A quick turn after the uplifting victory over Spurs sees Villa hosting pesky Wolves, who’ve generally had the better of us the last few times out. Which is to say that although they haven’t been flying particularly high to start, they seem to perhaps be pulling it together a little bit, and they’re never easy for us anyway.

But there’s no reason for Villans not to feel positive given Unai’s effect on the side and Villa’s fortunes. Nine of 12 points on offer have been taken, and given United and Spurs are amongst the scalps, well, no one can be blamed for thinking we may have gotten this appointment right. And even in defeat, Villa created a lot. I have no idea what a ‘deserved’ final scoreline in that match would’ve been, but 1-3 didn’t reflect what we saw.

You can always look forward to a new manager bounce (whether it happens or not), but this seems to be a little more than just a change of mood. Yes, players are once again playing for their places, but they were under Gerrard, too, because he seemed intent on replacing just about everyone. Never mind it seems he couldn’t have established a worse mood in the camp.

But beyond a lifting of clouds, Emery has also treated us to actual tactics. Involvement and coaching from the touchline. Getting players into suitable roles with clear directions and thereby lifting their games. The results so far have been excellent.

So, there’s suddenly a great feeling around the club again. It seems like we’re in good hands, that Emery will get the most out of the squad. That he’ll give us every chance to win. It seems (I’m always cautious), that the club got this crucial appointment exactly right, and, in acting quickly, turned this back into a season of progress rather than what would have appeared to almost inevitably be a second half all about mounting toxicity and avoiding relegation.

Villa have a favorable run now, as far as that goes in the PL. If they can take advantage (and it’s no easy ask tonight), they’ll be well positioned for progress. And the support should be treated to competent football commensurate with the club’s ambitions.

Comments 150

  1. Thanks for the write up JC and all best wishes to your wife too.

    I’m in the same camp as you in thinking that it’s prudent to temper our new found optimism with a bit of caution. We’ve been here before, when things appeared to be looking up only to find it was all built on sand. It does ‘feel’ different this time, but it’s still very early days.

    It’ll be interesting to see how we’re set up tonight. There was a bit of discussion about Traore on the previous post and the thought of us playing a high defensive line at home against him is a bit scary. You’d usually bet on Emi against Adama in any ensuing one on ones, but it would make for a very tense evening.

  2. Pleasure to read happy write ups,we are not used to them,hope your wife’s health issues clear up
    And as long as Watkins doesn’t give frem a reason to vent his displeasure we might have an enjoyable dingle derby

  3. Thanks JC and best wishes to your boss .. get well soon

    I am pretty confident that we now have an elite manager and am loving what I am seeing , even the loss to pool was a hold your heads up moment for the villa
    Patterns of play are fantastic even at this early stage and the improvement in a lot of our current players is more evidence that we have a processive manager as do Wolves now

    Looking forward to the game , winning would be very nice but continued organization and application should keep most of us happy

  4. JG,

    Maybe I should just block Frem during matches.

    That said, seems like time he slags off Watkins repeatedly Ollie goes and gets a goal or assist.

    Tough call.

  5. Yeah, did manage to catch most of it. A bit off the pace, Wolves just getting there faster, exerting more pressure and winning it back.

    Villa not quite patient enough when they get it. Something we’ve all seen before.

    Bailey…so many moves broke down with him. Him trying to come back inside is just too predictable, then he gets his head down, gets trapped, and isn’t strong enough to somehow break through. He needs to just lay things off more, not try to create some spectacular individual moment every time.

    That said, some poor touches, hesitancy, etc. Not sure Cash-Young is working out very well so far. Could see McGinn coming in for his combativeness.

  6. Poor game but fair result….just asking if anyone can explain to me what is the point of Buendia? …smacks of the kings new cothes to me

  7. replay,

    Funny, I generally think Emi’s the best player on the pitch or thereabouts. Quicker decision-making than Phil, atm, one-touch player, sees things others don’t.

    Not every ball is going to come off. But he does an awful lot right, even defending or just settling, finding a safe/progressive outlet.

    But I know JG agrees with you.

  8. Overall, was good to see us battle back and get a point. Apart from bossing proceedings first half, Wolves didn’t threaten all that much, tbh. Which is obviously their problem.

    This will apparently be one of Unai’s issues is getting 90 out of them. It’s long been an issue…turgid 1st, well off the pace. Better, one might even say ‘storming’ 2nd that sees them do everything but just get over the hump.

  9. Fair result our attacking options are shocking
    The Swedish left back looks better than digne Gérard is responsible for some shocking decisions
    We need ramsay back

  10. JG,

    Thought the subs were interesting and worked. Not sure Dendoncker offered a whole lot, but he is ‘steady’. Augustinsson did look more defensively assured. Wondering if Digne’s spot could be under threat.

    Ings clearly was a great call…and it’s such a shame Bailey fluffed his lines once again. That was a sublime pass. Danny should’ve had a true assist, as well. Wasn’t a bad pickout from Mings, either.

  11. JC, yes it does seem a struggle for us to compete well for the full 90 minutes. . . . but isn’t that the case for every team in nearly every game?
    Even Man City see their games ebb and flow and are rarely on top from start to finish.

    I see that some children in the Villa crowd booed the players off at half time because Santa bring them the present that they wanted.

    I’m happy that we showed the spirit to come back from being behind and ‘could’ have won it at the end. . . . this has been far from the case recently and should be welcomed.

