You’d think we should be past this, but it’s the first home match of the season and supporters are already on edge. A poor 0-2 defeat away to newly promoted Bournemouth will do that.

I can’t pretend I have a lot to say that hasn’t already been said. Bottom line, Villa desperately need three points. But it’s not the points that’s the issue, at the moment. It’s getting a win. That tends to be the case when there’s no feel-good factor and the team’s run of form under a new manager mirrors Gary Neville’s at Valencia. Villa basically seem to have stalled out.

Anyone hoping for big changes from Steven Gerrard will be disappointed. Less so, however, than had he made good on threats to name the same squad as last week. Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings return, which addresses a couple of the biggest talking points over the last week. One assumes Tyrone looked him square in the eye at some point.

Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn stay in the side, which might be slightly less encouraging depending who you talk to. On paper it looks like 4-3-3 again. We’ll see if Coutinho drops a bit deeper.

Naturally, what we’ll be looking for is more from Phil, a steadier pairing in Mings and Carlos, more energy up front from Watkins. We’ll also hope Villa create more chances and look more cohesive. Nothing looked right in the opener despite the summer’s work. Can’t say I’m thrilled to see the same formation or Phil starting yet again, but if Coutinho is more central and finds his game, it could be better.

And when I think about it, that’s really the storyline at present. You get a big name in like Phil and it can be a blessing or a curse. A player like that often ends up being undroppable and not always for the right reasons. For the sake of everyone, he needs to find the form he displayed when he first pulled on the claret and blue. Otherwise, it’s going to start being a talking point in and outside the club when someone like Emi Buendia is available. Not saying he’s the best player in the league, but he’s been giving Villa much more of a spark than his Brazilian counterpart, and it’s not going to sit well if it seems like Gerrard is being stubborn sticking with his ex-teammate if he’s not producing.

I don’t mean to say that all Villa’s problems lie at Phil’s feet. They don’t. But it’s the white elephant in the room, at present, since Gerrard’s formation and tactics seem to be a given. Gerrard can’t be seen to be playing favorites at the same time as his set-up is coming into question, never mind the quality and balance of the squad as a whole. If Villa are going to have any sort of reasonable return on the season and keep pace with their rivals, they simply have to have their best XI on the pitch. There’s zero tolerance for any passengers, especially when it comes to creativity. Villa have to feel like they can trouble any opponent, and at the moment, I’m not sure anyone’s going to find Villa that troublesome.

Here’s to being proven wrong.

Starting XI
Martinez, Digne, Carlos, Mings, Cash, Ramsey, Kamara, McGinn, Watkins, Coutinho, Ings

Comments 169

  1. Wish we had got Tarkowski. Suppose we got Carlos because he was Brazilian therefore more classy.

    Proper goal scorer’s goal. That will do.

  2. jbd,

    Yeah, he has been deep. Was often last week, too. It can leave big spaces, but also looks like McGinn and Ramsey are getting a bit narrower and sticking a little closer for the most part.

  3. Also interesting that the goal comes from McGinn winning it back in the middle of the park and quickly getting it up to Ollie.

    Space to run into, 2 v 2.

    Ings still had a lot to do, Ollie should probably have played it to him earlier while he was facing goal.

  4. Seems like SG is going to do the opposite, jbd. Phil was more involved today, works better with him central.

    Hope Emi can create a little something. Cliché, but we need the second.

  5. Martinez won us that game. Kamara looks like a Rolls Royce player. Can’t really see why we signed Carlos when Tarkowski was going free.

  6. Well that feels a bit better doesn’t it.
    Ings showed that he is a goalscorer and Watkins has 2 assists.
    Ramsey was my MOTM too. He had a super game and was right back to his best. When we’re able to bring on attacking substitutes like Buendia and Bailey it demonstrates that we have more than enough attacking quality in the squad.

  7. Having said all that, Everton were disappointing, but you have to have a little sympathy for Lampard with the number of injuries he has and having to bring in new players without much of a chance to ease them into the squad

  8. r0bb0,

    Much better performances all round. Ramsey looked a different player, McGinn much better. Ings was on it, and Buendia made a telling contribution.

    Kamara does look good. Smooth and calm, reads the game well.

  9. Yeah, tough for Frank. And it played into our hands today. They weren’t exploiting the flanks as much as others, a lot of the ball inside allowing us to be more compact.

  10. JC yes, McGinn was super today. Lots of energy, combatative and some good passes.
    Mings looked slightly shaky a couple of times but made a goal saving tackle and he comes back into the side and we return to winning ways

  11. Interesting to hear the pundits drooling over the quality of the Villa squad, particularly the midfield.
    We don’t ‘need’ extra players, we ‘need’ to find the right game plan and correct motivation

  12. Did you notice how Gerrard in both interviews I’ve heard praised the players for “following the game plan”.
    In other words he takes the praise when we win and criticises the players when we lose.
    Either he’s arrogant or insecure. . . not sure which Either trait is a bad one in a manager.
    I do hope he has the character to learn whatsit takes to be a quality manager.

  13. Just back to the car

    Two shite sides

    Kamara quality, Mings quality.

    Don’t get the Ings Watkins partnership

    Countino doesn’t suit our system

    Buendia so much better

    Watkins… Just awful

    Need a striker, forward and cm

  14. Yeah, it’s a funny one with SG, r0bb0.

    They did play well, and maybe there were some tactical tweaks that had less to do with Everton, ie, us forcing them to play a certain way.

