It’s all been fairly quiet, though preparations are about to ramp up. Villa are playing with kangaroos and koalas in Australia as they settle in, then take on Leeds at the weekend. A a backup left back has been secured for the season in Ludwig Augustinsson, and rumors continue regarding Otavio.

I only got to see the Walsall highlights but it went just about to script. Young Archer has to feel good netting straight away this summer. Kid just seems to know where the goal is. Odd to see Ghazi back out there, and I feel a bit for him, with the Everton loan having been so disappointing. Traoré had a couple good balls into the box to go with a couple shots, Bailey took his early chance very well, and Ollie calmly slotted away a good ball from young O’Reilly. Dougie got a funny one from a corner where the keeper should have done better.

With Kesler Hayden, Revan, Azaz, Feeney, Chrisene, and O’Reilly all getting minutes with the various first-teamers, it was a good day for the young players to make some sort of impression and give Gerrard a better idea what he’s got there.

It could be a bit of a new-look Leeds on Sunday, with Raphinha (purportedly) and Phillips gone. The Whites look to net a tidy sum (I’m seeing £100m for the pair). In the short term, they’ve brought in Marc Roca and Tyler Adams from the Bundesliga, both holding midfielders to address the Phillips departure.

With Brisbane up midweek and then United up the following Saturday, Villa will get a hard week’s work in and a chance to measure themselves a little bit against Premier League competition before finishing with Stade Rennais at the end of July.

Having been so quiet, it’s a bit hard to believe we’re less than a month away from the opener at Bournemouth August 6.

On the transfer front, paper talk about Otavio is ongoing, with Porto signaling his release clause (around £34.5m) needs to be triggered since the player has three years left on his contract. No idea if there are any legs to this one. Villa reportedly made a £30m opening offer, and if that’s true, they’re not far off the mark. £4m can’t really make any difference. But they’ll have to act quickly if he is a real target as his clause rises to £52m on the 15th. He’s 27, so he’d be tipped to make an instant contribution.

We also keep hearing Villa are interested in one more striker. Maybe Archer does need to go out on loan again, but I’d be hard-pressed not to keep him around instead.

And, of course, no idea whether outgoings need to proceed any further big buys. We’ll almost certainly have to take whatever we can get for Ghazi, and if we’re still chasing another midfielder, you have to wonder how long Sanson or Marv has.

With Ashley Young signing a new one-year deal and playing the Walsall 2nd half at right back, you also have to wonder what’s wrong with Guilbert. Regardless, he won’t want to be backup to Cash, so I’m guessing we’ll see what we can get for him. Clearly opens a path for Kesler Hayden, which is what you want to see.

Naturally, the five subs rule comes into effect this season, which will change the game markedly. Everyone needs even more depth now, and it will probably be tough for some of the less-flush clubs to make meaningful additions. Villa should be pretty well poised to make changes and keep up the quality and intensity, and you know this will figure into the upcoming decisions.

Anyway, that’s where we are at the moment, and I’m glad things are picking up. Been nice to have a break since football is just about a year-round affair, but I’m ready for what I’m hoping will be a much less frustrating season.

We’ll vary in our opinions about whether Villa can or should crack the European places, but that’s clearly the expectation with our recent signings. So it’s a big season for Gerrard, as well.

Me, I think it will be tough simply because the PL isn’t easy, and Villa’s biggest issue has been consistency. But if we can just turn more losses into draws we’ll go a long way to picking up the necessary points, and we might well expect another 3-5 wins. A deeper squad certainly won’t hurt.

Over to you.

Comments 163

  1. Nice write up John. Gerrard is only playing the youth simply because the main guys are not around. His ideal team should be know during the Aussie tour.
    I am not optimistic of his prospects as our trainer, but as a Villa fan, it is my duty to get behind the team.
    I think the squad is pretty much done and i hope the rumor that we are looking to add another midfielder does not grow legs.
    Kamara as the number six and Sanson as a number eight should give McGinn licese to roam forward.
    Carney is another excellent option for the number 8 considering the excellent tournament he just had at the Euros Under 19. UTV.

  2. Shows what the media know about our transfer business, late Saturday night new left back name broke,now please one more really quality midfielder and that will do,quite a few to shift permanently Freddie hause elgazi davies and Luis,loan out most of youth

  3. Hey guys.

    We are still a couple of players short.

    We need a athletic, technical number 8 to play ahead of mcginn

    And we need a number 9 who’s clinical.

    Ings isn’t good enough, Watkins isn’t good enough to be starting every week

    Archer i like clinical as anything.

    Ings I’d sell and hopefully we will go big on a 9.

  4. Hopefully Gerrard could play a lot more of the youngsters in these upcoming friendlies. The likes of Philogene Bidace, Aaron Ramsey, Cameron Archer, Josh Feeney and Ben Chrisene should be more involved.
    Even some of the best sides like Ajax majorly play youngsters to gauge their capabilities in preseason.
    The owners have invested a lot in revamping the academy over the years including hiring some excellent coaches and related staff. My prayer is that they get some reward for all that investment.

  5. The number 8 issue is a thorny one for Gerrard. He wants a number reight who can score goals; a box to box player. McGinn is one of them, but i feel he could be better when pushed up further.
    Chukwuemeka wants out, same as Douglas Luiz. The interest in Connor Gallagher is understandable.
    I think Morgan Sanson could fit into the role nicely, allowing McGinn to ramp up his goals/assists total for us. Though i doubt whether he would score the goals that Gerrard wants. JJ for me does not tackle enough.