  12. I firmly believe that one of our problems in recent years has been that at home, players are often frightened of making mistakes because of the likely reaction of the crowd. This is bound to inhibit good play. I know the players are paid a lot and should be able to rise above it, but they’re still people, and prone to the the same emotions as the rest of us. It’s naive to imagine they’ll never be affected.
    Villa Park used to be the 12th man but the immature reactions of a minority of needy attendees (i won’t call them supporters, because they’re not) can be harmful to the recovery of the club.

  13. r0bb0,

    “I firmly believe that one of our problems in recent years has been that at home, players are often frightened of making mistakes because of the likely reaction of the crowd.”

    I think there has to be a lot of truth to this. Going behind (and having to take risks to win) seems to eventually take the shackles off and free them up.

  14. They really do need to change the handball rule because the current one is just too vague.
    An ‘un-natural position’ is so subjective that they may as well toss a coin.
    Based on other penalties we’ve seen given recently we really should have had one today but at the same time I’d struggle to prove that the defender’s hand was in an un-natural position even though it was right up above his head.

  15. JC, yes, going behind does often ‘release the shackles’ but in recent times we’ve seemed to struggle to come back so it’s nice to see that the team does seem to be developing a bit more fight and belief than we’ve recently seen.

  16. Thoughts to your mrs JC

    Missed the 1st half thankfully, One thing that nobody has picked up on, it was wolves, we haven’t done well against them for years, in fact on Talksport they said we hadn’t beaten a team starting with “W” for 7 games in the prem 🙂 Wolves do seem to have our number and that may have played on the players minds as much as anything.

    Just shows you that despite common perception and multiple managers picking John McGinn and even making him Captain he is more important than we think to the team but not to the Managers.

    Beundia, He’s a busy player and has short legs, Hasn’t had many games in the last year, he gets around the pitch a lot and is in a new position on the left a lot, so no surprise if he’s not at his best, he’s still better than Phil.

    Great Pick out by Mings for equaliser, when he has time he’s half decent going forward. Villa however, like they did against Liverpool find a good high press difficult to beat, they have for ages, Jack was the go to weapon on that front. Better players on the ball required at the back eventually.

    Bailey? stop looking at your boot laces and look up you might see where players and the goal actually are, wouldn’t mind but he scuffed his shot even while staring at his feet. I can take those moments, lying on the floor crying because he missed? he needs help, a massive confidence player.

    All in all I’ll take the point as it was a bogey team and another hurdle, Unai has never beaten Wolves either, He was facing a fellow Spaniard who likely knows his game too. At home we won’t be able to sit back as we do away so something will be worked out , hopefully sooner than later.

  17. Disappointed and happy last night
    Good turn around a d to honest martinez had little to do
    Our setpieces are woeful too many chiefs our centre half’s don’t come up with many
    Our options are light would like to see 2/3 coming in,
    Leeds next week is going to be hard we need to be up for it from start

  18. Mark, I made a comment on the previous thread in regard to Adama Traore and how it’s hard to find a winger who has everything. I guess the same applies to Bailey, although at times, he’s displayed how he can beat players down the wing, how he can cut inside, how he can create opportunities and how he can score great goals. It’s the consistency that’s lacking. Bertrand Traore had some real admirers on this site because he looked unstoppable at times but again, lacked consistency. You’d have to admit that even Trez was guilty of the occasional brain fart.

    Bailey (and his Dad) seems to set high standards for himself and last night he was sooooo close to being the hero of the hour and in that key moment he lost the bit of composure he needed. I will say that I don’t think the chance was as clearcut as many are now making out. He’d done well to beat the keeper and had run wide and had to pull it back quite a bit. It also needed pace to give it a decent chance of beating the retreating defenders, but he knows he could and should have done better and it’ll eat away at him.

    Your point’s a fair one though. . . . if he can learn to give himself a little more time he could be fantastic for us. He’s hard working too. . . . .I like his attitude and would love to see him do well.

    Emery gives the impression of caring about the players and wanting to understand them and their capabilities so let’s hope he’s the one to bring out the best in Bailey.

  19. JG, you’re right that our turnaround in the second half was great to see and so nearly won us all three points. We shouldn’t be too disappointed with just the one though. As you pointed out, our record against Wolves is not great. What’s our record against Leeds look like? They’re the team I most want us to beat which almost certainly means it’s going to be a really tough game again and another draw wouldn’t be a ‘bad’ result?

  20. No complaints about the result, it was a fair one. Having said that, we might have nicked it at the death but Bailey only uses his right foot for driving. Just 3 days from the previous game, did that affect us and explain a woeful first half? I can’t believe it was a missing SJM.

  21. These latest round of EPL fixtures haven’t produce much in the way of home wins. Only ManUre I think. All teams seem to be suffering at home. Unai needs to find a way of improving home results but he’s not the only one.

    Maybe this is how it’s going to be in a league that attracts the best coaches. Think Wolves will survive OK as there’s Southampton, Bournemouth and Everton in dire straights. In fact it’s mutiny at Saints and Toffee’s.

  22. Last night went pretty much how I expected. The debate about whether it’s a new manager bounce or something more is not yet known. However, the team are playing more structured footie so I’m in the something more camp. I firmly believe much better times are ahead. Just needs Unai to make the adjustments in due course.

  23. For some time, we’ve been less than the sum of our parts. But it’s looking better now with 22 points from 18 games. Onwards and upwards.

