Game #5170

2011-12

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Position:

Semi Final

Asia Trophy Semi Final

Blackburn Rovers

Hong Kong Stadium, Hong Kong

Attendance: 33,967

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Alex McLeish takes charge of Villa for the first time as they participate at an officially sanction four team Premier League tournament in Hong Kong as football is softened up for the infamous "39th" game.

Aston Villa

1-0

Blackburn Rovers

Scorer(s) | Darren Bent | 49’ |

Assist(s) | Not recorded

AT A GLANCE

Game #5170

Season | 2011-12 |
Matchday | #1 |
Manager Game | #1 |
Wednesday, 27 July 2011

MATCH SUMMARY

Manager | Alex McLeish |
KO | 6.00pm |
Referee | NG Chiu Kok, Hong Kong |
HT Score | 0-0 |
FT Score | 1-0 |
FT Result | Won |
Last 5 Games | LDWWW |

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: NG Chiu Kok

MATCH INCIDENTS

NG Chiu Kok

Villa

Not recorded

Blackburn Rovers

Not recorded

🟨 | Booking
🟥 | Sending off
💥+ | Incidents e.g. penalty awarded

💥- | Incidents e.g. penalty conceded, goal disallowed

💥 | Incidents e.g. refused clear pen

🆘 | Notably poor refereeing performance    

TEAM STATS

Starting XI Average Age
| 29.51 |

Oldest Player |
GK Shay Given | 35.29 |

Youngest Player |
M Barry Bannan | 21.67 |

TEAM NEWS

Alex McLeish handed a debut to new 'keeper Shay Given whilst Stephen Warnock is released from Gérard Houllier's infamous 'bomb squad' of first team players not to be considered for duty and makes his first appearance since January 2011.

UNAVAILABLE

None

MATCH STATS

Not recorded

MANAGER

Alex McLeish

STAFF

Assistant Manager: Peter Grant
First Team Coach: Gordon Cowans
First Team Coach: Andy Watson

STARTING LINE UP

GK Shay Given |
RB Luke Young |
LB Stephen Warnock |
CB Richard Dunne |
CB James Collins |
M Jean Makoun |
M Stiliyan Petrov |
M Barry Bannan |
CF Emile Heskey
F Darren Bent |
F Gabriel Agbonlahor |

SUBSTITUTES

W Marc Albrighton for M Barry Bannan | 63’ |
F Nathan Delfouneso for F Gabriel Agbonlahor | 63’ |
M Fabian Delph for M Jean Makoun | 63’ |
CB Ciaran Clark for M Stiliyan Petrov | 74’ |

UNUSED SUBSTITUTES

Not recorded

THE OPPOSITION

ex: Also played for the Villa

g: Scored

s/o: Sent off

s-: Sub off; s+: Sub on

ON THIS DAY

Alex McLeish’s first game as newly appointed Villa boss and it was possibly a good thing that his debut came in a neutral venue thousands of miles away from Villa Park.

Let’s get a few things out of the way though.

Alex McLeish had just led Villa’s near neighbours to relegation from the Premier League.

Alex McLeish was renowned for dour, unimaginative and overtly negative football.

Villa had just come off the back of an appalling managerial appointment in Gérard Houllier who had almost relegated a club that had finished six for the previous three season.

Villa had dallied with some of the most unpopular names possible in their search for a replacement for the woeful Houllier including the dreaded Steve McLaren.

Villa settled on Alex McLeish, in a move initially dismissed as a joke, and invested heavily in enticing a manager without big club credentials and plenty of known foibles to become the first to cross the city and lead Villa.

Against that backdrop it is no surprise that McLeish’s appointment was met with anger and animosity.

That however is one side of the argument.

The other made an equally strong case.

Alex McLeish wanted to be at Villa and was proud and committed to the cause in stark contrast to his predecessor.

McLeish had taken a poor Birmingham side to ninth in the top flight just two seasons earlier - one of their best ever finishes in League football.

McLeish had won the League Cup with Birmingham in 2010-11.

McLeish abandoned the ridiculous Houllier ‘bomb squad’ and operated a spirit of inclusion unseen at Villa for many a season.

McLeish undertook a major overhaul of a squad that had lost John Carew, Brad Friedel, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young to name but a few and brought in unquestionably excellent signings Shay Given, Charles N’Zogbia, Robbie Keane, Alan Hutton and Jermaine Jenas.

McLeish was incredibly unlucky with injuries - far more so than his predecessors - that robbed him of his new and best talent for extended periods.

