The weekend draws to a close with Villa at The Hawthorns tonight following a dominating but goalless performance against Burnley. Who can forget the drama of our last visit? Just been watching some clips on Twitter, in fact. Nice to look back on how far we’ve come.

On paper, Villa would certainly be certainly favored, but the Baggies will be looking for that new-manager bounce, and are certainly going to be a bit like cornered animals. Their record, though, at 1-4-8 suggests Big Sam has his work cut out for him.

However, Sam’s a known quantity, so it shouldn’t be hard for Smith & Co to have some idea what to expect. And Craig Shakespeare has worked with Allardyce, giving the backroom staff as good a chance as any to anticipate how Albion might approach the game. Last time out they notched a credible 1-1 draw with City, which wasn’t enough to save Bilic, and it’s probably not going to be a walk in the park.

For their part, Villa are going to want to kick on from Thursday. As we know, all that was missing was one good finish, and the luck, such as it was, went with Burnley on the night. An ultimately frustrating match could well have been a thrashing. But, it just wasn’t meant to be. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that all the subs coming in acquitted themselves well. Including El Ghazi, even though he lacked the finishing touch. Did just about everything else right, and with Villa a little bereft of options, no reason for Smith not to go with him again and show a little faith.

The top half looks to be settling in as expected, with Everton and Southampton being the ‘surprise’ inclusions. Watching United up 4-1 at the half right now, I’m reminded that sooner or later the quality will make itself evident. Just like we were reminded by Liverpool’s 7-0 thrashing of Palace. Which isn’t to say Leeds are out of this one, but if you want to see evidence of a lack of Plan B, Bielsa gives you one. 5-1, now. Whoops, 6-1. Graeme Le Saux is calling Leeds’ style “chaotic.” 6-2. You have to give them credit, all in, all the time. (Sorry, having fun with this.)

Anyway, back to Villa, and Ross Barkley once again will be assessed before kickoff, but given the number of chances created without him, and with Luiz and Cash returning, I feel sure he won’t be rushed given he’ll have another week until Palace on Saturday. If he features, we can be confident he’s fit.

I’m going to hold off posting this until I see the team news so I don’t go wasting a bunch of time typing speculation. Me, I think we’ll see the same. Let’s see if I’m right…

And I am:

Starting XI
Martinez, Cash, Hause, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Grealish, El Ghazi, Traoré, Watkins

Davis, Hourihane, Taylor, Steer, Engels, Ramsey, Nakamba, Guilbert, Elmohamady

So, let’s spoil Sam’s party, get three, and climb back into the top half.

Comments 278

  1. As I asked last post,

    Who you rather come f the bench in a game we need a goal?

    Louie Barry or another young lad,

    Or Taylor/ elmo/Engles/ Elmo?

    Smith doesn’t help him self sometimes

  2. I’m really not confident

    I think Sam will fuck us over

    The dire Burnley result has put more pressure on us

    Added to the Burnley game the poor run before that to

  3. Traore is just so much better than Trezeguet.. He’s culture ld. Good technical ability.

    As Hoddle said the balance is good cash overlap Traore cutting in

    Trezeguet only makes us worse

  4. Frem it would of been nice if he’d offered an alternative and been fit enough he hasn’t been until now so maybe you could acknowledge trez part in a great start instead of flapping your gums constantly

  5. Ha frem I think you will find when trez Wes and Barkley return we will have options , I would not be crowing about traore and elghazi just yet against WBA big Sam has a big job on his hands

  6. Frem- when Barkley is back Jack will go out left and One of Traore/ElGhazi/Trez will play simple as.

    Why so you want Watkins off its only half time.

    I think we are looking comfortable.

  7. Mark.. He just looks fed up and getting bullied again

    He has no supply.. Our chances always fall to jack or wingers so at least Davis will hold the ball

    Watkins must be tierd.. Hes played every minute of every game

  8. Frem,

    Watkins is young, and Smith wants to blood him as much as possible. He’s got the talent, he needs to face all the different defenders and find the solutions to mesh with the supply routes.

  9. Watkins always looks fed up mate, he certainly won’t want to come off, we could a bit later give Davis a run with him. If we get another it will probably happen

  10. I’m glad you said it, Frem. This is the right time to leave him on and give him a chance to get back on the scoresheet.

    He’s only frustrated because he wants to score. He’ll keep at it.

  11. Criminal that we haven’t finished this off and it willy haunt us

    West brom would have had this plan all along get to last 10 and get forward and they are

  12. We are so much better

    Last season we would have fucked that and looked like we had 10

    We were so calm ( I wasn’t) very dominant. Shame we didn’t get the second earlier but yes, brilliant professional display

  13. Such a shame Watkins goal was disallowed l.. What a move.. Traore involved again

    Mark.. Come on. You can just tell from his goal snd assist he’s much better and will be more use to us in final 3rd.

    Ghazi looks so different.. Getting involved in attacks..

  14. Thats right Frem different Gravy and all under that Smith bloke, 7 clean fucking sheets, haven’t conceded a goal in three games.

    If we take some scalps over the next 5-6 games we will be among the big boys.

  15. Yes Jack, Traore and Trez could be nice

    Watkins needs to improve

    Grealish is a number 10 as shown again. We need to sign a left winger so he can play CAM

  16. Frem- I am happy with him playing out left but it gives us options, Barkley is very likely nailed on for ten when fit. Against the better teams we will need better decision making and discipline but I trust smith to make the right call.

  17. Well you have to hand it to Dean Smith and the boys so far. Twenty two points from twelve games, only two teams with a better goal difference and only two teams scoring more goals per game.
    The current points per game would have seen us in the top 6 in every season for the last 15 years and would deliver Champion’s league in around half of them.
    We’ve also seen in the last few games that our bench is stronger than we might have feared and with Wesley still to return and some of the youngsters starting to come through, even without further reinforcements in January things are looking positive.
    Jack of course is a big part of this and if we were to lose him, there is no ready replacement. Let’s not forget however that Ross has been put for a few games now and whilst not quite at Jack’s level, he will strengthen us when he comes back.
    Konsa and Mings have looked such a good partnership that I was worried how we’d do if we were to lose one of them, but Hause has stepped up and proven we are not as isolated there as we may have feared either.
    It’s a good night!

  18. We got lucky with Hause.. He should have gone

    We can get 6th

    But fir that wr need to spend in January in the forward area because our depth will hinder us otherwise

    Just look how Smith uses our bench…. Well doesn’t because it has no quality

    Don’t leave our self’s short. Spend in Jan

    Sar. Rashica. A striker

  19. Aston Villa’s return of 22 points after 12 games is their best in the Premier League at this stage since the 2001-02 season, when they finished eighth (also 22 points).