    Best wishes to the missus JC, hope everything gets sorted satisfactorily.

  24. robbo no not many wingers have it all, Bailey lacks confidence and as I keep saying needs to build the muscles up in the back of his neck to pick his head up. It may have been his weaker foot and not easy etc (it was for someone cool enough and with their head up imo ) the likes of Salah eat those chances for breakfast. I like him and when he’s on song he can be great. Never really got the Bert Traore love in, to one footed and couldn’t tackle for toffee so tracking back was pointless. I know your only joking about Trez he was faultless.

  25. Plug,

    I did see something about the intensity of training…might be a factor along with the quick turn. They’ve not played a lot due to the break, and camp isn’t really going to equal match minutes.

    But I think there’s a lot to the timidity at home. Unai also was talking about the difference between sitting back, like Spurs, and being more attacking. He wasn’t pleased with positioning, sticking with the plan in the first half.

  26. VillaMD, yes Chukwuemeka does have heaps of potential but two thirds of the way through the second half this evening I actually checked the BBC site to see if I’d missed him being substituted off because I’d not seen him or heard his name for so long. It said that he was brought on in the 22nd minute and hadn’t been substituted off so I then looked out for him. I couldn’t spot him so then went back to the site to check I’d not missed something but no. . . Chelsea had used all of their 5 substitutions and he was still on the pitch. Then, in the last 10 minutes he burst back into life with 2 attention grabbing runs.

    His shot in the first half was unlucky and he would have really made a name for himself had it gone in, but I wonder if he’s not been getting playing time because, despite his undoubted potential, he’s not a team player and doesn’t commit 100% of the time?

  27. Just seen that The Villa Blog or TVB has closed down after 20 years, server went down and Damian has called it a day. Feel for the lads on there as they were a tight community and I think a fair few were on there most of the day, big hole to fill.

  28. Mark, is that confirmed news about the villablog? I tried looking in there a day or so ago and couldn’t, but this morning it is there again but with no new contributions.
    If confirmed it’s a shame, as you say there were some regular and knowledgeable contributors. Hopefully some of them may find a new home and be welcomed on here.

  29. hope your all ok folks.

    ive been distancing myself from social media with the footy and its the best thing ive ever done.

    it not so bi polar!

    unai emery will be one of the best villa managers we will see. i adore the bloke and i hope he has the keys and free reign to sign who he wants as he can pick a player a mile away.

    let him build.

    10 points from 15 with those fixtures is insane

  30. Robbo- yes it is no more although after a long goodbye in the lead article Damian later posted to say he would be changing the platform and be back in the not to distant future.

    jbd656 – I gave Harry your number mate as you were so concerned.

    Heroes- hello mate

  31. Heroes, agree 100%. Let him build. Emery knows what he’s doing. Some booing at half time against Wolves doesn’t help the situation.

    Looks like he’s after a winger. Bad news for Bailey eh? And a left back. Wonder if Digne is worried?

  32. R0bb0 – good comments on Chukwuemeka, and maybe he’s not a team player or worker.

    It’s interesting that Unai wants a LB and winger. Don’t think we need a LB.

    Also he feels Kadan Young is too young even as a sub, but wants him involved in 1st team. There’s a class manager not thinking about himself

  33. H&V, good to see you again. . . . have missed your bi-polar musings!

    Occasional (or permanent) breaks from social media are not a bad call. I cancelled my twitter account after Musk took over. Reluctantly have to admit that he does still make a good car though!

    I have the same feelings as you about Emery. . . . but just haven’t had the confidence to say it out loud yet!

  34. VillaMD, I was surprised to hear the suggestions that we’re after another left back too as it didn’t seem to be an area of particular weakness. Maybe he’s seen a specific player with the flexibility to fit a number of roles though and is looking at ‘the player’ rather than ‘the position’.
    Or maybe it’s just more unfounded media speculation!?

  35. Mark, I think it was Plug who wondered if it’d be bad news for Bailey. I guess an extra winger is bound to reduce his chances to ‘some’ extent which may be why he was so upset about missing the opportunity at the end of the Wolves game but you’re right that we’re not exactly packed in that area since Gerrard decided to throw our previous plans out of the window and dispense with wingers.

  36. Right then. Stevenage today. I think Unai will select a strong side to make sure there are no shocks on their big day out.

    No incoming signings yet although there’s chatter about us signing Moreno who is a 29 year old LB. He seems to have been bought by various Spanish clubs only to be then loaned out. Reported £12 million for him.

  37. Did anyone watch Liverpool v Wolves yesterday? VAR? It was Mike Dean from Merseyside. Am I surprised that an offside goal stood for the home team and another “offside” goal ruled out for the away team? Wolves were royally shafted.

    Can’t find one good thing to praise VAR for. It gets so many decisions wrong, creates so much anger, reduces the excitement of a scored goal in case it gets involved, slows the game down with delays, abrogates the responsibility of the match officials and is operated subjectively. I’d retain the goal line technology but I’m in favour of binning VAR altogether.

  38. Signing players for around £12 million in the 28yr plus age group, sounds like we are back to bargain basement shopping, and I hope we are not going back there. Until I see concrete evidence, I am ignoring all the usual media gossip.
    It is interesting that the women’s team have made one signing, completely under the radar, but what a great signing it is, with Jordan Nobbs signing from Arsenal, showing the club’s determination to have one of the top teams in the WSL!
    I am hoping that the determination is the same for the boys, and we will only sign players that will markedly improve the squad.
    Looking forward to this afternoon, but disappointed that Cameron Archer has gone, as he could have been shining today!
    I am sure that Emery will play a strong side and want to progress through the competition, as this could be the perfect year for Villa to triumph.

