Yet another new era begins for Aston Villa as Unai Emery has taken up the challenge following Steven Gerrard’s departure. Some will be thinking of his disappointing run at Arsenal, others how he’s had Sevilla and Villareal punching above their weight and winning trophies. He actually didn’t do too badly at PSG, either, pulling a quadruple, six cups, and a league title, prior to joining Arsenal.

Perhaps the way to look at it is that the Arsenal situation wasn’t ideal, and it didn’t ruin him. He went on, smile intact, and succeeded elsewhere. Now he’s looking to take a second turn on the big stage.

It’s viewed by almost everyone as a statement signing, as it’s hard to disagree. Probably the most experienced and successful manager Villa could’ve brought in at this point in time. And you probably couldn’t pick two managers more different than each other. One inexperienced and arrogant, the other very experienced, tactically astute, and an actual coach on the training ground. Emery also seems likable and self aware. Hard not to see the appointment as almost a rebuke to Gerrard, never mind Purslow.

What to Expect
Naturally we’re all feeding on the bits we’re getting elsewhere. I’ll admit to not having seen his European teams in action for various reasons. But, if what we hear is true, I like it.

In short, the book is that he’s an adaptable technician who apparently makes players better. His study of opponents appears to border on the obsessive. He’s played 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, 4-4-2. Formation, players, and the subtle in-game ways of playing a system will vary.

The other, obvious observation is that he’ll expect more quality on the ball. I can see him coming in, working with what he has, playing to strengths, and obviously plotting his January and summer moves. As many have noted, his appointment could very well spell the end of a number of players’ time in claret and blue. It may also signal a fresh direction in terms of whence our new players come. Our recruitment should improve.

Difference with Gerrard in this respect is that I seriously doubt Emery will be turning to aging players and looking to buy instant success. His pull ought to be stronger than Gerrard’s, and I’d assume he’ll have a lot more players wanting to play for him than Gerrard did, in the end. Players talk.

I’m also thinking that NSWE and Emery will also understand it’s a rebuilding process, bit of reset. The three-year contract shows a level of commitment. Top eight may well be out of reach this year. Who knows. But I don’t think that’ll be his remit this season. It has to be to stabilize, build a foundation, get Villa back moving the right direction. Do the necessary clearing out having no attachment to anyone or anything at the club, but with some actual intelligence. If he takes us top half, that would be a real achievement.

So, if nothing else, I’m expecting fresh enthusiasm and a manager players will enjoy working with and learning from. I’m expecting Emery to enjoy the challenge of facing United first time out. I’m expecting the players to put in another shift against Newcastle as they quite clearly know they’ll be playing to impress. And I can’t help thinking the Brentford showing helped convince him Villa aren’t a lost cause.

I’m naturally expecting a more astute approach to opponents and someone with clear ideas and how to get them across. After all, he was watching Peaky Blinders in his time at Arsenal.

Anyway. Welcome Unai Emery. Let’s hope this is a great move for everyone.

Over to you.

Comments 126

  1. Can’t complain after looking at his record. Seasoned and as experienced as you could wish for. Hope Aaron Danks is kept on as part of the system. Hope he doesn’t feel like he needs move on to progress or that Emery can’t work with him.

  2. Yeah, would be a bit of a loss, it seems. Reading that Gerrard didn’t listen to him much. Who knows.

    Every manager will have their picks…but maybe he stays on a while at least because of his familiarity. He obviously understood what needed to be done to try and get a result.

  3. “The other, obvious observation is that he’ll expect more quality on the ball”

    I said on the previous page, a lot of these players are in trouble under Uni

    He likes technical, tactical players. Spanish league is slow tactical and technical

    We had a spell of singing athletes and not technically good football players

    The likes of cash and McGinn are in trouble. Technically not very good. Sloppy on the ball. Konsa Mings Ramsey Watkins also more runners than technique. None are good passers or strikers of the ball as such

    We will have a big turn over in January and summer to sign better technical players, and ones who have a better understanding tactically in there head

    To many of our players are simply athletes who use running power to try to get out of situations instead of using a tactical mind

    Really can’t wait

  4. Thanks JC, I’ve had a scan around to get some idea what we have and it looks like he is adept at coaching players young and old, now that’s a big plus. Also does well with teams outside the top so is used to certain levels of cash.

    Puzzled by Frems slow tactical spiel as he is known for playing on the break and likes wingers. For certain he looks the best manager on paper that Villa have ever employed, whether that will work out for us both we will see, the prems no Spanish league and if he plays slow technical football we are fucked Just as we were under slippy. If he changed the tictacs every game we would also be fucked. Most managers including Smith pinpoint teams weaknesses and attack them that doesn’t mean a complete change of how you play each time.

    Also seen that he likes a 4141 at Villareal, bit of 433 and 442 occasionally, not seen 4231 other than on fan sites.

    Looks like exciting are ahead again.

    Any way here’s how he’ll do it in his own words

  5. Frem,

    Not sure how much turnover to expect in January. I’d guess on the side of less rather than more. Depending on the market, I might imagine a couple of really targeted buys.

    But, you never know. All depends on what NSWE want to allocate for January and the summer, where the market is at, and who’s available.

    Don’t disagree that a number of our players aren’t terribly technical. But there’s ways to help, in the short term.

    The other side of technical is coaching. Yeah, players have their natural ability (or lack thereof), but coaching systems, patterns, etc., and getting players in the right spots can have a big effect. If you have an outlet and they can receive comfortably, know where other players are, where you next pass is, it can help. If you’re not stretching, reaching and playing a poor pass, it’s easier to receive and work with. There needs to be a calming.

