Been away on business for a week, and I guess the big news has been the departure of Michael Beale and the finalizing of Diego Carlos. Oh, and a welcome to Neil Critchley and Robin Olsen, too, along with a farewell to Matt Targett.

Like Kamara, I’ve no idea how Carlos will do. We know he was highly valued and sought after, like Kamara, and he looks rather strong and no-nonsense. Will hopefully bring a little of that menace we’ve lacked. We’ve all probably seen the various graphics illustrating his game, and drawn our own conclusions. From what I’ve read, everyone seems pretty happy.

And on paper, anyway, it’s apparently been smart, quick business. With Matt Targett leaving for £15m, which is apparently the most we’ve gotten for a player other than Benteke, Digne is now a £10m net. Not bad. Kamara on a free? Not bad. Carlos on a knock-down? Not bad. I also think Olsen is a good signing for the #2.

How it all turns out? Anyone’s guess. But it has been considered, quick, and astute from the business side. And it gives Gerrard a lot of what he wanted before the summer work gets underway.

What’s Up with Beale?
Onto the coaching staff, and Beale’s departure has caught many of us by surprise, just like Critchley’s subsequent appointment.

Me, I’m not that fussed about Beale. If he was the master strategist, I personally think he came up wanting. At first asking, anyway. Whether he’d have adapted, we’ll never know. If it was Gerrard who was fixated on the narrow 4-4-3, then maybe nothing changes other than upgrades in personnel, and if that were the case, maybe Beale had been fighting with one hand behind his back.

Being mad about Beale or questioning his motives or ‘loyalty’ seems harsh. I think most assistants aspire to being managers, and I always had a soft spot for QPR back in the day. Does it mean he had a lack of faith in Gerrard? Who knows. If he did, I don’t think he’d have followed him from Rangers. At first glance, it just looks like opportunity was knocking and he answered the door.

Then people are wondering why Critchley would move. Can’t speak for him, but it increases his profile, lets him play with the big boys. Might well be only a year for him, but probably jumps him up the ranks and lets him pit his wits against the best. Can’t really question that. Given the quick-fire timing, it almost seems to have been coordinated.

Bits and Bobs
Of course the Nations League is happening, and Villans are representing their countries well there, while Phil has scored for Brazil and Emi has notched his unbeaten run to 16 for Argentina. This is fast becoming a side with a lot of talent.

Talk turns to outgoings, naturally, and you can’t argue with any of the names being put forward. Just have to see how that plays out, but it’s an inevitable part of progression.

Villa Twitter continues to preen for attention, so I’ve not been paying much attention. “Now we need fullbacks in,” etc. Talk about stating the obvious. We’ll either have youth moving in or will secure some passable make-weights, maybe some real value finds. Hardly anything I’m losing sleep over. I’ve lost track of the number of accounts just saying things for the sake of saying things.

As for Matt Targett, I have to say well played. He didn’t have a future under Gerrard, but he always showed up and gave his best. A truly honest player who just wants to play. He was gutted when Deano got the sack, and took his share of blame for the performances. I wish him all the best.

Anyway, there we go. Fresh sheet, if nothing else.

Over to you.

Comments 230

  1. hey JC nice one as per
    The beale thing for me is no drama particularly when like ours the club structure is right if anyone goes someone as good or better will come in
    The buying and selling of quality youngsters is defiantly something all intelligently run clubs will maximize not just the huge clubs but the likes of Southampton and Crewe have been excellent at it ,,,, only danger is doing a Chelsea and letting go of KDB and Salah too early with no buy back
    I think Freddie G plays with a lot of heart but not sure if he would be wa

    The Bissouma thing with us pulling out after he posted his Arsenal stuff on social media pleases me as character and the right one’s for our club is just as important as ability

  2. Great write up JC. Agreed on Beale, I think it’s a plus him leaving

    Runtings – on Bissouma, I watched him (although on tv) a lot last season. Not sure of the hype.

    Would be great if Roma gave us £30m for Luiz. I’d take £15m for Davis. Would be great if we could get £15-20 for Ings. Ship out ElGhazi, Sanson, Traore and Trez.

    A lot of positives. Kamara and Carlos are top 6 EPL players. SJM can play more attacking. Digne, Buendia and Bailey will have settled. Couts may do something more often- maybe he can be super-sub with Carney.

    Archer to challenge Watkins

  3. Thanks JC- The Beale episode could change the emphasis on who we are buying/keeping or not as you say who owns the narrow 433? We didn’t show enough flexibility or in game tactics to say either Beale or Gerrard were the best at it. How much influence does the no2 have on SG is the real question, The new chap was potentially one of if not the best tactician in the champs last season apparently. So while I don’t think Beale is a massive miss even if he’s super coach we will soon see.

    When Beale arrived we had the usual comments of the training being much better now etc, I read that as the training was different, it certainly didn’t have a massive effect on results with us ending one place higher than when SG turned up. Of course it could all be part of the grand plan of weeding out the players from the team that could of finished 9th and replacing them with some that might finish 9th who knows. He did however have more players available and new/better players too and managed not a lot above what Smith did with less.

    I do know that the new guy is one of only 16 to hold the highest coaching badge? that might be though that the course only ran for a short while and is now defunct I Read. Funny old thing that taking things as reported 🙂

    £15m for Targett isn’t bad but his form for Newcastle warranted more but his position of wanting out hampers that.

    When Trez came back from injury he was shipped out pronto (So he could get games and as SG said he can be looked at in the summer). 13 games later 6 goals and 4 assists you’d think of all the loanees he’s earned a good looking at in pre-season rather than binning, if not then SG’s words are a farce. Instead he is nailed on by everyone to leave despite having a lot of interest from Most of the Turkish league, Europe and the prem. I think he’s the closest thing we have to Bowen at Wets Spam. I think at Villa the combo of new league and missing a few sitters got to him but he never gave up or gave less than 100%, in this vid you can see that he is still quick as fook and has an eye for goal, compared to Baileys 1st season?

  4. tigs is on 100k a week at toon. well played tigs agent, well played.

    nice one JC – not sure its going to be the massive overhaul thought a few months ago. just the spine fixed which would be great for first summer window

  5. most prob a replacement lb no tigs has gone. would love bassey then let house go.

    frem – mark – trez is off to trabzonspor! go well sweet prince. Jack perfectly summed him up, like a wasp trapped in a jam jar

    another we prob over paid for, not sure we will get 9 mill back

  6. H&V I couldn’t give a shit what Jack said, was also called the every ready bunny, if you can get your goals and assists up to 10 or above in a top league your not shite. Otherwise any player not in the prem is suspect no? How was £9m for an international player that scored 13 goals and 7 assists then 9 and 9 in consecutive seasons then 6 and 2 for us? Likely Davis will go for £15m?? A bid has gone in but his agent has said its not a done deal, and as I said SG told a fat fib 🙂

    Oh and the Liverpool game was down to no crowds?? wow, still beat how many top clubs that season? including Spurs and Chelsea with limited crowds. You have to wonder why every club didn’t just Bend Liverpool over that season eh?

  7. Our local comic is reporting that Lange is charged with offloading Trez and AEG but recouping the £9 million each for them will be unlikely.

    AEG’s goal got us promoted and Trez’s goals at the end of the following season kept us in the EPL. I would suggest neither player owes us anything because of their monetary contributions already provided. They will leave with my best wishes.

  8. mark
    ok ok calm down i like trez!! i thank him for his efforts and loved his emotion and workrate.

    but theres a reason its trabsonspor hes off too.

    nah man no fans re covid was madness. fans in top sides smashed us, no fans we sneaked a few results. theres a reason they lost over half the footy matches over a calender year and a reason martinez said oh i see you now with fans back your not making the runs or calling for the ball off me…i see you!

    sgs nasty spine needed

  9. It is wasn’t for covid we would have got relegated and it was having that break that allowed JT to sort out our then woeful defending
    yes we smashed pool but it was far from a typical performance as we lost to teams that couldn’t stay up and stayed up ourselves by the skin of out teeth . so context is important when pulling up what was a fab result at the time
    Mark Jack speaks very highly of you though

  10. More incoming,yes I hope so,cover in fullback areas,hopefully young lads slightly ahead of kessler and chrisnee in age premier ship ready not a lambert type crap,
    Midfield I definitely want at least 1 more starter a big bruiser would help,and again would say I am in minority of villa fans about mcginn not really seeing anything spectacular about John apart from he is a great lad in dressing room,likewise with traore I would give him another season even if most want him moved on,5 subs he could be useful
    Strikers really strange this we have w decent players in ings and watkins with different skills,will a better team behind them lift them to next level or maybe we wait to world Cup and see what new talent is available
    My team for 1st game
    Cash Carlos mings digne
    Kamala NEW SIGNING
    Ramsay coutinho beundi
    Olseon,young Chambers new defender,iron bru, mcginn ,traore Bailey ings,new signing
    Konsa injured
    Luis chuck,if don’t sign new contract sell them don’t play them
    Hause Freddie marv trez aeg ,sell sell sell

  11. Runtings ever thought that if it wasn’t for Covid some others may have gone down or even stayed up? you can’t know what would of happened covid or not. If JT sorted the defence what was he doing prior to that? Smith told the story that he talked to the players on Zoom etc, he’s pretty honest and he never once said its all down to the Defensive coach. I assume JT was involved in all of that of course but Smith said it gave them time to get things across. Whether that ultimately was the difference who knows but we are the only team to have done it with 7 games to go with the gap we had, now call it fate or whatever but all teams had the covid gap and it didn’t help them all. If you want context the team was put together from necessity not design so are you really surprised we struggled ??

