Previous
Aston Villa
Arsenal
0
3
FT
Game Details
West Ham United
Liverpool
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AC Milan
Juventus
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Madrid
2
8
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Celta Vigo
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
America
Pachuca
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
Bayern Munich
0
0
FT
Game Details
Mainz
Borussia Dortmund
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Queens Park Rangers
Stoke City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Aston Villa
Arsenal
0
3
FT
Game Details
Burnley
Sunderland
0
0
FT
Game Details
Newcastle United
Hull City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Swansea City
Southampton
0
1
FT
Game Details
West Ham United
Liverpool
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo La Coruña
Real Madrid
2
8
FT
Game Details
Athletic Bilbao
Granada
0
0
LIVE 8'
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Celta Vigo
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Espanyol
Malaga
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Augsburg
Werder Bremen
4
2
FT
Game Details
Hamburg SV
Bayern Munich
0
0
FT
Game Details
SC Paderborn 07
Hannover 96
2
0
FT
Game Details
Schalke 04
Eintracht Frankfurt
2
2
FT
Game Details
VfB Stuttgart
TSG Hoffenheim
0
2
FT
Game Details
Mainz
Borussia Dortmund
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Cesena
Empoli
0
0
LIVE 12'
Game Details
AC Milan
Juventus
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Marseille
Stade Rennes
1
0
LIVE 50'
Game Details
Lorient
Stade de Reims
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Metz
Bastia
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Nantes
Nice
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Toulouse
Caen
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Watford
AFC Bournemouth
1
1
FT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Blackpool
0
0
FT
Game Details
Derby County
Cardiff City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Blackburn Rovers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Leeds United
Huddersfield Town
3
0
FT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Brentford
4
0
FT
Game Details
Millwall
Nottingham Forest
0
0
FT
Game Details
Norwich City
Birmingham City
2
2
FT
Game Details
Rotherham United
Charlton Athletic
1
1
FT
Game Details
Sheffield Wednesday
Reading
1
0
FT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers
1
0
FT
Game Details
Colchester United
Bradford City
0
0
FT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Chesterfield
3
2
FT
Game Details
Fleetwood Town
Bristol City
3
3
FT
Game Details
Gillingham
Walsall
0
0
FT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Crewe Alexandra
6
1
FT
Game Details
Notts County
Oldham Athletic
0
0
FT
Game Details
Port Vale
Barnsley
2
1
FT
Game Details
Preston North End
Crawley Town
2
0
FT
Game Details
Rochdale
Coventry City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Leyton Orient
1
2
FT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Sheffield United
5
2
FT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Peterborough United
1
0
FT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Morecambe
1
0
FT
Game Details
Bury
Burton Albion
3
1
FT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Luton Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Dagenham & Redbridge
1
1
FT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Carlisle United
3
2
LIVE 89'
Game Details
Northampton Town
Accrington Stanley
4
5
FT
Game Details
Oxford United
Stevenage
0
0
FT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Hartlepool United
2
0
FT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Wycombe Wanderers
1
1
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Newport County
0
0
FT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Exeter City
1
2
FT
Game Details
York City
Southend United
2
3
FT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Lincoln City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Nuneaton Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Barnet
Altrincham
5
0
FT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Woking
2
0
FT
Game Details
Dartford
Forest Green Rovers
1
2
FT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Braintree Town
1
0
FT
Game Details
Halifax
AFC Telford United
5
0
FT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Grimsby Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Southport
3
0
FT
Game Details
Torquay United
Dover
2
0
FT
Game Details
Welling
Gateshead
1
1
FT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Ross County
3
0
FT
Game Details
Hamilton Academical
Kilmarnock
0
0
FT
Game Details
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
St Johnstone
2
1
FT
Game Details
Linlithgow Rose
Fraserburgh
2
1
FT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Lugo
0
0
FT
Game Details
Barcelona B
Llagostera
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
Mirandes
Sporting Gijon
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
Real Zaragoza
Alavés
4:15 PM GMT
Game Details
CD Sabadell
Ponferradina
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Las Palmas
AD Alcorcon
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Bari
Livorno
2
0
FT
Game Details
Bologna
Crotone
0
2
FT
Game Details
Brescia
Ternana
0
0
FT
Game Details
Catania
Modena
0
0
FT
Game Details
Cittadella
US Pescara
3
2
FT
Game Details
Lanciano
Frosinone
1
5
FT
Game Details
Latina
US Avellino
1
2
FT
Game Details
Perugia
Vicenza
2
2
FT
Game Details
Pro Vercelli
Varese
4
0
FT
Game Details
FSV Frankfurt
VfL Bochum
1
5
FT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
Kaiserslautern
2
1
FT
Game Details
TSV 1860 Munich
FC Ingolstadt 04
1
1
FT
Game Details
Le Havre AC
Troyes
3
2
FT
Game Details
Excelsior
