It’s all over but the crying and maybe some shrugging. Villa finished the 2021-22 season 14th, with 45 points from a 13-6-19 record, and teased us wonderfully on the final day before reminding us all what it is to be a Villan.

Where We’re At
The side has been called ‘soft’ in the aftermath of the collapse against City (and Wolves earlier), even if City are presumably the most expensively assembled squad on the planet. I’d have liked to think we could’ve held on for a point. But is that being ‘soft’, or just not having the necessary players to switch up and handle City’s changes? There’s an entire column or two in that one. Wolves should certainly have been a W, regardless.

For me, it’s the 6 draws that are just as important. Villa probably left enough points on the pitch in failing ‘not to lose’ to potentially have kept them from reaching European spots. I’m thinking the lack of draws points to a number of things, like mentality, quality, depth, and balance. Who comes on and really changes things? We’ve only had Buendia do that, and no one in the middle three. We can’t yet get more physical and defensive when needed.

Villa are also a young side, and as many point out, there’s no real experience winning anything given the play-off winners are gone. And I might say that Villa of the last two seasons are a side without the requisite confidence to take the next step. Confidence as we know is an elusive, circular sort of thing. It builds on itself. It has to spread through the team, confidence not just in yourself, but your teammates to be in the right places doing the right things. Perhaps we’d have had more this year if we hadn’t lost our talisman and had added round him. Jack and Emi would’ve played very well together, I’m guessing, in a 4-2-3-1.

And Villa, of course, are still an evolving side. While season three back in the Premier League will go down as a disappointment, year-over-year roster churn is a necessity for a while to build a top-8 squad, and this year that churn didn’t go smoothly at all. At the same time, Villa are only now approaching any sort of reasonable depth with everyone healthy, never mind of starting quality. Sometimes there are backward steps, and god knows Villa have had their share of injuries and disruption the last two years.

I’ll touch one last time on Deano and SG as it was a huge part of the way the season played out. To my mind, the simplest way to say it is that Deano essentially shouldered the blame for all sorts of realities that were ultimately not in his control. Others will disagree, but that’s the way it goes for managers, and you only hope the next appointment is better suited and situated. I’ve no doubt Gerrard is better situated, and now we’ll see whether he’s ultimately better suited. After the window, Villa will now be more his team, and the comparisons will likely end.

The Summer Window
Right now, everyone’s looking forward rather than back, which is good. Coutinho has signed on, and now Boubacar Kamara, a bright young thing, has been secured to finally give us a true defensive midfielder. I think most everyone agrees that No. 6 spot has been our biggest need. £17m for the pair is good business, though of course we’ve added wages.

What does it mean for Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba? Morgan Sanson? I’m guessing our next bit of business or two will give us the answers. We seem to have a few who are more suited to competing for just about the same role, and we don’t have a lot of room for 8s. The questions are whether any of them are really good enough for the next level, and who is content to stay and provide depth. We aren’t quite at the stage where there will be two true starters for every position, but we could and should be closer after the summer. Me, I’m not convinced that McGinn or Luiz are really up to it, big picture, and the jury’s still out on Ramsey. He appears to have a future, and I like his drive going forward, but I also see a player there who needs to do more off the ball. He’s young, of course, but he goes missing and needs to take the next step if he’s going to be a nailed-on starter.

We’ve also got to consider the change in set-up. Do Bailey and Traoré have a future? Buendia, even? Given what we’ve paid and how little action some have seen, it’s hard to see us recouping costs on the first two. Me, I really like Buendia and I’m hoping we keep him. SG seems to like him, too. Phil is no doubt good for the ‘stature’ of the club and all the rest, but I’d like to have another in the bag for the present and future. I like Buendia’s combative nature, his vision, one-touch passing, and through balls. He’s good enough for the levels we want, I think. But it comes down to the side around him and how he’s used. I think both he and Phil have been best playing more centrally and that, with what we have, the 4-4-2/4-3-1-2 wasn’t a bad way to get the playmakers inside.

We’ve also got questions at the back and front, and again, it comes down to surrounding personnel and set-up as well as the players themselves. All sorts of questions about Watkins, Ings and Mings, for example. It was a rougher year for Konsa than we’d have thought. And where exactly do the young players like Chukwuemeka, Iroegbunam, Archer & Co. fit in? I’d think there’s a spot for a player like Archer. He’s the small striker, fast, has an eye for goal, and can run and run. I could see Emi or Phil picking out a player like that all day, and he’d represent a real change-up coming on. We could go for more experience, but it’s always about where the biggest priorities are. I think we need to create more and better chances and be tougher.

The Other Needs
In general, a number of players get slated, but the arguments tend to get a little more nuanced when you get into comparative stats. Stats of course don’t tell the whole story, though. There’s decision-making and game management, which are much harder to quantify. Composure and footballing smarts. And then just how it all comes together. Or not.

Whether it’s down to experience, confidence, confusion, an overall lack of quality (or all of the above), there are loads of moments where I’ve been left wondering why a given player has made certain decisions. We’re still a side that generally wants an extra touch or misses the right pass. That can get in each other’s way. Is still hesitant or rash or caught out too often. We’re not physically imposing, we don’t have enough real battlers one-on-one. You can see why McGinn is in the squad based on that alone. He’s really the only one who brings fire to the side (apart from Buendia). We often get our tails up trying to come back, but all too often fall short.

But, given I’m not running training, I can’t say who has it in their locker if one or two things were a bit different.

So, I won’t say I was thrilled by the season or even satisfied. Far from it. But. I do think Villa have a real chance to make some telling strides this summer, and that the side will ultimately be better and deeper. And as Gerrard has seemingly shown a little more tactical flexibility down the stretch, I’m hopeful that we can see that depth used effectively.

What I’d really like to see is more composure and quality on the ball. In the end, those are the two biggest things holding us back from playing with more possession. In terms of grinding out results or really getting up on sides, I think we need to be a bit more physical in the middle: a bit quicker, a bit stronger. If Bouba is as advertised, we’ve probably gotten a bit stronger and quicker already.

Over to you.

Comments 284

  1. Just picking up from a couple comments, I think the five subs will make a difference in the type of squad we can retain.

    After the summer, we might just have the depth where using all five can make a difference. Will be curious to see what it does to other bottom-half teams.

  2. Mk
    Wouldn’t it be nice to have 5 or more options from bench of quality
    Instead of relying on youth to fill it out,I would still like to see a minimum of 2 youth on the bench every game

  3. Must say JC, that the script above could not better describe my thoughts. I’m in full agreement. There have been times when I’ve wanted 2 subs bringing on at half time. It never happened. Now it might with 5 subs available. The risk is removed (not that it ever bothered Mourinho).

    Tonight I note Chelsea’s £4.25 billion takeover looks like it’s gone through. The Glazer’s debt pile at Manure is shrapnel compared to what has been stacked up at Chelsea. I do believe the amount of luker needed to service that debt will weigh on them and give the chasing pack a chance.

  4. It really is a case of “watch this space” on the comings and goings at VP to give us an idea of the direction we’re heading in.

  5. Plug,

    Yeah, could be so many dominoes, though I wonder just how much the desire to move some players on might be hindered for having to take a loss on them (as far as the net spend goes).

    Even if Bouba’s on big wages (haven’t seen what they are, but I thought I read somewhere we were willing to pay more than other suitors), it will help that we didn’t have to pay a fee.

  6. Bit of a sidelight, but as I mentioned on the previous thread, I’m very curious how a trend of players running down their contracts might change things.

    If it spreads, clubs will probably be under bigger pressure to lower fees before the last year.

    The player will get bigger wages.

    Players may not be willing to sign new deals quite so readily, but they face more uncertainty, like getting injured while they’re running things down.

    We may end up with a lot more free agents. The big clubs can still win out on wages, but it won’t come down to big wages + big fees.

    I guess in the current context, running down your contract is often perceived as a negative, a slight on the club, even a sign of poor character or lack of ‘loyalty’.

    At any rate, I’ve long thought the transfer-fee system was a strange anachronism and I’m talking myself in circles.

  7. JC, it’s a really interesting topic, and one that must be taxing the brains of club owners, recruiters and managers. . . . and particularly their finance directors and auditors!
    Might it mean that clubs are suddenly much less valuable? Some of the money saved in reduced sign on fees will be absorbed by higher wages so running costs will go up but the value of their assets will decline.
    Will the balance of power shift further from the clubs, and more into the hands of the players and their agents?
    Will transfers come to rely less on how much clubs are prepared to pay the selling club and more on how attractive a club is to the player, whether it be because of higher wages or the ambition of the club?

  8. Thanks JC, I would say Dean was a victim of his own success in using a once in lifetime talent like Jack and as you say ended up paying for that early team build under Pitarch etc plus injury and illness. Part of the remit was to find players that had played together at clubs to give some sense of togetherness, not exactly the stat driven stuff we do today, Stats by the way are used to draw up a list then the scouts watch and discern those other qualities so its not an amazon market pick and pay with one click approach that some see it as. Also tasked with developing the clubs culture something Lange is also part of. I have the feeling Lange has more power than his unassuming persona tells, particularly in the teams style/approach. He gave us three years of relief from the manager go round we have had and some incredible memories. SG has yet to do that with the city game being the closest to a hit and run that ended in a pile up.

  9. Yes Robbo most fees are amortised over 3-5 years allowing for expensive team builds now with future earnings and wages are a here and now payment so it would be interesting to see how that balances out. Could make training youth players not worthwhile as they sail out of the door for nothing after 5-6 years of training.

  10. The 5 subs will give the manager a headache. He will have players that want pitch time and now he has less reason not to. As we saw at city one player switch and the pack can collapse. More quality on your bench will help some clubs and hinder others no doubt. Teams that have a good season invariably have a core of players (around 4-5)that don’t get injured and play in nearly all games, then another layer of some that get a few injuries and then a few players that might see less than 20 involvements.

    5 subs will change that dynamic with the top teams grabbing even more of the best players. It will also give the manager a new tactical headache as they can then adjust to the other teams adjustments only to have to do it again, and maybe even again, looking forward to 5 defensive players coming on with 10 to go 🙂

  11. I suspect we have paid for Phil outright because Barca wanted money now in this tax year not £34m over 5 years so got him for half price. The outgoings this season will be covering our expenditure so we better hope they do sell for at least what we paid.

  12. Jock league vs prem

    Steven Gerrard has lost 11 of his 26 Premier League fixtures as Aston Villa manager, equalling his total number of defeats in 118 league games in charge of Rangers

  13. and yes im still gog smacked we have signed a 6 so damn quick. and a class one at that.

    this is what ive been gagging for…a manager who you know what he wants and players to play his way.

    nah my full backs have to attack. in you come digne. one of the best.

    cash after 2 months of training ground work becomes cafu.

    my system depends on a 6 bang there it is

  14. H&V I can understand your excitement mate but you seem to be forgetting we have tried to sign, Phillips, SWP and Bissouma last Jan. I hate to tell you but it was about price, basically we refused to cough up the readies, circa £45-50m each. Kamara was rated at similar, so yeah well done but I doubt he’d be here otherwise. Fair play to the club who knew we needed to strengthen in midfield (so yeah Dean Smith Knew) but were waiting for the right player at the right price.

