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Whoscored: Pleasant early Prem surprises

Southampton Sep 26, 2014
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Kevin Hughes Aston Villa  By Kevin Hughes
1 day ago

Villa fighting fear factor as Lambert seeks right setup

QPR's Charlie Austin scored a brace to lead Queens Park Rangers to a 2-0 win against Aston Villa at Loftus Road.

The fear is back at Villa. You can feel it in the anxious mood of the supporters, who now know a match against the club at the bottom of the league can't be approached with confidence. And you can see it too in the decisions the manager makes.

Paul Lambert got it wrong with not only his team selection at QPR on Monday night, but his tactical setup, too. The muddled 4-4-2 he fielded -- with Tom Cleverley's strengths compromised on the left of midfield and Andreas Weimann toiling as an orthodox...

Kevin Hughes Aston Villa  By Kevin Hughes
4 days ago

Questions raised as Aston Villa slump to fifth consecutive loss

QPR's Charlie Austin scored a brace to lead Queens Park Rangers to a 2-0 win against Aston Villa at Loftus Road.

Only Villa could turn QPR's defence from porous to impenetrable. Successive defeats against the Premier League's best teams can be managed with realistic expectations. Losing 2-0 to the club that began the night bottom of the table is a different story altogether -- by the closing stages, Rangers were knocking the ball around like world beaters.

Queens Park RangersQueens Park Rangers
Aston VillaAston Villa
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It was a chastening experience for anyone in claret and blue. This is a QPR side, remember, that had the worst defensive record in the division, yet a...

Kevin Hughes Aston Villa  By Kevin Hughes
6 days ago

Aston Villa braced for change against QPR

Colombian Carlos Sanchez has made just one start on the season for Aston Villa.
Colombian Carlos Sanchez has made just one start on the season for Aston Villa.

A run of four successive league defeats can seriously alter the thinking of a Premier League manager, so it was hardly a surprise to hear Paul Lambert discussing the status of some of his 'fringe' players this week.

Lambert has spoken about Carlos Sanchez, Jores Okore, Joe Cole and Jack Grealish in the past few days -- primarily because the Villa boss is being asked about the immediate future of a quartet of players who have mainly operated around the edges of the first team this season. The...

Kevin Hughes Aston Villa  By Kevin Hughes
Oct 19, 2014

Benteke's comeback continues but Villa's goalless run drags on

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert spoke to the press following his side's 3-nil loss to Everton and noted that his side did not stick to their normal style and suffered as a result.

It ended on 81 minutes, the number 20 held aloft signalling Christian Benteke's substitution. The Belgian's first Premier League start since March was heartening to see but relatively inauspicious -- on what was a big day for the striker he and his teammates collectively suffered a very bad day in losing 3-0 to Everton.

Benteke's endeavours amounted to a couple of shots off target and a measure of success in winning aerial challenges. Given the seriousness of his Achilles injury, it's unreasonable...

Kevin Hughes Aston Villa  By Kevin Hughes
Oct 16, 2014

Villa would get big boost from Vlaar return and Grealish start

Key defender Ron Vlaar looks set for a Villa return on Saturday versus Everton.
Key defender Ron Vlaar looks set for a Villa return on Saturday versus Everton.

Much seems to have come to pass since Villa's last Premier League match.

Ron Vlaar has inched slowly back to fitness, Philippe Senderos and Fabian Delph have picked up injuries -- one while on international duty and one when back in club training -- and Jack Grealish has signed a new four-year contract.

Oh, and don't forget Roy Keane. The assistant manager has rarely been out of the headlines in the past week or so and not only because his beard is no more; though these days the Irishman's facial...

Oct 8, 2014

Stiliyan Petrov back in action for local Sunday League side

Stiliyan Petrov acknowledges the Villa fans' support during their game against Chelsea
Stiliyan Petrov waves to the Villa fans from the stands.

Over a year since being forced into premature retirement after being diagnosed with Leukaemia, former Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov has made his return to the game by signing up to play for his local Sunday League team.

Now in remission following two years of cancer treatment, Petrov has signed on for Solihull-based over 35's side Wychall Wanderers, where he's joined on the books by another ex-Premier League alumni: former Coventry City centre-back David Busst [most famous for shattering his...