Dordrecht '90
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
ADO Den Haag
Go Ahead Eagles
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Vitesse Arnhem
Heerenveen
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
Jong Ajax
1
0
LIVE 84'
Game Details
NEC Nijmegen
FC Emmen VV
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
RKC Waalwijk
FC Volendam
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Penafiel
Vitoria Setubal
1
0
LIVE 51'
Game Details
CD Nacional de Madeira
Braga
7:15 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Ufa
Ural Sverdlovsk Oblast
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rostov
Zenit St Petersburg
0
5
FT
Game Details
Kuban Krasnodar
FK Rubin Kazan
2
1
FT
Game Details
Spartak Moscow
Terek Grozny
0
0
LIVE 8'
Game Details
Erciyesspor
Akhisar Belediye
1
2
FT
Game Details
Balikesirspor
Galatasaray
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mersin Idmanyurdu
Caykur Rizespor
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Xanthi
Levadiakos
2
0
FT
Game Details
Rapid Vienna
Wolfsberger AC
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
SV Josko Ried
SK Sturm Graz
4:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Brommapojkarna
BK Hacken
1
3
LIVE 72'
Game Details
Falkenbergs FF
Orebro SK
1
3
LIVE 89'
Game Details
Bodo/Glimt
Stromsgodset
0
4
FT
Game Details
Valerenga
Molde
0
0
LIVE 0'
Game Details
Sligo
Drogheda Utd
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Vancouver Whitecaps
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Philadelphia Union
Houston Dynamo
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Columbus Crew
New England Revolution
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Montreal Impact
San Jose Earthquakes
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
New York Red Bulls
Seattle Sounders FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Chicago Fire
DC United
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Los Angeles Galaxy
FC Dallas
2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
America
Pachuca
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Puebla
Chiapas
ESPNDeportes 10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
U. de G.
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
León
Veracruz
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Cruz Azul
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlanta Silverbacks
Ottawa Fury FC
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Carolina RailHawks
New York Cosmos
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Indy Eleven
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
San Antonio Scorpions
Minnesota United FC
12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Gimnasia La Plata
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
Belgrano de Córdoba
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Atletico Rafaela
11:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Altamira
Lobos BUAP
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Zacatepec
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
At. San Luis
Celaya
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Correcaminos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Oaxaca
Necaxa
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Atletico Paranaense
Internacional
9:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Criciúma
Botafogo
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
Oeste
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
CR Vasco da Gama
Náutico
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Joinville
Goianiense
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
ABC
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Icasa
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
América Mineiro
7:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Boa MG
Paraná Clube
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Bragantino
Luverdense
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sud América
Cerro
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
El Tanque Sisley
Peñarol
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Boyacá Chicó FC
Deportivo Pasto
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportes Tolima
Atlético Huila
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
La Equidad
Once Caldas
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Millonarios
Atlético Junior
11:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Medellín
Patriotas F.C.
1:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Sport Huancayo
Real Garcilaso
3:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Unión Comercio
UTC
5:45 PM GMT
Game Details
León de Huánuco
Juan Aurich
8:00 PM GMT
Game Details
César Vallejo
San Simón
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
3 de Febrero
7:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Sportivo Luqueño
9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Manta F.C.
Deportivo Quito
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
U. Católica
Postp
Game Details
Dep. Metropolitano
Deportivo Lara
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
The Strongest
Blooming
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Universitario de Sucre
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
9:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Gamba Osaka
Cerezo Osaka
2
0
FT
Game Details
Kashima Antlers
Yokohama F. Marinos
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kawasaki Frontale
FC Tokyo
0
0
FT
Game Details
Sagan Tosu
Vegalta Sendai
2
1
FT
Game Details
Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Albirex Niigata
2
0
FT
Game Details
Tokushima Vortis
Omiya Ardija
0
2
FT
Game Details
Urawa Red Diamonds
Kashiwa Reysol
3
1
FT
Game Details
Vissel Kobe
Shimizu S-Pulse
3
1
FT
Game Details
Next
Aug 4, 2014