  20. So we were the first to face Big Sam’s yam yams. Get in.

    Thought Traore had a great game, SJM getting better by the game, Jack far and away the best on the pitch. VAR is a crock of schitt. We’ve had Watkins outstretched arm deny us a goal recently and now the yam yam arm is completely ignored. It’s just corrupt and needs to go except for the goal line technology.

    Another clean sheet. Johnstone was on piece work. Big Sam rolled the dice and threw a 1 and a 2. Then got dismantled.

  21. It’s worth remembering that this is a young Villa side. Martinez at 28 is the oldest of our usual starting 11 so there’s plenty of scope for further improvement.
    If Traoré and El Ghazi continue to improve and Trezeguet comes back with his shooting boots on then it doesn’t feel as if the owners will have to invest too heavily. It would be great to feel that we’re in the position where they were bringing in 1 or 2 real quality players each summer window that add to rather than disrupting what we already have and then supplement this with 1 or 2 youngsters coming up through the ranks.
    Now that would start to feel as if we were building a sustainable, successful future.

  22. Magnificent Villa. WBA didn’t even try to play, even before the sending off.

    Would have been nice to give Davis or Ramsey some minute s after 2nd goal.

    My thoughts,

    Cash – 8
    Hause – 9
    Mings – 6
    Targett- 8

    Traore – 9
    SJM – 10
    Douglas – 8
    Jack – 10
    El Ghazi – 9

    Watkins – 7

  23. Dean Smith and the boys have brought pride back to the villa ,, the football we are playing makes me very happy indeed

    this get ollie of get davies on everytime we play aint gonna happen i cant see how anyone watching villa cant see that ollie is a big part of what we are becoming and his movement , running and mobilty is a vital fuction for the team

    excired to see what wesley does in this set up i think he could end up being a huge hit … merry xmas thank you villa

  24. Runtings, you’re right, of course we want to see goals from our strikers but there’s so much more to it than that. Ollie is a team player who makes some great runs that open spaces for team mates in dangerous positions.

  25. 40 points is the magic number to survive

    Villa have 22 points after 12 games

    So we need 18 points over next 26 games.

    How much improvement is that along with the quality of football we play

  26. Watched the game later in the day knowing it was 3-0.
    El Gazi certainly gives it a go. I can’t remember a Villa player getting so many shots off in a game. Happy to see him get two. Glad Traore got the monkey off his back. Without Jack none of today’s game would have happened. From assists to two drawn penalties and an ability to play from anywhere it’s like having extra men on the field. He opens the opposition UP.
    How does Wesley up top with Jack, Barkley, Ollie, and McGinn as freewheeling attacking mids sound?
    It would make for a much stronger bench too with the ability to spell off players as the games come one on top of another.

  27. Football 365

    Aston Villa p*ss all over firefighter Allardyce’s chips
    Date published: Sunday 20th December 2020 9:46
    douglas luiz jack grealish aston villa
    The good news for Sam Allardyce is that not every team attacks with the Aston Villa verve. Lord.

    Notts County supporters will be only too eager to stress that Sam Allardyce has built his reputation as a cast-iron guarantee of survival on a throne of lies. Taking over the Second Division strugglers in January 1997, he guided them from 22nd and four points from safety to 24th and 17 points off the pace.

    ‘I was in for a shock, as everything that worked for me at Blackpool didn’t at Notts County,’ he later wrote in his autobiography of the third post of his storied and successful managerial career. ‘The players would not respond.’

    More than two decades later came a similar level of feedback from his new West Brom squad. A new word may have to be invented for what Aston Villa did to their hosts at The Hawthorns because current dictionaries would do that mismatch a quite horrific disservice.

    Five places ostensibly separated these two teams in the English football pyramid in July yet that marginal gap has become a significant gulf over the period of a single summer transfer window. West Brom failed to adequately back a manager that had overachieved in earning promotion a year ahead of schedule. Aston Villa threw funds behind a head coach who barely met his objective. Slaven Bilic paid with his job. Dean Smith has taken that ball and run with it.

    He has built a brilliant team to watch. Jack Grealish continues to thrill at its heart, supplemented by a spine that includes the fine pairing of Douglas Luiz and John McGinn, as well as the imperious Tyrone Mings. Ollie Watkins was pursued by much of the division mere months ago and Emiliano Martinez might just have the feeling that he made the best possible choice for his career in moving to the Midlands.


    But the thing Aston Villa possess that they lacked most last season is depth. Bertrand Traore has been an excellent addition and was decisive on Sunday evening. So, too, Anwar El Ghazi; there can’t have been many players in Premier League history to have had eight shots in two consecutive matches.

    The two Matts at full-back couldn’t be less welcoming to the opposition. The sight of an unused bench that did not even feature Ross Barkley underlines how deep the individual quality runs through this side.

    That is now combined with the essential factors that define a team: organisation, work ethic, cooperation. It seems obvious but for so long last season Aston Villa were bereft of any or all three. Lockdown afforded them an opportunity to focus and recuperate and Smith has worked wonders.

    They have kept three successive clean sheets in the league for the first time since April 2018, with more than half of the goals they have conceded this season coming in that chastening week against Leeds and Southampton. Only Manchester City have conceded fewer goals all season.

    Yet attack has been their best form of defence. Aston Villa are the only Premier League team to have at least ten shots in each of their games thus far. And whatever harsh lessons they were taught in having 27 efforts to no avail against Burnley were clearly taken on board with 19 shots and three goals against these beleaguered Baggies.

    Allardyce, on this evidence, has a hell of a job on his hands. But the truth is that few teams attack with that Villa verve. From Grealish’s creativity to Watkins’ finishing, El Ghazi’s persistence, Traore’s skill, McGinn’s timing and Barkley’s direct approach, there might not be a more varied front line in the country. It needs more than a few days to prepare for

  28. That was an enjoyable read Ian
    With Traore and El Ghazi showing signs of coming good ( albeit against poor opposition) we should soon have a front 3 to be picked from: Ollie, El Ghazi, Traore, Trezeguet, Grealish, Wesley and Davies.
    As the write up above says, that’s a very varied ( and skilful) front line and with potential reinforcements on the way through the youth set up soon, it’s hard to imagine that the owners will want to ( or need to) invest a lot in this area in the expensive January transfer window.

  29. Trying not to get too carried away, over our last 8 games we’ve picked up 10 points. Continue that for the rest of the season and we’d end up with 55 points and probably sit around 8th or 9th.
    Hmmmmm , even that would be better than I’d hoped for at the start of the season.

  30. Let’s not underestimate how good Traore cross and goal was.

    His goal was fantastic. To shift the ball back on his left and get the shot of si quick was what left Johnson standing.