  6. JV, I have my doubts about SJM. His place is the one I see in need of upgrading. He’s been a great soldier for us, but I think he is down on pace required at the higher end of EPL.

  7. carney…what an idiot.

    didnt realise how big this oz tour is….and he would get guaranteed mins. but hes at home running around bh cause his agents in his ear and will go barca.

    good luck with that.

  8. yep frem

    if we wont to push the top 8 for me as 8 and 9 a must.

    other clubs are making good moves.


    yeah mcguin not good enough to be a guarantee starter in a european pushing team.

    i think he can be better with a number 6 now andsg did say they were holding him back.

    expect to see him bombing on more now which suite him

  9. We should have achieved 8th, or very close to it last year. If you don’t believe that then you ‘must’ believe that it was wrong to get rid of Dean Smith (I can go over the reasons again if you want)

    To say that we now ‘need’ a new number 8 and 9 in order to achieve 8th despite the changes we’ve already made cannot be right. . . .it just can’t. The logic just doesn’t stack up.

    I’m not saying we may benefit from an extra 8 and or 9 (although I’d question both) but that should be if our target is ‘at least’ 6th this year.


    When are we going to stop playing this guy? Jesus christ. He’s absolutely horrific at finishing

    Play archer he doesn’t miss

    Or sign a good striker man

    Luiz to in midfield doing absolutely nit3ss usual

    We aren’t going anywhere if Luiz and Watkins are starting for us again this season

    Go spend big on a striker and cm

  11. On where we might finish in the coming season, the bookies may be a useful reference point. The average current odds have us finishing 9th.

  12. Much has been talked about us getting in a full pre season and its benefits, yet Critchley has not travelled to Aus due to a “passport issue”.

  13. The game against Leeds was all about fitness improvements mainly with a chance to try a few options for evaluation. We really should have beaten them by 3 goals. As Frem says, one on one with the keeper should be a goal. Whatever happened to dropping a shoulder in front of the keeper to put him off balance whilst rounding him and tapping in?

  14. Got to see last 20 odd mins of game,who thought it good idea to play a friendly between dirty Leeds and US
    Still worried about our midfield ,,Carlos looks a beast,Feeny never put a foot wrong,beundi needs to grow up ,petulance every time he is tackled not good enough,missed all of kamaras debut

  15. west spam signing borja

    teams are doing some great business.

    i include forest in that! there moving mad

    its going to be tough again.

    as it stands i take the same view as last season dont get dragged into the bottom 6.

    we need that striker and number 8 to propel us and catch up to maybe do a wolves last season

  16. yeah just dont trust him when he has time to think.

    but i think mid is still an issue and are we starting both phil and buendia?

    a 8 and pickiing who plays along side our st is more an issue.

    should tick along fine with ings and watkins. a 9 is the last pice of the puzzle

  17. Heroes
    After all the money spent we need to achieving at least top 8,
    As for players keeper back 4 are good shape 1st choice and reserves
    Midfield me I would play a 4 2 3 1 so I am looking for a partner for kamara preferably a 6 plus bruiser then the 3 we have plenty of options and finally the striker with 5 subs no need to burn anyone out ,would be happy enough with what we got

  18. james

    100% if we want coutinho and buendia in the same team 4231 the way to go…looks like we may be playing that in todays friendly?

    our net spend under sg is £20mill.

    current first team squad hopefully challenge top 10 but could easily not…its brutal.

    forest signing lingaard…west spam signing borja. arsenal doing great deals.

    surprsied foxes havent signed anyone though and toon pretty quite

  19. i guess though bailey could be literally like a new signing. much needed pace too. alongside phil and buendia with watkins or ings ahead could be tasty

    has sanson a future? again literally a new player for us if survives pre season

  20. Well, Having seen all Villa’s pre-season games to date, I am very impressed with all our young guns, but the likes of McGinn, Coutinho, Bailey, Traore, Digne, Watkins, and several others leave a lot to be desired.
    The only goal scored against Leeds came from a penalty, and we never looked like scoring.
    Today against an average Australian side we did not look any better in the first half, and in fact they had more shots and corners. It was only in the second half with Archer, Ramsey, Kessler-Hayden, and Iroegbunam, that Villa showed some good potential, as they moved the ball well, and Ludwig Augustinsson had a decent debut.
    We have a seriously long way to go yet, if we are going to be looking for top six/seven places.
    The United game is maybe going to show where we really are.

  21. H&V,

    Sanson looked okay when he played in the friendly, and certainly will be fighting for a place, along with Nakamba, Guilbert may also still be challenging Cash, but Kessler-Hayden is very close.
    Bailey still has some way to go, after today’s showing.
    Gerrard is going to have his work cut out to get a really good blend that works well, but he does not seem to be there yet.
    Kamara has looked ok so far too.
    Buendia has also shown himself well today, playing with the young guns.

  22. I find our lack of fire power and the fact that we have not addressed it very worrying for the new season ….at the moment 10th would be good with our current squad it needs further improvement
    The fact young Archer is our top scorer and perhaps our most dangerous player in these friendlies says it all

    We need more goals up front and from midfield if we are going to challenge for Europe imo so I am expecting a fair amount of late movement in the squad if we are serious about our aims

  23. It was the proverbial barn door we couldn’t hit today. SJM, Traore, Bailey all failed miserably with their shooting. That is a worry. Even Archer missed an easy chance, although he did make up for it.