    But at least the effort and performance was there from the players, which seems to suggest they’re still onside.

  15. We ain’t getting anywhere with Watkins Ings and Countino a front 3

    And cash as a attacking full back.. Can’t cross

    Ramsey was a bit better today

  16. Mad opinions on footy! Thought mcguinn was very average. Gave the ball away amillion times. Ramsey was ok when doing what he does….legs! Kamara class.

    But overall not great at all. I just don’t see it. No idea what we are doing or how we want to play. Pressures? Counter? Not sure we are beating many teams today

  17. H&V,

    It was what it was on the day. How much of it was down to us, how much to Everton, hard to say.

    But the performances were better, regardless. Everton’s tactics/personnel let us find space and have time to knock it around.

    Teams that give us less time and space will be much harder for us, likewise teams with real quality up front. It just seemed to play into our hands, allowed Ramsey and McGinn to be more central instead of getting pulled wide, being late to the ball and leaving acres in behind.

  18. Carlos with a bad injury then.. Villa curse strikes again

    Ye that Ings assist was really Ings done all the work to be honest

    Watkins missed his standard one on one

    Also Ings passed to him on a plate but Watkins as usual not anywhere to been seen on his toes otherwise its a tap in

    He’s useless unfortunately

    Bloke next to me said he probably shot for the buendia goal

  19. H&V,

    I’d go 4-2-3-1 as well.

    And I don’t know that it’s really a ‘partnership’. But Ollie stretches things, and Ings is a proven finisher.

    SJM getting the ball up and out quickly to Ollie, it was more reminiscent of the countering style we’re probably better suited to.

  20. We need to buy another centre back now probably.

    We also need another dm because nobody can cover Kamara plus striker cm and wide man

    We are well short

  21. You just know when Watkins gets a chance he won’t score

    Did anybody actually think he’d score his one on one at the end?

    No chance

  22. H&V, Ings and Watkins are both good quality Premier league players but I’d agree with you that they are not a partnership. JC is right that Watkins helps create spaces for Ings and other players, as shown when he made the goal for Buendia but you don’t feel that he and Ings thrive in each other’s company or have an instinct for where each other will be.
    Buendia on the other hand seems to have that extra footballing vision that enables him to bring the best out of almost any other player. Coutinho is able to do the same when on his game although I reckon we’ve seen Buendia putting in top quality performances more consistently than Phil.

  23. Robbo

    I actually like Gerrard so no problems when we win

    We are just miles off European football

    We are miles of top 10 with players like Luiz mcginn Watkins playing so much

    We need much more in the next few weeks

    We need another quick creative player big time

  24. Did you see Souness’ quote about Mings that “For somebody who hasn’t achieved anything in the game Tyrone Mings has a hell of a lot to say.”
    Now it may be that Souness is just a racist and hasn’t liked Ming’s stand against racism but it’s also possible that he was coming out to support Gerrard in his perceived dressing room competition with Mings.
    I hope this is the last time we’ll see an ex Liverpool player supporting Gerrard against one of his players because it creates the impression that Gerrard is fighting his battles in public via his Liverpool network rather than doing it as he should do, in private with the player.

  25. Amd if Carlos has done is achillies at 30 years of age…. He probably ain’t coming back from that

    30 million down the drain

    Your useless

  26. I pretty much watch all footy. And with other teams I can see what there trying. They look a team ie Brentford here. No big names just coached. Utd I see villa. Just individual good players who if you sold could be great somewhere else but 0 partnerships and identity

  27. We have to get an another midfielder to partner kamara and ditch this stupid formation Gérard wants
    4231 we have plenty options for the 3 ,for now the 1 will do,seen clips on my phone what is point playing mcginn in midfield when he is covering for cash
    A win is a win but we were given an almighty scare better sides will exploit our midfield

    you are 100 percent right about the coaching ,Gérard so far is clueless

    Probably only Liverpool captain hated in Liverpool,his managerial career at Liverpool sacked after easy success at rangers,mouthpiece at best

  28. Jg

    Deffo 4231 but have someone prefic in luiz to sit next to him.

    Those 2 could be decent

    With the 3 I’d rather see mcguinn in that 10 middle role then Phil at the mo.
    Buendia and Bailey either side.

    But sg don’t like it. It effects his wing backs style. Will only be 433 or 4312

  29. Here’s to a quick recovery for Diego. I would imagine that the club has insurance on the players for an injury. Protecting their investment and wages. If so, no financial loss but definitely a loss of a players.

  30. Frem, you say “we are miles off top ten with players like Luiz, McGinn and Watkins playing so much,” but we achieved 11th under Dean Smith who you thought “wasn’t a very good manager”
    It’s fair enough that you think we may be able to find better players than those you’ve mentioned but if we really are way off 10th then it seems to me that it must be because Gerrard is a worse manager than Smith.

  31. Just seen highlights not great from us,mcginn and coutinho not performing for me,great to see a villa midfielder running with the ball beundi and we score

  32. Stoked as always with 3 points. Happy days.

    Overall performance was a big improvement on last week. Watkins gives us some energy. Buendia gives us more energy. Mings was immense. Defo 2 assists for Watkins which in my book is equal with scoring. I’d give SJM an assist too, his long pass to Watkins for the first goal was quick in thought and execution. We need more of that.

