HOOF! Long ball statistics over the last three seasons

At the onset of his tenure, it wouldn’t have taken much effort to find predictions about the brand of football Alex McLeish’s Aston Villa side were destined to serve up. None were particularly exciting or encouraging.

I prefer a ‘wait and see’ policy myself, but I think we’re far enough into the season now to look at some statistics and draw some conclusions.

In this post, we’ll focus on the number of attempted passes that have been hit long as a percentage

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The Darren Bent Ton Up Challenge

Darren Bent’s brace against Norwich on Saturday took his Premier League career goal tally to 96, he’s just four short of joining the Ton Up Club.

It’s a pretty exclusive club with former Villans Dwight Yorke and Dion Dublin, plus current Villan Emile Heskey, among its 20 members.

Bent’s definitely got his eye on getting past the doorman, he told the official site:

I’ve still got a few things I’d like to achieve, like 100 Premier League goals. I’m only four off it.

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This Season vs Last Season #14

We’re about to flip the calendar from October to November which means that we’ve already reached the 10 game mark of the season and it’s time for the latest instalment of This Season vs Last Season.

The eagled-eyed among you, and/or followers on Twitter, may have already seen the chronological numbers on the new Season Rankr page. I’ve been updating the table after each game, sorting the records for all 56 top flight seasons since World War II at the same

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Take Hart: Aston Villa are the draw specialists

As you’re probably all too aware, the 1-1 draw at QPR on Sunday was our 5th draw of the season. And we’ve only played six games. And we remain unbeaten. You knew that, right?

Of course you did.

You might not be aware that this means we’ve drawn 83.33% of the (admittedly limited number of) games so far, or that we’ll finish up drawing 31 or 32 games by the end of the season if this pattern continues. It won’t continue of

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This Season vs Last Season #13

With five league games gone, I’m afraid it’s time for the return of This Season vs Last Season – lucky number 13. The series was born during the 2009/10 season as dissenting voices towards Martin O’Neill’s stewardship grew louder and louder. Lots of comparisons were made to how many points we had at the same stage of the previous season, but comparing the fixtures on a like-for-like, or apples-to-apples, basis revealed that we were often doing better than the previous

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Premier League 25-man squads announced

The Premier League have published the full list of 25-man squads for the first half of the 2011/12 season and there were no surprises from Aston Villa, naming 23 players.

Teams are required to name up to a maximum of 25 players aged over 21 and are not allowed to include more than 17 players who do not qualify as “home grown”. As we only have six players who cannot be classed as home grown, this was not an issue for

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Why we struggled to create chances at Craven Cottage

When James Milner re-joined Villa from Newcastle our side was so conditioned to channel the ball down the left in search of Ashley Young that Milner struggled to get involved and spent far too much time as a spectator. That soon began to change, bit by bit, and it wasn’t long before we were finally achieving the balance we’d missed for so long.

I was reminded of this while watching the 0-0 opening day draw at Craven Cottage. This time is

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Assessing the difficulty of the fixture list: When the sun shines you must make hay

We all know that Alex McLeish has a tough task ahead of him. We all know that he’s arrived with about as little goodwill as a new manager could possibly arrive with. We all know that he must win over large swathes of the Villa fanbase, and that there are significant numbers who will never accept him. We all know that a good start is vitally important. Vultures circle.

We’re probably all aware – or we should be – that the

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Tale of the tape: N’Zogbia vs Downing vs Young vs Albrighton

It’s a pretty rare event that we’ll receive official confirmation of an agreement being reached to purchase a player before the actual transfer itself is announced, but that’s apparently the situation with Charles N’Zogbia. It’s all over bar the shouting.

I’m sure such steps wouldn’t have been taken if it wasn’t a formality, it’s just a shame that the player won’t have the chance to hook up with his new team mates in Hong Kong due to a lack of work

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