    I suspect that Chambers was looked at because he was also on a free otherwise SG would of had us coughing up £25m for CB or a hefty loan in jan? wouldn’t of happened.

  15. mark

    did you not see cash turn from vampire to cafu? its 0 coinidence sg comes in, cash is doing interviews about having to improve in the final 3rd. and hey presto after a few months he has!

  16. In an interview recently Arteta said that it takes anything up to 4 windows to be able to address short comings, now as most don’t do a great deal in Jan other than sticking plasters that’s 4 seasons , and considering that we lacked 19 players in our 1st season its a probably a whole lot more difficult no?

    Hence this season it would be a hell of a lot easier to judge what we have and adjust accordingly regardless of who you are and what system etc. Nearly every fan I know wanted a 6, thing is the top teams don’t just have someone to break play up, its a far more important position in the modern game and passing etc is just as important. Trouble is these players don’t grow on trees.

    In essence for two years with Jack we limped along making do because we had to spend elsewhere, with Jack gone we tried to replace him and cover the one players absence syndrome. This next step is an important one, it could push us into top 8 or more likely put us in a position to do it season after. If we don’t get top ten SG may be gone, personally I hope he’s given time as long as the progress is tangible.
    If Smith was still here and we went into next season with the same midfield and group of players I’d sack him myself, that would not have happened.

    Now it appears all the stars are aligning with incredible bargains becoming available for next to nowt, maybe its a sign of the times with even teams like Barca needing the readies right now. Chelsea have had a bid accepted by the government of £4.2 billion, Villa are looking at frees, smart in my book but a long way to go in terms of where the club is.

  17. sg speaking

    pre season not just about physical. will be about culture and mentailty. win win win. its not ok to finish mid table,

    you just know he wnats to bring in suarez….elite winning mentality. after everything he has won it kills him to loose at anything.

  18. H&V cash played that way at forest, at Villa he was more defensive 1st season, this season he was used as a wing back by both managers, both with dodgy results, then SG changed from his narrow 433 to various 4231, 4321 etc, so of course he’s looking better, not in defence though.

    Smith Signed Drinkwater? do you ever wonder why? Chelsea bought him are they idiots? also that little matter of money and whats available, I reckon if Kamara was on a free at that time we would have looked at him, of course he’d have been about 19 and not the same player.

    You seem to have this idea that SG would have come in when we 1st got promoted and signed 12 Kamaras, got phil for tuppence and Digne would of been calling us to sign up.

  19. If we get Tarkowski for nothing too its getting a bit surreal, I don’t think that SG is the only manager that knows of this market. Leicester under Rodgers let Bassey go on a free to Ibrox. I can only think we are paying better wages, how can Villa’s plans for world dominance be any different to other top clubs? I doubt other suitors are saying we just want to stand still, some have champs league even.

  20. H&V SG’s speech, yep been said already by Smith, in fact he always said we go out to win every game, if that’s not a winning mentality what is? proof is in the pudding at the end of the day and this is the prem. As I said above SG lost 12 games not 11 this season but only lost 11 in 118 at Rangers where a winning mentality comes with the territory.

  21. If we get Bassey it will be interesting to see how much, Transfer market says he’s worth £1m, will he be better than Mings or Digne? can’t see him replacing a £27m FB and this is the prem.

  22. SG’s chat, sounds good and it shows how much stock he puts in getting a proper pre-season in with as many players as possible in early, no brainer really having seen that dynamic play out in recent seasons.

    I did chuckle at the idea he managed to keep us up as we never got into any real trouble with 16th the lowest position and then managing to climb to 9th only to drop back into that could get relegated zone despite months of training and 4 new players and a fuller squad. To then say 14th isn’t good enough considering we could of gone down? 😉

  23. Sorry had to share this, someone on AVB said about the we want winners in the changing room and he answered.

    “Paul Lambert said the same thing, went and Signed Joe Cole…

    Tim said the same, went and signed Lescott and Richards….. former premier league winners.”

    come to think of it Jack won bugger all with us bar promotion.

  24. Deano is manager of Naarwich now. We need to stop looking back but look forward.

    Out of contract players like Tarkowski are not free. Once there is no longer a transfer fee involved, agents then start negotiating the best signing on fee for their players. It can cost millions. This is why contracts are run down.

    There is though a big risk for the player involved. Not just through injury. Form may change, coaches may change, requirements may change, circumstances can change. All manner of cow pats litter the floor during the final year of a contract. Sign another contract at the start of a final year, and a player has certainty and can choose any suitors that come knocking during the contract period. Look at how this worked for N’Zogbia, McCormack and Dick Turpin. Alternatively, a player may have to scratch around for a lesser club at expiration of contract.

  25. mark

    you thinks kamara, digne, coutinho, sign under smith? you think phillips and bissouma would?

    absoultly 0 chance

    cash before sg 1 assist cash after sg goals and assists. is what it is. clear identity and demanding players play his way. called it before he walked in the door full abacks will need to be good in final 3rd else be out the door. its happend

  26. H&V, when SG came in did Watkins and Ings do interviews on how they needed to get worse in the final third, because hey presto, after a few months they have!

  27. r0bb0 are you suggesting that SG has made our front two into worse players lol
    Mark its like groundhog day with the ds love in . you are comparing DS results to SG but its the same team barr a few players so the team was never going to do better than what it has apart from stopping the free fall towards the bottom 3 trap door of which we were hurtling towards
    I really hope we can do the Bassey deal before chelski have the chance to get in there as they apparently would like to also acquire his services … if Anyone is in any doubt of his ability rest assured that we would be getting one of the best young defenders on the planet .. I would be buzzing

    big changes required and changes are happening SG going for a bigger level of quality with all of his buys so far

  28. H&V There is no way of knowing, Phil being the only one I think signed because of SG, maybe the others were swayed by SG or Phils signing but I would say Digne wasn’t happy under Benitez and we came in, £27m is a lot for 28 years old FB.

    We previously would not pay full whack for several players or do you deny that? what I resent is that SG has somehow come in and we are now doing things not possible without him. Whatever he does is built on a foundation put down by the club’s new set up. SG’s part is a darn sight easier than the previous 2-3 seasons and the owners seem prepared having after now getting the FFP monkey off their backs to spend more.

    What has happened on the pitch so far doesn’t look any better than before and he had , Phil, Digne etc , I’ll stop mentioning Smith when you stop making out SG has reinvented football. He is a better known figure head but tactically most point to Beale.

    I only hope that if these lads turn up and don’t prove instant prem players they don’t get the treatment Gueye and Virtout got.

    SG uses no wingers so yes the FB’s provide width, Cash was always an attacking player, he was an actual winger before so no real surprise and no I don’t think they taught him to cross or shoot.

    Simple math lesson, how do you get a squad worth 1 billion? do you spend 1 billion in one window? do it over 10 years, 5 years? buy 25 players for tuppence and hope? When what you have to start is about £75m’s worth then £300m is a piss in the ocean over 3 seasons to be in the prem and get mid table. To go from nothing to a team worth £500m by spending £50m for the lot only happens if you have had 3-4 years in the champs to do it. Expecting the finished product from spending £300m is insanity.

  29. Why didn’t he buy a 6? Nakamba and Luis were 6’s Luis wanted by Pepe to play there no less. We did try to buy Mids last season one stayed at arse and the other Southampton. We sunk our money into the jack replacement project. Luis at the end of last season got into the Brazil squad so I imagine they thought one more time.

  30. robbo

    erm ings got better under sg and neither are his signings.


    the agenda amuses me, clouds judement.

    luiz aint a 6

    and the only thing i have said pro sg is the ability to attract bigger names and better players and a clearer identity.

    for clarity ive spent last 2 years before even thinking about sg that i wished we would see the smith ball id of hoped for after 3 years and 300mill

  31. cash. think im the only one without a short mememory. literally was called the vampire as every cross was high and wayward. every single time!

    simply have to give factual credit to the fact sg ball requires fullbacks to produce. theres even an interview with cash saying so….low and behold they worked on it and hes produced the goods!

    everyman and his dog could see the need for a 6 and the midfield enforcer required. deano bought nakamba…didnt play him. luiz we all know isnt a 6. mcguinn was played 6…isnt a 6.

  32. mark….agree! vertout and gueye were hounded. but they were pretty dark times. wrong place and time for them. we were sinking.

    and again i have no agenda. have never dissed smith and the role he has played under nswe. incredible. and like you say a solid foundation layed. time to kick on now and his time was up and we move on.

    again no point said anything about sg reinventing footy…just a clearer identity and ability to attract better players. for me anyway.

    youll like me next season cause i will be properly judging!

  33. runtings, no I’m not suggesting that SG has made our front two into worse players, that would be as silly as suggesting that any player that is doing well is doing so because SG has made them a better player.

    We all have our own perspectives of life the universe and everything and it’s human nature to look for evidence that supports our preconceptions. Frem will look for anything to show that Watkins, Luiz, McGinn and Mings are shit, H&V will look for anything that indicates that SG has sun shining from his orifice and Mark will look for evidence that DS would have had us lifting the Premiership title next year.

    I’m totally objective and unbiased in every way of course :-))

  34. H&V did you watch the forest videos with cash crossing and scoring in the exact manner he is now? So SG has improved him and Ings the same ings that missed about 6-7 sitters in the last few games. Let alone he had the player three times longer than Smith who bought him, same for bailey and Beundia. The agenda appears to be everything SG does is better than Smith, give your head a wobble.

    One trait you and SG have is if we do well its down to SG’s influence and training and players listening but if we don’t its down to the players not being good enough or not doing what SG asked, funny that.

  35. robbo

    haha brillaint. you gootta love footy opinions.


    no need to wobble as no agenda for smith or sg. just seeing things with my own eyes. only watched cash in a villa shirt under smith and sg.

    again not sure im the only one wihout a short memory…ings and watkins under smith whole fanbase was saying they cant play up top together etc etc. not so much now under sg…..

    not that it matters as change is coming!

  36. again never said anything of the sort re training under sg or players not good enough!

    ive been consistent for literally over 2 years!

    again the smith agenda is clouding rational

  37. Runtings- ditto the Smith denigrating. If SG was not bringing in better players after three seasons in the Prem then something would be very wrong with the plan or we would have hit the jackpot in recruitment terms and already be 3 years ahead of schedule, its been pretty clear we are on the way but nowhere near that top 8 level, it was close with Jack and Barkley flying and that upped expectations, it was also a weird season for many reasons. If SG can make the right additions and get to that level again with more consistency then we have something. We will see how many remain core players, there are only two Mings and McGinn that played in the play off final. I only hope he doesn’t have to change to much to achieve his style which doesn’t use wingers a staple for Smith.

