When King Kev returned to Newcastle United, both the media and the “Toon Army” went crazy over the possibilities of the glory days of free flowing, attacking and most importantly, winning football returning to St.James Park.
Oh how wrong they were, Kevin Keegan is yet to taste victory in his second stint at the club and has seen his side score just one goal. Michael Owen, recently dropped from the England starting line-up for the first time since time began, possibly for being crap, scored in Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with the mighty force that is still an Alves-less Middlesbrough.
Villa meanwhile return home after a trip to London that ended in disaster. Fulham scored all three goals as the Villans fell to a 2-1 defeat, Jimmy Bullard giving Fabio Capello something to think about: “Why didn’t he stop that, it was right at him.”
Yes, I’m finally back with yet another Vital Villa Preview!
Starting with the Aston Villa camp, manager Martin O’Neill has given his views on the crazy notion of potentially playing Bolton in Beijing, as the Premier League look to play an extra fixture overseas.
Speaking to avfc.co.uk O’Neill definitely didn’t sit on the fence by saying: ‘It’s a surprising and innovative idea. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops and the reaction to it.’
Meanwhile the boss was also talking of the day Newcastle scuppered our plans of signing one James Milner. Milner was all set for a move to Villa Park when Freddie Sheppard recalled the player back to St.James’ despite the England Under-21 midfielder pleading with him to allow the move to go through:
‘We were very disappointed to miss out on him on transfer deadline day in August 2006,’ said O’Neill. ‘When I came to Villa I watched a lot of DVDs from the previous season when he was on loan. I thought he did exceptionally well when he was here and he was on our doorstep ready to sign.
‘It would have been great but Freddy Shepherd called him back again. He’s gone on to prove his worth for Newcastle.’
Former Aston Villa striker Stan “the man” Collywobbles believes that Newcastle should be fearful of another young, English wide man in the form of Ashley Young. Young was sorely missed as an outlet against Fulham, a game that saw the ineffective Stiliyan Petrov on the right wing, with Shaun Maloney coming in, out of position in place of suspended starlet:
‘Ashley came from Watford and eyebrows were raised at the fee. But Martin has taken Ashley and worked on his strengths.’ Collymore told avfc.co.uk.
‘He will have told Ashley to play on the left – get chalk on his boots on the line – and attack players.
‘Get down that wing and cut in and get shots away or go down the outside and get crosses in. He’s certainly done that on a regular basis this season.’
King Kevin Keegan, supposed saviour of Newcastle United, believes the fixture is a big one for both clubs. Speaking to the official Newcastle website he told them:
‘It’s a big game. They have just had a setback at Fulham as they are thinking top six this season,’
‘We’re not in the FA Cup so we’ll be going into a little bit of a break after this game and you never want to go into a break with a bad result.
‘Villa are a team in form despite the setback at Fulham. They are totally committed under Martin O’Neill so we know what to expect and they will come at us.
‘They should have Ashley Young back and he is an influential player and we also know they are good from set-pieces.’
Mr Keegan has also been in fantasy land, believing that he can land former Arsenal, now Barcelona striker Thierry Henry in the summer.
‘I would like to fetch Thierry Henry back to England,’ Keegan told Radio Newcastle. ‘He’s the best player I’ve seen in the Premiership.
‘When you’re pitch-side, what I’ve seen him do to good players has been incredible.
‘Sometimes you can take advantage of a situation and get what I call lucky.’
I’ll eat your hat if you sign him Kev. Then I’ll be looking to Martin O’Neill to sign Kaka.
AVFC Claret & Blues Team News:
“England striker” Gabriel Agbonlahor looks set to miss the match as he’s failed to recover in time from the hamstring injury picked up in Villa’s 2-1 defeat to Fulham.
Whilst Curtis Davies should recover, Petrov is the latest injury worry (again) with a bruised toe that saw him miss Bulgaria’s 1-0 victory over the mighty Northern Ireland midweek.
Ashley Young returns from his suspension, Marlon Harewood may start a game after another decent cameo performance and following his impressive reserve outing, new signing Wayne Routledge may be included in the 16 at the expensive of either Craig Gardner or Isaiah Osbourne.
Player to watch: Curtis Davies
After calling himself a pub player, only to improve massively, our honest-lad made 2 crucial errors against Fulham that led to goals.
I expect a good performance from him, he should keep Michael “MEDIC!” Owen quiet.
Newcastle Magpies Team News:
Good news Villa fans, Obafemi “I’m younger than I look” Martins will miss the fixture as he has returned from the African Cup of Nations with a twisted ankle. Jose Enrique returns to the squad.
That’s all the information available at the moment, stay tuned!
Player to watch: Shay Given
Perhaps if we’re really nice to him, he’d join Aston Villa?