So, United we know all about, and we’ll be at least one or two men down from the start. I’m hoping we play angry. Not sure what else to say that hasn’t been beaten to death already.

And then transfers, well, we’ve gotten who we thought. Then there’s Kerr Smith and perhaps Robin Olsen, but the Olsen thing seems a bit fungible, at the moment. Anyway. Bissouma rumors won’t go away, so maybe we really are after him with serious intent. Not at all sure about his character, so we can only hope due diligence is being done on that front if he is a target.

On the last thread, I raised a number of questions about Coutinho, the definition of success, and where we’ll be come summer. In a similar vein, people are asking about Digne’s age and the like. In short, has the remit changed?

Who knows. Digne, one assumes, will be an upgrade on Targett, and the idea has to be that he’ll be able to better execute Gerrard’s system. Coutinho’s been recalled for Brazil, so I hope that helps his mindset, if nothing else.

But we are looking for immediate impact, it seems. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they make a noticeable impact. You can’t have an entire team of projects, after all. Perhaps Phil and Lucas offer enough experience and nous to help the team’s mindset, never mind the set-up.

Whether this illustrates a demand for European places this year, can’t say. Whether this is meant to pre-empt a side like Newcastle? Can’t say. Whether this was part of the promises made to Gerrard to convince him to come, can’t say. Could very well be all of the above.

But we are getting pretty regular about buying players at £25m-plus, which you’d expect. You’d also hope that our outgoings help offset over time. But older players, like Digne, won’t return what we paid. Coutinho, if he plays anywhere near his standards and somehow does stay, well, it won’t much matter if we spend £30m-£40m to make it permanent. That would still be a bargain.

So, lots to discuss, still, and perhaps more questions than answers.

In the meantime, I’m going to take a short-sighted view of it and say I won’t worry about it this weekend. Very much looking forward to seeing if Coutinho and Digne start or get lengthy run-outs. And I’d love to see Phil come straight in and help us do the league double over United.

Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say Thank you, Anwar El Ghazi. You’ve scored some big goals for us.

Over to you.

Comments 218

  1. Yes thanks Anwar.

    It appears that the happy friendly family club has bared its teeth. For some it will be exciting for others one more step away from the fans in the journey to some success maybe and a whole load of mercenary players who will drop us like a stone when it suits. I suppose the alternative is paying also rans very well comparatively standing still at this point. The youth coming through is or was always a dream we will see.

  2. Just a word on the Chinese spy in parliament, it’s not a surprise, the whole university world is full of them including professors as is industry, I know this from someone who has been told by the Chinese they deal with. Information is being passed or stolen all around us, wakey wakey.

  3. Loving the Gerrard factor at Villa we have stopped shopping at Sainsbury’s and now go to M&S for our players with the view of eventually shopping more at Harrods
    4 years into a 5 year plan for European football we are now going for players that could allow us to move to a next level were we are fully equipped to win most of our games.
    We are still a bit short defensively something that may well be addressed during this window

    Thank you Anwar much love

  4. JG,

    Not a bad thing…just something we’re not very used to.

    To MK’s point, there will be churn, though one hopes not too much. And as we know, if we get Europe and more games to play, it will keep more of them happy when we have to rotate.

  5. January Business….unbeliveable. still cant get over it. back on the map. SG demands the elite.

    Part of the shift could well be seeing the owners of toon rock up too. may have accelarted plans rather than wait until the summer.

    we need more quality, more depth.

    after decades of dross and not being able to attract anyone from better teams just enjoy it. we deserve it after the decade we have been through!

  6. And when I say I hope “not too much,” means I’d like to see us get the majority of moves right and not have a revolving doors situation.

    The idea was always that Ghazi and Trez would go to the bench and then the exit. Probably true for almost everyone, in the end. At the same time, we will want depth.

    So, we’re in a funny period where some of the kids might not be quite ready to be heirs apparent on the bench, but we’ll probably soon see who are and who aren’t. I’d think the rest of this season and the summer will tell us a lot.

  7. And if we end up like the top clubs, there will be lots of kids in the system, one or two like Mount and Foden that force their way in, and then the rest will be out on loans then end up elsewhere.

    The odds of breaking through at a good club are pretty small when your match-day squad is full of players that cost at least £25m, and probably average more like £30-£40m in market value.

    Luiz is a very good example. On the fringes at City, they elect not to buy back. If he goes, we’ll make a decent profit over the £15m we paid for him.

    Less clear is whether someone like Traoré will make us much money. Don’t know that he’s really impressed, but maybe he’s gone from £18m say, to £22m, maybe £25m. Trick is that atm, there’s a small market (basically just the PL and a few of the continental elite) who can afford those kinds of punts. He seems like the type who’ll be content to be a backup…whether that’s good, honestly don’t know.

  8. Young Scottish lad signed now too,think carney has real bad advisors, he has chance to learn from one best midfielders in the last 20 to 30 years,mcallaister wasn’t half bad either,where is he going to go ,

  9. JG,

    No, not in a hurry to move him on, but not sure he’s ever going to be a nailed on starter…So if he’s happy to stay, like H&V says, good option from the bench, and if he’s not happy, we make a profit.

    Just needs to stay healthy.

  10. I’m as pleased/excited as everyone else about the way we seem to be ramping up the team. Reminds me of the mon era when we finally became an outright buying club of proven quality players and I thought mon would become our very own SAF. Then the fecal matter hit the fan and I lost the Villa I discovered in December 1966. Not saying the last bit will happen but I’m not gushingly unconditionally blindly ultra optimistic—-YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    There’s a little gremlin on my shoulder saying we are en route to becoming chelsky/manshitty. I’m still the Villa addict (bitter addiction) that I always was and a large part of me welcomes the ride and anticipation – but I wish to f**k sky hadn’t got involved and turned THE FIRST DIVISION into a filler between adverts.

    Yours truly, reactionary dinosaur.

