Date: 4th April 2008 at 3:32pm
Written by:

Aston Villa will, yes will get back to winning ways on my Birthday (April 5th, I’m 22 this year!)

Bolton Wanderers will be looking to try and scrape some points as they start to stare relegation in the face.

This preview, in the memory of my mother who would have been 45 on Saturday, all the way to you, with full humour, as usual, no strings, from Vital Villa.

Vital Quotes:

Oh The Messiah is at it again, making bizarre and confusing comments that as the quotes keep on coming, sound more and more like a certain (Southern) Irish manager who once described the Aston Villa faithful as:


Speaking this ewek about the lack of transfers in January, a transfer window that saw highly-rated (in 2003) midfielder Wayne Routledge join the Villans from Tottenham Hotspur as the only bit of wheeling and dealing (well, in terms of incoming players) O’Neill hinted that he may well have been priced out of a market that apparently isn’t that free and open:

”We know we need to strengthen the side,” he said. “The decisions I took in January were not that difficult because the players I had in mind weren’t available for the price.

“Anybody, I suppose, is available – out-side the best players in the world – at the end of the day. But this idea you can just go and cherry-pick. I am sorry.”

What is ‘the price’ Martin and why did you say “I am sorry” yet you didn’t actually finish the sentence? Answers on a post card to R.Lerner, Villa Park.

Dispelling the myth & suggestion that has contemplated the need for a Director of Football type person to oversee the playing side, O’Neill has delightfully made us aware that he does know a little bit about this countries national game, in branding the Bolton match a ‘must win game.’ Following a number of bad results, one would be right to agree with Martin, regardless of footballing experience:

“We’re all running out of games now and Bolton will know the urgency of their situation. They’ll be very disappointed after being 2-0 up against Arsenal who were down to 10 men and then going onto lose the game in the last minute.

“March (for us) was not a great month in terms of results, but we’re still in with a shout – a really good shout – of finishing in sixth. We’ve just got to go and win a game.

“It’s only a few weeks since the team was being lauded for a great performance down at Arsenal and I don’t want that to be the highlight of the season.”

How many UEFA coaching courses did it take you to work that out?

Perhaps I’m being a little bit too harsh on O’Neill, who played Nigel Reo-Coker out of position against Manchester United, so let us turn to the positivity of Reo-Coker’s ability to attempt to possibly try his hand at playing at right-back.

Nigel Reo-Coker admits that whilst he has been played out of position all-season, only to really be moved against Manchester United, he was more than happy to help out any hole in the team. Speaking to the former Wet Spam captain said:

“I’m a central midfield player and that’s where I play. But the manager asked me to do a job for the team and there was no-one else he wanted to play there. I said of course I would do it.

“First and foremost I am a central midfield player not a right-back and I’m not looking to change my role within the side. But it was needed at the time and I did my bit for the team. I was asked to do a job and I did it.”

Sounds like Reo-Coker is setting his stall out Martin, you won’t be doing a Mellberg with him!


Meanwhile Ginger Nut (as a ginger, can I say that?) Gary Megson must be surely pondering the idea of selling Anelka to Chelsea in January transfer window, though it may provide extra parachute cash for their drop into the Championship.

However he seems positive about life, as he should do. Why think so miserably? Megson believes that injuries to Nicky Hunt, Ricardo Gardner and reported Villa target Jussi Jaaskelainen will not hinder the clubs relegation battle.

“I’ve never made a big point about talking about the injuries and it strikes me that when things aren’t going right people don’t actually look at it themselves,” he said.

“So long-term we are without Jaaskelainen, we’re without Gardner, (Kevin) Nolan’s been playing with a bad back and obviously now he is suspended.

“Nicky Hunt is now out for the rest for the season with a shoulder injury he got last week against Arsenal but, in the shorter term, this is the last game Kevin will serve under suspension and the players we put out there, they’re the ones we want to focus on.

