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Unofficial Circa 2011 August Only
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To continue reading about Aston Villa go to their current site at www.avfc.co.uk where you can follow all the news as Villa attempt to rebuild and consolidate their Premier League status.
For more news about the Aston Villa team, there are loads of fan sites and blogs such as
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AN ASIDE: Now that I am living in the US for my official Aston Villa News I use www.birminghammail.co.uk/all-about/aston-villa-fc, but back in the day, I would often peruse this site- even at work- to get the latest info.
Dealing with picky clients all day who are trying to decide what designer Italian furniture styles would look best in their multi million dollar architecturally modern condos, can be trying. Dressed stylishly to reflect the ambiance the owners of a well known NYC showroom want to project, I am suave and highly knowledgeable about the collections of the most respected Italian furniture designers and manufacturers in the market place today. I can rattle off the names and the world renowned designers of such Italian furniture manufactures such as Bonaldo, Cattelan Italia, Fiam Italia, Foscarini, Gamma Arredamenti, Pianca, Presotto Italia, Tonelli and Tonin Casa without a pause. I have my favorites of course, but the clients' preference come first.
Although I work with interior designers who have clients from all over the world, many of these clients have a residence in NYC. When furniture is delivered I occasionally will even go to the residence to make sure everything is perfect. The other day I was in an amazing contemporary condo at 35 Hudson Yards, the tallest residential building at Hudson Yards on Manhattan's west side. It was a seven bedroom penthouse with grand 360 degree views, totally breathtaking. The furniture arrive unscathed and looked perfect. As I was leaving the housekeeper who was there pulled me aside and asked if I knew of a company that offered a free estimate on rug cleaning in NYC. Apparently she had discovered a wine stain on one of the beautiful antique rugs that were throughout the apartment. She did not want to try to clean it herself for fear of making it worse. Luckily I did know of an excellent rug cleaning company that happens to specialize in antique rugs. I looked up Agara Rug Cleaning NYC on my iphone and gave her their number. Several weeks later I received a text message from the cleaning lady thanking me profusely for the recommendation. She said they had done a beautiful job and her mistress was most pleased. Glad it worked out so well, I texted. You never know what will unfold on any day in my line of work.
Well, I digress. Normally what I do after work is I go to a bar with friends or just head home where I can relax, and check out all the drama, rumors, and news of my favorite professional football club, the Aston Villa, or as me and my friends back home in England would say: the Villa. Sometimes I wish I were back in England so I could attend the English Football League Championships, but I am going to have to be satisfied checking out: www.avfc.co.uk. for all the most recent news.
Now for a bit of nostalgia from the site's August 2011 Archived Pages
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LATEST ASTON VILLA NEWS
Midfield Partnerships Forming but Players too Similar
Having watched all of Villa’s pre-season there have been some notable deficiencies in the squad as well as some encouraging moments. I think you will see McLeish take very few risks early on in his Villa career, with the more experienced players favoured in order to prove their worth come the start of the season. The likes of Albrighton, Bannan and Delph in midfield are all likely to be on the bench for Fulham I feel, but I would be pleased to be proven wrong!
Of the aforementioned young trio it is Bannan who has undoubtedly impressed the most in this summer’s friendlies for me. Albrighton hasn’t replicated his form from last year’s pre-season while Delph is stunted in a deep role when he weighs about 6 stone. Captain Stiliyan Petrov and Jean Makoun are likely to start versus Fulham, and although the former has certainly lost his legs somewhat, both are undeniably intelligent players in possession, though creativity is a real issue. Makoun has the ability to spot a pass before receiving the ball and rarely needs an extra touch, while Petrov dallies at times. Despite this the duo seem to have built up a decent understanding between themselves but the problem for Villa is that they rarely look for the attacking option. League investors have been weighing in on who should be the likely starters.
With Stephen Ireland hoping to rejuvenate his up-to-now nothingness of a Villa career, the controversial Irishman has been hampered by knocks and a lack of fitness. For that reason I think he will also have to make do with a place on the bench alongside Bannan, with the two providing very brief glimpses of a potential attacking partnership. Like Petrov and Makoun both are very intelligent players, though the younger pair have more energy and flair about them. One thing that all of Villa’s centre midfielders have in common is a distinct lack of physical presence, particularly in an upward sense. I would hazard a guess that our middle men average out at around 5’9″ which is hardly intimidating and a tall, strong anchor man should have been brought in in my opinion, especially considering the loss of Nigel Reo-Coker this summer.
