12:30 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
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7500 To Holte 10 hours ago
Answers to

Answers to "Is ___ ready for the Premier League?"

Paul Lambert has told us this week that Carlos Sánchez is ready for the Premier League and Jores Okore is not. Let's see what else falls into each category! Paul Lambert has taken to declaring players "ready" or "not ready" for the Premier League this week, and I thought we might take some time to help the gaffer. What follows is a list of people and things and a decision as to whether or not they are ready for the Premier League. I've also taken suggestions from twitter, but feel free to add your own in comments! Jores Okore - Not ready You know, despite the fact that he has been named...
7500 To Holte 12 hours ago

Fantasy update: Diego out, Drogba in

Avoiding injuries is a big part of being successful in fantasy football. Make sure to update your lineup accordingly. Prolific Chelsea striker Diego Costa is set to miss this weekend's match against Manchester United due to a continually nagging hamstring injury. Personally, I had Costa as captain and he has been personally responsible for keeping my team afloat. It's a big problem for José Mourinho, and if you were looking to go to his backup Loïc Rémy, it will be a problem for you as well. The Frenchman is out too after leaving yesterday's Champions League match early on. You could...
7500 To Holte 21 hours ago

Villa are playing a broken formation

4 losses in a row, with no goals scored and 11 goals against. Lambert shows no signs of changing from a 4-3-3 that is currently deeply flawed in both defence and attack. As I have noted in previous columns, for all his reputation as a tactical chameleon, Paul Lambert has set his team up in a remarkably consistent fashion during his time at Villa - a 4-3-3, hoping to exploit the pace of our wide forwards  with the ball and able to switch quickly back to a solid 4-5-1 without it. Unfortunately Villa's recent string of results outlines almost every possible issue with the 4-3-3 when played...
7500 To Holte Oct 21, 2014
Sánchez to finally feature for Villa?

Sánchez to finally feature for Villa?

Paul Lambert claims that Carlos Sánchez is now ready to play in the Premier League. So far, Carlos Sánchez has made just two starts and three substitute appearances. After joining Aston Villa from Elche for £4.7 million, many people (myself included) figured Sánchez would be a regular in Villa's midfield. He has been kept out of the lineup for a couple reasons. First, the form of Ashley Westwood has been great. Additionally, it can take time for players to adjust to the pace of the Premier League. Now, in an interview with the Birmingham Mail, manager Paul Lambert claims the Colombian...
7500 To Holte Oct 20, 2014
One Moment: Winger's performance personifies woeful Villa

One Moment: Winger's performance personifies woeful Villa

Were we expected to win? No, but we were expected to turn up. They all need the hairdryer treatment, but one man needs it more than the rest... I’m going to start by giving credit to Tom Cleverley and Alan Hutton. They gave a decent account of themselves against Everton. If the 9 other players had approached the game with a similar mentality and application, we would have stood a chance. Sadly, the rest of them put in a performance barely worthy of the shirt. Without going into copious amounts of detail in the lack of pressing, defensive cohesion and clueless attacking, there’s little...
7500 To Holte Oct 20, 2014

Lambert says that injury for Villa defender "looks pretty bad"

Paul Lambert has informed us all that Nathan Baker's hamstring injury sustained against Everton "looks pretty bad." Great. Ron Vlaar missed for a bit, Philippe Senderos is currently out, Jores Okore is off in some dark netherworld, and now we can add Nathan Baker to the list of injured Villa defenders. Wheee! Baker, as you may remember, got taken off in the first half this weekend at Everton. It turns out the reason was, well, let me allow Paul Lambert to explain it: "It's his hamstring. It looks pretty bad at the moment. We'll just have to see how it is." Great. Just wonderful. So with...
7500 To Holte Oct 20, 2014
Lambert: Okore isn't ready for Premier League play yet

