Aston Villa host Arsenal this evening with two games left and four to six points needed to secure survival. It was never going to be easy. That’s not the Villa way. But the failings of our fellow relegation contenders have kept hope alive, and hope isn’t easy to relinquish. For the most part.

We know it didn’t need to come down to this, but it has. Missed opportunities throughout the season, never mind the restart, could have seen us safe. When you look at the table, it’s not Villa’s inability to win that stands out as much as our inability to draw. That’s where the points needed for safety have really been lost.

And now we find ourselves needing to string together four results. We’ve gotten two already, and we’ve got another two to play for. Bournemouth have done us a favor losing to Southampton, as have Watford in falling to West Ham before they play City today and Arsenal on Sunday.

So tonight, I have to imagine Dean Smith will be playing it very safe. While an upset would be be magnificent, not losing ground on goal differential while putting ourselves in a position to leapfrog Watford on the final day will be top of mind. If the win’s there, then lovely. But Smith’s a realist with a goal-shy side to work with, and Arsenal are coming in on fine form, having dispatched Liverpool and Manchester City.

For their part, Villa are limping in having beaten Crystal Palace then stumbling to a late draw with Everton. The players were clearly gutted by yet another late concession some eight minutes away from three points that might well have seen us only needing a single draw over the last two. They’d done enough to win but didn’t. However, the point, as disappointing as it was in the end, could still prove the difference.

Looking at Arsenal, we have to hope their minds are elsewhere after two victories they wouldn’t have expected. A letdown wouldn’t be surprising. But. Even though they’ve earned a shot at Europe by reaching the FA Cup Final, there’s still an outside chance they can secure Europa League football with emphatic victories over Villa and Watford. And there won’t be anything to dash their hopes before kick-off tonight.

We’ve seen enough of Villa to expect them to try and start brightly. Create something before Arsenal get settled. But riding that out? We’ve seen that movie before. As I keep saying, though, you’d like to think we’re statistically due some kind of result after all the near misses against top clubs. Due a very rare goal from a set-piece. A penalty. An odd bounce off Samatta’s head. A wicked deflection, an own-goal. Anything.

So, no idea what to expect other than a nerve-wracking affair if Villa can’t break through early. Well, it’ll be nerve-wracking regardless, and I may just stop watching after 80 minutes. Don’t know if I can take stand another match being under the cosh all night and inevitably succumbing. But what we need from the game will hinge on what happens with Watford and City. We’ll all be rooting just about as hard for City as Villa, and will at least know where we stand going in. If Watford don’t get a lift from sacking Pearson, a defeat ought to encourage Villa. If Watford do get a lift and City put in one of their desultory performances, the mountain will start looking like Everest.

Still, if you’d offered me 17th at the start of the season I’d gladly have taken it. Still will. And I’m having a hard time believing it’s even possible.

Over to you.

Comments 191

  1. Thanks JC- In our favour is a more rested side compared to Arse’s who will surely rotate for this one plus put some of their recently returned on for some fitness after all its only us.

    City could pull any number of changes and always do. Rumours of massive fallouts in the changing room at half time in the last game for Watford which might go either way for them.

    We are due to take some of those chances and we have looked better going forward with Luis cemented at DM. A rare tactical change ( 🙂 ) by Dean Smith after ten mins at Everton saw us move McGinn to number 10 and dominate the midfield. I hope he is equally as astute tonight.

  2. Samatta and Trezeguet starting again is an absolute joke Dean Smith.

    They were a joke against Everton

    Really beginning to dislike Smith

  3. Jota should start, or Vasilev, or Barry. Anyone but Trezeguet. Dire football player

    Hourihane shouldn’t be starting either

  4. Mark. True. It makes me dislike him him even more

    How can he re watch that Everton game and think sam and Trez should start again?

  5. Thanks JC
    I’m going to the radio shack, a different kind of stress, listening to cr*p WM chatter.
    Lets hope the pressure releases all over the arses

  6. Because Sam has more chance of scoring than Davis and Trez works harder than El Ghazi who looked like he pulled his groin when he missed that chance

  7. It is an unchanged side:

    Reina, Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Hourihane, Trezeguet, Samatta, Grealish.

    Ally’s come close a couple times. If Elmo keeps whipping them in, he might just get on the end of one.

  8. Mark – we were much better when Davis came on. Held the ball up. Sammata was dire

    Trez gave the ball away every time

  9. Frem,

    I suspect we’ll see Davis later on. I think we’ll play the way we do, try and get a quick start. That seems to be when we create most of our chances, then down the final stretch. In between? Not so much.

    But a fresh Davis helps with retention if we have something to hold on to.

  10. Smith seemed very flat in the interview.

    Saying he told the players to play like we have been. What? We are s**t

    Just tell them a win gets us out the drop. So win

  11. Hopefully we might try and score a second. We are so slow

    Going forward we have nothing. DAVIS needs to come on

    In the summer we need 3 wingers and 2 strikers

  12. All depends on how Arsenal react and what changes Arteta makes.

    Regardless, we have to keep engaging them up the pitch. Big thing is not letting them catch fire. And yes, a second would be everything.