“Hopefully we can do what we did to Arsenal for an hour, and maybe we can do it to Villa for an hour-and-a-half.”

Meanwhile former Villan’s have been naturally discussing the thought of returning to Villa Park for a match.

Gary Cahill, a bizarre January transfer departure from Villa believes that he has benefited by moving to Bolton. The England-star-to-be told the Bolton official website:

“You have to do what’s best for yourself and I decided that it was best if I left Villa for Bolton.

“It was the biggest decision of my life and I had to make a choice which I thought would benefit my career.”

“I think in the short spell of time I’ve been at Bolton I’ve definitely benefited from it.

“I’ve been putting in some good performances and I’m being recognised a lot more than I would have been sitting on the bench – or not even that – at Villa.”

The only person I have ever seen manage to fool himself with a football, left-back Jlloyd Samuel is making no room for sentiment when he faces his former employees. Lets face it, whenever he had the ball Samuel needed all the room he could get, and that was just to get the old pigs bladder under control!

“I have a lot of good memories from my time at Villa, but we have to go there and do a job and come away with a win. It is a massive game and we want to take all three points.”

One assumes the good memories were not of the supporters, probably the cash!

AVFC Claret & Blues Team News:

No new injury worries for Martin O’Neill’s side. Though he may wish to contemplate a few changes to try and mix things up given poor performance after poor performance.

After a somewhat indifferent first league start for Marlon Harewood, I expect to see him dropped.

John Carew has recovered from injury…again.
According to O’Neill, everyone is in with a chance so there may be starts/sub appearances for the likes of Salifou, Patrik Berger and even mystery invisible man Wayne Routledge.

Player to watch: Gabriel Agbonlahor

This really is the last time Gabby, you need to perform against somebody sometime soon or you’re being grouped alongside the likes of Stefan/Luke Moore, and even Darren Byfield.

In other words, crap.

AVFC Reserves
Bolton Team News:

As mentioned previously Bolton are without a Gardner, Hunt and a goalkeeper.

Apart from that it appears business as usual for Gary Megson’s side. It will be interesting to see how Bolton’s own “I’m off” player will do, with El Hadj Diouf, camel impersonator, claiming he won’t be with the Trotting Trotters next season.

Kevin Nolan misses out due to suspension.

Player to watch: Ali Al Habsi

Replcaing Jussi Jaaskelainen is no mean feat, against our misfiring strikers he may have a quiet time but he is definitely the one to watch…

…apart from the 3 ex-Villans, Gary “Bicycle Kick” Cahill, J-Lo Samuel and Honest Gav.

Match Facts & Stats

  • The last time Villa faced Bolton Wanderers, Luke Moore equalised in a 1-1 draw up at the Reebok. Fellow gone-away striker Nicolas Anelka scored for the home side.

  • The last time Villa beat Bolton Wanderers, was as the Villans tried to come back from a 5-2 first leg semi-final defeat in the League Cup. Now Bolton player Jlloyd Samuel scored in that game.

  • John Carew is still our top scorer on 9, somewhat behind the league’s top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 26.

    Another special mention I’m afraid. As I said in the preview intro, my musings are dedicated to my mum who died January 08 after a battle with cancer. She would have shared Saturday with me as our 22nd and 45th birthdays respectively.

    I would further urge (on top of those Vital posters who did donate for which I am very grateful) for everyone to contemplate donating money to Christies, the charity attached to the Christie Hospital Manchester, which is an excellent specialist cancer treatment facility. Click here for more information.

    Ref Watch:

    The referee is Martin Atikinson but due to the awful example set by professional footballers (that means you Ashley Cole) I am not telling you anymore, I’m turning my back and ignoring him.

    Match Prediction:

    As posted after our 4-0 defeat, I think 1-0 Villa but it won’t be pretty.

    Next Fixtures:

    After Bolton, Villa have a tricky away tie at…Derby!

    12th April for that one!