Aston Villa have had an indifferent start to the season. Even though they were unbeaten until the trip to Manchester City, they have had a lot of draws this season, and as a result, they find themselves only seven points about the drop zone.
The situation would be extremely misleading if you take the league positions into account because they lie in the eighth place just below Arsenal. However, performances have been pretty poor this season with the team struggling to score goals on a regular basis. The departure of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing has definitely had an impact, but it falls down to new manager Alex McLeish to sort it out.
Aston Villa have confirmed that they have suspended midfielder Barry Bannan until they have had a full inquiry into his high-speed motorway crash.
The accident happened on Sunday evening, after Bannan had spent the afternoon with footballing friend (and former Villa footballer) James Collins. As they were driving back towards Birmingham on the M1 their vehicle veered out of control, and it was only sheer chance that meant that nobody was hurt.
Alex Ferguson has said that Alex McLeish can succeed at Aston Villa despite the fans. McLeish quit St Andrew's on Sunday and the prospect of him moving across the city has enraged some Villa fans.
"At the end of the day, what will count is this - can he do the job for Villa?" said Ferguson.
"It doesn't matter whether there are 50 against him, 500 against him or five against him because the experience and the ability he has got, believe me, he will prove that he can do the job.
"I've known him for a long time and I know his abilities. I know how conscientious he is.
Ashley Young is expected to be sold by Aston Villa in the summer, according to the Free Bet website. He might maintain that he is not considering his future just yet, but it appears as though Aston Villa are. The Midlands club are expected to tell Young’s suitors that they must part with at least £25 million this summer to prise the England international away a year before his contract ends.
Robert Pires has said that he would be willing to extend his Villa stay by another year as he is extremely happy at the club.
“I would like to stay for another season,” said Frenchman Pires in the Daily Express.
“For me, every morning I need to practice my football. I hope to play games and I hope to play next season. Why not? I am old and I have experience, I can help these players.”
The 37 year old put in a top performance against Blackburn at the weekend and could land his self a new deal if he continues this run of form.
Aston Villa Captain Stylian Petrov could be close to a move to Turkey. The 31-year-old was said to be a target for the Istanbul club during the January window, but he remains part of Gerard Houllier’s squad at Aston Villa.
But The People expect Gala to return for Petrov at the end of the season, when they are thought to be willing to offer him a bumper deal to make the move.
The Bulgarian has featured eighteen times in the Premier League this season for Villa, and he is under contract at the club until the summer of 2013.
Aston Villa secured a huge morale boosting win against Blackburn Rovers to progress to the next round of the FA Cup. Ciaran Clark nodded Villa ahead but Rovers were quickly level as Nikola Kalinic bundled home from close range.
Veteran winger Pires restored Villa's lead with a sweet half-volley before Nathan Delfouneso's header made it 3-1.
Martin Olsson fired against the bar for Rovers but, even after Villa had Nathan Baker sent off for a wild tackle, Blackburn rarely threatened a comeback.
Aston Villa are reportedly close to signing two players in the January transfer window. Houllier will fly to France to speak to Lyon about the prospects of capturing the 27-year-old Cameroon player.
"He can play as a holding player or as a box-to-box midfielder," Houllier said. "We are working on [the deal]."
Houllier also remains interested in signing Blackpool captain Charlie Adam after making an improved £3.5m bid.
Gerard Houllier has said that he is still confident that the team can come back from their bad run of form. Villa boss Gerard Houllier remained upbeat despite the defeat leaving his side hovering dangerously four points above the relegation zone.
"I think it is a poor result, but not a poor performance," the Frenchman told BBC Sport.
"The mistake was made was conceding a second goal, after that we knew it was difficult. We got a goal and probably deserved an equaliser which we didn't get. "