    Further context, Villa best start to a season five straight wins in which we trashed Liverpool’s full side and beat Leicester. Best points and finish in ten years in which we beat Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal Twice, Chelsea 4 points , Leicester, Leeds who were flying, Wolves we took 4 points off. Of course having Jack on fire and Barkley similar, we were that inconsistent we were 5th by Jan. We then never dropped below 11th despite Covid deciding not to help us and both our star players being out for prolonged periods along with others and neither recovering their form that season. Still we managed to not lose more than two games in a row all season that occurred 4 times.

    Also you seem to have mixed the last two seasons into one, we stayed up by the skin of our teeth 1st season (no surprise) Second season thrashed Liverpool etc now that’s context 🙂

  12. H&V he’s not there yet mate,

    And come on what were you thinking when we had Barkley and Jack flying? its not real there are no fans? did we buy a whole team of players that have never played in front of crowds? No. Martinez is a little tinker and was having a go at Targett who had just buggered of to Newcastle where miraculously he could play in front of a bigger crowd than we have!! who’d of thought it eh.

  13. Yeah loved it at the time but if ever there was a side that took advantage of covid it was us. My opinion hasn’t changed from the last 2 year. We need more athletism, aggression, experience and balls.

    I’m just happy sg agrees!

    Ash young released new left back incoming then.
    And a special special word of thanks to hourihan. What a guy and what a left peg

  14. As far as Targett goes I think his poor start to the season was because he missed the start of pre- season with a thigh injury, nowhere near fit and was subbed at Half time at Watford 1st game, that tells you something. Previous season never missed a game and player of the season because he hates crowds.

  15. H&V Covid destroyed the second season with 20 days without training together before 6 games in 18 days, that put Jack out, certainly didn’t help the shin thing, if we took advantage in our 1st season then that’s smart of us and not of others. 1st season we lose Heaton and Wesley from a thin squad, Wesley never got to Jan, he’d just started to show and had 6 goals. Wonderful saying it was Covid but its not the full picture.

  16. Aston Villa’s released list:
    Tristan Goodridge
    Paul Appiah
    Mungo Bridge
    Conor Hourihane
    Akos Onodi
    Dominic Revan
    Finley Thorndike
    Ashley Young

    Surprised at Bridge and Revan, both were considered on the up not so long ago, at least Mungo has his revenue from “In the summertime” to fall back on.

    Assuming Young wanted more money as SG seemed quite keen.

  17. Targett was a big upgrade on Taylor. But his lack of pace left him exposed. The Wai Ayes will find out soon enough and upgrade him. For the moment, he’s better than anything they’ve got.

  18. Plug – Seen Digne done for pace this season mate, thought last seasons Targett coped well with that, what he needs is that player in front of him to play with, in fact when it was him Jack and Conor out left it worked, maybe His manager knows that.

    We are all wowing over the incoming players so far but as this is a pretty new thing to Villa I want to see some proof of the pudding.

  19. Plug targett is a fine steady eddy. Just what they need with st max Roaming around in front of him.

    Digne was brought in for sg ball. Demands assists and attacking intent.

    Digne has one less assist in 4 months then targett who was with us 2 year

  20. Having watched Phil do mostly not a lot in our team I hope these other lads can bring it together, on paper seems a no brainer but the prem is unforgiving.

  21. Oh and yep Digne has one less assist but we ended up 14th and we were playing with FB’s as wingers, which should mean they have many more chances to rack up assists/goals. Previous season jack had ten playing in front of Targett and we had more clean sheets.

    This season Targett not really on form in a new role for him gets 1 goal and one assist in 17 appearances Digne played 16. Cash played all season got 4 goals and 3 assists. previous season under Smiths system jack gets 6 goals 10 assists and Traore gets 7 goals 6 assists, how do you want to slice it up bud?

    No doubt Digne will get more assists he’s one of the best crossers in the game but he’s 29 That’s old for a WB. Be interesting to see who comes in now Ashleys off.

  22. Looking around at comments about Kamara and yep he’s good on the ball makes interceptions and has an eye for a forward pass. On the other hand France had 2 DM’s and could not cope with the counters of Austria in international football, the prem quicker than that and the French league. He’s probably the player at 6 we wanted Luis to be playing under Smith but maybe not capable of being a Nakamba as a loan 6 .

  23. Targett:

    Not pacey, no. Spent his first year adjusting, getting used to starting, playing every game.

    Second season, he’d figured it out…Good anticipation and reading of the ball, closer to his man, delivered some crunching tackles. Very solid positionally, had a good understanding with Jack.

    Third season, yeah, was hurt, had trouble getting back up to speed. And we all agree, not a wingback.

    So me, I see an intelligent player who uses that to balance out the lack of pace. Will work better in some systems and with certain players than others.

  24. Villa and covid:

    It helped and then it hurt.

    I do think Villa benefited from not playing in front of crowds…Young team, had survived by the skin of their teeth. Took a lot of pressure off.

    It’s a fair analogue to when players can be magnificent in training and disappear in matches.

    At the same time, the long break and subsequent fixture pile-up was no favor. Then Jack was out and the season stalled. Don’t know that it finished more or less than where we ultimately deserved to be (seasons are long and its hard to keep levels up, regardless), but the covid break and Jack’s injury was basically season over.

  25. I think Kamara will take a little while to find his feet in the PL. But he’s young, still getting into France’s rotation, and getting good experience/confidence.

    I don’t think we’d have moved for him so decisively if SG didn’t like the raw profile he was seeing. From what little I’ve seen, I think he’s going to be positionally intelligent, careful and creative with the ball. He seems to read well…He’ll just need to get his feet under him, and SG ought to be able to help with that.

  26. I think I’m on the record as liking Archer as soon as I saw him. He’s very quick, industrious, and a natural finisher.

    I’m not in charge, and I don’t know what other moves we might make, but I’d be very very tempted to keep him close and get him into the rotation. Maybe he goes back to PNE for a half-season, but however the short term is handled, I think the kid has a future if he’s handled right.

  27. And Trez:

    Heart of a lion, some crucial goals. Will remain a somewhat polarizing figure, but he gave everything and we wouldn’t be where we are without him.

    Best of luck to him with a lot of thanks.

  28. JC I am just trying to lessen the inevitable let down 🙂 that blistering start to Smiths second season will take some beating crowds or not.

  29. I know its not popular but I am seeing so much potential fallout from the Covid Vaccine and evidence to boot.

    “Nearly 5,000 more people than usual have died in England and Wales in the last five weeks of causes other than COVID-19, coinciding with the spring booster campaign among older folk. ”

    “The Covid vaccines appear to be responsible for the emergence of a new, fast-acting form of the deadly neurodegenerative condition Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a study by a leading virologist has found. This is the disease one form of which in cows is Mad Cow disease and it is always fatal.

    The findings appear in a pre-print study (not yet peer-reviewed) by world-renowned virologist and AIDS discoverer Dr. Luc Montagnier (who died in February), neurologist Dr. Claire Moret-Chalmin and Dr. Jean Claude Perez.

    The study, titled “Towards the emergence of a new form of the neurodegenerative Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: 26 cases of CJD declared a few days after a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’ jab“, reports in detail on 26 of the 50 cases of CJD reported in France and Europe which emerged “very soon after the injection of the first or second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines”. The authors says this is unexpected as “usually this disease takes decades to manifest itself”.

    I think that my initial thoughts on the deaths of young healthy people and athletes having links to the Vaccines is looking very likely with deaths and hospitalisation in the Vaccinated for all cause mortality not Covid following the various campaigns. They are calling it SADS or sudden adult death syndrome.