    I will echo PP’s comments above. Very accurate.

  24. Thanks for that Plug.
    I am sure that we will improve, but still early days. El Ghazi still with us, is maybe a possibility, as he has been one of our main strikers until last season. He only missed Oz because his wife is about to deliver, but will he fit a Gerrard system!
    Looking forward now to the United game on Saturday.

  25. I’ve been delinquent and have some catching up to do on the friendlies.

    But, I’d probably think we shouldn’t take too much from them yet. I remember summers when we’ve looked like we’d be flying only to come down with a thud.

    Today’s match, guessing they’re probably a little tired (if they’ve been working hard) and perhaps wanting something in the tank for United.

    That said, you obviously do want to see something to get a bit excited about.

  26. Not going to get too excited about pre season friendlies, more interested in what more transfer business we are going to do,or any of our rivals for league positions, in reality West ham Leicester Palace Everton etc haven’t improved ,we have even Newcastle have only improved defensively
    Up to Gérard to get a decent tune out of our squad or he will be gone before the turkey is cooked

  27. Have to say I’m finding the talk of 8th being tough to achieve totally bizarre . . . .unless those suggesting it have zero faith in Gerrard.
    Maybe that is the case?
    We’re only taking 2 wins more than last year to achieve 8th and those 6 points were lost under Dean Smith. . . . unless you think he shouldn’t have been sacked at all?

    It’d be good to know why people think 8th is a tall order.

    Is it because you think Dean Smith was a better manager than Gerrard and shouldn’t have been sacked?
    Do you think that our signings have been poor?
    Do you think our existing players are now over the hill and will be going backwards?
    Do you think there are no decent players coming up form the Academy?
    Do you think that we are going to have more injuries and a more disrupted pre-season that last year?
    Honestly. . . . .I just don’t get the pessimism.

  28. Can only speak for myself, but I’ve not yet made a prediction of our finishing place due to teams still strengthening their squads. Will be better placed when the window closes.

    But I have pointed out the Bookies average finishing place for us next season is currently 9th. The only thing I’m sure about is that if we are 14th come November, SG will be gone.

    That said, I’m looking forward to a much improved season this time around.

  29. Wow!
    What a game today!
    First half, Gerrard played what one may consider to be his starting eleven, and they were extremely poor, losing 2-0, and not looking much better than in other games. Second half, what a difference!
    Bailey came on and scored within minutes and was outstanding for the whole of the second half. What a player we have there!
    The difference between the two halves, was like chalk and cheese. Kessler-Hayden for Cash was an improvement. What a player he is going to be. Archer for Ings, another improvement. Buendia for Coutinho, Sanson for Mcginn, all improvements.
    The young guns, along with a super fit Ashley Young for Digne, and captain, kept United on thee run for a large part of the second half.
    We were aggressive, winning second balls, and showing a real fight.
    Feeling a lot better about what we have for the season, and with depth in this squad. Even if we do not sign anymore players, we look a much stronger team with Sanson, Bailey, Archer, Carlos, Kessler-Hayden, Young, and Kamara.
    Worth watching the match in full, and comparing the two halves, and Stevie Gerrard’s face was a picture when we scored the equalizer bang on full-time!

  30. Hi Frem.
    Bailey will definitely start after today’s showing. He looks like a real bargain now!
    Archer should get his place over Ings, and his finishing will make a difference.
    Bailey could also be played as a striker!
    Buendia should be in front of Coutinho, more aggressive and wants to win the ball all the time.
    Sanson is going take Mcginn’s place, if he is not careful. Kamara is getting better with game time, but great potential.
    Lots of challenge among the centre backs now with Mings, Konsa, Carlos and Chambers.
    Young could be pushing Digne for the left back slot, and Kessler-Hayden will do the same with Cash!

  31. A game of 2 halves. One crap, one good. Pitch was atrocious so complaints about our 1st half are tempered accordingly. Kessler is ready at this level. Liked Sanson’s contribution too. Bailey will be like a new signing.

  32. 2 weeks to go ,still want my midfield bruiser,why have we got so many players so uncomfortable with the ball cash mings mcginn Watkins to name a few
    Hope Gérard sees we can’t start Watkins and ings especially against any of the top sides

  33. JG.
    We don’t need a bruiser, as we have both Sanson and McGinn who are capable of winning the ball, without being over physical. Sanson has looked good in his last two outings, and will be well in contention for a start, and Buendia is not afraid of being physical and fighting.
    Players today, especially in the second half were looking much more confident. Last pre-season next Saturday, and by then, Gerrard should be close to getting his team together. This season we will be looking at a team of up to sixteen players now with five substitutes available.

  34. There’s been plenty of comment about Ings and Watkins not working together. We know they’re both quality strikers but Gerrard needs to find a way of getting the best out of them and that may well mean alternating them during a game. Five subs will make that an easier option than before. Archer is nipping at their heels too, so we should have more than enough options up front . . . . they just need to properly click with their midfielders and most importantly. . . . . .go into games believing they’re going to score.

  35. Great to hear Tuchel whinging in the media this morning about his side getting battered by the Arse. That’s one Champion’s League place not nailed on for the coming season. Welcome to the new reality Tuke, now that Abramovic has gone.

  36. From a position of ante, I’m now looking forward to the 5 subs allowance rule. I do believe we have a much stronger bench now and SG has the chance to ensure plenty of game time will be available for them. The possibilities were on display against Man Ure. Can’t wait for the opener at Bournemouth.