Premier League Preview: Aston Villa

The ESPN FC crew previews the Villans' season as they hope to avoid flirting with relegation for a fifth consecutive year.

Lessons from last season

These are challenging times for Aston Villa, with a series of surprising events unfolding since the end of the 2013-14 season. Randy Lerner's admission to searching for a buyer to end his eight-year ownership of the club briefly raised supporter hopes of fresh investment and a resetting of strategy and direction.

There has been no progress on that front, while the departure of chief executive Paul Faulkner early in July only added to the sense of confusion.

Events took a further bizarre twist when it became apparent that the handful of senior players who have been ostracised from the squad in the last two seasons would be welcomed back; thus, Darren Bent, Alan Hutton and Shay Given have all been involved in Villa's early preseason matches.

On the positive side, the re-inclusion of these players at least suggests Paul Lambert has realised his team needs experience. That's one of the key lessons the Villa manager has learned during his time in charge -- he can ill afford to overlook the qualities of players who have been operating at this level for years.

As such, any new signings have been seasoned pros -- outgoing have been one or two who looked out of their depth in 2013-14.

Predicted starting lineup

Aston Villa
The fortunes of Paul Lambert's Aston Villa this season will be closely aligned with the form of striker Christian Benteke

What's new?

Lambert had signed three new players by the time the squad departed for a two-match tour of the USA; two, Philippe Senderos and Joe Cole, were free transfers, while the third, Kieran Richardson, was for a nominal fee.

All three provide options and depth in positions where Villa were weak in last season. The fact that they are all the antithesis of the kind of player Lambert would have targeted two years ago shows how his thinking has modified: the "build for the future" model has been placed on pause, if not rejected entirely.

But the most intriguing new arrival was that of Roy Keane, brought in as assistant manager -- an announcement that triggered more headlines than the trio of playing recruits. A former Premier League manager himself, it will be fascinating to see how Keane adapts to working with Lambert, and what kind of improvement he can coax from the Villa players.

The public persona might be of an angry man, but Keane has a real opportunity here to establish and enhance his coaching reputation.

PREMIER LEAGUE PREVIEWS

As we count down to kickoff on Aug. 16, ESPN FC previews all 20 teams in this season's competition. Can Burnley, QPR and Leicester stay up? Will the new signings of Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa and Adam Lallana help usurp Man City's crown? Will Manchester United get back on track under Louis van Gaal?

Strengths

Villa's squad is stronger than last season, and does look better balanced than a year ago.

It's sometimes said, with tongue in cheek, that a fit-again player is "like a new signing" but in Villa's case this is genuinely true -- the club should have half a team available again a couple of months into the season.

Jores Okore, Charles N'Zogbia, Libor Kozak and Christian Benteke -- and to a lesser extent, Samir Carruthers, who may challenge for a first-team squad place -- will all return after serious injuries, while Bent, Hutton and Given all appear to have opportunities to re-establish themselves.

In terms of specific positional strengths, when all players are fit and present, Villa should carry some attacking threat, with Gabby Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann complementing Benteke, Bent and Kozak, giving Lambert several "types" of strikers to utilise.

Villa also have one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League in Brad Guzan.

Weaknesses

There are concerns in several areas of the team, frankly.

Both full-back positions were problematic last season, with Matt Lowton suffering a dip in form at right-back, to the extent he was regularly dropped in favour of the versatile Leandro Bacuna.

