Preston Pre-Match: Facts & Fiction as Villa need to return to winning ways.

PRESTON PREVIEW

The last time that the two clubs faced one another in October it saw Roberto Di Matteo’s Villa reign come to an unceremonious end.

Fortunately for Steve Bruce, he has already shown the type of footballing nous which should (hopefully) prevent him succumbing to the same outcome.  At least it won’t be Saturday.

We have though been faltering of late, but the focus of our mid-table obscurity has broadly centred on failings not of Bruce’s making.

This includes the loss of Jonathan Kodjia & Jordan Ayew (to a lessor extent) to the African Cup of Nations.  Equally, Bruce has inherited a squad that is incredibly imbalanced, with many new faces having failed to radically improve us.

ALL CHANGE. AGAIN.

The new regime is now also starting to take action in glaring areas of weakness.

The decidedly fragile Pierluigi Gollini has been loaned out to Atalanta for 18 months.  Sam Johnstone, loaned in from Manchester United, cuts a presence we’ve been lacking between the sticks.

The latest addition seeks to address Villa’s borderline shambolic, at times non-existent midfield.  The purchase of Henri Lansbury goes a long way to at least demonstrating we are trying to rectify the problem.  It doesn’t though solve all of our problems.

Bruce once again has to deliberate over Villa’s misfiring and frankly abysmal attack.

Check out these alarming stats as well, if you need any convincing that there’s not a serious underlying problem.

This boils down to Bruce’s only genuine error since he has been at Villa Park; Gabby Agbonlahor.  After a deserved banishment to the doldrums at Villa Park, Gabby has suddenly been made the central striker.  14 woeful appearances later, with barely a shot or threat on goal mustered & the experiment continues.

We must cease with the nonsensical selection of Agbonlahor.  It’s a fiction, worse yet, a delusion to believe that he represents the future improvement of Aston Villa.

Villa face Preston reeling from three straight defeats (Spurs, Cardiff & Wolves) – a return to form is a must.

KEY FACTS

  • Preston’s last visit to VP saw them lose 5-0 [2002]
  • Villa remain unbeaten at home this season.
  • Villa have won 5 of last 6 at Villa Park.
  • Academy: Callum Robinson & Daniel Johnson set to face us.
  • Nathan Baker likely to be available after injury.
  • Preston = 9th
  • Villa = 13th
  • Reverse fixture 2-0 to Preston.
  • Consecutive defeats in league for Villa (both away).
  • AVFC 10 points adrift of playoffs.
  • Preston have lost just 3 in 18 games.
  • Preston captain Tom Clarke is a Villa fan.
  • Simon Grayson played for Villa in the 90’s.

LAST XI

Villa’s last squad to face Preston at Villa Park certainly raises some eyebrows…for old times sake…:

  • Peter Enckelman
  • JLloyd Samuel
  • Steve Staunton
  • Ronny Johnsen
  • Dion Dublin
  • Gareth Barry
  • Lee Hendrie
  • Thomas Hitzlsperger
  • Oyvind Leonhardsen
  • Ian Taylor
  • Darius Vassell
  • Subbed:
  • De La Cruz
  • Juan Pablo Angel
  • Mark Kinsella.
  • Postma
  • Marcus Allback
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