    But it wouldn’t be Villa without putting the fans through an excruciating final 10 minutes and robbing us of full party pandemonium. A game of control needed last ditch tackles from Mings and Chambers to keep the points.

  33. Keeping things in perspective, Everton were poor. We caught them on a bad day in the same way Bournemouth caught us. Wishing Carlos a full recovery, it looks like he’s going to be out for a long time.

  34. Frem, Good to hear that you like Gerrard. I’d ‘like’ to like him but I’m not there just yet.

    Lot’s of fans are questioning the way he’s set the team up,

    I’m guessing that you agree with what he’s trying to do but fear he doesn’t have the players to achieve what he wants.

    My position is that we have some good players but his preferred way of playing doesn’t seem to suit our current squad, or, they’ve not been sufficiently coached in what he wants.

    I’d expect a manager to adapt to the squad he has, whereas you seem to want to adapt the squad to fit what he wants.

    Both views are valid but my concern with yours is that it’s expensive and time consuming to rebuild a whole squad and as Gerrard is still young and untested in the Premier league, our owners might spend a lot of money building a squad to fit what he wants and then find that he’s actually not up to the job and we’d have to start again.

  35. Robbo. Don’t forget we had Jack Grealish, that’s we finsihed 11th.

    Without him in that team we would have gone down

    Forest signing aouar for 15 million.

    Lange you are absolutely useless and pointless

    Please please please can we replace him?

    We are absolutely desperate for another cm with technical ability because mcginn and Ramsey just don’t have it

    It’s been a disaster of a window

    Snd now Carlos out for months its even worse

    Go spend some money

  36. Also I think using buendia as a sub is a good tactic.

    We’ve actually won more games with him coming of the bench then starting.

    But we do need to sign another Creative player

    We have no depth

  37. Certainly buendia of the bench is useful when the other team is tiring.. He’s always mobile and running you wouldn’t want to mark him as a dm when you’ve played against Phil for 60 minutes. Its a good tactic.

    Mings also yesterday anyone else notice how he just kicked the ball out instead of dwelling on it? It’s good just defend first. The captaincy off him might be a master stroke just focus on defending not leading.

    So i think Gerrard has done well with Mings and buendia.

    I still don’t like how narrow we are

    Countino has no space because Ramsey Ings mcginn all coming into his pockets. Surely we want players wide and Countino free in the middle?

  38. Frem, I agree with you about Mings. When he plays for England it seems he’s told to play more cautiously and I don’t remember him making silly mistakes on National duty. In fairness to him his mistakes for Villa have very rarely led to goals but they’re still not good to watch and we’ll probably benefit from this slightly more careful approach.
    I know where you’re coming from with Buendia too but I’d been looking at it the other way round and thinking that Coutinho would be a fantastic impact sub if Buendia started. It would at least be good to see them alternate starting and see which option worked best. Maybe Start with Coutinho against the top sides, where the extra motivation may bring out the best in him?

  39. Going back to your point about Luiz, McGinn and Watkins, you’d said that we couldn’t be top 10 with them playing. Yes Grealish was with us when we came 11th, but it was with those 3 in the side. If we recruited a couple of high quality players around the Grealish type standard then players like Luiz etc may not be the stars of the show but they could still be part of a successful top 10 side.

    I guess it all comes down to patience. I can’t imagine our owners are ready to invest in a whole squad of Grealish type, proven players but would prefer a steady growth, upgrading 2-4 players each season. Kamara, Carlos and Coutinho all fit that bill this year although Carlos is now out and Coutinho is showing brilliance in patches rather than consistently.

  40. It seems that they’ve decided to take their gambles with unproven players for the Academy whereas they have been going for more ‘known quantities’ like Coutinho and Carlos for senior players who can go straight into the squad.

  41. I’m struggling to judge if Lange is doing a good job or not.
    If his brief is to help find youngsters with promise for the future and good value senior stars to go straight into the squad then it seems he’s doing what’s been asked of him. The quality of players going into the Academy has certainly stepped up since NSWE took over and at the start of the last window everyone was saying what great early business we’d done.
    I know that Frem and others would like us to recruit at least 2 more players: a fast, agile aggressive, imposing, skilful number 8; and a striker. If Lange has been told what his net spend is then maybe it’s not his fault that we’ve not found these players. . . . . . or maybe it wasn’t even in his brief. Maybe he was told to find a central defender, a number 6 and a creative midfielder. Getting those 3 (plus Chambers) early in the window would seem pretty good if that was what he’d been briefed to do.

  42. I haven’t seen anything on Carlos being out long term? We have plenty of cover.

    Can’t understand why Sanson can’t make the bench or start.

    Phil is clearly not good enough. Buendia, Bailey and Traore are all much, much better

    Kamara looks quality. Also thought SJM was much improved

  43. I think a good judgement of how poor Lange has been is that we are in our 4th season now and Forest are already probably as good as us if not better

    They have done some great business and Countino to be linked to good players

    By the time this window shuts they could easily have a better squad than ours

  44. Frem, we’ll see as the season progresses how good Forest are. My guess is that if they’d recruited our squad during this window we’d be looking at them enviously. My feeling is that it’s the old “grass is greener’ syndrome which it’s hard not to be sucked in by.
    I do get where you and JG are coming from though as we don’t seem to unearth the rough diamond players that nobody else has picked out. They’re not players we’d get excited by at the point they’re recruited but then we’d be pleasantly surprised as the season progressed.