    When people complain about us playing slowly, I see a couple things: Players wanting an extra touch, which can be any of confidence, no clear outlets/next pass in the sequence, being afraid to make a mistake. Players also refraining from making a more telling pass…if we’re playing round the back, or playing out, you need to hit the designated outlet quickly before it’s closed down.

    A manager/staff can really make a difference there, too: a clear vision on options, depending on the opponent’s setup and what they’re trying to take away.

    But overall, yes, we will be looking for more quality on the ball.

  6. Frem, We’d all love to have a team full of technically brilliant hard working players but the reality is that it would take a long time to get there. In the meantime we’ll need a balance of hard workers and steadily improving technical skills. Take Coutinho as an example, technically one of the best players in the Premier league but up to now struggling to consistently influence games for us. As Mark has pointed out, Emery has been successful with teams below the top level so he has presumably adapted to getting the most of players who are not the most technically brilliant as they’d have been snapped up by the top clubs.
    I agree with you that he looks like a really good and potentially exciting appointment but if you expect him to change half the squad and bring in hard working, technical brilliance I’m afraid you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment.

  7. JC, your point about players wanting an extra touch (for whatever reason) feels very relevant. On Sunday, the key point that others have pointed out was that the players had been allowed to express themselves and to enjoy themselves (oh. . . .and to play in positions that were best suited to their personal skills). That seemed to give them the confidence that had been sadly lacking and they played more on instinct and didn’t need that extra touch.
    This is pure speculation, but you can imagine that Gerrard wanted to give the impression of being in control and tried to tell the players exactly how to play and they were then double guessing everything and lost their freedom to express themselves.
    I’ve always believed that if you’re employing someone you have to believe in them and trust them to do the right thing, and absolutely not try to micromanage them. If they then don’t deliver you should be ruthless.

  8. Thanks for the link Mark. . . not seen that guy before but it felt like a good analysis and gave really handy pointers of some of the things for us to look out for.
    If he’s right, then let’s hope Villa fans are prepared to forgo a little excitement in exchange for success.

  9. r0bb0,

    Yeah, there was definitely a mentality shift…I put it down to it simply being the right system for the players. They know it, they were recruited for it, so they could just go play it because the right pieces were put out the right way. They didn’t want to play SG’s way because it made them all look bad, exposed them. The four up front also were able to apply more pressure than the narrow three without leaving the center (the easy ball to a 6 or 8) so exposed.

    Dendoncker was a refreshing change, did all the basics, only gave it away once, I think, freeing up Luiz to not only get forward more, but put in his most spirited performance off the ball since the relegation rescue.

    Danks was very diplomatic about the short turn, but McGinn and Ramsey clearly hadn’t been doing much, and that three with Luiz only put the two in worse situations. I thought we looked worse when they and Coutinho came on.

    Game was over, Danks was keeping everyone involved, so you maybe expect a drop-off, but we could see again why neither McGinn nor Phil should be starting.

  10. Robbo

    Spanish league all players are technically good. They rely more on technical ability than pace. They use their heads more and let the ball do the work more

    We obviously still need pace but he won’t put up with cash awful crossing ability and technical ability, he won’t put up with mcginn giving the ball away every second pass, he won’t put up with Watkins hold up play and poor finishing

  11. I just love klopp words on him saying how much detail he goes into

    We finally have a manager who reacts during games and sees things live

  12. John

    I imagine he’s been promised a lot in January. He will have 3 games now to eee them live then work closely with them during world up.

    He will know what we need in January by then

    Mark did Smith really ever pinpoint teams weaknesses?

    Jack Grealish was our tactic

  13. I think we’ll all be very happy with whatever style we play if it gets results.

    And if we get results and people are whinging about the style, I won’t be kind. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with counterattacking football, inviting teams on, taking advantage of the space. It can be very exciting and makes a lot of sense.

    Yeah, it’s impressive to see City pinging it around, but I’d almost rather have fluid, 3–5-pass breaks chewing up 60-70yds.

    Don’t care how many goals as long as we’re not under the cosh and wining seems lucky.

  14. Frem,

    I think it’s apples and oranges trying to slot Smith into this. They weren’t far enough along to have made all the changes we, Smith, or anyone else would have wanted to see.

    What we did see was Smith’s system again and that it suited the players.

    Smith also had Ghazi and Trez, and I seriously doubt he had much final say in that overall mix.

  15. And again, Frem, I wouldn’t go assuming Villa are going to break the bank in January.

    The nature of that window is changing as more players are running down contracts, but as we all know, it’s generally not the wisest shopping or the widest selection.

    He’s been promised funds, yes. And he may well be able to spend it better than his predecessors (depending on how much is dictated by Purslow/Lange). I’m guessing he’ll have more latitude than Gerrard, who had more than Smith, simply because he’s much more experienced and has won a lot more.

    We’re not bringing him in to handcuff him.

  16. Well, it is what it is. We all knew Villa had a group of talented players and enough players to fill all the positions with a bench squad more than adequate. Every game I would look at the XI that was picked and would think, that’s a good group of players
    . Then Gerrard would slip the choke collar around their nuts and try and make them perform like trained super dogs.
    Aaron Danks along with the rest of us could see that that wasn’t working and gave them free reign, put them in their natural position, told them to have fun and what did they do? They had fun. Really, what did he have to lose? For me, Smith was a similar manager only his players didn’t have the same talent as the team Danks had.
    Now, Emery is the man. He’s supposed to have a good grip on the talent on the team he is coaching. I expect a more free wheeling team with the ability to fix mistakes that are made on the field. He will give them instruction within their abilities and preferred playing position. I think this is going to be fun. 25 players on the same wave length as the coach.