  13. Smith needs to get Ghazi Davis and marvelous on now

    Don’t do it before we tire and then arsenal score then make changes

    Freshen it now 68 mins in

  14. I still can’t believe it. Got the lead, missed the sitters to put it away and FINALLY hung on.

    And yes, there was definitely an Arsenal hangover, but it’s about time we caught a good side on an off day.

  15. Well organized, Arsenal no shots on target shows how off color they were as much as our discipline. That ball of the post was a life saver, finally got some luck. Massive 3 points, let’s hope Arsenal take out their anger on Watford. A point at the Hammers should then do.

  16. Well done the boys!!!
    Defensively outstanding with Guilbert, Konsa and Mings being immense, Targett too did all that was needed of him.

    Well Trezeguet must be worth a lot more than the £8.5million we paid for him. Jack was not good to start with, but came good in the end, just a shame we have no finishers, other than Trezeguet.

  17. Everything is now in our own hands for the final game, so good luck to Dean Smith and his staff.
    Let us hope the boys come good against the Hammers, and it is good to seethat we have almost a fully fit team to play with.
    Interesting to see Lansbury is still there on the fringe still.

  18. Oh dude. These beers are tasting soooo good. I can’t believe what’s happened over the last 4 hours. It’s been 21 years since we beat the Arse at VP.

    Now we’ve just got to run down to Laaandan town and ‘ammer the Hammers . So pleased to see Guilbert back. His pace is needed against a flying winger. Aubameyang? No trouble.

  19. A truly magnificent result.

    A great team performance

    All of them fighting for the badge

    Incredible. It is now in our hands

    Time to start believing


    Beautiful Aston Villa

  20. Summer will be good if we stay up

    Can actually buy some good wingers and strikers

    And f**k the s**t off we have like Jota, Sammata, Ghaiz, Trez, Lansbury, Taylor, marvelous

  21. I hope Suso is sacked and Smith can sign who he wants

    I’m not a Smith fan whta so ever, but if we stay up, he should be able to sign who he wants and f**k Suso off

    Or we sack Smith and get Potch

  22. Morning day looks brighter already. Smith in his presser said part of the problem has been fitness and lack of preseason for our end of game loss of concentration and that makes sense along with all the other obstacles this season’. No teams immune to tiredness and having extra rest helped and we have the same now for the next game . It was great to hear the commentary talk about smiths in game changes because without it I would not of seen it . So motivation tick, tactics tick, fitness tick, apologies ? 🙂

  23. Arise sir Smith

    What a result just one point and we can really start moving forward as a club , I think if we maintain premier status we will kick on big time
    the one worry was Jacks interview sounds like he will be offski


  24. Super Victory and 7 points gained out of the last 9

    The team is also learning how to defend

    Mings and especially Konsa are looking great.

    Shame Elmo got injured but Freddy was Heroic

    Targett was steady

    Douglas has been superb – he looks a top midfield player

    Conor has been solid.

    Mcginn is getting back to fitness – tenacious – this guy would run through walls

    Trez is an Enigma. I said to my pal before the game – he is spontaneous

    Sammatta and Davis put a shift in – unfortunately, they are not going to score

    And Jack – he is the Magician – the Messiah – the Midfield Maestro

    Start Believing

  25. Nice comments Richard S.

    I see a lot more in Trezeguet than most. He has desire and it shows. He could be so good if we nurture him. If he loses the ball, he is like a terrier, and fights to get it back, sometimes successfully, and sometimes not, and apart from McGinn, not so many others do.
    He focused yesterday and made absolutely sure that he met that ball perfectly to score, and he can be lethal around the box. He is no where near the finished article, but give him time. Traore and Maxima are only just showing how good they can be.

    We really need to concentrating on developing players to their full potential, instead of leaving to someone else.

  26. Well said, Paul.

    It is interesting that the players identified by Smith are starting to flourish – Konsa – Dougie – Mings – are starting to prove their worth.

    The Belgium contingent is not providing to be as successful

    When we stay up it is essential that Smith can purchase the players he truly wants

    We need reinforcements all over the pitch – 2 strikers are a priority

    It is pointless in assigning Susso to choose/buy the players.

    There could be rich pickings from the teams who get relegated

    I will be truly gutted if Jack leaves. He is what the Premier League is all about – true quality and entertaining.

    Can we keep him? We shall see.

    Start Believing

  27. Frem – I don’t believe Jack is a done deal.

    If we are relegated – 100%, he is off

    If we stay up – we have incredibly rich owners who will play hardball over the price. At least, £80M. At that could be a problem for most clubs, especially in this COVID economy.

    If Man UTD keep Pogba and sign Sancho then I don’t see where Jack fits into the equation. He is too good to sit on the bench.

    Let’s stay up first and then convince him to stay.

    Make the right acquisitions in the Summer and kick on.

  28. I think the comments about Compass investing heavily again if we stay up are partly for Jack’s benefit: “We’ll get better players around you.”

