Hello, is it me you`re looking for? The immortal words once warbled by one Lionel Ritche, and me many a time in a Coventry nightclub.
The inspiration for this preview title came from the conversation I had with cat-faced-popstar Sophie Ellis Bextor when I came across her at the fresh fish counter in the Nantwich branch of Morrisons. She`s always trying to plug her old music!
Still, things have worked out for the better and, for the first time since le Boss took over, I have returned to write a pre-match preview. Just as well perhaps considering that my lack of preview writing exploits appears to have coincided with a run of poor results that suggest our defensive capabilities are right up there with the Magniot Line – I`m looking at you Stephen!
A confused Gerard Houllier had his pre-match routine for his Premier League match against
Aston Villa Liverpool, much scrutinised for his love of all things red. Now is his chance to realise he prefers a good claret, a good blue, and a good thumping of our even poorer local neighbours than our poor neighbours that knocked us out of the Carling Cup!
If not, well **** it, it`s nearly Christmas!
Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier has apologised for his actions at Anfield as Villa succumbed to a rather simple spanking at the hands of his old club. Mr H had become a little too appreciative of his former employers, pre-heart troubles!
A statement released suggested to the masses of angry key-board warriors that he was unrepentant for his behaviour on Monday night, however his pre-match press conference suggested he was somewhat more willing to admit error! Le boss said:
“If the fans think was to hurt them, then I am sorry because this was not the case. It was just done in a humorous way and I am hurting as much they are. I was probably more hurt because it was Liverpool.
“If it adds to the fans’ dissatisfaction, they have to know this was not the case at all (to upset them). This was done in a sort of a humorous way.
“‘I am sorry. That’s it. That’s enough.”
Interestingly, that really wasn`t it or enough! He went on to mention that moment where the Sky Sports cameras picked up on him touching the famous “This Is The Giro Queue” Anfield sign. It was at a home match that Houllier fell ill, something he went on to explain:
“There was also a story that I touched the tunnel. I’ve done it for six years because that is under the tunnel where I was sick and it meant something.”
A fair point Gerard, but you could have perhaps done with saying that first time around!
Speaking about slightly more positive things, the manager is looking to put things right and fully expects things to be sorted out:
“I think the training this week was more competitive and more aggressive which is exactly what we need and the players are aware we are on an edge at the moment.”
Speaking on the supporters, he continued:
“I trust them to support us but they have to trust me to get things right.
“I want the fans to support the team. They were fantastic against Man Utd and even against Arsenal when we were 2-0 down.
“The fans helped the players get back into the game and gave them confidence. The fans are very important. They are the roots of the club. They have to support the team.”
So there you have it Villa Park faithful, where are you? WHERE ARE YOU? LET`S BE-HAVING YOU!!!
On the flip flop side of things, constantly smiley Roberto Di Matteo believes his West Brom side have nothing to fear as they go into the Birmingham derby as potential favourites given the respective forms of the two clubs, with the Baggies flying high at the moment, sitting 9th in what is still a rather complex Premier league season to understand!
Mr Mat said:
“We`re trying to break a few records and boundaries but we know it will be a difficult game because they will have some of their injured players back and some big players as well,. They are playing at home so we are in for a difficult game but let`s go and enjoy it.
“We are in a good moment, we are full of confidence and we`ve got nothing to lose.”
Meanwhile, talented midfielder Chris Brunt commented in such a way that you think he`s less Brunt and more of a, never mind.
The Ulsterman believes that WBA owe Villa one after the narrow 2-1 victory for the good guys two seasons ago, when former Baggie Curtis Davies and now special agent Scott Carson combined to overcome a spirited West Brom side. Mr Brunt spoke to the official WBA website:
“A lot of people will probably say it’s a good time to play Villa but in a local derby you never know. The first time we played Villa two years ago we had had a couple of decent results and Villa beat us at The Hawthorns. Then going into the game at Villa Park we were on a pretty bad run.
“It’s nice to be going into this game with confidence and we are confident we can win the game. But this is a local derby and you can’t take anything for granted.”
“You have to block everything out from the two sets of fans and just play your own game – and we have done that so far this season.”
“Hopefully it will hold us in good stead.”
Oh no it won`t we`ve got your cards well and truly marked!
The Good Guys Team News:
Oh goodness, this is getting more and more complex. If I can fathom this right, the seasons saviour Emile Heskey and little Bazza Bannan are going to be fit. Carlos Cuellar is fit again and may well either swap in for the injured Luke Young, or the p****d up Jimmy Collins
Gabby Agbonlahor has a chest infection, Ashley Young is back, Ciaran Clark is suspended, Osbourne is rubbish and Moustapha Salifou is settling into his new role well breaking up the half-time pie rush.
Player to watch: Dunneymonster
Oh Richard, who art an Irishman, awful be thy game, must do better!
WBA Team News:
Wet Bomb should be without motor-mouth Chris Brunt and more importantly, top scorer Peter Odemwingie, who has shocked everyone by being such a random signing, it`s a world wonder he`s turned out to be any good.
Player to watch: Special Agent Carson
Come on Scotty, you`ve done it before so lets do it again, lord God McGrath knows we need a goal!
Match Facts & Stats
Given our current run it is clear we need music with passion, with pride, the kind of music that makes the hairs stand on end, with fight and energy to really fire up the Villa faithful, so here it is:
Folks you should be aware that following the game you may wish to stay indoors in order to watch the X-Factor final. Where those not talented enough to make it by themselves are going to con you into both paying out money to ITV for no reason, and for wasiting countless man (well woman) hours in office tittle-tattle on Monday.
As an alternative, you can of course poke your eyes out with a spoon, one would suggest the level of enjoyment will be roughly the same.
I have Saturday off due to no hockey because of weather. Wicked cool!
Did you know that Rick Astley was born in Newton-le-Willows? The very same town that George Formby made his debut in! I also went to a pub there once.
Risk AStley also has nothing to do with West Brom. So here comes a WBA fact.
Did you know the gap between Scott Carson`s legs is bigger than that between his two front teeth?
The ref for this game, and as per usual it never matters they are oft as bad as each other is one Mark Halsey. I had to Google Image search Mr Halsey as I couldn`t remember who he was. He looks nice enough.
Lawro has said 1-1 for this, but to be honest he`s said 1-1 for almost every single game. If he sat on a fence anymore you`d perhaps call him a, erm, big fence-sitting nancy.
17-3 to the good guys!
Doesn`t get any easier for Villa. Tricky-ish away game at the JJB Stadium, followed by a Boxing Day treat against Harry Redknapp`s Spurs.
Thanks for reading folks, a toughy as I try to get going again but I hope you will enjoy!