  37. Agree with manure comments.

    First half was really poor, I’d have thought everyone was equally leggy. Buendia really does offer more fight and seemingly just as much through-ball quality as Phil.

    Bailey indeed like a new signing, and thought SG’s comment about Leon now apparently trusting his body more was telling. He was getting stuck in on defense, and was a constant menace going forward.

    Still not that keen on our narrowness…Seems far too easy to play out against Watkins ( not his fault), Ings and Phil. We were definitely more aggressive in the second, and made it much harder higher up the pitch.

    Not sure what United’s total situation is, but we actually seemed to have had the deeper bench on the day.

  38. Pp
    Our midfield for last 3 seasons has been our weakpoint,and kamara on his own won’t solve it
    Didn’t see yesterday’s game but typical one good half one awful half
    Young lads getting great reviews which is great hopefully a couple will break through
    Looking forward to season no excuses allowed now for gerard

  39. JG,
    Agreed that our midfield has been our weak point until now, but lot of potential now with Sanson, Kamara, Ramsey, Tim I, McGinn, Buendia and Nakamba. There is now plenty of competition.
    We now have a lot of potential among our players, and a deeper squad. I hope we don’t make the mistake of sending too many out on loan, or selling too many.

    This is going to be a huge season for Gerrard to really prove himself in the Premier league, as a manager. To think it is only a few years ago that the bookmakers suspended betting on Thierre Henri becoming our manager!

  40. if we are still talking about coutiho/buendia come xmas gerrard will be gone.

    pre season so far hasnt shown me he has sorted the clear formation he wants.

    steve – 2 up top will not work. stop it. they cant play togther and dont suit our style or compliment each other.

    ings really was a bad signing.

  41. my hope is i think sg likes bailey. when he was available last season he did play him.

    but if he starts those 2 up top with phil in the hole its not happening. 0 chemisrty with them and they just dont suit at all.

    weve done well adding kamara and carlos….offering us alot more stature, physicality….we need that now in the final 3rd

  42. Some good comments H&V.
    I am not sure that Digne is strong enough defensively, and he will have competition for his place, as will Cash. Konsa and Chambers were good together against united second half, and they will be making strong contention for Carlos and Mings, but Mings is liable to retain his place and the captaincy at the moment.
    Sanson on pre-season showing should be in the midfield, challenging McGinn, who is still vice-captain. Luiz and Kamara will also be challenging, alongside Jacob Ramsey.
    I do not see Buendia and Coutinho playing together, as it hasn’t worked so far.
    For me, the team against Bournemouth could be:

    Kessler-Hayden, Konsa, Mings, Carlos,
    Ramsey, McGinn, Buendia,
    Bailey, Archer, Watkins
    Olsen, Cash, Digne, Young, Konsa, Chambers, Kamara, Luiz, Coutinho, Iroegbunam, Ings El Ghazi

  43. Also we still have Nakamba, Hause, Guilbert, Davis, Augustinsson, Traore, Feeney, Chukwuemeka, A Ramsey,Chrisene, Philogene-Bidace, and Marshall Still looking for a place.
    Several of these will be sold or go on loan, but we have a much deeper squad now than we have ever had.

  44. r0bb0 re your question I deffo like our manager so for me its more about how equipped we are to fight for Europe
    The squad’s that finished above us will have mostly improved with some continuing to try and make further improvements so to go from13th to top 7 for Europe will take a pretty big leap
    We have a pretty good squad but for me we do not produce enough goals so a boost upfront and someone that is a goal getter from midfield will I think take us a lot closer to were we are aiming to be

  45. My team for starter
    Cash mings(c)Carlos digne
    Kamara mcginn
    Coutinho ramsay Bailey

    We are away so hoping ings can hold it up with Bailey breaking at speed with good use of subs Watkins archer beundi sansom marv traore tim

  46. It’s all doom and gloom on the Bournemouth blogs. Parker complaining he’s been given no money and the squad was stronger this time last year. Fans complaining the Board are secretive and not communicating with them. Scruffy League 1 ground and poor training facilities. Championship here we come.

    With that backdrop, we have to beat them. But… Runts says above, our problem is scoring goals. I’m banking on an improved midfield to seriously increase our EG chances.

  47. we do have options and a bit of depth though.

    the signing of kamara is vital.

    but i banged on about the blend and type of player needed and its still not there.

    get a 8 whos tall and athletic and quick

    and a brute of a centre forward.

    our forward line is still too bloody soft and weak.

    id love to see prime benteke up top!

  48. Our forward line is awful tbh

    Watkins needs 10 open nets to score one goal

    Ings isn’t quick enough for our system

    Archer is the only one in think should be starting for us

    We need a top class striker in, a cm and another fast wide player

  49. Last year, Watkins had his least productive season for 3 years, when he should be coming into his prime. Ings also had his least productive season for 3 years. We’ve seen in the past that they can be good goalscorers, and particularly in the case of Ollie Watkins, are also prepared to work hard for the rest of the team. Neither of them should be past their prime so there is some other reason why they are not currently performing to their best. It’s not because they are not ‘capable’ of being the striker we need.
    A good striker costs huge amounts of cash and (as we’re currently seeing with Ings and Watkins) that cash can be totally wasted if they are not used or motivated correctly. I’d be surprised if the owners were prepared to take that gamble, unless it was for a stopgap in the Suarez mould (please no)
    Archer is showing good promise and hopefully will get a chance to prove himself this season. The option of using 5 subs should give Gerrard the chance to test him out towards the end of games.
    It’s so easy to call for a new striker but even if we brought one in, who would like to put money on them hitting the ground running, or bet on us being able to get the most out of them if we’re not even able to get the most out of those already settled in the squad?