    Two points you make baffle me though, 1st one is we couldn’t expect to see anything better from this team with SG’s coaching over Smiths because its the players, yet Smith massively improved over Bruce with the same team. There are hundreds of examples of managers doing so like Howe at Newcastle, likewise there was conte at Spurs. Its not like SG wasn’t backed, actually the team was going along nicely before Jan.

    The other that Relegation was a certainty under Smith 10 games in with a large proportion of his players injured including the ones just bought and a pre-season with games cancelled etc and half the squad missing. No manager has saved us at that point have they? hell Bruce may have rallied and taken us up instead of Smith if he stayed, its an unknown. Thank god we were not in a real Relegation battle eh.

  38. H&V your every breath is about how much better we are mate without actual improvement 🙂 SG has a habit of disowning the poor performances too. Yes fans said Ings and Watkins could play together except Smith didn’t have Phil and beundia got a hip injury pre-season and took ages to get fit, so whatever plan there was for Ings and Watkins couldn’t happen.

    Likewise when all these new faces are introduced they may not look on the same page until a fair bit of the season is gone by, that is fairly normal unless you can get a head start hence early transfers etc. Last season was the euro’s another shit time to do business with players away. If none of it mattered we would say just turn up for 1st game and we’ll sort it then.

    I hope we have good pre-season because I suspect the owners will be wanting Europe pronto.

  39. ive spent more time than not slating the team! improvements been there dramatically, only have to see the stats. id of done exactly the same thing as sg coming into a team down there half way through the season. keep it tight! shots faced, shots conceded on goal all in the top 8 under sg. under smith was 16th. the league doesnt lie….the league since sg took over villa would of been 8th.

    i said the same a while back on one interview sg cucked the lot under the bus! not a fan of that. he wont get away with that next season for sure. his team. ill be judging massively.

    yes too many faces is hader to gel. the spine is more important to me. get sg his cb, cdm, cm and st.

    targets for next season? hmmm very hard to call. if the window goes as well as kamara youd be wanting0 relegation worries and a top 10 to 8 real push with strong cup runs

  40. H&V, It’s really difficult to make reasonable comparisons between the totality of games under DS at the start of the season and SG for the rest of the season. The only fair way would be to look at results against the same teams played under both managers.

    If you do that then you’d see that we had a comparatively tough run of games at the start of the season. If you do compare results against the same sides played under both managers then SG achieved a better result than DS in 3 of the 11 games whilst DS achieved a better result than SG in 6.

    That doesn’t help a lot as it’s the future potential under SG that really matters and we all have to wait to next season at least before that starts to become clear.

    What is clear however is that none of us should try to suggest that ‘this’ season, SG has done better than DS, he hasn’t. . . .objectively, he’s done worse.

    I sense that ‘everyone’ on here has a degree of optimism for the future under SG, irrespective of their particular slant on things.

  41. H& V 11 games into the season out of 38 half a season? and we’d be 9th over sg’s games bud . We actually were 8th 5 games in, 5 games later 16th four games later 10th. So turns out we just needed some easier games and the manager bounce. I remember the whole team waxing lyrical about how great the training was then they went down hill lol. Football does make you laugh.

  42. I would stick my neck out to go as far as to say that SG has improved a number of players at the club and they all will be staying
    He has also improved of style of play and defensive set up
    What him being here as also done is exposed the players that are just not going to take us were we want to be and also what current starters should be part of a good bench going forwards

    Lot of improvements to be made as with most teams barr the top 3

    I think our strike force is not one SG thinks is going to fire him into the top 7

  43. By the way I’m not anti SG find him alright but he should take ownership a bit more. I’m not going to sit here and nod and say he’s done brilliantly either he hasn’t yet. I like the look of our transfer policy and players but doubt its all SG’s work and Lange is just a yes man. Winners by the way find a way to win.

    Robbo- as Runtings said you can’t expect him to do better with Smiths team then that raises the question why swap? could be they wanted to give the new manager time to access although its 28 games worth of assessment, that then raises the question was this in the pipeline regardless of whether Smith improved our position, I think so. Also think they expected more but maybe SG talks a good game and said I can get phil in here, who knows.

  44. Runtings- I would say even frem could give you that list mate, can’t see to many that have improved that much any more than time in the prem might provide. Targett was sugar tits last season wasn’t he? so its a long way to go to see if any truly improved they all seem so inconsistent including Phil. I think the shape has improved but in a similar way to previous seasons when we had to defend better. Martinez certainly hasn’t been the same force this year either.

  45. I would go as far to say that tactics and match ups with some teams just don’t work and that’s SG and teams department, lost twice to Watford of all teams under two managers , palace should of beat us twice, equally we met a few that couldn’t cope with us like Brighton.

  46. Mark they sacked DS because we was heading towards the trap door our football was dire and the players were getting worse not better .. the choose sg because as you can see we want top quality players which he clearly continues to attract

  47. runtings I’ll leave it there then as you have no idea and neither do I whether that is how it would of gone, even Smith didn’t see the sack coming due to circumstances at the club, he said so. And this season our football has been both good and dire under both managers, if you think football was always poor under Smith there’s nothing to talk about on that level, I don’t, He did the best with the players provided. SG will get his better players at a point when the club has stabilised and miraculously things will improve because ultimately you need good players. With the greatest will in the world SG would not have got Phil here if we had just been promoted and assembled a squad for £150m.

    Smith provided some of the best memories and matches villa have had since Mon

  48. JG precious moments 🙂

    Right what Position does everyone think we can achieve next season? I have seen people saying Europe or bust and as low as 10th would be good. I’m undecided as yet but I doubt the club would be pulling their plumbs over tenth, basically how long does SG get and how many windows if things are not that fantastic. I think the Smith sacking has set the level on the patience scale.

  49. runtings. It’s your opinion that we were heading for relegation under Smith. I don’t think we would have done. DS had shown that when the chips were down he was able to motivate and organise the team to do better than any of us and any of the pundits believed and I feel as confident as I can be that he’d have done exactly the same again last season.

    At the time I felt he should have been given a couple more games to try and turn things round but I understood why the club decided we needed to bring in someone else. The club has more genuine ambition and resources than it has had for years and expectations were for a top half of the table finish, despite the loss of Jack Grealish. Against that expectation DS was failing and I too thought we’d struggle to achieve top half of the table from where we were, so finding a new manager at that time made sense.

    I reckon that over the course of the whole season, DS would have achieved at least as good a points total as we eventually managed. . . . . just a hunch based on the resilience he showed in the previous seasons and also based on the fact that he achieved better results than SG against the same opposition.

    Having said all that I do reckon that SG could bring us something different and maybe something extra so I’m feeling optimistic for next season.

  50. Mark,
    prediction for next season?
    well bearing in mind that I thought we’d achieve top ten last season my prediction probably isn’t worth a lot but right now I reckon 8th to 10th for next year.

  51. Morning all

    Yeah id go 10th maybe 8th around there. Not easy to call. toon are bound to buy. foxes are going to have a little re build. west ham could loose rice and make them weaker?

    have to nudge ahead of the palaces and brightons though for me

  52. looking at it zoomed out…could deano of got us up and away not sure at all.

    phil digne and even chambers played a big part with goals and assists. we looked very lost and not sure what business would of been done in jan. wouldnt be confident on it

  53. Hate to sit on the fence guys and get splinters in my backside, but it’s way too early to predict what next season might bring. Only after the window closes (or close thereto) can we consider what is realistic by this time next year.

    I do think we should have finished in the top half in the season just ended though. Even with injuries, lack of pre season, late arrivals, Covid, monkeypox and Biden. The squad was good enough to achieve that much, but no more.

    So it depends on how our strengthening goes. It depends on how SG goes. It depends on how the other teams go. Think we dodged a bullet missing out on Smith-Rowe. And I think Suarez may find the pace of the EPL too fast for him at his age so I hope we pass on that one. I’ll revisit the topic when recruitment looks about complete. But I will predict that SG will be gone if we finish 14th next season.

  54. My side for starting season
    Cash digne mings New Signing
    Kamara New signing ramsay coutinho bailey/beundi
    Olson Chambers youngNew signing,mcginn traore bailey/beundi ,iron bru,suarez
    Would loan kessler,chrisnee phidace archer o really
    Would like another 3 being greedy if we can shift all the rest,konsa is out injured so haven’t counted him and for me finishing in top 8 is expected along with decent cup runs

  55. Not worried about Beale. Not sure QPR can afford to take him on as replacement for the bread man. He’s surely under a contract that’s in its early stage, so buying that out will be problematic for a Championship outfit.

    Seems like chucking a well paid job to become a busker.

  56. Almost impossible to guess what will happen next season at this stage , need to see what we bring in and shift out and also what other teams do as I am sure most will also improve

    If Beale goes hopefully sg will see it as an upgrade opportunity

  57. People seem very reticent to put us in those euro places, 8-10 was where we were supposed to be as a minimum this season or why sack Smith? That’s strange as so many said we would be top 8 with a proper manager :-)its almost like reality has landed. In case you think I am picking at SG think about it, next season there will be some bedding in and yes there may be injuries and monkey pox who knows. That happened this season and clearly they were in a hurry to see improvement.

    I think he has to get 8th minimum, have a decent cup run and I want to see us trying to win matches whatever that takes not sacrificing the season to teach people to pass. The main thing that should happen is not playing people where they don’t belong unless unavoidable. We are looking at a few that play multiple positions but not to often that top teams do that. And I don’t want to hear its the players 😉


    We’ve signed him


    Gerrard getting the winners in

    He’s that aggressive centre back we need

    Now for Biouama pleased.

    We still need more power in midfield and hes phenomenal

  59. Yep signed another 29 year old for nearly £30m top of his game so says its Europe or bust to me. Certainly he will play and we can expect zero money when he’s finished so SG is going harry Rednapp.

  60. I was just thinking, we are really pushing the boat out and we need to get rid of a good few at this rate so we could get to last day of the window with 10 players to shift and our bank manager looking worried.

  61. Can’t wait for the Copa America BMH will be empty. Don’t knwo much about this lad Carlos but just saw this.

    “Diego Carlos is responsible for 36% of the penalties Sevilla have conceded in La Liga since he joined the club in 2017”

    Thought he reminded me of someone and it came to me “Richard Dunne”

  62. Mark.. I know you love Dean but even you must admit we wouldn’t be signing these names if he was manager.

    He was great for us for what he did, but he has his limitations.

  63. Anyway.

    Calos blocked more shots in LA Liga than any other centre back last season.

    He great on the ball to

    One thing we don’t have as team is aggression and a centre back who attacks the ball and steps forward.

    Kamara in midfield will be huge to.. Big guy, athletic, aggressive.

    It’s what we need

    Next thing we need Biusoma to play with Kamara and mcginn/Ramsey.