  17. I can only see one or two players added in Jan. No club wants to let their best players leave in Jan.

    It’s a 3rd chance for Sanson. I hope he’s brilliant under Emery. Would be like a new 20m signing. Will also be interesting to see what he thinks of Nakamba

    Exciting times ahead…..finally!!!!

    Every pl

  18. Frem as Smith spoke about how he’d approached games several times yep he changed things for different games.

    The team he had out against Liverpool was possibly the best he was ever able to put out and if you think he said do what you like lads leave it to jack then you need a slap.

  19. Robbo- arsenal fans didn’t like his approach and he tried to adapt and be more wenger like which ultimately meant he was a bit hamstrung apparently.

    He’s known to sit back and pass it around the back none of which is entertaining but then likes wingers and players with movement up top the opposite of what frem claims .

  20. Ian, your comment about Gerrard putting on the choke collar and expecting the players to perform like trained super dogs feels about right. We’re speculating of course, but everything we saw of him suggested that he wanted to ‘appear’ to be in control. I’m sure many will disagree with me, but I get a similar feeling with Pep. I’m not suggesting that Gerrard had the knowledge or management expertise of Pep, just that there are some similar traits. Pep of course is working with the best that money can buy so he can make mistakes and usually get away with it. You look at how he put the choke collar on Jack and suppressed everything that made him so good and influential for Villa. It looked like Pep trying to exert control rather than make Jack a better footballer. Jack’s started lately to show a little more of his old flair but Pep has wasted a year of his career (although Jack does of course now have a medal he craved . . . . but didn’t earn). When Pep comes up against a comparable team of course he feels he has to think and adapt and then, up to now, he’s been found wanting.
    He’ll win the Champion’s league eventually, but the club has had 15 years of the biggest investment of any club, ever, and approaching 7 years of Pep in charge. . . he should have done better.

  21. Mark
    Wasn’t Grealish involved in 5 ot the 7 goals that night..???

    As I said

    Grealish was the tactic..

    Sit back and hope he did something magical

  22. Just looking at the side Emrey managed to get get 2 points of 3rd and to a European cup final

    Had Papasthosopoulos, Mustafi, beriln, oil, iwobi and Xhaka

    That’s pretty amazing that he got that crap to the final and 2 points of 3rd place

    Our squad now is better than the arsenal team he had

  23. I’m enjoying and largely sharing your optimism Frem. I can’t say I’d have had much of a view on whether Emery would be a decent fit for us a few days ago but from what I’ve seen and heard since, it does seem very possible that he will.
    I’m a bit surprised to see you praising our squad (yes, we know. . . with some qualifications) but I do agree that we should have enough good players for him to be able to make a decent fist of things even before transfer windows arrive. Presumably he’s seen enough of us to also believe that we have enough quality for him to work with too. You’d imagine that a decent transfer kitty has been dangled in front of him too and hopefully he’ll already have some players in mind.

  24. Robbo

    We do have some good football players. Our technical ones will do well under Uni. The ones who let the ball and mind do the work will suit Uni

    The likes of Young, Digne, Luiz, Buendia, Chambers, Ings, little phill should all probably be good, Kamara to when he’s back.

    It’s the headless chickens that will struggle, Cash, Watkins, mcginn maybe konsa and Mings. A few more. It’s the ones who don’t use the ball well.

    What ever mark says, his team’s in Seville and villareal didn’t have pace

  25. He had Bacca lead the line at Seville, a bit like Watkins I guess in terms of he’s quick but he’s a lot better technically.

    Bailey is quick but probably just about jas good enough technical ability when he’s on the left to be ok under Uni

  26. Deano could be on for the tin tack. It’s 1 win in 8 for him at Naarwich and the natives are kicking up. They’re outside the top 6 and dropping like a stone. Seems familiar to me.

  27. Frem of course Jack was important but 20/21 we won 9 in which he didn’t score or assist in, we won 6 that he did and lost 4 that he did score or assist in. Won 3 drew 3 and lost 6 without him. Lost 9 with him playing and he scored half his goals in 2 games and nearly half of his assists in two as well. Great player but not a guarantee of anything. In fact he missed a lot of chances.

    As for whether his old players had pace or not, if your telling me he had the slowest most technical team that’s just fantasy, he slowed games down a lot and plays on the break, hard to do that with snails. The thought that he’s going to progress up the field bit by bit and counter is laughable.

    He was 1 point off of 4th with the Arse by the way so never made the champs. So he is now going to go one better with the team you have slagged off all year and make champions league as we are better than the team he had at Arsenal fecking hell two of what your on.

  28. So much being said about what he does or doesn’t do, apparently he has a special 442 pattern that’s not symmetrical (Gerrards two 10’s anyone) he likes to play a high line so he can counter quickly preferring a mid block rather than a low block. The right full back is the attacking FB and so is the RW, LW is a half ten half winger (sounds like jack) The forward line interchanges ( like the Brentford game)

    Does your head hurt yet 🙂

  29. By the way that winger looks like the kind of player we have been buying over the last few years, Makes me wonder what Emerey would of made of them?

    My worry though is with his rep of being the most intense preparation manager will our players buy into it or even understand what he wants? That goes for the language barrier too, ok for the south Americans etc . He likes hours of video to be watched and goes into every detail, now Smith did this to some extent don’t know how much and certainly don’t know about SG that wasn’t reported.

    Baring in mind Danks had 48 hours to prepare, played players in the right positions and changed the formation to get a reaction how much is actually needed? will to much be detrimental? we will see, it will either be a revelation or back to Buying yet another team.

    My guess if he’s as smart as reported is he will go match to match and not go overboard on the philosophy side. More likely he will look to mould players to his ways before he decides who to discard or keep. I know many are thinking this seasons over but it really isn’t. Yet again we are having a forced rest ( like covid) and that gives him time to work with lots of players that are not in the World cup.