  50. Trouble with us if we have to many I’d say runners, athletic players instead of actual technical good football players

    Carlos has shown he’s great at passing, we all know Mings isn’t. Chambers is very good on the ball to.

    I think chambers will start with Carlos tbh.

    McGinn and Ramsey have really really low passing stats because again they are runners instead of technically gifted football players. Watkins is the ssme he’s a runner, Hayden has shown he’s a very good passer of the ball and much better in the final 3rd.

    I don’t think we can afford to have a spine of Mings mcginn and Watkins agains

    We need better football players

    Hence Carlos and chambers hopefully. Kamara and Luiz double pivot will be good

    Archer up front is a much better all round striker than Watkins

  51. Frem,
    Did you see the pre season games? Kamara and Luiz did ok, but Sanson had more minutes in the end, and really impressed Gerrard, especially against United, and is a ball player, as well as being able to win the ball. He may be more of a threat to McGinn though.
    Kessler-Hayden has been more impressive than Cash. Konsa and Chambers look good now, and Carlos did enough.
    Ings is still here because no one has shown interest in him, so unless an offer comes in, he will see his contract out with Villa, sadly, a poor signing.
    Nakamba will remain, as he is a great squad player.
    Still looking forward to who will make the team on Saturday!

  52. frem yeah

    you cant have both ramsey and mcguinn in the same team.

    anotehr area where its too samey when the mid is critical.

    number 8 is needed.

    id like a striker and we need one but the main thing is not playing them both up top together urrrggghh

  53. H&V, how much do you think we’d need to spend to find a striker who was nailed on to do better than the strikers we already have and isn’t there a real risk that they would struggle to play at their best if asked to play in the same way as our current strikers?

  54. Yeah, I think the number and quality/type of chances created has as much to do with our scoring/lack thereof as the players themselves. It’s basically what a number of folks are saying one way or another.

    One quick search shows an xG of 1.45 per game overall last season, which was 11th in the league, versus 1.49 against.

    I’ve said it over and over, but I just don’t like the positioning/execution in the 4-3-3. When we see the 4-3-1-2, don’t know that I’m a big fan of that, either. I still prefer a 4-2-3-1. I like the attacking width, having four up to press. I suppose you get a 4-3-3 out of that if Phil’s dropping deeper and Ollie plays less advanced.

    I agree that Ings isn’t really suited when out of possession, and I’m not sure Phil is, either, tbh. Obvs he signed on for keeps, but I saw lots of visible frustration from Phil in that central slot, chasing to no purpose and easily bypassed. It’s a lot of pitch to cover, and Ollie’s been our best at covering that central area and helping force the play to one side or the other.

    I don’t really know what SG’s answer is, but I’m guessing Bailey may well be pressing Ings.

  55. The xG of ours last season proves that Gerrard is not the man to move us forward. Very overrated as a manager.
    Aside from the negativity, i think he has the players for his system and has a full preseason to count on now. We have a very kind start to August and a minimum of five points is required from our first three fixtures.
    I would play Sanson as our number eight. I watch Ligue One a fair bit more than the other major leagues in Europe and remember that he was the driving force for Marseille under Villas Boas.
    Kamara had not played much with him there as he had been moved from defense midfield.
    We have a complete team in my opinion; if only Gerrard could gamble with Archer upfront..

  56. Good comments JC.
    I know most seem to ignore my comments, but I feel that Gerrard is close to what he wants, and it is not necessarily what many seem to think. Bailey is now nailed on if he remains injury free, and Ings will be on the bench, if we don’t sell him.
    Jackvilla, you are right about Sanson too, which is why he has had game time in preseason. I also think that Archer has earned the opportunity up front, and also fights better to recover the ball than Ings.
    Gerrard will also be playing with a team of up to sixteen players, using them to his advantage, and his style of play.

  57. Congratulations to the Lionesses last night!!
    What a great game, played with pride and passion, not marred by cheating , feigning injury, but by getting up and getting on with it.
    Mary Earps, the England goalkeeper was outstanding with a superb display. At this level, it is good to see the level of skills o display. Any player would have been proud of England’s third goal from Russo, and Lucy Bronze’s header for the second, the fourth from Fran Kirby! how often have we seen a player succeed in lobbing the goalkeeper!

    Look out ! women’s football is coming!!!!

  58. robbo

    its not about price for me or buying someone elite.

    its buying a striker whi suits the team more or can compliment each other in a 2 up top.

    i dont care if it s striker ive never heard of but for me we need soemone who can hold the ball up, make it stick and be a bit of a brute.

    ings is just a poacher. watkins wont bully a back line and his second touch is usually a tackle. and they dont look like a partnership in a million years

  59. paul

    yeah you could be right….i think hed like a 8 though.

    certainly not the changes or money spent i exepected i must admit.

    broken record but i still feel we havent got the right blend or balance to make a good team. too lightweight, slow with ougt the right partnerships in place exepcially in the final 3rd.

    ings and watkins a massive no up front in a 2

    or play both buendia and phil in a 433 a massive no too.

    but hopefully bailley will help with the pace side of things and directness

  60. H&V,
    Archer is not a lad! He is 20 years old, and should be in the first team now. Rooney was 16yrs old, Owen was 17yrs old and Gary Shaw was the same. He has shown last season on loan, and in the pre season games that he is ready, and Gerrard has said so.