    And we need a better stiker who leads the line and holds the ball. Watkins can inky be a swaud player of he stays. I think Big Keinan might get a go. Ings I think will go.

  64. Percy Says fringe players next our is the priority

    It’s actually mad how many players we might sell

    Our wage bill could go down alotand we could get some decent money I
    In to balanve the books

    Definitely going


    Probably going


    We have an awful lot off players who won’t be anywhere near the squad like those guys

  65. Frem the club has changed tack, up until lasts season we would not sign anyone older than 25, Last season we lost the two oldest and most experienced players at Villa and we signed Young and Ings. The club appear to be getting restless about getting to Europe now and are bringing in players that should be at their peak at 28-29, If Smith stayed then its likely we would be doing similar if the aims changed.

    As for we wouldn’t I am not so sure, Phil yeah but Villa are one of the few clubs with money and Lange has been here what two seasons? SG said they have been working on this since November, no way this wasn’t were we were going and maybe yeah they thought they needed a figure head. As a manager he is not really proven at this level with 3 seasons in total at Rangers. So if the club have put him in and said what do you need to get Europe I’d be surprised, I’d be equally surprised if he’s told Lange what to do either. If it is what’s happening then its pretty amateurish of the club. A bit like Lerner and Mon.

  66. this is why we got sg. An absolute godsend. It’s remarkable what we are doing. Drink it in villans cause it’s once in a lifetime stuff.

    Purslow, Lange, sg kudos. To get those 2 done within a week of the season shut to come to our club is remarkable

  67. Oh just reading the posts….take it you’ve not seen much of him. Your in for a treat 😉

    The stand out for me is though he is a complete bastard. Exactly what sg wants to build.

    Bissouma, Suarez next please

  68. frem

    Yeah man said other week, we could easily be in net profit if we keep up our amazing business.

    To get Carlos for 26mill is insane business. Like totally insane. Seville have fucked up so bad, they knew they were in financial trouble why didn’t they sell him in Jan! Mental. We swoop in again though and land a bargain

  69. I think the majority of villa fans will be absolutely delighted with the business taking place every buy has been an upgrade we now have a seasoned euro cup winning brazil international if Tiago at chelski is anything to go buy we have him coming into his prime
    Mark yes the club has changed tact as the 5 year plan has to happen in stages …… first stage fling a squad together of young hungry players to develop and kick on with or sell for a profit
    next stage we are buy quality international players some 2 of which will be only 22 so there is a nice balance to what the club is doing and yes the club are seeking Europe this season as the defiantly haven’t abandoned there 5 year plan based on there actions
    Further praise for how quickly they are getting these fabulous deals done errr what’s not to like

  70. im going to skim pasts marks posts from now no offence but your agenda doesn’t make any sense and its pointless. Just seen comparing nswe to learner and sg doing a rednapp.


  71. 43 million quid for Phil, Kamara and Carlos. It’s unreal business financially.

    I can’t quite believe what we are doing. Getting proper class in on the cheap!!

    They say mings and luiz will be off. Going to get more then 43 for those 2. Genius

  72. Looking at things as they are so far I would say Villa have money and they are raping every team that does not or is in the shit, nothing wrong with that it means we can buy players we would not have a chance of buying in better times even if Klopp took over.

    Runtings I agree they are going for it but as I just said above If those players were at their true price not a chance they’d be here. That’s hopefully fantastic for the club and it all goes together well. I’m not sure that this is quite what they were planning because now we are anything but a path for Youth which was one of the big announcements early on, I think they fear being left behind as other clubs have emerged. The other truth is this just wasn’t possible before, with a decentish squad on promotion we could of added similar experience if not top quality when we came up, 4-5 top players to build around and bring the young ones on seems more logical Than how we did it. I’ve said a million times top 6 sides are about 28 average age not 25, it will be interesting to see where that number settles.

  73. Carlos is a long ball merchant defo Richard dunne

    “In possession Carlos is decisive in his actions whilst also remaining calm and composed even when pressed by opponents. He averages a pass completion rate of 88.6% (top 26%) and 58 passes completed per game (top 17%). As Sevilla average around 60% possession, Carlos’ role in the build-up of their play is key in their calculated approach.

    He records 75 touches throughout each game which ranks in the top 18% of centre backs across Europe, outlining not only his comfortability on the ball but also the role he could play for Steven Gerrard’s side. Whilst he isn’t necessarily progressive with his passing or carrying the ball, he recycles possession and also displays a keen effort to get the ball to his fullbacks as fast as possible. A trait that suits the style of Villa perfectly with the likes of Lucas Digne and Matty Cash available.

    One outlet he does possess however is the ability to pick a long pass to his teammates further up the pitch. On average he completed 13 long passes per game, which sees him rank amongst the top six percent of centre backs. As well as recording 3.8 switches per game (top 1%), emphasising his impressive range of passing.”

  74. Carlos built like a tank and aggressive.

    One thing our centre backs don’t do is attack the ball from corners.

    We need to carry on with more physical presence in midfield with Kamara. Get Biusoma.

    Sell Luiz.

    We need a better all round striker. Someone who is more clinical and dominant at holding the ball

    Watkins is simply not good enough at finishing or holding the ball

    I’d happily see Watkins Ings and Luiz all go

  75. We are in the top 20 football clubs forbes list, many of them are like Barca skint or under pressure to sell. It will be very interesting to see how other deals go, will we pay top dollar for anyone? we got Phil half price Kamara for nothing (bar signing on fee which could be anything) Santos for £26M its not a fat lot in real terms.

    What we need is Spurs to get a massive electricity bill and have to sell Kane to us for £15m. These are unprecedented times and Villa could come out of it in another plain of existence and others fall away. Or it could be a massive cluster fuck with bomb squads, cliques and multiple training ground injuries as Carlos wipes out his team mates daily, its a gamble for sure being enacted over a short period just as Everton did but without the Base at the start.

    Oh and the Harry Rednap reference? he famously signed umpteen players on free’s and nearly wiped QPR out financially, even signed Richard Dunne 😉

    Best put that seat belt on.

  76. Oh and there are literally no excuses for Villa now, equally the type of player we are attracting will want and probably demand Europe, a good thing if it happens but if it doesn’t? SG certainly doesn’t seem afraid to put himself under pressure as much as he has the team, step up or adios.

  77. Wolves are known as the Portuguese, we will be known as the South Americans,our second strip ought to be a Brazilian tribute with the third an Argentinian with hopefully a set of teeth on it

  78. james

    did you see the toon away shirt! haha

    interesting now to see what next. another cb? troski or bessey? suarez link t0o obv for our striker?

    Bissouma is the next urgent to complete our midfield. ramsey kamara bissouma. thats mad. ramsey can run with ball. bissouma proper box to box konsa defend.

  79. frem

    yeah theres a thought that we are being ruthless with the incomings so outgoings could be ruthless too! few people who know stuff think mings is out the door if a deal can be done.

    luiz out and bissouma in would be a fine swap. and 1 of watkins or ings will go youd think.

  80. what makes it exciting and a relief is the main issues we have been moaning at the last 2 years are being fixed in spectacular fashion.

    height, pace, strength and a bit of balls.

    looking at carlos you can see the potential of a partnership with digne. his passing range is superb and digne will be pretty much lw going forward…you wait and see him try and find digne straight away

  81. Carlos is very very quick as well which is always great for a centre back.

    With Mings, chambers and Carlos I think we will no ok. Konsa to come back in a few months.

    I don’t want Mings to go. He needs to improve but he’s definitely not bad.

    Maybe we will sign Bassey to cover left back and center back but we have young and the young lad who’s very highly thought off.

    The biggest issues now are a striker. We can’t have Watkins starting every week he simply isn’t good enough. Ings doesn’t suit a 433 system.

    I’d like another top creative player to. Traore will go, Bailey might as he doesn’t suit this system.

  82. I’d think again on Watkins, even SG has said that we are not creating enough, take a look at him with Brentford, he doesn’t have loads of one on ones (which are one of the hardest to convert) like he does with us (mostly him creating) the fault does not lie with Ollie, previous season 15 goals? hit woodwork 8 times, no striker converts every chance but when you create so little the big chances that come hurt the most because there might only be 1 in a match. He tops the stats for chances to goals last time I looked. You would hope with a better defensive set up we can commit more forward and give him support.

  83. Mings should be at his best now, if we are bringing in Carlos in his position and he’s captain? maybe taking the captaincy away will suit him, maybe he will want out.

  84. As for the big issues we were never going to fix them overnight, to much else to do. Bailey? I think he’ll stay because SG had wingers at Rangers (Ryan Kent) that played in those 10 slots at times.

  85. For one we have bought two Players that have decent long ball passing ability out to the wings, if Bailey regains his zip should be clear through.

    One thing I have noticed in the Usual Vids is time on the ball in Europe over the prem, different Gravy.

  86. Hello Lifers, posting after a while. Been following the SG/DS discussions and the disappointment of our eventual position with the cautious optimism (or exuberance for some) with the new signings 🙂

    What do you think about Toon coming in for Mings at 30 mil, seems to be too low given what we paid for him. I think he’s the strongest of our CBs but does have a brain fart every match, doesnt look like it will go away. Should we sell him and get Tarkowski on a free?

  87. i absoulty adore suarez. one of my favs. sheer will to win is mad.

    but dubious as to how it plays out. his legs! i know he has never been the quickest but still.

    this season very much on the bench so well rested. was key last season though,

  88. Hi Villalore hope you didn’t read posts I’m the new Frem 🙂

    Carlos plays in Mings position even though right footed he prefers the left. We have Chambers and Konsa on the right already, might sign Tarkowski and or Bassey. On that grounds alone you’d think Mings will be getting itchy feet, he certainly hasn’t been given the Mings is my Captain treatment by SG and he’d get a bloody good signing on and wage, I think £30m would be palatable and a chance to get in the England squad. I don’t see him starting over Carlos and Tarker the otter, nor playing second fiddle.

  89. At this rate we will have more winners than a juniors school sports day, there will only be 1 player left to learn from them.

    Sceptical and cautious as ever we have had many a team and squad that is weak mentally apparently, the fixes attempted ranged from a shrink to finding players with the right mentality that want to learn under Smith to SG’s instant winners for mash get smash approach. I have the feeling beyond people being happy you just get the best players you can at the time and play them appropriately to make a team and hope the other team are not doing it too.

  90. Mark – Not Frem, but did bring in memories of your conversations with JL when DS was appointed, of course you were on the other side then 🙂

    H&V – I’m just worried about a completely new CB pair will take time to settle, Mings has a ready understanding with the FBs and Martinez. Yet another season we will probably start with half the team changed, its hard to be effective from day 1 even with a full pre season. I know some here are in Football Manager mode in terms of ‘upgrades’ but a new team will take time to gel and probably another bottom half finish

  91. First things first. . . .has someone hacked Frem’s account? I found myself reading one post before I realised it was Frem’s (I usually skip them) and thought. . . oh. . .have I been doing the guy a disservice?
    I have then read all the others and found them readable, informative, all different, non insulting and I agree with much of what he’s said.

