Aston Villa: still undefeated
Posted by disappointmentzone on 23 October 2006
While the Browns can’t manage to win, Cleveland’s other football team, Aston Villa, can’t lose. Soccer Spot once again comes through with all your Aston Villa needs. First, a recap of this past weekend’s match. Second, a preview of this week’s Carling Cup game. His words follow.
For the 6th time in 9 games, Aston Villa a solitary point. It’s the 3rd straight 1-1 result for the Lions, who have somehow managed the same result against current EPL leaders Chelsea as they have against mid-table sides Fulham and Tottenham.
This does, however, mean that Aston Villa remain the only unbeaten side in the EPL, a fact that you can’t help be proud of. They’re currently in 6th place, and only Reading and Arsenal have realistic chances of overtaking Villa this weekend (technically a 6-0 win for Blackburn over 3rd-place Bolton would put the Rovers above Villa, but somehow I just don’t see that happening). Astute readers will note that Reading and Arsenal play each other, so only one of those teams will be able to overtake Villa. (A tie would put Arsenal in 6th and drop Villa to 7th on goal differential and a victory for either team would leapfrog them above Villa — Arsenal would leap to 4th with a win)
The game, according to manager Martin O’Neill was a terrible showing for the home side, a fact that can be attested to via their shots to shots on goal numbers: 3(1). That smacks of the US national team’s run in Germany, but furthermore, if you’re going to control the ball for more than half of the game, getting more than 3 shots off is extremely important for winning.
Gareth Barry took the penalty that in the end earned them a point (45th minute equalizer by Moritz Volz), which is strange, since Juan Pablo Angel usually takes the spot kicks. Apparently the players weren’t into JP missing so many of them, though: “O’Neill admitted he was surprised Barry took the penalty after Juan Pablo Angel had told his manager he was prepared to continue spot-kick duties despite missing five of his last six, including against Spurs.” Five of his last six? That’s absurd and Barry should have stepped up before that, I think. It could have earned them a few extra points (namely 2 against Tottenham).
Next week’s game: at Liverpool. Aston Villa will need to be on top of their game to come away with points at Anfield, but a draw there would be solid. Villa simply needs to start getting points at home.
Carling Cup Preview: Aston Villa – Leicester
Leicester City sits 14th in the Championship standings with 17 points from 13 games. Shouldn’t be too hard to knock them off, but you can never count them out, as is the case in ever Carling Cup match. They’re entering the Tuesday’s matchup on a 7 game unbeaten run, so like Aston Villa, they’re clawing their way through matches and earning a few points here and there. To be exact, in their last seven games they’ve got 3 wins and 4 ties. Their last game was a tie this past weekend against last year’s Premiership relegation squad Crystal Palace, so you know they’re game against top flight opponents. Leicester itself was last in the Premiership only 3 years ago during the 2003/04 season, but they were promptly kicked back down to the Championship.
Leicester seems like a quality squad, having only lost once to anyone outside of the current top 5 of the Championship (last placed Hull 0-1 at home), so overlooking this match would be a disaster for Villa. Still, we’re talking about a Championship team without any real stars which Villa should be able to overpower if they set their mind to it.
Game time: Tuesday 2:45pm EST
[You have to install some programs that I believe are mostly in Chinese, but there are English language streams — mostly I use it to watch games on the weekend and Champions League matches that don’t appear on ESPN 2; the feeds are okay, only occassionally choppy or fuzzy and if you prefer French, Spanish, or Chinese, those are options too. Think I found one in Russian once as well…]