  30. I’m looking forward to Unai Emery’s time at VP. It will be interesting to see how his philosophy unfolds. As Frem says, there will be winners and losers amongst the playing staff.

    When Compass took over, I felt Spud’s time with us wouldn’t last long and I was delighted when Deano replaced him. Progress indeed. Then for whatever reason, Deano hit a ceiling and it felt to me that he’d taken us as far as he could. Gerrard’s appointment was a real risk. The hope was that he’d bring Liverpool’s winning mentality to the team but he never achieved that goal.

    Now we have a known master tactician. For the first time in years, I’m now more than hopeful that Villa will threaten the upper reaches of the EPL. Don’t know if he’s viewed BMH training facilities yet, if not, he will be impressed. Likewise the youth development programme. Hold on to your hats.

  31. Mark, having watched that video, and bearing in mind it was presumably supposed to be showing the highlights, I was surprised how many mistakes were made. On quite a number of those attacks, there’d be a burst of activity which then broke down with a mistake.
    It may suggest that Emery allows the players to express themselves but sets the team up so that there’s sufficient cover for when attacks break down.
    The last year has felt as if the players have been inhibited and maybe playing in fear of making a mistake. Against Brentford the joy returned and they were trying things. . . . .and more often than not, succeeding.
    It won’t be like that every week of course and can you imagine the Newcastle defence will provide a much sterner test than Brentford. . . . . there’s a reason they’ve conceded fewer goals than any other team in the league.
    We’ve scored so few goals this year because of our slow build up and the paucity of decent chances created. If we take more risks then there may be more mistakes but hopefully the less patient fans amongst us will allow the players a bit of slack whilst they and we all adapt to the new ways of doing things.

  32. Plug, you’re right that there’ll be winners and losers amongst the players. They may well not be the ones we are anticipating because Emery may use the squad differently and we’ve seen under Gerrard how some players progressed and some went backwards. . . . . . hmmmm . . . . well. . . we saw Nakamba and Cash progress initially but had they by the end?

    You mentioned Dean Smith hitting a ceiling with us and you may be right. . . . it certainly felt like it at the time, but in the past he’s shown a knack for turning things round. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to take Norwich back onto a winning run again now. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s unwise to praise him after a winning streak or decry him after a losing one!

  33. A lot of good thinks being said about Uni by people in the trade … its defiantly the most optimistic managerial appointment Villa have made to my memory with of course nothing garmented, but we have now dipped into the world class manager bracket , just hope he is the right fit for us

    His time at Arsenal was pretty bad but he took over From Wenger who left a team that was all over the place with the likes of Ozil stealing a living and it took arteta 3 years to sort it out … he also dump arsenal and man out of Europe after leaving the gooners

    hopefully exciting successful times ahead

  34. Frem, you said “Our squad now is better than the arsenal team he had”. Bearing in mind he took Arsenal to 5th in the league with 70 points in his first season, their squad was either better than you remember, or he worked an absolute miracle with them.
    I’m confident that our squad is better than a number of posters on here and elsewhere have been suggesting over recent months but to suggest we have a Champion’s league quality squad right now feels a bit over optimistic to me.

  35. For the pedantic . . . I do know that 5th isn’t quite Champion’s league but Arsenal were only 1 point off 4th and 2 points off 3rd that season so if our squad is better than their’s was. . .

  36. runtings, yes there does seem to be a lot of positive feedback about Emery coming to Villa. You imagine that he feels that the Premier league is ‘unfinished business’. It didn’t work out for him in his second season with them but players who’ve worked under him say he is obsessive about football and some of his comments point to him being a very thoughtful manager . . .hurrah!
    I bet he’s spent hour after hour thinking about what went wrong for him and considering what makes the Premier league ‘different’. That surely will help him this time round.

  37. Robbo- That lad is /was 20 in the video scored 6, 6 assists for Villarreal and we looked at him recently. I haven’t seen a player like Jack that had so much end product ( got fouled if he didn’t create etc ) they all seem to have a fair amount of fails. He does remind me of Trez, Traore, Anwar et al.

  38. Mark, absolutely. It seems to be a common trait in so many wingers. They’re brought into sides because of their explosive speed and ability to get behind defences, but frequently lack the control and awareness of who’s around them. . . . . . and as you say, we’ve had a few of them ourselves. We’ve seen how they’re great on their day and can open up defences but then come in for criticism because they don’t always get it right.
    Adama Traore was another classic example where you became excited as soon as he received the ball but frustrated by the lack of end product. . . . . you can make great highlight reels for them over a season though!

  39. Robbo- if players don’t make an error every game would be 0-0, if those moments win matches then over the season you put up with foibles and you get entertained.

    On another topic If we had gone from Smith to Emery then on paper I’d have no complaint other than feeling for Smith, otherwise you could see the logic and dare I say progression.

  40. Mark, agreeing with you yet again (this makes a nice change 🙂 Dean Smith could feel hard done by for being sacked when he was, after the very tough run of games at the start of the season, the injuries, losing Jack, and the disrupted start to the season. If we’d brought in a manager of Emery’s experience though, the fans and Dean Smith would have at least felt that the club was showing ambition and looking to progress. Bringing in Gerrard was a kick in the nuts both for Smith and (most of) the fans. It was inevitable that some of those fans who strongly felt Dean Smith had passed his sell by date and needed to go, would welcome Gerrard, just because he wasn’t Smith. There was always the chance that it might have worked but it was an unnecessary risk and unless we were going to bring in the sort of manager we now have then we’d have been better off sticking with Smith.