  39. Plug,
    apparently VAR could not define the Wolves “offside” goal, as they did not have the cameras to argue with the linesman’s decision, and is surprising really, that it was not using the usual VAR set-up from the Premier league, but I do not know how VAR were unable to give the Liverpool offside!
    There were also several other dubious decisions in that game, coming mainly from a suspect linesman!
    Some very good games yesterday and some great results, keeping the thrill of the competition alive.

  40. robbo yeah my mistake but I’m sure they’ll both forgive me and worked it out themselves 😉

    So surprised you quit Twitter when Elon took over, some of the revelations of shadow banning, bots, fact checkers that went on are astonishing, particularly top doctors and scientists that spoke out during the pandemic. I saw that there were at least two doctors advocating for lockdowns, Masks, vaccines you name it that turned out not to be doctors, indeed they turned out to be not the people they claimed to be as the names and pictures had been half inched. They were somehow connected to a lgbtq group of some kind.

  41. Not a bad line up Mark.
    After Wrexham beat Coventry they should be careful.
    Wrexham have a rabid fan base. 4500 showed up at Ricoh Stadium.
    Ings with a hat trick and Coutinho will finally get himself unravelled.

  42. Ian so far countinho has been anonymous against a league 2 side ings too, Not that anyone else has been electric but you’d expect phil to at least look class. Right now I’d take a bag of sherbet for him if offered.

  43. God Bailey gets worse and worse and worse.

    Chambers and bender crap are league 2 defenders.

    Countino needs to go.

    We really need pace this month hopefully at least 3 attacking players coming in.

    2 wingers and a striker who can actually run and dribble and strike a ball

    I don’t think we have one attacking player who’s good enough

  44. The only place Bailey looked OK was left wing against Brentford

    How Lange and purslow are still in a job after spending Grealish money on 3 crap players in mad

  45. I’m surprised we’ve not tried taking the ball to the goal line and putting in fast low crosses. Countinho finally tried one and we nearly scored.
    We’re struggling to break through with patient play ‘ in front’ of their defence so surely we should be seeing more of what we just saw from Coutinho?

  46. The one other player who looms as if he may make something happen is Bailey.
    When he runs at them there’s an increased chance that we’ll lose the ball, but at least he may also make something happen!

  47. We probably have 2 players worth keeping.

    Luiz and Kamara

    Ramsey maybe

    Everyone else can go

    All the other starters and crap squad players can go

  48. Can’t see the game and I’m reading the odd bit from the pundits. A bit disappointing and as VillaMD said, Bailey has lost confidence. As has Coutinho. I’m always of a mind for the team to resurrect their game rather than to bin them right away.

  49. You have to say that Stevenage have managed the game really well
    Shows what can be done against better opposition if you have a plan, work hard and stick to it

  50. Lange has a lot to answer for signing these utter shite players we have

    Purslow needs to be be sacked to

    We have 2 maybe 3 players worth keeping

    Everyone else needs replacing

  51. The only good thing about that game is it wasn’t on Friday night. Then the whole weekend would have been trashed. This way the only thing to watch out for is Sunday dinner thrown up the wall.

  52. Our big time attitude kills us every time, and I,m afraid that includes Emery as well…thought it was going to be a walkover…we got what we deserved NOTHING

  53. VillaMD,

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure the 2nd doesn’t get past Emi.

    And I don’t think Bouba would’ve made such a mess of that.

    tbf, not a lot of minutes in a number of the players, certainly not together, so I can understand some of the slowness and hesitation, not pressing the advantage.

    But. Against L2 opposition, I don’t know how you fuck up the final 8 minutes like that.

    A couple of players probably played themselves out of contention. I’m not sure whether it’s time to give up on Bailey, but it certainly is feeling like it.

  54. replay,

    Given it’s January and the league’s more important, I’m thinking Emery wanted to see some of these players and give them a chance to prove something.

    Sanson actually took his chance, by and large.

    If I were Emery, I’d expect more. Dendoncker a Belgium international, FFS.

    Anyway, now he knows a lot more to guide any buying.

    But that was an atrocious collapse by any standard.

  55. No leaders on field,if martinez or mings had been on would there have been no marking for corner school boy stuff
    Emery is guilty today ,why not change Bailey over to other side ,everyone knew what he would do anytime he got the ball,sanson looks what I think a midfielder looks like ,nice finish
    At the minute for me matinez kamara ramsay are shoe ins to stay all the rest I don’t care

  56. Well Emery was bound to take a miss-step at some point and this was it.
    I think we’d all expected a strong side today but it was an almost total B side.
    They tried to play in the same way as the A side which was good to see but they just didn’t have the wherewithal or energy to break through.

  57. JG. . . you’re right about the absence of leaders.
    The defence certainly missed Mings and if the Maguire rumours are true then he and Mings would give us confidence at the back, but add a threat at corners.
    JC, I’m sure you’re right that Emery was using this as an opportunity to assess some players, but I’d be surprised if he hadnt wanted/expected to see more in the next round too.

  58. What a pile of shit. Bailey down the right hand side equals zilch. Seemed to me like they’d spent all week aiming at row Z.