    And one top Japanese heart surgeon is seeing problems and is calling for a halt because the jab drops immunity and can’t he perform opps as patients die from other causes after.

    Sorry if this upsets anyone but its hard to keep it in.

  30. Beaky commenting on Jack……”He had a fantastic impact against Germany. He’s a player we love working with. He’s got great mentality, great character. He’s a really good guy to have around the group. He has that joy when he has a football at his feet.”

    It’s enough to make you honk up. You can’t interview Beaky as you’d keep slipping on all the bullshit.

  31. Mark, Much as you know I’d be happy to enter into a discussion on vaccines, I’m not going to risk upsetting everyone on here again by doing so. Just in case anyone was concerned by your assertion of possible links between CJD and vaccines however, I’ll just say that there is no credible evidence.
    For over 2 decades there have been various (non peer reviewed) papers suggesting a possible link between vaccines and CJD but the fact remains that no credible evidence has been put forward and we still don’t know the cause(s) of CJD.

  32. Getting back to football though I’m in Mark’s camp on feeling that Kamara looks to be a really exciting prospect for us but let’s give him time to settle into the premiership pace of things.
    I’m also in Mark’s camp on thinking that putting the successes of Dean Smith’s last full season with us down to just not having crowds is a bit perverse and lacking in evidence.
    As for Targett. it seemed to me that he just struggled to have the same impact without Jack in front of him. They’d developed such a relationship that he was bound to suffer once Jack wasn’t there

  33. Glad my eyes didn’t deceive me last night. Who scored ranked Kamara Frances motm with a 7.3 his stats were fantastic. 22 first start for France not bad.

    Going to see exactly why I’ve been banging on about a 6, hrs going to run our team single handed.

    Needs to beef up a bit and will take time though. But feeling we will be selling him in 3 or 4 years for a lot of money!

  34. Frem

    Think I’d let archer go on loan again. Going to prob get a main st in and he needs to be playing all the time.

    He looks clinical but it’s so hard to judge. The prem is light years away from championship or eng internationals.

  35. It’s understandable that Villa fans in particular would be irritated by Southgate’s contradictory and inane comments about Jack Grealish’s exclusion and subsequent inclusion in the England squad. I did think in England’s last game however that he was playing a bit differently, particularly in defence. At Villa he maybe felt he needed to save himself to be the one who makes a difference up front whereas now he sees himself more as just another member of then squad, responsible for both attacking and defensive duties. He was actively tracking players and closing down space which I don’t remember him doing with the same enthusiasm when he played for us.
    There’s a question of whether that’s what a player with his creative skills ‘should’ be doing, but particularly with 5 substitutions coming up I guess every player has to be ready to play their part in every part of the pitch.

  36. H&V, England u21 and the Championship clearly are below Premiership level, but they’re not “light years” away. Teams coming up from the Championship usually need several upgrades if they’re going to succeed but if Preston had been promoted I’m sure they’d have included Archer in their Premiership squad and I reckon he’d have done ok. The question is whether he’ll be good enough for a team pushing for top 8 next season. If properly used and motivated I’m sure that Ings and Watkins could be. . . . . I’m not sure if Archer is yet. I’m not saying I don’t think he is good enough, just that I think it’s hard to judge.
    You may be right that he should go on loan again at least until Christmas but I guess it depends a bit on what happens to Ings and Watkins over the next couple of months.

  37. H&V, I agree that Digne is a better player than Targett. . . .I’ve admired him for a while. I wouldn’t say he’s on a “completely different level” though. Targett was our player of the season and has been heavily praised at Newcastle. It’s how they’re used that matters and in a Steven Gerrard team then Digne looks a better fit to me.

  38. So Southgate. . . .what qualities does the most self-centered England player in the squad have that makes him suitable to be England captain?

  39. Robbo

    think the gulf is big enough to question especially for strikers. Just have to look at solanke, mitrovic. Score about 40 in the champ but doubt get 4 in prem!

    Mate there’s 0 chance targett plays for France, barca, psg! Digne is in another galaxy to target

  40. H&V, are you sure you’re not underplaying the gulf between Cash and Digne. . . surely you can think of something bigger than a galaxy?

  41. There seemed a real lack of urgency from this England side. Don’t we need to win one of our games rather than just maintain high possession statistics?

  42. England only play 1 game behind closed doors. The second game is suspended pending behaviour of fans. The game against Hungary in a few days is sold out.

  43. Sterling’s England days are surely behind him. He’s on the wane. Only selected because he’s one of Beaky’s favourites. His contributions have all but dried up. He just doesn’t look like scoring a goal.

  44. boooom rory wilson set for villa. the young goal machine.

    gerrard major factor in beating off numerous other clubs.

    you love to see it

    now if he is half the goal machine they reckon he really could save us a millions and millions

  45. james

    yep on mcguinn. overall not the standard for european push.

    think he will be better with a 6 and allowed more forward to cause havoc though. but yeah need a new 8 and mcguinn squad player

  46. I know there are others on here who have deeper footballing knowledge than I do but I have to say I’ve never heard of Rory Wilson (mind you, I had barely heard of Kamara either).
    Having read a bit about him now he does seem to be a promising addition and I’m sure we all hope he continues to develop in our excellent academy set up.

  47. robbo

    yeah no one would of heard much of anythinig about wilson…but is another sought after highly rated youth player we have managed to attract.

    ive never seen a youth recruitment drive like it in my lifetime supporting villa.

  48. H&V, you’re right, the youth recruitment campaign does seem to be continuing. When it kicked off under Dean Smith it seemed clear that we were planning to recruit youth, and build a much higher proportion of the squad via the academy. This left us with the youngest team in the Premiership, although it does seem that the emphasis has now shifted somewhat to bringing in a bit more experience.
    It’s good to see that the club still believes in the plan to recruit and develop promising youth players through the academy and hopefully this will continue.
    It would be great to feel that we were still building our squad organically, rather than simply buying in the best players available, like a Man City who to my mind, devalue both the game and their club.
    I know it’s not a worthy sentiment, but I can’t deny that I did smile when I read about the severe financial difficulties of Barcelona who, for years, seemed to believe that they could defy financial gravity and spend whatever they wanted in order to recruit the best talent available.

  49. With the youth signings, it is good to see a lot of activity because it’s truly a numbers game.

    We’ve all seen the number of players from City, Chelsea, etc., who go out on loan and never play for the parent club. But, if they move on for any kind of profit, doesn’t really matter. You sifting for the gold in the pan.

    And the kids do get to play somewhere, but a big share of young talent gets siphoned off the market.

    When we look at our own, there was so much excitement about Barry, but he seems to have fallen well behind Archer, about whom there was no ballyhoo. Until we saw him.

  50. JC, absolutely right. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of becoming excited about every new wonderkid but the fact is that most won’t make it. For the last 2 years we have been attracting a higher quality of young player which will hopefully lead to a higher number eventually making the big time, or at least turning a profit but it’s best to wait and see how they develop and THEN getting excited about the few who really do break through.

  51. Bloody hell made a comment about the Vaccine and then had to prepare for a barbecue, by the time I surfaced yesterday with my tin hat on ready the computer was feeling worse than I was, so I couldn’t get on until I’d fixed the bugger.

    Robbo the CJD article hasn’t been peer reviewed yet its literally just come out and it is saying there is some sort of acceleration not that it gives you CJD.

    I notice that you treat the Vaccine like its actually a Vaccine in the normal sense but its not. When it 1st arrived it was supposed to stop infection and passing it on etc and eventually it was decided all it did was lower your chance of dying. Vaccinated people are getting reinfected time and again especially with the boosters. Reading through all the things being thrown up what it appears to do is lower a persons innate immune system so they don’t over react to Covid. Unfortunately that means that it in some cases it does not react at all and the virus just keeps multiplying without the extreme lung problems until at some point you have a heart attack or something kills you, also it can allow you to get covid when normally you would not have caught it due to the innate immune system being low/gone.

    Looking at the data even with Vaccines the delta covid killed many and it was only when Omnicron arrived it all petered out . So it looks like as a vaccine it totally failed where as a normal immune system dealt with The new strains easily with the innate system down your going to keep catching it and eventually something gives for some people. It was Omnicron not the Vaccines that beat Covid, like all viruses they go through two waves usually.

    There are many other factors no doubt like Vit D status, obesity etc but apparently if you have Neanderthal genes your risk is doubled, India, china has a high percentage of those genes Europe a bit less, Africa has zero Neanderthal genes and are not really susceptible hence Africa coming away lightly in comparison.

