• From the manager: Official programme notes
  • Pre-match show: Villa v Chelsea
  • Watch Gerard Houllier preview Chelsea clash on AVTV
  • Gerard Houllier: We must show all our qualities in Chelsea encounter
  • Match pack: Villa v Chelsea
  • Collins hopes lightning can strike twice against Chelsea
  • Watch Allback at the double as we celebrate decade of Chelsea goals
  • Sidwell calls for vocal claret and blue support in tough Chelsea clash
  • Albrighton relishing Cole test

From the manager: Official programme notes


To add to the matchday experience on www.avfc.co.uk, here are Gerard Houllier's manager notes from his official matchday programme column for today's clash with Chelsea.

Good afternoon everybody and welcome to our Barclays Premier League game against champions Chelsea.

For the players, of course, this is a big game against last season's double winners and the current league leaders.

It is a big game for our supporters, too, and no doubt you will have shared in our frustration at White Hart Lane a fortnight ago when the result against Tottenham went against us even though we played well and showed considerable fight.

This will be an opportunity for us to demonstrate our determination to keep improving our game and our results.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager.

The courage he has displayed as a player, coach and manager for many years was epitomised by his presence in the dugout for Chelsea's recent victory over Arsenal, only a day after he had buried his father back in Italy.

Chelsea's players take their lead from him and their threat is quite formidable.

But in training the application and commitment of our players has been perfect.

Unfortunately, we had many players away on international duty but this is the price you pay for having a good squad.

We are looking forward to this challenge and we hope that you, our fans, will play your role as usual because you play a vital role in every game.

Everyone has a role to play also in the fight against discrimination, which is the purpose of Kick It Out's annual campaign, 'One Game, One Community'.

Football clubs all over the country will be hosting activities on and off the pitch over the course of 12 days, making this the single, largest campaign dedicated to antidiscrimination in sport worldwide.

While football has made significant strides in recent years in promoting diversity, it is crucial that players, managers, administrators and fans remain vigilant against any forms of discrimination which threaten to blight the game or to prevent certain groups or individuals from participating, whether as a player or spectator.

Let us give people from all backgrounds and communities the equal chance they deserve to contribute to football and help celebrate the diversity of the game in Britain and the 'One Game, One Community' message.

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