Dunne and Given heading to Euro 2012, and Barry Bannan’s back, baby

The Euro 2012 play-offs are over and we now know all 16 teams who will be competing in Poland and Ukraine next summer. Barring any injury issues, there will definitely be some Villa interest as the Irish saw out their considerable advantage from the first leg against Estonia to book their place in the finals with a 1-1 draw in Dublin.

Just try to stop Shay Given and Richard Dunne getting on that plane.

The draw for the groups will take place

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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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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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QPR 1 Aston Villa 1: Another day, another draw

An injury time own goal by Richard Dunne cancelled out a second half penalty by Barry Bannan to end yet another game in stalemate, but a win would have been thoroughly undeserved.

The first half is not worth talking about. It was as bad as anything I’ve seen from Villa in recent years and, let’s face it, we’ve seen some poor stuff lately. QPR bossed two thirds of the possession and managed to outpass us almost 2:1.

The second half was a

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Looking forward (to Everton), not back in anger (at England)

Another international break has come and gone, time to focus on the bread and butter stuff. If you watched England labour to three points against Wales at Wembley this week, as a Villa fan, the line-up may have looked a lot like the image below. It probably stung quite a bit for most of us.

This is a relatively rare experience for us, but it’s been coming and it’s easy to lose sight of an important fact amongst the bitterness. In

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First they’re reserves, then they’re valuable assets. Ever feel like you can’t win?

You won’t need me to tell you, you’ll no doubt recognise this team right away, but if not, it’s the starting eleven from the FA Cup 5th round at Eastlands that caused so much anger:

Brad Friedel

Chris Herd
Richard Dunne
Ciaran Clark
Fabian Delph

Michael Bradley
Stiliyan Petrov

Barry Bannan

Nathan Delfouneso
Gabby Agbonlahor

Emile Heskey

Look at it again. They’ve been called “kids”, “reserves”, “B-Team” and much more. Aside from Chris Herd – who had been named in 12 of the 35 match squads before that game by the way

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Nine games to go, Bannan heads out on loan, 23 left to get it done

As you’ll be aware, Barry Bannan has joined Leeds on loan for the rest of the season with the option of an extension should they make the play-offs. Who knows, maybe he’ll end up repeating the trip he made to Wembley with Blackpool last year. There’s probably a quiz question in that if he does.

As ever, not everyone is thrilled by this move and it provides another convenient stick to whack the manager over the head with. Personally, I think

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Ashley Young and Darren Bent get the goals for England plus other international news

Ashley Young and Darren Bent scored both goals for England in a 2-1 victory over Denmark in Copenhagen tonight. It capped a pretty decent performance from England despite conceding an early Daniel Agger goal.

It was Ash’s first goal for England, winning his 12th cap, and Bent’s 2nd goal in what was amazingly only his 8th appearance for the national side. I think they’ll be in Capello’s plans again next time.

Bent played the full 90 minutes and might have scored more,

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Pires signs for six months, Delph in America and Bannan’s MON problem

It’s a breaking news type of thing; Robert Pires has passed his medical at Bodymoor and has signed a six month contract which takes him through to the end of the season. Carlos Cuellar tweeted earlier today that he’d met Pires at Bodymoor, he looked fit and they talked in Spanish – Pires was at Villarreal for four years of course.

I’m looking forward to seeing Bobby in action, not sure exactly where he’ll fit in, but as I keep

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