Emi Martinez and Matty Cash are still alive and kicking, while the US, predictably, has succumbed once again to experience and talent. Strange sentence, but I didn’t get to this Friday night for reasons. And Emi actually had to to make an important save to help get Leo to the next round.

Been an interesting Cup so far, with a fair amount of group-stage drama. Japan knocking off Germany and Spain? Well, didn’t think I’d see that. Didn’t expect so many scenarios stretching deep into injury time of the final round of matches. England’s advancement seems tame and well ordered by comparison. But now we’re into the knockouts, and the drama won’t come from goal difference or fair play. Argentina and Netherlands have booked their places in the quarters, as expected, and now we’ll see if France and England can do the same.

Won’t be an easy game for England, I don’t think, and I won’t be surprised to see them struggle. The proliferation of players from everywhere across top leagues has brought an air of professionalism to all the sides. Organization is generally good. Athleticism and work-rate are high. Maybe I’ve not been watching the right way previously, but this edition seems more like club football than ever. Fast, furious finishes have required the more esteemed sides to get ahead and open games up. Cagey first halves have been followed by more expansive seconds. In a number of matchups, it’s kind of like watching Burnley play City. Lessons have been learned.

So. Come on England, and I’ll also be hoping for a French slip-up in the meantime.


Comments 79

  1. The balance of coverage of this England game is all wrong.
    I do wish the editor would wake up to the fact that images of the crowd are far more entertaining than the football.
    The balance of coverage is a

  2. If you believe the media, Pep has spotted that Bellingham is the next big shiny thing and he wants him
    To give the financial leeway they’ll need to offload Grealish
    Would he come back?
    Would we want him?

  3. For about 40 minutes I was grumbling about the same old rubbish from England. Then against the run of play we scored two goals. Thereafter matters became straightforward and we cruised home.

    Note that Sterling and White have left the squad for family reasons and personal matters respectively. Neither have been missed. Such a shame that Beaky selects players for his squad that can’t manage 3 weeks away from home if they are not playing. We would be far better off with a squad of players who 100% want to be part of the squad.

    France in the quarters could be the end of the road for our lot and also for Beaky.

  4. Don’t think I want Jack back. He’s become comfortable and Pep has changed his game to first time passing which he’s not so effective at. Not the same guy who departed VP.

  5. I’ve found my own feelings about this World Cup really strange so far . . . .I couldn’t have felt less engaged. Last night I was wanting Senegal to score just so that their fans could get squeeze a bit more excitement out of the game (although in fairness they seemed pretty excited, irrespective of what was happening on the pitch).
    If we’d gone out before now then it would hardly have bothered me but now, thank goodness, I’m starting to feel the first stirrings of anticipation (I wouldn’t go so far as to say excitement yet).
    We ‘should’ have won all of our previous games whereas this time we’re up against players of similar (and in Mbappe’s case, better) quality.
    It will be interesting to see if our, knock it around and wait for an opening, style will work against better opposition and if it does, a semi final against another good team beckons.
    At last it feels like a genuine test.

  6. I just want this abortion of a WC out of the way so I can have my league games back (preferably 3pm on a Saturday – but that’s a different grumble).

  7. jbd,

    Never played keeper (unless it was against my brother)…I’m assuming they like to make a save or two as long as the defense isn’t a shambles and generally has its act together.

    Was kind of feeling for Emi as he’s basically had SFA to do so far. Thought, “Be nice for him to make a good save.” Didn’t think he’d actually have to make a big save in that game. Was happy he delivered when called upon. Hard to stay sharp being a spectator.

    Cashy…well, that was a long day with Mbappe coming at you for 90mins. Kid is so damn fast/explosive/quick.

  8. r0bb0,

    Bellingham did make a really good impression yesterday (after I’d said I thought he hadn’t been terribly visible the two games prior). Kind of what we’ve been hoping some of our kids would be: quick, smooth, strong, reads the game really well, confident—does all the things. Naturally Pep would like to add him to his collection, especially the way he was breaking up play, getting it back.

    Would I want Jack back? Like Plug says, not sure he’s the same player anymore, and would Unai even want him at whatever discount? I’m thinking there’s better value for us out there. Pep really fucked that one up for everyone.