  45. VillaMD, I hated myself for it, but I also couldn’t help looking for Carney’s name in the Chelsea squad. Let’s not count him out yet but I reckon he’d at least have been on the Villa bench and there has to be a half decent chance he’d have even seen some game time yesterday.

  46. Width-wise, the narrowness suited us on the day. Closer together, fewer large gaps, not getting pulled out wide, less ground to cover, better defensive presence. Didn’t bother Emi.

    Most teams don’t allow us to play that way, they keep attacking wide and getting us stretched. That’s what makes it tough for Ramsey and McGinn in this system.

  47. The more they show 2 spurs goals the worse they are ,and to cap it all Mike Dean on var,spurs striker standing in offside position in front of keeper nothing like ours v man utd last January, 2nd goal spurs lad plus new Chelsea lad hair so blatant,

  48. JC, interesting observation about the width. The danger is that SG will see yesterday’s result as a vindication of the current system and we’ll be back to square one against a slightly more savvy manager

  49. Carlos out for the season

    We all know Kamara will get injured to

    We are one injury away to him from being last seasons awful team again

    Lange you are useless

    Sort it out and go sign some players

  50. Imagine Kamara injury and Luiz playing and being absolutely hopeless playing dm again

    It’s been a shambolic window

    On our system,

    I agree with everyone I’m not convinced i think it’s to narrow

    But what gives me hope is our home displays against Liverpool and man City

    We Gave them two probably two of their toughest games all season and deserved to get a result against both

  51. It’s a shame for Villa and especially Carlos if he is out for the season. Ankles are a bastard. I don’t think McGinn is as good as he was before he broke his. And the forward they had a few years ago who broke his then broke it again. There are so many bones, ligaments, and tendons in that joint…..
    On the bright side, perhaps Konsa and Mings will become the strong pairing they were two seasons ago. No reason for them not to connect again—or Chambers. As always, one man’s loss is another man’s gain.
    As far as Lange goes, I imagine he is doing the bidding of the owners. Something we don’t discuss on this site are the contracts that the players are on. The apple cart could quite easily be upended with a high weekly wage. The level of the players has to improve but also the wage has to be uniform to some degree throughout the team or players will become disenchanted. What kind of dressing room would have evolved if ol’ Chucky was given his demand of 100,000 a week? I’d be pissed.

  52. As for strikers, they are at the top of the heap as far as results on the pitch go. They are the apex predators on the team. Their only purpose to score and perhaps track back. You don’t see predators in the animal world racing around like chickens. They hide, lurk, and pounce. Watkins is an exception. Ings puts in good effort but you can see it’s not his forte to chase down the opposition.
    If you want your strikers to thrive you have to play to the game they are most proficient at. Benteke for example thrived at Villa being fed every game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Watkins in the slot and being fed. He’s always chasing, out on the wing. Ings, right now is the true striker with Archer the understudy. Oh, and don’t use the word poacher as if it was a bad characteristic. It takes skill, wits, and a lightning reflex to do that job. Remember Bent before Lambert got a hold of him?
    I would have kept Davis. Perhaps not the best striker in the true sense but as a hold up man he would feed the attacking mids with impunity. He’s the big man everyone is craving for right now.

  53. VillaMD, roBB0, with regards to Chuk, either Tuke lied to him about game time or it was always only about ££££. I’m certain it was the latter. He might get some exposure in the League Cup games but that will be it. He has a huge job breaking into that Chelsea squad which is still being strengthened by Boehle. And he signed up for 6 years.

    He just wanted a fat signing on fee, his agent wanted a fat fee and his salary may look good now, but turn out to be well short in 5 or 6 years time. He’s Chelsea’s problem now.

  54. Carlos out for the season

    This season is an absolute right off.

    We have one new player into a shite side.

    Well done Lange and purslow

    We will be lucky to survive.

    Now we need to go buy another centre back who can actually pass a ball

    Which means we won’t buy another cm or forward

    Absolute joke this transfer window

  55. Bad news about Carlos,good job mings didn’t throw his toys out
    Time for lange to earn his keep ,there has to be centre half’s around Europe that he can get on the cheap,along with the bruiser for midfield it won’t be as easy as Everton every week,

  56. the season villa finished 11th was a one off fluke in covid times with no fans…..both villa and everton got off to a flyer. we did well until christmas.

    the judgment of the team is over what 4th season back in prem now not 4 random months in covid team.

  57. Weekends almost back to normal!
    A great trip to Villa Park, and not my turn to drive, landed safely in the Aston Tavern for beer and curry! Then the gentle stroll to the hallowed ground, to mingle with more friends and fans. The pleasure of sitting for a few moments in the Lower Holte, and then the buzz, as the welcoming loudspeaker bursts into life, bringing the fans to life at the same time. Sitting time is over!!

    Great to see virtually a full stadium with 41,883 fans in attendance, cheering the team ready to start the first home game, most fans so happy to see the return of Mings and Ollie Watkins!

    A good game developed with both teams settling quite well, and of course, once Danny Ings scored the first goal, the ground errupted, and the crowd stayed on board.