  11. So what team does Gérard pick tomorrow
    Mrtinez cash mings konsa digne Luis sanson ramsay Watkins beundi and young for me
    Think we need youngs experience especially with mcginn out,we need somebody to get in refs face

  12. I’m with you JBD, the thought of Villa becoming another MU or Chelsea leaves me a little cold. When money becomes the deciding factor, the only factor in becoming a top team the joy gets lost. The empty seats at the Etihad proves that. Leicester, Arsenal, and West Ham would be teams to emulate I think. A bit more thinking and shrewdness in the market plus a vibrant academy would be a lot more fun.

  13. We have been after smith for a long time actually and have done amazing to get him. Patience! You really have to zoom out and see the change of our club in 3 years. It’s incredible. Smith was wanted by the elite clubs. Meant to be a incredible talent and chooses us.

  14. I don’t blame the Youth like Chuk for seeking new pastures as he see’s his options for game time shut down, no cups etc now either and going full tilt for as high a position as possible. Right now the clubs statement about attracting the elite kids because of the clear path to the 1st team look pretty hollow. There are more clubs out there using their youth than we are, we play Ramsey consistently and that’s it.

    To be fair when you look at how SG achieved success at Rangers it was with a whole lot of older players and then he brought the younger players back in. I agree with this approach from the view that you need experience. Under Smith that wasn’t the aim and we used the Experience we already had (lower grade) then dropped them in hope the players we brought had learnt something. It might be they never will or it might be they need a Jack figure.

    In SG’s defence its early days and only two older buys to add to Ings and young, Bissouma if he turns up is 25. I guess he wants some winners in the side of the trophies we wish to win and further additions will be younger again.

    You have to think though that the clubs early remit hampered Smiths choices and very likely that included playing the youth asap. Its a turnaround and it either came from the top or was nudged there by Christian Purslow, non of it seems to be from recruitment for me.

  15. I don’t understand the Carney situation. Surely he should go to the Championship for the rest of season, play loads of games, then talk over a contract in the summer.

    Coutinho fit, but not match fit to start. Will be interesting to see if he’s even among subs.

    I like the Zakaria rumors if we can’t get Bissouma. At under £10m, what a bargain

  16. Anyone think we will beat Manure this time?

    No McGinn and maybe a new full back dropped in with Ronaldo sniffing about? last time Hause shut him out and scored the goal and we played 352, last time we played 433 and they had more shots on goal than the 1st game 10 vs 3 and we had 4 instead of 3 we had in the 1st. Overall shots manure had 28 1st game 19 in the cup we had 7 shots in the 1st and 13 in the second.

    what that says I don’t know as we didn’t dominate the 1st game but supposedly did in the second.

    Manure have 4 players back we have less plus 2 that have never played with us. This is going to be a suck it and see match for me, mcGinn is instrumental to our midfield and makes a lot of tackles, we could see Young back in up front or somewhere on the pitch too hard to call the team with any accuracy.

  17. Steve g has come in needing to Improve results. Pressure. The time for the kids was last season when most of us was calling for more game time for them as we had about 7 dead rubbers.

    Fully behind sg stance now re chuck.

  18. Mark

    Like you said other day, honeymoon period over. We have to stop losing games. I fear that may be easier said then done until we sign that cdm to turn defeats into draws. Feeling very nervous excited today whisper it quietly but may grab a win.

  19. I’m with H&V (and Gerrard) on the Chuckwuemeka situation. The lad (or his agent) appear to be showing no indication at all that he wants to stay at Villa. I do understand why he feels confident that he can make it at the highest level so I have little gripe with him showing ambition but I’m struggling to see where else he will be able to develop faster.
    If he goes to a Chelsea or Man City he will see no game time at all. He currently has the chance to see some first team game time and learn from one the the best midfielders we’ve seen so it’s hard to see where else he will learn more. In Jack Grealish, we’ve seen how an established midfielder can actually regress under a supposedly top manager in a top team so imagine how it would be for a younger, less capable player, at this stage in his development at least.
    He could get more game time by going out on loan, but he could do that just as well from Villa as anywhere else so that can’t be what he’s after.
    The only other option could be a European side such as Dortmund but if that’s what he’s after then why not be honest and say so?
    if he’s not going to make it clear what he wants then sadly I feel we should let him go.

  20. I caught some of the Man City game and sadly it looks as if the Premier league title is already settled. The BBC player ratings had Grealish ranked 13th out of 13. . . . unlucky eh?

  21. jbd656 So true

    Its not a pretty thing the way football has become such that you can only consistently challenge for a title if you have a super board who are have a plan and are prepared to put there money were there mouth is in the pursuit of major honours

    We have to except the game has changed and continues to evolve , for me I am just glad that we have a board determined to join the big boys party which is no more than the club deserves
    I watched the last villa man u game with my lady fried we were ab out to lose and she said don’t be too down your are playing man u after all 🙂 .. hopefully the next few years will reverse that type of comment in the near future

  22. Robbo

    Mad thing is for a player that age Carney is the top min maker in the league! If he wants more games he will have to go Germany which I guess he may be looking for the experience as it seems on trend.

    Fair enough. I’m in no way worried about our youth set up, nswe been there 5 mins and have completely over turned it. Signing some great prospects. Patience.
    I like the way sg has brought them all back from loan to evaluate

  23. I think everyone is being hard on Chuk. Maybe the contract offer is poor. Maybe he just wants to play and prove himself and get a better contract in the summer. Only the player and club knows.

    He’s our best prospect with Bidace and Kesler so he should be driven the benefit of the doubt

  24. Phil won’t get on if we are winning is my guess, losing a with 20 to go and he has a chance. SG could go gungho and drop him in for the 1st half but I very much doubt it, Digne over Targett? tough call but Targett was poor last game really so an easy call but potentially a fatal one with Mings having a lot to handle.

  25. I would not bet on phil starting he’s not match fit and points matter, imagine he comes on and gets injured, Unless he is 85-90% I doubt he’ll be risked.