    It’s a shame. Now that my bitterness has dissipated, I hate that Pep and Beaky have killed off what made him different and so much fun to watch and cheer. We wanted him in the England squad and now he is, but won’t ever be a nailed-on starter, pretty much the same at City.

    Has to smart seeing Bellingham come in and pretty much seal a spot ahead of him, never mind the Mount-Foden-Sterling business.

  9. The Cup in general?

    I’ve been watching as much as I can, despite the ugly backdrop to it all. Once the whistle goes, it’s just football and it means the same thing to the players. Still, like you, it hadn’t seemed real to me until Saturday. And I don’t know that it will ever feel like a proper World Cup.

    And maybe the World Cup will never feel the same again. Not really a fan of the expansion even if I can see the argument, so there’s that, but even though we’ve never thought FIFA were anything but corrupt, they’ve really managed to soil themselves perhaps beyond repair.

    It may always feel a bit like a plastic circus from this point.

  10. I’m not really old-old, but I’ll admit to being Euro-South American-centric in my preferred matchups. Argentina-Netherlands speaks to me in a way that Ghana-South Korea never will.

    It’s the history, what we’ve grown up with, all that. Everything changes, and perhaps that’s for the best. But even at club level I’d like to see Ajax still be a power instead of a development club.

  11. JC, I’m oldish-old and know just what you mean about being Euro/S,American centric . . . having said that, one thing I have enjoyed is the excitement of the fans and players from countries who haven’t traditionally shone at the World Cup. I’ve also perversely enjoyed seeing Germany and Belgium fall short. Hey. . . . we’ve had our own years of hurt so it won’t do Germany any harm to have a few. It’s a shame for Belgium, who seem to have squandered their riches. I’ll admit to having wanted Martinez to join us but will put my hand up to having got that one wrong.

  12. JC, you’re right that Bellingham really showed his class in the last game . . . not just during the game but afterwards in front of the media too. How impressive was that interview from a 19 year old?!

  13. r0bb0,

    Yeah, it is fun seeing the delirium…and it’s a bit churlish of me to wall them out.

    But I don’t think it’s perverse to enjoy Germany and Belgium fall, though like you, I’ve wanted that group of players to get some glory. It has been a waste of riches.

    I think a lot of us were wrong about Martinez. I think he’s smart and a good manager, but you have to say he’s failed with Belgium.

  14. JC and Plug, reluctantly, I agree with you about Jack . . . .unless it was for a price we really couldn’t refuse (which it won’t be).
    There were a couple of occasions last night when he received the ball on the wing, with space in front of him, and the old Jack would have surged forward, controlled the ball and then looked for a team mate in a dangerous position or drawn a foul in a dangerous position. The new Jack immediately passed it back to a defender, or pulled the ball back and stepped inside a little . . . . before passing it back or sideways to a midfielder or defender.
    We’ve seen at City that he can still make things happen, but far more intermittently than he used to and it seems these days that he’s frequently counting on his team-mates (the best that money can buy) making something happen rather than doing it himself.
    Of course if he DID come back to us then I’d get excited and look forward to seeing him on the pitch, but It just doesn’t feel quite right. Probably most importantly, it doesn’t feel quite right for him either as, like it or not, it would feel like a step backwards for him, never mind that things are looking more optimistic at Villa Park than they have for years. He probably needs to test himself overseas somewhere . . . . .somewhere where they appreciate flair.

  15. I hope our coaches have been training our attacking players how to cheat for penalties as it’s clearly a key part of the modern game

  16. I’ve always been a big fan of Brazilian football. Not any more after their ridiculous party routines that follow one of their goals. It’s so disrespectful to the opposition. I’d fight fire with fire and form a team huddle immediately after a Brazil goal and stay in the huddle even longer. Two can play at taking the piss.

  17. Plug. . . . or even better, knock the wind out of their sails by scoring a goal of your own.

    An Argentina/Brazil semi could be interesting

  18. Have to say, not too fussed by Brazil. Like r0bb0 says, do your talking on the field. And they did look pretty lethal.

    Spain on the other hand? Full credit to Morocco…that was some first-rate defending and organizing. But I’m so tired of seeing a ‘possession’ side pinning someone in and ultimately creating nothing much. Spain would’ve been much better served playing more quickly and not trying to pass it into the net. There was no Plan B.

