Spyin' Kop: Aston Villa (Away) Premier League 2008/2009

Posted by Phil M on August 28, 2008, 07:47:46 PM

So here we are, two games in and we share top spot with Chelsea. So far so good, right?
We may be struggling to get into our stride this season but the table doesn't lie however with an injury
to our skipper, whose stunning free kick earned us all 3 points in this fixture last season,
Sunday's trip to Villa Park is suddenly looking a little more perilous.
For Martin O'Neill's side this game represents an opportunity to bounce back
from a rather shock defeat to newly promoted Stoke City aswell an opportunity
for Gareth Barry to show the Villa fans where his loyalty lies and put a summer of indecision
and endless transfer speculation behind him.
With all that in mind, I ventured over to www.villatalk.com to get the views
of some of the Villa fans ahead of this important fixture.
Thanks to everyone who participated.  :wave

European Cup Winners: 1982
European Super Cup Winners: 1982-83
InterToto Cup Winners: 2001
First Division Champions: 1893-94, 1895-96, 1896-97, 1898-99, 1899-1900, 1909-10,1980-81
Second Division Champions: 1937-38, 1959-60
Third Division Champions: 1971-72
FA Cup Winners: 1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920, 1957
League Cup Winners: 1961, 1975, 1977, 1994, 1996
FA Youth Cup Winners: 1972, 1980, 2002

Aston Villa F.C v Liverpool F.C
Venue: Villa Park
Barclays F.A. Premier League
Sunday August 31st 2008 - Kick Off : 4.00pm

Phil M:
You finished sixth and almost nicked an automatic Uefa Cup spot last season.
It seems with an owner like Randy Lerner and a positive manager like O'Neill
Villa are going places. How optimistic are you about this season?

Blandy: It's changed. The first season of MO'N and Randy was just a massive relief after the dirge of [the other ones]. Last season was pure hope, backed up by a confidence that the previous season's hope was well founded. This season, to an extent, it's like, we're back from being a mess, we've got some good players, a superb owner, a fine manager, but the number of teams above us to overtake is down to just 5. In other words, it'll be harder to keep the momentum going. That said, Everton have seemingly dropped back a step, Arsenal are weaker, Liverpool are riven with "issues". So the chance to improve our position is there, but it is a big gap to make up, all the same.

OutByEaster?:I'm pretty optimistic, in the league it'll be tricky to improve on sixth I feel, there's a group of around five or six teams that are all very hard to separate and I think there'll be a certain amount of luck involved in where we finish within that group. Three cup competitions this year means three opportunities though, and like yourselves we can beat anyone on our day so I'm hopeful of a good run in at least one of these. It'd be nice not to draw United in the third round of the FA Cup this year.

Daveburnside: I'm confident we can finish top six. If Arsenal and you lot aren't up to scratch I can see us running you close for 4th.

Thunderpower_14: Fairly optimistic. I'd be hoping for direct UEFA qualification this season as an absolute minimum. We have the side and the manager to go even better.

Who were your best and worst players last season?

Best player last season was Ashley Young closely followed by Martin Laursen. Young is a ridiculously creative player and by far our most important attacking outlet. Laursen is the steady head at the back, and now he's the captain too. The worst player going by expectations was Shaun Maloney, since shipped back to the B-leagues. Only ever performed against p1ss-poor opposition and whenever called upon against actual quality was found badly wanting. Honourable mention to Scott Carson. How could I forget him? His downturn after his England debut does not hide the fact that he was no Brad Friedel before it.

heystally!: Best player - Ashley Young
Worst player - Scott Carson (post-Croatia match)

kurtsimonw Best: Ashley Young, Gareth Barry, Martin Laursen and John Carew for me. These 4 all had very good seasons and helped us finish so high in the league, if they keep up the level of performances they had last season I'm sure we can be up there again.
Worst: Scott Carson and Luke Moore. Zak Knight and Stan Petrov got a lot of flack last season, but in my opinion it was unfair and they were just made scapegoats for games we didn't win. But Carson just didn't fill me with confidence and let in many silly goals while Luke Moore just wasn't interested to the point that we loaned him out, you'd have thought a Villa fan would give more effort for the team he supports.

rc_villa1972:Best: Ashley Young, Freddie Bouma, Melberg
Worst: Carson (without doubt), Petrov, Luke Moore

Okay let's get the Barry question out of the way. It's been a tedious affair
for the last couple of months, how do you feel about the possibility of
seeing your club captain leaving for Merseyside and if he is to stay will
your opinion of Barry change?