  26. But for the error, wouldn’t have been the worst half.

    Buendia and Sanson have both been very good.

    I just don’t like this formation, though. Front three are too easily bypassed, and there’s just too much space and time out wide then back inside.

  27. If Gerrard can find a way of incorporating Buendia and Coutinho things could get very exciting. Buendia is looking fantastic. . . .getting better and better

  28. I’m sure Luiz stood on Fernandez by mistake. Which is a shame because he probably didn’t derive the pleasure from doing it that we’d all have liked.

  29. I’m not surprised that that mistake came from Sanson. It may be lack of match practice but he’s looked prone to it a couple of times tonight

  30. Am I too easily pleased? I’ve gone back and read other comments and was quite taken aback by the generally negative tone. I know we were 1 – 0 down at half-time but I thought we were the better team in the first half. In the second half of course we were much the better team. I thought Buendia was fantastic, Sanson good at times although I was never quite relaxed when he was on the ball. Luiz not his best game but competed well. Ramsey, to me looked sound throughout the game and I can only see him growing further now he’s scored and got an assist in front of the Holte.
    Coutinho now into the mix . . .really exciting.
    And after me questioning whether Chukwuemeka deserves game time, he came on in this high pressure game in a cauldron of an atmosphere and looked right at home. If ever he needed telling that this is a place where he can learn from the best and. . . .be loved by the home crowd. . .this was it. Well done Steven Gerrard

  31. Fair summary, r0bb0.

    Buendia really starting to show so much quality. I think Ings is the weak link by far.

    Sanson, was a shame on the back pass. Under pressure receiving, slips as he plays it. Otherwise thought he showed a lot for someone who’s seen so little time.

    Basically two errors did us in, though, tbf, United had other chances.

  32. For Chuk, where’s he going to be on a pitch playing with a Coutinho and feeling that buzz from an equalizer like that.

    Interesting for SG to bring him on. Defo intentional for more than the game itself.

  33. We brought Coutinho on from the bench. . . . .we really did.
    amazing eh?
    I expect we’ll see a few more bench appearances from him because he was blowing hard after just 10 minutes or so. A great opening game for him though against the old Liverpool enemy. That should surely give him all the incentive he needs to work hard, cement his place back in the Brazil team and see Villa climbing the table. If we really have advanced the way we ‘feel’ we have then the next 6 games should see us knocking on the door of European places.

  34. Roy Keane: “Villa probably deserved the draw”

    Villa had 55% possession and 9 shots on target to United’s 6.

    “Man United should be pleased to have hung on for the draw” would have been a better comment

  35. What a second half, SG came on later to mention the bollocking he gave them at the break. To come back from an undeserved 0-2, shows the fight. Kudos to Ramsey, goal and assist though Coutinho will get the plaudits. Though some say he’s not doing enough…

    We need a string of games to settle, will be interesting when Bailey returns. Teams are not going to like playing us.

  36. Oh, I’d forgotten about Bailey. Gerrard suddenly has an embarrassment of riches in the attacking half of the pitch
    oh. . . . .and Trez now coming on to win the game for Egypt!

  37. Nice blend of goals. Expensively acquired superstar goal. Homegrown potential superstar goal.

    You can immediately see Digne’s ball control, passing and crossing abilities. You can also see that he’s not an out and out defender. Potential midfielder?

  38. Got to love Gérard interview really honest and truthful
    Ings wrong player wrong ti.e for club may a superset,ad for Watkins 3 decent chances v utd over last week and no goals has to improve or will be another target
    Midfield the sight of carney big strong comfortable on the ball shows us we need an instant player in there
    Digne superb debut,
    Martinez everyone makes a mistake it’s how you react and he certainly did that
    Sanson decent game unlucky to give 2 goals away but think a place for him short term
    Beundi I don’t get him,trying hard but not many on his wave length, very lazy for my liking
    Anyway a win ,an unlucky draw a var defeat to utd

  39. @ Robbo – the way we kept driving through the middle instead of just pinging crosses from the wings is the biggest change, especially since we lost JG. No McGinn today but we weren’t afraid to play. As JC and others mentioned, Ings isn’t working and now should come on only as a sub. If Konsa hadn’t gone off, I think archer would have had a chance. That amount of pace and guile could be the difference.

  40. What a post match interview from Steve. We are on our way back.

    Finally hopefully has Steve g Injected some character in the team. 2- down and grabbing a draw. A draw!! It’s what we’ve required for years

  41. Who thinks buendia is lazy! Look at his stats. Man is settling into a new club, style managers. He’s class and it will show.

    Not many better performances I have seen. He was incredible

  42. The Mings – Luiz axis is weak and will continue to leak goals . Until we get that DM , I would play Konsa in that position in front of Hause & Mings . I also think Sanson is far more mobile than McGinn. Watkins needs to play centrally.Can’t see a place for Bailey as a starter. Chucky is going to be a monster. Sign him now. Buendia was by far the best player on the pitch.

  43. As above. The coaching and identity is something I’ve been dreaming of. Not going to happen instantly but just look at the passing moving int he final third. 2 glorious goals. We are trying to be a possession attacking team

  44. Prox

    Yeah man, sick of saying it. You stick a class cdm in this team it’s transformational. We move up a massive level. Mcguinn luiz, Ramsey will All be better instantly let alone the defence.

  45. Beundi
    What did he do in first half,watch him track back,no point passing the ball to non existing players
    When he does it for a full match, as for settling in he has played in this league and championship for last 3 years

  46. With the exception of Sanson, Villas entire midfield and front players were absent for the first half hour . I would say that Buendia is one of the best tackling forwards in the entire premiership!

  47. James

    What didn’t buendia do! I’m a bit staggered what you haven’t seen from him tonight, he was immense!