McLeish was an effective tool in clearing the squad of sub-standard players - moving on Jean Makoun, Habib Beye and releasing the likes of Brad Guzan who he knew were not first team standard.

McLeish had the confidence to hand a squad debut to a young lad called Jack Grealish.

McLeish acted with integrity and honour throughout his difficult spell in a total contrast to the dismissive and disrespectful attitude of his predecessor.

Ultimately however McLeish will be remembered for where he came from not where he was at and although his dismissal was inevitable almost from the day of his appointment up until April 2012, McLeish’s record was actually better than that of his predecessor.

The final eight games of the season however were simply torrid.

Alex McLeish needed a break as Villa boss and didn’t get it. The experiment didn’t work. In truth it probably couldn’t work. But McLeish was often not the problem.

Luke Young helps Villa beat Blackburn in a four team Premier League tournament in Hong Kong as Alex McLeish controversially takes charge of the club for the first time, Wednesday, 27 July 2011.

Source: avfc.co.uk/News/2011/07/28/villa-in-hong-kong-highlights-watch-villa-beat-blackburn-on-avtv

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Source: avfc.co.uk/News/2011/07/28/villa-in-hong-kong-highlights-watch-villa-beat-blackburn-on-avtv

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MATCH TIMELINE

1’ Debut, Shay Given
HT Aston Villa 0-0 Blackburn Rovers
49’ Goal, 1-0, Darren Bent
63’ Sub off, Barry Bannan, Sub on, Marc Albrighton
63’ Sub off, Gabby Agbonlahor, Sub on, Nathan Delfouneso
63’ Sub off, Jean Makoun, Sub on, Fabian Delph
74’ Sub off, Stiliyan Petrov, Sub on, Ciaran Clark
FT Aston Villa 1-0 Blackburn Rovers

MANAGER WATCH

POSITION

2021-22 Matchweek 38.jpg

MATCH PROGRAMME

MATCH PROGRAMME

Quotation Marks.png

QUOTES

Villa Boy.png

Quotation Marks.png

*The Telegraph*
Wednesday, 27 July 2011

"Darren Bent struck to earn new Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish a pre-season victory over fellow Premier League side Blackburn Rovers. The £24 million striker’s goal was a typical close-range, predatory effort."

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Darren Bent struck to earn new Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish a pre-season victory over fellow Premier League side Blackburn Rovers. The £24 million striker’s goal was a typical close-range, predatory effort.

The result means that Villa will now go forward to the final of the four-team Barclays Asia Trophy where, on Saturday, they will play the winners of the other tie between Chelsea and the Hong Kong champions Kitchee.

Villa looked the stronger side but Blackburn can count themselves unfortunate having also created chances although they have to strengthen for the forthcoming season.

It was a competitive match - and was marred a little at the end by a confrontation involving several players who had to be pulled apart as Blackburn pushed for an equaliser.

For all Villa’s early dominance of possession it was Blackburn who worked the first two meaningful opportunities with first Mauro Formica’s drive being beaten away by Shay Given and then Richard Dunne backing off David Dunn, allowing the midfielder to send in a shot that cleared the bar. Soon after and, for Villa, Bent twisted to head over.

The players wore black armbands following last weekend’s atrocities in Norway, at the request of Morten Gamst Pedersen, for an occasion that was watched by a half-full stadium that slowly started to fill out. The 40,000-capacity arena, shoehorned between the hills around Hong Kong, and more usually the venue to the famous rugby sevens tournament, was almost sold out although large numbers of spectators delayed their arrival for the later kick-off involving Chelsea.

Villa continued to threaten and when Barry Bannan crossed deep, it was met by the rehabilitated Stephen Warnock who turned the ball back across goal when he perhaps should have shot only for Gael Givet to scramble it away for a corner before it reached Bent.

From that James Collins headed over and then the impressive Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov tricked his way past Martin Ollson only to shoot straight at Paul Robinson.

There was no lack of commitment which was epitomised when Warnock threw himself on the edge of the penalty area to block Dunn as he shaped to shoot and as the ball broke to Brett Emerton who, too, was denied by another last-ditch challenge. Dunn was injured, as was Warnock. Bent brought down Givet and Olsson was booked for a challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor who, interestingly, was playing in the middle of a three behind lone striker Bent.

In fact, both sides lined up with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Formica in the middle of the three for Blackburn with Dunn dropping deeper. What will have been a concern for Blackburn supporters, however, was the lack of depth in the squad.