    Now I bet my bottom Dollar that Putting spike proteins into these people via MRNA vaccines has a worse response than with others as they are susceptible to flus etc. Maybe when more of the countries reach full vaccinations we will start seeing more covid etc and anomalies if it crashes there immune system.

  52. Back to Footy, I really fancy Cameron Archers chances and the way he links up with Ramsey says there is gold in them there U23’s. Sergio Gomez looks like he could walk in and take Digne’s spot to me, old WB’s have to be really good to last in that position, usually all over by 27.

  53. Laughing so much, my sides are hurting. Old man Digne 2 years past his sell by date. Hahaha.

    I’ve got a pair of crutches from an old leg injury. I’ll drop them off at BH “for the attention of Mr. Digne”.

  54. Gave up watching the U21’s tonight at half time. Lost all interest in passing sideways across the back. Smith-Rowe? We dodged a bullet guys. Best player was Ramsey and I see he was subbed. Balogan not in the same league as Archer.

  55. H&V, yes we’re “in it to win it” with the kids and provided we don’t go and recruit another 3 or 4 extra top class players, next season we should start seeing a couple more of our academy players turning out in front of a full Villa Park on a Saturday afternoon

  56. Must admit more than disappointed that spurs are signing bissomu,we are still crying out for a tall strong midfielder,Smith never got one over the line now Gérard has already signed 6 new players with out one,especially more so that bissomu won’t need time to settle

  57. Bissouma is a good player but I see why sg pulled on we were far down the line of signing him then he posts his come and get me arsenal stuff and signs for spurs lol

  58. yeah gutted about bissouma but champ league footy and london. 25mill is a steal

    much like us under sg you can see what conte is doing. theyll be ones to watch next season. making some signings that is conte ball.

    we are doing similar. links to gallagher now! would be great to see.

  59. H&V Mad is it? We might get lucky or we might end up with a duffer in a year, lest see how the injuries go eh.

    Full-backs peak far younger, with the majority of their minutes coming at 25. What’s interesting with full-backs — and deserving of an article in itself — is how the increasingly demanding nature of the role has impacted the age curve at the position. Full-backs are now asked to get up and down the pitch far more. They also need to be technically gifted and have a high level of tactical understanding. For that reason, they are likely to be one of the most athletic players on the pitch, which explains why fewer minutes are going to players in their late-20s.

  60. Watching England Hungary
    I don’t know how .any times my wife has already said
    We’ve passed it back again
    We’re passing it back
    Why can’t we pass it forward?
    Not sure I can take 90 minutes of this
    (She’s not wrong though!!)

  61. Think that’s the end of Beaky. At long last. The citizens of Wolverhampton certainly think so. It’s now a matter of timing. The suits will probably hold off until the end of the World Cup groups games in November by which time we’ll be on our way home. If they had any balls, they’d bin him now and bring in an attack minded coach.

    He’s clueless. Such tactical genius to pass the ball endlessly across the back line. Up to the half way line and then back again.

  62. Our worst home defeat for nearly a century
    Only the second time we’ve lost at home to Hungary
    On the verge of being relegated from the A group of the Nations league so that in future we’d be playing against the likes of the Faroe islands, and Luxembourg rather than Germany and Italy.
    Southgate’s player selections have been perverse for a while and his explanations for his decisions illogical and contradictory.
    He believes that possession is everyrhing, so instills a safety first and frequently negative playing style despite having a crop of the most exciting, creative players this country has seen for ages.
    He’s lost the plot and the players and country deserve better.

  63. His continual selection of London based players to keep the media sweet has caught up with him. Think the media will be murderous after this display of garbage. We are regressing fast. Relegation from the Nations League group is nailed on.

  64. That wasn’t pretty.

    I suppose two factors are fatigue and rotation. But.

    Apart from the other obvious criticisms everyone has of Southgate, he’s got to get away from Kane, Saka and Sterling.

    Was a good move bringing Bowen into the camp, and he should’ve come off, but I’m not convinced by Sterling and Saka, and Kane just can’t do it all himself.

  65. bailey scored for jamica against mexcio.

    one player ive pretty much forgotten about!

    really could be like a new signing. stay fit and get a pre season please.

    he certainly has what we are lacking. speed and directness to take someone on

  66. H&V, Plug and JC, we’ve all been critical of Southgate but as H&V has pointed out, the media seem to be closing ranks around him. Is it because he’s always made himself available to them and they appreciate that?
    It’s reasonable to point out that we’ve achieved better results under him in major tournaments than England have for some time and I have been critical at club level of managers being pushed out too quickly as soon as their team have a series of poor results (we’ve seen that very close to home recently). The growing criticism of Southgate seems perfectly justified to me though and I don’t believe it’s just because of his poor treatment of Villa players which I suspect we all feel is down to some personal grudge or prejudice that he holds.
    I think the problem is, that for all his previous success, he’s just lost his way. His footballing style has always been safety first which can be justifiable but it has to be balanced by a willingness to break out, apply pressure and score goals. He seems to be pulling England footballers ever further into their shells and he really does need a bit of self reflection before the World Cup and to re-learn how to get the best out of his creative players. Oh. . . more than that, he has to have some of his most creative players on the pitch!

  67. For me Gareth got the job because his face fits more than anything else and he is always very well spoken
    I wasn’t impressed with his lack of under 21 success were other unders managers picked up great results and a youth world cup

    Playing wise I felt we would never go all the way with GS as we played most games with 5 at the back and 2 holders but fortune favours the brave
    I also feel that a lot of British players lack football IQ and watching the game yesterday only Kane shows that quick thinking football intelligence required at elite level hence most of the world beaters in the prem are not British
    The opposition showed us how to be organized enough to win games without having mega paid stars in there ranks
    Its all about getting the best out of what you have and I don’t think that’s going to happen under the current manager

  68. My six penneth on Beaky. He’s a decent bloke, of course he is. He’s delivered the best statistical results of any England coach, of course he has. So why am I on his back?

    He’s had a very special group of players at his disposal. Players capable of going all the way. But in my view, his defensive system has neutered them. Instead of playing to our strengths, he’s gone safety first, second and third.

    We’re in the entertainment business. Playing passes across the back line for hours on end numbs me. I can no longer watch England. I moved to the U21’s earlier this week but note that they have started doing the same thing and I turned off at half time. Coaching has made players frightened of attempting forward passes that carry risk of failure. Goalmouth excitement vanishes. Crowds get restless.

    Compare it to the box office served up by England’s cricketers yesterday. Arses off seats and in the air. A new coach with attacking ideas. Brilliant entertainment.

  69. I think Beakys days are numbered myself, that thrashing says things are not happy for England, I think most of them want a holiday and then pre-season to make the world cup so there is some fault laid at the players feet but Beaky is to defensive when it matters.

    Another thing that crossed my mind was SG’s failure to crack that top ten, players in their prime (26-27) will look at Villa and see a risk that they might not see the Champs league so for the likes of Bissouma being a few points off of Europe rather than 14th matters. Like many things today the whole its Steven Gerrard thing is over played in attracting players, more club spin than fact.

  70. And Bingo, just read this from Seville on Carlos.

    He also appeared to explain Carlos’ decision to push for a move as one that was related to the money Villa were offering, and not necessarily for sporting reasons.

    “No, the real reason is we received a good offer in the winter market from Newcastle for Diego,” the director said, in an interview with Sport Witness. “At that time, the player and the agent were very interested in the offer because it was a very good offer for them in terms of time of employment and salary for the player, and commission for the agent.

    “We received a good offer from Newcastle, from a financial standpoint. But the problem was it was in the middle of the season and Carlos was very, very important at that time for us. We had no chance to replace Carlos [in January]. We had been suffering a lot during the season with many injuries, especially defenders.

    “At the time, we were competing to win the league and had a chance to win the Europa League again, after being eliminated from the Champions League. The main reason to not accept the [Newcastle’s] offer was that it was not at the proper time.

    “At the end of the season, we received a new offer from a different team. It was probably better than the first one for the player.

    “He told us that we said it was not possible to sell him in the winter market, but we didn’t promise to sell him in the summer. We told them that when the season finishes, we will surely analyse offers. There was an offer and this is the reason for selling Diego Carlos, because we didn’t need to sell Carlos to balance the books.

    “We wanted to keep Diego Carlos with us, but we understand that a player like Diego, 29, 30 years, it was a very good opportunity, probably not sporting wise, but in terms of money. We respect that because we understand that Diego has played very well for us.”