The Barry affair has been tedious, but what do you think of Liverpool FC?
Alot of Villa fans seem to have never had much time for the red half of Liverpool. I am the opposite; I ve never had much time for the blue half. Before I really understood much of the tribalism of football I remember listening to the glory days of English clubs in Europe on medium wave radios. I liked what Liverpool were doing, and I liked the way the club was run. I felt for Liverpool when the inevitable decline happened (all empires crumble to dust in the end). I felt sorry as the traditions ebbed away, I willed them to at least stick one up the Mancs by winning a title. The Liverpool fans I knew seem knowledgeable and fair; they told it as it was, even when it wasn’t good news for them. Sadly now I ve lost any affection I had. Much of this is about how Liverpool is run. Much of it is about the attitude of the manager. I ve lost respect for Liverpool. Years and years of good work have been undone, by the bullying, condescending and arrogant attitude of the management of Liverpool. It seems to me where before no bad blood existed, this relationship is now full of it.

The_Rev: If he stays and plays well, ill like him. If he leaves then he is a judas bastard who should have just put a transfer request in instead of allowing his agent to conduct his affairs through the media in order to get 10% of any signing on fee that he would be entitled to by not putting a transfer request in. I do think Rafa is regretting making his derisory initial offer for Barry in the same week as he publicly said he wanted £15m for Peter Crouch though. That didn't go unnoticed at Villa Park.

JulieB: He's not captain anymore...I think he was stupid to criticise MON in the NOTW, we've stuck to our guns over the price and it looks like LFC have backed off.. I think he'll be staying now,,but who knows! Anyhow hopefully if he is staying he'll recapture the form he has shown in last 2 seasons and then it will be your loss and our gain!

My opinion has never changed, if he goes then it is a massive loss for us, if he stays then all the better for us. whatever, he is a top person who gives up more than enough time to help others and promote charities.

OutByEaster? It's been made a tedious affair by a club intent on stirring up a hornets nest of trouble for the young man on the promise of a signing they couldn't afford. It's upset the player, upset both clubs and damaged both the relationship between your board and manager and the relationship between our two clubs. It's a great shame and it needn't have been this way. Perhaps there's a lesson in that for Mr Benitez in the way he conducts his business in future.In terms of Barry, he's made some mistakes and at times been poorly advised, I think he'd like to play for you, but I don't think staying here would break his heart. I like him and always have, my opinion of him is unchanged. My opinion of Liverpool Football Club is not. He'll play well wherever he ends up.

With us next on the horizon, are you looking forward to our visit and do you have any abiding memories of previous encounters between Liverpool and Villa which you'd care to share?

Aston Villa 5 Liverpool 1
Top division, Dec 15, 1976
Liverpool, the champions, suffer their biggest league defeat since 1963. All six goals come in the first half of this evening match, with two each by Andy Gray and John Deehan and one from Brian Little. Liverpool go on to win the League and European Cup, and Villa the League Cup.

JulieB: I went to last season's opener v you lot and it was a good game. I honestly thought your midfield of Alonso and Gerrard with Torres upfront would see you pushing for the Title. You were impressive that day. However you won with a last minute dodgy free kick which shouldn't have been executed aka Gerrard, but it was still a sickener as we'd battled to draw level. I was only a youngster but I was actually in the Holte when we thumped Liverpool 5-1, when you were Champions of Europe. I actually met Steve Heighway a few years ago, who played that night....when he presented one of my lads with a trophy and we chatted about that game..him and his wife are really nice... he told me as a LFC coach, he always uses that game as a reminder to youngsters not to get too cocky and think they've won before they've started.

avsteve: Ronny Rozenthal's miss in the game when the legend Deano made his home debut and got 2 after we signed him from you. Last day of the Holte as well but more the sentiment than the game. You guys on the Kop will know what I mean.

GNeeUs: Getting robbed by the ref last season still sticks in my mind. Would have been a draw until the ref blew for a very ropey foul. Nice freekick though.

Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young are two very talented young players at Villa Park, are there any other young players in the squad currently or on the books at the club who we we should expect to hear a lot more of over the next few seasons?

BOF: I expect practically every response here will be to name our current striking wonderkid Nathan Delfouneso (pronounced Del-fons-o). He scores for fun in our youths and for the international team at his level and he now has a senior squad number for this season. Big things are expected from him, not only by the fans but by those closely connected to the club too.

OutByEaster: Loads. Like yourselves, we won our reserve league section last year (before losing to you in the final) and we also won the national title at under 18 level. We have a great young striker in Nathan Delfouneso and a defender called Nathan Baker who are coming up, but I think I'd give them another year before you really start to notice them.

mjmooney: Quite a few - Albrighton and Delfouneso are names to watch.

EnglishVillan: Half of our youth team have the potential to become first class pros, from the current squad (other than the 2 you mentioned) i can see Curtis Davis winning a few England caps. Quick note about Ashley Young, this guy is very very talented, once he can get into the England team he will be a major star for club and country. I just hope we can keep hold of him!

What do you expect will be the team & formation on Sunday?