  61. Coutinho has failed to shine in pre season and was missing several times last season, Buendia is a mile in front with his aggression, willingness to fight for the ball, and linking with team mates.
    Coutinho will be good for certain games, and to bring on if we are lacking direction.
    He started well for Villa, but as a consistent player over a season, he does not have it. He may seem a bargain, but no club gives away a player that cost £143 million without reason…

  62. We also have an 8, and he actually was intended to be one, as he has the number on his shirt, Sanson, and many believe that like Bailey, he will be like a new signing this season!

  63. H&V, I’m sure if the club had managed to identify an unknown player who was a top striker who would immediately fit into a 2 up front. . . . .he’d be nice and cheap and already signed.
    Can’t see it happening, can you?

  64. H&V, I agree about Archer. I’d start bringing him on as a substitute and see how he does. All being well it won’t be too long before he’s proven himself and can start coming on from the kick off.

  65. PP, I agree that Gerrard seems to have been promised what he wants and now largely has it in place . . . . so it’s over to him!

  66. paul

    as optimistic as i am archer aint going to be a owen or rooney! your talking once in a generation player.

    likely hood archer will be nothing more than a championship player

  67. fair enough i guess the club spent alot of money on them.

    Im just still not seeing the blend and having enough different tools for the job.

    if im playing villa im thinking its nice.

    hopefully carlos and kamara can prove to offer more bite

  68. While I think our team will be better than last season I just don’t see that we have we have a team good enough to make Europe as it stands unless its by the skin of our teeth
    citeh , pool , man u Chelsea , spurs , arsenal, west ham are ahead of our squad for sure so realistically 8th is the best we can hope for as it stands unless there is really good buying and selling from us in the later part of the window

  69. Gerard is already on shaky ground making mcginn captain,he hasn’t showed me anything in last 3 years to say he is good enough for premier league,looking good for Scotland or just being a good lad is enough
    Our squad balancein midfield is poor ,kamara is going to have to hit the ground running, and why is Luis involved if he won’t sign a new contract same as carney

  70. I am really beginning to wonder about the fan of today….
    Most of the players aren’t good enough…
    We should be buying better players…
    The manager must play to the fans tune… he must not really have a clue..
    Women’s football is a no no, and cannot be mentioned..
    Gosh are we really just a bunch of macho arseholes…

    It is so sad, and no wonder there are no female Villa fans on this site, and not many on several others.
    Lighten up boys and open your minds a little…. it won’t hurt..
    Villa has a fantastic crop of young players who are more than capable, played with passion and pride, with a smile on their face. It is not a crime for players to enjoy their football.
    That is what I want see at Villa Park, honest players giving their all in a disciplined fashion, enjoying it, whether they are male or female, young or older!!

  71. That said, saw all kinds of reaction to McGinn and the armband.

    Me, I’m surprised, largely because of the implications on lineup, etc. No doubt about his tenacity or will to win. Have to trust SG knows midfielders and captains if nothing else.

  72. mcguinn as captain not for me. i wouldnt be starting him in a ideal world.

    but it prob means mings not guaranteed to start which is good.

    and sg has said last season he recognises mcguinn better further forward but hasnt been allowed as no true6 to protect.

    also i think it could raise his game a great deal having the armband.

    but it prob means still having ramsey and mcguinn in the middle.

    good luck kamara

  73. I agree JC/JG. The installation of SJM as captain has ramifications on selection and formation. He is a warrior, has an excellent shot on him and will put his foot/head in where it hurts.

    It’s his speed over short distances that concern me and is the reason why I was looking for an upgrade on him. No doubt he will fight the cause and always try to lead by example, we get nothing less than that from him.

    I hope Tyro continues to bark orders at his co defenders regardless. SJM can do it further up the pitch.

  74. Heroes, so what do you reckon our formation will be against Bournemouth? We should know by the time we see the game at Rennes. I favour 4-2-3-1 as mention by JC earlier.

  75. plug

    yeah man the way the team is currently 4231 all day……but the way sg set up first half against utd a big indication maybe he aint going to do it?!

    But also said the second half was food for thought.

    i really did want the pre season to have some clarity but i still dont know!

    maybe the friendly sat will be more of an indicator

  76. paul

    yeah man very true…..remember when we got relegated with richards…lescott, guzan.

    dear god almighty we have come a loooong way.

    very very lucky actually. could very easily be in the abyss

  77. Not sure about mcginn captain

    He had a poor season last season.

    We should be moving on from the likes of mings mcginn and Watkins

    We need better football players than those 3

    If Watkins and Mings are starting against Bournemouth then we simply haven’t done enough

    Chambers should start with Carlos

    Ramsey and mcginn cant play together both to poor at passing

    Watkins up front is not good enough

    We need better

  78. And we simply haven’t addressed number 8 role, striker or another quick creative player.

    It’s been a poor transfer window to be honest

  79. Really classy from Ty Mings after losing the captaincy , he has been a great servant overall , we wouldn’t have got out of the championship or stayed up without him so full respect is due

  80. mings speaks so well. class act.

    its just i dont trust him at all at the back!!

    agree with frem if we truly want top 8 mings, mcguinn and watkins need upgrading.


    yeah i agree, window still open though and just trying to move the deadwood i hope

  81. Making McGinn captain is the best decision the manager has made since coming here. On that not, i think the first eleven for Bournemouth barring injuries will be Martinez, Cash, Chambers, Carlos, Digne, Kamara, McGinn, Luiz, Bailey, Watkins and Coutinho.

