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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter #1
From BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/4562606.stm

West Brom v Aston Villa

The Hawthorns
Monday 2 January
Kick-off: 1200 GMT
BBC Radio Five Live

West Brom are hoping midfielder Junichi Inamoto will be fit to return after a thigh injury.

Zoltan Gera is out after his recent hernia operation, but Ronnie Wallwork should shake off an ankle knock.

Aston Villa have no fresh injury problems, but still have only 15 fit senior players to select from.

Youngster Craig Gardner will again feature on the bench, with striker Kevin Phillips and centre-back Olof Mellberg still injured.

West Brom (from): Kuszczak, Robinson, Clement, Davies, Watson, Chaplow, Albrechtsen, Carter, Wallwork, Inamoto, Horsfield, Campbell, Kanu, Hoult, Moore, Greening, Kamara, Ellington.

Aston Villa (from): Sorensen, Hughes, Delaney, Ridgewell, Barry, Davis, McCann, Bakke, Milner, Moore, Baros, Taylor, Angel, Whittingham, Djemba-Djemba, Gardner.

BIG-MATCH FACTS

# WEST BROMWICH ALBION and Aston Villa feature in the first Premiership game to kick off in 2006 - a high noon showdown at the Hawthorns. It's their 151st competitive meeting, and one of the oldest local derbies pitting two founder members of the Football League. Albion are hovering immediately over the top tier trap door, two points above third bottom Portsmouth, with one win and three defeats from their last four. They began the festive programme with a 0-3 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, then beat a tepid Tottenham 2-0 at the Hawthorns last Wednesday, and lost by just one goal to Liverpool at Anfield on New Years Eve.

# Albion have won three and drawn one of their last four League games at the Hawthorns, keeping clean sheets in all four against Everton (4-0), Fulham (0-0), Manchester City (2-0) and Tottenham (2-0). The Baggies have not conceded a home League goal in 370 minutes (six hours 10 minutes) since Alan Shearer netted Newcastle's third in the 0-3 victory on 30 October.

# Three of the four Premiership matches between these clubs have ended all square, including the last two corresponding fixtures at the Hawthorns. Last season two goals were shared in an early season joust on 22 August 2004. Villa's Swedish captain Olof Mellberg headed his side into a fourth-minute lead, but Albion fought back from that nightmare start to level through a copycat equaliser from Neil Clement.

# ASTON VILLA have drawn four of six Premiership engagements, including the last two against Fulham (a) and Arsenal (0-0 at home). They began the Christmas fixtures with a promising 4-0 thumping of Everton and will take heart from the fact that 15 of their 22 League points have been collected against clubs in the bottom half.

# Villa have claimed a point in each of the last three away from home from 1-1 draws at Newcastle and Bolton and last Wednesday's 3-3 epic at Craven Cottage. The Claret and Blues managed their only block-out in away League encounters this term in a West Midlands fixture - the 0-1 victory at Birmingham in the second city derby on 16 October.

# Villa are unbeaten in the Premiership against West Brom and in four League visits to Albion. They've won two and drawn two, and not come away from the Hawthorns without a point in 20 years.

REFEREE:
Rob Styles (Waterlooville)

SEQUENCES/RECENT FORM

WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Club stats
Fixtures
17th 19 points
Highest achievable after Monday's matches: 13th
Lowest could fall: 18th

ASTON VILLA
Club stats
Fixtures
13th 22 points
Highest achievable after Monday's matches: 11th
Lowest could fall: 11th

KEY PLAYER NOTES/POTENTIAL MILESTONES

WEST BROMWICH ALBION
Squad profiles

# If he participates, Steve WATSON will be playing against his former club.
# Riccardo SCIMECA began his professional career with Aston Villa.
# Robert EARNSHAW is a hat trick shy of 100 English League goals.
# EARNSHAW is one short of 100 goals in the English and Scottish Leagues (Cardiff, Morton and West Brom).
# Nathan ELLINGTON, needs three more to total 100 in his League career.
# If he gets a run out, Andy JOHNSON will be making his 100th appearance in top flight soccer.
# If involved, Zoltan GERA will be making his 50th appearance for West Brom.

ASTON VILLA
Squad profiles

# If he plays, Olof MELLBERG will be making his 150th Premiership appearance for Aston Villa.

LAST SEASON'S CORRESPONDING GAME:
West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Aston Villa
22 August 2004 - Ref: Mark Halsey
WBA scorer: Clement 38
Villa scorer: Mellberg 4

HEAD TO HEAD TOTALS
League: WBA 43 wins, Villa 59, Draws 26
Prem: WBA 0 wins, Villa 1, Draws 3BR>

HEAD TO HEAD at WBA
League: WBA 28 wins, Villa 19, Draws 17
Prem: WBA 0 wins, Villa 0, Draws 2
 

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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter #2
Hmm these derby games are always hard to call.

Even more so this year as we are so close in the league.

We are quite good at home, but Villa always seem to play well here.

