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Aston Villa at Blackburn, a special deal with Genting and some clarification

Blackburn is a tough place to go. They've won more than us at home all season, they haven't drawn and they don't call it Fortress Ewood Park for nothing. Okay, maybe they don't call it that, but they'll be hungry for a win today.

Oh, come on. Who am I trying to kid? They are in the relegation zone, have won four times and lost every other game at home this season. They are in the group of five teams that will see three relegated and they are in that group for a reason.

The words of a deluded manager

It is easy to write that our manager sends out teams not to win and he would have you think differently, but we all know the truth and few believe what he has to say these days. He even spoke about how he has the backing of the owner this week and if that is anything like his comments about Downing going nowhere, then he could be gone next week.

Alex McLeish
Yes, I want the forward players to get back and defend and help the other parts of the team just like any other major team in the world does, the Barcelonas, the Manchester Uniteds.

But I don't say to players 'go and play negatively, go and pass the ball back'. It can be down to quality and maybe we've not shown it enough at certain times.

At the moment it is a Villa team that is trying to grow, trying to gel, and not exactly as strong as the Villa team a couple of years ago.

Sometimes players struggle for one reason or another but we certainly encourage them to get forward and get the victories.

I need to clarify what I've said in the past in relation to that above quote from McLeish. I don't mean to suggest that he actually tells the players to go out and play not lose, what I'm saying is and I've said this since he was the manager of The Clowns is, he doesn't know how to send a team out to win.

Nobody is saying that he does it on purpose. I'm saying he doesn't have it in his locker to do what is necessary. He simply isn't good enough in a competitive league and that isn't his fault.

If you put yourself in the spotlight, you have to accept that there can be criticism and actually, in this game, if you do put yourself in that position, you have to accept that it is coming if you are not delivering. In return for that, he can stop working tomorrow and never have to worry about finding a job again. There is a pay-off and much like managers will often talk about how it is 'part of the modern game', the money that comes with it is too.

Rant well and truly over now. I don't expect much from this game. I hope for a win. I don't expect to see any free flowing football or movement off the ball or possession. I do expect to see a few long balls. I also expect to see the players wanting it and tracking back - trademarks of a McLeish side, that mean something but ultimately very little.

I'm also not making a cast iron prediction for today but I know this will all change come 2pm, when I start to believe and my third beer takes hold. All of a sudden I'll start to think about the takeover and all the money that will be available to McLeish and then I'll start to think that if you give him enough, or any manager for that matter, they can buy success and is it really so bad. I mean, it is part of the modern game isn't it.


That Genting ad

As a regular visitor to the site you will know that I don't like to clutter the site with ads and it is more about look, feel and content over making money. Yes, I used to have a Google ad where you now see a Genting ad and it basically paid for the server that this site sits on and every now and then, a few beers too, but Genting chased me over doing a deal and I finally gave in.

The deal and contract I've signed is a little different though. It is for the duration of the deal Genting have with the club, so it will be there for a while (and another on blog posts at the bottom of that column) and it will probably change and hopefully, there will be a competition every now and then to go along with it where regular visitors will get the chance to win something.

But there is more; it is an affiliate deal and if you happen to click on that link and play at Genting and as the affiliate, money is made and all of that money goes to one charity; Acorns. It was going to go to three, but as the contract I signed stipulated I got to pick and it wasn't set in stone, I've decided one is enough for now, but if it starts to make money and anyone else has suggestions, I'll happily think about splitting it up as long as it is related to Aston Villa.

Borrowed from the BBC

  • Blackburn have won the last two league meetings between these sides at Ewood Park, having lost the previous three
  • However, Villa have won four of the last five competitive fixtures against Rovers, including the last three
  • Aston Villa are winless in four matches and have only accrued six points from seven matches (W1, D3, L3)
  • However, Alex McLeish's side have only lost one of their last seven away games in the league (W3, D3, L1)
  • Aston Villa are the only team not to have scored from a corner in the Premier League this season, but we've have conceded 11 goals from corners
  • Gabby Agbonlahor's goal against Norwich on 5 November was the last to be scored in the league by any of Villa's available forwards. Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey, Nathan Delfouneso and Andreas Weimann have since gone a combined 25 appearances without a top-flight goal
  • Shay Given made two Premier League appearances for Blackburn early in his career, while Stephen Warnock played 109 league and cup games for the club before an £8m move to Villa in August 2009
  • Blackburn Rovers have lost three of their last four league matches, conceding 14 goals in that period
  • Blackburn are the only team in the top four divisions in England not to have kept a clean sheet this season. If they concede against Villa it will be the longest streak without a clean sheet in the top flight since QPR's all-time record of 39 matches in 1968-69
  • Only the top six and Norwich have scored more than Blackburn's 37 goals
  • Blackburn have let slip 14 points from winning positions - only QPR (15) have fared worse
  • Steve Kean's side have the worst record in the division against bottom half of the table opposition, earning just 12 points from as many games

Updates, team news and let's have some banter

So, on that, I'm going to leave you for now. I'm going to get up out of bed, make some breakfast for the kids and a bacon sandwich for me and I'll be back in a couple of hours for the match and in that time, if you're over 18 and you fancy a roll or two of the dice, you now know where to play.