A Villa Messiah On The Brink & January Plans For Spiderman?

Turveys Thoughts Villa Messiah January Plans Spiderman

As I haven’t been feeling particularly great over the weekend, I’m going to do my usual Talk Tactics article later this week and publish it on an afternoon after one of the articles of our regular writers. Hopefully readers won’t mind the delay.

What I wanted to cover today was a general look at the direction we are headed, draw some parallels with past campaigns/managers, and ask what the club might have in store come January.

By securing a point against Stoke City, Villa have gone unbeaten for four games which is, by all accounts, an improvement. However, single points only go so far in terms of progressing up the league and Villa face a few tricky league fixtures over the next few weeks against Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur. At the moment, at least part of Villa’s survival hinges on just how poor other teams will be over the course of the season.

This season has seen a marked improvement in the style of play in terms of football, but the position of the team has been much as it has been for all of 2012 – in the bottom half.

Against Stoke, Villa had more of the possession but less of the territory, though the home side comprehensively dominated the chances created and taken as the Potters seemed happy to grind out yet another draw against us. The style of football played by Stoke? Awful, but it was at least effective for them and being effective counts for a significant amount in terms of survival and progress.

Villa, by comparison, have attempted to play football in a more stylish manner when compared to either the opposition at the weekend or compared to recent league campaigns, and there is no doubt that Paul Lambert has the potential to take the club back to where many fans think they belong, albeit with a longer term view and plan.

New formations, same lack of potency?

Recently Villa have adopted a 3-5-2 formation in order to mix things up with the tactic offering both defensive cover through mobile wide players, allows for five in midfield, and a second striker up top. Given that Villa needed stability after a few losses against the Manchester clubs, the change to 3-5-2 could well be justified in the short term. However, whether it will bode well longer term is yet to be seen.

Which leads me on to January. There can be few fans who will be happy if January does not bring in both quality and depth in terms of purchases. Whilst Villa have uncovered a gem in Christian Benteke, and Ron Vlaar’s captaincy has been effective, experience seems the missing ingredient for the club as they continue to field one of the youngest teams in the Premier League.

The future is undoubtedly bright for many of the young players brought in by Lambert, though Villa must concern themselves with the short term matter of survival in the meantime and that should logically mean experience.

Which leaves January as something of a puzzle to work out in terms of what is planned. Does Lambert continue with his bold but risky move of sticking with players who are young, hungry, and full of potential but in need of experience? Or does he have to adapt his view to take into account the short term view of survival and repeat a purchase akin to Darren Bent’s £24m capture under Gerard Houllier’s reign?

This is where things really become significant for Lambert and Villa as a whole. If Lambert can stick with younger players and lower wages as well as improving results and surviving, then everybody wins. However, Villa’s position as lowest scorers in the league and with less than a point on average per game does sound alarm bells to fans, even though the club are currently outside of the relegation zone.

Cash alone can’t fix the issues at the club

Of course, spending does not guarantee success either, and whilst a contingency of money will already be earmarked by Randy Lerner in order for the club to preserve its status as a Premier League ever-present, the worst thing for Villa would be a January money gamble that goes wrong – the club simply must survive whatever the tactic of the board and manager turns out to be.

One only need look at Sunderland, managed by former managerial messiah (in the eyes of some) Martin O’Neill, to see that things can go horribly wrong. Whilst O’Neill has managed to secure Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher to name two of his captures this season, the north east club currently find themselves in the bottom three, albeit with a game in hand to potentially escape.

Looking at Sunderland does give fans the chance to see whose shoes they would rather be in between Villa’s current charge and a team headed by a formerly loved man who delivered sixth placed finishes. Who would I rather have in charge? I’ll surprise nobody by saying Paul Lambert.

Why? Despite funding by chairman Ellis Short, O’Neill appears to have taken the Wearsiders back to the level they were at when former manager Steve Bruce was sacked. An over-reliance on Fletcher is a weak link and O’Neill may not get the same financial boost as Lambert should, whether or not Darren Bent leaves the club. However, even if the Ulsterman does get the necessary financial boost, his past record at other clubs says little for sustainability.

Getting back to Villa, January will be a significant moment in the early part of Lambert’s Villa career. If he gambles successfully, either on sticking with youth or buying experience, he will face an easier and more flexible future come the next campaign. If not, Villa face another challenging second half of a season for the third year in a row.

