Tag Archives: Shay Given

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Aston Villa

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Aston Villa’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Paul Lambert.
Captain: Stiliyan Petrov
Stadium: Villa Park (43,786).
Last season: 16th.
Leading scorer (PL): Darren Bent (9).
Odds: Title 1000-1. Relegation 5-1.

In: Karim El Ahmadi (£2.6m, Feyenoord), Brett Holman (Free, AZ Alkmaar), Matthew Lowton (£3.3m, Sheff Utd), Ron Vlaar (£3.3m, Feyenoord).

Out: James Collins (£2.8m, West Ham), Carlos Cuellar (Free, Sunderland), Emile Heskey (Released), Andy Marshall (Released).


Key Man – Darren Bent
The England international was injured for the majority of second half of the season and yet he ended as the club’s top goalscorer with nine goals. Now with him being fully fit and ready, he will be Villa’s key man for the season and will be looking to score the goals Villa dearly missed last time round.

Opening Fixtures
18-Aug – West Ham (A)
25-Aug – Everton (H)
01-Sep – Newcastle (A)
15-Sep – Swansea (H)
22-Sep – Southampton (A)
30-Sep – West Brom (H)

Probable Formation (4-1-2-1-2): Given; Lowton, Vlaar, Dunne, Warnock; Bannan; N’Zogbia, El Ahmadi; Ireland; Agbonlahor, Bent.

Verdit: The capture of Paul Lambert was a real coup for Randy Lerner and his presence alone will be good for a few extra wins than last season. But the team has not made the necessary additions to the squad to make a drastic improvement. I can’t see a top 10 finish for the Lions but surely safe in the mid-table.

Prediction: 12th.


Aston Villa Unveil New Home And Away Kits

Aston Villa have proudly unveiled their new home and away kits for the upcoming new Premier League season which kicks off on the 18th of August. The new kits are manufactured by Italian sportswear company Macron.

The home shirt remains faithful to the classic claret and blue tradition, while the away shirt presents a vibrant lime colour with navy blue details, giving it a playful yet stylish design to symbolise a bright new era under the management of Paul Lambert.  The kits, featuring a classic Italian style using the latest design technology, contain a number of innovative details. These include a new embossed lion motif within the fabric to the rear and an embroidered club logo on the back of the neck.

The home strip, which was forged drawing inspiration from the 1980-81 championship-winning design, is made by integrating different fabrics, each with specific technical and high-performance characteristics. This allows the shirt to breathe while also providing superior resistance and maintaining comfort and elasticity.

The main fabric has been constructed with a great attention to comfort, performance and effervescence, in order to guarantee maximum comfort and best performance. The neck is a real novelty. It’s a modern polo made with rib fabric and constructed with a double collar for maximum comfort. Inside the neck the size tag is personalized with a yellow lion figure on a sky background.

The vivacious away shirt, meanwhile, features a round neck design made with a knitwear profile and in navy blue colour. The upper flank inserts are in mesh, tone on tone fibres, with the lower insert in navy blue. Inside of the neck there is the printed lion in claret that personalises the size tag.

Macron have always strived to guarantee the highest quality and technical features in their products, with great attention to style trends and details. The important fact is the same attention is applied to the fabrics and make-up of the jersey worn by the players as that purchased by the fans at authorised outlets. Paul Faulkner, Villa’s chief executive, said:

“It feels very much like the beginning of a new era for Villa as we approach the 2012-13 campaign. We have a young, hungry and ambitious manager in Paul Lambert and fantastic new kits, designed by Macron. I know that Villa fans are particularly excited as we embark upon this vibrant new journey.”

Gianluca Pavanello, Macron chief executive, said:

“We know the huge passion of the Villa fans and the great importance to them of the club heritage. That is why we drew inspiration from the 1980-81 kit design when coming up with the home strip for 2012-13. This highly-valued and reinterpreted design comes together with all the features and benefits allowed by the technicalities of modern fabrics and design. We are sure that the shirts will be a celebration not only of the past but especially of the present and the future of this outstanding and unique team.”

Here are some more pictures of the new home and away kits and new Villa signing Brett Holman..

UEFA EURO 2012 Team Preview – Republic Of Ireland

Population 4.5 million Area 70,273km2 Capital Dublin Currency Euro Official Language English


Football Asocciation Football Association of Ireland (FAI) Official Site http://www.fai.ie Year of formation 1921 Euro Ranking 15 World Ranking 18 National Stadium Aviva Stadium, Dublin Well-known club sides Shamrock Rovers, Shelbourne Dundalk Leading goalscorers Robbie Keane (53), Niall Quinn (21), Frank Stapleton (20) Most capped players Shay Given (120+), Robbie Keane (114+), Kevin Kilabe (110+) European Championship finals attended 1988 Best European Championship performance Group Stage 1988 Playing Record in European Championship P112 W45 D33 L34 Odds of winning UEFA EURO 2012 100/1


It’s been two decades since Ireland were last involved in a European Championship, memorably beating England in their first match in 1988 with a well played Ray Houghton header. And it’s been 10 years since they were last involved in a major competition, going out on penalties to Spain in FIFA World Cup 2002 after Robbie Keane had scored a 90th minute equaliser.