  19. JC totally with you on the way Spain played. There seems to have been a trend towards teams valuing possession based football but it’s only ‘one’ of the measures of how well a team is doing and it’s a long way from being the most important one.
    We’ve seen it effectively pursued at City, even at the cost of knocking out the flair from some players, but you can get away with it when you’re able to buy the best players available. We’ve seen in the past how Pep has come unstuck with it when he’s come up against equally matched teams and he’s had to try and think tactically. Maybe now he’s added Haaland he’ll be able to stick with his ‘possession first’ game plan and finally win the Champion’s league.
    It will be interesting to see how Beaky’s possession based, slow build up approach works against a better side like France.

  20. No real complaints about the result. It might have been different had Kane put away the second penalty. But I thought we have been too defensive over the stretch. We got about as far as I expected. Beaky’s selections and cautious approach leaves me cold. It doesn’t utilise the best of our attacking talents. So we suffer some more. Hope he does the decent thing and falls on his sword like several other coaches of honour have done.

  21. Plug,

    Yeah, that was rough…Thought England did more than France, overall, but just feels like destiny. The glance off Maguire’s shoulder, the long shot going in through Bellingham’s legs. Pickford only had the one save to make otherwise.

    But bigger picture, it’s hard to say about Beaky, for me. He’s understood the dynamics of tournament football, but the side plod until they don’t, and then it can be too late. Not convinced by Foden and Mount at this level of responsibility and impact, though both are very good players. Just need a bit more ‘stature’, it seems.

    So it leaves me cold, too. I think there’s a different formula/combination that could achieve more.

  22. Hello folks, been a busy month or so, building a log cabin for my Gym in the back yard, receiving an early xmas present in a 6 month old Labrador Bitch called Koda (sometimes dogs are for xmas 🙂 ) and working my tits off in the cold. In between I have watched as much of the world cup as I could and decided early on to fuck the politics and moralising off and just enjoy it. do you know what I have enjoyed it, particularly seeing the medias darlings getting a slap. None of this is surprising as more and more of those foreign chaps play in Europe’s top leagues and the Sneaky buggers have learnt well.

    Thought England did better than I at least expected and thought Gareth did go for it in his own reserved way, fair play to him as the writing was on the wall. Thought someone else should of stepped up for the second pen, obvious that Kane would overthink against his spurs team mate and thought the Brazilian Ref was shite. France are a decent side but no way better than us on the day.

    The glaring truth about Jack is you have to play through him a lot to get the benefit, granted his shins hurt less this way but he is our Mbappe, Maradona etc if we played to him. The very thing Smith got pelters for was getting the best from Jack which elevated our side at times to that top six level and smashed some very good sides. Maybe jacks personality hurts him much like Gazza but at least Robson could see the worth of playing to him. Stirling who didn’t train getting on was a kick to the nodules for Jack.

    We need to enjoy Unai while he’s here because he’ll be Spain’s coach soon of no doubt.

  23. So just as I started to ‘connect’ with the England team. . . . .we’re out.

    I enjoyed seeing us trying to put some balls over the heads of the French in the first 10 minutes and thought. . . .oh that’s going to spoil their plans. . . they’ll be expecting us to take 5 minutes just to get to the halfway line!

    Those who are criticising the referee, well yes. . . .he was out of his depth, or perhaps he has secret French lover. Either way it will surely be his last appearance in a World Cup too.

    For all the talk of us doing better in tournaments under Beaky, we’ve gone out at the quarter final stage yet again. No team has gone out at this stage as many times as England. A week or so ago I said that I didn’t feel any connection with this side, largely because of the way Beaky had them playing (and I guess because of the bollocks he comes out with when trying to justify his decisions on which players he was including or leaving out). Yesterday they did start to play slightly more adventurously and were the better team against a very good French side . . .but. . . .we lost again.

    I also said that it was only if we reached the semi finals that I would give him any credit and the fact is that we haven’t. We’ve watched them play largely turgid football and it’s taken us no further than we have in 6 previous World cups. Everyone seems to agree that we have some really good talent available right now so you surely have to say that the Beaky experiment has failed.