    On the comments that I was less comfortable with, I still feel that Luiz has a place and that we’ll regret it if we sell him but . . . . bearing in mind the other players we have in midfield, I wouldn’t say he’s indispensable. Watkins however I do think we should definitely keep. Yes he’s missed some chances but so does every striker and as Mark pointed out, we do need to create more chances for him. If there were plenty of better options out there then I’m sure I’d feel differently but we all know how difficult top class strikers are to come by. . . .and how expensive they are. Yes, we’re linked with Suarez and yes he has that competitive streak that we now appear to be looking for but I would find it hard to enjoy seeing him in a Villa shirt. Having said that, I wonder if some of the single mindedness might then rub off on Watkins.

  92. Villalore- I’ve been the positive the negative the good the bad and certainly the ugly to many different people that blogs and opinions 🙂

    I said Spud was wrong and that Smith was right for us and not been to far wrong so far, SG I don’t know, says the right things and I think he believes he’s doing the right thing but so far other than looking tidier at times no real product above the norm. I ask myself if Smith was allowed to sign similar would he do well and I think he would, in fact most would at this point. He stopped spending on foreign imports as that 1st season said they don’t always adapt in the prem pronto I think, SG clearly has no problems and these are a step up from those early days.

  93. I remember Mon signing collins dunne and warnock at the one time they gelled together very quick,saying that would like to see mings start the season he deserves a chance to play with better players all round he never let England down

  94. As far as Luis goes if he won’t sign new contract sell him,we gave him a chance now time for pay back ,the Brazilian manager is going to be keeping a close eye on villa Park especially with early cup so near

  95. collins dunne and warnock all uk/ireland , recent back 4 was all UK born, Digne and Martinez have been here a good while. Hopefully Kamara and Carlos adapt quickly and our lads to them.

  96. JG, really fair point about Mings and I see Frem that you’d keep him too. He absolutely does ‘deserve’ to play with better players in a Villa team. For England he has been asked to clear up at the back and play safe and he’s done that really well. How many times is it Mings’ head that clears the ball from a packed defence. Yes he’s made the occasional blooper for us (less so for England) and those few instances are what sticks in some people’s minds rather than all the really good stuff that he does for us.

  97. villa lore. . . absolutely in the same camp as you on the number of changes we should make. Yes it’s fun and exciting to see us signing new players but sign too many and we’re not quite back to square one, but we probably are jeopardising the start of the season. I’ve said I’d like to see 3 or maybe 4 new, strong players and we’re already at least half way there. Two more nice surprises and I’d be very happy and they could then spend the summer getting to know each other, the manager, the playing style, their new homes and friends etc etc and then hit the ground running next season.

  98. I guess the prem is pretty unforgiving vs some leagues as in the overall level of teams outside the top 6 can all give you a bad day on their day, they can even give the top six nightmares. Restructuring the back four that was a plus point season before? also the DM and CB’s will be asked to play on the deck, so they need to get to know their immediate teams mates foibles as well as the rest of the team. Not impossible so I hope SG can get them working together pronto, he should have more time than any Villa manager in recent memory such is the speed we have moved.

  99. JG -Ron signed loads did a great job of it , we had Yorke Platt and Daley already, sold platt. 1st season though he went 12 games and won one match scoring 1 goal!! still ended up 7th, 17th the year before. That was before 3 points for a win. can you imagine that now?

    Transfers in: £2,290,000
    Transfers out: £9,140,000
    Total spending: £7,150,000

  100. I don’t want suraez if he on 150 a week.

    That’s insane for a 35 year old.

    We need to to sign a top striker but I don’t want him.

    We need to go big on a striker and move Ings on, Watkins to maybe.

    Will be interesteing to see what chance Davis gets. He was fantastic at Forrest.

    He would lead our line much better than Watkins

  101. West ham apparently want mcginn, From a very reliable source for West ham. 50 million

    For that you would sell.

    Luiz hopefully going to Roma

    Maybe someone will come in for Watkins

    Big change needed and coming

  102. Straight away you have to ask why someone’s willing to pay£50m for McGinn, not just one club either. Who would we bring in who is anywhere near that level? you risk dismantling any cohesion we have. And Watkins has a better goals to shots ratio than Kane, so it doesn’t take a genius that you try and up the amount of shots he takes, shooting accuracy is the same as Kanes. And while Davis is potentially a better hold up player he won’t score 20 goals, has never score 10 even at youth level. So what your demanding frem of Watkins is to score all our goals? the rest of the team need to step up on that front. Both Watkins and McGinn will benefit if the defensive players improve us particularly if they can release the Full backs quickly while not conceding from the potential counters.

  103. If Mings is demoted he will lose the captaincy, who then would be Captain? in fairness even with the incoming players so far none I would think could be captain from the off. The only other options from where I sit is McGinn or Martinez.

  104. last season we had a friendly cancelled due to Covid…..against Seville …… I wonder if there was contact back then or just because we have similar names.

  105. Frem, If we were genuinely being offered £50m for McGinn then I think you’re right, it’s the sort of money that we’d have to at least consider. It does seem that our recruitment team are able to unearth some good deals so you can imagine that they would be able to find some strong options to replace him.
    Against that, is the ‘bird in the hand’ argument and I think that’s the one that would sway me. Last season we all got very excited about most of our signings but to date they really haven’t all panned out the way we’d have hoped. We know how combative McGinn is in our midfield and when playing further forward for Scotland, we’ve seen that the carries a real attacking threat. It would be tempting to take the money and reinvest and it might pay off, but there’d be an element of a gamble with it and on balance I’d prefer to keep most of the current side together and just add a few quality players to the mix.

  106. Our midfield have spent three seasons learning to defend while out of their normal positions. Strengthen the base of the midfield and the CB’s and that midfield just got much harder to get through you’d think.

  107. Mark, exactly. With the extra quality in defensive midfield and central defence you’d have to hope that the likes of McGinn and possibly Luiz are then able to play their more natural games and really come into their own.

  108. If our defence also get Biusoma in front with Kamara it will be phenomenal.

    Luiz. Man, he can go. Roma 25 million. Sell sell sell sell sell.

    Benzema yesterday showing how important it is that a striker can hold the ball up and keep possession

    Ollie Watkins, the ball bounces off every time.

    We need a top striker, and Biusoma.

  109. I think now we will go for a striker, bioumsa and another creative player.

    Biusoma and Kamara sitting, letting one of mcginn or Ramsey roam forward more.


  110. Mark

    No off course im not saying Watkins score all our goals

    But he misses way to many guilt edge chances.

    Way to many.

    He isn’t good enough to be a starter.

    He’s fine as a squad player but we need a better striker in

  111. And it’s his hold up play that actually drives me mad more than him missing open nets every week.

    The ball never sticks. Ever.

  112. Whatever occurs this window we are not going to turn Villa into Real Madrid so getting someone like Benzema who’s 34 into Villa’s team? ha there are elites and there are elites. ever looked around and thought why doesn’t everyone just find a Ronaldo or Benzema? they don’t grow on trees is the answer. Watkins is fine for where we are because we are attempting to be West Ham who would like to buy Watkins, why? because they realise his work rate, if we ever get to the Champs league final we will have either unearthed a Benzema or the now 26 year old Watkins will have got much better.

    This window is exciting and the quality of players we are looking at is impressive but as I said if they were not bargains they would not be here. So rather than try and sell the entire squad for a fairy land land team take a chill pill. Many a build has fallen at this hurdle for many reasons or taken a long time to become a team even, wouldn’t want any suicides on the blog 🙂

  113. All the talk about pepe and klop ,ancellotti greatest manager of this last 20 years ,serial winner ,tactics supremist, players wanting to play for him

  114. Guess Forest will face similar problems to what we faced when winning our play off game at Wembley. Too many loan players. They will have to maximise their loan allowance again or turn the loans into signings where possible.

    Don’t fancy their chances in the top flight.

  115. didn’t see the game but the fans in the mail were not impressed with Davis

    “After watching Davis’ performance in the play-off final, some Villans believe the time has come to cash in on the former Biggleswade Town man. One fan said: “Keinan Davis is 100% a Championship striker. Love the lad but that’s his level.”

    Another Villa supporter said: “Unfortunately Keinan with another performance that shows he’s not the level we need – great worker but not Prem for me.” A third added: “If Forest go up I hope they offer decent £££ for Davis, he’s not the answer for us going forward!”

  116. Mark, The trouble is that those Villa fans commenting on Davis’ performance were probably watching him for the first time this season and that isn’t a sensible way to judge a player. He’s been so influential for Forest this season the they were desperate for him to start for them even though he was only just coming back from injury.
    I’m not yet convinced from what I’ve seen that he’s yet ready to start for Villa but he has regained his love for football this year and many people who’ve seen far more of him than most of us believe he could have what it takes.

  117. Plug, I was pleased to see Forest return to the Premiership, but today’s game was not impressive from either team and like you I fear for Forest in the Premiership. Having said that, Cooper is a good manager and may just have enough resources to get them through their first season back

  118. could be Robbo or they might of watched him all season who knows, certainly frem sounds like he’s seen every minute of his forest career.

  119. Myself I think he’s always been a handful but couldn’t finish at prem level and has a poor injury record. Of course it depends on how forest play too vs SG’s system. If they are considering him he’ll get looked at pre-season.

  120. its mad to compare watkins and davis and i love davis!

    mcguinn, luiz, watkins….there ones youd be happy to stay but if big money comes in i sell.

    if anyone bids 50mill for mcguinn you take the money and run.

    go and buy bissouma for 25

    i love mcguinn will be fantastic if he stays now we are balancing the mid but thats what we have to do balance it. mcguinns a runner, a ball carrier. we have ramsey. rather we play ramsey. now we have kamara, can sit and do his thing next is bissouma. can actually pass the ball and be box to box.

    ramsey kamara bissouma perfect blend and balance all offer different things

  121. what im saying is its ok having lots of good players but for me our prob is more about the team as a whole.

    the balance and stature is the problem which im pleased sg seems to agree! having ramsey and mcguinn in the same side doesnt really work for me

    if sg gets bassey and bissouma through the door ill allow him to indulge in suarez!

  122. Sounds obvious, but balance is important, and we’ve ended up with too many of the same type of player.

    Which also means nothing really changes when you bring someone on, other than Buendia providing a spark when he’s come off the bench.

  123. McGinns style is pretty unique, don’t know what you’d call him. Bissouma I can’t comment on I’ve only seen him when we play them and he hasn’t stood out for me and we won twice. Ramsey and Mcginn could play in a two behind Watkins even. SG had at least 10 players capable of playing in those 10’s positions, ok it was jock football but. For instance Moyes wants Mcginn to play in front of Rice and Soucek, he’s not looking to spend £50m on Bissouma.