    They may have been the second string but they’re still a group of international players up against some honest journeymen. Our overpaid players got what they deserved. Nothing.

  59. We’ll never get beyond this round with this mentality. Way too slow. Way too deliberate. Nobody prepared to put in a shift. Truly stunned by this rubbish.

  60. Seven years since we won an FA cup game.
    Plug, I felt the same about the sequence of touch pass, touch pass, but I’m not sure I agree about the absence of movement.
    There were a number of occasions where players started a run into the box but the players with the ball didn’t seem capable of making the incisive pass to find them.

    It is tricky to breakdown a well drilled, highly motivated team determined to keep you out, even if their players are not of the highest quality. Of course we ‘should’ have a managed it though.

    I just hope it motivates the players to put it right against Leeds!!!

  61. Taking Sanson off after 67mins when he was the best player on the pitch – really shocked.

    Bailey had a few good moments, but he’s sooooo left footed and predictable. How can a professional footballer be only able to kick with one foot! He should have been subbed. Even some of his left footed shots hit the corner flag

  62. Did anyone see our star boy Watkins walk out to block a shot and turn his back?

    Luckily he can finsih otherwise he’d be really useless…..

  63. Yesterday was Dendoncker’s defining moment in a Villa shirt that may prove terminal for him. It was his Enckelman moment. Sure, it happens all the time of course, but this wasn’t Salah or Haaland that caught him, he was mugged by Campbell a world famous 4th tier substitute and it dumped us out of the cup.

  64. So Gabby says: “Olsen is useless. I would of (sic) saved that hungover”

    Yes, because you were the perfect professional and never made a mistake in your life eh Gabby?

    Olsen did well in the previous game and is a more than decent goalkeeper but yesterday he made two really bad mistakes. He should have got away with the first one but Dendonker had a total brain fart, and he shouldn’t have been put into the position of having to save the second one, but the rest of the team’s brains were already back in the dressing room.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m more of a fan of Gabby than many Villa fans but those sort of words from any pundit are way over the top and unfair.

  65. Some interesting comments boys. Having been at the game, I will add my thoughts.
    Sanson was our best player by far and MOTM with a 7* rating from Ashley Preece, and worth it.
    Dendoncker, Bailey and Coutinho manage a miserable 3 rating apiece, and most of the rest get 5 ratings, so not the scores you would expect for an important third round FA cup tie.
    752 passes around the block, achieving one goal is absolutely abysmal and you would have thought that Emery would have changed tactics and personnel sooner.
    To take off the best player in the 67th minute was naive, and things then started to collapse, but Augustinsson should have been replaced by Digne at half-time, as he had no ability to cross the ball from the left, although he was in the position countless times, and just a couple of crosses would/should have produced goals.
    On the other side of the pitch Bailey and Cash were awful, better to have had Bailey on the other side. Young should have been right back and Captain and we would have had a much better chance of winning.
    Couthino, Ings, Luiz and Buendia just got stifled in the final third by the Stevenage game plan.

    The abject failure to penetrate the Stevenage defence was something I do not want to see again.. It was like watching a training match that Villa thought they were going to walk through with just one miserly goal.
    Sadly, Unai made his changes far too late in the day and Stevenage got their rewards, which is not what me and so many old timers want to see. It is a very long time since 1957, the only time we have seen Villa win the FA cup!!

  66. Lots of people blaming Watkins for not covering the corner, but he was trying to tell the defenders to move and cover, as he was where should be, and Olsen may have some blame, but where the back four???
    A chance Unai took, but sadly got wrong, but I am sure that Friday will be a very different game.

    Maybe there should be a review of all the young talent we have out on loan, and whether they need to be recalled, whilst clearing out the Augustinssons, Bedinareks, etc.

  67. Sorry, I have been unfair, as it was only 732 passes round the block !!!!
    Perhaps we should have had Jordan Nobbs and Rachel Daly on the bench! I hope the girls are not going to embarrass us and start winning trophies before the lads do!!

  68. Apparently Unai has let rip after yesterday’s display in the press room, slating the performance yesterday, Liverpool and Wolves, that he is not getting the commitment from the players that he wants. Looks like there is going to be a lot more training, hard words and sorting out before the end of the month, including transfers in and out.
    Good to see recruitment on course with the women, signing Lucy Staniforth from Man Utd, another England player.
    Tyrik Wright off to Plymouth on a free transfer, but with sell-on conditions. Kortney Hause coming back with his loan cancelled because of his injury problems.

  69. Yeah, Emery not happy at all.

    I think we’ve reached the point where, as many have hoped, someone is finally here to install a philosophy. A number of players will be found wanting, and some probably played their way out of Villa Park last night.

    I think the difference this time is that he’ll have the gravity to get his way. It won’t happen overnight, of course, but I’m sure the emphasis will be on players who have quality on the ball, along with the other attributes (quick passing, vision, intelligence, ability to follow a plan/know their role).

    I’m not sure where the scouting/acquisition has gone wrong, not in the meetings. But I believe when Emery says “Things need to change,” that there will indeed be fundamental change.

  70. Things need to change
    they certainly do
    bloated squad of highly paid supposedly professionals
    Our transfer dealings have been shambolic from the fox American moneybags idea,to the villa engine under the
    mad doc to vanity project under purslow
    Watching the better sides they have big strong athletes of players we have Phil and beundi
    As for Keepers no more Scandinavians,nightmares watching olseon

  71. Well I think we all knew change was needed as we have yo yo’d for far to long, the most consistent we have been was under Smith with Jack fit. If they can’t be arsed for Unai then goodbye it is then, would rather play some kids.

