Steve Clarke on Villa
“If we can use the frustration to kick on and get the points against Villa then fine. But the players are all experienced enough to know that you can’t dwell on the previous game, you have to look forward to the next one.
“I think both teams are evenly balanced this season. Where we are in the league I think is a fair reflection for both teams. We had a slow start, they started a little bit quicker but we are where we are.
“Paul’s good because he changes his formation a lot and he makes it difficult to read the type of team he’s going to play against you. So there has been a lot of work done in the coaches’ room and on the training pitch.
“I like Villa; I think they play with good enthusiasm. Their performances away have been good. They have a team well suited to counter-attack so we have to be on our toes.
“We’re aware of the threat of Aston Villa, we’re aware of what we have to do to counteract that.
“But we have to concentrate on ourselves as well; we have to make sure we go out and play to our maximum.
“If we do that we can get the three points.”
Clarke on who’s the ‘Pride of the Midlands’
“The song the Albion fans sing says it all really. It means a lot to the supporters to finish top dogs in the Midlands.
“Over the last couple of years it has been the Albion fans who have had the bragging rights. But we don’t have a God-given right to that – you have to earn it.
“We understand what it means to our supporters. I’m sure the Villa people know what it means to their supporters.
“We’ve got the Monday night all to ourselves, the whole country can watch if they want, and hopefully we put on a good spectacle.
“There are still a lot of points to play for and a lot of games still to win. Where we’re going to end up I can’t tell you – but I know on Monday night it should be a cracker between two teams.”
Paul Lambert on West Brom
“I’ve seen Ken’s remarks and Aston Villa are a massive club. I don’t think anybody can ever dispute that. It’s won the European Cup, it’s won titles, it’s got a massive fanbase, it’s got a bigger stadium.
‘‘That’s no disrespect to West Brom at all. They’re a good club within their own right. I haven’t been at West Brom, I haven’t managed it or anything like that, but Aston Villa for me is a bigger club.”
Form is Temporary
21 September 2008
West Brom 1 – 2 Aston Villa
West Brom: Last five League matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2
Aston Villa: Last five League matches away: W 2, D 2, L1
In the last five Premier League meetings at the Hawthorns, Villa have won twice, drawn twice and lost once.
One to Watch
West Brom’s record signing, Stéphane Sessègnon – a talented player who Sunderland were mad to sell. Definitely the sort of player Villa could do with!
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Steve Clarke continues to improve his West Brom side, and while their home form has been a little shaky this season, they’re a very tough side to beat – just ask Chelsea.
In recent seasons, they have a good record against us. They’re unbeaten in the last five encounters ever since the match mentioned above. If that wasn’t enough, they’ve only lost one of their last eight games! Villa’s away form is pleasing, and it might be a case in which we cancel each other out, but West Brom’s home form is ominous.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
While Christian Benteke and Weimann are likely to play apart after various injury troubles, they both seem to be afraid of scoring at the moment. What better time to bring the goals back? Villa have found visiting the neighbours annoyingly difficult recently, and the last time we played West Brom we displayed the worst traits of last season and let a 2-0 lead go to waste.
Thankfully, this season we’ve defending pretty well, so a clean sheet would be nice – as long as we score a few too!
Why Villa have got this game in the bag
Although Villa haven’t quite shown the attacking flair of last season, it’s satisfying to see clean sheets, and there’s no doubt the improvement is there. We haven’t scored away for a couple of games now but we found our feet with the goal scoring against Cardiff.
There were signs of improvement from Tonev too, who got the chance to start the game. With Villa now looking deadly from set pieces thanks to Leandro, our away form is reason to be cheerful as we head into the first derby of the season.