Gerard Houllier is holding out hope that Aston Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov will not have to have knee surgery, and so will return to the squad in less than two months.
To me this is just Houllier having a little chat with the press, considering he's still saying we'll know by the 'end of the week' whether Petrov needs an operation or not. To many, Thursday signifies the end of the week, but maybe tomorrow Villa will have more of a clue as to what's going on with their skipper. Nigel Reo-Coker, meanwhile, is likely crossing his fingers that he has more time to wear the armband, because he might need those full two months to figure out how to place a shot on target. Oh, Nigel, you're great defending and that's why we like you--there's no need to prove yourself by whiffing the ball.
In other news, Houllier hopes that Luke Young will return to the squad next week after being out with a hamstring injury, but Gabriel Agbonlahor is still out following groin surgery. Has anyone actually seen Gabby recently? I smell a conspiracy here. Aston Villa need to keep Emile Heskey wrapped up in cotton wool to make sure they have some sort of striker on Sunday.
Or the Villa could just keep sending the ball to Stewart Downing and hope for more wonder goals--but please, please keep the ball away from Steve Sidwell, who couldn't find the goal if it was the only thing spotlighted in a darkened room. In happy news, Carlos Cuellar won Man of the Match for yesterday's performance, yet something tells me we still won't see him on the field against Birmingham City on Sunday. For those of you asking for highlights, Dan's got them on Aston Villa Central until they get pulled down.