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Aston Villa Football Club

  • Nickname:The Villains
  • Founded:1874
  • Manager:Paul Lambert
  • Ground:Villa Park
  • Capacity:42584
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Preview: Aston Villa v Blackburn

06 May 2010 - 13:41:26

A season that started with a shock 2-0 home defeat to Wigan Athletic ends in anti-climax for Aston Villa when they entertain Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.

Last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Manchester City finally banished any lingering top-four hopes for Martin O'Neill's team and they will have to settle for Europa League football again next season.

They look set for a third successive sixth-place finish, although they have earned more points this term than in the previous two.

However, O'Neill has spent a lot of money on new players in his four years at the Villa Park helm and owner Randy Lerner may have thought Champions League football would be nearer than it currently is for the current squad.

In contrast, Sam Allardyce has moulded together a strong mid-table squad that has cost little to assemble and has not had a regular goalscorer all season.

Franco di Santo, signed on a season-long loan from Chelsea, has contributed only one goal, while Jason Roberts has managed just five and El Hadji Diouf three, allowing veteran midfielder David Dunn to emerge as the club's top-scorer with nine.

Allardyce has already made boosting his striking options this summer a priority with Ivory Coast international Aruna Dindane, who is currently on loan at Portsmouth, at the top of his list.

Both managers are expected to make sweeping changes to their sides, although O'Neill is only likely to be without long-term injured duo Fabian Delph (knee) and Curtis Davies (ankle).

Steven N'Zonzi, Niko Kalinic and Diouf are all unavailable for Rovers, who will be coming up against their former goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

Villa have a 46-18 record against Rovers at Villa Park with another 18 games ending in draws and edged home 3-2 last season when Luke Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Gareth Barry were all on target.

Sunday's match will be the fifth time the two teams have met this season with Villa knocking Rovers out in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup as well as the third round of the FA Cup.

However, at Ewood Park earlier this season, Rovers won a thrilling game 2-1 thanks to Dunn's late winner even though they were forced to play with ten men for the last 22 minutes following Vince Grella's dismissal.


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