Will the club invest in experience in January? We know that money will be available to spend, it is just a case of what type of players the club look to bring in. If the club can offload Richard Dunne, Stephen Warnock, and Alan Hutton permanently, the £100k left spare should fund the wages of at least a few ready made players such as the possible move for Saint-Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pictured above. If that move does happen, it will be a massive coup for the club.

The sneaky bid for Clint Dempsey in the last window illustrated that there is money available in terms of wages if experience is needed, especially with several unneeded players being in their last year of contract, so I would suggest that Villa aren’t going to risk gambling solely on more youth – it is just too risky given the circumstances and potential risk of losing increased TV revenue for the 2013/14 season.

Whatever the result, the fans will likely be on the edge of their seats in either increased excitement or anxiety. Football, for all its foibles, certainly keeps us all on our toes, so here’s to hoping January gives us a late Villa Christmas present.

About the Author

Avatar of Matt Turvey

Matt TurveyMatt is the owner of, and chief writer for, Aston Villa Life. He is also a weekly columnist for the Wolverhampton Express & Star, appearing in the 247 pullout the Monday after Aston Villa play, and every Thursday as a blogger on their website. He has previously been featured as a writer on Football365 and Life's A Pitch, and was a regular pundit for Sports Tonight TV on Sky.View all posts by Matt Turvey →

  1. southwestvillansouthwestvillan10-12-2012

    Matt,

    I think PL must see we need to add some experience into the side we cannot expect the young uns to carry us through this season, like i said before the new arrivals will be on modest wages to continue Lerners austerity plans, i think Dunne,Ireland, Bent, CNZ and Given could all be on their way sooner than later, out with the old in with the new.

    UTV

  2. FremFrem10-12-2012

    The future will be fine if we can stay up but we need players for here and now to keep us up

    January needs quality in the final 3rd more than anything and a powerful gritty cm. We are desperate for a couple of creative players, aw, gabby and holman don’t cut it. We also need another striker as gabby qnd bent are no good to us. Mbia diouf would be nice or bony, maybe even altidor

    At least 4 players needed and with henke that should happen. Its all good building for the future but if we go down its for nothing

    Lambert has been talking about the long term but he doesnt stick around at clubs to long. Wonder if we will be different

  3. TrinityTrinity10-12-2012

    Get well soon Matt.
    It seems we need a proven goal scorer, who has a few strings to his bow and a big ticker like Benteke. There’s a big midfielder in Germany I hope twe get too.

  4. HaggisHaggis10-12-2012

    Good write up Matt, hope you feel better soon.

    Frem. As somebody dropped somrthing in your drink as you seem relatively calm this morning.

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks top class and Christmas is a time for wishing so you’ll never know. As you said I would rather be in our position than Sunderlands. If we did get rid of Bent, Dunne, Warnock, Mutton, Given, N’zogbia and Ireland ( although the last 2 I would wait till the summer ) that will free up a lot of money for some quality players to come in. With the fact that we have not seen these players much would we really miss them especially if we have better alternatives coming in.

  5. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Southwest,

    I agree on some but we can’t cut away every player.

    It is great to have Westwood etc for a fraction of the wages of players who have had similar ability in the past, but we need experience as well as you imply.

    Someone solid in the midfield would be a good bet, as well as in defence and up front.

    Will three be enough?

  6. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Thanks Trinity.

    We certainly need flexibility because otherwise we are going to end up using Benteke predictably in the same way as we used to use Bent – which has its own issues.

    If we can get some other options, variation will help as it is easy to stifle our attack at present as two goals in four games illustrates.

  7. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Frem,

    An attacker would be good but don’t you think the defence and midfield could also do with more to them?

    Or is that the issue – lots of holes in the squad in your eyes?

  8. southwestvillansouthwestvillan10-12-2012

    Haggis i was thinking exactly the same thing about Frem he does seem calm this morning which is surprising considering the letter “Q” must be broke on his keyboard.

    Those seven players you just mentioned must earn in the region of £380,000 a week between them thats nearly £20m a year and only two of them have recently laced up their boots, jesus being a footballer is just a great job, the worlds gone mad let me off at the next stop.

    UTV

  9. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Haggis.

    I would get rid of most of the players you list. As you say, Christmas wishes can come true and Aubameyang would be a real coup.