    Pros: If he stays in PL with Villa, he can get his England call-up. He can rise up the table with the club, and be a truly legendary Villan. He can be the star, and not a cog in a machine.

    Cons: Villa may well have arranged a deal already to hedge against going down. Jack may feel it’s time to move on inevitably if Villa stay up. He may be tired of the weight. Even if he did say “Pressure is Privilege”.

    But if nothing’s been arranged and we stay up, then we can play hardball. I don’t know whether Jack will be convinced he’ll have the same profile somewhere else, and playing 90 every week. Will he really nail down a starting spot at United or City? Will he want to go fight for it?

    If Compass do play hardball, they have to take Jack’s desires into consideration. He’s done right by the club, and if he’s forced to stay, that wouldn’t be entirely fair in return. So that means talking to him, letting him know we’ll let him go if that’s what he wants, but don’t make any noises, and see if he’ll understand that we can’t let him go on the cheap, needs to help us hold out for a high price for the good of the club.

  29. Frem,

    I think we could see a lot of offloads…but I think it depends on the money. If we need to sell Trez and AEG to get in replacements, for example, then I’m sure we will. But always depends on suitors and players’ contracts. Also the loan players.

    They could also stay as backup if the current financial situation allows. Bring in new starters, and you’ve got two who’ve played in the league now and want their spots back. IF anyone thinks they’re worth keeping.

    So, no idea about the money and what needs to happen. But that’s one way to build depth, and keeps us from having to bed in a whole new squad again.

    Can’t remember what sort of deals we struck with players, but my first swipe would be to try and clear these:

    Reina (Heaton, Steer, Nyland…more than enough)
    Taylor (replace)
    Elmo (replace)
    Bree? (ready to be backup to Guilbert?)
    Hogan (is he done yet?)

  30. What should happen to Smith if we go down, or stay up?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s replaced what ever league we are in. We have been extremely poor this season. I wonder if the club realsie that.

    But. If Suso is sacked, I’d like to see Smith have control over transfers and get his players

    But then again I’d like Potch

  31. Frem,

    To be honest, I’m guessing this is just about exactly where the club figured to be. Maybe safe by now, but I don’t think anyone was expecting us to pull up trees. Edens has too much experience in sports ownership to expect that that many new players wouldn’t struggle. He’s no Randy Lerner.

    So I’m pretty sure he and Sawiris would have known it was a very high-risk exercise. Smith, too. They spent all they could and rolled the dice. I’m sure they also knew that if they went back down, they’d be able to get the parachutes, clear the books with departures, and start fresh.

    They’ve seen the mistakes. The collapses. The bad luck. They’ve known it’s a thin squad. They knew Smith was dedicated to attacking football, and he’s been true to his word, for better or worse. They’ve seen we had a decent goal tally. They’ve seen that our position in the table has much more to do with not drawing enough than not winning enough. In 10th, Arsenal have only won four more matches than Villa (13 vs 9). Newcastle, Palace, two more. West Ham? One. All established sides who’ve had more time to spend more. But we’ve lost 21, with only Bournemouth and Norwich worse. Brighton have won just eight, but drawn 14. Think of three goals or missed chances that saw us lose instead of draw. We’d be safe with those points.

    So how do they feel about Smith? From what I can tell he’s honest. Naturally he spins things to protect the players. Sometimes calls one or two out. But his actual analysis usually rings true to me. All the post-match comments are very quick and broad takes, loads of clichés for the press, etc. I’d imagine he’s very honest with the owners and players. The question probably comes down to whether the players buy into him, and what Compass hear from all the people behind the scenes around the league. Stuff we won’t really know.

    Suso? Much bigger question mark, clearly. Was there more to the players he brought in than Smith could get out of them, or did he simply miss the mark? Were there just not enough? After seeing their bets play out for a full season, Compass will have a much better idea, recruitment-wise, going forward, and that will also have a lot to do with the league we’re in. I’m thinking it doesn’t look good for Suso, but they’ve obviously decided to hold fire until the end.

  32. Excellent observations JC. A great summary of how things have turned out so far. My view is still a preference for attacking football. Deano gave us that in the Championship. After Spud, it was a breath of fresh air.

    Once promoted though, I don’t believe the squad assembled was good enough to carry on playing attacking soccer in the Prem. Not yet anyway. So we needed to be more astute in how we approached games and become more tactically minded especially in seeing games out where we held points in our grasp. That’s where I saw the shortcomings.

    Survival is still in the balance. There are teams safely above us who have assembled lesser talented squads but found a way to accrue the necessary points. It’s something we could learn from. The attacking football will happen as our squad builds and strengthens.

  33. On the attacking football, there are only 5 teams that have created more big chances than us all top 6 clubs. From where I stand I think Luis coming good earlier and the FB’s sitting in more at times solves an an awful lot.