Lambert: Okore isn't ready for Premier League play yet

Paul Lambert has said that the reason Jores Okore hasn't played yet this season is because the Danish defender isn't ready. That makes no sense whatsoever. I like Paul Lambert quite a bit. I think the contract extension was a smart move. I like the way he handles transfers. And yet, I find a few aspects of his leadership to be infuriating. The first is how he handles substitutions, the second is how he handles injuries. And we've got yet another great example of his totally messing up the latter: Jores Okore. You may remember the Danish defender as the player who came in with plenty of...
7500 To Holte Oct 18, 2014

Aston Villa vs. Everton: Instant recap of tough loss

Aston Villa's trip to play Everton ended in a demoralising 3-0 loss. Coming in, it looked like an opportunity for a road point, but the home side had other ideas. Christian Benteke made his return to the Aston Villa lineup, but unfortunately it came in a loss. Not having Fabian Delph was a big blow for the team going forward, and despite playing some good football at times, they looked lost at others. Everton's breakthrough came in the 19th minute when Phil Jagielka muscled past Aly Cissokho to get on the end of a Leighton Baines cross. Alan Hutton actually came ridiculously close to...
7500 To Holte Oct 18, 2014
Aston Villa vs. Everton CONFIRMED lineups and open thread

Aston Villa vs. Everton CONFIRMED lineups and open thread

Aston Villa travel to Goodison Park today to try and break out of a three-match skid. Here's how Paul Lambert will line up a side missing Fabian Delph. It's a little hard to be quite as optimistic about this match as we were on this week's Holtecast now that we know Aston Villa will be without Fabian Delph. That news also puts a bit of a damper on the coming string of easier matches in the near future, but perhaps that's looking too far forward. Even without Delph, Villa have an excellent chance of getting at least a point from this trip. Roberto Martinez' Everton squad have been letting...
7500 To Holte Oct 18, 2014

Are struggling Everton just what the doctor ordered for Aston Villa?

After a tremendous first season under Roberto Martinez, the Toffees have started things off very much on the wrong foot. Are the Claret and Blue lucky to catch them in a poor run of form, or will an equally staggering Villa help Everton get back on track? In a sense, things are lining up nicely for Aston Villa. Christian Benteke is approaching full fitness and potentially able to crack the starting XI, they've come through an imposing gauntlet of opening fixtures in decent shape, and the Everton side that looked like a legitimate challenger for Champions League football last season have...
7500 To Holte Oct 17, 2014
Villa will likely be without Delph for rest of the year

Villa will likely be without Delph for rest of the year

Fabian Delph requires surgery on the shoulder he injured in a freak training ground accident. That means we probably won't see him playing for Aston Villa for the rest of 2014. Last night we brought you the news that Fabian Delph had injured his shoulder in a freak accident at Bodymoor Heath. The one thing we didn't know, at the time, was how bad the injury was. Turns out: it's pretty bad. The Telegraph is reporting that Delph will need surgery on his shoulder and will be out for at least two months. By the time he gets back to match fitness, that probably means that he won't be back in...
7500 To Holte Oct 17, 2014

Aston Villa, Everton and a memorable FA Cup Final

A look back at the 1897 FA Cup Final. Tomorrow, Aston Villa will travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton. The two teams have played some memorable matches in past few years. Most notably was Villa's 3-2 win away in December 2008. However, the was another big 3-2 win Villa once had over Everton. In this edition of Holte History, we'll take a look at the 1897 FA Cup Final. Heading in to April 10, 1897, Aston Villa found themselves top of the English First Division by seven points with three games remaining. On that same day, they traveled down to London to take on Everton in the FA Cup...
7500 To Holte Oct 16, 2014
Villa midfield rocked by freak injury

Villa midfield rocked by freak injury

Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph looks set to miss at least a few weeks following a freak shoulder injury in training. A few times over the course of the summer, writers on this site wrote some variation of "if this club can stay healthy, they actually look pretty good." Unfortunately, every if/then statement is predicated on the successful completion of the "if" portion of things, and it seems as if Aston Villa are determined to not be healthy. Fabian Delph injured his shoulder in a freak training accident that occurred after he had returned from international duty with England. Here's...
7500 To Holte Oct 16, 2014
Villa willing to send skipper to Manchester United in January

Villa willing to send skipper to Manchester United in January

According to a report from ESPN, Aston Villa have informed Manchester United that they will sell Ron Vlaar if their asking price is met. ESPN have dropped a bit of a bomb on us with a report that Aston Villa are officially willing to sell Ron Vlaar to Manchester United in January. We've heard the rumours that Vlaar could be linking up with his former Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal for some time, but this is the closest we've come to confirmation that a deal is in the works. Apparently Villa have expressed that they are willing to let Vlaar go if United will pony up £12 million for...
7500 To Holte Oct 16, 2014
Three Lions: Delph, Westwood and Cleverly?