    What we need is strength and that means experience. It may not mean Premier League experience, but Villa do at least need some mature European level players in come January in my opinion.

    The question is who does everyone want?

  10. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil10-12-2012

    Morning Lifers

    Hope you health improves wuickly Matt.
    Although we are too close to the wrong end of the table,I still trust PL in his management and of course the Jan window.
    I can`t be specific about the recent games as I have not seen any of the last 3,but our team seems to be developing a real mental toughness,which I haven`t witnessed for many seasons.There seems to be real grit and guts there,more than anything, we now look like a real team.
    I still feel upbeat about the whole PL appointment and the way he is going about his businessat VP.

    Off topic,I have become a real fan of Diame of W Ham,mainly because he is what I would love to see in our MF.A giant,who tackles,reads the game and is comfortable on the ball.It was significant L`pool won once he left the field,you could see the W ham player`s body language change after he went down with his hammie injury.CPYVB.

  11. southwestvillansouthwestvillan10-12-2012

    Matt,

    I am not sure if three will be enough but with other teams shooting themselves in the foot then we could just survive this season, the next three games will show us how far we have progressed, the cup game tomorrow will be interesting Norwich on a hell of a run of form will want to win this one for lots of reasons, wonder what sort of team PL selects.

    UTV

  12. southwestvillansouthwestvillan10-12-2012

    B62B, Diame has an escape clause in his contract that allows him to leave if someone offers £3.5m, i think there may be bigger and better teams than us looking at him and if the recent wage cuts at AVFC are anything to go by then i don”t think he will give us a second look.

    UTV

  13. AndrewAndrew10-12-2012

    Afternoon.

    Bit disappointed with the result to be honest. Home games are crucial for survival and i am waiting for us to pick up the winning habit. 3 points are massive in this league.
    Not so keen on playing 352 either, especially at home. Did we really need 3 centre backs against the lone Kenwyn Jones? It appears to me that we have recently become more pragmatic, negative? in recent games. I hope it is PL’s plan to pick up points slowly until Jan where he will sign some more players and then revert to playing with more confidnce/freedom.

  14. AndrewAndrew10-12-2012

    PS not seen anything of the above player but a striker and he puts on a spiderman mask….i love him all ready.

  15. AndrewAndrew10-12-2012

    My christmas list of players are

    Lescott
    La lana
    Hoolalan
    spiderman
    and finally a midfieder who is half as good as ya ya toure.

  16. Steve WSteve W10-12-2012

    Interesting article as usual Matt. It is shaping up to be the most important transfer window I can remember and the players we get in are likely to be determined by the players we can ship out. I’m expecting this window to be one in which the lower leagues are ignored and the foreign market is targeted.

    I’d be happy to get rid of almost any player provided replacements are in place. If not, we need Given, N’Zogbia etc as back up until the summer when they can be off loaded. Dunne seems a million miles from fitness, so we won’t be able to move him on even if Lambert wants to.

    Hutton and Warnock can leave right away if buyers can be found. They won’t be.

    Providing we sign an adequate replacement I’d be happy for Bent to leave in January, as his price is only likely to plunge further the longer other clubs are aware he is out of Lambert’s plans.

    My priorities would be a centre half, defensive midfield player and some combination of midfield/forward players to make us more creative, because without an added injection of goal threat, it will be a very uncomfortable season. To that purpose, I’d find a way to get Ireland back into the team or sign someone better. Unfortunately I don’t have names, hopefully Henke does.

  17. southwestvillansouthwestvillan10-12-2012

    This is the one that keeps rearing its ugly head and will not go away, in Jan Bent to Liverpool which i am happy with but the rumour is Downing coming back as part of the deal, do Liverpool still owe us money from the Downing transfer which could be a factor.

    UTV

  18. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil10-12-2012

    SWV

    I think if we can nick a real diamond from someone then I would imagime RL would be flexible over wages.I`m sure we would go to the £60 grand a week barrier for real quality,there are always exceptions.Not a Warnock or Dunne,but a really good player of the right age,then I think we would invest in those type of wages,but it`s unlikely in this window.

    Andrew
    You are spot on,we are very pragmatic and functional at the moment.That`s how I want it though tbh.We could play a lot of pretty attacking footy like Reading and end up as a very entertaining relegated side.First thing first,lets remain hard to beat and uncompromising,then we can adreess the issues further up the pitch once we get our defence and team ethic thriving.