  71. I reckon Mark makes a fair point about what really attracts players to clubs. I can imagine that the type of manager and style of play will be important to players but if each of us asks ourselves why we’ve moved jobs in the past, I doubt that for many of us, the honest answer would be “because I liked my new line manager”
    Where I think it can apply, is if a player has worked with, or for, a particular manager in the past. You can then imagine that they will be able to have an honest conversation and the player will know that they are likely to enjoy the set up of their new job. Under those circumstances, personal loyalty is likely to come into play.
    How the club makes approaches to a player must be capable of making a difference. If the club makes personal approaches and makes you feel special then it’s bound to sway you to some extent, and certainly if it’s a close call between two offers, then personal relationships could make a difference.
    When the chips are down though, we all look after our own best interests and the signing on fees, annual wage and other benefits are going to be the clincher 9 times out of 10.

  72. Of topic my villain villans
    Bosnich Paul elliot beaky ugo,dorigo Steve hodge snake Walters Joe,benteke and Yorke subs Steve mc mahon Paul rideout downing,

  73. Yep, I’d rather avoid the newcomers for a few weeks as they usually start like a hare out of the traps with its arse on fire before running low on steam. But we always seem to get them away from home first up. Still gutted about Watford last year.

    Let’s hope we show Bournemouth what an EPL team looks like.

  74. I’d bet my house most of them would H&V We have offered more for Carlos and paid him more than Newcastle FFS, let that sink mate. Phils the odd one out as he knows SG and needs a cuddle now and then. Chambers on a free? no brainer and we don’t know who flagged him up, Kamara free and paying him £60m?? I’m sure it was all SG ha.

    Bournemouth away? so what, beat Fulham 3-0 second game season before last and the Watford game was basically after a crap pre-season (no excuse for the second loss though). SG will have loads of time with his team and probably some more stars will be pulled in by the mighty gravitational force that is SG. With the fixture list spread so well I am expecting no 4-5 games losing streaks this season. In fact we should be looking pretty good by Xmas.

    Runtings exactly its only a surprise to H&V 😉

  75. Two things tell me its not all about SG, If you get offered Champs league but less money and you come to Villa, its the money or you have no ambition. The other is the Pat answers when interviewed on arrival. Same answers given by every other player at every other club.

  76. Good on you Frem the Mrs works at a Christian care home its mostly dementia I’ll ask her if there are any pathways for your mate, good luck with it all.

  77. been in footy long enough to know…see a away game agaisnt a newly promoted team is 100x more difficult than it should be.

    its like a cup game. sun blaring, fans excited. middle of winter you want to play these teams.

  78. H&V Ask yourself if the players we have signed for years now came here for the managers alone? Managers have different ideas and choices to make for sure but the likes of Lange are tasked with finding the players and it all has to be ok’d. But most of all if the player doesn’t get offered the right package it doesn’t matter if we had Pep sat there. There are only X amount that fit the bill, Villa have started bringing in players on high/higher wages that’s for certain, if SG was not here then someone else would be making those choices and they might also do it worse or better. Unless you are saying other managers would not pay out on older players as he does ?

  79. Oh and Feb 19th 2022 Villa 0-1 Watford. Doesn’t matter when you play them they are either ready and your not or the other way around. Villa should be buzzing with all these top signings.

  80. I think it’s easy for us to sometimes over-generalize on players and motivation.

    Every player will want to maximize their earnings. At the same time, given more than one option (at relatively the same terms), a manager or destination will probably prove decisive.

    Other factors: How much competition there is (guaranteed to start or not, etc), how the club will showcase them, or not. Do they get the chance to impress for national team consideration?

    And then sometimes, you can obviously offer more money, but they’d prefer to play in the CL, or for a ‘legendary’ club, etc.

    So there’s a couple things going on in the right fit, usually.

  81. Spoke with French lads at work. Asked if they rate Boubacar Kamara. All same response. By far the best French player you’ve ever signed. At 22 years he’s already international class. PSG lads – we wanted him, but a Marseille player cannot join PSG. He would start #6 at PSG

  82. If Boubacar Kamara is the bees knees ( I’m not saying he isn’t or can’t be ) how the hell did we sign him so easily? Its a £60m pound mystery.

  83. My hope is that He releases others to play their game, he keeps it simple and hopefully doesn’t give it straight back like marv, that doesn’t however stop others giving it away in which case he’s gonna be a busy lad in our team.

  84. Kamara is going to need some period of adjustment to the pace of the EPL. Hopefully, he’s a fast learner, he’s certainly young enough.

    What do Lifers think we should do with Archer? Our local comic suggests SG wants to obtain another striker before allowing him to go out on loan. Hmmm, that’s not my view. He’s 20 years old. I think SG should take a good look at him in pre season. We will then have to trust his judgement. He could save us a shed load. I still admire his goal at Stamford Bridge last season.

  85. Plug I think as Archer has knocked down every obstacle given to him since he exploded into life last summer he deserves a chance and with 5 subs he should see plenty of minutes. We are after Wilson and he’s 16 so he will be accessed then loaned out you would think, Pre-season will be massive for both SG and Archer, if SG wants another forward option in then he’ll want him before to long so Archer has to persuade him to hold on to the money or sell Watkins/Ings and buy.

    As much as we have done well quickly so far This next flood of in’s and outs are more in line with normal process, lots will be decided on who’s going where etc even if SG has the pull of a black hole. SG may want a great pre-season but will he get it?

  86. JC, you’re certainly right about there being a number of factors at play influencing which club a player chooses to play for. The manager will be one of them for some players but that will virtually never be the sole reason and rarely the main one. It’s inevitable however that players will sing the praises of both the club and the manager when they do join. Who is going to say “I came for the money”? You can however understand why some players will be fulsome in their praise for the manager. . . . . the person who will determine whether they play or not in future. . . . why wouldn’t they be?

  87. Me, I think Archer deserves a good look. Yeah, he’s young, but he certainly has a finisher’s touch and eye.

    Fast, small…great change-up, think he’d be a handful when playing two up top.

    And he seems very confident.

  88. MK,

    Bouba…yeah, £60m. Was always up to clubs to make him happy, being on a free. Did we end up paying over the odds?

    Breaking into the France side at 22, seems a reasonable risk. Does Gerrard also have something to do with it? Probably yes, depending on who we’re comparing. I think I’d probably be more impressed with SG than Eddie Howe.

  89. JC I look back to Benteke, his famous thoughts about Brum being in London and declaring himself as an Arsenal fan. Now I know not a fat lot about great French mids other than Dechamp or Zidane so how much anyone would be swayed by someone that is well known to me because he’s been bigged up by the media for years in the country I live in. Is SG in the same ball park as those two in the world game? not so sure but the prem is the biggest league so possible.

  90. First time I’ve seen this info but it surely shows that LeTissier was not talking out his arse.

    “Data compiled by the International Olympic Committee show 1,101 sudden deaths in athletes under age 35 between 1966 and 2004, giving us an average annual rate of 29, across all sports. Meanwhile, between March 2021 and March 2022 alone — a single year — at least 769 athletes have suffered cardiac arrest, collapse, and/or have died on the field, worldwide”

  91. Among EU FIFA football athletes, sudden death increased by 420% in 2021. Historically, “about five soccer players have died while playing the game each year. Between January and mid-November 2021, 21 FIFA players died from sudden death”

  92. England U19’s got off to a great start in the Euro’s being held in Slovakia. Beat Austria 2-0 with Chuk grabbing a goal in an excellent performance. Aaron Ramsey and Tim also in the starting line up. The future is bright. COYVB.

  93. Mark, my previous covid related response to you (which I said would be my last) was not released from ‘moderation’ presumably because of the links it contained. The first link showed that there may indeed be an increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis following covid vaccination. This is the sort of article which feeds the sort of concerns you have, particularly when spread unmoderated on social media by those wishing to push a particular agenda or (I suspect in the case of Matt Le Tissier) by people with genuine concerns but not critically assessing ALL the evidence available. This risk is not novel but has been seen in vaccines previously.
    It needs to be seen in the context of the overall balance of risk
    The second article showed that there is increased risk of heart disease (and stroke) following infection with covid. The risk arising from contracting covid was shown to be very significantly higher than that arising from being vaccinated.
    If sudden death of athletes is higher in 2021 than I’m sure you don’t need me to point out what the obvious answer is.
    I’ll copy the last paragraph from my previous response:
    “Right from the start I agreed with you that the case for the safety and efficacy of covid vaccines might not be as completely cut and dried as was being made out but that the balance was overwhelmingly in favour of taking them. There is currently no peer reviewed paper that suggests this isn’t still the case.
    I’ve been offered my fourth jab and will be taking it. . . . I’m just questioning whether to have it now or wait closer to the winter months.
    Ok you’ve lured me into responding this time but honestly it’s best that we don’t continue, so apologies in advance, but I won’t reply to your inevitable come back on this, just take it as read that I disagree with you.”