In terms of my preferred line-up for Saturday’s opener, I would be inclined to pick the following; Given; Young, Dunne, Clark, Warnock; Albrighton, Ireland, Makoun, Bannan, N’Zogbia; Bent.
However, judging from pre-season set-ups thus far I would predict that McLeish will line-up with; Given; Young, Collins, Dunne, Warnock; N’Zogbia, Makoun, Petrov, Heskey; Agbonlahor, Bent.
Who would make your starting XI?
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Boss' Bent and Collins confidence
Villa are monitoring the fitness of Darren Bent and James Collins after the duo withdrew from international duty this week.
More James Collins news...
McLeish observing Villa duo
Aston Villa are monitoring the fitness of Darren Bent and James Collins after the duo withdrew from international duty this week.
More Aston Villa news...
Teenage kicks, a good first impression and shouldering the responsibility
Well, the week finally arrives and today is just like any other Monday - we had a match at the weekend and this weekend coming we are at Fulham. The difference is, this weekend we are playing for points and it all starts to get quite serious again.
So the end of 2011 could be an unfruitful one for McLeish, highlighting the importance of getting the high number of fans still opposed to his appointment on board early on. Villa enter the campaign having played just 5 pre-season friendlies, the most recent of which saw Charles N’Zogbia make a goalscoring debut in a 1-1 draw away to Europa League finalists Braga. A bright display from the Frenchman was encouraging, along with Jean Makoun’s ability to see a pass before he receives the ball and I am tipping the January signing, and am sure McLeish is hoping in the same vein, to be like a new recruit this time around, with the likes of Stephen Warnock and Ireland also looking to rejuvenate their Villa careers. In terms of friendly highlights, Barry Bannan has perhaps been the most promising of the younger crop, as Albrighton was the year before him, whilst Shay Given has proven what a coup he could be for the club as well. Darren Bent’s 3 goals indicate that his finishing will be crucial next year, and even though some maintain that he is not involved in the games enough, his prowess in front of goal will undoubtedly be key to a decent finish for McLeish’s debut season at the helm. So plenty to look forward to, plenty of action to get your teeth in to, and plenty for the new man in charge to prove to the fans as we approach the new campaign. Anyone excited? I know I am! This season Sky Sports will show 115 live Premier League fixtures with every match available in HD and selected matches in 3D. The confirmed TV listings are till end of November, with a guaranteed 39 live games. All this action over the 5 Sky Sports channels plus Sky Go on your iPad, iPhone or laptop, as well as top TV channels, broadband and calls is now available for under £40 a month.
Easy Early Start Could Prove to be Making of McLeish Half-Season Preview
Now that the hysteria, negative in the most part, of hiring an ex-Blues manager has subsided, Villa are set to embark on the new Premier League season 2011/12 with a lack of games and indeed a lack of players under their belt. The new boss hasn’t been handed the entirity of the transfer funds made from the sales of key players such as Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, and despite replenishing the squad with excellent signings in Charles N’Zogbia and Shay Given, the Scot’s squad is thin on the ground./p>
It is for this reason that McLeish will be thankful for a somewhat favourable start to the campaign after the fixture list revealed that the club would not play one of last term’s top 6 until 8 games into the new season, when the club travel to Manchester City. Villa open their account with an away trip to Fulham, also under new leadership in Martin Jol, though a home tie with Midlands rivals Wolves is a standout fixture just 3 games in, and is the first of the Villans matches to be shown live on Sky on Saturday 27th.
With 5 of the club’s first 7 matches being against opponents who finished in the bottom half of the table, or promoted sides in QPR (live on Sky a month later on September 25th), McLeish is certainly under pressure to get results immediately, and may need to do so when looking at the club’s schedule for December.
After a so-called easy start there is inevitably going to be a tricky period in any fixture list, and Villa’s campaign during the Christmas period couldn’t be trickier! Starting with a home tie with champions Manchester United Villa then travel to Bolton, where victories are notoriously hard to come by, before hosting Liverpool and Arsenal back-to-back. The month end with two of the toughest away games in the league, first against Stoke before facing Chelsea on New Year’s Eve! Happy New Year? Perhaps not!