    My targets?Batman,Superman,Thor,Supergirl(yes please).

  19. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil10-12-2012

    Really though,I like Dennis Aogo of Hamburg,a good LB but plays in MF to.Made his debut at 17,a big lad.25 I think
    Fermino I like of Hoffenheim a Brasilain MF,good grater with a bit of flair thrown in 21/22.
    Morrison of Albion.
    I haven`t got the euro knowledge I used to have but these 2 caught my eye.
    Graham O`G.can give us a better overview of decent players to be had for fair money on the continent.

  20. AndrewAndrew10-12-2012

    B6to Brasil- your right i do think PL is building a good solid foundation first then the building from that ie more atacking players will be purchased. At the start of next season Ireland, Bent, Nzogbia and hopefully in my opinion gabby will all be replaced.

  21. AndrewAndrew10-12-2012

    sorry that did not make much sense, trying to eat, read, drink and type.

  22. FremFrem10-12-2012

    Matt- I think the defense is the last area we need in Jan. Herd, baker, vlaar, lowton and clark have done fine last few games

    It’s in the final 3rd we are desperate. Something different up top to benteke and a couple of clever creative players. A cm also

    We need ar least 4 players in jan. A st, two creative players and a cm like diame or parker

  23. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil10-12-2012

    Back to your leader Matt and MON.They have Reading tomorrow,then a trip to ManU,then Southampton and Man City,so everywhere you look there are tough fixtures to be faced.I feel we are becoming much better equpped to face our next three tough games than 2 months ago.MON as you allude to has not progressed the club since the Bruce era,quite the opposite they seem to be going backwards.COYVB.

  24. FremFrem10-12-2012

    South id take downing back. We need someone like him. A natural player

    Just hope sunderland don’t get downing and milner

  25. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Andrew,

    A point can be seen as disappointing but the form said it was the most likely outcome – we have only won once against Stoke in the Premier League, lost once, and the remainder have been drawers.

    Aubameyang is a great player in Ligue 1 – whether he will make it to Villa Park, I’m unsure personally.

  26. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Steve W,

    Have to agree with the sentiments that you include in terms of who should be signed because, as you imply, the season will be challenging if we can’t score goals.

    Aubameyang would be a great capture but, as many have alluded to, a new central midfielder and extra experienced defender would be good.

    I’d love to get rid of some of the deadwood but, as you also state, I doubt many people will be queuing up to take them off our hands.

  27. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil10-12-2012

    If we get Downing back,a backward step IMO,no,no,no.A natural,average,overpaid,overrated player,if we go for him then the panic button has been pressed.The best piece of business we have ever done in the market.Why would Milner go to S`land?

  28. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Southwest,

    Why would we have Downing back though? Why would he come back when it would mean a pay cut and playing for a team that doesn’t suit the majority of his play?

    It could happen (as anything could) but I can’t say I’d be making that choice if I was in charge.

  29. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    B6,

    With regard to fixtures, you are exactly right that all teams have issues when you look at them individually – I think fans can get caught up in their own club and think that they are in the worst position when that isn’t always the case.

    That MON is touting for more money is no surprise as that is his way. Whether he can pull himself out of the problems at Sunderland we shall see but, as I imply above, I’m glad we have Lambert in charge at present and not our former man.

  30. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    PS agree about Downing – taking him back would be a bizarre step. Also have to agree regarding Milner – why would he go to Sunderland? Because Sunderland wouldn’t mind a player in his role?

    By that logic Yaya Toure should come to us in January because we need a big African midfielder like him in the middle, regardless of the fact a) he wouldn’t come and b) we wouldn’t be able to get him.

  31. FremFrem10-12-2012

    Milner will want first team footy, he knows what Mon is about and he played his best footy under Mon

    Would be surprised if we got downing back but if we did it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world

  32. HaggisHaggis10-12-2012

    Downing. No thank you, do people have that short a memory. He bottled every one on one challenges and after pledging his loyalty to the club jumped ship at the first chance. I can’t believe not only did we get £20m for the Judas but we also forced him into putting in a transfer request so we didn’t have to pay up his contract.

    I honestly can’t believe Swansea got Michu for only £2m, he would compliment Benteke and knows where the goal is.

  33. FremFrem10-12-2012

    Gutted that keane is of to qpr.