    He’s so one footed but that’s OK if his left foot can produce a cross and finsih like he did yesterday most games he will be great

  31. Ian The only player coming close to shots in a match to ElGhazi is actually Trez with possibly more on target in one or two matches which seems Ironic 🙂 ElGhazi is the distance shooting king though.

    We have to be at least a bit cautious as the last three teams we have faced have been toothless.
    Wolves being the most dangerous but without Jimenez.

    On the other hand if we are on form then teams open up at their peril as Liverpool found out. I am actually looking forward to the rematch.

    Inevitably we will come under the cosh against better sides and that is where we will see if Traore and ElGhazi can cut the mustard.

    I’m also looking forward to a cup run, if the games are kind I think our second string could be a dangerous beast with many wanting to prove a point.

    Might be my memory going but I can’t remember Villa ever looking so comfortable on the ball (might also be the lack of pressing) .

  32. Frem- Watch Watkins movement for Traore’s goal, that is what created the opening for him. He took it well but I don’t expect to see that much space against a top side unless its Liverpool 🙂

  33. Mark yea. I think everyone expected Traore to carry on going to the right and pass it to Watkins, the definer and keeper and how quick he shifted the ball back tithe left anf the centre of they goal and got his shot away was different class. It fucked the defence and keeper and it was brilliant

    The only shame was Watkins goal didn’t count.. Wnata lovely move it was

  34. Jack Grealish made 8 Key Passes for Aston Villa last night. He’s averaging 3.7 Key Passes per game in the Premier League this season, the most of any player.

    Kevin de Bruyne is second on 3.4, Bruno Fernandes is third on 3.2. The most important individual in any PL team?

    We need to Jack Grealish made 8 Key Passes for Aston Villa last night. He’s averaging 3.7 Key Passes per game in the Premier League this season, the most of any player.

    Kevin de Bruyne is second on 3.4, Bruno Fernandes is third on 3.2. The most important individual in any PL team?

    We need to sign better forwards for this man in January. Imagine ignhe had top quality wingers and striker finishing his chances

  35. Frem – No doubt mate but Watkins offered an option to Traore and in that split second the Defender and keeper hesitated, I doubt Johnstone saw the ball until it was rolling in the net. If Watkins had stayed as he was they would of very likely blocked Traore. Very nicely done by Traore but that is what I would like to see more of from our wide players to put help put Watkins in more. Its unselfish and intelligent play.

    I Don’t know how we would set up to do it but I have the feeling Wesley would make a great Partner for Watkins.

  36. Frem- I would hazard a guess that Jack would see less of the ball in citys or utd’s side and those to would see more in ours. Jack’s pretty unique in style though.

    The choice is to buy better players or mould what we have into better players that suit our style. We are doing the second option simple as. Players that looked out of place will begin to make sense as time goes on.

  37. You have to feel
    Sorry for Ollie Watkins. He instinctively times his runs to perfection and the goals are given, but VAR says . . . “but look at that shoelace.”
    I am a fan of VAR, but please only use it to reverse ‘obvious’ errors by the officials, as they do in cricket.

  38. If I was Marking Traore I would show him the outside all day long but as long as Cash can offer an outlet Traore will have good games, when Cash is penned in I think Traore will struggle. Might be wrong but based on what I have seen seems likely.

  39. Back in the summer I was a bit worried that we were buying so many players that ran with the ball rather than pass it. Leeds and City rely on quick passing mostly with the odd dribble, we don’t, we have the master Dribbler and Nearly every other player is encouraged to carry the ball including the CB’s. I thinking this could be Deans Smiths plan, more based on individual skill than a true passing game.

  40. Troure is a massive upgrade on the other wingers for me .. we got much closer to the finished artical as we were able to spend more .. We have put a squad together on a limited budget for the amount of players and have had to be wise and be prepared to develp players with potential and its al starting to pay off already
    once he settles fully he is going to be a big prem player

    great stats on jack frem he could become one of the greats if he keeps going the way he is

  41. Mark. Yes. We have a team of ball carriers/holders. Wd don’t have many 1/2 touch passers

    Look at Mcginn and jack, they love to hold onto the ball and beat people and draw them inm. Mcginn loves body contact and spinning a player. Even Luiz doesn’t move the ball quickly. Cash loves to travel, Traore holds onto it, Ghaiz does.. Nobody is a pass and move player really

    But saying that we did a couple of nice one twos on the the edge of the box last night that nearly got in to score

  42. runtings. He’s a huge upgrade yes. Already you can tell just how he glides past players snd his technique is a level above the wingers we have.

  43. Hope Barkley is back.

    Really hope the club push on in Jan and get some more quality.. You can’t have the bench we had

    Apparently Mings is suspended for Palace is that true? If so I think he might have got booked on purpose to havwa nice boxing day of

  44. Frem- The Bench has become the team mate in resent games.

    Must admit I can’t get on board the Traore love game just yet due to the recent quality of teams we have faced. Last game he flitted in and out and was fairly poor, been subbed in prior games. Last night may just have been made for him. when he is doing it against better teams and gets some consistency that will change.

    Its not out of some weird loyalty for Trez either, just observation, Trez has been pretty consistent like or loathe him and but for a bit of luck could easily have 6-7 goals. Not having the ability to use that right foot limits Traore for me at the top level, nice touches yes but is that enough. I look forward to hopefully being proved wrong.

  45. I thought we looked sensational last night

    We play great football

    The amount of times this season my son and I have watched Aston Villa and just burst out laughing – why? Because watching Jack Grealish play is an absolute joy – it is hilarious the way he just destroys the opposition – he is an amazing talent.

    Dean Smith is a great manager. He improves players. He nurtures talent – he has done this all of his managerial career

    Look at players like Dougie – Konsa – Hause – Mings – Target and even AEG – they now all look quality.

    I am loving watching AVFC and so are fans from other teams.

    I live in HERTS – full of Arsenal – Spurs – Chelsea and West Ham fans and they all comment how good it is watching Villa play.

    We are back – absolutely Brilliant

  46. Lovely posting RichardS, and one I can thoroughly relate to. There have been times when both my wife and I have burst into laughter with how good we’ve been. I guess mostly in the Liverpool game when the goals kept going in mind you.
    Let’s face it we’ve been starved of this quality of football for so long that we deserve to enjoy it to the full now it’s finally arrived.

    runtings, you say that Traore is a massive upgrade and I’d just like to qualify that a bit. I reckon he ‘has the potential’ to be an upgrade on Trez and El Ghazi. His goal last night was so self assured and that cockiness was great to see. My qualification is that he keeps reminding me of Kodjia, who had all the natural attributes but seemed to lack the team ethic and consistent application.
    As Mark said, let’s see how he does against better opposition. Let’s also see if he can do it week in and week out. He certainly seems to have got the message about it being a team game and has shown that he is able to work hard and track back (one of Kodjia’s failings) but he’ll need to do that every week, and in particular when things aren’t going quite as well as they were last night.

