Stiliyan Petrov, who captains both Aston Villa and the Bulgarian national team, has been sidelined for two months with a knee injury. The midfielder picked up the injury in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland and had to be replaced n the first half by Steve Sidwell. The club are still waiting to to learn whether Petrov's injury will require an operation.
Aston Villa have had a roller coaster of a season. It began with their manager, Martin O'Neill, walking away from the club less than a week before the season, and continued with the team's early exit from the Europa League, where they lost for the second straight year to Rapid Vienna. Although it appeared that the arrival of new manager Gerard Houllier would boost Villa's season, the club's inconsistencies continue, holding Chelsea to a draw one week and losing to Sunderland the next.
Captain Petrov has experienced a similarly inconsistent season, almost always invisible on the field, only appearing to hit shots from thirty yards out. However, Petrov was brilliant defensively against Chelsea two weeks ago, and replacing him with Sidwell is certainly a step down for the Villa. As for the captain's armband, it will be passed to Nigel Reo-Coker.