The heat declined slightly, but the humidity was still a problem for both sets of players who are working themselves towards full fitness. Shirts were drenched with sweat.

Each manager was only allowed five substitutions but decided against making any half-time changes despite the conditions with Villa reaping an early reward after more fine build-up play. This time the ball was worked to Bannan who crossed from the right-wing for Bent to steal in, inside the six-yard area, and steer the ball beyond Robinson to open the scoring.

Blackburn quickly responded with a barrelling run by captain Chris Samba who slipped a pass to Emerton. The Australian took one touch and sent a curling left-foot shot that was tipped away by Given. Formica was growing in influence and almost sent Emerton clear, the move was blocked by a fine Warnock intervention, and then ran through to tee up Michel Salgado who screwed a shot wide.

Both sides wanted to win. Blackburn manager Steve Kean was limited in what he could do, by the squad he has, but McLeish rang the changes. By the end, some Chelsea players had come to the side of the pitch to watch the final few minutes as they prepared for their match with the goalkeepers applauding a smart block by Robinson after Marc Albrighton had latched onto Emerton’s loose pass and fired in a fierce drive.

Darren Bent struck to earn new Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish a pre-season victory over fellow Premier League side Blackburn Rovers. The £24 million striker’s goal was a typical close-range, predatory effort.

The result means that Villa will now go forward to the final of the four-team Barclays Asia Trophy where, on Saturday, they will play the winners of the other tie between Chelsea and the Hong Kong champions Kitchee.

Villa looked the stronger side but Blackburn can count themselves unfortunate having also created chances although they have to strengthen for the forthcoming season.

It was a competitive match - and was marred a little at the end by a confrontation involving several players who had to be pulled apart as Blackburn pushed for an equaliser.

For all Villa’s early dominance of possession it was Blackburn who worked the first two meaningful opportunities with first Mauro Formica’s drive being beaten away by Shay Given and then Richard Dunne backing off David Dunn, allowing the midfielder to send in a shot that cleared the bar. Soon after and, for Villa, Bent twisted to head over.

The players wore black armbands following last weekend’s atrocities in Norway, at the request of Morten Gamst Pedersen, for an occasion that was watched by a half-full stadium that slowly started to fill out. The 40,000-capacity arena, shoehorned between the hills around Hong Kong, and more usually the venue to the famous rugby sevens tournament, was almost sold out although large numbers of spectators delayed their arrival for the later kick-off involving Chelsea.

Villa continued to threaten and when Barry Bannan crossed deep, it was met by the rehabilitated Stephen Warnock who turned the ball back across goal when he perhaps should have shot only for Gael Givet to scramble it away for a corner before it reached Bent.

From that James Collins headed over and then the impressive Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov tricked his way past Martin Ollson only to shoot straight at Paul Robinson.

There was no lack of commitment which was epitomised when Warnock threw himself on the edge of the penalty area to block Dunn as he shaped to shoot and as the ball broke to Brett Emerton who, too, was denied by another last-ditch challenge. Dunn was injured, as was Warnock. Bent brought down Givet and Olsson was booked for a challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor who, interestingly, was playing in the middle of a three behind lone striker Bent.

In fact, both sides lined up with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Formica in the middle of the three for Blackburn with Dunn dropping deeper. What will have been a concern for Blackburn supporters, however, was the lack of depth in the squad.

The heat declined slightly, but the humidity was still a problem for both sets of players who are working themselves towards full fitness. Shirts were drenched with sweat.

Each manager was only allowed five substitutions but decided against making any half-time changes despite the conditions with Villa reaping an early reward after more fine build-up play. This time the ball was worked to Bannan who crossed from the right-wing for Bent to steal in, inside the six-yard area, and steer the ball beyond Robinson to open the scoring.

Blackburn quickly responded with a barrelling run by captain Chris Samba who slipped a pass to Emerton. The Australian took one touch and sent a curling left-foot shot that was tipped away by Given. Formica was growing in influence and almost sent Emerton clear, the move was blocked by a fine Warnock intervention, and then ran through to tee up Michel Salgado who screwed a shot wide.

Both sides wanted to win. Blackburn manager Steve Kean was limited in what he could do, by the squad he has, but McLeish rang the changes. By the end, some Chelsea players had come to the side of the pitch to watch the final few minutes as they prepared for their match with the goalkeepers applauding a smart block by Robinson after Marc Albrighton had latched onto Emerton’s loose pass and fired in a fierce drive.