  47. on Toure I think i will be proved corret before too lon he has just come to the club and as he said himself yesterday he is getting fitter and starting to be able to contribute more in games

    for the though his technical abilty and football brain is very clear to see and the 2 goals he has scoired so far have been stunning

  48. Robbo – absolutely- we have laughed so many times – he is absolutely SENSATIONAL – we have one of the best players in the word playing at our club – it is brilliant and thoroughly entertaining.

    And when Ross returns I believe our goal tally will massively increase

    The club are also looking at 3 quality signings in January

    We could push for the top 4 if we sign the right players in the window

    I would like to see a loan bid for Deli Alli

  49. Once again a great team performance from Villa, starting with a great opening goal from Traore’s superb cross for El Ghazi. Villa bossed the game for the majority of the game, but with the score at one nil, you are still there on tenterhooks right up to the moment Traore slotted in the second goal that counted. Past experience made you feel that a breakaway by the Baggies could end up with an equaliser, especially once Charlie Austin and Ivanovic came on, but it actually had the opposite effect and the game opened up for Villa.
    Really impressed with the performance from Traore, and looking forward to seeing more from him as he settles into the team. El Ghazi is also coming back to his best of last season. Hause, apart from his yellow card offence is looking a much better player. This team is really beginning to show what it is capable of, and once Barkley is back, we will be one of the hardest to beat in the Premiership, which is amazing considering where we were last season.
    Dean Smith is really showing what an outstanding manager he is. Fascinated listening to Martin Larssen this week on a Villa podcast, and if we lose John Terry to another club, he could be an ideal replacement. He so loves Villa and would love to be able to play a part!

  50. Mark. But at least Traore shown quality. I know it’s against WBA but i can’t recall Trezeguet showing much if any quality in the games. He needs to do much more. Like the cross Traore did or the goal. He needs to show he has that technical ability in him

  51. massive 3 points after the burnely game. 22 points after 12 games is amazing. the progress this team are making is remarkable.

    Watkins is crucial to us with or without goals. His runs and work rate and defending from the front is whats making us play well.

  52. Runtings- let’s not forget city are having a poor season by their standards bud. Add to that they just lost their manager , to soon for Sam to do much. They did look very average. Especially compared to the last time we played there. El ghazi loves a goal there.

    WBA XG 0.04. Vila 2.45

    That just about says it all

  53. Frem- I agree trez lacks finesse, maybe he’ll never be a subtle player , it’s about being effective for the team. Trez has at least done that against all levels of opposition, so far Traore has shone when the quality is lowered. It might be fitness but having a player that’s quick hampered because he can’t go past on the outside without having to come back again will stop many potential attacks. It’s early and he’s only just broken in, I hope he keeps it up but he is not going to get the time he had last night every game, wish he did 🙂

  54. Runtings- funny thing is we are the second best defensive team behind city no less but they can’t score or are not scoring this season. Fair play to West Brom but I think they’ll get to Tonked at Liverpool next game.

    And yes we are very good but wolves and Burnley did a much better job of stopping us as you’d expect. That early goal worked wonders.

  55. the Traore debate intrests me because to me i see a player with abilities most others dont have and so does jack judging by the song he has made up for him
    the two goals i have seen him score for us are not ordinary imo and his feet are exceptional .. he sounds like his has a brillant attidude and etic too
    those who cant see the type of [layer we have brouht in yet wont have to wait too long to find out i dont think , stron defensive play i pevious games strong attacking this and just getting up to speed …. happy days

  56. Runtings- one exceptional foot the other might as well be a stump 😉 that attempted right foot shot was a classic. Not sure he’s quite at jacks level in potential but hey time will tell.

    One factor that made the game a good one for elghazi was the sending off. Jack who was misplacing passes centrally moved out left and they doubled up there. That ended up creating more space for Traore too.

  57. I will say this, if Traore had a right foot it would be like having a jack on both wings in that he’s very much a one off in his style and makes mostly good footballing decisions.

  58. Sorry stuff keeps coming to me, just thinking from vids I have watched of Watkins the majority of his goals come from a feed out right, he tends to take up starting positions left of central. At villa he tends to combine with Grealish out left with the crosses from the right not quite up to standard and obviously now Traore cutting in . If they can sort that out then we will see the best from Watkins or else he will have to adjust his runs.

  59. mark we will agree to disagree re traore time will surely tell

    on ollie he is a rough diamond and learning how to be fully effective at top level ,he may end up like calvert lewin were it comes together all of a suuden via hard work and an improving team

  60. Runtings- I think the way Smith uses the CF to pull teams about makes it difficult for them to be prolific. I think if you give him 3-4 chances a game he will bag one but he rarely gets that.

    Some of Watkins hold up play and beating much taller players to headers is fantastic already, he’s making a better job of it than Wesley did last season, wasn’t really Wesleys game.

  61. Funny how things go, in the summer people were really sure we didn’t need a Keeper and definitely not a RB, we also needed three forwards and defensive mid, left back and a centre back. Well Mr Smith knew different.

  62. Can you imagine what it would have been like in the away end at the Hawthorns last night if our fans had been rammed in there.

    The noise would have been ear splitting and Allardyce baited continually. Such as shame we can’t enjoy the new atmosphere in real time just yet.

    Sweet Caroline all the way back down the Birmingham Road afterwards. Oh dude, have some.

  63. Great point about the signings Mark. You have to feel a bit sorry for Heaton and Steer because both have done really well for us but Martinez has surely proved his worth already and we have really strong strength in depth in that position now.
    As for Traore, everyone seems to agree that he has some super skills . . . . . .the only debate is whether he’s going to be able to use them consistently.

  64. There’s a quiet revolution going on with the Ladies team as well. We’ve just signed the Japan Captain Mana Iwabuchi from Kobe Leonessa.

    Compass know how to run a sports club. We are very fortunate. But after Herbert, Lerner and Dr Skint it’s now in the best of hands. Long may it continue.

  65. Regarding the keepers, I would let Heaton go as he wants international games and he isn’t getting younger. Jed has proved to us that he is more than capable and would be a wonderful back up. Villa has to be careful or both will be gone.

  66. Mark. We could still do with 3 forwards a left back snd DM

    We a bit toothless on the striker department. We need someone else to push Watkins

    I’d love us to go buy Sar from Watford

    I hope we don’t let January pass us buy

    Imagine how much better we could get. Imagine how many more assists Jack will have if we sign better wingers

  67. Frem
    You’ve said (many times) that you’d like to see Davies get more playing time.
    You wouldn’t want to drop Jack.
    You’re now happy with Traore and think that ElGhazi may be coming good
    You’ve also said that you’d like to see Louie Barry be give a go.
    You’d like Ollie Watkins to be rested from some games.
    So . . . . . Imagine that it’s your money that has to buy the players:
    How much do you want to spend on each of the three extra forwards you want to buy?
    Imagine you’re the manager. Which of the players above will you now let go?