    Taking into account the lack of a prolific goal scorer we had to find goals from somewhere and Smith has done that. This covid period also gave him a mini pre-season to get players fit like luis, being 5-10% under your best leaves you nowhere in this league of athletes. You can change tactic all day long but if your reacting a second to slow then it looks pretty much like we have. Personally I think Smith has nailed these last 10 games and we have peaked over the last 3 games and could of had another 6 points (also could of had VAR f**k that up but hey we were due some luck) .

  34. Moving forward, If we stay up then the new season starts on the 12th sept. I think the players will get 1-2 weeks max hols then back to work. Smith has already said we are working on the basis of either scenario, it would be nice to have had just the one to look at. If we had been confident of staying up your not looking at duel league possibilities of players price and wage wise.

    Sure some will go but I think a fullish pre-season should see this team improve further, any new players then have time to bed. So I am not expecting many to go, and I would think The youth will start to feature on the bench.

    As for contracts only Reina and Sarkic’s run out the others all have at least 1 season left.

    For me Hogan will be gone , he’s made to many noises at Blose and Jota surely as to as well? Lansbury maybe, and I have no idea of Bree’s performances.

    Jack’s the biggie, I have heard that someone who knows his brother says he’s going.

  35. As for the championship it looks like WBA, Brentford and Fulham didn’t want second 🙂 . Cardiff are on a little run, Fulham and Swansea are in good form and Brentford have stalled in the last two games. Hard one to call.

  36. Mark- If we go down there wjll be a big turn around off players. If we stay up, probably not so much

    I think Jack is gone, so obviously needs replacing. We need a striker, 2 wingers desperately.

    Then after that, maybe a left back. Another cm or two.

    Drinkwater and lansbury will go. I imagine Marvelous will to. Luiz possibly to City. We probably need another centre back. Engles is off.

    So really, there is a lot even if we survive

    Most the players we have aren’t good enough. We don’t have a striker good enough or a winger. Our front 3 options are dire so I’d like us to spend 100 million just on a striker and two wingers

  37. John-Do you remember how Smith and Purslow were talking at the start of the season. They were saying we want to go and beat every one and attack and not be anywhere near relegation.

    It hasn’t happened has it. For the most part I’ve found the football we have played the worst in the league. A lot of games we sit back and can’t string 4 passes together. We are a very counter side and we aren’t even good at tbat because we have absolutely no pace and we hold on the ball to long.
    I’m not sure how the owners will see it

    But. If we stay up. I’d be willing to look past this season and just be glad we stayed up, as long as we sign better footballers in the summer and play better football.

    To do tbat we need to sign quality wingers and strikers and better centre mids. We need Luiz, Jack and another quality technical cm.

    But will it happen?

  38. Frem- Not so sure there will be loads off if we drop, apparently we are in a good position financially, it really is the focus of the club to be sustainable not constantly spending huge amounts. So the way I read it is we don’t have to sell.

    DD and lansbury are surplus anyway , there is no replacing Jack in my opinion. Smith will likely play a more team based style.

    I think a fair few kids will feature soon but you could easily get your £100m spend but I do doubt that will happen unless we sell our big players. I also don’t think City can just take Luis, might be wrong but they have 1st refusal if we sell.

  39. Mark. Isn’t FFP being relaxed so we can basically spend what we want.

    I think we have to spend a lot to get anywhere near the top 6

    This squad lacks serious quality and depth

    Just look at our bench. It’s embarrassing how poor it is. Championship sides have better benches

    We need to improve our bench as much as our first team

  40. Frem- not sure its being relaxed they seem to be sticking within the rules. Ye mate we need more quality but a tilt a the title next season is not going to happen. When you see the quality at teams Like Everton who are basically also rans its clear there is more to it than buy the best available to you . Chelsea on the other hand are emerging with a very young squad, I’m hoping thats us in 2-3 years

  41. Next season we just need to invest in players that Smith actually wants.

    You can spend a lot of money for average returns. Just look at Pepe from Arsenal 65m.

    Trust Smith to identify the players – Benrahma would be great.

    And we could probably go back and get Axel from Man UTD

    The winger from Watford Delafou would be a good signing. There are some astute buys from Watford- Bournemouth and Norwich to be poached when they get relegated.

    I am sure Smith knows who wants to sign.

    We can of afford to punt on money ball signings from the Belgium league

  42. Frem,

    I do remember. Was in the room when Purslow said that in preseason. To a lot of cheers. And I think they’ve been true to their word, the intention, anyway. I just don’t think we got a high-enough quality of player across the board. Too many holes to fill. But like I say, I think they knew it was always a very big ask, and I think Purslow gets slated for just doing what he needs to do. Same with Dean.

    Did they raise expectations too high? Maybe so. But I sat there, and was talking with Ash Preece at the Mail after, and I told him, “I don’t know why everyone thinks we’ll be challenging for top-half. I think 17th is more likely, and I’d be quite happy with that.” He agreed completely. And I’ll say it again, he’s a very good guy, Ash. Gracious, friendly, honest.

    To Plug’s point, and yours, I think it’s simply about quality, consistency, cohesion, and mental toughness. Smith has tried a lot of different things. He’s switched personnel and formations, responsibilities and in-game tactics.