    Baffled by Sanson, he wants to play and never lolls about like Phil does, but, when he scored he started tapping his head like a loon and I’m not sure if it was a gesture to himself or what? I do think his Achilles heel is he likes a rash challenge much like fred does who also is ignored. Shame as both have heart.

  72. Rumors cash could leave.


    Another of many many players who aren’t good enough. Awful going forward and bad at defending to.

    Just another bang average championship football player Lange and Smith bought like Watkins buendia

    Leeds spending 70 million on 2 players

    Not sure what we are up to tbh

    Owners have cut back

  73. The most concerning thing is how the owners haven’t seen lange has failed big time

    He’s wasted the majority of the money he’s been given.

    Our best player has been a free agent and a 15mill gk

    He’s bought crap like Watkins dendonker buendia cash for way to much money. He bought Traore and Trez for 35 million both on loan at awful leagues

    He signed Bailey buendia and Ings to replace Grealish… None area left winger

    Unfortunately purslow has to much power and will be the one in charge of Lange but won’t admit he has failed because it looks bad on him

    As long as Lange is in charge of scouting we won’t get anywhere

  74. I find it puzzling why our players or at least some fail to motivate themselves for each and every game? is it tiredness as in they are not physically capable of the sustained effort needed? Is it mental? looking at some like Bailey who now cannot even shoot you would think its a possibility, and Sanson with his constant exclusion and head thumping makes you wonder what’s going on with him. Then there’s Phil who appears permanently depressed on the pitch also incapable of reproducing previous skills he’s known for.

    I watched a clip of Gazza on Paul whitehouse and Bob Mortimers fishing show and he spoke about how he would climb down a lamppost by his bedroom window to play an extra hour in the street and how he loved playing because he could lose himself and do what he wanted for an hour and a half. I do wonder if half this lot are in it for the joy or the money? They should have the best of both and to me I’d be fired up to prove I’m as good or better than the opposition .

  75. Interesting points made about motivation Mark,
    It seems to me its all about the attitude within the club, a desire to win. arguably Clough, Sir Alex were expert motivators. Liverpool as a club have always had this desire to win, no nonsense attitude for years, particularly during their golden age in the 80’s and interestingly LFC have never finished lower than 8th since promotion to the top flight in 1962, why ? I think the simple answer is, if your not prepared to work hard and run the extra ten yards…you’re out, gone. When Graham Souness signed for a LFC from Middlesbrough he asked during training what his role was he was told if he didn’t know he was in the wrong place.
    What I do think is those days are gone forever players sign the contract that gives them financial security and are okay with coming on for he last ten minutes when your 3-0 up or not coming on at all. It would appear Pep has the solution, great teams have great players who cost 50/60 million and are paid well, he (Pep) happens to be a great coach (better than the others at the current time)with a system that works.
    As a club we cant compete with MCFC so we have to develop a culture within the club which has a recruitment policy which players must buy into, not sure how but as a club we’ve always had a bit of success and been on the cusp of doing something only to go into melt down.
    Well that’s been a bit of a ramble, but its a wet and windy day, can’t do much else.

  76. Archie you can always come to mine and barrow some substrate down to the bottom of the garden for me 😉

    I think you have to have a bit of arrogance in you or if not be a bit feisty. Wimbledon were typical of that approach. You can have all the plans in the world but when the shizer hits the fan you need people who don’t like losing, we seem to take it as our lot, even the fans do.

  77. I’m guessing answers to the motivation question are all over the map.

    Regardless of the performance, Buendia is there, running, fiery, etc. He wants to stick and play and come good. He wants another call-up for Argentina. He’s motivated. So are Ollie, Mings, Cash

    Sanson, the times we’ve seen him, is likewise combative, edgy, looking to make things happen. Absolutely no idea what’s happening behind the scenes, but he also seems motivated, at the very least.

    Phil, I think, is just done…whether it’s been niggling injuries holding him back, frustration with the systems, players around him, all of the above, no idea. If Emi loses the ball, you usually see him running it down trying to get it back. Phil just seems sad about it an unable to physically do much in response. Not sure what his motivation is, sure he’d like to reclaim some of his former glory, get back in the Brazil squad, and prove he didn’t end up being a very expensive flop, but he’s looking like he doesn’t believe it’s possible.

    Bailey, again, I think he’s in a deep confidence hole. The long layoff, changes in managers and systems, trusting his body again, etc., all factor in. He’s trying to do too much and seems to be having trouble accepting that his success in Germany doesn’t translate. He’s going to have to change his game a bit, be put on the left, or something, but he doesn’t even look as fast as he was before the injury. Tough one, because we spent a lot on him, and every defender knows what he’s going to do.

    Anyway…I think they all have motivation to play except Guilbert, etc., who are willing to run down relatively good contracts versus a pay-cut to play.

    The issue with consistency, I think, is fear of failure. Maybe they aren’t fit enough, and we’re not deep enough to make five like-for-like subs. By all accounts, the atmosphere at Villa Park doesn’t help, so you don’t have that to help, but timidity and hesitancy are usually about self-belief.

    Consistency comes from quality and the habit of winning (or getting results), which is basically the same as confidence that you/the team, can make something happen at some point.