  68. Frem
    You’ve said (many times) that you’d like to see Davies get more playing time.
    You wouldn’t want to drop Jack.
    You’re now happy with Traore and think that ElGhazi may be coming good
    You’ve also said that you’d like to see Louie Barry be give a go.
    You’d like Ollie Watkins to be rested from some games.
    So . . . . . Imagine that it’s your money that has to buy the players:
    How much do you want to spend on each of the three extra forwards you want to buy? (You should add on to the price any losses you make on players you’re letting go)
    Imagine you’re the manager. Which of the players above will you not play and now want to let go?

  69. I’m with you on wanting to see what Davies can do by the way.
    Dean Smith seems to think very highly of him too but seems to be trying to protect him

  70. Watkins doesn’t need pushing Frem he needs chances, and we are already scoring at a decent rate, four goals behind Manure who have 28 and conceded 1 more than Citys 12. Liverpool after getting 7 this weekend have 36 goals.

    We will see about the stats at the end of the season, your idea of doing very little amazes me when he has been in the top 3 players for all stats this season, Goals and Assist are not the only measures. One Game against WBA changes little.

    If Traore and ElGhazi carry on at that rate it will be an xmas miracle. I hope they do but we have Palace, Chelsea, Man utd, Liverpool, Spurs Everton in a row, can’t wait, expecting at least 5 goals and 5 assists from each 😉

  71. I had to post this, a tweet from Michael Yeadon about the governments new strain of Virus

    “I suspect it’s invented. It’s one of around 40,000 variants, typically emerging from error prone replication. It would be funny if it weren’t so serious if it turns out to be an asymptomatic variant: easy to catch & pass on but doesn’t make you ill.
    We could call it a vaccine.”

  72. Frem/R0bb0,

    From what I’ve read, Villa are going to let Davis go out on loan in Jan. Wesley is targeted for March return, even based on today.

    So we need a loan striker for 3 months

  73. Well I’d let Gahzi go and Trezeguet no problem.

    Id move Grealish in the middle

    Sign a left winger and another right winger

    We need another striker to for a squad. Wesley wasn’t good.

  74. Mark
    Michael Yeadon argued in a blog post on October 16th that the coronavirus pandemic is “effectively over” in the U.K., and that “there is absolutely no need for vaccines to extinguish the pandemic.”
    He certainly has opinions and isn’t afraid to voice them but that doesn’t make him right

  75. Do you think we’d get our money back for El Ghazi and Trezeguet.
    We’d probably drop at least £10m on Wesley bearing in mind he’s coming back from such a damaging injury

  76. Robbo- No it doesn’t bud but what if he’s right? if you look at this winter so far its causing less problems for the NHS than last year was (2019) and that was mild. This is the only Virus that appears to have a running score from season to season, if we add the flu’s victims up since the dawn of time what do you think the number would be? and this is the only virus we have ever mass tested for.

    Yeadon does actually examine the existing data not cherry pick or outright make stuff up, he’s not a lone voice either. And worst of all there is only one truth the official one.

  77. I think selling a load of players and buying 4-5 more would be the craziest gamble ever, it would potentially wreck the togetherness and put us back to square one with no time to bed them in.

  78. Mark, worldwide there are estimated to be around 300-600k deaths caused by flu every year.
    So far this year there have been around 1.7m deaths due to corona virus ‘despite’ all the lockdowns and counter measures etc.
    The worry now is that the virus has so many hosts that the opportunities to mutate are hugely magnified and the risk of one of those mutations neutralising the vaccines increases proportionately.

  79. Depending what the goal is for the season, does Villa need to buy anyone? As good as it is right now, can Villa actually afford to get into the top 6 as that will give them problems just as getting into the premier league one season early did last year. A slower, stronger build would be better with a top 10 finish. A top 10 would attract players and keep top players already in the club. This would give impetus to push for top 6. Top 6 would create a need for literally two #1 elevens. Villa wouldn’t be able to pull that off next summer if they went top 6. Just as it happened to McNeil. Not enough horses to compete.
    The bench Villa have right now have done their job. They kept Villa up last year. This probably is their last year in claret and blue as a few new players are bought and Villa Academy step up. It has to be seamless as not to disrupt team chemistry which is why I like youth as they have been working out with the first team.
    Last year was a shock promotion with
    a wholesale revamp of the club and the bedding in showed it. It was tough. The same would probably happen if a number of players came in next month. Back ups maybe but not first teamers.
    Frem, players need time. Some much more than others. There are so many variables to a players’ output. Benteke was a hero at Villa Park, not so much anywhere else. He didn’t turn to shit, the tactics in front of him changed and he didn’t adapt quickly enough for the teams he played with. Give the players you don’t rate some time, they deserve it.

  80. Ian. My sentiments exactly.
    Remember the Hilaire Belloc poem that ends: “ And always keep a-hold of Nurse
    For fear of finding something worse.”
    We all ‘want’ something better but when you’re dealing with human beings and interactions within a team it’s impossible to ‘know’ that a new player will work out as you’d hoped.
    Bringing in a number of players intended to slot straight into the first 11 is highly risky, and if we’re only looking to bolster our bench then the chances of finding something better than we already have in January for little or no net cost will be a tall order.

  81. Villa could consider making Barkley a permanent deal in January, but because of his injury record it could be a risk. As most seem to be saying, we do not need signings now, more that we need to continue with the players we have, although i wouldn’t mind stealing Benrhama from under West Ham’s nose, before they sign him permanently. I think his understanding with Watkins would make a huge difference to our attacking options.
    I would also be happy to see Dean start blooding a few youngsters over the coming months, when the opportunity offers itself.
    Fed up of hearing the slagging off of Trezeguet, as there isn’t a harder worker in the squad. He will come good in time, I am sure, as will a lot of this squad.

  82. Frem,

    I thought this was funny as you believed Barkley injury was super serious. From Villa:

    Barkley could have played against West Brom, but it was a super cold day so we made the call not to risk him on the night as our doctors told us not to

  83. Robbo & Ian- sorry lads duty called. I know covids serious stuff for some folks thats not disputed. What is disputed is why have we locked down and why with all the data we have now are we still doing it?
    its ineffectual as are masks once the virus is in country, which it has been since at least nov19.

    The Danish did a double blind study grade A science on Masks and the effects were negligible, if you can breath through it your breathing out/in Viruses simple as and this virus spreads through the air not contact. So constantly cleaning stuff is likely pointless too.

