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Jon Riley 20th Nov 2010 - 17:13

Houllier's men out to ruin the Venky's big day

With the completion of a forty million pounds takeover of the club confirmed this week, Blackburn Rovers will hope to mark the new era of the club with a win against a couple of old friends at Ewood Park.

Stephen Warnock and Brad Friedel travel back to Lancashire as part of an injury ravaged Villa squad looking to upset the odds and carry on their side's terrific recent record against Blackburn.

Gerard Houllier's side, consisting of a number of youth players, nearly pulled off a fantastic result against Manchester United last Saturday at Villa Park and that was with eleven senior professionals out injured.

Former Arsenal winger Robert Pires could make his debut for an Aston Villa side depleted by injuries, who could still be without the likes of Carew, Cuellar, Heskey, Petrov, Reo-Coker and Sidwell.

Sam Allardyce will welcome a return to football action after a week dominated by financial off-field matters. He has no further injury concerns and can look forward to renewing rivalries with Gerard Houllier for the second time this season.

Despite the advantage seemingly being with the home side due to Villa's injuries, it is the visitors that can look back on the best of recent encounters. Aston Villa have won four of their last five trips to Ewood Park in all competitions and have only lost one of the six meetings between the teams in 2010.

Rovers are priced at 11/8 to usher the new era in at Ewood with three points while the visiting Villains can be backed at 21/10 to extend their great run here with a win.

A Sunday stalemate here is priced at 21/10. If a 2-2 scoreline occurs, the score that Villa drew with Man Utd last week, then you can get odds of 16/1.

Sam Allardyce's charges recent upturn in form was ended by Tottenham last week but before then had won their previous two games by a 2-1 scoreline (Correct Score 2-1, 17/2).

The first scorer market in this game could be tricky as both sides have scored 15 and conceded 18 from their 13 Premier League games thus far, an average noticeably below three goals per match. The under 2.5 goals market here is a modest 8/13.

Stewart Downing is Villa's top goal scorer with four league goals this campaign with four league goals and can be backed at 10/1 to bag the opening goal here and 7/2 to score anytime.

Last week Ashley Young grabbed the first goal of the game for Villa and at 8/1 could be well fancied to break the deadlock once again.

Only three players have scored more than once for Blackburn this season, Kalinic, Pedersen and Jason Roberts. Jason Roberts' two goals so far earned his team four points, both winning goals in games he started on the bench, against Wigan and Newcastle. The former Wigan and West Brom striker is priced at 13/2 to open the scoring and 15/8 to score anytime.

If Roberts doesn't start the Rovers fans will be looking to Nikola Kalinic (6/1 first scorer) and set piece expert Morten Gamst Pedersen (10/1).

My recommendation for this match would be for a Villa win. I would plump for a scoreline of 2-1 which pays out at 11/1.

For the first scorer, I would be looking towards Gabby Agbonlahor. The lightning quick striker could get behind the Rovers defence and cause a lot of problems. Agbonlahor first scorer 13/2.




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