Charles N’Zogbia

Tim Sherwood looking to cut down Aston Villa’s roster

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With the end of the transfer window quickly approaching on September 1, Tim Sherwood is looking to trim down his roster.

The Birmingham Mail is reporting that Philippe Senderos, Charles N’Zogbia and Kieran Richardson could all move on from Villa Park in the upcoming days. Aleksander Tonev is also on his way out, as he was not given a squad number after returning from a loan spell at Celtic last season.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ]

In the article, Sherwood was quoted saying “There are still some players here who know they can find other clubs,” which shows he has already determined who he has in the plans for Villa’s Premier League campaign.

The Villans opened the season with a win away at Bournemouth, before losing to Manchester United in their second fixture.

However, Sherwood has been without some key youngsters in his team as Jack Grealish, Adama Traore and Carles Gil all played for the U-21 side over the weekend as they recover from injuries. Sherwood said Grealish could be fit to face Crystal Palace this weekend, while the other two are not quite ready for first-team action.

Villa has made some good summer signings, as Rudy Gestede scored the game-winner in his debut, while Jordan Amavi and Idrisse Gueye have both been impressive early in the season. If Sherwood is able to sell some of the players he deems excess talent, there could be another new face coming to Villa Park before the transfer window closes.

Aston Villa 0-1 Burnley: Ings ensures Clarets finish with a win

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Burnley beat Aston Villa 1-0 at Villa Park on Sunday, as the already relegated Clarets secured back-to-back away wins in the Premier League.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

The only goal of the game arrived early on as Danny Ings headed home to give Sean Dyche’s men their eighth victory of the season. Villa had a great chance for Gabriel Agbonlahor denied by Tom Heaton in the second half as Tim Sherwood’s side prepared for their FA Cup final at Wembley against Arsenal next week in awful fashion.

With the win, Burnley in 19th spot on 33 points and Villa finished just one place above the drop zone in 17th on 38 points.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Burnley took the lead in the sixth minute as a looping ball into the box was headed across goal by Ashley Barnes and Inges flicked home a header into the top corner to give the Clarets a lead. 1-0.

The Clarets were getting stuck in and Fredrik Ulvestad was booked for a poor challenge on Jack Grealish as Villa struggled to get into the match. Barnes hobbled off in the first half but Burnley held onto their lead as the half time whistle blew.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Christian Benteke played in Agbonlahor but he was denied by Heaton and the England goalkeeper also denied Charles N’Zogbia and Ashley Westwood as Villa couldn’t find an equalizer.

Burnley almost doubled their lead but young goalkeeper Jed Steer, who was making his first start in the Premier League on Sunday, denied George Boyd after Ings had cleverly played him in.

LINEUPS

Aston Villa: Steer, Baker, Vlaar, Bacuna (Hutton, 80′), Cleverley (Sinclair, 72′), Agbonlahor, Westwood, Delph, Benteke, N’Zogbia, Grealish

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Shackell, Keane, Mee; Arfield, Jones, Ulvestad (Taylor, 65′), Boyd; Barnes (Vokes, 34′); Ings (Reid, 87′)

Goal: Ings (6′)

Manchester City 3-2 Aston Villa: Stunning finish sees City hold on after Guzan’s blunder

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Manchester City beat Aston Villa 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as a breathtaking finale took some of the attention way from a horrendous goalkeeping blunder from Brad Guzan.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

City went 1-0 up as Guzan shanked the ball straight to Sergio Aguero to score and in the second half Aleksandar Kolarov whipped home a free kick to make it 2-0. To Villa’s credit they never stopped believing and were level after Tom Cleverley and Carlos Sanchez scored to make it 2-2 with five minutes to go. Then the game winning moment arrived as Fernandinho finished coolly in the 89th minute to sent City momentarily into second place.

With the win City move up to second on 67 points, while Villa remain in battle against relegation as they sit two points above the bottom three with four games to go.

[ RELATED: Latest PL standings ]

City took an early lead after Guzan’s horrendous mistake let in Aguero. The U.S. international goalkeeper recieved the ball back from Villa’s center back Ron Vlaar and as he went to play a pass out to his right with his left foot, the ball hit his standing feet and skewed right into the path of Aguero who couldn’t believe his luck before tapping home his 27th goal of the season. 1-0 to City, as Guzan’s name will join the pantheons of soccer gaffes.

