It’s all gone quiet over here

If you’ve been stopping by Aston Villa Central for a while now you would have noticed something amiss this past weekend and may have assumed that I had joined Darren Bent on a quick shopping jaunt.

I had no such luck I’m afraid. I did indeed watch the 2-0 loss at the hands of Liverpool, but for the first time in a few years I hadn’t done any preparation before the game. I didn’t relay the teamsheets before kick off. I

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One loan, two loans, three loans, four

It’s been the week of loans in B6 with no less than four players heading out to get some competitive football elsewhere.

Firstly, Habib Beye went to Doncaster, initially until January, but hopefully a deal to take him through to the end of the season (and his Villa contract) won’t be out of the question. Assuming he’s not a disaster.

Then Nathan Baker, closely followed by Shane Lowry, made a temporary switch to Milwall; Baker for a month, Lowry just into the

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Darren Bent and Kasabian demonstrate when the manager should take all the blame

This is not an attempt to absolve anyone of any blame for the unacceptable performance at White Hart Lane last night, but it’s become painfully obvious to me in the last 18 months or so that in the fans’ eyes it’s players that win games… and managers that lose them.

Let me give you an example:

Towards the end of last season, in what would be Gerard Houllier’s final game on the sidelines, we took on the hapless West Ham at Upton

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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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Charles N’Zogbia prefers to play on the right and is targeting Europe with Villa

Charles N’Zogbia has revealed that he prefers to play on the right, aims to qualify for Europe with Aston Villa and harbours ambitions of being on the French team plane to Brazil in 2014.

N’Zogbia spoke with The New York Times during a recent international break and showed his appreciation for the size of the boots he had to fill following the exits of Ashley Young and Stewart Downing.

Yes, big shoes. Now they bring new players. When you start the league

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Menor que un club

Not everyone enjoys watching Barcelona play football these days, some find them incredibly boring, but I happen to be among the group who gets a lot of pleasure from watching them play.

I’m reluctant to hold them up as an example of what other teams should be doing – least of all Aston Villa – as they have players from another planet in terms of ability. Often, if you try to replicate Barcelona without the same quality players, you’ll fail miserably

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Greed

Unless you’ve been in a cave, you’ll be well aware of the suggestion from Liverpool’s managing director, Ian Ayre, that his club is getting short changed from the overseas TV money pouring into the Premier League these days. Or, more to the point, the smaller clubs in the league are getting what’s really due to Liverpool.

The good people of Kuala Lumpur, Ayre informs us, are not subscribing to the Premier League TV packages available in their neck of the woods

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30-mile rule should receive the plaudits

One of the more interesting pieces of Aston Villa news to emerge during the international break was the club’s intention to include a clause in future contracts that would oblige players to live within 30 miles of Bodymoor Heath. Or at least have a base to use during what constitutes a “working week” for a Premier League footballer.

The rule is unlikely to be enforced to the letter, I’m sure living 31 miles away won’t be an issue, but the spirit

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Getting back to business: A brief Euro 2012 round up from Villa’s perspective

The qualification for Euro 2012 is almost done. England will be in Poland and/or Ukraine next summer after comfortably finishing top of Group G, albeit by handing Motenegro an unlikely point and a place in the play-offs in the final game. Ireland also made it to the play-offs, and could be drawn against Montenegro, but Wales and Scotland miss out once again.

England: Ashley Young provided a rare headed finish to an even rarer superb delivery from Theo Walcott. Young then

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