Date: 21st March 2008 at 5:13pm
Written by:
Sunderland Black Cats
AVFC Claret & Blues

Villa Park

03/21/08 3pm

In honor of our new found American supporter friends following the purchase of Aston Villa, sorry, AVFC, this week’s preview comes to you in a tongue-in-cheek Americanized stylation!

It’s the match preview for the AVFC Claret & Blues matching up against the Sunderland Black Cats at Villa Park, to you, lost in translation, from The Vital Villa Soccer Site.

Vital Quotes:

The Claret & Blues head coach Martin O’Neill has been talking of his confidence that his roster will not fade away as the team plays out the latter stages of this EPL season.

With AVFC currently sitting outside the Inter-European playoff zones; injuries, fatigue and penalty suspensions may all play a part in game results, however Coach O’Neill doesn’t see it that way:

“I don’t see any fatigue and I don’t see any reason for it. If we were involved in European competition or the latter stages of the FA Cup or Carling Cup, then you’d start counting up the number of games you play.”

The thought of scratching players ahead of games for a rest period has not entered the mind of the coach and he believes that the players will carry on now until the summer break:

“But if I said to Gareth Barry ‘I’m going to rest you for a week’ I don’t think there would be a more disappointed man in the whole of Birmingham.

“These players are capable of going on. If this time next year we were lucky enough to be competing in European football, then there may be a reason for resting someone in a particular week because it will have an affect.’

“Neither Nigel Reo-Coker or Ashley Young got a proper rest last summer because of their involvement in the Under-21 Championships but you couldn’t say Ashley’s form has disintegrated because of it.”

Turning his attention to the Black Kats, O’Neill believes that the score in the W column for AVFC will mean as much to him, as it would for opposite number Roy Keane.

Sunderland sit just above the relegation positions in the EPL, knowing that they need to chalk up more 3 pointers if they are to survive in the major leagues. AVFC are chasing those Inter-Europe playoffs, a reward that could be considered just as rewarding for each player and every fan:

“They are fighting for their lives and to be perfectly honest, we should be fighting for our lives. We want to progress, we want to put the club back on the European map if it’s at all possible.”

“There’s a certain number of points you think might be enough. For instance last season I think Bolton Wanderers reached Europe in seventh place with 56 points.”


From the opposite bench, Sunderland Black Cats boss Roy Keane wants to ensure that his side will, at some point, win on the road this season.

Sunderland travel to Middle England on Saturday for a pre-Easter game that could see the Black Cats slink off with the W to allow their fans the trek home with a smile on each of their faces:

Keane had a chat with the official Sunderland website:

“’We keep talking about getting this first away win, but it will come, I’m sure of that.

‘We did well against Chelsea last week and we know we have to back up that performance with another one this weekend. We can’t be up and down all the time.”

Looking towards Middle England and the Claret & Blues, winless in their last three matches, Keano is wary of the threat poised by Martin O’Neills young, energized team:

“I’m sure they will be looking to bounce back after the Portsmouth defeat”

“I suppose one defeat is a blip for them, that’s the sign of a good team.”

Sunderland Black Cats Team News:

The Black Cats are without Dickson Etuhu, the giant mid-centre man still on the injured reserve list with a busted knee.

Anthony Stokes may be taken off injured reserve as he recovers from illness. Exciting players Daryl Murphy, Kieran Richardson and Michael Chopra may earn a call-up to the majors having been scratched for the defeat at the hands of CSKA Chelsea.

Player to watch: Kieran Richardson

Ex-Manchester wide player Richardson has an amazing combination of pace, power and most importantly poise. Tricky on the ball Richardson likes to get into the wide zones, looking for that ever important cross pass to the middle of the penalization zone for the front players to feed from.

Villa’s wide D-Men will have their work cut out for them.

AVFC Claret & Blues Team News:

AVFC are without Olof Mellberg who was given a game misconduct for two yellow minors in the Claret & Blues’ 2-0 defeat at the hands of FC Pompey. Midfielder Craig Gardner will be asked to play once more out of the comfort zone in the right D position.

Late Breaking Goaltender Injury News: Goaltender Scott Carson may be placed on injury reserve as the Teflon-coated-‘keeper’ has a boo boo on his knee.

Player to watch: Scott Carson or Stuart Taylor

Goaltender Carson gets the ‘one to watch’ sponsored by Vital Villa for the second tie in a row. Carson had a day to forget against Pompey and was caught out of his usual position, hovering around his 6-yard zone too scared to come out for anything, on two separate occasions allowing the dual goals from Jermain Defoe’s lob-shot and the own-goal from Nigel Reo-Coker.

Carson needs to get his GAA stats down from their current level or it should time to pull him, giving backup goalie Stuart Taylor the starting role.

Late Breaking Goaltender One To Watch: With news of Frank Carson’s injury, Stuart Taylor is said to be on 24/7 standby should England’s #3 not recover in time for Saturday’s match day match up. Mrs Taylor is set to be disappointed tonight as her other half will undoubtedly sleep in his GK kit ready for that call to come.

Match Facts & Stats

It’s music time sports fans! We look deep into the history of our opposition towns’ musical past to find a true Mack-em tune, Eastside!

  • Well, that was certainly different!

  • AVFC front forward Gabriel Agbonlahor is on a pointless streak as he has failed to register a goal since the road trip to Wigan last December.

  • The Claret & Blues have converted more goals using the head-shot than any other club in the EPL.

  • 31 of the 52 goals scored this season have come from one of the following: Corner-Kick-In’s, Outside-18-Penalty Strikes, Inside 18 Punishment Shot.

  • Only Blue & White Rovers Blackburn have used fewer of their roster this season than AVFC.

  • In the United Kingdom, people call soccer football and football American football, crazy!

  • Martin’s Merry Men are very good at coming from behind…to win matches having recovered 17 points from a zero-point position.

  • Meanwhile the Sunderland Black Cats, as mentioned are looking for their first win on the road!

  • The Cats have failed to score a single goal in any of the last 375 permitted minutes of soccer play.
  • Ref Watch:

    The referee for the matchup will be Mr Howard Webb who hails from the State of Yorkshire.

    This season Mr Webb has dished out a whopping 107 minor cautions but just 2 game misconduct cards in his 33 games!

    Match Prediction:

    AVFC Claret & Blues to win this by the single score, 1 to nothing with D-Man Laursen the man that can.

    Next Fixtures:

    Following Sunderland Black Cats, the Claret & Blues go on a road trip to face the mighty Champions Manchester on 03/29/08.

    Thanks for reading the preview Sports Fans!


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