    Given and bent apparently won’t be sold. Get them of the save bill

  34. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Frem,

    Milner gets first team football though. Ok, not every game but enough to qualify for medals nonetheless.

    Haggis,

    I can only put the desire for some to want Downing back down to desperation – he showed a horrendous lack of loyalty despite us signing him when he was injured.

    I am never pleased to see others fail, but there is a certain degree of “what goes around, comes around” when looking at Downing’s career since leaving us.

  35. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    PS Keane hasn’t agreed to go anywhere yet has he Frem?

    Being chased and someone going somewhere are two different, disparate things.

  36. HaggisHaggis10-12-2012

    I take it your pulling a sicky today Mat hence many posts from you. Amazed your not playing Fifa.

    I can’t talk done a sicky last week ( Working from home to the staff ) but that was down to drinking a bottle of whisky with a Baileys chaser ( Well I was trying to get into the Christmas spirit ).

  37. Andrew PAndrew P10-12-2012

    Hello people

    Matt, “I am never pleased to see others fail”. You’re a better person than me – sometimes I am genuinely delighted when people fall flat on their faces. Stewart Downing being a prime example.

    I was well pleased with the application on Saturday and with some of the football. Thought we deserved more than a point. We do need to start turning some of these draws into wins but I don’t think we’re far way.

  38. steamersteamer10-12-2012

    Hello Matt, glad your over the worst.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if Rodgers suggested a straight swap, Downing for Bent, neither are wanted by their clubs nor even popular with those clubs fans. I don’t think it would happen because PL has respect for our support and Downing went way too far with his actions. I don’t know if he has located his missing spine yet, he never had it when he played for us and i hope he doesn’t come looking for it at VP, I think Sunderland would be more likely to come in for him. Milner i would take although their is more chance of Nelson growing his eye back than JM in a Villa shirt. I don’t think PL is one to gamble with big fees unless he is 100% certain that the player will fit into the team pattern, Germans are great team players and i expect at least one in January.

  39. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    A sicky Haggis? AVL (well football) is my full time role so I’d be on here either way :)

    Just need to have it make money now so I can push it on as I put in a lot of time to the project and want to transform that effort into some kind of return.

    If people haven’t installed the extension we have (click the support AVL button), then please consider doing so as it helps me pay for the cost of running the site – given it costs me to run the site, it has become a full time job for a variety of reasons, and I want it to be a success, any help is always appreciated. :)

  40. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Andrew P,

    I agree we are getting there – another striker would be great in January to mix things up.

  41. The DroydThe Droyd10-12-2012

    Keane – Another year older than he was last year? No thanks.

    Downing – I’d take Downing as he would definitely improve the quality in our team. We fleeced Liverpool for him, so who cares about the circumstances of his departure? We were the only winners there.

    However, like Matt – I can’t see how he would fit into our team. His supply for Bent was excellent and he scored around 10 goals in his last season for us. He is a quality player that just hasn’t been able to respond to the pressure of a £20 million price tag.

    If we got him on the cheap, or even as a loan then why not? If we can do a deal with Liverpool that delivers them Bent and us Downing and it is financially a good deal – then hell yes.

    We do look rubbish on the right with our supply and that is where Downing thrived for us. Gabby and Downing alternating on the flanks with Benteke in the middle – yes please.

  42. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Steamer,

    Agree on all the points ie. Milner not coming, Downing being more likely to go to Sunderland, and a German (league signing or national) having a good probability.

    Glad I am over the illness for the most part – I had enough cr*p to deal with watching Villa last season than to have to have more cr*p on my hands (not literally).

  43. Andrew PAndrew P10-12-2012

    Steamer, Droyd, putting aside Downing’s treachery, not the fact that he left us but the way he went about it, an exchange with Bent would value Downing at around £12 million and he’s just not worth that kind of money. We made that mistake once before and fortunately got our money back thanks to Dalglish’s lack of judgement. At least this time Downing wouldn’t be on crutches if we signed him, although the way he plays it probably wouldn’t make much difference.

    Anyway I’d like to think Paul Lambert was a man of principle and there are certainly worst types of man to be.

  44. The DroydThe Droyd10-12-2012

    Where do you get £12 million from?

    I think he would be worth a lot less. After all, he can’t get in a cr*p side like Liverpoo.