    You can draw up anything you like, but it’s execution that matters.

    I’ve seen too many bad decisions, poor passes, panicked passes, bad touches, nervousness on the ball, hesitancy, ball-watching…You name it. That’s the players. We do look better after the lockdown, and I think between the extra time to spend with players on their games, mix-up the cliques, and the mental and physical recovery, they’ve been able to execute better.

    Biggest difference to me, though, has been Luiz’s emergence. Fitter, maybe so, but he looks much more assured about what he’s doing. He’s imposing himself, taking responsibility all over the pitch, and providing that midfield cover we’d been so sorely lacking.

  43. Also don’t disagree with your list of needs, Frem.

    Whether it’s nerves or quality, we’re just not good on the ball as a team. Haven’t been for a long time. When teams give us space, we’re alright. When they hound us, we fall to pieces, can’t hold on to the ball, pass accurately, turn into space…all of that. So, the counters fall apart, the long balls don’t find anyone, we keep turning it over in really bad areas of the pitch when the team has committed to going forward. It’s sustained pressure that sees us eventually giving up a goal or three, and we are very much responsible for being under the cosh.

    It’s good Dean is so level-headed. It would’ve driven most managers mad or into depression. And maybe inside he is tearing his hair out.

  44. Some very interesting comments.

    Some I agree with, and others do not stand the test of proper examination. I do not see Elmo going anytime soon. He is very much needed for his top level experience alone, and he is the most senior player.
    Jack is on his way, but not Douglas Luiz or Mcginn, and with Jack gone Lansbury may well be more important, as a leader, former captain and a solid midfielder.
    We do not need to sell, and there is £200 million available to spend on new players.

    John Terry is leaving, and Villa will add to the management coaches, but who is it likely to be?

    Dean Smith will stay, along with Richard Kelly.

    Jota, Samatta, Baston, Drinkwater, Hogan, Kalinac, Chester and Green will all go, and maybe one or two more.
    Careful examination of the season tells us that the loss of McGinn due to a very stupid injury was one of the most telling factors, along with the loss of Heaton and Wesley, which is basically the loss of the spine of the team, which is hard enough for an established Premier league side, and having McGinn back now is making a difference, along with a fairly settled side , and the blossoming of Doulas Luiz.

  45. RichardS

    “There are some astute buys from Watford- Bournemouth and Norwich to be poached when they get relegated”.

    I admire your confidence!!


    Couldn’t agree more about Luiz. He has been a revelation since the restart. We are now seeing a lot of promise from him.


    Where did you get 200 million available to spend on new players from? How much do you reckon we’ll get for that list you’ve named as surplus? If Jack goes, I’m sure he won’t be cheap.

  46. Fast forward to Sunday. What do lifers think we need to get at West ‘Aaaam? I think we need to get a draw to see off Bournemouth and hope Watford don’t beat Arsenal.

    If we get a win…..that should do it. But we do see some strange results on the last day. I’m just grateful for the position we now find ourselves in. Two weeks ago I thought we were screwed.

  47. The FFP is cancelled for a year, so in effect we have a year extra to balance the books.
    Don’t know if this applies in the championship.

  48. Plug
    As you say, anything can happen & often does.
    I think we have to be approaching the game positively because it’s ours to lose.
    So we need to score basically, with hopefully a win to add to our goal difference but a draw minimally, then if we don’t get a catastrophe we don’t have to play catchup.
    2-0 sounds about right, although if all 3 of us lost we would stay up.

  49. I’ve never heard of a contract where you can basically still own the player after you’ve sold him.
    But there has been a first refusal option to buy back for years, with various financial differences.
    Vague fake news perhaps? Shoddy journalism at best.

  50. PP
    Are you turning into a Mystic Meg?
    Lansbury in the Premiership?

    Don’t forget we are currently losing money hand over fist.

  51. Me, I’m nervous about Sunday, of course. Everton, not much to play for, Bournemouth will be desperate. 2-0 win for them, and a loss for us, sees us down.

    Watford? They’ll be reeling from City, and I’d expect a response from Arsenal since they’ve got a final ahead. Do I see Watford winning by more than 1? Do I see them winning at all?

    So, you’d think a draw would probably do us. But I’d much rather win, obviously, and just have it over with.

    That said, I expect it to be cagey if we don’t get something early, and the game will shift if Bournemouth or Watford grab a lead. We’ll see how much interest West Ham have. Never know, we could be safe by halftime. But I expect Bournemouth to put up a fight.

  52. Plug – start believing

    We are staying in this division

    We are defending better than Watford and Bournemouth

    And it is a tight defence that keeps you in this division

    Mings and Konsa are looking formidable

    And we are looking good in midfield

    Dougie looks class

    McGinn will hammer the hammers

    Conor has been solid

    And Super Jack will turn on the style and deliver a majestic performance against West Ham

  53. did anyone spot Jack kneeling in front of Pepe for his late free kick he said too him you cant score its too important Pepe fired in a floated cross rather than shoot which he always seems to do from that position 🙂 Jack then winked at him ….. my mate is a gooner and told me the arsenal players have major beef with Deeney as he one battered them in a game the called the wussies so they will take great delight in beating Watford and want them gone .