  124. Suarez for me seems like an obvious no, all the things people are saying. Just sort of seems like a one-year traveling all-star kind of stunt at this stage of his career.

    Depending what he costs, if he’s willing to come off the bench for 10-15mins and be a teacher on the training ground, might make some kind of sense in that regard.

  125. That said There are supposedly about 7 clubs looking at Bissouma 🙂 So I had a little look and he reminds me a bit of how Jack carried the ball out for us plus he can tackle. His goals and assists are piss poor though, that would have to improve. Actually think Ramsey could in time be a similar player.

    Also saw this in an article, our super high XG start of last season up to Dec.

    “In contrast to last year, Potter’s side have significantly improved in both xG per 90 and xGA per 90 meaning they are creating better chances more often in games, and simultaneously limiting the opportunities opponents have created against them. In 2019, their xG differential per 90 was -0.35, while this year it’s 0.42, only behind Liverpool, City, Chelsea, and Aston Villa.”

  126. MK,

    Bissouma, yeah, I’ve not seen enough, but I haven’t seen him dominate things when I have watched.

    McGinn, he’s a funny one. Obviously has a good long pass/strike on him. He’s good at shielding and turning, is a battler. Enthusiastic to carry, etc., but often gets caught/makes poor decisions there. We talk about getting him further up the pitch, which is fine, but I’m not sure how the 4-3-3 really puts him up there consistently given the wide and deep defending responsibilities. I thought 4-2-3-1 gave him more of a chance if he was the more forward of the two 6s.

    Maybe he does make sense in front of two 6s as far as his strengths go, but I can think of a lot of players I’d rather have in that hole, creatively.

    If he’s as good as advertised, Kamara ought to be able to cover a lot more ground more effectively than Luiz, which you’d think would have knock-on effects.

    Likewise, if the CBs are going to be more aggressive, push up more, then you get the high line support Liverpool depend on to get players forward.

  127. MK,

    It would…some things can’t be taught, some things you hope maybe players pick up on in training. Like, he can’t really teach someone to finish, I think that’s just innate, all about mental calmness, focus, and elements of technique. As far as positioning, runs, timing, maybe those are things others can learn from seeing it up close.

  128. Zooming out, it’s seemed to me for a long time that with the ball, Villa struggle under intense pressing, don’t have great close control/one-touch play, don’t make consistently good decisions, and often hurry looking to make those big, quick moves.

    Two sides to every coin, of course. Like, if you’re going to make smart plays under the press, you need someone giving you a quick outlet. So there’s pattern/support/system there, but also the ability to control and pass quickly, same for the receiver, and then the next outlet. Seems like I see a lot of rushed/panicked thinking and decisions, and that could be the player(s), or the system, or both.

    Obviously when it’s done well, it all looks effortless and you’re chasing shadows.

  129. Without the ball, well, it seems like pace and physicality, mainly. A bit more ball-winning, a bit more strength in challenges, a bit more quickness (and willingness) in 50-50s, and more recovery/top speed.

  130. Been days since we signed any one. Villa have obviously no ambition. Have to think hard about renewing that season ticket!

  131. JC its looking increasingly like There will be nobody left from the Smith days then, although I don’t know how you could make it to prem and then international level football while being unable to pass move and keep the ball, even the term winner? How do you scrap your way to being worth even £10m and £20k a week and be a loser?

    I think that these days the top players are crammed into the richest teams where as they used to be spread over the league with only say a Liverpool having a glut. At the elite level its about having the best players over playing the best you can with what you have, if it wasn’t then there are many teams that could/should challenge for the top but don’t. Do the best understand the game better? maybe, so the thought of players becoming better because they learned better habits? could work, certainly will work if your really elite level and you don’t know it. sometimes though its about time for the majority.

  132. MK,

    Back in the day, I think talent was spread around a bit more.

    These days, not sure what to say what the levels are. I mean, they should all be rather handy knocking it about, guessing it has more to do with composure, confidence, players being on the same wavelength.

    Emi came in and was looking to play it quick from the off. Phil, too. I’ve seen us do it. Have to admit I don’t know quite where it falls apart. Players seem to want that extra touch, don’t always seem to be expecting the one-touch one-twos, etc. Maybe it’s just where/how they spend their time in training.

  133. Jc- could just come down to physical and mental differences at that level. If a player can score at one level and not the next it’s down to reaction time maybe.

  134. I was watching the second half of the champs final at a party and my friend was rooting for Liverpool. I told him Madrid will score on the counter, they do it very very well so another example of effective tactics not based on possession. Don’t get me wrong you have to be able to be quick and accurate with your passing and take your chances but …

  135. Mark, I’m sure you’re right. As soon as everyone thinks there’s only one ‘right’ way to play the game someone will pop up, disrupt it and show another way.
    Leicester managed it for a whole season to very good effect and you’re right that Madrid have now done it at the very highest level. It helped that they had a man of the match performance from the goalkeeper, but when it comes down to it, he was just one part of 11 that worked together to prevent goals, waiting for the opportunities for their creative players to go and pinch one at the other end.
    Villa don’t ‘have’ to play possession football even if it is the current vogue.

  136. Yes real Madrid won the biggest trophy by playing counter attacking football, but at least they can pass the ball to one another,maybe it’s the white shirts they can see one another

  137. yeah madrid turned into prime pulis ball.

    again nothing wrong with countering its breath taking done right but madris can still keep the ball for 5 and take the heat off….and more importantly for a counter team they havent got a soft underbelly and can see out games

  138. What impressed me most about Madrid was their ability to beat the press. One touch passing and movement together with speed of thought at the back got past the press and into the space behind it.

  139. Is it curious that (allegedly) there were a number of suiters for Beale all at the same time. Is it also curious that he would choose to move just at the time he had his first shot at first team premiership football with a team that appears to be going places?
    Maybe it’s just that Gerrard moving to Villa has raised his profile enough for others to come sniffing around but maybe also, the club sees an opportunity to bring in another high profile former player to help recruitment?
    Maybe I’m stretching too far with that?

  140. rObB0, it is curious that Beale has had a number of suiters all at the same time. And clubs with end of contract managers.

    Smacks that his agent has been busy circulating said clubs that he’s available for hire, almost certainly under the instruction of Beale himself. Hope Villa have got a hefty release clause for him.

  141. Plug, yes I agree. It would seem that his agent (or someone else) has been seeing what’s available out there. If that’s the case then the next question would be whether it was because he felt now was the right time for him to jump, or someone else felt that it was the right time for him to be pushed.
    I sort of hope the latter as it would at least mean that a plan was in place for his replacement.

  142. Robb0, you would think it was the latter. With Compass ensuring a big push for Europe is under way, his stock can only rise on the back of such anticipated improvements. Instead, it’s the Championship. Even if he gets QPR promoted, he’ll be facing the tin tack soon enough when results bomb due to lack of funds.

    I seem to recall that SG said in his playing days that Alonso was a key man for the bindippers. And he’s just ended his position at Sociadad I believe. Watch this space.

  143. Well if Beale is off I don’t think it was a planned thing for sure after SG’s I won’t stand in the way comments, for one I don’t think he could. Also SG said it would take another 15 years to be at Beales level with training. So its a big miss for him I think plus the incoming chap will have to plan for the new season without knowing the players, good job its likely to be now not in a month.

    Begs the question whether Beale’s heart is in the project or if he doesn’t want to be second best to SG all his life so good luck if it happens. He’s a Londoner too so you don’t know he may have some affinity to QPR. He might equally think this isn’t going to work and I’ll never work in the prem again if it goes tits up spectacularly. All in all shit happens.

  144. MK,

    No, the tactics haven’t been terribly impressive. They seem a bit naive, actually.

    So, think it’s a case of striking while the iron’s hot and before he maybe gets found out.

    That said, if SG needs someone else to do all the thinking….?

  145. JC- if the coaching switch for Dean Smith was anything to go by it can be a real problem. As for Beale being the brains it has been said often in the press, as to its validity?? If he gets someone better tactics wise that’s a bonus but also a concern if he’s that far away from being the real deal himself having not had a lot of real experience in the term of years. Plus what effect does that have on how we play if the whole two 10’s concept was a Beale idea? He said in his book Carragher and Alonso are the two people he would like to go into management with as they were intelligent, he does seem to be a deep thinker himself, maybe that’s good or maybe he overthinks it. Clough himself relied on Taylor a lot and was not the same without him.

    I wonder what the hierachies thoughts are on the development as they took them on as a package you would think. Yes they wanted a figurehead but Lange would of known of Beales influence.

  146. Maybe its for the best if say we set up a Brentford scenario where SG takes on an assistant with the ability to become head coach if he leaves as Smith groomed Thomas Frank. I always thought that could be the deal with Beale at Villa.

  147. Wouldn’t mind Emmanuel Dennis from Watford, he did at Watford what I hoped Bailey could do for us. Hopefully would cost the earth although he’d likely to be in demand.

  148. I’d also take a look at bringing in Pope if possible from Burnley, with Martinez becoming a big player for the Argies it won’t be long until teams in Europe become a big pull if we don’t crack those champs places, I think Popes a better all round keeper in terms of commanding his area.

  149. Don’t think we need to read too much into Beale leaving other than he is yet another in a long line of coaches that wants to be a manager themselves … I am impressed with what he and sg have done before joining villa and pleased with how the club is now looking to play … we really were playing dinosaur footy .
    as per comments previous its great seeing teams like Madrid who can be under the kosh but play quickly through the lines and be in the opposition box in a flash ,,, something we will see more of at villa with the type of players we are bringing in

    as far as tactical coaches go there are plenty out there Sir Alex used to change his every couple years to bring in new ideas and keeping his players developing

  150. Runtings- yeah could all be good but could actually be a complete surprise, yes SG hinted he’s always had admirers inquiring but it appears he has wanted him to stay. Could be that this was something unexpected and SG has stressed that a good pre-season is required due to the large influx and outs, this is an added stressor and variable for good or bad.

    SAF may have changed His assistants but not in the early days, had 27 years at Man Utd , his 1st he had for 5 years and it was the chap he’d won the cup winners cup with at Aberdeen, then Brian Kidd for the next 7 he then had several that lasted 1-2 years like McClaren and Queiroz who went into management. Next longest was Phelan 5 years so I don’t buy it was all about keeping it fresh. Certainly continuity was important in his early years and SG has about 4 years in management and so far is not on SAF’s level (yet) if he has relied a lot on Beale a lot then?

  151. Mark Alex had 7 different assistants and numerous coaches and he himself said he switched coaches to keep things fresh so its his words rather than my opinion
    Some he lost as they took on manager roles its just part and parcel of football management

  152. mark

    yeah man read the same thing a while ago re martinez. sg wants us to be a pool, city….you need sweeper keepers and thats not matinez game. i love him and think hes superb but for the team set up cash in on martinez and buy pope?

    prob never happen but a thought!