The Illinois native continued his rough start to the match as he completely missed a cross moments later but Fernando failed to head home. Yaya Toure had a low drive which Guzan collected and 22 minutes in, Villa had still not woken up as Leandro Bacuna sent a terrible back pass toward his own goal which Aguero picked up and the move ended with Jesus Navas having a thunderous shot well blocked.

That effort seemed to finally wake the Villans from their slumber and in the 26th minute Benteke, who looked offside, was denied by a brilliant sprawling stop from City’s goalkeeper Joe Hart after the ball pinballed around the box and found Villa’s towering Belgian striker in acres of space. For the rest of the first half Villa gradually got into the game but couldn’t equalize before the break.

In the second half City eased into a 2-0 lead as Kolarov found a huge hole in Villa’s defensive wall from a free kick 25-yards out and the Serbian left back bent it through the gap and into the near post. 2-0 to City.

Just when you thought the Citizens were going to flip the switch to cruise control, Villa were handed a lifeline. A looping free kick from the left flank saw Hart come running out of his goal but the ball dropped to Benteke and as City’s defenders half cleared, Cleverley ran onto the loose ball and hammered it into the ground and into the net. 2-1.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Hart rushed out again five minutes later to thwart an onrushing Charles N’Zogbia, but Villa kept coming at City and were level after 85 minutes when a corner from the right caught Hart in a crowd as he came to collect and Sanchez calmly volleyed home. 2-2 as City’s 2-0 lead had evaporated.

A poor giveaway from Martin Demichelis then looked to have let Villa in for what could have been a winner but Benteke, who looked to be onside, was flagged for offside as he was fouled by Hart. City then launched an attack which would see them win the game, as a corner from the left found its way through to Fernandinho at the back post who chested the ball and acrobatically finished in the 89th minute. 3-2 to the Citizens as Pellegrini breathed a huge sigh of relief.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernando, Lampard (Milner, 57′), Navas, Yaya Toure (Fernandinho, 45′), Silva, Aguero (Bony, 83′)

Goals: Aguero (3′), Kolarov (66′), Fernandinho, (89′)

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna (Lowton, 87′), Okore, Vlaar, Richardson, Sanchez, Westwood (N’Zogbia, 68′), Cleverley, Delph, Grealish, Benteke. Subs: Given, Weimann, Cole, Senderos, Cissokho, N’Zogbia, Lowton

Goals: Cleverley (68′), Sanchez (85′)

Aston Villa welcomes back previously marginalized players

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Aston Villa want to avoid yet another season in which they struggle against the drop. However, that might be difficult: Owner Randy Lerner put the club up for sale at the start of the summer, and has yet to find a willing buyer. As such, Villa have been restrained in the transfer market, with Lerner making it clear that money can be spent only if current players are sold.

Villa have already brought in three players on the cheap, and all are Premier League veterans: Philippe Senderos, Joe Cole and Kieran Richardson. But they’ve also decided to turn to players that were marginalized after Paul Lambert arrived at the club two years ago.

The infamous “Bomb Squad,” high-paid players that have been frozen out over much of the past 24 months, are to make a return next season, ensuring Lerner gets at least a bit of a return on his investment. While Shay Given is never likely to feature heavily, as Villa have Brad Guzan as their first choice goalkeeper, there are other big names looking to finally make their mark.

Darren Bent was Villa’s record signing in January 2011. While he helped the club avoid relegation that season, he’s made little of an impression since. He lost his starting place to Christian Benteke in August 2012, and went on loan to Fulham for the 2013-2014 season.

But despite Bent’s paltry three goals last season, Villa are determined to get some use out of him, particularly with Benteke and Libor Kozák still recovering from injury. The forward came good in his first appearance of the preseason, grabbing a brace against League Two side Mansfield on Thursday evening.

Another man looking to impress is Charles N’Zogbia. The winger tore his Achilles while on vacation last June, and had not played since. However, Lambert seemed pleased with his performance on Thursday, and with Marc Albrighton now gone, N’Zogbia could see plenty of time this season.

Finally, there’s Alan Hutton. The defender has not played for Villa since the 2011-2012 season, when he was brought in by fellow Scot Alex McLeish. Instead, he’s seen loan spells at Nottingham Forest, Mallorca and Bolton Wanderers. But with Matthew Lowton disappointing last season, it’s likely Hutton will find himself back in the first team — especially since Villa rejected an offer from West Bromwich Albion last week.

Aston Villa are set to leave for Texas, where they will play FC Dallas on July 23 and Houston Dynamo on July 26. Those two games could give Lambert even more of an idea as to whether the previously marginalized players should be welcomed back with open arms.

