A 3pm Saturday kick-off? Flipping heck whatever next for the Premiership! Villa look to continue their fine home form (except Leicester) with a victory against West Ham United.
Martin O’Neill is wanting his squad to continue their recent run of impressive home victories, obviously ignoring the Carling Cup defeat, and is sounding much more like David O’Leary every day.
‘If we play like we did against Leicester, we won’t be too daunting. But if you’re talking about Premier League games, the home performances have been really terrific.
‘We won against Fulham, Chelsea and Everton. That’s very, very pleasing and the crowd have played their part enormously in those games. More than they would ever imagine.
‘There’s been a really good atmosphere at Villa Park this season and I’m hoping that would continue on Saturday.’
‘The team that we played the other night (Spurs) have got a really fantastic squad of players and they are spoilt for choice at the moment.’
Small squad, honest lads eh Martin?
Meanwhile, on the player front, the new Villa faithful scapegoat Marlon Harewood believes he has nothing to prove to his old employers: ‘I’m not trying to prove anyone right or wrong, apart from myself. I had a great season a couple of years ago and I want to carry on from there, and enjoy my football. It’s about confidence and everything really.
‘It’s about the team and not really the individual. West Ham were fantastic that year- that’s why I got my goals because everyone was pulling their weight and doing what they had to do.’
‘I think the players here have got ability- that’s why I decided to move to Villa. Just from the atmosphere around here, I know I can get my goals.’
One assumes that ‘go-ability’ is a bit like bouncebackability, something that Spurs displayed a great deal of on Monday evening.
From the Wet Spam camp, Mark Noble spoke of the weird event that will see him come up against his former team-mate Nigel Reo-Coker, who of course moved away from the bright lights of London to Villa Park in the summer.
‘It’s going to be a tough test,’ said Noble. ‘I’ve played so much with him [okey-coker] so it’s going to be a strange one. Obviously I’ve played with him, Marlon Harewood, Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Luke Moore.
‘It’ll be a good game and there’ll be lot of banter before and after hopefully but once you cross the white line friendships go out the window and it gets serious on the pitch.’
I couldn’t find a great deal from Hammers boss Alan Curbishley quotes wise this week, which is probably just as well, since the former Villa man moved to Upton Park he hasn’t exactly spoken a great deal of sense. However his right-hand man, Mervyn Day had this to say about the day that Ashley Young saw the light, and correctly chose Villa over West Ham: ‘We also tried to sign him when we were at Charlton. We tracked him for some time and I must have seen him a dozen times.
‘He can play anywhere along the front, right or left-side midfield. He has a trick, he crosses with both feet, he’s decent in the air and he can score goals.’
Aston Villa Team News:
Villa could welcome back Sulky Shaun Maloney who sat out the trip to White Hart Lane with an ankle injury.
The BBC are reporting that Maloney may well be in the fight for Luke Moore’s position, who has far from impressed lately
Patrick Berger and John Carew are the only long term injury concerns with hamstring and knee issues respectively.
It remains to be seen whether or not O’Neill will risk the wrath of the home fans by allowing ex-Hammer Marlon Harewood to feature in the match at any point.
Player to watch: Martin Laursen
The last time we had a defender of Laursen’s ability, he picked up the title of ‘God’ from Villa fans worldwide.
What better player to pick than God Mk.II as this weeks ‘player to watch.’
Some fans may wish to keep an eye on Harewood, based on recent arguments and penalties, threes absolutely no telling what he’ll do next!
West Ham United Team News:
The Welsh whiner supreme Craig Bellamy is unavailable for this match due to a groin injury. Hooray!
Anton Ferdinand misses out, whilst Scott Parker is doing for West Ham what he did best on the `Toon, sitting on the treatment table.
Aside from that, everyones fit and I would suspect Curbs may announce an un-changed starting 11.
Player to watch: Dean Ashton
I make no secret of my admiration for the ex-Crewe Alex striker, who I watched excel many a time for the Railwaymen before moving onto Norwich City.
The closest striker I believe England have had to Shearer since old ‘elbows’ retired. Ashton has pace, strength and power in abundance along with an excellent eye for goal.
One for Super Martin Laursen I think.
West Ham Facts:
The referee for the game against West Ham is a Mr S.Tanner from Somerset! His assistants will be two linesmen and a 4th official.
Mr Tanner has amassed a cracking 25 yellow cards (though no reds) in his 8 games this season.
To my knowledge and research, he has never officiated a match involving Aston Villa. In place of the usual stat, here’s something you may not have known:
Golf was banned in England in 1457 because it was considered a distraction from the serious pursuit of archery.
(In my opinion, they should have kept the ban.)
Laursen (yes, again!) and Agbonlahor will be the scorers.
Aston Villa will ‘welcome’ Manchester United and their travelling band of London-based supporters to Villa Park on the 20th October.