Villa’s attacking style can cause any side problems

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 April 2011

Ashley Young, Aston Villa.

Ashley Young, Aston Villa.


Widemen pose a pacy threat to defenders

Aston Villa have been this year’s Premier League surprise package. But for all the wrong reasons.

After the mysterious departure of Martin O’Neill, just five days before the start of the season, Villa have experienced one of their worst seasons in recent years.

Having finished sixth in their two previous campaigns, the West Midlands outfit currently occupy 14th place, thanks to a 1-0 home win over Newcastle last weekend, lifting them five points clear of the relegation places.

Following O’Neill’s departure, the board appointed Gerard Houllier and the Frenchmen has had to work hard to win round the fans and apparently the dressing room.

Houllier was allowed to spend some of the £24million Villa received from the summer sale of James Milner to Manchester City, on securing the services of Darren Bent from Sunderland in a £18million deal.

The England striker was brought in to add much-needed firepower to Villa’s misfiring frontline and has scored five times since his January arrival.

Villa’s problem this season, much like the Hammers, has been inconsistency.

Alongside credible results, such as a 3-3 draw away to Chelsea, they have lost at home to Sunderland and relegation-threatened Wolves, as well as drawing at home to Fulham and Bolton – two sides a top-six team should be beating.

On the road, Villa have struggled to pick up points, winning just twice and losing nine times.

Villa’s season has been such a shock due to the supposed quality of their squad, that have for one reason or another failed to perform and deliver.

For example, Ashley Young, who recently shone for England against Ghana at Wembley, has had a hot and cold season as has his compatriot and fellow wideman Stewart Downing.

Up front, Emile Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor have often failed to score while Robert Pires hasn’t been able to recreate the Premier League form of his Arsenal days.

Defensively, Villa are quite a tight side, with former Hammer James Collins marshalling the defence alongside Richard Dunne.

Captain Stiliyan Petrov is influential in midfield, while Kyle Walker, currently on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, is a constant attacking threat from right back.

Villa are a team that like to play attacking football.

Their main threat comes from the wings, with Downing and Young providing crosses and often cutting in to shoot.

Stopping the widemen will be vital if West Ham are to win on Saturday. Wayne Bridge and either Lars Jacobsen or James Tomkins will need to be at their best to stop Villa’s supply to Darren Bent.

In the centre of the midfield, West Ham should try to make their extra man count, with Young and Downing caught higher up the pitch.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 13:00

Leyton Orient captain Jobi McAnuff has backed English Football League chairman Rick Parry’s combative letter to the Government and revealed the toll on players caused by the continued absence of fans from matches.

Wed, 16:00

London Lions have added Great Britain centre Fahro Alihodzic to their roster as they approach the start of the domestic season and look to January’s FIBA Eurocup campaign.

Wed, 15:00

A programme to get more youngsters involved in outdoor sport is being started at Mile End stadium in the search for “the hockey stars of tomorrow”.

Wed, 13:00

West Ham United fan and budding journalist Kwame Boakye is feeling optimistic under manager David Moyes.

Wed, 10:00

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton was ‘disappointed’ that his side failed to push on after early lead as they drew 1-1 with Exeter City.

Tue, 20:55

League Two: Leyton Orient 1 Exeter City 1

Tue, 14:00

Lukasz Fabianski 7: Huge save to deny Raheem Sterling late on. Went right way and almost stopped Phil Foden’s goal.

Mon, 13:00

Leyton Orient head coach Ross Embleton knows they’re not the finished article yet but is way more pleased with progress after their 2-0 victory over Stevenage.


Did you know? UCAS gets almost 3 million university applications from around 700,000 people each year. That’s a lot of competition. So how can your son or daughter stand out? 

With winter fast approaching, it is now more important than ever for us all to carry on following COVID-19 precautions to help stop the spread of the virus by always observing the three-tier local restrictions and remembering three key words – Hands, Face, Space.

The NHS COVID-19 app can make a real difference to how we all tackle the pandemic, protecting our loved ones and those most at risk from coronavirus. Everyone aged 16 and over across England and Wales can download the app for free and play their part in combating the pandemic.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Latest from the East London Advertiser