    Yeah sg gave a rocket ht by sounds it. That first half hour was insanely bad

  48. Heroes
    60 min performances not good enough ,we paid top money for him,decent header from him but then he had great chance in 2nd half with a shot and it was a really poor effort from him,gives ball away cheap,reading over Facebook and other blogs seems plenty think the same

  49. It does seem that my take on the first half may have been too positive. The first 25 minutes or so were tough but I thought we steadily came into the game after that. Towards the end of the half i’m sure they showed that we’d had around 70% possession for the previous 15 minutes. In fairness, we’d not really threatened, but we weren’t being dominated. I guess I was guilty of ‘expecting’ us to struggle against United and therefore making too many excuses for us. Second half though we were by far the better team and at the end it felt more likely that we’d win than lose

  50. James

    Not sure what to say to that man! He was magnificent from first kick to last. Everyone I follow seen from Twitter says same! Footballs all about opinions though! Purslow says business not done yet!

    Nice to see Ramsey and chuck playing a big part, youth 🙂

    How can chuck after that think there’s somewhere better for him to develop. Where’s he going to start 90 mins every game.

    Sign a deal young man and develop in the prem, big club, going places and have Steve g and Mcallister looking after you. How ever good you maybe if you walk from that your mental

  51. Robbo

    Yeah the first half was just slack. I was fuming like Sg! Because we fought back to draw really feels like a win. Need to carry on with that character.

    So exciting seeing what the future could hold under sg

  52. Buendia and Sanson are clear quality. Like what was written, we’re crying out for a #6. There’s no cover so attacking players can get caught out and make mistakes. If they slip up, no cover as Luiz likes to play #8

    Digne – wow! Wow! Sorry, I never watch Everton so 1st time seeing him.

  53. H&V, yes you have to be right about Chuck. . . .where else will he get to play regularly but also get to embrace someone like Coutinho when we score and be guided by a midfielder of the stature of Gerrard. I honestly can’t think of a team where he’d be better placed to develop right now.

  54. Watched MOTD tonight. Quick glimpse of the Everton bench. Saw El Goalsie at the back looking utterly lost, alone and forlorn like a dumped unwanted xmas present dog. We are so cruel!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. Was the 2nd goal a Sanson mistake? I’ve watched it multiple times. It’s not. What it is – Villa usual ducking around at the back and we finally got caught out. Was bound to happen. We do that sh$t every game.

  56. Reality lads we managed to draw against a weak Manure side that were there for the taking. 1st half looked like an exercise in keeping our shape while watching manure pass it about, I’d reckon they must of clocked up 300 passes by the half. Sanson class? granted looked more mobile and up for it than Ramsey and luis 1st half but best of a bad bunch but I don’t remember him being amazing. sanson also had Digne behind him who wasn’t at the races defensively but that’s expected for a while, mings passed to him at one point only to look up and see the ball roll out as Digne was 20 yards further up the pitch. The second goal defo Sansons gaff he had no need to pass there, just hold it up.

    Ramsey however still carried a goal threat though when we eventually got the ball, he and beundia carried most of our threat until Courtinho came on and they then got even better. One give and go between them deserved a goal but for the keepers save. We need more of that, its what the stiffs do all the time.

    1st goal for us showed what we were missing around the box with quick passing from Chuck. phil and Ramsey moving the ball out of his feet well to finish. It wouldn’t of happened though without Mings going past 2-3 players to give the ball to Chuk. So while it was great goal it was also an unlikely one unless Mings is now our ball carrier.

    The second goal saw Beundia split the defence and Ramsey pick courtinho out at the back post, its what we have been missing and it would be easy to say its all down to phil, its not its a quirk of this team that they don’t seem to believe they have enough until they have reason to forget and just play, maybe a consequence of no pre-season cementing ideas with either manager.

    Has anyone noticed that we look better when on the front foot? maybe its that lack of a ball carrier and playmaker in the middle that restricts us, it used to be jack who played all over the place. Anyway we look better when we play Smith ball which really should not surprise us just a shame for me that we didn’t have the players in and time together to start the season well. Because when Bailey is fit this could be some side with or without Phil, he is though a very intelligent player who demands respect on the pitch and I hope he stays. They don’t seem to do well playing in a controlled way though, could anyone really say that second half was planned? I see someone said it was a tactical switch I don’t buy that it was a bollocking of biblical proportions and anything goes performance.

    Chuck looks a player and seems to have got even bigger but retained his skill on the ball, earlier in the season he looked like he needed to get used to the new body he’d found himself in and he now has.

    Looking forward to playing some teams we are supposed to beat but we shouldn’t forget that was a weak Utd with a midfield weakened even further than in the cup game.

  57. We must stop inviting pressure from the kick off. First minute, Man Ure played a bouncing ball down their left channel. Konsa reached it first and instead of hooking it back over his shoulder, or lacing it into the Witton Lane stand, he hoofed it into the Holte End for a corner. Immediate unnecessary pressure. Two stupid fouls around our box later and we are 0-1 down.

    The first 25 minutes or so, we were not at the races. You can’t stand and admire in this league. Then we got into the game and became a different beast in the second half. Ramsey went from the ridiculous to the sublime. Clearly a half time bollocking from SG shook them up.

    Coutinho and Buendia are going to be mouth watering for us. Chuk does not look out of place either. Ings is struggling and for me, it’s either Watkins or Ings but not both.

    But the bottom line has to be that Man Ure needed two gifts to get a point despite a piss poor opening 25 minutes from us.

  58. Also felt certain that after we levelled it, there would be a penalty or VAR intervention in Man Ure’s favour. What’s the world coming to when that didn’t happen?

  59. A good summary back there Mark. You’re right that just now, United are a team in turmoil that we ‘should’ be looking to beat. The next few weeks are going to be a real guide to whether we have genuinely made progress or not. I’m glad you picked out Ming’s contribution to the goal. You’re right, it shouldn’t be his role, but he did execute it very well none the less. . . . .almost Huttonesque.