  41. Mark, re accepting player’s foibles, and allowing them to take risks: Yes it leads to more exciting football and provided you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your players and use them appropriately, you’d like to think that it will lead to better results.
    Southgate is another example of a control freak who inhibits players and whilst England’s current crop of players ‘could’ be playing some exciting attacking football, they’re generally seen to be passing the ball to and fro across the backline instead.

  42. Apparently Emery has since said he wasn’t backed by Arsenal as Arteta has been. What that means at our level who knows, we are paying him £20m over three years to spend a fair bit you’d think.

  43. You say you make your own luck,and Gérard last match was like his time here awful
    Now after big win ,new manager appointed, players r suddenly back from injury
    A lots been made of danks win but across all social media villa fans were crying out for same system,now the problem is fitting digne at left back and we’re does kamara play i like the size of decdonker in midfield we need it,the other way of looking our bench is going to be our strongest ever,so use of 5 subs is a must in every game

  44. JG- Depends on how he sees what he has and what formation he thinks will suit at this point. No reason why he couldn’t use his 442 but use Digne and bailey out left to provide the attack and Cash or Young sit on the right with Beundia as the inside forward / ten. Kamara would sit with Luis as the playmaker. Could use something entirely different 4231 or 433. We will see how he gauges McGinn because its clear to all and Scotland that he is best used as an attacking mid/10, could he battle it out with luis? maybe he fights it out with Beundia?

    Unless there’s a miracle I don’t think Phil will make the cut , the team will have to be set around him, if anything it was Gerrards blind spot with him that stopped us progressing although the reported dislike of Gerrard looks to be another reason.

    My biggest question for smith was why he didn’t find a Kamara, maybe there was to much else to fix and he saw using Mcginn, conor, ramsey and Luis as a stop gap? all are really attacking mids with luis the closest to a DM, he did go for SWP and he would have been aware of several options in the youth ranks (two out on loan and doing very well) that would save the club money. A miss calculation for sure but also when we lost Jack attracting players became harder would be my guess. His whole tenure was full of stop gaps at a price point until the Watkins season, whatever plans he had went out the window when Jack went or was injured.

    Whether its Smith, Gerrard or Emery the managers in this league will find you out, what Jack did was provide a question few could answer other than kick him, which provided many chances for us ( conors free kicks/deliveries etc) and opened up space for others, Barkleys addition upped that when on form.

    Against Brentford we saw for the 1st time how Smiths/Danks were heading I think (with all available). Whether it can be countered quickly we will see (teams that sit in are our nightmare) but Bailey and Beundia are two that provide the unpredictability in the system, Watkins too if given freedom to roam. Shame chuk went he was another.

    I’m optimistic having looked at Emerys methods that someone has done their research and matched the manager to the squad.

  45. Mk
    Funny I think coutinho has more of a chance than mcginn especially as a number 10
    Gerard problem was playing coutinho as a winger instead of in hole behind centre forward where he could dictate play,the stars from last weeks match show that even in a match we were dominating mcginn couldn’t do basics pass ball to teammate

  46. JG, I hope you’re right about Coutinho’s chances under Emery. If he can find him a position and a way of playing that suits him and brings him anywhere near where he could be he’ll be a huge asset to the club. The whole mood in the club is going to be important too, and there are increasing reports coming out that some of the players did not like Steven Gerrard. Not that they didn’t like how he set the team up or his tactics (if there were any), but they didn’t like him personally, or how he behaved.
    This doesn’t come as any surprise as there have been plenty of comments on here about his public words and behaviour. It seemed that he tried to put on a public face, but his character flaws and lack of personal attributes to make a good manager were still there to be seen.
    Having said that, the players are very well rewarded and it was clear in the last game that they do have what’s needed to bring success. They ‘should’ have risen above their personal gripes and earned their money on the pitch. . . . the club and fans and their own pride deserve that.
    There was a time not so long ago when there was a toxic atmosphere in the club which made it difficult for any manager to do their job. Whatever we may say about Steve Bruce, he went a long way towards changing that culture. Having seen the back of Steven Gerrard, the players do need to now give their all to Unai Emery. . . . even when there are things they don’t particularly like.

  47. JG/Robbo- Won’t hold my breath on Phil, he’s a bit to light weight and for all his skill wants a bit to much time and this league has moved on since his heyday. Can’t see him playing that left side of the 442 and we will be using a double pivot, that means he will have to dislodge Luis. Even on a day when we were winning 4-0 he looked pissed off. Logically you don’t get a £370k a week player for £17m, teams would of bitten Barcas hand off at £40m if he was worth a shot, they didn’t.

  48. Robbo
    Think it was you commented on Gérard treatment of target at the time,it was like that nonstop,even fergie admitted at the end you couldn’t treat players badly it would always come back and bite

  49. As for recruitment in January,a winger would be nice other than that I would like to see emery work and make better the likes of cash konsa Luis Watkins ramsay ,its basis of decent side,it looks like digne and kamara will be back sooner too

  50. On the players not liking Gerrard? probably some for sure and it doesn’t take many. On liking his tactics? obviously they didn’t create enough space for the players we have to exploit. He kept it very tight and looked for a moment of magic, what he called that bit of quality.

    That’s the kind of thing top side do every week because the players they have can react 0.5 sec’s quicker or are that bit more accurate, playing in a regimented way does not hinder them to much. The minute we played to the players strengths they woke up. Gerrards mistake was believing he could coach them to be better than they are individually rather than finding a way to win as a team with what they are. That’s why fingers were pointed at the recruitment by Beale.

    At Rangers the gulf was massive in quality for Rangers and Celtic, you could probably play 10 different ways and win.