    Luiz has been top 4 quality all of a sudden which is a worry as citeh have a 2 year buy back option apparently ,,if he isn’t better that there holders now he sure will be next years he has made amazing progress

    The team may just have enough to stay up as long as they can repeat the planning ,effort and togetherness .. Jack was so good could have had a wonder goal should have had a hattrick of assists … if we can keep hold of him while staying up we will be able to bring in players on his level while a lot of our current team will have had there first full season in the prem or English football

    remember what happened the year after pool last won the title : ) get your bets on

  54. IanG- yes mate covid deaths is a mess and you can only guess at the motivations behind it all politically. A few things that have come to light during this. When comparing the last 5 years you have to understand that the last 6 years deaths have been below the average. That suggests quite a few are lingering about these days that possibly would not have a while back so a stiff breeze might do for them.

    Next up is the lack of deaths from other causes, during June the deaths from all other causes was well below average. I know 1st hand that people in homes are pushed to record the slightest possibility as Covid, many families are fighting to have it removed from the death certificates. A friend of mine had a chest infection cleared up with antibiotics and the doctor was itching to label it as covid. So if you test positive and die from whatever in hospital or a home its counted.

    Problem with that is the tests are cr*p, one lot of patients were tested for 18 days straight and were negative and positive on a daily basis, the tests also pick up any corona fragments or the common cold as its known.

    Another anomaly is in every country the infection rate was falling before lock-down, the deaths appear to accelerate after lock-down, suggesting death by lock-down, hospital admission etc to muddy the water further. When we were reporting infection rates of .9 during lock-down they were actually only .5 we now know. Even though the evidence suggested Lock-downs as detrimental the modellers would rather you die than be wrong it seems.

    Between politics and science I don’t know which is less professional. The fallout will Dwarf the covid deaths by all accounts. Drip feeding fear and stress on people is very detrimental, who’d of known.

  55. On Dougie suddenly becoming superman. When we bought him I read about him and he was reported as quick and winning lots of headers and even chasing down wingers. I thought then this lad must be something. We all know that he did non of that for most of the season yet suddenly he can?

    I can but believe Dean Smith when he said the lockdown had given him the chance to get fit which he took (along with learning English) . Now I’d like to think Dean turned him into the player we see but getting fitter and faster in this league enables you to play your game rather than being run circles around whether you swear in Brazilian or English.

    On the city Buy back Clause, whatever the outcome we will make money, he could be worth £50m so we should at least double our money which is better than a loan. City could not get him a Visa I know not why or he would be there. I’d like to see him stay but we will see, he has to be between 30-40% of our improvement, a missing Cog.

  56. on transfers, the only £200m I have seen mentioned is Purslow saying staying up’s worth £200m. Now is that just TV and potential parachute money (which switches to 3 season rather than the one we would get now) or sponsorship added in there?

    Obviously the longer we stay in the league then the more you can pay for your transfers and wage bill. Players are paid for over 5 years remember so that £140m goes on the books as £28m a year on top of what we pay out. Wages are yearly expenses and its why we had to reduce those.

    If the club is going to be sustainable I can’t see us spending massively nor pushing that wage bill higher at our present level. We have to be clever because we don’t have £500m incomes like the top and its getting worse. I do think these owners are savvy though and will slowly bring our income up. At present we are not in the top 30 clubs for wealth, Crystal palace are at 30th. There was a time we could crack the top 20 in europe, that is not now.

    ” In 2018/19 the average revenue generated by a ‘big six’ club was £500 million ($639 million), an increase of £39 million ($49 million) from the previous edition. Average revenue for the remaining clubs crept up by a meagre £7 million ($8 million) to £154 million ($197 million).

    It’s not just the total, the largest clubs are increasing their income at almost twice the rate (9%) as the rest of the league (5%).”

  57. Worrying thing is Arsenal will rest a lot of players for the FA Cup final only 6days later. That’s what will kill us if anything

    I can’t see us beating west ham, I think we wjll draw. We just have to hope Watford and Bournemouth lose heavily

  58. What we want is to keep it as tight at the back as we did against arsenal for the 15 minutes. We don’t want to concede first and panic. Keep it level most the game if we can, then go for a winner after the 2nd water break.

    We have tk manage the game well and be as tactically solid

    If we could take the lead it would be great. A win keeps us up

    Last we want it Everton or Watford taking the leads

  59. As for the three games:

    Watford play Arsenal that played on the same night so get equal rest but took a hammering, as Runtings said They have previous with Deeney. I can’t see them winning although Arteta has said he will rotate but understands its important.

    Bournemouth have day extra rest than Everton but Everton haven’t lost at home under their manager. Bournemouth have beaten them this season already but ? tough call.