    A great second goal from good play by Mings, Watkins and Buendia really had us all buzzing for a whole minute, until the luckless Lucas Digne managed to put through his own goal (EVENS UP HIS SCORE FOR BOTH TEAMS!)
    Oh dear! then it is back to a normal worrying for the crowd at Villa Park, and can we hold out?
    Fortunately, thanks to Mings and Chambers with some great tackles we held on!!
    Interestingly, the crowd did not give any real appreciation to Gerrard, only attempting once to sing “We are part of Gerrard’s Claret and Blue army”. It could be a while before he really manages to get them completely back on board.
    At the end of the game MIngs , McGinn, Watkins and Martinez, had a great reception from the Holte End, with Martinez tossing his shirt into the crowd.
    The team have no worries, and know the fans love them.
    The icing on the cake was Jason Bidace scoring the winner for Cardiff!!

  58. For me, Kamara, Buendia, Mings and Martinez all had a great game. Carlos was also impressive, McGinn and Ramsey, like Watkins had moments, but I was once again disappointed with Coutinho..

    All this knocking Carney and Chelsea is a little sad. Chelsea are hardly going to name him in the squad, until they have got him up to full fitness. He had no pre season with Villa, so he has been training with the Chelsea first team squad, and will play his first game tonight with the under 21’s.
    He is listed as a first team player , under the 21’s part.
    Time to question, will be if he does not get any game time before the World Cup!

  59. I hope we have second thoughts about allowing Hause to go Watford with Carlos now out for at least the rest of the season. He has not let us down in the past, scoring a great winner at Old Trafford too, earning us three very valuable points.
    Buying a new centre back is full of risks, whereas Hause is used to the players, the systems, and will not need any settling in time!!
    Brazilians have now cost us over £50 million in the last three years with no return, only massive wage and medical bills. Just coincidence perhaps, but not good on the balance sheets!!!

  60. Frem,

    Agree about the narrow 4-3-3 in principle, you’ve heard me rail about it, but it’s up top where it really concerns me. That narrowness, so easily bypassed, puts a lot of pressure on the two 8s to do that wide defending we hear about (McGinn at RB, etc). No real high pressure, easy to play out.

    With Everton seemingly less focused on attacking down the flanks, SJM and Ramsey could shade more centrally, making it closer to the middle coverage of a 4-2-3-1 off the ball. Like the doubling up on Onana where McGinn came away with it and got it up to Ollie.

    Dunno why Everton weren’t doing what everyone else does to us, strengths of the team, I suppose, but I’ll expect to see a return to opponents pulling McGinn and Ramsey wide and undoing our shape. I don’t like the way the front three are employed at all. With what we’ve got, I much prefer the 3-1 for width and pressure.

    That said, Ollie and Ings hanging further up in the 1-2 facilitated the 1st goal.

  61. Carlos presents a real dilemma, and for the life of me I can’t understand how Villa lose so many signings like this. Kodjia out forever, never the same. Wesley. Now Diego. Word is something like ruptured achilles. Second game, unreal. He’ll never be the same.

    But, while I agree that if you’ve got the money, strengthen everywhere you can, I didn’t think the back four, or the CBs, was as critical as other areas. To spend big there once was one thing. To go back and spend again…I’m not sure I’d do it.

    No idea who’s left in the MF market, we seem to have let that pass us by after getting Kamara, but if I were to make one more signing, that would be it. Let Mings, Konsa, Chambers and Hause, if he’s actually still on the books, make up the rotation for now.

  62. But to Frem’s point about the window, and a couple others chiming in, I’m not sure what’s going on. Our net spend over the last two summers has been decidedly low figuring in the Grealish money.

    With a number of players we seem to want to move on, I get having to hold more purchases until we get them off the books. Maybe the window is as simple as that.

    Me, given the club’s strong financial position and NSWE’s wealth, I’d just get them out the door however I could, and pronto (Ghazi, Nakamba). I’m guessing Traoré and Sanson need to be loans since they cost £16m-£19m. But we just need to find a way to get them off the wage bill if that’s the issue and we really want them gone.

    The flipside would be NSWE haven’t seen enough to go breaking the bank for SG.

  63. I know I’m being irrational and I’m probably setting my sights too low but I quite fancy the Bournemouth bully boy Billings as a minder for Kamara and Buendia. Sod being classy.

    WTF is wrong with Sanson? How good would he be with Kamara? And he has a hint of hardman classiness about him.

  64. jbd,

    I really can’t figure Sanson. He does have bite, seems very competitive. He’s quick enough, and has decent quality on the ball from what little we’ve seen. Has never seemed to hurt his chances when on the pitch. If it’s been patchy, well, he’s barely played and we always talk about runs of games, a chance to settle.

    Has barely had a sniff regardless of how others perform or not. Maybe there’s an attitude thing, maybe it’s dedication to McGinn, Ramsey, and Luiz. Maybe it’s Tim who’ll get the minutes. But seems like the kind of player you’d at least bring on to help raise the intensity in midfield when seeing out games, fresh legs and all that.

  65. Part of the problem Villa seem to have with our new big signings, is that they get thrown in straight away, rather than a gradual introduction like other clubs seem to do. Wesley, Bailey, Kodjia, and Carlos have not had a settling in period, being introduced as substitutes for their early games, until they have adjusted to the team, and the pace of the Premiership.

    Sanson, is a ridiculous situation, and why he has not been given a proper opportunity is a mystery.
    It will be interesting to see what happens this week behind the scenes.

