4:20 AM EDT, Wed October 01, 2014
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7500 To Holte 2 hours ago

Tactical depth – do Villa have it?

Paul Lambert had a reputation at Norwich as a tactical chameleon - so why haven't we seen that side of him at Aston Villa? Time to take a look at what options he has for this season. I spent last week's column describing how Villa's tactical approach has arguably been the same for almost a decade now - counter-attacks at speed with the ever-present Gabriel Abgonlahor at the spearhead. This has arguably been a model with diminishing returns since our three successive 6th place finishes under Martin O'Neill and I think very few Villa fans wouldn't welcome a change. Paul Lambert acquired a...
7500 To Holte 12 hours ago

A list of players, including Vlaar, who could help Manchester United

Manchester United fans are convinced that Ron Vlaar would help their team a lot. He probably would, but they still don't have him. Apparently some Manchester United fans are blogging about the fact that Ron Vlaar would be a perfect fit for their club. How do I know this? Well, because I saw this headline on NewsNow: And you know what? They're probably right! Ron Vlaar could certainly help a struggling, mid-table Manchester United side. But so could plenty of other players. Let's investigate, shall we? Players who could help Manchester United Ron Vlaar Cristiano Ronaldo Zlatan...
7500 To Holte Sep 30, 2014
Time to buy Benteke

Time to buy Benteke

Christian Benteke is back. Put him into your Fantasy Premier League team. Yesterday, Christian Benteke played and scored a goal for the Aston Villa U21 team. Of course that doesn't mean that he is back in top goalscoring form, but at least the striker is getting closer to match fitness. Without the prolific Belgian, Villa have struggled to find the back of the net so far this season. If you are like me, your fantasy team may be struggling to score as well. Benteke has been one of the best strikers in fantasy football when he is healthy. At his current price of £7.9, he won't get any...
7500 To Holte Sep 29, 2014

Boor-inho: Chelsea manager deservedly snubbed by Lambert

Jose Mourinho decided he didn't need to see the end of Chelsea beating Aston Villa 3-0, and Paul Lambert and Roy Keane were less than pleased. When I try to convince people to give football a try, one of my selling points is that, barring a format with extra time, you know you'll be done with a match in just a shade under two hours. That's a reasonable time to expect any adult to pay attention to something. Unfortunately, Jose Mourinho is more like a child than an adult, because he couldn't stand the thought of seeing out the last few seconds of Chelsea beating Aston Villa this weekend....
7500 To Holte Sep 29, 2014
Okore, Cole, and Benteke all feature in Villa U21 match

Okore, Cole, and Benteke all feature in Villa U21 match

Aston Villa put out a lethal side in their U21 match against Bolton today, one that featured Joe Cole, Jores Okore, and Christian Benteke. First off, let's just start with a senior-level teamsheet: Here is the teamsheet for today's match. #BWFC pic.twitter.com/ALHojUzzGD — Bolton Wanderers FC (@OfficialBWFC) September 29, 2014 Wait, what's that? It's a U21 match? Oh, poor poor Bolton. Jores Okore, Joe Cole, AND Christian Benteke? All back from injuries and trying to get ready to be senior starters? And what's more, all three players contributed a lot. We had Benteke opening up...
7500 To Holte Sep 28, 2014
Lerner may be willing to slash price for quick Villa sale

Lerner may be willing to slash price for quick Villa sale

Randy Lerner is reportedly willing to sell Aston Villa for as little as £100 million. When Randy Lerner first put Aston Villa up for sale earlier this year, we heard that his asking price was somewhere in the £200 million range. Given that he had bought the club for £62.7 million and has since pumped well over £200 million into the club since then, it was a bit of a loss but it also seemed to be a fair price. Now, months later, with no buyer in place, reports are saying that Lerner may be willing to part with Aston Villa for as little as £100 million. That's apparently the low end of...
7500 To Holte Sep 27, 2014