  24. Mark, I thought exactly the same about him bringing on Sterling ahead of Jack. . . . it almost felt like a deliberate snub. Yes, it’s horrible when your house is burgled (I’ve experienced it several times, including once when we were all asleep upstairs and the bastards left a bag of sweets with a note “for the kids”. Another time after wrecking the place they set it on fire. . . .yes it’s horrible.
    I’m going to sound heartless here, but I don’t believe I’d have flown home, particularly as nobody was even in the house. If I had done so I absolutely would not have expected to play in the next game. To bring him on instead of Jack and then bring Jack on with a minute of extra time to go felt insulting.

  25. I do hope that wherever Jack goes next, he makes sure that it’s a club and a manager that love him and will encourage him to rediscover the flair that Pep and Beaky have tried to smother.

  26. Mark, enjoy Christmas with your new dog. . .puppies can be wonderful, albeit a bit exasperating at times, particularly labradors that seem to identify everything that can be physically swallowed as food. You might want to put your presents out of reach on the table instead of under the tree this year!

    Seventeen years ago, we watched with the kids as our Jack Russel bitch gave birth to 4 cute little pups. The next morning we dashed down too see them and there was a fifth. . . . a tiny, cute, inquisitive little thing and she was the one we decided to keep. Last week, we finally had to say
    goodbye to her. Not sure I’d have ever plucked up the courage to call the vet even though it was the right thing. My wife is clearly less sentimental/more sensible than me . . . .it gives me hope that she’ll know when my time has come too!

  27. Thanks Robbo she certainly likes her grub and everything little thing gets tested just to see if it’s food. Luckily the previous owners took her on a training course she’s pretty much good to go bar the chewing., smartest dog I’ve owned for sure.my Sister just lost one dog and the others terminal not nice.

  28. Viva- my sister said a lot of kids played so I am assuming he’s vetting the possibilities, nice to hear Reiki mentioned in that clip always thought he had potentials.

  29. Media stating that Beaky has done “extremely well”. I’m lost for words. As robB0 says, that’s 7 times we’ve been dropped in the quarter finals. Which means 6 other squads managed the same outcome. With inferior groups of players to what’s currently available. And managers were pilloried for it. But the current one is deemed a jolly good chap old boy didn’t you know.

    I can only wonder what the England team would look like under someone like Eddie Howe. France scored 2 magnificent goals. No defence is stopping those. So we needed to score more but couldn’t manage a goal from open play and predictably perished. If he doesn’t step down, I’ll be giving up on England.

  30. Mark, I think it was Chelsea who played most of the kids. I didn’t recognise the names of many of them, whereas we played a strong team. The Chelsea lad Hutchinson looked good.

  31. Hey Mark, it isn’t the dog that gets trained it’s the owner. I’m glad you got a dog. Labs are wonderful.
    Plug, the government is about to lose the plot on euthanasia here. They have offered it to veterans with PTSD, thinking about the mentally ill, and infants. People who have financial issues have applied as well as people who have just given up. It won’t be long before you can get the procedure at the local shopping mall.
    Someone in England changed the Brazilian ref’s Wikipedia page.. that he’d lost his guide dog and the dog was needed for the next match.

  32. A few days on, it’s easier to reflect less emotionally on England and Southgate’s performances.

    He does seem to have brought stability and confidence to the squad which has enabled us to qualify through group stages with comparative ease. We shouldn’t underestimate this, as it hasn’t always been the case by any means, even when we’ve had good squads.

    I’ve seen statistics showing that his win record in major tournaments is right towards the top of the pile but those should be taken with a bit of a pinch of salt as more teams are now involved so there’s a higher proportion of ‘easier’ games.

    Those are the positives, but the elephant in the room is that for all our new found stability, we fail against the big teams when it really matters. Yes, we played well against France and were just a penalty kick away perhaps from extra time. Had we gone to extra time, then I think we should have won because we had a stronger bench than the French.

