Bolton 1 Aston Villa 2: Albrighton and Petrov grab the goals in first away win of season

Marc Albrighton and Stiliyan Petrov produced the vital goals to deliver Villa’s first away win of the season, but Ivan Klasnic was able to prevent Brad Guzan earning a clean sheet on his first Premiership start.

It was a much improved performance during the first half, and fans crying out for a 4-4-2 system will be quick to point out that was the case today with Marc Albrighton on the right and Charles N’Zogbia on the left. However, it has to

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Herd wins the plaudits, and a growing list of minor injuries

Chris Herd’s performances have rightly earned him quite a few headlines in the last couple of weeks. Initially for the wrong reason, but lately for the right ones.

Alex McLeish has said that he’s “a manager’s dream; the best trainer at the club”.

He will train the way he plays on Saturday by giving it absolutely everything. Herdy can improve technically if he keeps practising. There is no doubt in my mind that he has the desire.

Peter Grant has also talked about

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Everton 2 Aston Villa 2: Poor performance yields a very welcome point

There’s no getting away from it, that was a poor performance against an Everton side unable (or unwilling) to field a single recognised striker. We might owe a somewhat sheepish nod in the referee’s direction, but Petrov and Gabby somehow managed to cancel out Leon Osman’s opener and Leighton Baines’ second half penalty to grab a hugely valuable point we barely deserved.

Any hope I harboured of Everton being bogged down by their off-field issues were killed off immediately as the

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O Captain! My Captain!

For all the questions regarding the strength in depth of the current Aston Villa squad, there hasn’t been a great deal of discussion, so far as I’ve seen, about the captaincy. In truth, the role of the captain is often overblown, and it has to be said that the other highly paid professional athletes on the pitch shouldn’t need any motivation or encouragement from a colleague, but a great leader can still be worth his weight in gold.

Or points. I

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Passing Wheel Analysis: Makoun & Petrov vs Murphy & Sidwell

Jean Makoun picked up the Man of the Match award against Fulham and has rightly won the plaudits from most quarters. But not everyone is impressed.

It’s true that his tackling isn’t the greatest just yet, but his passing is exemplary; he was the leading passer on the pitch against bother Man Utd and Fulham.

But the devil is always in the detail, passing numbers alone can distort the true picture. For instance, lots and lots of backwards and sideways passes can’t

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Ciaran Clark signs new contract and 3 months out for Petrov, but no surgery

We really haven’t had chance to see that much of him, but Ciaran Clark has already won himself an army of fans among the Villa faithful and beyond. I’m sure all fans will be as delighted as I am to hear that Ciaran has just signed a new contract at Villa, extending his stay until 2014.

He was inside the last 12 months of his contact and was starting to gain the attention of other clubs besides also being snapped

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Villans away on international duty

GĂ©rard Houllier probably won’t mind the two week break in the domestic fixture schedule as he continues to settle in, but he will be without several key players:-

Ashley Young and Stephen Warnock were called up to the England squad for Tuesday’s European Qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley.

Marc Albrighton and Nathan Delfouneso are with England Under 21s ahead of the play-off against Romania for next year’s European Under 21 Championship in Denmark. The first leg is at Carrow Rd on

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