Hmm cant decide a 2-1 win for us, or 1-1. ...
 

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Sorry to disappoint you Jon, but 1-2 to Villa was the final result. I guess I retain bragging rights over you until the return fixture :)
 

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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter #4
Bah. Our midfield was missing, Wally and Ina were both out. So we had Watson and Carter, whoo hoo!!!!!!! Such creativity! ;)

God help us now though, as we are missing Kamara and Kanu off to the African Nations cup and we have critical games against Wigan, Sunderland and Charlton coming up.
 

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Look on the bright side at least the Villa reject Watson scored
 

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Discussion Starter #7
http://www.wba.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/NewsDetail/0,,10366~762541,00.html

Boss: "We missed Ronnie and Ina"

BRYAN Robson insisted Albion sorely missed central midfield duo Ronnie
Wallwork and Junichi Inamoto in their derby defeat by Villa.


Both players were ruled out by injury, with Wallwork (ankle) failing to
recover in time from the knock he suffered at Liverpool two days ago and
Inamoto (thigh) missing his fourth successive game.


The Baggies boss also revealed fellow key midfielder Zoltan Gera was
sidelined again as he is taking longer than expected to recover from a
hernia operation.


"Ronnie got injured at Liverpool and Ina still hasn't recovered," said
Robson.


"We missed them in that area today.

"We weren't as fluent as we have been in previous home games when Ronnie and
Ina have been in there.


"Zoltan's hernia is still plaguing him. It is very sore.


"He's getting close to being fit but it's taking a lot longer than we first
thought."


Robson has suffered a further blow with the news Senegal have insisted on
Diomansy Kamara joining them this week for African Nations Cup duty.

The Baggies boss had hoped to delay both Kamara and Nigerian Kanu's
departure until after the Wigan trip on Sunday week.

However, a decision has yet to be made on the date of Kanu's call-up and
Robson remains hopeful the ex-Arsenal man can still be available for
Saturday's FA Cup third-round visit of Reading and the Wigan clash.

"That was Kamara's last game for us as he goes to the African Nations Cup
tomorrow (Tuesday)," Robson added.


"We're talking to the Nigerian FA about Kanu this week.

"Hopefully, we'll still have him for the next two games."
 

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Discussion Starter #8
http://www.wba.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/NewsDetail/0,,10366~762570,00.html

Watto 'miffed' by free-kick decision




STEVE Watson admitted he was 'miffed' by referee Rob Styles' inconsistency
over quickly-taken free-kicks, which led to him conceding Milan Baros'
80th-minute penalty winner against Villa.


The Baggies utility ace thought he had secured at least a point for Bryan
Robson's men after firing his first Albion goal in the 76th minute against
his former club.


But just four minutes later, Watson's handball from Gareth Barry's
swiftly-taken free-kick gifted David O'Leary's men the chance to steal the
points.


"I was delighted to score to get us back to 1-1 and the momentum seemed to
be going our way then," said Watson.


"But it was disappointing to concede the penalty.


"The ball did hit my arm. I can't really complain about that.


"The only thing we're a bit miffed about is the referee stopped us taking
quick free-kicks a couple of times.


"Then [after Villa take a quick free-kick] I turn around and the ball is
flying towards me!


"My first reaction was to get my head there to stop the ball and my arm went
up with my head.


"I wasn't sure where the keeper was and, if they're taking it quickly, I'm
assuming the keeper is still lining the wall up.


"I just wanted to stop the ball going in the net."
 

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Discussion Starter #9
http://www.wba.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Match/MatchReport/0,,10366~30864,00.html


ALBION'S four-game unbeaten home record came to an end in controversial
circumstances.

Referee Rob Styles awarded Villa a debatable penalty ten minutes from time
when Gareth Barry's quickly-taken free-kick struck Steve Watson's arm in the
Albion wall.

Milan Baros tucked home the resulting spot-kick to sentence the Baggies to a
losing start to 2006.


Just four minutes earlier, former Villa man Watson had cancelled out Stephen
Davis' 47th-minute opener following a sustained spell of Albion pressure.

Northen Ireland star Davis became the first man to beat Albion keeper Tomasz
Kuszczak in 417 minutes of Hawthorns action, following four successive home
clean sheets.


And it left the Baggies still searching for their first win over Villa in
almost 21 years.

Albion suffered a major blow when key player Ronnie Wallwork, who limped off
with an ankle injury at Anfield on Saturday, joined fellow midfielders
Junichi Inamoto (thigh) and Zoltan Gera (groin), plus defender Thomas
Gaardsoe (hamstring), on the sidelines.


But Robson was at least boosted by the return of the club's match-winner
against Spurs, Kanu, following a niggling thigh/knee problem.


Jonathan Greening, Diomansy Kamara and Nathan Ellington also earned recalls,
with benched trio Richard Chaplow, Geoff Horsfield and Kevin Campbell making
way.


Villa also suffered a setback as keeper Thomas Sorensen missed out with flu,
but they were helped by skipper Olof Mellberg's return to fitness.