    Would Southgate have known how to use the bench though? Does he have the footballing brain or character to take advantage of the talents at his disposal? This where I think he falls down. He’s clearly analytical and has created a set up in which enables us to beat most teams, frequently, quite comfortably. When he has to ‘react’ or use his gut rather than his brain, ‘that’s’ where he’s left wanting. At a higher level you could think of Pep, who has created a playing style and drilled excellent players to fit into it. This brings success in most games, but up to now he’s shown that he bottles it in the big games where he feels he needs to do something extra or out of the box. He’ll win the Champion’s league eventually because his owners will keep emptying their wallets in front of him so that he can pick off the very best players. . . . . after 7 of failure, that surely has to buy success eventually.

    I’m sure we can all think of other managers who have coached their sides to win games that they ‘should’ win, but regularly struggled against teams judged to be ‘better ‘ than them. Under those circumstances, it’s all too easy to think ‘dammit’ we were so unlucky again, but don’t you eventually have to admit that it isn’t down to luck. . . . .there’s something missing.

    Should England therefore stick with Southgate and ensure a stable and confident entry into the final stages of major tournaments, or twist. . . .and go for someone with the creativity to change and motivate in the key games and potentially actually win a trophy?

    It probably comes down to each of our own character types which way we’d sway on that question.

  33. Ian, Klopp wasn’t even on my list. . . . .but only because he hadn’t even occurred to me. That would be a fantastic appointment. He certainly knows how to think tactically, motivate and win games.

  34. Hi Ian, a lab was certainly not a dog I’d have chosen for myself mate I was thinking more Patterdale, unfortunately the women was thinking cute and no danger to care home residents. She’s got a lot of go in her though, make a great gun dog, if I had the time, and a gun. My family had a Lab as I was growing up, it destroyed furniture , plants, walls, lino’s etc, they don’t do bored.

    Euthanasia eh, why not, they have tried lockdowns and Involuntary Vaccines why not get us to go willingly 😉

    Klopp? that bloke Smith Spanked 7-2? I’d like Howe or even Smith if it came to it, both play on the front foot.

  35. Mark, yeah, those damned involuntary vaccines. . . I’m going to be arrested, handcuffed and dragged to have my 5th . . .or is it 6th next week. Grrrrrr

    Howe and Smith both good calls. Howe would be my choice because he seems to know how to win against both good and average teams. . . for getting teams to perform when it really matters though. . . . you’d be hard pressed to beat Smith

  36. Mark when you think of a manager having to deal with the egos in the national side I suspect that someone like Klopp may be a better bet. Not sure that Dean Smith’s more matey culture would work so well

  37. Robbo- I take it you haven’t seen the damning evidence stacking up against the MRNA Vaccines then if your having another, certainly there were plenty that didn’t want them but were coerced into them even lied to on their efficacy. A British MP has said a leading figure in the British heart foundation has told his underlings not to reveal information of heart damage from the Vaccines because of funding from the Pharmaceutical industry.


    Another recent German study of deaths at home within 28 days of Vaccination shows after autopsy Myo and Peri carditis. There are now dozens of studies from heavily vaccinated countries like Israel, Switzerland etc calling for a halt.

    If I were you I’d park that faith in these particular Vaccines, the effects appear to be accumulative too.

    But feel free to risk your health of course 😉

    I can’t see England getting another Foreign Manager at this point let alone a German one.

  38. Mark, are you really going to call on Andrew Brigden as your expert witness?!
    And no. . . I won’t be risking my health by missing my vaccinations.
    (Oh, and yes I do know that there have been some myocardial side effects including some deaths). It’s all a question of balances of risk, which some people seem unable or unwilling to understand.

  39. Two great semi-finals , which made good viewing. Looking forward to the 3/4 play-off and the final now. Shame Beaky never had the bottle to play a team to win , rather than not to lose, because that is what happens!

    Looking forward to getting back to Villa, and seeing where Unai is going to take us.

  40. My brother in Vancouver is sharing an apartment with his partner in a block called ‘Gardenia Villa’. Yesterday he had to nip round to see someone in the adjacent apartment block and he sent me a picture of the name on the door of that building: ‘Aston Villa’. 🙂

  41. Our daughter sent us a coffee advent calendar with a different blend for every day. This morning my wife said “I think it’s your turn, what day is it?”. I said “It’s the 16th”.
    We both said “Oh”. . . looked at each other, smiled, laughed and hugged and said “Happy Anniversary Dear!”
    Who said romance is dead eh?