  66. Pp
    How did mcginn play on Saturday, seen comments he was over getting instructions from Gérard and was out of position when Everton scored
    Really interested that villa fans didn’t sing for Gérard on Saturday, fans on match day are usually the last to turn on manager,

  67. John. Yep definitely better sides find it easy to play out against us.

    Another thing i don’t get about this formation is cash is awful at crossing so why play a formation so vital on good technical full backs? His positioning off the ball attacking is poor to he’s never far enough forward

    Another thing is just our lack off pace in front 3. There isn’t any.

    Countino Ings buendia all come to the ball.

    We won’t hurt many defenses, hence the lack off chances we create

    The best teams have dynamic forwards. We don’t

  68. We have the 7th highest wage bill.. We finished 14th.

    We have 5 players over 100k a week.

    Have we really improved this summer? No

    We don’t have room to spend because of high wages of people that haven’t improved us enough

    Its time for the owners to replace Lange and purslow

  69. Frem,

    Cash’s positioning, can’t offer a good opinion. I’m not usually focused on him that way until it’s further back, so that’s on me. I’m usually paying more attention to the midfield.

    Typically one of the FBs will shade further back, depending on the side of the attack. That’s usually where the out-ball goes.

    I should pay more attention. But I guess if you go looking for some stats, heat maps, etc., you’ll get a pretty good sense what he is or isn’t doing.

    As far as the crossing goes, I’m all for width, but I think it’s fairly obvious we’d create more quality chances keeping it on the floor more.

  70. On Watkins, I did go digging for some stats, conversion rate, etc. Never sure how reliable they are, but one had he and Ings equal at 14.3%, Salah around 16.4-5% last season.

    The most telling stat though, was that he was averaging one shot per game. Seems a little low, but even if it’s two, there’s not a regular starter in the league with a 50% conversion rate.

    MK points to that a lot, the volume and quality of chances created. Ollie’s attempt against Everton, that’s one you’ll see saved quite a bit. The first touch is slightly heavy, takes him wider and he’s on his weaker foot. Wanted to get it up over the keeper, but didn’t.

    Compare that with Kane’s big miss against Chelsea. It happens to them all. More decent chances equals more goals.

  71. I don’t know the stats but against Everton I always kept looking at him because he’s an outlet in this system and he was never far enough forward for me.

    I also don’t think we move the ball quick enough wide snd then the team get body’s back.

    In Watkins. He misses a lot of good chances. And his first touch is a huge reason for that. It’s an awful first touch more often than not

  72. He just isn’t technically good enough for me and certainly we aren’t getting far as him as our striker. Same with ings, we need next level technical strikers.

    I don’t understand how purslow and Lange can think this team can go from 14th to European football, even top half with only, now, Kamara being the only new player.

    We are still way way short

    We won’t get anywhere near top 10, in fact we are in trouble

  73. Stats can be abused, but since we all usually come away with slightly different readings of a game or performance (at the very least), they can help balance out confirmation bias.

    So with Ollie, I think you want to look at goals scored vs xG, and then ‘big chances missed’. I think those are out there.

    No one’s saying City should’ve signed him instead of Haaland.

    Positioning? That’s likely down to instruction/plan. I know players will deviate, but if the rest of the side are further back, a big gap, he’s only ever going to get on balls like McGinn’s for the first, and he needs to stay somewhat in touch with Ings and Phil, etc. Buendia is more likely to slot him in than Phil, atm.

    If you find him between the lines, he has a chance to receive and turn or just run onto it. Back-to-goal isn’t a strength of his.

    One of the bigger changes we’ve seen are far fewer longer balls trying to reach him high up. Our speed of progression is 2nd slowest to City’s, I think I read this morning.

  74. Some really interesting discussions lately, particularly where there’s a mix of facts and opinions from which everyone will draw their own different conclusions.
    On the latest one, involving Ollie Watkins, I think Frem’s right about Ollie’s first touch. . . it does seem off at the moment. I don’t think that’s because Ollie naturally has a bad first touch, but it doesn’t seem to be working for him as well as it needs to.
    If it’s been better in the past, then taking JC’s point, is it at least in part, a function of how and where he’s receiving the ball?
    If we have the slowest build up apart from Man City then you’d imagine that Ollie is having to operate against massed ranks of defenders, so will have little space to work in. Man City can get away with that because they have spent over £1,500,000,000 in the last few years, buying the very best players available (even when they don’t need them).
    If you hark back to the 2019/2020 season, Ollie had the 17th best attacking statistics of any player in the league and 8 of the players above him were from Man City and Spurs. He ranked higher than the likes of Vardy, Firmino, Jesus, Salah . . . I could go on. Grealish was the only Villa player ranking higher.
    He’s also ranked in the top 4 goalscorers Villa have had in the past 30 years.
    So if he’s not performing as well as he can at the moment (and I think Frem’s right about that) then it’s fair to ask why and I suspect JC is right that it’s down to how he’s being used. That must also have a knock on effect on confidence, and in a premiership striker, where milliseconds can make a difference, that must surely be a key factor too.

  75. H&V, you’ve declared a few times that our 11th place in the 2019/20 league was “a fluke” and down to covid. . . . . I’d like to see you have to defend that in court against a half decent barrister.

    Yes, we did finally perk up in the second half of the season, but then don’t you remember our unprecedented 10 wins in a row to gain promotion . . . .you can’t put those down to covid.

    It’s tempting to link two simultaneous circumstances and assume you’ve identified cause and effect but it’s a long way away from being proof.

