Rawk Preview: Aston Villa v Liverpool, Saturday 24th August

Posted by Corkboy on August 19, 2013, 11:57:00 PM

The Villa, in my lifetime, have always been one of the Big Clubs. They have loads of history and plenty of trophies, although not many recently (and recently is generous, nothing this century as far as I can make out), they have a European pedigree, of sorts, they have a stadium with a capacity in the low forties which is possibly hindering their potential and they are currently American owned and on a budget. All of which sounds just a little familiar. In fact, Villa are fourth on the list of most successful English clubs, if this source can be believed, just above Chelsea. Yes, we're top. I also recall when mean old Souness came back to Anfield, several stalwarts found refuge at the Villa, Staunton, Houghton and Saunders.

Incidentally, Paul Lambert, the Villa manager, was a very good footballer, a defensive midfielder whose career was quite remarkable. While playing for Motherwell in the UEFA Cup against Borussia Dortmund in 1995, he caught the eye of Dortmund manager Ottmar Hitzfeld who signed him up. In 1997, he was a stalwart for Dortmund in their run to Champions League success, knocking out the Mancs along the way. In the final against Juventus, he minded Zidane while also managing to supply the cross for a Riedle goal. He went to Celtic shortly after and won a pile of Scottish trophies, which don't really count.

Speaking of good players, Aston Villa enjoyed Paul McGrath at the peak of his prodigious powers. The lavishly gifted centrehalf was booted out of Man Utd by the Dark Lord for drinking too much and went on to produce a season where he got PFA Player of the Year while drunk, and I don't mean drunk in nightclubs, I mean drunk at training. The next two winners were Cantona and Shearer. We call Fowler God. Guess who Villa fans reserve that honour for?

As for this fixture, hear me now. Agbonlahor, Benteke and Weimann are as sharp as any forward trio playing football right now. They all have ability and pace, but the worrying thing is that Agbonlahor seems to be hitting form. He threatened to be the real deal for the last half a dozen years while never quite getting there, but Lambert has him doing something different because last season he looked terrifying at times, as he did against the Arsenal last week. As for Benteke, I keep waiting for him to have a shit game while Weimann is fast, bold and can shoot and he makes great late runs.

The rest of the team, with all due respect, are somewhat callow. Players like Clarke, Delph and Lowton have potential but we should have too much for them unless they have a very good day. Guzan in goal is playing very well, though and I expect him to make at least a dozen cracking saves. Tune in for Rawk's Round Table on this 2-5 away win, same channel.

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