  42. Is it time to start talking football again?

    Is it surprising that there isn’t more transfer talk?

    I was so optimistic after our last few games but now I’m wondering again. I don’t want to go down the route we’ve all been down so many times of getting over-enthusiastic about a new manager, only for the excitement and optimism to gradually ebb away (Ok. . . . I’ll admit, I didn’t ever ‘quite’ get to that stage with Gerrard)

    I think we all feel that this time it ‘could’ be real, but only time will tell. Last pre-season seemed to go well but we know what followed so maybe we should feel good about losing to Villarreal?

  43. R0bb0
    The 16th eh? Ours is the 19th.
    Your brother lives in Vancouver BC? When do you come over for a visit? Let me know I’d like to meet up have a beer.
    Emeri is a different level of coach to the ones we’ve had before so I don’t think a dip in performance is going to happen. Liverpool will be interesting.

  44. Ian,
    Yes, Vancouver BC. . . . I’ll take you up on that! We’ve not been able to travel for more than 2 years because of the dog (and covid of course) but now she’s gone to the kennel in the sky we are indeed hoping to get over to Canada some time next year. If only we’d made it mid December it could have been a joint wedding anniversary celebration (not that we tend to remember them. . . .as you can tell)

  45. Beaky is staying. The status quo was entirely predictable. The FA didn’t want to pay him any compo and he didn’t want to give up a lucrative salary. Failure is well paid these days.

    More of the same coming our way. We’ll beat the knacker nut countries but come up short playing cautiously against the best teams.

  46. Plug, I feel just the same. Yes it’s very possible to make the case that Beaky has transformed us into a solid, reliable, top football side but if you DO make that case then it’s hard to deny that there’s also something missing. . . .that extra spark that wins games against the very top sides.

    Because of our new found reliability, it’s easy to over-estimate the quality of the players . . . . .are we more reliable against the ‘lesser’ sides because we have a really good squad, or because of the way they are being coached?

    It seems to me that we’ll only find out by taking a risk on a new, more adventurous coach. If the players aren’t quite as good as we believe then we may slip back into our old unreliable ways and sometimes fail to even qualify for tournaments, but my feeling is that we do have genuine talent available now and a different coach could unleash it. . . . . . in the games that really matter.

    I can understand why the FA have taken the decision they have, but I can’t help feeling that it’s condemning us to more of the same. Not simply that we’ll keep on ‘just’ falling short, but that the football won’t be as progressive and exciting as it could and should be with the creative footballers we currently have in this country.

  47. One good thing to come out of us losing to France is that it denied us the opportunity to face Martinez in the final. Can you imagine how hated he’d be all around the country if he’d behaved against England in the way he did against France?

  48. He’s a shithouse, our Emi, but a damn fine keeper. England would not have been amused.

    But, I also wonder if he’d have toned it down a bit in that situation.

  49. It would have been fun if Martinez and Roy Keene were on the pitch at the same time.
    The gesture with the golden glove? No different than every F1 driver makes with the bottle of champagne minus the carbonated shot of wine.

  50. Never thought of the F1 celebration like that before. . . but now you say it. . . I think we should start a campaign to ban it.

    My one worry is that Emi’s new-found notoriety will mean that every striker in the country will be wanting to score past him

  51. Now it’s back to the domestic stuff and next in town is the Bindippers. Can’t see Emi starting this one though. I see Olsen in goal. The party is continuing in Buenos Aires after the open top bus parade. Then the civic receptions will follow. Emi won’t be in a fit state to play, even if he makes it back in time.

  52. Fabrizio Romano is one of the few ‘itk’ sources who seems to actually know things rather than make stuff up for clicks so this was quite reassuring:

    “inevitably, he’s been linked with a move away from Aston Villa.

    Spurs are one team that are reportedly keen, but according to Romano, the goalkeeper is completely focused on Aston Villa at the moment.”

    it goes on to say:
    “The real priority for Emi Martinez at the moment is to focus on Aston Villa, there is a new manager, they have a project for the future and they want Martinez to be a part of that project.”