  82. Mings his mistakes,yep he has made them but how many last ditch blocks tackles has he made was 2ndlast game v burnleywonderful block,he had Taylor and target playing at left back how many different Keepers behind him likes of Connor in midfield,konsa never stood upto the mark,I hope Gérard not going to drop him,

  83. Hello guys. I needed a break last April.
    James, I think the difference between Luiz and Chuckwuemika is class. Whether it comes from the player or agent it’s no secret that ol’ Chucky would rather eat poo than play for Villa and Luiz is all about behind the scenes and doing a job that he was given. A job he isn’t really attuned to. No complaining-just get on with it. I’m not positive he will leave. Chuck? Keel haul either him or his manager. I also guessing his Dad has something to do with it.

  84. Yeah, saw Chuk’s in the bomb squad now with Guilbert, Ian.

    Guessing we may well be needing/wanting to move a couple players on before we make any further signings.

  85. I’d be shocked if Mings or Ramsey are dropped, although I would drop both. My team

    Cash – Carlos – Konza – Digne
    Kamara – Luiz
    Bailey – SJM – Buendia

  86. I also think SJM will excel as captain and Mings may even cut out some mistakes .

    I also wouldn’t mind the above team with Chambers in DM instead of Luiz

  87. James Gill.
    Carney’s situation, i think Gerrard has to be blamed full stop. He lad loads of opportunities last season to play him but he simply chose not to.
    He is a number 8. Gerrad played him as a winger, mostly as a substitute. Our manager simply does not like giving the youth a chance. Tim Iroegbunam got just one start and will probaly head out on loan.
    As of Douglas Luiz, he is a proven performer, despite his contract situation. He is better suited as a number 8 than a number six. Gerrard is wrong on favoring Douglas Luiz, but he has little choice here as i do not think he trusts Sanson to play in that role.

  88. People seem to forget Luiz is bang average. He’s an awful dm and he’s never done anything when played further forward. He has no mobility or pace.

    We need to sign a quality 8.

    Final 3rd to we need a magic man

    Countino great but very hit and miss

    Ings has lost all his pace.

    Watkins Will never win a game through a great finsih or individual brilliance. Most his goals are tap ins that he even nearly always miss hits as well

    I’m pretty worried about a low finsih at the moment unless we address our serious lack of quality in central midfield and up front

  89. don’t think the link works. . . . never mind.

    Just wondering if it’s reasonable for frem to make 10 comments, 9 of which are saying that he wants to see Watkins replaced?

    I get the point and it may be valid, even if I don’t personally agree with it. Should there however be a limit on the number of times the same comment can be repeated on here?

  90. r0bb0,

    I could try adding “Ollie” and “Watkins” to the banned words list. 😉

    Along with “Luiz”, “McGinn”, “Mings”…well, I should just put the entire side in.

  91. Team against Rennes:

    Cash, Konsa, Carlos, Digne
    SJM, Dougie, Kamara
    Bailey, Watkins, Couts

    Looks very much like 4-3-3 guys

  92. My observations from the game:

    1) Rennes are no mugs.
    2) We turned a 1-0 deficit into a 1-2 win away from home.
    3) Signs of a passing game are beginning to show.
    4) Still think we look vulnerable passing the ball out from the back.

  93. Best chance of the 2nd half fell to Ollie when SJM put a cross onto his head in front of goal. Headed well wide, a chance my granny would have put away. Thought of Frem as he missed it and imagined his can of beer being launched through the air.

  94. I think back to the turgid stuff served up under Spud not so long ago and see that we’ve come a long, long way thanks to Compass. Things are looking very bright. Tim, Josh didn’t look out of place when they came on. If I had a gripe, it was the amount of 50-50 balls that we lost. Most of them in fact.

  95. The lack of pace and quality in final 3rd is worrying

    We are very slow in final 3rd and create near nothing

    And when we do misses Watkins them

    2 sitters missed both and his hold up play is even worse

    We need a top striker and another quick forward in or we in trouble

  96. Carlos is quality though very aggressive and fantastic at passing

    Ingoram looks a quality dm

    Kamara is fantastic

    Countino needs to do much more

    Buendia might be off

  97. Only seen bits of game ,not a happy fan even tho we won,playing out from the back we were awful even martinez has trouble played acouple straight to rennes players,midfield looked much better when Luis went of as for mcginn no improvement from our new captain still trying unplayable long passes,attack Bailey looks why we spent so much on him,Watkins is he trying to hard just no confidence
    We have spent massive on ings Bailey beundi digne coutinho Carlos and kamara in last year and I don’t see a fluid team with Gérard in charge

  98. Another poor first half, with Coutinho hardly being involved. Defensively we looked poor, although Carlos looks strong, grew into the game. Bailey once again was a big plus, showing his skills and scoring the equaliser. Still not impressed with Digne, not defensively strong, and did not provide the telling crosses he is supposed to.
    Kamara did ok, alongside McGinn who was very average, and once again Sanson showed more skill and aggression in winning the ball. Cash was ok, working with Bailey.
    Impressed with Josh Feeney and Cameron Archer yet again,
    Ramsey and Iroegbunam were ok, showing they are still part of the squad.
    Ings still did not light my fire, with Watkins having another game where he struggled.
    This team does not look ready for an instant start in the Premier league.
    No knowledge of how Buendia, Mings, Kessler-Hayden, Chambers and rest performed against Fulham yesterday, which is why they were not in today’s squad.
    Not many nailed on for Bournemouth for me, apart from

  99. JG, The team may seem not to be gelling and the designated strikers are struggling to score but somehow the pre-season results have been good. In previous years, when pre-season results have been poor I’ve tended to say ‘Hey it’s just pre-season and doesn’t really matter’ and that is probably the truth, but I’d still rather see us winning than losing.