    In 2021, maybe we did benefit from a break, or maybe our fans are the worst in the league and our players respond better without them there, or maybe our players are weak willed and respond better without the pressure of opposing fans but I think it’s more likely that when the chips were down, Dean Smith was able to reorganise and motivate them to become winners. . . . . and no, I don’t fancy my chances of defending that in court any better than you could with your claim.

  76. Talking stats, if they were available from Ron’s days can you imagine the numbers for say Ray Graydon. When he had a great game we’d win by a couple or more with Graydon getting multiple assists, and on his off days he’d not do much except sneak in the winner in a one – nil or an equalizer in a one – one. As for ground covered and heat maps what about Carrodus, super Frank would cover every blade of grass on Villa Park.

  77. Suspect Des Bremner covered even more ground than Frank Carrodus. Don’t think either of them would be flash enough or foreign enough for todays’ Football Manager 2022 intelligentsia.

  78. Well the usual media talk continues with us connected to every Tom, Dick and Harry that has a smallish price on his head!!
    I have over these past few days and weeks come to the conclusion that Gerrard just wants to destroy the squad that we have, rather than enhancing it with one or two quality players. He just wants to replace players with more experienced/older players who will fit his rigid system.
    Why we are not utilizing Sanson, Guilbert, Hause and possibly Traore, who have been here long enough to have a good understanding with the rest of the squad, whilst seeking an outstanding midfielder or forward to make a real difference to the squad.
    That is how great teams are built, step by step, not by wholesale change every season.
    I wonder if our owners really understand the game. It is NOT an athletic sport alone!!

  79. paul

    sanson is a mad one but the others arent good enough.

    if sg is only going to buy what he thinks is better players and not for the sake of it than fair enough. if that is the reason no one through the door.

  80. H&V,
    I just seem to see lots of talk about players who were doing well, but are no longer cutting it, and could be available, but they are all in 29/30 yr old category.
    We seem to have totally gone away from the 21/23 yr old rising stars. Maybe the board are not willing to consider players who cost more than £10million.
    Watkins still remains our biggest money signing, which is hardly representative of a club wanting to be in Europe!!

  81. paul

    i totally get the needing a bit more for the here and now policy from sg….we did have a young team….but that brings added pressure! he has to deliever.

    you cant blame the owners though in saying we have just got bailey, phil ings digne for big money….make it work!

    The thing is have we spent it wisely. i think digne yes i love but the rest should of spent it better making a TEAM

  82. Pp
    I wonder after the most underwhelming summer have the owners sat back and thought purslow has messed up and we are not giving him anymore money
    Everyone keeps on about bloated squad but apart from defence I think midfield and attack are light,our owners are smart streetwise guys and probably have there own advisors apart from purslow,Smith built a young squad with room to get better,Gérard wants old players that are happy to lift high wages but to obey him
    Crystal Palace on Saturday will be a wake up,we will be bullied all o er the pitch ,expecting a defeat this week

  83. “I think it is a little bit early to look at where we are going to end up.

    “Week-to-week football is very much up and down. You saw that at Bournemouth with our performance (on the opening day), which wasn’t anywhere near good enough”


    I hate purslow and players coming out weeks ago saying European football is our ambition…

    Then we have a shambolic start and transfer window snd they are like shit are a way off let’s lower the tone

    All talk this club and no action

    Purslow. Lange. Piss off

  84. James

    Lange is absolutely useless that’s why.

    He only knows football players that any spotty teenager has heard off

    He’s useless

  85. It’s been a truly shambolic window

    Now one of the star players is out for 12 months

    So a shite team that finsihed 14th had one new addition

    And purslow thinks we are getting European football


  86. Ah, the smell of cordite when megabucks are being tossed around like confetti. The road is littered with players hauled onto the gravy train, only to be chucked off within weeks for big losses. The cost of a given player bears no resemblance to his Transfermarkt value once the EPL come knocking.

    And this is just the purchase cost. Salary and agents/signing on fees are extra. Leicester say £80 million is not enough for Fofana who they bought for relative peanuts last year. Yet the same outfit wasted £15 million on Vestergaard recently and within months can’t give him away to rid themselves of his salary. But they managed to offload Drinkwater to Chelsea for £34 million. Like Ozil at The Arse, he just sits and takes his weekly lottery winnings.

    Closer to home, we’ve had Wesley wasting £22 million of our funds. But Transfermarkt currently has Jack listed at £63 million so we are well up on that one. There’s some real irrational deals being brokered. Thank you Sky for this frenzy. The lunatics are truly running the asylum.

  87. Plug
    In all fairness Wesley had a bad injury,for me
    Kaliningrad hyland heaton jota sanson are the only real duds of our new owners buying
    Trez aeg goals kept/got us up,no doubt quite a few ings beundi Bailey digne have yet to reach potential, would guess coutinho has recouped a lot of his money on shirt sales and what he brings to club

  88. Villa have so many players that it’s crazy to buy before selling.

    Traore and El Ghazi should have suitors!