So the end of 2011 could be an unfruitful one for McLeish, highlighting the importance of getting the high number of fans still opposed to his appointment on board early on. Villa enter the campaign having played just 5 pre-season friendlies, the most recent of which saw Charles N’Zogbia make a goalscoring debut in a 1-1 draw away to Europa League finalists Braga. A bright display from the Frenchman was encouraging, along with Jean Makoun’s ability to see a pass before he receives the ball and I am tipping the January signing, and am sure McLeish is hoping in the same vein, to be like a new recruit this time around, with the likes of Stephen Warnock and Ireland also looking to rejuvenate their Villa careers.
In terms of friendly highlights, Barry Bannan has perhaps been the most promising of the younger crop, as Albrighton was the year before him, whilst Shay Given has proven what a coup he could be for the club as well. Darren Bent’s 3 goals indicate that his finishing will be crucial next year, and even though some maintain that he is not involved in the games enough, his prowess in front of goal will undoubtedly be key to a decent finish for McLeish’s debut season at the helm.
So plenty to look forward to, plenty of action to get your teeth in to, and plenty for the new man in charge to prove to the fans as we approach the new campaign. Anyone excited? I know I am!
This season Sky Sports will show 115 live Premier League fixtures with every match available in HD and selected matches in 3D. The confirmed TV listings are till end of November, with a guaranteed 39 live games. All this action over the 5 Sky Sports channels plus Sky Go on your iPad, iPhone or laptop, as well as top TV channels, broadband and calls is now available for under £40 a month.
Captain not so Marvellous: Does Petrov Need Replacing?
The latest instalment of Aston Villa Blog’s partnership with fellow fan site Aston Villa Life has been sent in by editor and guest blogger Matt Turvey and is based around the comments made by Villa icon Dennis Mortimer regarding Stan Petrov, and whether the club should be looking to appoint a new captain ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign.
In the light of Dennis Mortimer’s recent comments regarding Stiliyan Petrov, and Mortimer’s view that Petrov is no longer up to the job of captain, it got me thinking.
You see, when you take a step back from the situation and think “Yes, we do need a new guy for the job”, the solution isn’t as evident as you might hope for.
Maybe it is down to the dearth of leaders in the squad at present. Maybe it is down to the breakdown of the long term plan to cycle players from incoming transfers to outgoing sales. Either way, we seem to have an abundance of overpaid, over rated players sitting on the fringes of the squad and, it would seem, that our “Hollywood or Bust” attempt at getting to fourth fell falt on it’s face.
Anyway, I digress. The problem we are facing in the immediate future is who will be captain of Aston Villa in the coming season. Obviously we have relied on Petrov for the past few seasons, but nobody can say that he is suitable in the role anymore.
It isn’t to do with a sudden drop of form, or a fickle change of attitude to the player, it is down to realistic assessment of fitness. Petrov can’t be expected to play 90 minutes a game nowadays and, ideally, you would like your captain to be on the pitch for most of, it not all of, the games of the season.
So the question begs “If not Petrov, then who?”
Ponder that for a second. Had a mental scan through our current squad? Come up with lots of names? No? Me either.
You see, when you look past the steady if unspectacular “Stan” Petrov, then you realise that there is hardly an abundance of choice out there. Who could be picked after all? Dunne? Collins? Darren Bent?
The aformentioned three are, for the most part, at least professional. However, I’d say that none of the three are actually ideal choices. In fact, I would struggle to even call any of them “good” choices, let alone “ideal”.
So who then? My only thought that springs to mind is that of Shay Given. How one wants to view the fact that our only candidate for the captaincy is a player who was only purchased this close season is up to you. Be objective though and think to yourself who else?
Beyond the Shay Given angle, Villa are limited to the possibility of purchasing a brand new player and letting them assume the role. In my opinion at least, Scott Parker would be an ideal acquisition for this position. However, there are still questions around whether the board wish to spend any further money on transfers or, as may possibly be the case, withhold it to fund the redevelopment of the North Stand.
So the question I leave open to fans is this – who do you think is captain material in the squad and, if you think we are in need of a purchase to provide said person, who would you like to see bought in to assume the position?