Chelsea are good at football, beat Aston Villa 3-0

Villa were hit early — in the seventh minute — and twice in the second half to drop a 3-0 decision to the league leaders, who got goals from Oscar, Diego Costa, and Willian. It was always going to be tough for Aston Villa to get anything out of a trip to Stamford Bridge. And despite a performance that can quite frankly be described as "not that bad, really," Villa still got beat 3-0 for the second successive weekend. It was Chelsea on the front foot early on and the hosts took the lead just inside of seven minutes. The hosts released Willian on a through ball who put a shot on target...
7500 To Holte Sep 27, 2014

Instant reaction to Villa's predictable loss to Chelsea

Aston Villa lost 3-0 to Chelsea today, and if you're surprised you shouldn't be. At Stoke City, home to Newcastle and Hull, at Liverpool, home to Arsenal, and at Chelsea. Before the season, that stretch looked as if it might be good for five or maybe six points. Aston Villa have ten from that run and are guaranteed to end week six in the top half of the table. Keep that in mind as you contemplate the 3-0 loss that the claret and blues just suffered at the hands of Chelsea. The first goal was the result of some bad defending, but aside from that, Villa played Chelsea very evenly in the...
7500 To Holte Sep 27, 2014
Chelsea v. Aston Villa: CONFIRMED lineups and open thread

Chelsea v. Aston Villa: CONFIRMED lineups and open thread

We've got the confirmed lineups as Aston Villa are ready to take on Chelsea in a match between two of the Premier League's top three clubs. Interesting fact: if Aston Villa can beat Chelsea by five goals, the former will be in first place in the Premier League. So here's hoping for an absolute drubbing of the Blues. But in reality, we all come into this match knowing that Chelsea are the heavy favorites. There's a very good chance that we're going to see Villa play the "no, you keep the ball, we'll just be packed back here" style that we saw against Liverpool. And in fact, the lineup...
7500 To Holte Sep 27, 2014

Aston Villa look to renew flickering hope against Chelsea

Aston Villa suffered their first loss of the season a week ago, but extenuating circumstances made it easier to ignore than it likely should have been. Will reality finally rear its ugly head at Stamford Bridge, or are we going to have to admit that something special may be brewing? There are many reasons to believe that Aston Villa's lopsided defeat at the hands of Arsenal last weekend may not have been the most predictive outcome. By all accounts, the bug that was going around Bodymoor Heath last week was pretty nasty and quite virulent, taking its toll on at least half of Villa's squad...
7500 To Holte Sep 26, 2014

Aston Villa and the record setting season

Goals! Goals! Goals! Aston Villa have gotten off to about as good of a start as any of us could've asked for. Except for maybe in the attacking department. While like many of you, I would not trade in the 10 points that Villa have. But the dream for many, including me, is a free-flowing attacking Villa team that scores a ton of goals while still winning. And in the 1930-1931 season, that's exactly what Aston Villa were. In the previous season, Aston Villa were a fairly prolific, goal-scoring team. In 1929-30, Villa scored 92 goals in 42 games. They were spearheaded by Tom "Pongo" Warning,...
7500 To Holte Sep 26, 2014
Can Villa park the bus against Chelsea?

Can Villa park the bus against Chelsea?

Last April, Aston Villa turned the tables on José Mourinho by parking the bus to a 1-0 win. Can they do it again? Fabian Delph's stunning backheel effort that went across the face goal and beat Petr Cech to the far post was a very memorable moment last season for both Aston Villa and Chelsea. It was a crucial game for both teams, a key three points that went a long way towards helping Villa survive, and three points Chelsea could have used as they fell just short of the title. Similar to all matches Villa played against the top teams, they sat back and waited for opportunities on the...
7500 To Holte Sep 25, 2014

Preview: Can shorthanded Villa stop Chelsea's attack?