  78. The other thing we’re seeing is lack of quality…that final ball from Cash, for instance. Great takes and one-time passes. Those little things add up, stretching for a ball, not quite controlling, making a poor pass as a result, or being forced to go backward.

    We don’t have enough players who can make you pay for pressing them too tight.

    It’s not a bad side, but that’s the next level. Buendia gets stick, but he moves and decides quickly, generally has great weight on his passes, gets out of trouble, sees and leads runners, all of that. He may not be top-6 quality, but he’s also not surrounded by players on the same wavelength.

    That said, you can see everyone playing better when Villa have seized the initiative. Confidence flows, there’s less thinking and more positive things happen all round. Raises everyone’s game a notch. It’s that second-half Villa who are trailing and fighting to get something that we need to see from the start.

  79. Have absolutely no faith in Lange who seems to be the worst scout in football, and purslow, who gets involved to much into things he should not

    Those 2 have wasted a lot of money and frankly signed a lot of utter over priced crap

    We need 2 quick strikers and 2 quick wider players in desperately

    I’m sure they won’t deliver and if they do, they won’t be very good

  80. JC- I think that the inclusion of some members of the team may have a negative effect on others, no matter how friendly they are around BMH you would get sick of seeing your good work go flat once phils tried and then gone into self pity mode. You might feel for him but Gerrards constant he needs to be loved mantra would have really got up some noses I think. It was like he was all that mattered, watch phil, learn from phil the best trainer in the world! yeah that would get very tired quickly, ditto Bailey.

    Under Smith there was a sense of togetherness, players knew Jack was special and he gave it his all. Yes he had ambitions that expanded outside of Villa park when his team mates couldn’t keep up but he was class and showed it. He was also fun and a bit of a lad, the likes of McGinn would of loved him along with that core of brits. We now have a lot of continental and south Americans, I can’t imagine Sanson is bundle of laughs plus the Digne coming in for Targett episode along with the we need better players comments.

    Unai has the unenviable task of healing wounds and demanding more than some have in the locker or moving them on. I don’t think that a manager can be all things to everyone, there’s a certain camaraderie and togetherness that’s either there or its not which makes the whole thing tick and the manager has to foster that, it was Smiths forte.

  81. Alex Moreno LB incoming for a reported £12m at age 29, I hope he’s a fit lad as WB/FB’s need to be in this league, looks like an Unai signing to me.

  82. McGinn out for the month hamstring tear, so its either the cobbled together young/cash combo or maybe beundia goes out right with Ramsey fit again, maybe even Ramsey as we have been inverting players positions a bit. Shock horror it might also be Sanson.

  83. Anyways, I think we still have a reasonable 1st 12-14 but as a squad not good enough, for a long time we have ducked out of the cups because we don’t have real depth, if we made it to Europe that would end pretty quickly too I suspect, many seemingly better teams like West Ham/ Wolves found that out, only the man utd’s, Spurs etc have anything near that. If we stick to the buying quality (which Moreno is) then we can filter out the also rans over the next few years and hopefully get some joy from the kids to ease the burden on transfers and wages.

    Its no good looking at this as a failure, its a starting point and not a terrible one, Carlos to come back soon a bonus if he’s recovered. A few in this window like Moreno who’s more a winger (started as a striker) than full back and can get in behind, a winger type to do likewise so Bailey can go left and we might start breaking down these stubborn sides. We haven’t done anything like that since Jack left, Phil tries but either he’s had it or we don’t have the players smart enough to get on the end, we will soon find out with Moreno.

    Ings was nowhere near against a packed defence, needs room as he did against wolves and he’s supposed to be a poacher, I’d think it would be right up Archers street but he’s gone.

  84. The debate concerning motivation is interesting. How do you motivate a millionaire? If a player is on £20 grand/week, then he’s an annual millionaire. With the riches comes the luxury life style and very soon players can become soft. The hard work that won them those riches becomes a distant memory very quickly when sitting on a 4 year + contract. No need to bust any guts anymore. Kicking such guys up the backside and/or ruffling their feathers doesn’t work. A real problem.

    Enter your average footie fan at VP who’s paid a sizeable chunk of his income to attend a game. Watching millionaires going through the motions only winds them up. It winds me up. All any fan asks is that on the pitch each player leaves everything out there. If they all put in a proper shift then a negative result is accepted with grace. When they don’t do this, like against Stevenage, then outrage takes over.

    Our next opponents are Leeds Utd. They put in a shift and run themselves into the ground each game. Their fans stick with the team due to this, even though relegation is a threat. They have managed to motivate their millionaires. Unai will need to do the same.

  85. Plug, I don’t think you can motivate modern day players, only tell them what you want and expect and if they dont comply, don’t select. Not sure if Sir Alex hair dryer treatment would work these days that sort of man manager doesn’t seem to be around in the modern game. It seems to me good managers are more tactically aware like Pep or Poch and hopefully Unai.
    On another issue it looks like Graham Potter’s got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana skin, with Poch in the background, (if you believe the press)
    Still ealy days for Unai, he gave the fringe players a go last Sunday which must indicated a few things, like the squad are coming up short and he’s got move some on. We’re very much a mid table side. I’ll be interested to see what happens when Costa is fully fit.

  86. Plug some millionaires need no motivation other than the money and to some it comes as a side perk to a passion they have, maybe its a matter of job done for some when they have that life changing contract . Its puzzling that as Villa fans we have seen this lack of motivation/fear happen a lot, probably since Mon left us in the lurch on and off, maybe it is down to the crowd and expectations. That said we have had a bit of a return to teams winning away more again with the onus on the home team to attack.