    I did see signs that Sanson could be a good player but he did also play a big part in both goals. . . . . Man United goals that is. The first one, he was slow to respond and then got the wrong side of the player and finally tripped him clumsily that led to the free kick from which they scored. The second, was clearly down to him. The bottle kicking petulance was just silly and I don’t want to hear that it was anger at himself for letting the side down.

    There are signs that he has the potential to be a decent player for us but he needs to leave his pride on the shelf, knuckle down and become a hard working team player.

  60. Mark, I’m sure you must have noticed that our XG score was higher than United’s yesterday. . . . . .surely some reason for optimism?
    Taking a look at game stats does at least confirm what I had thought about the first half that although we started badly and weren’t really at the races for the first half hour, we improved as the half went on and in fact more than held our own for the last 20 minutes of it. If we can now tighten up and cut out silly mistakes then we can afford to be optimistic.

    I suppose in some ways we may need to accept that there ‘will’ be some silly mistakes due to the way we’re looking to play and the short time the players have had to adapt to it. Hopefully they’ll naturally improve in that respect as it becomes second nature.

  61. Watched match of day again ,Luis must be getting fearful for his place in team,2nd time in a week he let his man run free for goal,instead of pointing to mings he should have been looking over his shoulder at bruno

  62. Robbie
    It was first match in ages we made opposition keeper work,some decent saves and some easy ones
    Gérard wants us to play out from the back he might have to replace a few more, cash is very poor in this department

  63. Passing stats
    Villa 521
    Utd 432
    Utd dominated first third of match, we dominated the rest
    Gérard influence getting there even with different managers players

  64. JG, that’s exactly as I saw it, they dominated the first 30 minutes only, but that’s certainly not the impression that was given in the post match interviews and discussion. Keane was good enough a couple of times to remind the others that Villa played their part too but there was far too much pandering to United sensibilities and particularly in the sickening interview with that worm Fernandez.
    I guess it’ll take a while for us to be taken seriously again, but United haven’t won the league for nearly a decade now, are well off the pace at the moment, and don’t deserve the reverence they are afforded by the media.

  65. Oh, one thing I should mention because none of us seem to have done. . . .the refereeing. Apart from Matic yet again by some miracle avoiding a red card, the referee did a decent job yesterday.

  66. I didn’t dream it. Coutinho. Yes coutinho plays for Villa. Scores on his debut against Utd along side local hero Ramsey. All in front of the Holte.

    What a time to be a villa fan. 55 % possession. Better Xg, over a hundred more passes Completed. We’re moving.

  67. Football has so many sliding doors moments it’s mad.

    Sanson our best cm Ramsey was poor about to be hooked Utd go 2 up sg change of heart who hooks sanson Ramsey goes on to score and assist and sanson gets rememberd for kicking a water bottle

  68. Mark

    Don’t worry you’ll get onboard with the sg revolution, don’t miss the boat because we are moving.

    I know you miss Deano but times are a changing.

    Been through enough crap to not enjoy the positive times, enjoy the ride my friend

    I’ll try and copy the link to the tactical switch. Really informative. Overloaded there right hand side.

  69. I’m really not understanding the love for Sanson from several on here. I thought I must be missing something but having looked at half a dozen different sets of player ratings for yesterday’s game he’s consistently ranked last or last but one (to Ings)

    His foul for the free kick that led to the Martinez howler typified his perfomances to me. He just seems to be a bit off the pace and positionally unaware.
    I’m really not saying I don’t think he has what it takes, I just don’t think he’s consistently showing it for us yet.

  70. Robbo

    Sanson just could do with a run of games I think. The guy can’t catch a break. It’s so hard to judge him.

    But he looks classy. Bit of swagger about him. Very mobile with a bit of pace too.

  71. H&V I’m sure I will mate just as he’s leaving for Anfield 🙂

    Yesterday I played a free hit in fantasy which means you can change all your players for one week, as there are a few playing two games I went for it. I didn’t bother putting any Villa players in and normally I have 2 min, mainly because its a double game week but also because I thought we’d lose. Found myself at 2-0 thinking oh well at least Fernadez has two goals and Manure keeper a clean sheet 😉

    As Ian said a while back footballs lost its shine a bit and it is corrupt in a lot of ways, just a reflection of the world we live in presently which if I am honest is a more pressing matter for me than SG’s Villa but things do seem to be coming to light faster and faster they have the time from calling something a conspiracy to a fact to about 3 months now.

  72. James
    Yeah that offside was mental!


    Ah that’s good. I do the telegraph fantasy footy, they don’t have things like that. Just get 25 transfers. Did put in Phil and digne though!

    God yeah man I use footy to escape from the real world!

    I’ve been trying for months to sort my ears out and after finally speaking to the Drs they said they can’t see me cause of covid! They don’t have the right mask or Summin,. Had to go private. Bloody 30 quid a ear

  73. Eh if sg gets considered for the pool job means he’s done incredible for villa!

    Phils goal under rated a bit. Little magician sorted his feet out very well and the anticipation as Varane looked like he was getting it. Cool finish.

    A certain 100 mill man could of done watching that after his one on one miss.

  74. On Digne tackling he is not very good at it neither is Trent at pool who is considered one of the best in the world in that position I suspect Matt T will be sold by the summer at best also Matty C will need to vastly improve is delivery if he is to remain no.1 at the club in his position

    Once SG gets his main spine in place I think we will become very consistent winners and a match of any prem side
    The first 30 mins vs man u we was so far off it bt once the lads started to get with the pace of the game man were on the back foot … its the wining mentality and self belief we have been missing for so long that will slowly start develop under SG . we were so good after half time UTV
    A holder as suggested but also it feels to be like we do not have the strike force that SG will going with at the start of next season

    On Sanson he showed some nice ability vs man u but also had 2 huge mistakes but I also feel a run of games will allow those who don’t believe it that we have a very good player indeed in Sanson

  75. Also it seems like destiny for SG to end up at pool .. I don’t think its a bad thing as he would have done extremely well to get that move , in the meantime he raises the profile of the club brings in top class player in 3 to 5 years time potter can the come home and we will have top players playing total football

  76. sg isnt stupid either.

    klopp is going, prob along with mo, mane and firminho.

    you want to be the next person following him?

    hes only 41 has alot of time to get the pool job. miles to go yet!

    im still worried about relegation!