Three Lions: Delph, Westwood and Cleverly?

Paul Lambert backs the Villa triple threat for England. As reported by The Daily Star, Ashley Westwood has backed himself, Fabian Delph and Tom Cleverley to bolster England's midfield. After Delph's debut, there is no reason why Westwood can't follow, considering he has been a real quiet success at Villa. Tom Cleverley has fluttered around the national team in the past and will certainly hope to add to his 13 caps. Westwood highlighted the trio's chemistry as a major positive going forward: 'The three of us have a real good understanding, we get on well and of course that helps' - Ashley...
7500 To Holte Oct 16, 2014

Podcast: Grealish's new contract, Everton preview, and more

Another week, another Holtecast. Jack and Robert are here to talk about the new contract for Jack Grealish, the new offer for Fabian Delph, and the new chance at getting some points at Everton after a three-match losing streak. Jack and Robert are back and so, too, are Aston Villa. After an international break that saw plenty of players out on duty (and one injured) the club are ready to take on Everton at Goodison Park this weekend.And after three straight goalless losses, it sure would be nice to see Villa get SOMETHING from this matchup. The good news, of course, is that Christian...
7500 To Holte Oct 16, 2014
Throw possession out the window against Everton

Throw possession out the window against Everton

Aston Villa may not need to keep a ton of the ball against Everton this Saturday. Find out why below. Everton had more than 75 percent of the ball against Crystal Palace, yet they lost 3-2. Paul Lambert's Aston Villa may be able to take a page out of the Londoners' books and take at least a point against the Toffees this Saturday at Goodison Park. While Everton are a side that will finish around the middle of the top this season, they haven't hit top form yet. They also have injuries and inconsistency throughout the team, but notably at the back. In addition to star midfielder Ross...
7500 To Holte Oct 16, 2014

Stiliyan Petrov: Sunday League Superstar!

Swapping the Holte End for Amatuer Football, Petrov finds the joy of the game. Now we've got a bit more of a look into what the old captain is thinking about his new digs! There's no question that one of the most traumatic moments in recent Villa history was when club captain Stiliyan Petrov, had his career and potentially his life cut short when he was diagnosed with Leukaemia towards the end of the 2012 Premier League season. Thankfully, the Celtic and Villa icon is recovering and ends his treatment soon, although this hasn't stopped the Bulgarian from getting back into the game as shown...
7500 To Holte Oct 16, 2014

Behind The Beard: Roy Keane at the BBC

Roy Keane sits down with the BBC and discusses Fergie, Football and Life, Even though they lost their last game, there seems to be no doubt that Aston Villa are undergoing some sort of resurgence. We have undoubtedly fought tooth and nail for results and have come away with points that we wouldn't have earned last year, or the year before. Things are looking up in Birmingham. Now, I'm sure you're all aware there's not a slew of news coming out of an international break. Yes, Delph played well. Yes, we are preparing for the next match. No, they haven't signed a contract yet. The usual stuff...
7500 To Holte Oct 15, 2014

Striving for a level playing field in world football

In light of a lot of the problems surrounding the Women's World Cup, it's time that we start re-examining how we treat women's football. Let's try to level the playing field. Note: I've had the pleasure of using this spot to write about whatever I want for the past few weeks. The fact that we've got such an open-minded audience who are willing to read about pretty much anything Villa-related is one of the real perks of writing here. But there isn't much going on in the world of the claret and blue right now, and if you'll indulge me, I'd like to delve into an issue that strays a bit afield...