  94. 3 weeks till pre season

    Would be nice to sign another cm

    Our midfield still is way off top 6 quality. Luiz going sanson going carney going

    I’d like to see Guilbert push cash this season.

    Archer banging the goals in

    I’d certainly any chance fall to him over Watkins

    I still think we need a top forward player in

    Someone like Jonathan David

    Watkins isn’t very good. Traore is going. We need more options

  95. Robbo I have long given up on trying to convince you as your belief in the efficacy of this vaccine is unshakable despite the mounds of eminent doctors/scientists flagging multiple problems that have started since its introduction. Now that’s the kicker, there is data of pre vaccine with Covid , Where it really kicked off is when the Vaccine was introduced.

    Now maybe some combination of the Vaccine and Covid causes problems maybe just the Vaccine but the signal is there and as We have much milder forms of Covid now and Highly vaccinated countries are having these sudden death incidents of young people it looks very suspicious.

    As far as what you have come out with its all pretty much in line with the Vaccines safe Narrative. I suspect you don’t want there to be any other reality to this and neither do I but I’m not going to ignore it either. The Vaccine is as far as I know still in trial and as such is an unknown. I’m really surprised that you think there is some huge group trying to bring down Vaccines the actual number of posters putting up real disinformation is about 0.01% of posters I’ve read. Most of the information is stuff directly from the governments and medical authorities hardly conspiracy stuff is it?

    You reeled out the “Balance of risk line” well at what point did the nurse tell you this might kill you or it might save you in any detail? what information was given to people to way the risk up? none, it was ” the vaccines safe and does XYZ until they found it didn’t and wasn’t, Pfziers trials appear to have been a shit show according to the data released. It is now a vaccine for a defunct Virus so by all means have another if you think you need it, seems pointless and risky to me.

    And the most baffling thing is when the Pandemic started there was an outcry that we must do everything to stop people dying and now it seems that’s gone out the Window once the Vaccine efficacy comes into question.

  96. Frem, Watkins is one of the best strikers we’ve had in decades. Yes he missed some opportunities, but then what striker doesn’t. I agree he’s not Harry Kane or Mo Salah, but we’ve not been in a position to spend THAT much money on recruiting a ready made striker and there’s an element of the ‘luck of the draw’ when you bring in a promising striker that you believe to be on the way up.
    Cameron Archer is looking to be the real McCoy but it’s still a bit soon to be certain. Like you, I’d like to see him given a chance in the first team this season but if Watkins and Ings end up staying then I’d rather he went out on loan again, at least until Christmas rather than warm the bench. I guess you’d have him starting in preference to Watkins or Ings and that’s a reasonable preference.
    To say Watkins is ‘not very good’ is wrong. To want someone better is fair enough but the question is who, and whether we’d be able to attract them or afford them. Did you have someone in mind?

  97. Just one other thought on the striker discussion. Ings has done well elsewhere so are we just not using him properly. Might we be using Watkins better too?
    With the changes to the squad already made, may we see both player’s goal and assist tallies increase this year because the service to them improves?

  98. On the striker issue,for me 1 more quality midfielder is the missing piece of jigsaw,defence has been improved, midfield has slightly improved with kamara but for me it’s still missing a beast,one that really wants to win ,can do the dirty work at ease not dangle a leg like Luis,pass the ball to a teammate unlike mcginn marv

  99. r0bb0

    “To say Watkins is ‘not very good’ is wrong. To want someone better is fair enough but the question is who, and whether we’d be able to attract them or afford them.”


  100. Also, r0bb0:

    “Just one other thought on the striker discussion. Ings has done well elsewhere so are we just not using him properly. Might we be using Watkins better too?”

    Think it goes to MK’s point about the numbers and types of chances created. Sometimes you see a side make only 2-3 chances and bury them all. I know we’ve seen that happen to us.

    But over a season, a striker will convert one in three or four decent chances. Keepers, bounces, mis-hits, woodwork…

    The strikers who seemingly convert every gilt-edged chance, they’re worth a fortune. And with Ings and Watkins, I’d argue we don’t need to be spending £50m-£80m trying to find that guy.

    Buy a couple dominant midfielders for that money instead.

  101. yeah its very harsh on watkins, got a bit of second season syndrom but tail end of season was back to his relentless pressing self. just needs to calm himself a bit more. reminds me of sterling abit as in his shots arent always that clean.

    ings just has never made sense to me. just doesnt seem a good fit for us.

    but agree there with john its all about midfield for me the priority next.

    linked to gallagher now – yes please

  102. does seem a back up lb, cm and maybe a striker is he targets though and am trusting the process completly.

    but is it enough. the prems relentless. see west ham sign a 35mill cb and will get that borja.

    arsenal moving mad. it takes millions just to stand bloody still

  103. but i like the idea of he wants 22 men competing. think we will get another gk too.

    reading about artetas arseanal….exactly what he wants. 2 for each postion.

    with the 5 subs its more a squad game then ever.

    as supporters we really need act bigger in that regard. no more howling when buendia sits out a few games! there all going to play there part.

  104. H&V,

    It is relentless, and it does take a lot of money to stand still.

    But, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Like you say, trust the process and the owners. The entrenched sides aren’t *that* much better. They’re generally just far more consistent.

    And yes, five subs will change things a lot.

  105. john

    yeah man if we can develop as a team this season which there were some signs of.

    become a 90 min team. improve the home from and finally turn defeats into draws is what we need to happen to make some ground up

  106. I’m seeing lots of links to Conor Gallagher which presumably we should ignore as the club seem to prefer doing deals away from the limelight? These days it only takes one blogger to make up a story and it can then take on a momentum of its own and I imagine that’s what’s happening here.
    ‘IF’ there is substance in it though, is he what we need, and is he worth the touted £30m?
    On the face of it, he seems to have a better scoring record than the midfielders I assume we’d be comparing him with (Luiz/McGinn?) but an inferior defensive record. It would seem to be putting a lot of pressure on Kamara in particular to get up to speed and succeed, right from the start of the new season. I suspect that both McGinn and Luiz would have scored more goals if they had a stronger defence behind them so I’m not at all convinced we’d be better off with him ‘instead’ of one of those, but he may be a handy ‘additional’ midfielder.

  107. r0bb0,

    Yeah, so hard to say. Like you, I distrust a lot of the links, but sometimes they are true, or close (ie, there’s interest, but nowhere near as advanced as implied).

    I also know that nature abhors a vacuum, and absent any real news/developments, many accounts/bloggers feel compelled to keep talking about anything to maintain attention.

  108. JC. . . .absolutely! The downside of us having done business so early is that it’s created that vacuum for the next couple of months.

  109. It really has, r0bb0.

    And I think this perennial cycle of engagement is a bit unhealthy. Just like the players need holidays, it’s okay for there to be 2-4 weeks without much going on.

    I know I enjoy the break.

  110. More great contributions from the Villa boys tonight for the England U19’s. Chuk with a goal and 2 assists. Ramsay with an assist and Tim locking up the shop in a 4-0 rout of Serbia.

  111. Our local comic goes from the ridiculous to the bizarre with it’s story on the Archer/Moreles swap suggestion. I really must stop looking at the rag.

    They are suggesting a piece of lead could be swapped for a gold nugget. Is that the best they can do?

  112. I just saw this stat and thought it was worth passing on:
    Since Ollie Watkins joined us, only Son, Salah, Kane, Mane and Jota have scored more non penalty goals than Ollie.
    It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking for missed shots and they then become magnified in your own mind. He’s been one of Villa’s most prolific strikers over the past 3 decades (probably longer), works hard with a lot of off the ball work and hasn’t always had the best service.
    Look at the list of players above and think about the service that those players have received.
    It’s understandable to always be looking for something better, but in the case of Ollie Watkins, I’d say be careful what you wish for.

  113. rObBo, if those stats are accurate (and I’m not doubting them), what a sad indictment of Beaky that he is continually ignored by his country. Only one Englishman ahead of him.

  114. I swear fans are like Goldfish, how many times have managers said I want two for every position? Smith certainly did its not some miracle insight. I’m getting more and more Pissed off as our youngsters like Chuk begin to show their worth and their route is blocked. As the aim was supposedly to be contesting the European spots in 5 years whilst building a strong youth element to coincide at that juncture we appear to be trying to run before we can walk.

  115. But marks is wrong about the youth not getting a chance,ramsay already a regular,iron bru has started a match and being involved in ones,o reilly chrisnee have being on the bench others have went on loan,what other Premier league clubs are doing better

  116. Yep, Chuk was the stand out performer for the U 19’s tonight. Head and shoulders above all others. He just needs to bridge the (big) gap between 19 year olds and the EPL.