  51. I think as time goes on along with a new manager the squad will change and some of the past favourites will not be what the manager needs going forwards
    I agree that SJM is one of those player in danger of being outgrown by the club and we certainly didn’t miss him starting the last game , he was also not overly impressive coming off the bench
    All players will need to do a lot better to stay at this club and the standards of the last games performance will hopefully becoming the minimum required to get into the team going forwards

  52. Rumour mill and gossip going strong on some Villa players not liking Gerrard as a person, not so much about tactics. Why Antonio feels the need to jump in on te bandwagon, I am not sure. Wouldn’t think that Moyes would be happy.
    I did have worries about Gerrard and his attitude. I can imagine that there was a lot of “When I was at Liverpool.” When I played for England” Unfortunately, some people are full of their own importance when trying to get points across, rather than just spelling out the method/reason for doing something.
    There are also comments on Mings already, that Emery may have identified him as a problem, and may try and replace him with his own left centre back from Villareal, in addition to a winger from there. This could mean spending a total of £120 million on former players of his. That is where the January budget will go, if the rumours are true.
    Also, Digne may be back in according to one OBirmingham:
    Cash Konsa Mings Digne
    Bailey Dendonker Ramsey Luiz
    Watkins Ings
    Interesting that they see us starting without Buendia, Couthino, McGinn or Young.
    Not sure that this will be Danks team, but we will have to see if they are right.

  53. JG, I may well have commented on how Targett was discarded although I don’t remember (I could say that about a lot of things these days!)
    I do remember commenting on how Mings was treated though which felt personal and vindictive and was an early sign that Gerrard was either lacking self confidence or simply lacking what it takes to manage people.

  54. Or Mings is a liability at times?

    I think the Bailey on the right is just people trying to fit him into Emerys 442 forget he performs better out left and that Digne’s more attacking than Cash.

    Runting- love Farley’s stuff not sure other lifers do 🙂 his Gerrard impression has been the one highlight of his stay at Villa.

  55. I wouldn’t like to guess who he might not like at this point, its a different system for one. His team at Villarreal had plenty of cast offs from spurs etc deemed not good enough. Look at Fulham’s team, literally all cast offs.

  56. I think Mings and all our defenders looked a lot more assured in the last game and notice with 2 DM’s that the centre back didn’t have to do too much playing out from the back as they had midfielders right next to or just in front of them when we didn’t have the ball so they could concentrate on just doing the job of defending which they did exceptionally well on the day

  57. Mark, the impression I got from that Allcott YouTube analysis was that Emery’s system could work with the attacking winger being either left or right so he could still choose to have Bailey operating on the left but maybe that was wishful thinking on my part?

  58. runtings, it hadn’t occurred to me, but you’re right that the progression from defence upfield seemed much less tortuous last week.

  59. Robbo it might be an asymmetrical 442 but I’d be surprised if matters which side is the attacking one. Ideally you’d have a team that could switch either side so Beundia and Bailey switch wings basically and Digne or cash take an attacking role as needed.

  60. 442 or 4231 both have 2 proper midfielders unlike Gérard trying to play with 1
    Mings seem to remember arsenal having centre half’s who were liabilities
    for me most mings mistakes come from trying too hard covering for other players

  61. PP, I meant to pick up on your note about rumours of Emery wanting to replace Mings.
    Firstly, I’d be extremely surprised (and disappointed) if Emery was making a judgement about Mings before even joining. When I say ‘disappointed’, I don’t mean because I want Mings to stay (although I do), but I’d be disappointed that Emery was a) making such quick judgements and b) that he was making them public.
    I believe that Emery is a good manager and therefore I simply do not believe the rumours.

    So, assuming that it’s not coming from Emery, who is it coming from?

    It could of course just be a racist blogger who will look for any opportunity to have a go at Mings
    . . . or it could be a mate of Gerrard’s who feels bitter that Mings stood up to his mate and is having one final go at him. You can imagine that Gerrard, true to character will be looking for someone else to blame for his failure at Villa and Mings is likely to be a prime candidate, so it wouldn’t take much for one of his mates to say something to some media hack or blogger.
    The last possibility is that it’s someone in the club who does believe that Mings is a negative influence in the dressing room.
    Of course, I’ve no evidence for any of this but I do still find it very hard to believe that Emery is behind any of the rumours.

  62. an article including quotes from Mings about his time under Gerrard and looking forward to working under Emery. I like his openness when he discusses how tough he found it when stripped of the captaincy and his place in the team and also his nervousness of having to fight for his place under Emery comes through too. I imagine that most of the players are feeling that way and hopefully they’ll all come out fighting for their places this afternoon.
    If you know Ming’s backstory you can’t help admiring how he’s fought back from really dark places and I find it sad when you read some of the comments made about him by people who try to make themselves feel better by criticising others.

  63. Robbo- My girlfriends brother in law is a Gardner and works for a few footballers in Solihull. He’s owed £800 by Gary Gardner and few others in his gated community, this has gone on since June, they are multi millionaires mind and the works been done and no complaint at the time. Anyhow maybe its Mings Gardner?

  64. Well done Robbo you demonstrated you knew what I meant while having a dig 🙂

    The land lady at my local likes Mr Mings in a none footballing manner, I think you’ve developed a man crush, the signs are there 😉

    An Asian friend of mine tried to tell me Rishy was looked over for Liz for racist reasons not policy funny old world, it would help your cause if Ming’s didn’t keep fucking up. None of that is down to having to do to much its concentration.

  65. I see that Paul Tierney is the referee today. . . . .that will be the Paul Tierney who was in charge of VAR in our game against Fulham when he failed to see the potential penalty against Watkins, gave a ludicrous penalty against Matty Cash and confirmed the sending off of Douglas Luiz that was such a bad mistake that the FA had to reverse it (which they hate doing).
    Let’s hope it was just because we were playing a London club and not because he specifically has something against Villa.