    I’m a Sanson and Tim I fan, so we have cover. Great to see both in 1st team squad training sessions from this week

  89. VillaMD
    All villa fans want sanson to get a run of games but the 2 men in charge while he has been here haven’t
    An injury or suspension to either Watkins or ings all we have is an untried archer and because he hasn’t played he is already better according to some villa fans,likewise with Bailey our only out and out winger no natural replacement, same with midfield how can kamara on his own drag our team up the table seeing as our only other summer signing is out for season
    Really worried for this season almost at frems level now
    Worrying times ahead for villa times with plenty weekends spoiled

  90. Anyone see klopp calling out the fat fraud gabby,he couldn’t remember gabby playing in our 6 0 defeat to klopps pool,and then had the neck( it’s thick enough) to slag united players

  91. Southampton spending 30 million on a striker.

    Wolves keeping their best player and adding two real top players


    We can’t spend because Lange and purslow have whacked our bill up to the limit with bang average players.


  92. We have Watkins and Ings as our strikers.

    We have Douglas Luiz as a center mid option of the bench

    Ashley Young as back up right back

    It’s piss poor

  93. Aston Villa have approached Southampton over a possible deal for defender Jan Bednarek.




    We didn’t really need a center back this transfer window…. We are going to sign 2

    We need another cm and striker and forward desperately but we aren’t doing any of that

    Absolutely horrific

    Awful planning.. Awful scouting

  94. Liverpool in talks with Villa over Ramsey

    We are slowly becoming a joke.

    Grealish last summer. Ramsey this summer

    An awful transfer window last summer, same again this summer

    No money being spent other than sales

    Ambition. Zero.

    Whats happened

  95. Blimey. . . . is there something in the water?
    What’s happening to everyone on here?
    – Our squad is better than last year.
    – There are fewer injuries and illnesses than at the start of last season
    – We’ve had a full pre-season
    We have a good new player in the position that everyone was ‘most’ concerned about last season
    – We have exciting youth, several of whom are now ready to start making appearances on match day
    – Dean Smith ruined the start of last season so we should gain an extra 7 points at least in comparison (which would have been enough to put us in the top 8 last year.)

    Ok, I think the last one is bollocks. If we have a problem it is Steven Gerrard and if he proves to be a failure then he will be replaced and a better manager could quickly get this squad winning games.

    However. . . . . SG MAY still prove to be the right manager in which case even that won’t be a concern.

    Now can we calm down and start supporting our club?

  96. r0bb0,
    I sent MK a personal message through this site, as I have him as a friend, but there has been no reply, which is sad.
    I think with so little going on, apart from player loans out, everyone is getting a little frustrated, as it seems Gerrard is, when he is questioned by the press. He is going to have to learn to deal with the press a little better, or they will not be his friends.
    Today is going to be another big test for him.

  97. I see that Viera has said that today’s game will be difficult because Villa “have a clear idea of how they want to play”
    Well that can be interpreted a few ways:
    “How they ‘want’ to play” rather than “how they do play”, may suggest that he thinks we have a plan but aren’t fulfilling it?
    If its the latter then I guess there are a lot of Villa fans that might agree.
    It does sometimes feel like watching a 2 year old trying to put the different shaped blocks into the container with correspondingly shaped holes in the lid . The problem is that our shapes don’t all fit the lid. . . . . but Gerrard still keeps trying to push them through the holes.

  98. A really naive question now. . . .
    Last season we all saw big improvements in Nakamba’s game. Several on here credited Gerrard for bringing it about.
    Against teams where we need to be more defensively minded, is there any way of using Nakamba and Kamara together?

  99. Traore has gone for 250k lone

    We paid 17 million

    Sanson is going on loan we paid 16 million for him.

    Its disgusting the recruitment at this club

    Palace midfield is better than ours and that will show

    Looking at wolves starting 11 and bench they have fantastic squad and quality.

    We don’t

    How has Lange and purslow got away with such a criminal job

  100. Eze, douckoure and shlup will absolutely dominate our midfield today

    That’s how poor our recruiting is

    4th season up and Palace still have a better midfield

  101. Frem, you say that Liverpool are ‘in talks’ about buying Ramsey.
    The only thing I can find is a blogger speculating that they ‘may’ have made enquiries and then shortly afterwards rubbishing his own speculation and saying he thinks it’s unlikely.

  102. Frem, i agree that spending those amounts on Traore and Sanson and then loaning them out is not great business.
    You have in the past been very complimentary of both players though so is the problem the player recruitment. . . .or how they’re being used?

  103. Robbtoday would be perfect for nmarv ,but since mcginn is captain he has to start,our squads problems start and finish with Gérard and lange,we spent about 10m on reserve keeper and left back ,surely there was better value out there

  104. JG I’m with you on almost everything you’ve said there.
    I do have more faith in McGinn than you (and some other Villa fans) though.
    I’m also struggling to know where the apparent mismatch comes from between recruitment and first team selection.
    It would be nice to know how much say both DS and SG had/have in recruitment targets. If SG is being given a fair bit of autonomy on who we recruit then is Lange to blame when we get it wrong?
    The switch in recruitment strategy must surely be down to demands/requests from Gerrard and has led to some player’s faces apparently longer fitting.

  105. Buendia and Bailey start !
    Well this looks more like the fan’s choice team
    Let’s hope it works out. We can also look forward to Coutinho playing a blinder in the last 25 mins

  106. Yes r0bb0, it definitely looks like the fans have picked the team, and Gerrard realises that he needs them on board, if he is going to survive. The alternative is that at last he has come to his senses, and knows he has to pick a team on merit that will gel together!
    Lets hope that we see a much improved performance today, and come away with at least a point, if not three.

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