BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Aston Viila player Barry Bannan (l) is challenged by James Wallace of Tranmere during the Capital One Cup Second Round match between Aston Villa and Tranmere Rovers at Villa Park on August 28, 2012 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
I forgot about weeks like this when I started this feature. Do you remember when Aston Villa last played a match? It seems like ages ago. And, since the transfer window is closed, there really hasn't been all that much important Villa news. I've said this in various places before, but whoever decided that we should have an international break right at the beginning of most domestic league seasons should be slapped. It really just kills all the momentum that fans and teams alike have built. Plus, it's really boring. I will admit that I've got little to no interest in most of the international play that happened, and the one match I did care about (Jamaica-USA) was just terrible.
So yeah, I'm glad Aston Villa will be back this weekend. This is a team that is exciting, even if they aren't necessarily great. They're just a team that I'm eager to watch.
Anyhow, onto the recap of the week that was and what to look forward to in the week to come!
Just The Facts, Please
Form (Last 5): - - L L D
Results Last Week: N/A
Swansea City - Saturday, September 15, 1500 GMT, 1000 Eastern
New Injuries Last Week:
Returned from Injury
- None (though Karim El Ahmadi is likely close)
The Week That Was
- Some Villa players took part in the international break, but they did so in a largely cursory manner. Christian Benteke, Brad Guzan, and Karim El Ahmadi all watched their teams play from the sidelines, and only Benteke came away from the experience with a smile, as Belgium beat Wales 2-0.
- Ron Vlaar and Alan Hutton both saw the pitch, though. Hutton started for Scotland in their 0-0 draw against Serbia. If twitter is to be believed, he tried to murder someone with a tackle, so it's nice to know some things don't change. Vlaar didn't play a big part in the Netherlands 2-0 defeat of Turkey, coming on for John Heitinga in the 86th minute.
- The U-21 team played Southampton twice this week in an odd scheduling quirk. On the good side of things, the team scored five goals in the two matches. Five! That's quite a few goals!
The bad news is that they also allowed five goals. That's quite a few goals!
The somewhere in between news (though more bad) is that they managed to get two draws out of the fixtures, going 3-3 in the first match and 2-2 in the second. I say more bad because that's only 2 points, whereas losing one and winning one would have been 3. This is math. This is what happens when the international break leaves me with nothing to write about.
Danny O'Brien and Daniel Johnson each scored a goal in the first match, while Daniel Devine rounded out the Dan-Hat-Trick with the third. The team then gave up three goals in the second half. Oof. In the second match, Daniel Devine continued to be Villa's best Central Defense striker by scoring two goals. Josh Barton also netted one. "But wait," you say, "that makes six Villa goals!" Correct, good reader, but alas, Barton's was of the "own" variety, and thus counted towards Southampton's tally.
- There were no matches. It was really really sad, though better than having had a match and losing it. Upside!
- Oh thank God, football is back. We've got that to look forward to, no matter what. Better still, it returns to Villa Park.
- Look to see some news about how the new signings are integrating with the team. Jordan Bowery and Ashley Westwood have both been featured in U21 matches.
- Gabby Agbonlahor has been in those matches as well (each team can have a few exceptions to the U21 rule). It should make for some interesting conversation as Paul Lambert has to figure out who he starts up front. Dare we dream of him playing a 4-3-3? (I'd love to see a Holman-El Ahmadi-Bannan midfield and Bent-Weimann-Agbonlahor front three. Not sure if it'd be any good, but it would be fun to watch for at least a little bit.)
This should be a pretty fun week, and then we're in for a steady stream of Villa until mid-October. Hooray! I think.