  66. Mark, man crush for Mings. . .yah got me!

    Mark when you look at the demographic of Conservative party members, particularly after the influx of ex UKIP voters after the collapse of that party I think you’d have to be remarkably one eyed not to think that racism played a part in them going for Truss instead of Sunak.
    I’d struggle to think of many politicians who were less suited to becoming Prime Minister than Truss and her performances in the hustings were embarrassingly poor. . . . .and yet she still got elected.

    I already had that view of her but have since had conversations with my brother, who used to work closely with her and he not only confirmed my previous view but gave examples to show she was even less suitable than I’d previously thought.

  67. That’s so like AVFC. Follow up a thrashing by taking one. Not one shot on target. Equals zero goal threat. Think Tierney has clearly demonstrated he has something strong against us.

    Meanwhile, out in Patagonia or the Pampas, JC will hopefully be unable to get an internet connection and therefore be none the wiser.

  68. That balloon wasn’t long popping, see most first half and we were more than holding our own,apart from young getting overloaded on his side
    Hindsight is a great thing and maybe going to Newcastle with 4 attackers was a bit much
    One thing commentators kept saying was how much fitter Newcastle were compared to us,that has to be sorted fast it has been evident since start of season
    Emery has his work cut out for next Sunday it’s pity sanson didn’t get a run because midfield seems to be problem

  69. Robbo- The conservative party also has plenty of Asian members, are they being racist if they vote for Rishy? many conservatives voted for Liz who’s closest ally is kwasi kwarteng and voted the Conservatives in (who’s front bench is much more diverse than Labours) because they wanted to see Brexit done as promised, if you see that as racist that’s more your problem I think or your bias. Also Rishy was seen as stabbing Boris in the back (among many) and a lot liked him. I think the race line is a very lazy conclusion to something way more complex and more linked to pressure from outside the country than what voters think, we are considered to stupid don’t you know.

  70. Well Danks retires with a 50$ win rate better than Gerrard 🙂

    I have the feeling Emerys room is littered with notes all around him at the moment.
    We were not bad to start but the two injuries knocked the wind out of them and we really did not finish some reasonable chances. Could of also been far worse really hope Emerys the one or I’m taking up bowling on a Saturday. It also pointed to a weakness down the flanks that he’ll have to address if he goes 442.

  71. Today showed how superbly well drilled the toon are with some fantastic patterns of play , on the upside we have a manager coming in that has won 9 major trophies via his patterns of play though it will take a little time to implement is coming

  72. Just reading a Jack Reacher book and it’s always worth looking out for Villa characters. We’ve just been introduced to the journalist Ashley Westwood in this one. Now there was a player who divided opinion in here.

  73. Watching highlights ,it shows we are so weak fragile,also what was bench doing not getting sub keeper warmed up
    Players wise think emery is going to make frem very happy,it’s going to be a whole lot of change,we need to buy men not boys

  74. Mark, I think you’re reading more into what I said about Rishi’s failure to win the first vote than I intended. Of course I’m not saying that all conservatives are racist. It annoys me greatly when I see people saying that they’d never trust a tory, or similar sentiments, as if voting for one party completely defines who you are.
    What I ‘am’ saying is that there was an influx of new members into the Conservative party after the collapse of UKIP and amongst those will be a significantly higher proportion of racists than in the general population. (There’s research that confirms this). It would therefore be surprising if there wasn’t an element of racism in the vote amongst the membership for Truss rather than Sunak. I’m not saying he’ll be a good PM (you won’t be surprised to know that I think he’s totally unsuited for the role purely based on his voting record on environmental issues) but it did seem incredible that Truss was elected when she was so clearly completely unsuited for the role (and I don’t believe I’m saying that just because I know someone who has seen at close quarters how she operates).

    Incidentally, my comment about gardeners and Gardners wasn’t meant to be a dig (no pun intended), I did actually think that you may know one of the Gardners.

    I’m rarely looking for a fight when I reply to you . . . . . just making comments, but you will read them how you will.

  75. JG, when you say we’re weak and fragile, I’m guessing you mean mentally, and yes, it does feel that way. I can imagine that Gerrard’s ‘big I am’ approach did little to help in that regard.

  76. Uni has a lot to do

    January and summer we need a huge clear out

    There isn’t one football player we have that anyone would be sad to see leave

    A lot of these guys aren’t mentally strong enough for Premier league football or technically good enough either

    Can’t wait to see Uni sign mentally strong players and ones who can actually pass a ball not the likes of Watkins etc

  77. Robbo
    We can’t blame Gérard for it all,I know I said one winger would do a few days ago but after yesterday we need more
    Who signed olseon should be sacked ,what is it about Scandinavian Keepers and us
    Defenders cash digne konsa mings young on there day can be good maybe even very good but yesterday was horrendous, to soft

  78. The toon team that we faced yesterday had the majority of the starting 11 that were there and in danger of relegation when Howe came in which just shows the power of a good coach and philosophy

  79. Good point runtings. We should be wary of saying who should stay and who should go until we’ve seen what Emery is able to do with them.

  80. JG, No we can’t blame Gerrard for ‘everything’ but following on from runtings’ point, we’ll get a better idea of how ‘much’ of it is down to Gerrard after Emery has had a chance to see what he is able to deliver with the same (or similar) set of players.

  81. Robbo
    In reality the bulk of our team for last 2 calendar years have been poor,whether emery can change that I don’t know,,we were at 6s and 7 s yesterday he can sort that out,fitness is another so maybe world Cup will suits us with really only martinez going

  82. emery, let him have the keys. finally a manager who can coach, put on a tactical masterclass and has a eye for a player.

    we have to give him time. let him build.

    stay out the bottom 3, got the mini wc break and let him sign a few in jan.

    need a winger and st.