  77. just reading about the digne transfer.

    its remarkable how far we have come as a club. we are run so well now. lange knew we had a small window to get digne done as there was unrest with rafa. wait a bit longer deal wouldnt be there as rafa would be sacked.

    superb, we are aggressive, ambitious.

  78. For me, whatever side United fielded and the state they’re in, they’re just a bogey club for us. It’s a mental thing.

    So, coming back, getting the draw I think was a good sign. 0-2, it’s easy to hang your head.

    From the overall match perspective, we’ve seen it for a long time that Villa tend to play their best when their backs are against the wall and there’s nothing to lose. As with all the big clubs, if you get stuck into them and play without fear, you stand a better chance.

    Play off, and you get what we saw in the first 30mins.

  79. For me I can’t understand the going for it in one half stuff, its a pattern now for the last two managers. SG keeps saying its about grit and determination etc and then they do the same. For me I can’t understand the mind set just get stuck in no matter who it is, in fact the tougher the better, test yourself.

  80. H&V yeah the NHS is fucked now, a right shit show but hey we have to pay more now for less. I am surprised there haven’t been lynching’s.

    SG will end up at Liverpool, and I don’t think he has to do a fat lot, look at their previous managers, they love an ex player or a jock. Klopp is up there with Pep and Pool will not find another so easily. If Klopp goes Stevie G’s in, of that I have no doubt, probably take Phil with him.

  81. And Ings and ollie in Narrow front three? both want to occupy similar positions when playing like that and Beundia drops into midfield which is also Ings game, in short great when they don’t have the ball.

  82. Couple other thoughts:

    We need to be a bit braver when playing out and transitioning. I understand caution, especially at the back, but there are players open for quick combinations that we seem to pass up quite often, and get ourselves a bit boxed in. Passes to fullbacks and 6 need to happen quicker, seems to me. If I’m going to criticize Mings, this is probably where it would be.

    Hause was trying to switch from deep, and had at least the one nice ball to Digne. We need to be better and quicker at this instead of playing it round the back (like England) to change sides. Doesn’t have to be a CB, could be one of the deeper MFs.

  83. Id be offering Ings to Burnley or toon. Was bought as as smith wanted to give 352 a real go.

    Now we have a dilema. I can imagine sgs job interview being told we’ve signed buendia Ings and Bailey and you have to make it work.

    The outcome will be Ings on the bench and played when subbing Watkins. Coutinho or chuck has to play instead

  84. John
    Yeah listening to sg post match he’s saying exactly the same, handbrake has to be off and commit to the plan.

    Identity is there, the passing through the middle and to feet is there, getting better with possession.

    Out of all the games in the prem villa had the most passing accuracy with 84.5 %

    2 month in the Job. It’s a very positive start. Lots of work to be done. Turning those defeats into draws has to continue and putting in a solid 90 ala palace away has to start.
    It will come

  85. MK,

    Can’t say I understand it either…Doesn’t sound like it’s what SG wants, and I don’t think Smith wanted it, either.

    The easy take is that there’s some innate caution/fear in many of them. Where it comes from? Can’t say. You’d think seeing what happens when they’re fully committed would encourage them to play like that from the start.

    The one thing we haven’t really talked about is being back in front of crowds and whether that’s having an effect.

    But I’m guessing having Phil in will help the dressing room, and with Buendia finally blossoming and a veteran like Digne on the left, I’d like to think we’ll have better balance, confidence and leadership on the pitch.

  86. H&V,

    Could always be wrong, but I’m guessing Ings wasn’t Smith’s idea. Perhaps he did actually want to play 3-5-2, but it still seems a strange signing, and I’m thinking he’d have preferred 4-2-3-1 given Bailey and Traoré.

    No way of knowing, of course, but I’ve seen a lot talk about it.

  87. Jc yeah a bit of stage fright might explain the excellent away record last season too.

    Ings was a bit of dick swinging and leadership quotient filling we literally lost all our experience in one window. Without young and Ings we’d have an average age of 24 .

  88. The 352 employed by Smith was to be used on occasion he actually said so, just happened that we ended up with zero wingers to play our usual 433. For most of last season fans moaned about Smiths lack of flexibility and now we have SG’s version of 433 🙂

  89. yeah 352 was the plan and ings was smiths signing which i heard anyway.

    my issue with smith was not flexiblity but what were we? gave us no identity. touch wood in sg small reign so far we are looking better with the ball and we know its a 4321.

    the shapes dropped off for me a bit but is with nakamba being out i feel.

    with digne and a fit phil it could get very good.

  90. H&V Smith literally said after We played Chelsea that we were looking to switch formation for different games, would he buy Ings just for that? nah that’s a bit of poo, just the fact we only had Ollie and two sick notes and Ings guarantee’s goals, if we had got SWP too who knows. As it was we never got to see the team he wanted out there. As for identity he always played on the front foot where possible and used inverted wingers. We used a similar ploy to Brentfords putting the ball in dangerous areas and created a lot of chances.

    Ings was a bit of “we lost jack here’s Ings” from the club, Purslows cringeworthy announcement stunk of that. Wouldn’t have happened if SWP had come off imo or if Wesley recovered.

    I think there is a lot of crap talked about identities as if every team can have its own, its really down to the players to create something and you still see the same foibles now just in SG’s system.

  91. mark

    for the last 2 seasons i kept banging on about identity. didnt think we made the most of mcguinn and luiz as a 2 holding. having them now as proper 8s will raise our game. when luiz isnt a 6! and having clear 10s behind a st knowing what our fullbacks have to do. its just so much clearer to me. even the passing in the final 3rd. more one 2s more ball to feet. didnt see anything like deanos brentford. not sure what our wingers was apart from jack quite rightly being allowed to roam.

    dont get me wrong i love deano but like ive been saying for last 2 seasons for me never got to see the football i thought wed get. id sum it up as a countering side really.