In lieu of a podcast this week, we've got a quick video preview of Saturday's Aston Villa match against Chelsea.
7500 To Holte Sep 25, 2014
Helenius interview casts light on football's depression problem

Helenius interview casts light on football's depression problem

An interview in which Nicklas Helenius discussed his depression while at Aston Villa is yet another piece of evidence in showing football's dark side. In his time at Aston Villa, Nicklas Helenius battled severe depression that left him with, among other things, suicidal thoughts. Reading the interview he gave to Danish TV3 today was heartbreaking, but it was hardly shocking. Depression is a significant problem in football, and it's one that is receiving far too little attention. Every single week players are pushed to their physical extremes and are asked to perform under incredible (in...
7500 To Holte Sep 25, 2014

Depression and Death - Nicklas Helenius at Villa

Nicklas Helenius on the personal demons he encountered in Birmingham. For many people, the world is a rainbow spectrum. Our lives are filled with oranges, purples, clarets and blues, but for many others, the world is coloured in a shade of grey. On-loan Villa forward, Nicklas Helenius is one of the latter. In a 'tell-all interview' with Danish site tv3Sport, Nicklas speaks about the troubles that a young man like himself, faced alone in a strange new world. It's not a strange occurrence for a bright, young and foreign talent to 'fail' in the English Premier League - it's actually quite...
7500 To Holte Sep 25, 2014

With Chelsea's Costa looming, Vlaar looks to be a doubt

Apparently Ron Vlaar is facing another late fitness test for Aston Villa's match against Chelsea this weekend. Aston Villa have given us a bit of bad news ahead of this weekend's clash with Chelsea: Paul Lambert says @RonVlaar4 "really struggling" for the @ChelseaFC game. #AVFC pic.twitter.com/GEPDLfAGue — Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) September 25, 2014 That's certainly not what we wanted to hear when Villa are about to face off against the rampaging Diego Costa. You know, the man who scored 36 goals for Atletico Madrid last year. Perhaps you may know him better as the player who...
7500 To Holte Sep 24, 2014
Vlaar ready to stay despite Arsenal, Manchester United interest

Vlaar ready to stay despite Arsenal, Manchester United interest

Ron Vlaar has told Aston Villa that he's ready to open contract negotiations despite new reports that Arsenal and Manchester United are looking to sign the defender. Yesterday we heard the news that Arsenal and Manchester United still hadn't gotten wind of the transfer window closing. They were apparently interested in bringing Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar in to cover for some problems they're having right now. The news is either three weeks too late or many more weeks too early. Well, Vlaar is apparently as eager to see the rumours around him disappear as are we. James Nursey is...
7500 To Holte Sep 24, 2014

O'Neill's legacy - Villa and the counter-attack

Aston Villa have been playing on the counter for almost a decade - have we got it right yet? A look at how Aston Villa's impressive early start measures up statistically. Football can sometimes feel like an endless rerun  - "the football will go on for ever" as a wise man once said. It's a feeling which might be particularly acute among Villa fans. Without a true tilt at the top four since 2008/09, only occasional wrenching fights with relegation have enlivened the past few years. But Villa's malaise goes even further. We have arguably been playing the same style of football for roughly 8...
7500 To Holte Sep 23, 2014
Villa in Four Numbers: Villa actually lost for once

Villa in Four Numbers: Villa actually lost for once

Villa lost 3-0 to Arsenal at the weekend but our weekly look into the numbers game shows that things aren't looking all that bad yet at B6. Welcome back to another edition of Villa in Four Numbers! Paul Lambert's team actually lost. Oh no! The humanity! Here are four numbers that should help tell a story... maybe. 3 Aston Villa's position in the table. It's simple, sure, but for me it's still the most important thing here. Villa have 10 points already on the board when most of us weren't sure they'd manage 10 in the first 10 games considering the run of fixtures. And while there's still a...
7500 To Holte Sep 23, 2014
Get excited! Ron Vlaar rumours already popping up again

Get excited! Ron Vlaar rumours already popping up again

Apparently Manchester United and Arsenal both want Ron Vlaar. Hooray. Well, it's been three weeks since we've heard this rumour so it seems like it's time to bring it back. Manchester United and Arsenal are apparently interested in bringing in Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar. Sigh. Let's go over the details that we all know again. Manchester United saw Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic leave this summer and only got one centre back in return. They've had their injury concerns in the defense, too, with a few people picking up minor injuries. Plus, Vlaar played (very successfully) for...