Tag Archives: Dean Smith

Aston Villa v Liverpool: preview

Aston Villa face Liverpool late on Sunday at Villa Park in the Premier League with both sides looking to maintain their 100% starts to the league campaign.

Both sides did lose their respective Carabao Cup clashes this week and will be desperate to bounce back with a victory in this one. Villa were eliminated by Championship side Stoke City, whilst Liverpool lost to Arsenal on penalties after a 0-0 draw in 90 minutes.

Aston Villa

The hosts have made a number of signings this summer that seem to be having the desired affect on the squad as Dean Smith’s side have won back to back top-flight matches after maintaining their status by the skin of their teeth last season.

Ollie Watkins and Emi Martinez have both hit the ground running, and have been joined this week by former Everton midfielder Ross Barkley – who has joined on loan from Chelsea for the season.

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s outfit have won all three of their matches so far this term in their pursuit of retaining their Premier League crown. The champions have beaten Arsenal and Chelsea thus far and will be hopeful of continuing their good form.

Despite winning the title at a canter, Liverpool have added Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas to their squad. However, both Thiago and Tsimikas re expected to miss this clash.

Last Season’s Meetings

The Reds won both meetings between the two sides last term in the league with late drama in this exact fixture back in November last year.

Trailing to a Trezeguet goal to nil with just minutes remaining Andy Roberson headed the champions elect level before Sadio Mane’s front post glancing header found its way into the net, and with it the away end erupted – something that sadly wont be possible on Sunday.

The meeting at Anfield was far more straight forward for Liverpool as another strike from Mane was added to late on by Curtis Jones to earn Klopp’s side a 2-0 victory.

Likely Lineups

Despite the signing of Barkley this week, the scouser may have to wait for his debut but may yet feature off the bench.

Aston Villa: Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Hourihane, Trezeguet, Grealish, Watkins

Liverpool will be without the aforementioned Thiago and Tsimikas as well as captain Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and perhaps both Xherdan Shaqiri and Rhian Brewster who are both edging towards transfers away from the club.

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexnader-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Keita, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino

Prediction

Despite their strong start this is by far the sternest test of the season for Dean Smith’s men and could well be a step to far in their 100% record.

Klopp’s side will know if they can maintain their relentless form, with their main rivals dropping points they could create another early lead.

Aston Villa 1-3 Liverpool

Jack Grealish commits future to Aston Villa

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has ended speculation regarding his future with the club by signing a new five-year deal, keeping him at Villa Park until 2025. 

The England midfielder has been linked with a move to Manchester United this transfer window, but he has now confirmed via the club’s Twitter account that his immediate future will be at Villa Park. 

This news will come as a welcome boost to Villa fans, to secure the services of their captain, who has been at his hometown club since he was eight-years old. 

Grealish made his debut for the club towards the back end of the 2013/14 and stuck by Villa despite their relegation in 2016. 

The England international played a crucial role in his team’s return to the top flight and was their top scorer in their first season back in the Premier League. 

Grealish said:

“I am delighted to make this commitment to Villa. It is my club, my home and I am very happy here. The owners have made it very clear to me how ambitious they are and how they want to build Aston Villa.  There are exciting times ahead and I am glad to be apart of it.”

Villa Chief Executive Christian Purslow, meanwhile, said: 

“We are determined to build a top team around him and are delighted that he is extending his contract and committing to the club that he loves.”

Indeed, the Villa owners have clearly demonstrated their ambition for the club this past week as they not only secured Grealish’s future but they have signed last season’s Championship joint-top scorer, striker Ollie Watkins from Brentford for a club record fee of £28 million. 

The midlands side have also brought in full back Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest and look set to add the likes of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal and former Chelsea striker Betrand Traore.

Despite the influx of signings, the aim for Villa is clearly still remaining in the top flight this season and with these latest additions they certainly look to have a fighting chance of achieving this.

Where do you think Aston Villa will finish this season? Do you think they have what it takes to remain in the top flight for the second season running?

Pulisic, Giroud help Chelsea escape scare from Aston Villa

In Chelsea’s first game since the Premier League restarted, the club were able to skate by with a narrow 2-1 victory in Birmingham courtesy of goals from substitute Christian Pulisic and Olivier Giroud.

During most of the first half, the Champions league contenders were dominating the home team, having most of the possession and had many chances to take the lead. However, it was manager Dean Smith’s side that took an early lead thanks to a right-footed shot from Kortney Hause following a set piece situation.

 

As the teams returned from halftime, The Blues were looking for any way to escape an upset. They decided to bring on Pulisic, the young American who had not played since January 1 due to a thigh injury in the 55th minute along with Ross Barkley.

Five minutes after Chelsea’s first substitutions, Pulisic scored a left-footed shot from the left side of the pitch after César Azpilicueta crossed the ball into the area, evening things up at 1-1. 

 

Not even two minutes, Giroud hits a right-footed shot from the center of the box, with the help of a deflection, into the top left corner as Azpilicueta added another assist to his stats.

 

After the win at Villa Park, which helped the squad increase their lead over Manchester United to now five points, Frank Lampard and Chelsea will take on Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. Meanwhile, Aston Villa will look to keep their place in the Premier League on Wednesday against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park.