  117. Plug,

    Yeah, Chuk was great the 1st half. Some great turns and runs. His crisp fast low passes were amazing. I didn’t see much from him 2nd half. Ramsey looked good when is came on for Chuk.

    The pitch was atrocious. Some parts were a swamp. Not sure why EUFA would allow the game to be played under those conditions

  118. I’d give Chuk whatever he wants. We should be building a team around him. Seems like he wants more mins. Give him a fat 5-year contract and loan him out to a Championship footballing team with a clause that he must start if fit

  119. Is anyone certain or sure carney deserves to get more time than Gérard has gave him,different level at under age football compared to premier league, for me it all boils down to our spine or lack of it,maybe Carlos and kamara will make all the difference, me I still want another midfielder in ,one with height strength and can pass the ball to a teammate

  120. I do not see how Carney Chukuemeka will stay at Villa;especially being linked with the likes of Borussia Dortmund. He clearly believes in his own hype and i think he should be sold.
    We have a good number 8 in Morgan Sanson plus the likes of Jacob Ramsey. Gerrard has always rated a strong preseason as key to a good season and now is his opportunity to fully stamp his authority in the team.
    I am not his fan but i wish him all the best.

  121. JG nope I’m not wrong, We have had Jack and Ramsey break through to hold down a starting place even city have Foden, Spurs have Kane and others West Ham Rice, Brighton have loads and have sold loads, Brentford, Man utd, Arsenal, Liverpool have played ten youth and have TAA. We will see now the new 5 subs rule is in whether they see pitch time or the bench. Tims had what one game and a couple of sub appearances and was dumped for an unfit marv and now is likely behind Kamara and Marv. Chuk has to dislodge Phil or Beundia. With the window barely begun by season start I will be amazed to see them unless some are great in pre-season.

  122. Chuk, youth.

    It really comes down to how much is on winning now.

    Chuk may fancy himself, and he certainly may come good…but it’s a big step up from the U19s, and I’ve not seen that he’s ready to come in and start as yet.

    Course he needs minutes to get used to things and make that case, so back to the first sentence.

    I’m sure Villa would like to build his profile and get more for him than they’re likely to atm, but there just may not be a spot he push himself into just yet.

    Five subs ought to give him more chances.

  123. Not so good from the England U19’s today. Even the Villa boys were below par. Maybe the number of games in a short space of time affected them? But they still made the final on Friday.

    The media must have been watching a different game to me. They enthuse about Devine and Norton-Scruffy but I thought those two were ratchet although Devine did make 1 of his corner’s count. The others he kicked out for throw ins.

    It’s Israel again in the final. We can beat them but I wouldn’t have fancied our chances as much against France who looked full of energy.

  124. Botman does not look overjoyed at his photo shoot on joining the Wai Ayes. Guess he’s seen their training facilities for the first time. They make small heath’s “training facilities” at Wast Hills look like the Ritz.

  125. JC- In our position its chicken and egg but feels like we are now trying to buy that whole Chicken before the eggs we bought have had chance to hatch. Ideally that would of happened on Prem return so as to be able to bring kids on but we all know that wasn’t possible with the team we had and constraints.

    What I do know is we will have to have one hell of a season to get top 8 next year unless a few more surprises happen. It could be time has done its job and the team emerges, or the opposite, the team needs more time.

    No Chuks performances at top level haven’t been stellar nor often enough, a team like ours is not in the position to be generous it seems.

  126. Plug,

    Had a chance to look through the proposal. Makes sense, exactly the sort of thing I’d expect from Edens.

    Agree, it’s a good step forward.

  127. MK,

    Yeah, top 8 is a big ask. We sort of seem to ‘expect’ it, but it’s not easy when none of the clubs aiming for those spots is standing still.

  128. MK and JC, is 8th a big ask? You say “we sort of expect it” . . . . .well how far off were we last year and what has moved in our favour?
    If Dean Smith was sacked for a poor start to the season, you have to believe that it was expected that he’d have won at least 2 more games, otherwise why sack him. That would have put us within a whisker of 8th.
    ]We all feel that we’ve brought in some good new players.
    Our existing, young squad, is a year older and wiser.
    Steven Gerrard now knows the players and will have a pre-season with the existing players plus the key new ones.
    One or two of the academy players look likely to be ready to make the step up, at least to start on the bench, and then strengthen our options with 5 substitutions

    If that’s not worth the one extra point that’s then needed, then there’s something wrong.

    So yes. . . . I for one do expect at least 8th.

  129. Expectations eh? The coming season is Compass’s 5th at the helm. Weren’t we informed that the aim was to reach Europe in 5 years? No guarantees of course, but a desire.

    There is still a good period of time for teams to strengthen and only when the window closes can we assess the situation more accurately. Of the teams above us up to P5, Newcastle are the most likeliest to gain ground because I have no faith in FFP stopping them. Depends on Howe. If he screws up, they’ll install someone like Ancellotti or Simeone pronto.

    Can Wolves keep losing players and defy gravity? Same with Brighton and Palace? Are Leicester and West ‘Aamm on the wane? I expect us to gain significantly more points in the coming season than last otherwise we’ve failed. How far the extra points take us, only time will tell.

    So many questions. Over to you SG for the solutions.

  130. Good summary Plug.
    Has the overall quality of players gone up and will the quality of football in the league therefore steadily increase, or is it just a question of how the best players are distributed between the teams? I reckon it’s the latter and therefore, as Plug suggests, some teams will improve but others will therefore surely go backwards.
    I do think that we are one of those teams that has genuinely improved. We also shouldn’t forget the chaotic pre-season last year and the number of early season injuries which ‘hopefully’ won’t be repeated this year.
    At the end of last season we were showing signs of playing some good football. We all know that we were also showing some mental fragility at times and this is clearly something that SG has been aiming to address.
    I would be very surprised if he doesn’t instill some real belief into the squad at the start of the season and if we can manage a couple of decent early results, I can see the confidence really starting to kick in.

  131. r0bb0, Plug:

    Good thoughts. It is all about relative strengthening/weakening, and the mentality of the team.

    I do think we’ve gotten better, and it may be enough. Barring big surprises, we’ll figure it’s 7th and 8th that are realistic.

    I’ve always said if we can simply grind out more draws, there’s some decent points to be had.

    So, if the team is better and tougher, can be more consistent, find ways not to lose, it’s certainly possible.

    And of course, the stated aim was CL, but there have been some hiccups beyond control, and it really is hard to to vault that 4th-6th hurdle.

    I get the expectation, but it’s a long grind, consistency and mental toughness have to grow. “Big ask” doesn’t equal “impossible” by any means, but it does require a pretty significant step forward.

  132. I certainly agree that we seem to be making the right kinds of moves.

    Quality of the league? My guess is that it’s gotten better, though it’s kind of hard to quantify. Given the PL’s stature and spending power, seems like it’s attracting talent from all but the CL clubs on the continent.

    But again, I’ve not done any research to quantify that. Newcastle can clearly now match us in spending at least. West Ham have less to play with, but probably enough in context. Not sure about the debt position, though.

    Anyway, there’s having the money, and then how you spend it. Hopefully we’re spending better.

  133. I thought the 5 year aim was initially to be in around those European places consistently or at least challenging? and was that before the unexpected 1st season promotion which really had zero planning behind it? It was Tony who voiced the Champs league in 5 years I think.

    Now last season you have to say was despite a poor start an opportunity to hit 8th. season before we had 55 points and got 11th West ham got 56 for 7th and Leicester who were poor all season got 52, so will that spread happen again? Manure were dreadful and got 58 in 6th Now Arsenal got 69 for 5th.

    For me despite the additions of Phil, Chambers and Digne all top players plus the keeper and returning players we did sod all but go backwards after xmas, so yeah at times we played some nice stuff (we always do) but overall we could of got relegated for the second time that season 😉

    We didn’t beat a single real top team last season, Leicester was it and Manure under Smith. If we are to get that top 8 spot then we have to claw back points from the top sides to keep them near us, chances of beating all the clubs under 8th are Zero or we’d be top 6 on that alone.

    Yep long way to go yet on transfers but its not exactly the SG magnet freight train that’s going on at present is it. Yes we have to be better with our buys than others
    but really we need to be smarter because despite the money we are not quite top drawer attraction.