Albion started nervously but suddenly burst into life in the fifth minute.


Kamara exchanged a sweet one-two with Kanu before whipping in a low cross to
create a great chance for Greening at the far post.


But the left winger, at full stretch, could only stab the ball wide.


Darren Carter, playing his fourth game in eight days, tried his luck from
distance soon after but his 25-yard effort sailed into the Smethwick End.


Although Villa were enjoying plenty of possession, it was Albion who
threatened again in the 15th minute.


Kanu's twinkle toes saw him ease past Aaron Hughes and Mellberg on the edge
of the box but, just when he looked certain to test Villa keeper Stuart
Taylor, Gareth Barry and Mark Delaney combined to block the Nigerian's shot.


Villa's first real moment of note arrived in the 20th minute when James
Milner seized on a loose pass by Neil Clement.


The on-loan Newcastle winger instantly played through Baros, only for the
alert Curtis Davies to race across and dispossess the Czech international.


But Villa should have taken the lead in the 26th minute after a swift
counter-attack.


Baros dinked the ball wide to Davis who crossed to find the totally unmarked
Luke Moore on the edge of the six-yard box.


But, with the goal at his mercy, the young Villa striker contrived to hit
the bar and Albion cleared the danger.


The Baggies charged straight up the other end and Kanu and Kamara set up a
shooting chance for Carter 20 yards out, only for the former Blues man to
curl wide of the left-hand post.


Back came Villa, who were now enjoying their best spell of the game.


Milner saw a shot from the edge of the box deflect off Clement's boot and
screw just wide before Kuszczak had to be alert to prevent the former Leeds
man's ensuing corner curling inside his near post.


Albion struggled to clear Milner's next flag-kick and Kuszczak had to be on
his toes to tip over Gavin McCann's dipping 20-yard volley.


Villa were guilty of another glaring miss in the 42nd minute.


Mellberg's header from Milner's corner fell perfectly for Delaney in the
six-yard box, but the off-balance Wales international blazed over the bar in
the final action of the half.


But it took Villa less than two minutes after the restart to nose in front.


Baros surged at the heart of the Albion defence before knocking the ball
wide to Milner, who slipped past Martin Albrechtsen inside the penalty area.


The young winger clipped the ball to the far post and the unmarked Davis
headed home.


Albion regrouped but Ellington failed to trouble Taylor with a 30-yard shot
which the former Arsenal keeper comfortably gathered.


Villa were in all sorts of trouble on the hour mark when Taylor failed to
gather Watson's header across the face of goal under pressure from Kanu.


The former Arsenal man won the ball but had nobody in support and Villa
scrambled it clear.


Taylor was in the thick of it again moments later when he had to be on his
toes to palm over Greening's right-wing cross, which was dipping under the
bar.


The Baggies barrage continued and Albion were screaming for a penalty when
Carter's ball into the box struck Hughes' arm, but referee Rob Styles waved
the protests away.


Taylor then had to dive full stretch to his right to palm Kamara's looping
header from Greening's cross wide of the post.


Villa were really under the cosh but earned some respite when Milner fizzed
a 15-yard shot just wide of the target.


Albion got behind the Villa defence again in the 73rd minute but Delaney
denied Kamara a certain goal by cutting out Greening's low cross.


But Albion's sustained pressure finally paid dividends in the 76th minute.


Mellberg's header only partially cleared Greening's free-kick into the box
and Watson swiveled to plant a right-foot volley through a sea of legs and
into the far corner from 12 yards.


However, Albion's joy was shortlived.


Referee Styles awarded Villa a controversial penalty when Barry's
quickly-taken free-kick struck Watson's arm in the wall and Baros
comfortably tucked it away to make it 2-1 with ten minutes left.

After former Liverpool star Baros failed to wrap the game up when he shot
wastefully at Kuszczak from substitute Craig Gardner's low cross, Carter
came within a whisker of levelling when his long-range curler crashed onto
the roof of Taylor's net.

But that proved to be Albion's last chance as Villa ran down the clock.

ALBION (4-4-2): Kuszczak; Albrechtsen, C Davies, Clement (Horsfield 83),
Robinson; Kamara, Watson, Carter, Greening; Kanu, Ellington (Campbell 88).
Subs not used: Kirkland (gk), Moore, Chaplow.

VILLA (4-4-2): Taylor; Hughes, Delaney, Mellberg, Barry; Davis, McCann,
Bakke (Angel 62), Milner; Baros, Moore (Gardner 85). Subs not used:
Henderson (gk), Djemba-Djemba, Ridgewell.

GOALS: ALBION - Watson (76). VILLA - Davis (47), Baros (pen 80).

BOOKINGS: ALBION - Watson (foul 53), Robinson (foul 79). VILLA - McCann
(foul 45+1), Barry (foul 48), Moore (foul 70).

REFEREE: R Styles (Waterlooville).

ATTENDANCE: 27,073.

ALBION STARMAN: Curtis Davies.
 
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