    As I stated, the deal would have to be financially in our favour. Liverpool will be desperate just to get him off the wage bill, so I don’t think he will cost too much.

    I’m not convinced that we’d be interested anyway but as a fan, I hope we are.

  45. Ian GibsonIan Gibson10-12-2012

    Keane likes Villa and yes he is a year older-we all are and we don’t consign ourselves to the dustbin. IMO he has a lot to offer. I watched him in the MLS cup game and he had a great game. Box to box, good with his feet, and more than a couple of moves that turned the opposition into tree trunks. He doesn’t have an agenda, puts in an honest days work and looks to me to be a good team player. He wants to remain sharp and won’t pull an N’Zogbia. For 6 games it would be a win win situation. He stays fit and sharp and Villa gets a quality player and a good team man. I remember last year when the players all said they liked having him on the team. Rose coloured glasses going back into the drawer now.
    As far as Downing goes. Not in my lifetime. After his display towards Villa I have no time for him regardless of what he might bring to the team. There will be someone show up in January that will be a fair facimile of Downing. PL has proven that with his astute transfer dealings. Why wouldn’t PL stay with the club if he is having the success he planned for? This really could be a fine match for club and manager.

  46. Josh CattierJosh Cattier10-12-2012

    My one problem with signing in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is how the f**k do we sing his name? Perhaps just singing the Spiderman theme is a better idea. Maybe we could find Batman, Superman and the rest. In fact, in order to liven up our pretty poor home attendance I think we should sign players based on the humorous nature of their names to give the fans something to cheer about. “Villa, Villa, Villa!” really is lazy.

    Moving on…
    I like the 3-5-2 although it does restrict us in our use of Bent who I still think could be perfect alongside Benteke, although Gabby has done a solid job. If we could get a 3-5-2 with wingers rather than wingbacks perhaps we could fit in Bent, Benteke, Agbonlahor and Weimann/N’Zogbia/Albrighton. Sounds pretty tasty to me.

  47. Ian GibsonIan Gibson10-12-2012

    Steamer,
    My daughter suggested this site to me. Maybe you have already seen it. But I liked it.

    http://songza.com/

  48. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    En Route,

    We could do with a good set of chants as ours are, quite frankly, boring.

    As for Aubameyang, I guess it depends on how we broke down the name into a song – I would imagine something to turn his name into Boomerang from ‘bemeyang would make it a bit easier to work it out.

    Not that I’m suggesting we start singing Akon’s track of the same name but an example would be the replacement of…

    “You’re, you’re my boomerang” with “Au… au… au bemeyang”

  49. Ian GibsonIan Gibson10-12-2012

    Sounds like you have him in Villa colours already Matt.

  50. Andrew PAndrew P10-12-2012

    Droyd, Steamer suggested that Rodgers might offer Downing in a straight swap for Bent which would put his value upwards of £10 million. Then there’s his wages and the effect that has on people like Westwood who are giving their all for around £10 thou a week. Suspect Downing wouldn’t get of bed for that kind of money. There is far better value elsewhere, some of whom will even have names I can pronounce.

  51. steamersteamer10-12-2012

    Ian,
    The site is limited to USA and Canada, thanks a lot though.

  52. steamersteamer10-12-2012

    My worry is if Benteke is injured, Andy Gray began like a house on fire but picked up several niggly knocks, he played on but they hindered his game and eventually finished him. Benteke is probably the only player we can’t replace like for like.
    I’d love Bony at VP, those two would be some partnership, another i keep harping on about is Ricky van Wolfswinkel, 6’1″ averaging almost a 1 in 2 in Holland and Portugal and can also play as an attacking MF.

  53. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Gibbo,

    I would have him here if I was in charge but, sadly, my coaching experience is nowhere near high enough to be offering advice to Aston Villa professionally :)

  54. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Have to agree with Steamer about the dependence on Benteke too – we can’t just do the same as we did with Bent in the past.

    Bony would be great, Aubameyang also a great pick too.

    Steamer,

    van Wolfswinkel would be a great choice for our team though I’d see him in the Ireland role more than a real striker’s position because of his movement.

    You do love your Dutch influences Steamer :)

  55. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    A preview of P-E A so far this season for those who want to have a watch:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY9r-4qG5Po

    PEA… That could be a nickname for him…

  56. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Lovely first touch too – that is one thing I really admire in a striker.