    As for how many this has killed vs Flu. Covid has a massive advantage as no matter how many morbidities you have you only have to test positive for Covid and that goes on your death cert. Flu/pneumonia at least in this country (uk) does not have that advantage. If you are ill and your immunity is low you get a respiratory disease you still die of Cancer/heart disease etc. The actual amount of people that have died ‘of’ Covid is much smaller than you think vs the Died with.

    When you see deaths from other causes dropping that also is an alarm bell. Deaths from heart disease at home shot up 28k in the UK over the norm as people stayed away from Hospitals, people also went to hospital as they were very ill and caught covid there, later they were sent home died there and got popped in the covid column.

    The CDC are the only health group that have tried to track Flu deaths to any great extent and they now estimate. Add to that if you are dying you can have multiple infections at the same time guess which one gets mentioned? Sepsis is another cause of death that gets little mention as it is so prevalent in the dying.

    Add to all this a test that is not fit for purpose and was not meant for diagnosis what we have is a huge problem when it comes to actual numbers. What is obvious is if we test more we find more.

    Each country also has its peculiarities such as sun exposure and Vit D levels general health /obesity (japans are very good) Sweden had many Somalis die (go figure ) Western countries populations are getting bigger and older too, so not a great surprise that after a mild flu season in 2019 covid found its mark.

    Was this reason enough for lockdowns? never has been before. A targeted shielding of those at risk would of saved many more lives, livelihoods, futures. We have basically killed a lot of people with a fairly long life expectancy in the hope of saving many who didn’t.

    The only conclusion I can come to is this is not scientific but political.

  84. On buying players in Jan, I would be all for dropping some money on a game changer, difficult to warrant it though if that then shoves XYZ down the development chain, If the idea is to make a few bob on those that we move on we have to make them attractive to buyers not a cheap bargain.

    I get the argument that this is a one off season because of Covid but if we have become that poor we have to have a pandemic to get a cup then nah, not for me. I want us to build something real and compete for the next 20 years.

  85. Look at Barkley for instance, a game changing loan at 1st glance. Missed 1st two wins, played in some of our best wins against the top teams, played in some of our worst losses. Gets injured, we continue to play well, should of beat Brighton and west ham and have since looked very decent and solid with a whole lot of changes.

    Question for me is against top teams do we need his quality? we are about to find out. Unless we buy him though he is at best a bid to keep Jack happy and at worst blocking other players progress, although you could argue he will bring others up and teach them something, I think the latter is pretty true.

  86. Ian- forgot to mention, Obviously we have had a flu vaccination program in the UK for a long time now which has reduced the deaths I assume you have the same in Canada? Flu Kills all age ranges but particularly Kids and oldies.

  87. Robbo- just read this about the new ‘ahem’ strain. We have now been banned from travelling from the UK more or less, even lorries. This is the kind of ill informed Crap the world is following. Its not science its political and at best knee jerk.

    “British scientists spotted it early and have tracked it in real-time because the UK has carried out almost as much genome sequencing of COVID-19 as the rest of the world combined. Harvard epidemiologist William Hanage says the UK has the most advanced genomic monitoring regime on the planet.

    Denmark is one of the few other states in Europe that also does extensive and rapid sequencing. Lo and behold, the Danes have found the same mutation. Many countries do little or no genomic sequencing at all.

    It stretches credulity to imagine that a variant picked up in samples as far back as September is not already rampant in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and indeed France. It had months to run when borders were wide open, long before the second lockdowns. “

  88. In January we need at least one forward to cover Watkins.

    Our bench is so bad I’d be surprised if we don’t sign a couple of players at least

    There is no attacking quality on our bench

    There is no need to have the likes of Taylor anf hourihane anymore so let’s sell them and upgrade on better players

  89. January is a dead window, quality players rarely move then. And that is what we need now. Linked to josh king, no thanks, not now. We are safe (please god) and need proper quality to keep jack happy. We have made ourselves a lot more attractive to players so its our turn to be picky now!

  90. Frem

    Elmo, Taylor are off in the summer. Will be interesting to see what happens at rb next summer. do we keep guilbert as cover for cash or sell him? And do we even replace elmo? Lb is probably more likely to see us buy a quality lb to proper challenge targett. I used to be jack as number 10 too but after his displays and the numbers he is hitting has to stay left.

  91. Martinez
    Cash Konsa Mings Targett

    Luiz Mcguinn
    Troare Grealish

    Its a strong 11. Could argue a new super striker up top and Watkins rw and a class lb could be in place start of next season? But I don’t think the coaching team will want to play Watkins anywhere but up top. He is so good at running channels, holding the ball and getting in behind and defending from the front.

  92. Surely January we want to add and push on?

    We have chance off Europe which we won’t get with the sqaud depth l. We sre one injury away from Watkins or jack being fucked snd we have no goals then Wesley isn’t ready. He won’t be until March so we need someone up front in

  93. We won’t play Barkley against Palace. Hr can’t play against Chelsea anyway the game after so ee won’t play him against place. We will just rest him

  94. H and V. It’s good yes, but after that 11 we have absolutely nothing

    As i said wr can’t have hourihane and Taylor on our bench and only 1 attacking player

  95. Nah man we just need to continue doing what we are doing and see where it takes us. No desperate signings needed. Trust the process. Europe is far too soon for us. A nice safe mid table finish, no relegation scrap, complete the squad in the summer then go for it! Europa league next season could batter us! I want champ league or nothing

  96. yeah think el ghazi will be upgraded. The toughest part will be signing quality happy to fight for a place that will make our bench strong. Everyone knows jack is lw and undroppable so what lw will join us!

    Spurs have had that issue with signing strikers for years. Everyone knows they played 1 up top and kane wont be dropped! so so hard to get anyone in. They went through, soldado, lor entie, and that other bloke.

  97. jacks brilliant everywhere man! Want to see more of him with Barkley. Cant predict the seasons. Its mad because theres some decent teams now, everyone is beating each other. Wont change. Just concentrate on ourselves and we will end up where we deserve.

  98. On the question of signing Barks permanently in January, it depends what’s in his contract but contracts can be mutually changed between the parties.

    I wouldn’t sign him until next summer so that we can see how his season pans out on the injury front. His quality is undoubted. His availability percentage over a season is yet to be determined.

  99. I think we will look to move on any surplus, we defo have that in the keeper department. Lansbury the obvious outfield non squad player.

    Can’t see the rush for Europe and especially can’t see us busting the bank to do it. Last time we won the League and Europe we didn’t move on because the will and platform wasn’t there. This time it I think it will be in the next couple of years.