  83. there is an arguement that let emery see what they can do…..but there bottle jobs.

    i cant stand half this squad.

    weak, no pace or physicallity and will fold in a blink of a eye.

    change is coming

  84. james

    got all the reacher books. class.

    cant get into the films cause well its tom cruise but hear the amazon series is good.

    he puts former villa players names in the books too as characters

  85. just catching up re mings

    if we want to improve mings cant be starting.

    distribuition terrible, not very football interlligent ie the little things….a simple header where he could nod it down to someone…nope will just head it aimlessly clear….then the mistakes….guaranteed ricket.

    pluses our only real leader, nice bloke and speaks well.

  86. Haven’t seen the game yet, but just goals and snippets of information on the clattering of Martinez by Mings, causing him to be replaced by a very poor Olsen. An unlucky slip from Ashley Young and Mariner immediately gives a penalty that VAR would not overturn, but how he could have avoided it, I don’t know! So, we held out until the very last breath of the first half. Then we lost our way in the second half, after conceding a fairly early second goal. Not the end of the world against a very inform Toon team!
    Not sure how Mings is feeling, as reports last week were saying that Emery is looking to replace him, before he has even met him.
    El Ghazi is now back to his best with PSG, which I find fascinating that he and Trezeguet, were both good servants on the wing for Villa, with both having gone for a song, and may well have been players that could have served Emery well for this season!

    Not going to get deep into politics, but Liz Truss was only put up to fail in the job, with the idea that Boris would then come back in as a saviour and lead the party into the next election. Unfortunately, she turned out to be a lost worse in too short a time, and the rank-and-file Tory MP’s who had actually won the first vote for Richi, defeating Truss, demanded that he should be their man. Boris and his cronies still tried to get him back in, but there was just too much opposition for him to succeed, so he withdrew.
    I am sure there was very little, if any racism involved with the membership vote for Truss, the majority being wealthy tossers and their brats, voting for tax cuts to buy a new yacht.
    Richi is going to have a very big struggle to keep the party on track, but I have a lot of faith in him, as do the financial markets and businesses.
    Very wise to hold back on the budget until 17th November, as things are improving all the time, including a reduction in gas prices.

  87. PP, a good posting with quite a few strands:
    Yes, we’d done ok in the first half on Saturday but as others have pointed out we just don’t seem to have the spirit and/or organisation to fight back when we go behind. Newcastle are really on a roll under a very good manager at the moment though so we shouldn’t take too much away from them.

    I just don’t believe that Emery has said anything about Mings yet but it would be interesting to know where the story ‘did’ come from. . . . you can imagine a few possible options.

    I was a fan of El Ghazi and particularly Trez (maybe not as much as Mark was mind you!) and it would be good to see that either of them was now making the most of their current roles. They both played an important role for the club but I’d still hope that we can do better than both of them going forward.

    It was me that suggested that racism played a ‘part’ in the election of Truss over Rishi and I stand by that. It’s very easy to find evidence that from 2018 onwards there was a significant influx of ex UKIP members into the conservative party. It’s also easy to find credible research that racism amongst UKIP members was significantly higher than the Conservative party as a whole and the general population. I don’t know ‘how’ significant the effect of this was in the election but it’s very hard to imagine it will have had ‘no’ impact.

  88. H&V, I get where you’re coming from re Mings, but how do you explain that our results tend to be better when he plays than when he doesn’t?

  89. I agree r0bb0 that there is an element of racism in all elements of political parties, but of the very small number of actual Conservative members, i.e., somewhere around 200,000 living mainly in London and the South-East, of which 57% are white male middle/upper class aged 50+years, which is not really representative of the majority of Conservative Voters. How many of these have come from UKIP it would be difficult to say, save the membership has increased by 25% since 2019.
    They are mainly Boris supporters who were not happy with Richi turning on him, and would have been happy for Boris and the ERG to be still in control.

  90. What a night for the Villa boys in the Norwich v QPR game, with Tim Iroegbunam, being named MOTM, and Aaron Ramsey was certainly Norwich City’s MOTM. Excellent displays by both of them!

  91. Another one of our boys MOTM:
    Reporter giving him an 8 rating
    Jaden Philogene 8 (star man)

    “Was impressive how much work he puts in defensively. Almost scored a worldie after skinning two defenders, but Daniel Bachmann pulled off an incredible save. Had another excellent effort whistle past the post in the second half”.

  92. On the money PP and Heroes. Tim looks very useful. Bidace is greased lightning. And young Ramsey will only get better.

    I will be cutting Unai plenty of slack whilst he grapples with his new charges and assesses their skill base. He has a tough start this weekend. It’s going to be interesting watching him in action.

  93. Thank goodness for tha alphabet!
    We have Identical stats to Southampton buy we begin with an ‘A’ which keeps us out of the bottom 3. . . .what foresight!

  94. Plug, you’re so right that we have to give Emery time to start putting things right. It’s very possible that we’ll be in the bottom 3 after tomorrow which will feel uncomfortable for everyone but at least it will put things in perspective and we’ll all remember just how grim things were when he took over.

  95. Buen dia, mi amigos! Having a fabulous time, Patagonian cruise one of the best things you can ever do. Got ashore on Cape Horn…heavy seas, swamped zodiacs, wind gusts up to 160kph up top, fantastic experience. Plus, no internet for five days, so I did indeed miss the toon beating. The universe works in strange and mysterious ways.

    In Mendoza now, bring on the wine (not like it hasn’t been flowing already along with the Negronis). May not be able to see Unai’s first game in charge. Geographic restrictions should be eliminated.

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