  57. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Oh and I’d love Gradel to come too but that won’t be happening given how recently he has gone there.

  58. Ian GibsonIan Gibson10-12-2012

    Steamer,
    Try grooveshark. It’s a good site too. http://grooveshark.com/

    January is becoming an exciting topic in the right way. Not a panic time but time to improve. I too wonder what kind of effect it would have on the younger players if Villa was to bring in several players who would displace them.

  59. SuperBoxSuperBox10-12-2012

    Matt – Wasn’t Ireland nicknamed Superman at City? Looks like the whole fantastic four are on their way! Hutton surely is the Incredible Hulk, all uncontrolled aggression!

    The Dempsey point is a good one. Not just about the wages but the type of player. I am sure PL didn’t just put a bid cos he was bored. Experienced, creative and can tackle and score. He’d be ideal at the top of our diamond, battling for his place with Ireland. Would have been good business if it had come off.

  60. randiandipandirandiandipandi10-12-2012

    Why swap Downing for Bent? If we had some wingers we would need a striker like Bent!

    Can’t see the club wasting money on over valued and overpaid British players when the Dutch and German leagues are full of better value for money players. For the money you would spend on 2 Premier league players you could get 4 from Europe and if 1 of them doesn’t perform/gets injured at least we won’t be totally screwed.

    I’m not jumping for joy over our results recently, but I’m seeing enough to keep the faith until at least the January window shuts – then we will have an idea of how the season will pan out (Europa cup or Champions league :-))

  61. SuperBoxSuperBox10-12-2012

    Matt – The extensions are for Chrome or Firefox only right?

  62. SuperBoxSuperBox10-12-2012

    Downing to Sunderland makes sense. Mon will have his two wingers then. They can supply Fletcher. Will Sunderland give him the money though?

  63. Ian GibsonIan Gibson10-12-2012

    Gee Matt,
    I thought one timers were outlawed. :-) I liked what I saw in PEA. How about this guy from Iran?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPeCpq8VkLo

  64. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Superbox,

    The extensions are indeed only for Chrome or Firefox at present because a) I’ve only got limited time to develop them and b) they are the two main non-mobile browsers that people use.

  65. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Ian,

    Which one – the one? Hopefully not the one copping a feel.

    Superbox,

    Ireland was indeed named Superman and has the sign tattooed inside his lower lip.

  66. Ian GibsonIan Gibson10-12-2012

    Matt,
    :-) That’s a hand ball if I ever saw one. Can you imagine how popular he would be.

  67. B62 VillaB62 Villa10-12-2012

    Evening lads,
    Matt glad your feeling better, I was a bit rough myself but that was self inflicted after a long days drinking(still didn’t make stoke look good tho).
    On January , we need quality additions in all 3 areas, but I don’t think this will happen in January’s window and depending on who exits will depend on how many additions arrive. For me it’s a No to both downing and Keane for varying reasons ranging from age, VFM ability etc etc.
    Judging by the poor gate, I think alot of fans are staying away until they see greater improvement/the transfers in jan. it’s not the first low gate, but it was a sat 3 pm KO and our last before Xmas , 30k is diabolical especially as it was only £25 to get in. Alot of fans in the bar at half time were saying they believe in Lambert but they want to see more of an improvement, as one put it we aren’t much better than last year just with a cheaper team. Our lack of creativity and goals are a major worry, Benteke looks isolated and his 3 goals he’s scored coming up to the half way stage just isn’t good enough, and he needs help especially as Gabby has already scored his quota for another year.
    We have reverted to a style of play that ginger balls would be proud of, i understand we need to become harder to beat specially after the way we shipped goals earlier on this year. But we need more balance.
    I don’t have the names or the answers , but some fans are getting bored with hoping other teams are worse than us rather than the tangible progression we crave.

  68. Ben SpareyBen Sparey10-12-2012

    Like many of us, Paul Lambert will know that experience and level heads need to be bought in January, I think we will see three or four players in defensive, midfield and attacking positions, giving us extra dimensions to our game, a plan b if you like.

    I think the ammount of young, talented potenital we have in the team is sufficiant, we will need a healthy balance of flair, youth and experience, I would fully expect Lamberts dealings in January to reflect this

  69. NicoNico10-12-2012

    Good evening, a good piece Matt, and sums up where we are very well.