It’s been a long road for the Irish since. They fell well short of qualification for any major until Giovanni Trapattoni instilled a renewed confidence among an ageing and experienced squad. They were cheated out of FIFA World Cup 2010 qualification by Thierry Henry’s handball, but thumped Estonia 5-1 on aggregate to qualify for UEFA EURO 2012.

Ireland suffered only one defeat in the process, a 3-2 reverse against group winners Russia, and between losing 3-2 in a friendly to Uruguay in March and a 2-1 home win over Armenia in October, they kep eight consecutive clean sheets, a domestic record in short, the Republic are a changed side, they’re more resilient, gaining a wonderful 0-0 draw in Moscow, more ruthless, as shown by their 4-0 away trouncing of Estonia, and they are regaining a reputation that makes them one of the most feared minnows on the continent.


03/09/2010 – Group B – Armenia 0-1 Republic of Ireland
07/09/2010 – Group B – Republic of Ireland 3-1 Andorra
08/10/2010 – Group B – Republic of Ireland 2-3 Russia
12/10/2010 – Group B – Solvakia 1-1 Malta
26/03/2011 – Group B – Republic of Ireland 2-1 Macedonia
04/06/2011 – Group B – Macedonia 0-2 Republic of Ireland
02/09/2011 – Group B – Republic of Ireland 0-0 Slovakia
06/09/2011 – Group B – Russia 0-0 Republic of Ireland
07/10/2011 – Group B – Andorra 0-2 Republic of Ireland
11/10/2011 – Group B – Republic of Ireland 2-1 Armenia
11/11/2011 – Play-Off – Estonia 0-4 Republic of Ireland
15/11/2011 – Play-Off – Republic of Ireland 1-1 Estonia



Sunday, 10/06 – Republic of Ireland v Croatia (Poznan, 19:45)
Thursday, 14/06 – Spain v Republic of Ireland (Gdansk, 19:45)
Monday, 18/06 – Italy v Republic of Ireland (Poznan, 19:45)


Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Aston Villa FC), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland AFC), David Forde (Millwall FC).

Defenders: John O’Shea (Sunderland AFC), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa FC), Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City FC), Darren O’Dea (Celtic FC), Stephen Kelly (Fulham FC), Paul McShane (Hull City AFC).

Midfielders: Glenn Whelan (Stoke City FC), Keith Andrews (West Bromwich Albion FC), Aiden McGeady (FC Spartak Moskva), Darron Gibson (Everton FC), Paul Green (unattached), Damien Duff (Fulham FC), Stephen Hunt (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), James McClean (Sunderland AFC).

Forwards: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion FC), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City FC), Simon Cox (West Bromwich Albion FC).


While Robbie Keane is the man with the armband, how Richard Dunne leads the back line will decide the fate of the Irish in a difficult Group C. He enjoyed the adulation of travelling support in Moscow, where his outstanding, unflinching performance helped his country to secure a point. They will need lots more of that spirit against Spain, Italy and Croatia.


Brushed aside by Manchester City after the emergence of England’s Joe Hart, Shay Given has rebuilt his club career at an under-achieving Aston Villa and continues to impress as his country’s number one. Alongside established pros such as Damian Duff, John O’Shea, Richard Dunne and Robbie Keane, Given has worked hard to be here and won’t be going home without a fight.


He may have lost a yard or two of his electric pace, but Robbie Keane’s eye for goal remains undimmed. Only Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Miroslav Klose scored more than his seven goals in qualifying, and his goal tally for Ireland is more than doubt that of closest rival Niall Quinn. If the Republic are to have any chance of progressing from what would appear, on paper, to be the second-most difficult group of the last 16, you feel Keane will have to be on top form. Whether he and his ageing compadres can keep up performance levels in the latter stages of the competition is a different question.


One of the best-known coaches in world football, it was something of a surprise when Giovanni Trapattoni turned up in Dublin to take charge of an Irish side in disarray. He led them undefeated, including two draws against Italy, in their FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying group and was hugely unlucky not beat France in the play-offs. He has gone a step further this year by qualifying for Poland/Ukraine and, if he takes the Republic of Ireland beyond this incredibly tough group, it may be his biggest achievement in management to date.


Group Stage – It would be like a miracle and a shock, if Ireland do qualifying from Group C. Spain and Italy should both prove too strong for the Irish and are the favourites to advance from the group. Republic of Ireland will mostly find themselves fighting it out for the third spot with Croatia. One possibility for them to make it out of the group is, if they can get draws against Spain and Italy and a win in the first game against Croatia. That would surely be enough but it looks highly unlikely.