  92. H&V So in a years time should we look like Rangers? 😉

    I think as far as why we don’t look like Brentford goes I would say its because we haven’t had years of planning behind the team. We started off with mr Bruces dads army and loan players after a turbulent few years with a massive turnover in players. Even now many haven’t been here for two years yet.

    Add to that the owners ambition and wealth and Villa’s standing in the hierarchy of football. Brentford could not have done what we did and did not have Jack grealish. I’d hazard a guess that if he’d gone to Spurs while we were in the champs we would be a different outfit now and very likely promoted with a very different squad and the youth more integrated.

    Instead we attempted to stay up with a very young team newly formed and a one off talent in Jack. This season was a car crash compared to last seasons preparation. What we saw the season before was making the best use of Jack with a lowish quality squad and that is why SG is spending if he hadn’t he could drill the team in passing until the cows come home and we would not have progressed much. we still only have half our attacking players.

    In short Smith went to what was likely to get us points and entertain within our limits, I doubt we will ever see another game like the 7-2 thrashing of Liverpool.

    we are now adding 28 year old FB’s on £100k plus a week so what Smith achieved before was pretty good all considered. You can’t turn a ship that quickly when the captains left and half the crews not available to work together, even SG knows that or he would not have mentioned no pre-season several times to cement ideas.

  93. Think of it this way SG has brought in Phil and a 25m 28 year old FB . It’s a huge admission that he can’t see this team reaching the heights dean smith was supposed to reach with them to be successful this season. There’s way more to it like prestige etc but SG the serial winner needs much better players to implement his style and hopefully reach Europe.

  94. Saurez yes please

    Just won a title in Spain has turned down the likes of Barca to come play for SG , if we can get the same effect Cavani had at the mancs its will be a very good buy … think this spells the end for Ings he may well go Newcastle
    In turn of styles of play identity ect every club is a reflection of the manager hence why they are the first to go if things are not going right … throwing players out there to just get on with it doesn’t exist in pro football

  95. were is frem surely not another ban it seems very unfair as he is not the only repetitive person on the blog we are all guilty of that .. live and let live

  96. Hear, hear Runts on the subject of Frem. When it comes to Aston Villa, he wears his heart on his sleeve. Don’t we all. Live and let live as you say.

  97. This is a critical stage of the owners 5 year plan for euro football I think Dean did an amazing job for Villa by getting us out of the championship and stabilizing us as a premier lge side once again ..
    Personally I think it needed a different profile manager with more player pull and a system of play capable of allowing the club to compete at the higher end of the table
    Doesn’t mean Deano isn’t a quality manager and I think Norwich will be looking to hold onto him for a very long time ,but wether its players or managers in a 5 year plan for Europe be sure not everyone that started the journey on the upward climb will be capable of remaining in place once you reach there …. citeh and chelski did a similar thing to rise from the ashes

  98. runtings exactly. zoom out and look at nswe plan. ambitious and demands improvement. lots and lots of chatter from trusted people that behind the scenes deano had to go. standards apparently dropped off massively.

    mark. its no admission. it s a man with a clear identity and just happend to have a pull to attract names.

    as soon as he walked through the door you know his full backs will be upgraded as its major to how he plays. love targett but is he going to be good enough in the final 3rd for sg ball…welcome digne.

  99. suarez is a absolute no brainer. 2 years younger than ronaldo, same age as messi. proven elite.

    would be madness. never has relied on pace just keep him in the box.

    if we get him on a pre contract we would get all are other number 1 signings.

  100. Just want to add on Deano and Jesus they laid really fabulous foundations for SG to walk into , the first faze of buying was youngish players that are capable of improving and increasing in value for sell on , we now have a squad that is worth a lot more than what we paid for it with no bomb squad which was the plague of the club for way too long .. so major credit is due for part played by these guys and JT to for that matter as before he got into the defence a corner against us was more like a penalty

  101. It’s being reported that SG stated that he wanted to increase the average age of the squad and if true that would go some way to explaining Coutinho, and now Suarez and even Hazard links.

    I was happy with the thought that we wanted to improve our youth recruitment and training and bring players through that way as it felt like a sustainable route to success. It is also a slower route to success though and it could well be that the purchase of Newcastle has focussed minds.

    The purchase of Man City focussed Lerner’s mind some year’s back but in a negative way as he seemed to put his foot hard onto the brake and then get out of the car! Our current owners, under similar circumstances seem to have decided that they need to put the foot on the accelerator and bring in some experience and known winners.

    I’ve already stated that I’m not keen on Suarez but that’s because of the man not the football player. . . . .Having slagged him off over the years, I’d just feel uncomfortable seeing him in a Villa shirt. I do get the rationale behind the principle though and it could well give the whole squad the kick in ambition and confidence that we need to drive towards those European places. Mark was right earlier though, it is also an acceptance that the previous squad was unlikely to move us towards our target as quickly as we now seem to want.

  102. I see frem’s name being mentioned so I’ll throw in my view for what it’s worth. I think the site is better without him as it’s tedious having to scroll past his many repetitive posts.

    runtings. . . . yes, some people may repeat themselves, but unless he’s changed dramatically (I honestly don’t believe he’s capable of doing that but please let me know if I’m wrong) then nobody on here comes even slightly close to frem for repetition.

    H&V. . . . . you say frem’s “bang on” with his comments. . . . yes, like a broken clock is right twice in 24 hours. I saw that someone had taken the trouble to count up the number of times that he criticised Villa players during a recent match and I think he’d criticised all but two players. Well, if you’re critical of everyone then you’re going to be right when one or two of them fail, but ‘bang off’ on the rest.

    My biggest criticism of him though is that he wasn’t here for debate, discussion or interaction with others, he was only interested in flinging his own mental diarrhoea at our screens.