Premier League Relegation Watch: Sunderland gain ground in tight table

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With the top of the table becoming clearer by the week, the fight to avoid relegation grows more and more convoluted.

So let’s take a look at all the relegation-threatened sides and evaluate their remaining matches, form, injuries and odds of staying up in the Premier League.

13. SWANSEA CITY 36 PTS (35 PLD)

Remaining Matches (3): Aston Villa (H); Southampton (H); Sunderland (A)

League Form: LDWLLW

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Michu, ankle (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 10/1

Verdict: Great win at Newcastle leaves the Swans in a good spot, as does the status of their final three opponents.

14. HULL CITY 36 PTS (34 PLD)

Remaining Matches (4): Fulham (A); Aston Villa (A); Manchester United (A); Everton (H)

League Form: LLWLLW

Other Competitions: FA Cup final (May 17th)

Injuries: Allan McGregor, kidney (no return date); Robbie Brady, groin (no return date); Paul McShane, ankle (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 11/1

Verdict: A game in hand is a good thing but three away matches followed by a final match at home against Everton is a difficult run.

15. ASTON VILLA 35 PTS (34 PLD)

Remaining Matches (4): Swansea City (A); Hull City (H); Manchester City (A); Tottenham (A)

League Form: WLLLLD

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Christian Benteke, achilles (out for season); Libor Kozak, broken leg (out for season); Jores Okore, knee (April 26th); Charles N’Zogbia, calf (no return date); Nicklas Helenius, hip (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 3/1

Verdict: Drab 0-0 draw with Southampton sees Villa drop further in the table setting up a dire next two matches against Swansea and Hull.

16. WEST BROMWICH ALBION 33 PTS (33 PLD)

Remaining Matches (5): Manchester City (A); West Ham United (H); Arsenal (A); Sunderland (H); Stoke City (H)

League Form: LWLDWD

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Jonas Olsson, calf (April 21st); James Morrison, ankle (April 21st)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 1/1

Verdict: Gonna be tight for the Baggies, who could do with a result today against City. But the game in hand helps as do matches against West Ham and Stoke City, both of whom have nothing to play for.

17. NORWICH CITY 32 PTS (35 PLD)

Remaining Matches (3): Manchester United (A); Chelsea (A); Arsenal (H)

League Form: LWLLLL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Elliot Bennett, knee (April 26th); Joseph Yobo, hamstring (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 1/4

Verdict: Tremendous effort in the 2-3 loss to Liverpool on Sunday but ‘effort’ does the Canaries very little these days. With a two point cushion they face an incredibly difficult final three fixtures against United, Chelsea and Arsenal, it’s hard not to see Norwich going down.

18. CARDIFF CITY 30 PTS (35 PLD)

Remaining Matches (3): Sunderland (A); Newcastle United (A); Chelsea (H)

League Form: LLDLWD

Other Competitions: None

InjuriesCraig Noone, abdominal (May 11th); Mark Hudson, hamstring (no return date); Andrew Taylor, knock (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 1/4

Verdict: Kept grinding with a 1-1 against Stoke on Saturday, Cardiff will need a big result next weekend against Sunderland to set up a final weekend match-up with Jose Mourinho’s side. Feels ominous.

19. FULHAM 30 PTS (35 PLD)

Remaining Matches (3): Hull City (H); Stoke City (A); Crystal Palace (H)

League Form: WLLWWL

Other Competitions: None

Injuries: Kieran Richardson, hamstring (no return date); Kostas Mitroglu, knee (no return date); Scott Parker, thigh (April 26th); Damien Duff, knock (no return date); Mahamadou Diarra, knee  (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 1/3

Verdict: A valiant effort against Spurs fell short this weekend but facing three clubs with nothing to play for will be a boon to the Cottagers.

20. SUNDERLAND 29 PTS (34 PLD)

Remaining Matches (4): Cardiff City (H); Manchester United (A); West Bromwich Albion (H); Swansea City (H)

League Form: LLLLDW

Other Competitions: None

InjuriesSteven Fletcher, ankle (no return date); Keiren Westwood, shoulder (no return date); Connor Wickham, knock (April 27th); Ki Sung-Yeung, knee (no return date); Carlos Cuellar, hamstring (no return date)

Vegas odds to be relegated: 1/4

Verdict: Fantastic win over Chelsea keeps the ‘miracle’ hopes alive. Game-in-hand could be the difference that makes it a reality.