  153. runtings

    yeah sg is more old sholl manager than the new modern ones. sees himself as manager than coach.

    likes the transfers and motivation. like you say fergie the same…didnt touch training! utd were struggling in europe and he brought in quertez…spelling! as number 2 to sort em out.

    in sgs book he said hed want alonso as number 2! he just left and we prob know beale was leaving….too much of a coicidence? welcome alonso!!

  154. Runtings- You love a bit of positive spin mate but 7 coaches over 27 years doesn’t equate to SAF frequently changing to freshen things up, if it was working or the coach didn’t leave to manage then it sounds like SAF bigging the situation up in his favour whatever he said, Maybe he went through a patch but Brian Kidd must have been hell of a fresh coach to stay 7 years 🙂 His previous coach at least the same including Aberdeen.

    So as I say SAF’s 30+ year cup laden career and time at the top club ever in the prem doesn’t really apply to our squad and position, let alone that on completion by Aug many will never actually have met and trained under Beale to have got jaded eh.

  155. I’d like to see us start to distance ourselves a bit from SG’s Liverpool, would show a bit more thought to bring in a clever coach that has shown promise in another to league over his mate Xavi but accept that’s football, that said continuing Runtings SAF analogy SAF’s coaches often were at the club in some capacity in their careers. Maybe there are some parallels with SG as SAFs 1st coach left him for Rangers.

    Ironically SAF advised Moyes to keep the coaching staff as they would help him but he didn’t, this is the Goalkeeping coaches words.

    “You had the United perspective—the manager saying, ‘Keep what we’ve got, keep the continuity, work with them and they’ll guide you through. You’re taking on a massive machine here. You’ve gone from Marks and Spencer’s to Harrods.”

    Lastly its interesting to see what the greatest prem managers approach was to club building and it appears to align more with what Villa were doing than what we are doing now. Focus on youth and building a team and bond to last more than 1-2 seasons. I’m hoping the present influx of older players is really about helping not replacing the youth set up with short term gain. I hope that SG will install a winning attitude but in truth if he leaves when half the jobs done then its not good.

  156. Runtings- You love a bit of positive spin mate but 7 coaches over 27 years doesn’t equate to SAF frequently changing to freshen things up

    This works out 3. something years per assistant on average which reinforces the point that SAF worked with many assistants and coaches , the key thing with him was he was a great leader of men who identified people that could take charge of various roles in his club and help to bring success and it didn’t matter one bit if any staff members moved on

  157. But the reality is he had 17 years with three and and a period of 10 years in the middle with 4, one which left and came back even, there is no average in reality.

    As we are talking about what’s best for Villa having a coach each season is unlikely to be good when cementing a style but it would certainly be fresh and chaotic. Some of them left and pursued other jobs and I doubt SAF said off you go in every case, so mostly its something that’s dealt with. SAF also is clearly the driver behind most of what happens Vs SG who hasn’t been the Trainer much admitting such himself.

    Of course it ultimately didn’t matter to SAF and man utd it was so ingrained by that point in the clubs DNA the chef could of took training (joking).

    I would say this is a bigger deal to SG than you think and If we had already prepared why is the only link a line from SG’s auto biography? So yes it will come down to someone’s Judgement on what’s needed for us now but it remains to be seen if it will be for better or worse.

  158. You sometimes read some really emotional messages on twitter and I just saw this one:

    “Guys I’m in a really, really bad place at the moment and I’m not sure if I’ll come out the other side . . . . . not mentally or anything, I’m just driving through Small Heath”

  159. Mark I have come to realise that avl can defiantly rely on your good self for a negative spin on most things Aston villa , truth is this is one of the brightest most optimistic periods that I can remember , we are looking to play proper footy and the recruitment his at a high level so no doom and gloom here just rightly optimism thanks to the board coupled with the current manager

  160. With respect to Beale, in my view it’s good riddance. He took a position at AVFC only to ditch it 6 months later. He clearly had no intention of being part of the project.

    Just hope we replace him with an intelligent and switched on brain.

  161. Runtings- funny that I’ve been called negative, positive and a happy clapper by various lifers depending on their views. You wouldn’t make a scientist mate looking at one side of the story 😉 scepticism isn’t negativity in my book its healthy .

  162. Runtings – do they still exist? haven’t heard a peep from them lately

    Beale wrote on Twitter: “Thank you, for your friendship, support & leadership. 4yrs has flown, I had an incredible journey & the best experience I’ve lived in football. You are a man with huge integrity & class. It was a pleasure to be part of your staff & I learnt so much from you, both on/off the pitch.

    “To the staff I have spent 4yrs working alongside at Rangers & Aston Villa – we became a family – we spent every day pushing, supporting & challenging each other to do more & to become better individually and as a collective. Thank you for everything Gary, TC, Jordan, Scott, Marty.

    “Good luck to everyone at AVFC. It is a great club & everyone involved from the owners, players, staff deserve every success in the future. A special mention to the players who were fantastic with me personally, you are a special group & I will be supporting you all from afar #UTV.”

    We have a special group of players? That sounds a bit like SAF’s psychology 🙂

    Looking like SG won’t replace him is the word , he did say he had to many coaches but I was thinking it was the ones foisted on him he didn’t want. It will be interesting to see how both get on and whether ours and QPR’s tictacs change.

  163. Here’s Martinez’s chat with Ben foster where he talks about SG’s presence in a room as a legend in the game being like Wenger. He then says its the 1st time in his 15 year career that the assistant coach does all the talking, saying Beale knows so much about football its incredible, He does all the training sessions and takes all the important meetings, obviously SG talks and normally “the manager” does the talking but he felt they were both equal or both Managers.

    Sounds like SG is more about motivation than the technical side to me.

    That part starts about 28 minutes in.

  164. I’m gonna genuinely miss this lad

    “Following a nine-month absence due to a knee injury, Trezeguet was sent on a six-month loan to Istanbul Basaksehir back in January after falling down the pecking order at Villa.

    The 26-year-old managed to quickly rediscover his form after a fruitful spell in Turkey, scoring six goals and providing four assists in 13 appearances.

    His performances also earned him back-to-back Player of the Month awards for the months of February and March.”

  165. Trez scored some important goals that kept us up first season back in the EPL. Likewise AEG’s goal at Wembley helped get us promoted. Grateful to them for their contributions.

    Both are short of the standard we are now looking to reach though.

  166. Imagine 10 years ago we appointed lambert(we will go again) as manager signing the wonderful bowery Richardson sender’s,I think he made gabby captain too ,now we are signing coutinho kamala Carlos, life has improved as a villa fan

  167. Plug it remains to be seen if he’s manager material but by the sounds of it I think he’ll be ok as it likely will with SG, like I said I hope we/he go for someone outside his circle with managing potential. Many of his staff are old friends and Liverpool ex’s, might do him good to broaden that to other clubs. I can’t think though in a season we are gearing up for a euro push he needed this set back.

  168. JG yes the 1st attempt at buying cheap with Lerner putting the wallet away. We couldn’t get further from it these days but I am surprised that the club are opening the purse strings when there hasn’t exactly been a huge upturn in our fortunes from SG’s reign in real terms with what we already had Plus 4.

  169. Trez was never a silky player but I think there was more to come from him, needs a manager that believes in him and he’ll run through walls. That period he had where he missed some sitters, if those had gone in he’d of had 10+ goals and the period just before his big injury he was beginning to show a bit more than just effort, a shame and and I wish him all the best.

  170. This is worth a read about SG at Rangers, lots of parallels with what’s happened at Villa lately but clearly we are not one of the top two clubs. The new manager ended up with a better win percentage than SG had, won a cup and was a Europa finalist, he has said they must rebuild this season, Celtic did and came back this season. None of that detracts from the job SG did there just what it is. As we are going down his road at present I hope he see’s it out to similar levels.

  171. On holls, just been text the villa news. Holy shit we really aren’t playing are we! What a appointment that is. I can’t believe how elite we are run as a club now! Always thinking making sound shrewd moves. Welcome critchly

  172. I must admit I have not the foggiest idea of who Critchley was? he is most definitely another Liverpool bloke though so can’t have been much thinking there H&V.

    for all those scratching their heads

    Aston Villa is pleased to announce the appointment of Neil Critchley as Assistant Head Coach.

    Critchley leaves his post as manager of Championship club Blackpool with immediate effect to become part of Steven Gerrard’s coaching staff.

    “The 43-year-old led Blackpool to promotion from League One during his first full season at the helm via the play-offs and managed them successfully to a mid-table position last term.

    Critchley joined the Liverpool Academy in 2013, coaching the Under-18s and Under-23s, and took charge of the senior Liverpool side twice during the 2019/20 season. One of those occasions was against Villa for a Carabao Cup tie with the Reds’ first team away at the Club World Cup.”

  173. Neil Critchley is one of just sixteen coaches worldwide to have obtained UEFA’s elite badge apparently, sounds good, I wonder why he would leave managing for a secondary roll?

  174. I think Howe probably should get manager of the season all considered. Also outlines the potential threat of Newcastle to piss on our bonfire, typical, seems like the appearance of city just as we looked to break through. Got to hope we can be better at it than them, its really going to be tough this season to get that top 8 unless we transform like a butterfly over the summer.

    Eddie Howe (NEWCASTLE)
    P28 W13 D5 L10. Ave win 46.43%
    Newcastle United are set to become the first club in Premier League history to stay up after winning none of their first 14 matches. Howe’s team had only five points when he took over in November but he has since led them up to 11th with 49 points, including a nine-match unbeaten run.

    to put it in perspective
    Steven Gerrard with AVFC:
    P28 W10 D5 L13. Ave win 35.7%

  175. I hope he stays in the prem 🙂

    “The news out of Turkey that Besiktas has agreed to terms with Trezeguet is simply false,” Emile told journalist Ekrem Konur . “Naturally, after becoming the standout performer in the Super Lig with Basaksehir, he has piqued the interest of all the major Turkish clubs.

    “They have contacted me, as have clubs in Europe and the Premier League, but we have yet to reach an agreement with anyone. Trezeguet is currently focused solely on his duties with the Egypt national team.”

  176. Welcome back to VP Robin Olsen.

    Olsen is No 4 on the list of new player signings after Couts, Kamara and Carlos. What are Lifer’s thoughts on any more possible incoming signings? My thoughts are we need a highly mobile power house in midfield with great one touch passing ability. Don’t ask me who that guy is though. No idea. But an upgrade on SJM is the next step.

  177. Well done to Ramsey for scoring his tap in against the Czechs for the England U21’s last night. That’s home and away wins against our nearest rivals for Euro qualification. Four points from the remaining 3 games will do it. Archer almost got a goal too after he came on as sub.

  178. Players up for sale are Traore, Sanson, Trez and ElGhazi apparently, not exactly a surprise but that’s what’s being said. So we will be one mid down, maybe the youth will provide and we have marv and Tim to supplement Kamara if a Phillips or Bissouma look unlikely. I still wouldn’t mind JWP for many reasons. But we are looking at a mid coming in and it might be a left field choice.