    This again, is good to hear, but it inevitably goes on to say:

    “Martinez is focused on Villa at the moment, but after tasting World Cup success, he’ll surely want to be playing for a Champions League-level club at some point, and Tottenham are exactly the type of team that he could end up at”

    It’s only just over a decade ago when we were regularly in the top 6 spots and tending to be above Spurs. We were edging closer to the top 4 places each year till Randy ran out of money and O’Neill ran out on us.

    We just need to retain our best players and then with a decent manager we could very quickly be back up there again. The messages like ” Tottenham are exactly the type of club he could end up at” will then become irrelevant. I do think that if he starts to see signs of progress, Martinez is the sort of player who would like to be one of the heroes that takes Villa back to where we could/should be

  53. Hopefully Emery can be more focussed on the type of players we really need than O’Neill was.

    He seemed to have a magpie approach. . . .attracted by shiny things which he’d take back to his nest and then leave them there doing nothing useful.

  54. The VAR review board have been taking a look at contentious VAR decisions so far this season and listed 6 decisions that were “mistakes”. You just knew that 2 of them would be against Villa. The award of a Palace penalty at Selhurst park and the red card for Dougie who “headbutted” Mitrovic at Fulham. As the latter one contributed heavily to Gerrard losing his job, I’ll excuse it.

    It’s not fit for purpose and needs binning. At the very least, these clowns who make appalling referee or VAR decisions should be hauled before reporters at the end of the game to explain their reasons.

  55. Plug, I saw a report about the VAR mistakes too but it didn’t list the 6 mistakes and I was thinking, “typical FA, they’re not going to be transparent about the specific mistakes they’ve made” so it’s good to hear that they have actually published their mistakes and also no surprise to Villa fans to hear about the two that went against us.
    I came to a different conclusion than you though. . . (not the bit about Gerrard. . . .I agree with you on that score) . . . I saw that there were 6 wrong out of 48, which meant that a lot of mistakes that would have been made without VAR were corrected. They just need to get better at using the technology still!

  56. Plug, I saw a report about the VAR mistakes too but it didn’t list the 6 mistakes and I was thinking, “typical FA, they’re not going to be transparent about the specific mistakes they’ve made” so it’s good to hear that they have actually published their mistakes and also no surprise to Villa fans to hear about the two that went against us.
    I came to a different conclusion than you though. . . (not the bit about Gerrard. . . .I agree with you on that score) . . . I saw that there were 6 wrong out of 48, which meant that a lot of mistakes that would have been made without VAR were corrected. They just need to get better at using the technology still!

  57. He’s 6 foot 5” and has a bit of mean streak both mentally and physically. That’s Emi Martinez. Both are qualities that are important to a goalkeeper. You can’t be a wallflower in that position. Strikers can have a god complex, an aloof personality, expecting and demanding service. It takes an elbow in the ear during free kicks and corners to bring them down to earth and Martinez is all to happy to hand it out. Physically not many can touch him. Mentally he’s not going to let anyone get into his head. He’ll get into yours though.
    Everyone who complains are complaining because it works. They can’t stand it, they feel threatened by his actions, encroaching on their turf. Even after they have retired, especially some pundits. He lives in their heads, he puts them off their game. And you know what? Every team player loves him for it. It gives them a boost in confidence, an ability to be a better player and not be in awe of the opposition. Long may he roam the 6 yard box at Villa Park and put fear into opposing players.

  58. Couldn’t agree more, Ian.

    A lot of hardworking, talented players in the Argentine side, everyone contributed, but Emi more than played his part.

    And I love that besides being a great keeper he’s a total shithouse. Glad we finally have someone who can wind up opponents with the best of them.

  59. Apparantly, this site isn’t secure. Security certificate expired?

    Haven’t been able to access this site for the last 2 or 3 weeks. Only found it after playing around with VPN programs.

    Does anyone know what is going on?

  60. It will be interesting to see what squad Unai selects today. He’s now had enough time with the players to determine his possibilities. It should give us a clue who he does/doesn’t rate.

    Looking forward to a rocking VP later on. COYVB.

  61. jbd,

    No, don’t think the site was ever secure. Maybe it was a while back. But it costs extra, and there’s only emails on here for the accounts. Well, that and your passwords. So, maybe make sure you’re not using the same password anywhere else.

    If people want it secured, I can do that.

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