  100. so we’ve matched our best ever start to a Premier league season back in 2001/2 but I’d forgotten what came next . . . . . . . . :

    “Aston Villa’s early season form was good and the Midlanders even went top briefly at the end of October, but followed that with a run of eleven games with only one win, falling out of the title race. Still, it came as a shock when John Gregory announced his resignation after four years as Villa manager on 24 January. A host of names were linked with the vacancy, but in the end it was Graham Taylor, who took Villa to promotion in 1988 and second place in the league in 1990, who was appointed manager. Taylor was unable to improve Villa’s form, but two wins against Southampton and Chelsea at the end of the season where enough to see Villa finish eighth: this was hardly amazing, but it at least meant that Villa would be finishing in the top 10 for the seventh year in succession.”

  101. ha frem

    I must admit I didn’t watch the baggies game as im utterly dreadfull at watching us. Im negative, stressed and kills me. BUT I plan to now. We have to be safe and I love our team, just need to chill out. I blame it on the last decade of stress. Literally every game has been big for us. A few season of mid table mediocrity will do my heart the power of good!

  102. Heroes, I was watching the Scottish Cup Final last weekend between Celtic and Hearts. Eduardo was rubbish. He was as much use as an udder on a bull. Avoid.

  103. RoB Bo, one win in eleven…….hope that doesn’t happen again. But top 8 come season end would be real progress.

    If Jack stays fit, who knows where we might reach next May. One game at a time. Only Palace stand between us and Europe. And we owe them. The win we got after lock down at VP hasn’t yet drained my anger at Kevin Fraud earlier that season down their place.

  104. Can’t wait to spend the 100 million that liverpool/united/city are going to honour us with for Grealish. Just think of all the wingers we could buy to satisfy all the Trez and EAG haters.

  105. Mark, my daughter is a front line medical worker. What she tells me is just short of terrifying. Using your analogy of underlying problems is like a car fatality not being attributed to a hang nail on the big toe making the driver miss the brake and hit the gas. On an other note, HIV has claimed just as many lives as Covid this year. Not a peep as HIV is not rampant any more and can be dealt with calmly. Covid on the other hand swarms hospitals regardless of underlying problems and swamps everything medical. Much like HIV was like in the eighties. If you don’t want triage to be the number one way of treating people then we need to take precautions. What kind of masks are you taking about? Bandanas made of cheesecloth? N-95’s are 99.9% effective as long as they aren’t made in China. Double and/or triple layered masks work well. Masks keep the other person safe no you.

  106. Here’s an extract from an article in the Birmingham Post that I’ve enjoyed reading more than any other for a long time!

    “In summary, interest in Grealish has been constant for the last couple of seasons and that’s not going to change anytime soon given his performances – coupled with the simple fact knowing he’s just getting better and better… and better. He’s among the world’s best footballers currently – such is his form – and there’s no way Villa are planning on cashing in. Grealish, for the record, will be at Villa for a long time yet knowing full well what the owners and Smith are building towards and that’s European football.

    The article also said that he won’t be going anywhere for the next two years as he has bought into the owners’ plans and believes that we will get there within that timescale.

  107. I strongly support Ian’s sentiments. My brother is also a frontline medical worker and most people have no idea just how close we are to system collapse.
    Mark , you can collate all the ‘data’ you want to support your conspiracy theories but I take my direction from the corroborating advice of chief medical officers of many nations. They had to dig mass graves in Bergamo ffs!! I’ve respected some of your excellent posts on football for years but when it comes to this subject , I see you as akin to Frem or a Trump.

  108. Prox/Ian I respect your views and feelings chaps but It isn’t me making this stuff up and they are not “my Conspiracy theories” they are based on the data by people way above my intellect . Some of those people are also on the frontline etc or close to it. Its an emotive subject. At the end of the day we will see wont we.

  109. Mark , no ones saying your making it up but it looks to me that you have found data to support your suspicions. Most people have a higher intellect than me but when I’m choosing a position on these things I’m old enough to realize that Ockhams razor is usually the best filter. This virus is doing to most governments plans what Jack Grealish is doing to most defences!

  110. There are the Wai Ayes, sitting comfortably in mid table. Yet Spud is copping flak like an air raid. Shows what fans think of defensive, safety first football.

    Then there are the yam yams. Even if Big Sam saves them from the drop (which ain’t a gimme) the fans will kick off against his style of defensive, safety first football very soon thereafter.

    The moral? Attack, attack, attack. And hope you win enough to move up the table.

  111. Prox- Its hard not to find the data there are reams of it out there( hint not on the BBC) , the great Barrington declaration has been signed by 13,045 medical & public health scientists, 39,384 medical practitioners for instance. If they are all conspiracists then I am never going to the doctors again. Me I use empirical data and critical thinking if I’m sober enough and a little bit of common sense.

    bit harsh on trump.

  112. Hi Mark, I’ve had a chance to look at those graphs now and at a quick glance they seem to paint a certain picture but on a closer look it all feels very different.
    I always reckon that if someone has a strong argument, then it is very simple to explain and the evidence can usually be condensed down into a simple ‘killer’ point.
    If someone can’t come to your party, they’ll give you the reason and that’s that. When someone comes up with half a dozen reasons why they can’t come then it’s a fair bet that they just don’t ‘want’ to come to your party!
    These graphs feel rather like that. . . . . . as if they’re trying to throw so much mud that it’ll confuse, but just maybe some of it will stick.
    A lot of the graphs would need more background on the information source before it was possible to draw any conclusions. For example, is the data purely drawn from hospital admissions? If so, that will explain away a lot of the apparent points being made, as ‘hospital ‘ deaths for many causes will have been reduced due to people avoiding hospital and dying elsewhere.
    One of the graphs asks why we continued with interventions when it was clear that the epidemic was over in May. The epidemic clearly wasn’t over in May, and our problem now appears to be that unlike China, New Zealand, Australia and others, our interventions were too little, too late and too short-lived. So whilst most parts of those countries are back to something approaching normal life we certainly aren’t.
    There are a number of graphs that ask why deaths continued to rise after interventions (mask wearing etc) were introduced. This is a classic example of a pre-conception seeking evidence rather than evidence guiding our views.

    Unfortunately our government (in line with most others) holds off from hard decisions until it’s too late. Only once infections have started to rise uncomfortably fast has our Government imposed restrictions. The hospital admissions and deaths inevitably lag these interventions.

    Graph 10 is an interesting one. Back in the summer, conspiracy theorists were touting Sweden as evidence that mask wearing and other interventions were unnecessary. Now that their herd immunity strategy has been proven to be deeply flawed the argument has shifted to asking why their infection rates have mirrored those in England.

    As proxopera points out, Occam’s razor is often a good guiding principle. The alternative view of the pandemic requires complicity of so many different parties, with nothing to gain from ‘making it up’ that it seems a fair bet that we’re all better served by believing what we’re hearing and wearing masks, getting inoculated etc etc etc to prevent things getting even worse than they already are.