L. Young - Davies - Laursen - Shorey
Petrov - Reo Coker - Barry - A. Young
Agbonlahor - Carew

chrissmith921:  4-3-1-2:
Friedel;L.Young;Shorey;Laursen;Cuellar;Sidwell;Petrov;Barry;A Young;Carew;Gabby


Reo-Coker/New right winger

If you could sign any 3 players from the current Liverpool squad who would they be and why?

Torres, Keane, Babel

Blandy :
Torres, Gerrard, Mascherano - they're all class acts,

JulieB: Torres -he scores goals for fun! Gerrard -because he plays well with Barry and he is a top midfielder. Carragher -Still a great defender

Gerrard - Always reliable and a man for when the pressure on. Also, when teams sit deep against us,we have no one who can score from distance,but when sides sit off you Gerrard will ping one in
Torres - Simply a goal machine
Mascherano - I love this guy. Incredible work rate, tough tackling and he knows how to use the ball once hes won it!

Torres, Gerrard, Carragher. 3 top class performers who always deliver.

Torres - you can't stop him scoring.
Babel - young winger who would terrorise a defence opposite Young.
Mascherano - paired with Reo-Coker, we'd have the most solid defensive midfield partnership in the Prem.

Villa are always regarded as one of the noisier sets of fans when you visit Anfield, how do you rate our away support from our previous visits to Villa Park?

kurtsimonw: As a whole Liverpool's away support is very good. I do think the home support can be a little over-rated sometimes, but you definitely know they're their on the road.

Best away fans - man u, Liverpool, West Ham, Newcastle

roonst83: Thank you for the recognition. Well usually you win so obviously there's going to be a lot of noise from your fans. I'd say Liverpool are usually always in good voice as away fans, but for me man utd have the loudest fans (prob because we cant shut them up by beating them either!) I must say i admire the originality of Liverpools songs, and being Irish myself I imagine its great if you're a Liverpool fan in the Kop singing 'Fields of Anfield road' on a european night. You have some good songs.

JulieB: Our away support is very vocal. Gave a good account of ourselves at Stoke last week. Your lot always pretty loud at VP.

John: The same as you do us.

Tubbz: You certainly like to make a noise, i was there last season and you could certainly be heard around the ground unlike some other teams

What would constitute a good 2008/2009 PL season for AVFC?

tomzep: 6th place and a good cup run!

: A UEFA Cup spot, and two decent cup runs (out of FA, League and UEFA).

Good would be top 5. Excellent would be top 4 (at the expense of yourselves or Arsenal, probably).

John: 4th or 5th, reaching the group stages in Europe and either a good FA Cup run or a good League Cup one.

BlackcountryVilla: An excellent season would be progressing and finishing 5th. An unbelievable season would be 4th. An ok season would be 6th-8th. Anything worse would be poor.

Qualify for UEFA Cup again, and get a decent run in that competition to hopefully attract some decent players next summer. Some decent players who'll fit into our side, not like Spurs have done!

Care to predict the top 5 and the major domestic cup winners for the season ahead?


1. Chelsea
2. Man U
3. Liverpool
4. Arsenal
5. Villa
FA Cup: Villa
League Cup: Man U


1. Chelsea
2. Man Utd
3. Arsenal
4. Liverpool
5. Anyone of Pompey/Villa/Everton
FA Cup: Chelsea
League Cup: Chelsea


1. Man United
2. Chelsea
3. Arsenal
4. Liverpool
5. Everton
FA Cup: Chelsea
League Cup: Newcastle


1. Manchester Utd.
2. Chelsea
3. Arsenal
4. Liverpool
5. Villa
FA Cup: Chelsea
League Cup: Arsenal

Finally can you give us your score prediction for Sunday?

BOF: You will think I'm biased and perhaps I am, but the ill-feeling towards Liverpool is tangible and there will be a very real desire to put one over you on Sunday that perhaps wont be reciprocated. I'm going for a 2-1 win to a highly motivated Villa. Us losing to Stoke wont have done you any favours either.

rc_villa1972: 3 - 1 (we rarely keep a clean sheet)
On a separate but honest note:
Liverpool used to be a team that lots of people (neutrals and me) wished well. The farce of this window and the previous issues you have had with Hicks and Gillett has gone against the grain of everything Liverpool FC stood for. Unless things change soon (although it might be too late) you are rapidly becoming the most hated and ridiculed team in the prem - which is a sorry sight for Football.

QldVilla: 1-1

JulieB:  Heart says 3-1 to Villa...Head says 2-2 draw

chrissmith921: 0-0. Flat game where Barry is the centre of all attention. Typical Sky Sunday game really.

GNeeUs: Honestly see us being pumped up for this game. 2-1 or at least a draw 1-1

roonst83: Heart : Villa 2 - 1 Liverpool  Head : Villa 1 - 3 Liverpool

Thanks for reading.  :)

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