    They’ve managed to cram in quite a few games and against some decent opposition so hopefully the squad should be in decent shape to hit the ground running this year.

  100. Martinez, Cash, Carlos, Bailey and Kamara.
    Didn’t mention Luiz who again was average, not making a stand out performance, but then there were not any, other than those already mentioned.
    Would love to see Archer given more time, as he grows with every game.

  101. Pp
    I like sanson think he should be starting alongside kamara,also think Gérard trying to play 433 will be his downfall,w
    I would go for this team v Bournemouth
    Martinez Cash digne mings Carlos kamara sanson Bailey coutinho ramsay and ings,that’s leaving new captain out,Watkins as well small tight pitch we need players comfortable with ball,ones that retain it

  102. The next game is the big one. This time last year I was very optimistic only to see the bubble burst when Deeney and his gang hammered 3 past us in no time. It must NOT happen again. Only 3 points will do and we need to lay siege on the newbies and school them in EPL standards.

  103. SG must select a squad of 20 this season for each game. There will be 5 subs permitted but only within 3 stoppages plus half time to stop time wasting. We could therefore, change the entire midfield at half time. Will SG think along those lines? We’ll soon find out.

  104. Canaries fans are really laying into Deano. Tactical shortcomings, lack of inspiration, no discernable shape, players looking disinterested all cited. As the song goes…..Under Pressure.

  105. Seeing some online love for Watkins today which makes a nice change. Apparently, outside Liverpool and Spurs, no-one has scored more non-penalty goals over the past two seasons.

    We know he’s missed more than we (and he) would have expected over the past season so the question is whether it can ‘click’ for him again this season. I guess similar could be said for Ings?

  106. Yes r0bb0, we are all guilty of being a little bit hard on Watkins, and he did have plusses yesterday, unfortunately, the misses will always stand out.
    Ings, apparently scored the goal in our 1-0 friendly win over Fulham on Friday. Nakamba, Chambers, Mings, Kessler-Hayden, Buendia, Olsen, also were among the team, which is why they were not in yesterday’s squad.
    Still got a team to play Liverpool behind closed doors again, possibly on Tuesday!
    Gerrard should then have enough to make up his mind on Saturday’s squad.
    I may have been over critical on yesterday’s game, but I do want to see a Villa team that shows some good skills moving forward, as well as a solid defensive formation.
    I am sure that Gerrard will be busting a gut to get a win on Saturday, expecting his players to give at least 110%.
    Having the ability to name 9 substitutes will also be a big boost with the squad we now have.

  107. Great to see my old favourite Andi Weimann on the score sheet yesterday for Bristol City, although they lost. Their highest scorer last season with 22 goals, not bad for a guy who is now 30yrs old!

  108. Frem

    By all accounts sg wants 2 more….that we want! but the squad needs trimming first.

    Very hard getting rid of our dead wood. European clubs are skint. Troare el gazi guilbert will be loans I guess

  109. I’m a CB by trade and if I’m playing villa I’m thinking are they going to bully me physically. No. Am I winning my aerial duals, yep. Am I going to get skinned caught too high, no.

  110. H&V,
    Yes, that was a good front three, and Weimann was full of energy.
    I have to say that at the moment you are right. There is not a lot to fear about this Villa side, apart from Bailey. I am still going to back Sanson, as he really looks like he wants to win balls and move forward.
    WE may be lucky with Bournemouth, unless it is kidology from Scott Parker that they are struggling to field a team.

    Once more, I have the pleasure of congratulating our Lionesses in achieving a history making win over Germany at Wembley to a record breaking crowd at a Euro Final!

    Look out for our Villa Lionesses, and maybe they will bring success in the WSL before long!!

  111. Yep, well done England’s babes yesterday. And well done Tsarina Wiegman who knew exactly how to set up during the whole tournament and furthermore played the substitutions to perfection. Beaky take note.

  112. Germans moaning now about not having a penalty, and that the Lionesses were nasty!!
    They do not like it up ’em!!

    Thousands in Trafalgar Square for the Victory Parade.

  113. Absolutely, JC.
    Now women’s football will move forward in this country, as did women’s football did in the USA after they won the world Cup in 1991 and 1999, becoming more important than the men.

    It will be some years before the women reach the level of the men, but the popularity will grow immensely now.
    It seems very poor that they have ben refused a bus parade, after the rugby, cricket and football have been given them.
    See Lineker has made a pratt of himself again. Time he went.

  114. PP,

    Yeah, it will definitely help the women’s game, and it’s good for football in general.

    What struck me more than anything was that when you look at the crowd, it’s a more family-friendly atmosphere. Less booze-fueled and boisterous, but a good day out and good for football.

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