  113. We’d be mad to improve this squad in January. Everyone knows we are short in areas. Just look at our bench every game. It never has any forward players on

    You’d hope Lange has some gems lined up

  114. On Covid. I don’t know much about it or what government can or can’t do or economic problems for doing things

    But why do we keep going in and out of lock down? Isn’t it just pointless. It seems like going back and forth, back and forth.

    Why can’t we just have a complete national lockdown for 2 weeks? Like an absolute ruthless lock down where nobody can leave the house unless it’s an absolute emergency. Nobody out on the streets. Obviously emergency service willtl have to work but that’s it.

    But other than that, why can’t we just man up for 14 days in our houses, live shit for 2 weeks but get on with it and let the virus die

  115. I know it’s shit but surely going through 2 weeks of a complete national lock down is better than going through months and months of lock down, no lock, down and infectiona going up and down more than Norwich fc. It just seems pointless locking down somewherez then opening it again when the virus is still out there to just re spread when it’s open again

  116. Frem, I’m in your camp on the lockdown although unfortunately it should have been done months ago and would need to be much longer than 2 weeks if we were to gain the sort of control that has been achieved elsewhere.
    It’s in the balance now whether it’d be better to lockdown or wait for the vaccine to do its stuff. I wish we could rush through the Oxford vaccine and mobilise the army to get the first dose administered to as many people as quickly as humanly possible

  117. As for January spending, it depends on your objective.
    If you’re desperate for Champion’s league qualification this year (a wrong objective in my view) then you may justify throwing money at some players (if you could get them) in January.
    If you’re prepared to wait another year or two to get there then you’d keep your money in your pocket this January.
    Relegation is looking unlikely now (the bookies have us 5 times more likely to be top 4 than bottom 3) so what would you be bringing the extra players in for?

  118. Robbo- yes I take all that but lets look at other factors, Weather or seasonal behaviour of viruses. The virus has somehow been given super powers that operate outside of natural laws. The flu season follows a set pattern pretty much. Last Feb was cold which then by march meant we were into an explosion of real cases. The virus had been in circulation at least since sept19 with little to no effect, we had a low flu season and have a lot of potential flu victims in this country. The entire summer was next to nothing yet restrictions remained and despite riots etc infections dropped. Once we hit Flu season again the infections started rising followed by a lockdown by which time it had begun to subside. Two weeks ago we had a cold snap so I’m not surprised, we will also see more colds etc, we were still doing tiers one to 100 mind but it is going up, no surprise. Breathing in colder damper air lowers the temp in our air passageways which allows a virus to replicate, fever is the natural response.

    I was amazed that the government have added open your windows to let clean air in and blow the virus out to their ads, fine if you have a great air conditioning system, not recommended if your old and can’t afford heating for the above reasons.

    So lockdowns have done pretty much nothing (except harm) once the virus was here, both here and in Sweden it has followed a seasonal pattern. Herd immunity doesn’t mean nobody will ever get the virus again it means there will be less of a steep climb as seen in March. Looking across the world lockdowns or no lockdowns has produced the same patterns flu seasons produce, this one being a bad flu you see more deaths naturally.

    The fallacy is the Government believes it is controlling the virus. There are differences among populations/countries, different weather and different vit D status level of health in the populace etc (Japan etc). If you stop it arriving fair enough until the wind and weather brings it, there may even be a connection with pollution allowing spread, the only plus point of the lockdowns.

    Add to that a fairly poor testing driving policy, 90% of testing is done by unqualified lighthouse companies with no accreditation throwing up false data. You wouldn’t mind but it is keeping vast swathes of NHS in isolation away from work. The NHS now refuse to use them.

    Hospitals have further reduced their capacity by socially distancing beds by 9% and have a green amber red system, once you have got better they have nowhere to put you so you take up beds needed for the red category patients, old folks homes will no longer take people after the last debacle and huge deaths in care homes. Hospital is still one of the best places to catch it.

    So as you can see putting your trust in the powers that be to have all the answers is a bit dangerous. They also cherry pick to back up and cover their arses. A friend of mine deals with Government heads of departments and he can’t believe how inept they are.

    Using Occums razor you can say we are attempting to hold back the sea rather than seeing the natural pattern and patting ourselves on the back when the tide goes out.

  119. Frem- I cannot help but chuckle to myself when you point out how weak we are in some areas. Sitting 9th with games in hand that could put us 2nd seems a bit greedy 🙂

  120. deli alli could be available which would be a good addition however it would push a very good player onto the bench when everyone is fit .. it would be worse to over crowd things you need to be in Europe to keep a squad with a first team bench happy

  121. Frem- good points on Covid, unfortunately its unlikely to just die in two weeks and the country would collapse. Its even possible that by doing so it will become worse, a virus continually evolves and at some point becomes more harmonious with it environment (us). Homes are 3rd largest source of infection because you are closer together. At least outside or in lager buildings and space its more limited. Not much use sitting at home waiting for Pizza express to breath on you.

    The answer has to be improve healthy metabolism (possible in about 9 days)thereby lessening the amount of potential deaths. Also we have to put more effort into treatment and prevention other than Vaccines. A drug called Ivermectin a parasite drug shows massive potential 95% survival rate if given immediately and 60% even if really ill are the reported stats.

    Frontline Doctors have been pushing for lots of stuff but there is a resistance to adopt.

    A mate deals in Business with high up Chinese and they sent him their military Grade preventative.

  122. runtings, Dele Alli has a bit of reputation for laziness and hasn’t hit the heights for a while now . . . . but yes I’d like to see him in a Villa shirt too.

    He’s another mate of Jack’s (they went on holiday together) and you’d hope that Dean Smith and the Villa culture could bring the best out of him and he’d begin to fulfil his talents again.

  123. r0bb0 completly agree with your thoughts there , it seems unlikely and i think like you say he would be coming into an enviorement that would allow him to thrive and he would have a lot to prove …

  124. Dele ali as a loan? he is quality but would defo have to play, potentially blocking others progress, as loan to buy, yes at the right price but like Barkley will be very steep price wise and I just don’t think we are in that market yet.

  125. Merry Christmas guys and a happy new year.

    Due to covid Santa is only delivering BCFC shirts as the Villa shop can’t keep up and have run out. Only Robbie Savage numbered shirts too. Probably too late to cancel your order. Just think how you’ll blend in at St. Andrews in 2050 when the Blues make it back to the Prem.

  126. Haha, Ian. Nice one.

    Covid? I hear you, r0bb0. It didn’t have to be this bad. But the facts are the facts and here we are.

    I’m going to get a “Christmas” post up here shortly.

  127. Right. Fresh sheet up.

    I sincerely wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

    And if you don’t observe Christmas, I hope you’re at least having a lovely few days off.

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