    What concerns me more is we are shifting out the wingers in favour of WB’s. We have one class but injury prone 29 year old and Cash, Kessler Hayden may be cash’s back up. So we need a viable LWB option but they are unlikely to be starting over Digne. Injuries to those positions would cause the most problems as Injuries to James and Chillwell did for Chelsea this season. It was also the case at Rangers when the 1st choice WB’s were out.

  179. Mark, not mentioned in your list of outgoings are two FB’s that would provide adequate cover for the current incumbents. Guilbert and Targett. If neither are deemed wing backs and hence not satisfactory cover, they will be up for sale too.

  180. Plug yes mate they surely will if we can get takers. The danger for us is selling now or not , I wait with baited breath to see what we can get.

    Critchley used a 442 at Blackpool and I wonder whether we will see a system change or whether the narrow malarkey is down top SG?

  181. Plug
    I would hope there is few more additions with maybe a dozen to go
    Keepers think no more in with maybe steer going
    Defence we meed cover at both full backs and maybe another centre half ,outgoings Freddie hause and target
    Midfield 1 in at least hopefully a big one ,then marv sanson out
    Attack if we can get a striker be delighted then ings trez elgastl can go
    5 subs means we need plenty options on the bench

  182. Again like anything if your unsure who so and so is read in Blackpools fans comments. Utterly devastated. Got his grounding at Crewe. They know ball. Pool u23 great job. And wonders with Blackpool. Very modern in pressing and a nice guy.

    To get him as number 2 is insane

  183. Usually fret over transfers but not worried in the slightest in prob first time ever supporting villa.

    They won’t be mugged of, they’ll improve where needed 0 doubts.

    Sounds like besey and hickey ruled out, too expensive. Won’t be getting another CB

    For me

    A cm and st crucial. Get that spine complete this window.

    Thankfully won’t be suarez…..prefer to go all out on elite number 9. Don’t compromise on the spine of the team. Follow Carlos Kamara with bissouma and a 9 job done

  184. So the second half gets under way and we need a goal. After all, we are up against the lowest ranked team in our group. Beaky has 5 subs available but had to use 1 at half time due to a defender injury. What does he do? Brings on 2 more defenders. FFS.

    And one of them ships a penalty soon after. We would not have scored had the game finished at midnight. I’ve seen more tactical acumen in plant life.

  185. If Beaky loses to Germany they could come knocking for SG.

    I also looked at Blackpool fans comments and there was one who is very good on tactical side. One criticism was Critchley often used a high press with 5 in attack but they were wide open to counters, sounds familiar and why we have strengthened the middle. He managed to play one game for Crewe and played 4 times in men’s football in all before retiring into coaching at 24, at least he knew where his talents lay then, nearly 20 years in coaching at 43? really puzzles me why he ditched managing Blackpool.

    Now the initial signings have been made its down to the real work of selling a few and competing for players where the playing fields more even. If we keep giving huge wages out as we have so far then that wage bill needs trimming before we can make similar offers. This is where it all usually grinds to a halt as options are weighed up and players move when teams have their targets signed and money assured. It has gone really well so far (out of the window) if it continues at a similar snag free rate I’d be surprised but we are nothing if not secretive.

    To put the task at hand in perspective Newcastle can spend £600m under FFP as Ashley spent nothing for years and sold a fair few, they should be a major player in the market.

  186. Recently I put up a post about the heart problems recently in Football and that they may be connected with the Vaccines. In it I said Matt le tissier was sacked over suggesting such. It was suggested that he was basically thick and shouldn’t be listened to, well this interview is about his career and he comes across far from thick. Its a great listen and right at the end he talks about the incident and how he has been Cancelled etc and his stance on matters, its an eye opener if you can be bothered to watch.

  187. Mark, i agree that LeTissier does appear to be quite intelligent, but as far as I can see has no scientific qualifications at all so I can’t see any reason why I would consider taking medical advice from him in preference to bona fide medical researchers.
    I do think, that as a prominent footballing personality he has a responsibility not to prounounce on such an important subject without the background knowledge or qualifications to do so.

  188. Plug, we’ve done pretty well under Southgate but he does seem to favour structure and discipline over creativity and that can leave us wanting against the best teams or a highly motivated team with a plan.

  189. Robbo- at what point are you asked to take medical advice? all he did was stand up and say this does not look right and in all his years in football this is new, what else is science than observation? He is right that it should at very least be investigated and there have been study after study that have shown how poor the so called science we were following has been if you care to look for it as it won’t be announced in the media with any real urgency.

    As for qualifications? what qualifications existed when science was in its infancy? one of these intelligent people without qualifications invented all we call science, medicine etc. Some very qualified, respected indeed Nobel prize winners were told to shut up when voicing opinions that were not in line with “the science” (as if there is such a thing). That appears to be an attitude across the board these days with Consensus being bandied about where none truly exists. Common sense is a far better guide when something doesn’t feel right.

    The medical community is the last place I would look to for health advice, unless they showed some real knowledge on diet etc to me, medical care is not about producing health.

    Lastly men with qualifications have invented ever more efficient ways of killing people, health destroying foods, environment destroying industries, and dare I say medications that kill, I wonder why an unqualified footballer can cause such a reaction if his arguments are easily disproved? shouldn’t they easily disprove them rather than dismiss them.

  190. boom

    wilson and simpson on the way from scotland.

    15 and 16 elite talents. but sg only wants 34 year olds 🙂

    signing the hear and now with one eye on the future.

    merlin at lb could be in too. 20 year old.

    learn from digne.

    crlos and digne in there prime for defnders. if feeney, smith, simpson are anywhere near as good as there potential will step in with ease in 3 or 4 year time

  191. getting steve in will slowly look like absoulte genius. slowly attracting the elite and surly has to make us better.

    critch as number 2 is utterly mad. still cant belive sg got him in.

    shows again that sg sees himself as manager and not head coach. more than happy to let someone who knows more take charge.

    sg is all about the little things at the club. standards and mentality.

    noticed it in the press revealings of the 2 new players. where we announce them has changed. behind a nice stain glass window. interview done in the new gym. he loves all that.

    he completly ripped rangers apart. went mad at the postion of the desk and computer!

    his reaction was so funny when he went in the changing rooms on his revealing at rangers. lloked around in disgust and was like yeah this is getting torn down.

  192. Villa haven’t stopped bringing in youngsters they just haven’t played many of them so far and very likely being the age they are they won’t. If they don’t look likely to make it by 22 they will be off for good or for bad, that’s the clubs plan. For me the 5 year plan is about building a capable team, one that can be vying for Europe each year and the Kids then feed into that. So this season coming we should see maybe Archer, Kessler Hayden and Tim in the squad.

    We are spending good money on Kids that are doing it in other leagues in the 16+ bracket. I think the training facilities at Villa park that will be built will look to find local kids to feed into the academy instead of taking WBA’s youth team. Kids of 16 should be showing up physically and talent wise at age 5-8 its a crap shoot.

    I don’t think this has anything to do with what SG is doing either other than he and Critchley will look to develop those that stand out. The team has lacked quality older players since we came up, that’s obvious and the addition of Ings and young spoke to that. At some point if the players you bought at age 22-24 are not hitting the levels by age 26-7 then you have a problem that needs addressing. Problem is you don’t know until they get older, we have sold players like Steve Davis who just got better and better and is now 37 still playing for Rangers.

  193. The chat over on TVB is about SG finishing in 8th over his 28 games. Some have pointed out that during those 28 he had the manager bounce and also played some of the weaker teams twice so its hard to judge him vs other teams in that way who may have had tougher runs ( for instance playing Norwich twice) . Then if you take it from Jan its a fairer spread plus he’d brought in some players and had a two week mini pre-season to get ideas across (in his words) , we finished 14th in that scenario, exactly where we did finish. The win rate drops from 35.7% to 27.2%.

    So on the one hand he finished 8th and the thought being if he’d had all season we’d be 8th at least why are we now rebuilding a side that could/would/should/might have finished 8th last season? 🙂

  194. We are doomed at the World Cup. Beaky has his favourites, way too many defenders and a streak of stubbornness that will do for us.

    Sterling was very poor last night yet he was left on for the whole game. Maguire is slower than a Shire horse and Pickford failed to save a shot that was straight at him by going with one hand instead of two. Jack gave us a threat, Beaky gave him 20 minutes. All in all, a fortunate draw.

  195. Mark, we are rebuilding because the current squad is not good enough for 8th place and hence will not make Europe. Hopefully the rebuild will cure that, but I reserve judgement on the incoming player upgrades until I’ve seen them for myself.

  196. Do we stick with luiz and give him time as a 8 or bring in a new 8?

    Id try and do a bit of savvy business sell luiz and bring in a more robust athletic 8.

    as long as we get his spine in would be a good window.

    so so hard to call a finish in this prem league.

  197. caught up with the france game

    digne so so good. class act.

    came on for half hour and looks very very tidy. calm and the nice habit of passing to someone in his own shirt

  198. Plug that’s the thread on TVB many don’t rate what he did last season with deans squad plus some players and wait to see what happens with more of his own players in the new season. There are a few that are going down the positivity route too that don’t like that others haven’t yet bought in. The whole would of ended in 9th on form is garbage really, if you take his 1st 8 games we would of ended in 4th for instance, so we could of done better without his new players 🙂 Seems to me that quite a few of the smarter posters on there are in the waiting camp.

  199. H&V When we were thrashing Liverpool 7-2 and beating top teams we weren’t crying out so much. Many fans just can’t get there head around where we came from and how big a task it was in the timescale, The midfield was at least serviceable, I would loved to have got JWP in last season with Jack staying and without half the team injured That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

  200. All the best Matt Targett. Thanks for your contribution to the cause over the last 2 and a half years.

    £15 million on the credit side of the balance sheet will come in useful.

  201. James, I’m also interested in what is going to happen with our other FB, Freddie Guilbert. He has a year left on his contract. Being out on loan, SG will be less familiar with his skills. He’s been getting great reviews in the French media for Strasbourg. I’ve always liked him. Wonder what SG will decide in pre season. Current value is about £6 million.

  202. Plug
    I liked Freddie always thought he got a raw deal here,me I would sell him and hopefully we can pick up few bargains like james at Leicester,they got him from Luton time we got few players like that

  203. Man City are going to sell young Irish keeper for fee of 11m up to 15m,they paid half a million for lad,plus bonus appearance money ,10 times profit will pay for more youth talent

  204. JG,

    I think sales like that are a big part of NSWE’s plans for the young talent they’re buying. No way they all make it to the squad.

    But signing good prospects for not much leaves lots of room for some profit to fund other moves.

    Likewise, never really understood what the problem was with Guilbert. Might be as simple as Smith seeing more upside in Cash and Fred not wanting to be a back-up.

Leave a Reply