At left-back, Antonio Luna was a failure, Joe Bennett unfit for too much of the campaign, and Ryan Bertrand was drafted in on loan in January.

A pair of consistent, regular full-backs would be an improvement -- as things stand, Lowton and Hutton will contest the right-back slot, while Richardson and Bennett will do the same at left-back.

The centre of defence has been an issue for Villa recently, too, and hopes rest mainly on the shoulders of captain Ron Vlaar and Okore. Yet Vlaar, with just a single year remaining on his contract, has been linked with a handful of clubs after an excellent World Cup, and Okore's Premier League career extends to just three games.

The worry is that the club's three other central defenders -- Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker and Senderos -- are not reliable enough on a regular basis.

Villa's midfield also needs strengthening, and this should be Lambert's priority before the end of the transfer window. Aside from Ashley Westwood and Fabian Delph there is little of substance in the centre of midfield; this team needs a player to command and influence the game from that position.

Creativity from midfield should be improved with input from Cole and N'Zogbia, and the emergence of Jack Grealish, a genuinely exciting young talent.

Paul Lambert appears to have shunned his youth policy and has turned to some seasoned veterans to provide Villa with stability.

Manager - ESPN FC profile

If Lambert considered the job a challenging one when he was hired two years ago, a penny for his honest thoughts right now.

The Villa manager is in a tight spot: essentially operating as a caretaker boss while the club is up for sale. It's inconceivable that, should a takeover occur during the season, the new ownership would retain him instead of conducting their own recruitment.

Lambert knows this, which is why his transfer activity has focused on footballers who can hit the ground running. The manager's body language towards the end of last season betrayed a tired and frustrated individual. He's on something of a hiding to nothing, but hopefully the arrival of a strong personality beside him, in Keane, has revitalized him somewhat.

Whatever the future holds for him, Lambert's immediate task is to get the best out of the squad, and find a style that works for this group of players. Too often last season, he persisted with a setup that didn't suit, using strikers as wide players and relying on a counterattacking plan first and foremost.

That has to change if Villa are to improve. A 3-5-2 system might be wise.

ESPN Stats & Information
ESPN Stats & Information

Key player

Among a squad that lacks top-class talent in abundance, Christian Benteke stands out like a beacon of light.

Despite missing almost a third of the Premier League season in 2013-14, the Belgian still managed 10 goals.

The striker's overall record for Villa is 29 goals in 60 league games -- a ratio to rival the very best. Until his Achilles tendon injury in March, Villa stood every chance of finishing in 10th or 11th position, but without Benteke the team's form collapsed completely.

The positive news for Villa is that he is making good progress, and was seen involved in light training during the club's two-match tour of the USA. He shouldn't be rushed back, by any means, but a return in October is a possibility, and Villa offer a significantly stronger attacking threat with him in the side. Benteke transforms the dynamic of the team almost completely.

The bottom line is that there are very few of Villa's nearest rivals -- those in the lower half of the league -- who have a striker as complete and prolific as the 23-year-old.

Predicted finish: 14th

The forecast can hardly be a positive one, given the experiences of the past three seasons, the turmoil off the field and the transfer activity so far. There is no ambition to drive the club forward, and seemingly no objective in place other than to keep the team ticking along without spending even a modest amount of money, and to stay in the Premier League.

Two or three new signings of proven quality would really transform Villa, but there seems little prospect of this occurring without a takeover going through and bringing fresh investment. At the time of writing, too many of the current squad are merely average at this level.

An ideal scenario sees Vlaar and Delph signing new contracts to extend their stays; Benteke, Kozak, N'Zogbia and Okore all roaring back to prime form after their respective serious injuries; Cole and Bent recapturing their vintage best; Grealish blossoming into one of the Premier League's most exciting young creative players; and Lambert given the funds to acquire a midfield general.

That's the dream, but with all that has happened at the club in recent years, it's rash to expect anything other than another campaign of inconsistent results and performances, and a finish around 14th. Sadly, unless real change is on the horizon, that's as much as Villa can hope for.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.