Friday, February 4, 2011

Hello, Old Friend- Villa v. Fulham, 5 February 2011

One of Gerard Houllier's masterstrokes: The Ginger Ghost in a pale shirt

What a transfer window for Gerard Houllier.  In his first opportunity to truly put a stamp on the Villa team, he added a goal-poaching striker (Bent, on 2 goals in 3 games since joining), a young attacking fullback prospect (Walker), a classy midfield general (Makoun, who put on a passing masterclass in Tuesday's defeat to Manchester United), and he closed out the window by adding the American midfield dynamo Michael Bradley, who progressed from MLS to the Eredivisie to the Bundesliga (and popping up with a vital goal (see the 3:40 mark in the linked video) over the Summer in the US's Group E win) before joining Aston Villa.

Bradley is available for his debut on Saturday as Villa Park plays host to Fulham.  Fulham, in addition to helping us with our wage bill by purchasing ballboy extraordinaire Steve Sidwell, have been on a solid run of form of late.  Villa come in on the back of a 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford in midweek, though the team passed and possessed the ball a little like Arsenal at times, led by Jean Makoun's 85 completed passes from midfield and Darren Bent's 10th goal of the league season (second with Villa).  Defender Luke Young is a miss, having visited a London specialist over the week to sort his nagging knee injury, as is Fabian Delph, who is out after aggravating last year's season-ending knee injury in the win over West Brom in December.  Fullbacks Stephen Warnock and Habib Beye are also unlikely starters, as Gerard Houllier has banished them to reserves training with Kevin MacDonald, telling them to "demonstrate their desire to play for Aston Villa."

The match will occur at 10 a.m.; however it is not showing until 5:00 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.  The Capital Villans will convene at Lucky Bar.  Though it's not on their schedule, we could surely convince them to play the match there.  Avoid the score, and see you in the afternoon!

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