Aston Villa vs Chelsea preview
Posted by disappointmentzone on 30 September 2006
Six matches into the season and there Villa sits in the upper half of the EPL standings, trailing Everton for the fifth spot only by goal differential. While many soccer fans might be surprised by this fact, there is one man willing to say that it’s absolutely insane to think Villa can keep up this pace: Villa’s manager, Martin O’Neill. This is the equivalent of the Browns winning the first three games of the season and then having Romeo Crennel say the team has no chance of making the playoffs. Say what you will about O’Neill, but at least he’s honest. The world would probably be a better place if more coaches/managers were as blunt as O’Neill. At least there would be better headlines. In the meantime, Villa looks to keep defying its coach this weekend against Chelsea, the team sitting atop the EPL and possibly all of European soccer. As always, Soccer Spot is here with a preview of Cleveland’s most successful football team. His words follow.
Against Levski Sofia on Wednesday, Mourinho, Chelsea’s manager, opted for a 4-4-2, but that hardly held its shape in midfield, with Mikel running willy-nilly behind Sheva trying to figure out where he should be going. Expect a more typical lineup such as the one against Fulham last Saturday:
Petr Cech, Ashley Cole, Terry, Carvalho, Ferreira, Essien, Lampard, Makelele, Drogba, Robben, Shevchenko
The truly observant of you will notice that Terry is in this lineup in place of Geremi. Kudos if you did notice it. That Terry is back is probably the biggest reason that Aston Villa are going to have serious problems finding the back of the net. This lineup I envision as a 4-1-2-2-1 (damn that’s complicated), massing in the middle of the park and letting Ferreira and Cole bomb down the sides. Boulharouz could step into the middle if he’s back from his eye-thingy which would mean Ferreira would take a seat and only Cole would saunter forward.
Aston Villa’s main chance to win this me is to attack the defense while Cole is forward. That means counter attacking and doing so in numbers. That, to me, means sticking to the same starting eleven as last week:
Sorensen, Barry, Hughes, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Davis, McCann, Petrov, Agbonlahor, Angel, Moore
I wouldn’t suggest putting in Baros because he hasn’t been playing with this squad throughout their season; they’ve been having a solid run (3 wins and 3 draws so far) and that’s not bad at all. With Chelsea currently on 4 wins in a row, there’s not much hope, but certainly putting out an attacking lineup will increase your chances of at least potentially winning the game. But I’m an attacking football kind of guy so a forward-minded 4-3-2-1 is the way to go against Chelsea.
Prediction: 2-0 Chelsea.
Despite what I just said, Chelsea is the better team. But I am definitely rooting for Villa to come away with a draw here. A victory would be rapturous. [In case you’re keeping track, Randy Lerner has now bought enough of Villa to require a compulsory sell by the rest of the shareholders. That makes him sole owner. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but how can a
Clevelander be wrong?]