    We have a day extra rest against Wet Spam who have an in form forward and are safe, they could be more cavalier and they are the form team at present of the bottom teams and we are 2nd to them. Apart from Manure they have faced fairly cr*p opposition in there last 5 games although Manure were coming off an extra game. I think Jack and Mcginn will give them massive problems and last time they had a man sent off, never a good thing for us 🙂

    We have to go out to win but i don’t expect it to be gung ho unless results elsewhere get sticky.

  60. Mark. I expect mcginn and jack to be good to. West ham have a young right back who Jack could destroy and wet spam don’t have much legs in midfield so mcginn should get around

    Noble is cr*p, and ride and the other guy can’t run

  61. Mark I think its a no brainer for citeh to take Luiz but this time next year however I see our owners have been in this position wit there other sports franchise and they gave there talented youngsters as much wages as they could earn by moving kept them an went on to great success . I expect they will be looking to do something similar at the villa … for me our owner are what my villa dreams are made of .

    West Ham have to be one of the best post lockdown sides thy have bags of pace ,personally I think noble is a very good player ..we have to respect them but surely we are going to want it more than them just like against arsenal .

  62. Frem
    For what I’ve seen of the spammers, Bowen is a pest & creates uncertainty & space for them & wakes their forwards up, even if many of the rest of them are 2 dimensional. He needs a ‘ whoops, did I do that’ to slow him down.

  63. I haven’t watched wet spam but we have played a few of the same teams, we have probably played as well as them and having naarwhich and whitfird gave them 6 points as it did us . It will be tough no doubt. We did just beat arsenal though and I can’t help but think both us and wetspam benefited from the cup game.

  64. runtings
    Like us they have serious imbalances, but like us they are improving, especially Bowen & Antonio, & it looks like Snodgrass may be fit.
    They have a deeper quality bench than us [who doesn’t], but all that doesn’t make a Liverpool.
    Our last performances have encouragingly been gathering focus & power for a few games, imo sharper than the spam, & if this was a couple more games in I’d be more concerned.
    I think the tournament approach has benefited us.
    Our midfield is a little better than theirs imo, which as long as we defend puts more pressure on them. I mean Noble is a snail & has predictable & limited out balls & gets caught on the ball more these days, & players break round him more & more.
    Obviously our problem is scoring goals, so it’s a bit of a tossup in one way, but as long as our focus & intensity is there at a peak, I think we are quite capable of beating them, injuries permitting, as we’ve already lost Elmo.

    Now I’m going back to one liners.

  65. Someone asked about Bree, he is not been making many waves of note, gets injured & I think he is 24 now, & seems to have hit the wall.
    Probably unlikely to come back

  66. Just heard that the players will get three weeks off by DS, thought the restart was 12th sept not xmas.

    I was thinking about this mask wearing and if most people breath through their noses as they should I can’t imagine much spit flying around.

  67. Iang- I think the tournament thing works for us, a few went through the play offs and this season to a cup final, it helps the focus i’d think.

    Smith says Trez covers a lot of ground at high speed, his stats are impressive. I suppose with the step up in quality he’s another thats stepped up his physical fitness or other teams haven’t? either way works.

  68. So Watford have to win by 2 goals and hope we lose to finish above us, right?

    And Bournemouth just have to hope win and hope we lose?

  69. Its all over the place frem, lets just say we need to win by the same score as the others do or we all have to lose. If we all end up on the same points and goal difference it goes to goals scored and we are ahead in that.

  70. IanG- gets stinkier by the minute

    “According to reports, Gov. DeSantis has asked the state’s Department of Health to look into the situation further. He announced that it makes no sense whatsoever that people who were never even evaluated by a practitioner are now receiving anomalous positive test results that are being used by some to push for more lockdowns and mask-wearing.

    “For that to come back positive, when there was no specimen submitted, is problematic,” DeSantis is quoted as saying. “So I’ve heard it enough to be concerned about it.”

    As we recently reported, many of Florida’s testing laboratories have been submitting boatloads of false positives to the official government databases, which has majorly skewed the state’s infection statistics.

    Now it appears as though people who were never even tested are being told, possibly at random, that they have the coronavirus, which further skews the official statistics and makes it seem as though “spikes” of infection are occurring when they are actually not.”

  71. Mark
    As far as DeSantis trumping is concerned, he’s no saint.
    Par for the course really, as confusion subterfuge & non-transparency seems to be universal right now.
    And I’m not sure I believe that.

  72. Ye Bournemouth worry me to

    I can’t see them not beating Everton. Although everton did get a good win away at Sheffield. I just hope Everton show some fight

  73. Mark – The corruption in Florida is overt not hidden.
    Same distraction game as here, & incompetence manifests out of that for the icing on the cake.

  74. Can everyone please calm down

    We have got this

    We have been playing well in the last 3 games

    We can beat West Ham no problems

    Arsenal will beat Watford.

    Everton will beat Bournemouth

    And we will stay in the division

  75. IanG – no doubt he’s dodgy aren’t they all but those figures were flagged up weeks ago , some testing stations were reporting 100% positive rates very unlikely. Families are flagging up that they haven’t even been tested.