    Firstly, I think that PL is only trying out 3-5-2 to try to get some much needed width on the pitch by pushing our full backs up the pitch. Lowton has adapted extremely well and is starting to look like a really good player. I think that if PL can get a winger in Jan he will revert back to 4-2-3-1.

    Westwood has been a revelation in the middle and just shows that there are good players in the lower leagues. But, whilst Bannan can be effective, we really need someone who can boss a game for longer periods and take a game by the scruff. We also lack a bit of strength in depth, let’s face it our bench doesn’t have any game changers. I watched Ireland and Bent come on against Stoke and we were worse for it. N’Zogbia could be a game changer, but where the hell is he?

    Plus points – Baker has been very solid filling in at the back, and Herd has also done very well. I think that with Vlaar coming back we are okay in defence until the summer when perhaps we get Dunne, Hutton and Warnock off the books. Holman looked back to his annoying best on Saturday and I think he is underrated, he gets through a tremendous amount of work and breaks up play well.

    So, a winger and a central midfielder, but these need to be proven players who can slot straight in. If we can secure these two players in January we will be fine.

  70. B6toBrasilB6toBrasil10-12-2012

    Geordies lost again,that keeps them within 2 points of us,plenty to play for.I fancy a S`land Reading draw tomorrow.

  71. Niall MooneyNiall Mooney10-12-2012

    I wouldn’t take Downing back for £1M, we bought him with a broken leg and he jumped ship at the first opportunity. Not to mention his form on the football pitch!

    My January preference would be a creative CM. I still think we have a very good one in Stevie Ireland but it doesn’t seem Lambert agrees with me!

    Just noticed Bradford Arsenal is on the telly ahead of us in the COC, gutted. Surprised PL’s return is not being televised.

    I can’t see us paying anyone £60k a week in the near future. Think we will be in the market for hidden gems like Benteke.

  72. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Nico,

    Charlie is still injured if I remember.

    B62,

    I too am glad I am better – fingers crossed our point scoring gets better soon too.

    Ben,

    January will be interesting. I think we need two experienced players to come in. Youth is great, but we need some support too – even United’s wonderkids in the 90s had support of older heads.

  73. Matt TurveyMatt Turvey10-12-2012

    Niall,

    I wouldn’t have Downing back either – doesn’t fit the system and showed his true colours disappearing as soon as he could.

    The consolation was that we practically violated Liverpool by getting them to pay £20m for him.

  74. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman11-12-2012

    Good post Matt, glad to hear you’re recovering.

    PEA is exactly the sort of player we need. Someone quick that can dribble and score. Capable of playing up top, in support, or out wide. Hopefully giving a kick in the arse to zoggy and gabby who should both be filling this need for us.

    I’d like to see a loan move for Keane, I think he’d really compliment Benteke and take some pressure off his shoulders for a few games.

    Henderson strikes me as a good piece of business. Young, hungry, talented, loads to his game. Especially if we get him at 1/2 price using the money Liverpool still owe us. But i don’t think we’ve seen anything like the full potential of KEA as a box to box player yet.

    Verdict is still out on Bennett and Stevens looks promising, but if we can pick up a left sided Lowton from Europe I’d be really happy.

    Don’t think we need another CB as they’ll just limit the development of Baker and Clarke (I really like both) and Dunne already gives us experienced cover. But if we can pick up a promising young player that can cover RB and CB then that would be my 4th signing.

    However more than anything I trust Henke and lambo to pick the right players. Really looking forward to seeing who they try and succeed in bring us.

  75. Gav MerrimanGav Merriman11-12-2012

    Downing is a decent player, anyone saying otherwise has a short memory, but I wouldn’t want him back either.

    Seems to be quite a bit of chatter about Bent and Liverpool. Doesn’t strike me as a Rogers ‘total football’ player at all. Not sure where Bent will end up, but Liverpool seems highly unlikely. He’d do well at Chelsea, they need a finisher and have bags of service, might be a surprise destination. AVB wouldn’t want him, nor Wenger which only leaves teams like Fulham, QPR, West Ham, Toon, Sunderland… maybe Everton at a push. In today’s game with more teams trying to play a passing game, Bent is an unfashionable player.

    We might have to prepare ourselves that he could end up staying put. I hope not. However total credit to him for not moaning as we sold his supply, striped his captaincy, and dropped him to the stands. Maybe we’ll see him come back in favour.