    Wolves we will see what the manager is made of did very well last season, Leicester surely can’t be as poor, Everton? they will improve. Palace we will see what Vierra brings in, Leeds you have to think will improve on last season. Newcastle if they want can spend a whopping £600m and still be inside the FFP guidelines as they have spent sod all under Ashley. West Ham? should improve but could be this seasons Everton? (not really) Then there is the new clubs that can throw up a surprise or two. There are 13 teams that did better than us last season all looking to improve, Brighton? they have steadily improved despite selling their stars. Anyone from us in 14th to them in 9th could push higher it was so tight, only 7 points for us for the rest less.

    So really its down to

  134. Also if SG goes gung-ho on getting players in that will start it could end up in a massive backfire, Many top managers have said that to many players into that 1st 11 at one time is difficult as you just cannot predict the interplay, if you have 8 that are known and bring in 3 that is more than enough, after that the dynamics are to many to predict.

  135. I’m thinking right now that there may not be a lot more business, probably for exactly the reason you state, MK.

    We got in, did our business. Keep seeing links, but I’m thinking maybe only one more, depending on outgoings. Seems to be the focus, atm. Obviously seems to be interest in Luiz, looks like Trez is pretty much off finally.

    Might be the case that in addressing glaring needs quickly, SG wants to see how everyone else gets on before doing anything more. I’m guessing Bailey and Traoré probably need the most evaluation, not least to see how they contribute to the system, or how the system might be adapted to use them.

  136. Watching the England U21s in their Euro final against Israel. The Villa boys saw us home in extra time. Thought Chuks goal may have been offside. Ramsey’s goal was a tap in too. On the skillness scale I’d give Israel 8 and our boys 3. Devine must be related to the staff to get picked. He’s awful. But over the final, England couldn’t pass water. Saved by the Villa boys in the end.

  137. We didn’t win many first balls tonight. And the coaching that teaches players to fall over when they lose the ball only ensured we didn’t win any second balls either.

  138. JC I think your right, Maybe another mid dependent on exits but where it could get interesting is if it all looks iffy in pre-season and we go in late on to correct stuff (or panic as its known. Might be down to who shows up from the youth enough to get a squad number.

  139. Plug- Falling over has its place, its when you have nowhere to go and draw a foul not at every contact slightly rougher than a puff of wind, can’t understand the mentality other than it breaks up play. I loved to get stuck in and it was part of the game sadly no more.

  140. Plug, yes England were saved by the Villa boys in the end. Ramsey should have been put in for a simple tap in earlier but the youngster with the ball (can’t remember who it was) made an immature choice and went for goal instead.
    Chukwuemeka looked real class but if I was going to level any criticism it would be that he seemed to be pacing himself for much of the game. He’d probably been on the pitch through the tournament as much as anyone so maybe it’s understandable. It did cross my mind howevwr that maybe he risks becoming a Pogba type of player . . . . you know that he can be the best player on the pitch, but he chooses when he wants to be.

  141. I’ve thought it before and I’m sure it’s been said by others on here, but the rules around the ‘professional’ yellow card need to be changed. In every game, you will see players realising that the opponent that’s going past them could score or assist a goal so they take them out. They know a yellow card is coming but feel that it was ‘worth it’. You’ll often hear commentators describing the incidents in exactly those terms.
    A red card would seem too harsh, but a yellow is certainly too lenient and is doing little or nothing to curb these ‘professional’ fouls. If the footballing bodies want more goals and more exciting football then they really should address this.

  142. Plug, MK.

    I’m all for going down if there’s a foul…one that might not otherwise get called.

    But, I guess it’s because I’m old and my best days were in a different era, but I was more of a battler. If I wasn’t taken clean off my feet, I really didn’t like anyone getting the better of me, and going down soft just wasn’t on. Even if it meant I got up and just fouled back.

    I think what annoys me more than anything is defenders going over when you breathe on them. You basically just have to let them have the ball instead of forcing them into a pickle or mistake.

  143. On the professional foul…Yeah, it’s hard to give a straight red if it isn’t dangerous play and it’s further up the field (not a clear scoring oppty).

    It’s a foul you need to make. But…I also think that accumulation ought to come into play and maybe sometimes it could be a red if you’ve been fouling all day and somehow escaped a yellow.

    I guess I just don’t see a consistent pattern on those yellows for accumulation. Seems like they really have to go out of their way to get one.

  144. r0bb0,

    I think that’s been my perception of Chuk, just sort of gliding around and not really seeming to try and make challenges, win it back, etc.

    But, it’s a very limited sample, his PL minutes, and it could be like JJ, he’s a little timid/awed and trying to find the flow. Ramsey got better at it.

    I don’t think SG will suffer a MF who isn’t committed both ways.

  145. All the best in your new venture Trez. You scored some important goals for us.

    Anyone seen Mark? Probably down the ale house drowning his sorrows!!

  146. Plug I’m disappointed that None of the players have come out and said how much better Neil Critchley’s training sessions are than Beale’s 😉

  147. SG says that we ended up 3 points off of where he challenged the team to be? which would be 12th or 13th as it was? bit of a funny statement for me but hey.

    What’s really good news is the team have come back in good shape so hopefully the likes of Bailly etc can show what they are worth. And you would presume we will get to see something closer to Gerrards plan hitting the field from the off in August.

  148. Robbo- I agree but then we will be stuck with god knows what afterwards. Guaranteed it won’t be someone with real integrity and a brain. Never seen such a poor selection of politicians from all parties. One things for sure it will either allow the country to get moving or will just show them all up for what they are, more interested in their party’s/careers over the people they serve.

  149. Mark, yep, all a bit depressing. Not just in the UK though. Possibly something to do with social media which has made sound bites even shorter and misinformation more readily spreadable.

    At least here, we’re managing to get rid of a dishonest politician whereas in the US, tribal loyalties of elected representatives prevented it and even the election process nearly failed.

  150. Robbo- Because Bidens so honest? 🙂 I think for the vast majority it is a matter of how much they are lying, Boris couldn’t help himself and was so obvious but the outright attempts at stopping him enacting policies was equally obvious, same as with Trump. Then again look at the way the voters are treated, no trust in them to make decisions for their own good so spoon fed garbage. And misinformation goes both ways, see following the science etc, beginning to look like not much science was done or followed and still isn’t.

    I hope whomever gets the post is tough enough and clever enough and cuts through this mire of Woke B#llocks we have found ourselves in at the very least. If you can’t talk honestly then what’s left? Hopefully it will be someone who follows the policies they were voted in for and doesn’t spring even more on us.

  151. Watched the game, thought Carlos looked composed and had good positional sense, Archer made a chance and tucked it away, very impressive as he didn’t get a fat lot on his own up top. Bailey got a goal and worked hard but didn’t see much spark yet, It was a funny set up with Traore, Bailey and ElGhazi behind Archer. Second half Beundia looked fit and was very busy. Kids did well enough and didn’t disappoint and a lot played. Young played the entire game?? U23 keeper did too. Sanson looked good and fit. Marv did Marv things as Usual.

    Missing were McGinn, Kamara, Phil, Digne, Cash , Martinez and the other keeper.

    Apart from Watkins Mings and Carlos I can’t imagine any of the others are nailed on to start in Aug.

  152. I didn’t get to see the game, so thanks for those thoughts Mark. Some of the missing players are already in Aus ahead of next weekend’s game against Leeds. Don’t know why, but they are.

    It’s a bit warm here for footie, I note the evening temperature in Brisbane is 8 degrees.

  153. More than one third of the EPL this season comprise Laandan clubs. Seven in total. If we say Watford is Laandan (near enough), we collected a miserable 5 points from them last season.

    Here’s hoping we achieve a big improvement on that this season.

  154. MK,

    Trump, aka TFG, is about the most dangerous thing that’s ever happened in the American presidency. He came within a whisker of breaking the office and the peaceful transfer of power, and thereby breaking American democracy. He should be in jail for his attempted coup.

    He should’ve been in jail a long time ago for his various sexual assaults and financial frauds.

    He had no agenda other than bringing out the racists and white christian nationalists.

    Boris is a mean-spirited, lying buffoon of privilege. Talk about him all you like.

    Trump is exponentially worse as a human and leader. I’m very serious when I say I won’t have TFG’s name (or anything else about him) appearing here.


  155. Oooooooooooooooooooooh! Politics on a football blog. It will be religion next! Still 4 weeks to go, things are going to get even worse.

  156. Looks like Sterling is going to Chelsea for £47.5m. Wow. I think Sheik Rattle n Roll has had Boehly’s trousers down. Chelsea blew £95m last summer on Lukaku who turned out to be a dud. Only half as much this time for another dud.

  157. Plug,

    Will be curious to see how Sterling does away from City. But I sure wouldn’t be spending £48m on him.

    Wesley…Such a shame all round.

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