  76. Relax, peeps.

    We have control of our own destiny

    Bournemouth was truly shocking against Southampton, their bitter rivals.

    Watford are in meltdown

    I have 100% confidence we will get the result.

  77. We just really want early goals for Everton and Arsenal and us keep jt tight.

    If Watford concdede first they need 3 goals I think

  78. The final day permutations

    Villa will be safe if they draw and Watford don’t win.

    Villa will be safe if they win by the same or a better margin than Watford.

    If all three teams lose by the same margin, Villa will be safe.

    If Villa win, Watford need to better their result by two goals to avoid relegation.

    The only way Bournemouth can survive is if they win and both Villa and Watford lose.

  79. More good comments and points from everyone, but the most important for me will be Mings and Konsa and how they cope with Antonio, as he is on fire since his return, and has been the major factor in West Ham’s improvement. Jarrod Bowen is also playing his part with some great crosses, which just need the right person to meet them. Noble should not be underestimated either, as is in the right place to feed the play.
    If we play as well as we did against Arsenal, and improve our finishing, then we are definitely in with a very good chance.

  80. IanG totally agree with you west ham comments and course Noble is no Pele but he has played more games than most at this level and is more than capable of having a big influence of the game … very scary day for all who can go down but glad he are in the driving seat which look very unlikely a few games back

    If we can make it through tomorrow I really believe will allow the owners to take the club a few big leaps forward

    roll on super Sunday coyvb

  81. Christ I’m bricking it

    I can’t help but think we will bottle it, because that’s all I’ve known Villa do in my time, apart from a year ago winning at Wembley.

    I can see Watford and Bournemouth both winning

    I just hope we don’t crumble under the pressure

    If we play as tactically disciplined and as calm as we did against arsenal we can win. I just hope we don’t go all rash and bizzsrd

    I was really impressed with how structured we were against arsenal and restricted them. We need tk stop Antonio, bowen left foot crosses and the tall guy they have to head

  82. Well, this the day boys…

    Let’s do this and shout and holler wherever we are , so the team feel the inspiration and reach the heights….!!!!
    and the HEITS will sing and be happy too!!!

  83. We need to go 1 up, and snd Watford need to score 3

    Thjng is we don’t score and I think Smith will be even more defensive than we normally are

  84. My hopes and hunches are with Trezeguet to score a worldly from a Douglas Luiz defence splitting assist!!

    Don’t worry Frem the Gods have to be with us today!!

  85. Can we all please try and get into a positive mindset

    I am feeling confident that we will get the result.

    Bournemouth has a mountain to climb. Everton are tough to beat at Goodison

    Watford has pressed the self-destruct button and is playing away to Arsenal – they rarely lose at the Emirates.

    We have been playing well – we have been in every game. Defending well. And we have maintained a better shape

    Reina – Mings – Konsa have been immense

    Dougie has been class

    Mcginn industrious

    Conor has great delivery

    Jack is sensational

    And Smith does not panic. He has maintained his composure

    And wouldn’t be ironic is Tremendous Trez scores the goals that keep us in the division.

    Come on you Villa Boys

  86. Richard. It depends on thr arsenal team. They have a cup final in 6 days

    Players won’t want to get injured, and the best players probably won’t even play

  87. Frem – relax. You are way too negative.

    You could argue that Arsenal, West Ham and Everton have nothing to play for so they will all lose.

    Football does not work like this.

    Start believing

  88. IanG- I doubt that mate, not a fan of either side but we are living through some very sticky times and I would not like either extreme to win out, the thin veneer has long gone, would like to see common sense prevail over ideology or greed.

  89. Right then Lifers. This is it. I hope we play the opponents and not the occasion.

    Keep it tight for me. Stay in the game and see how things look after 65 minutes. React accordingly.

    But come the end…….make sure we are in the Prem.

  90. Mark
    You have to say extreme compared to what?

    PP – Yes, there seems to be an air of vague anticipation in my local area.
    Not good enough!

    Frem – ‘Why do I think we will f**k this up?’ – Habit unfortunately.
    I always try to concentrate on knowing we can beat anybody, but
    that will be stretched by 3 o’clock.

  91. I feel sick

    Have a horrible feeling. Good things just don’t happen to us often. It’s never us that survive on the last dya

    I think Bournemouth will stay up

  92. Team – pretty much as expected. Off now to the radio shack UTV

    Reina, Guilbert, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Hourihane, McGinn, Luiz, Grealish, Trezeguet, Samatta

    Subs: Nyland, Taylor, Lansbury, Nakamba, El Ghazi, Jota, Hause, Vassilev, Davis

  93. IanG- Good question but I struggle to see who amongst us are worthy , we are a weird bunch, I’d prefer to be left alone to forge my own way and check out one day, I’m not sure we are worth saving. Doesn’t matter how good we have it we will f it up. All these ideals sound great until you realise its us your dealing with 🙂

    The BLM supporter that was arrested for kneeling on a two year white babys neck and posting it has just about done me, not one mainstream media in America has condemned it as they would if the other way around.

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