    If the consensus is that he should come back on though I have found that it’s possible to stay on here and stay (passably) sane, by just skipping past his comments. It’s a nuisance and I’d prefer not to do it, but it’s an option. . . . .and anyone can feel just as free to do the same with mine of course!

  103. My goodness…should we have a vote? 😀

    Me, I’m uncomfortable discussing someone in their absence. But I have explained to him why he does so many heads in (mine included).

    But I’m sure he’s absolutely bouncing, and will subsequently recommend replacing every player besides Coutinho and Digne (bar Martinez, but you never know). Not that this isn’t what’s required to reach the top, but there’s a real world to live in.

  104. On Deano and the sudden surge in older players with pedigree. Cast your mind back to the players we were looking at in the summer, SWP and Rowe we chased for ever, looked very likely we wanted to add them to Beundi and Jack.

    All young and talented prem performers and befitting of the clubs previous plans. Fast forward to the end of the window and Jacks gone and Purslow is announcing the amazing 3 for 1 jack plan which always sounded a bit iffy from the off and ever so slightly crowd pleasing to stave off Jack fallout.

    Now the question is that clearly Steve doesn’t fancy the team without a jack replacement and wants attacking fullbacks ( both players can deliver from set pieces too see JWP)

    Apparently though DS would not have wanted an attacking FB even when he switched to 352 but then pigs do fly. He also wouldn’t of wanted a full on Jack replacement ( what’s that overhead) so he was handed his lot and the chips fell as they did.

    Enter SG, now I was expecting a change in midfield but certainly not Phil nor an expensive older FB. With three forwards to return and umpteen youth players I thought he would have to see the season out and hopefully get us up the table a bit while accessing the Squad for the summer. After all by then the kids will be older again and save us a lot of money.

    The biggest indication though that something has changed at Villa is the Loan Goalie?? its a what the Fuck moment. Yes the team was always going morph over time even if DS stayed but this is something else. I have to say though looking at Everton at present its not entirely all a pleasant turn up for the books.

  105. robbo

    Totally agree about frem. He causes me real problems. I try to skip as many comments as possible but there is only so much I can take. It does turn me off this site.

  106. Been awhile since i last posted. I have been reading through the comments here with keen interest.
    What riles me with Villa at the moment is our transfer policy under Gerrard.
    What is the use of the new keeper Olsen? Is our sporting director Lange really behind these moves or is Steven Gerrard taken over the role.
    I understand the need to bring in new players, but some of them do not make sense. They also hamper our youngster’s chances of playing first team football here. We have invested a lot in the academy and the recruitment team too. The goal of NSWE i thought was to find undervalued gems and fuse them with potential academy startlets. All that is crumbling now as i see it.
    Having said that, i am behind the team and the manager.

  107. Hi, Jackvilla. Good to see you.

    It is interesting. I’ve been meaning to put up a new page, and probably will because of scrolling, but things continue to move all over the place on the transfer front.

    On the face of it, Digne makes sense for a club who’ve got money and want a different kind of FB.

    Coutinho makes sense because it gives Villa the pairing with Buendia that would’ve been what we wanted bringing Emi in.


    I’m not at all sure Phil will be here come summer. Which means we’re looking again. Does Bailey fill that slot, or someone else?

    And where exactly are we supposed to push up to given we’re 12pts off 7th, with a game in hand and 18 to play?

    I’m not sure I see a real ‘downside’ given injuries and options, but I’m also not sure the upside is huge. Yeah, it raises the profile, and it is the kind of experience and quality any club would like in and around the team.

    Hard to tell whether this smacks of SG pushing hard to make an impression for himself rather than the club. Hard to tell whether it means NSWE have changed their thinking and SG’s just answering that. Hard to tell if it’s just a rare January opportunity you can’t say no to.

    A makeover has always been in the plans, that’s what building is all about. But it’s hard to tell whether it’s a short-term SG makeover, or part of a larger plan.

    Could be either, both, neither.

  108. signing olsen is just wanting 3 experienced gk especialy in covid times. lost heaton without replacing him in the summer. an option to buy in the summer for 3.5mill.

    rangers fans said it and listning to a podcast the other day from brum mail he was told too. sg likes 2 good players for each position.

    kessler has impressed sg apparently and will stay and challenge cash and not be aloud to leave on loan.
    theres been times to worry about youth but now isnt one of them under nswe.

  109. I’ve probably said it better in my reply to Jackvilla, but a new page is up so we have to scroll less.

    (And don’t disagree with Gerrard, H&V…you do want to be two-deep at every position)

  110. It is exciting when you pick up players like Digne and Coutinho. And I do feel sorry for players who get displaced. And the BM and all it’s sister publications are doing a good job of touting every aging superstar out there. It’s hard to keep a level head from the fans stand point.
    It appears that the ghost of Mc Neil is in the hen house. A five year plan is admiral but perhaps a little optimistic. I think the Chinese wonder boy had a ten year plan. I’m hoping the apple cart doesn’t get tipped over and they stick to the original plan. It’s great to send academy players out on loan but will they come back if the desire for “older” players continues.
    It’s great to have ambition but if it starts to smack of Russian and Saudi oil knobs it will take a lot of pride away from what I thought was the game plan of building from within.

  111. It is exciting when you pick up players like Digne and Coutinho. And I do feel sorry for players who get displaced. And the BM and all it’s sister publications are doing a good job of touting every aging superstar out there. It’s hard to keep a level head from the fans stand point.
    It appears that the ghost of Mc Neil is in the hen house. A five year plan is admiral but perhaps a little optimistic. I think the Chinese wonder boy had a ten year plan. I’m hoping the apple cart doesn’t get tipped over and they stick to the original plan. It’s great to send academy players out on loan but will they come back if the desire for “older” players continues.
    It’s great to have ambition but if it starts to smack of Russian and Saudi oil knobs it will take a lot of pride away from what I thought was the game plan of building from within.

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