged everything up! It seemed like central areas were a nightmare to play through because they were constantly overloaded with Coutinho, Henderson, Gerard and one of the wide players tucking himself in. As weird as this may be, it looked as though Steven Gerard was uncomfortable in these areas further up the pitch.

The reality is, Gabriel Agbonlahor, whether by design or by coincidence, created mismatches and overloads all over the field that thwarted Liverpool’s usually potent attack. He forced players into areas they don’t want to be and was able to take the only chance they needed to win the game. Is this a tactic that teams will use in the future? I’m not sure, but I do know that it was a masterclass of a defensive performance from the Villains that made sure they got this result.