    As I said its a puzzle we don’t ever seem to look to address, much like the continuing excess deaths all over the world that the various governments are not even bothered to investigate (that we know of) . Indeed one Con MP has had the whip removed for daring to question the Vaccines and their potential roll in this, maybe football like politics, big pharma, wars etc are all about being in the club to make money, rock the boat if you dare.

  87. I’d be surprised if Unai didn’t know the history of the FA cup and the likelihood of upsets by motivated on form teams like Stevenage. It worried me before the game started to be honest and proved accurate in the end. Saw a report that at least 5 players had less than an hour between them under Unai for various reasons and obviously the team as a whole was a one off, not something you would want to risk against a hungry side in form. So at least a part of this was Unai’s fault, Dendonker just back from injury could have been pulled last 20 with Kamara sat on the bench, Bailey should of been off just to save his own blushes and the young lad given a run. So yes lots of blame goes to the players involved but Unai should have known and done better rather than expected.

  88. Mark, some really good points about team selections and motivation, particularly, I thought, about Smith being able to engender that elusive ‘team spirit’. It was surely what gained us 10 wins in a row back in the championship.

    Plug’s point about Leeds is an interesting one too. . . . why have their fans seemingly stuck with their side and supported them through thick and thin, whereas a sizeable chunk of ours are all too ready to turn on our team even halfway through a match during a super run of results?

  89. Mark, just a quick comment on the worldwide excess deaths. There are a number of factors. One small one may be a small number of people suffering adverse vaccine effects which are well reported but the fact that excess deaths remain much higher in thevunvaccinated than the vaccinated strongly suggests that this is not the main underlying cause.
    Brigden lost the whip because he made comments without any credible scientific evidence and he also made them in the context of a rather silly and to many, offensive link to the holocaust.
    The suggestion was that his comments were dangerous as he may influence people not to be vaccinated. To be honest, if people make their decisions on the basis of a comment from Brigden then the gene pool may be better without them.

  90. Money can’t and shouldn’t be the motivator. There are plenty of players who get their motivation from somewhere else. Where that is needs to be bottled and sold.
    You have Ibrahimovic whose desire is beyond everyone else at 41, there’s Messi who said to the judge during his tax fraud trial “I only play football” the rest is up to my father. How about Lewandowski? Probably the fittest player in Europe. There are plenty of others but those are the ones who jump to mind. And they are older players still at the top of their game. I don’t think money is the motivational force behind Grealish either by the way.
    Villa have plenty of players who are motivated by something other than money. Buendia’ s play for instance, or Mings, and of course Martinez. Why doesn’t that rub off on some of the others? Like Guilbert?
    Well players like Guilbert probably feel left out and like N’Zogbia are happy to ride out a contract especially if they feel left out. Others like Sanson who for me has every reason to be pissed seems to be more motivated than most when he gets his chance. Who knows?
    Watching Phil play Sunday football for 125,000 a week would put a dent in my thinking.
    Perhaps players don’t feel appreciated, they bring a certain skill to the team and are played out of position or a set up that doesn’t fit them and never will. Luiz for instance who played out of position for ages but never mailed a performance in. Just dug in and persevered. Nobody really knows the motivation that players have. Dean came the closest, Gerrard not at all.
    Perhaps a manager who didn’t have a stellar career in their CV has more of an idea of what motivates people. As we’ve all heard, a good playing career doesn’t always translate into a good managerial career.

  91. Yes excited to see Morenho looks a player and may bring a little of what jack did to the left wing and get in behind more often, also surprisingly the highest tackles total in any league, surprising as he was once considered defensively useless.

  92. Endorsing previous comments about Moreno, I suppose it’s also encouraging to see some of the disappointed comments of Real Betis fans although as ever, it’s best to ignore the sensationalist Birmingham Mail clickbait headline

    So bearing in mind that managers tend to favour players they have brought in themselves (otherwise why buy them?), is he going to help give us depth in that position, or as an alternative to the current incumbent(s).

  93. I suppose one manager who doesn’t necessarily favour new players brought into his squad is Guardiola who sometimes seems to be going out of his way to prove to them that they’re not good enough before trying to rehabilitate them. Hopefully Kalvin Phillips is now wondering whether he mightn’t have been better off coming to Villa when we were so keen to sign him

  94. Robbo I would like to see where you get that data from because from what I am aware of they haven’t released death by vaccination status, nobodies allowed to know if you’ve had it, that’s private. If its the ONS data its so flawed it will tell the reader exactly what they want to hear.

    The vaccine adverse effects are in there millions from the like of vaers alone yet only 25 reports from 40 mil saw the sars vaccine recalled? Two weeks ago 17,000 doctors and scientists signed a paper asking for them to be stopped and investigated properly, you have to wonder why no?

    To boot a friend recently ended up in hospital with his left foot white and unresponsive, he’s had kidney cancer during covid which meant multiple boosters, the doctor told him off the record that it was the vaccine and 6 others were in the hospital with blockages in their left foot as they spoke, the doctor had never seen the like before, a plaque like substance in the veins. Its still not right but luckily he avoided amputation.

    This chap says he has conclusive evidence his name is Joseph Fraiman who was lead author in the peer reviewed study that reanalysed the pfizer and moderna studies, at the time he said there were 1 in 800 serious events. Since then more evidence has been found, worth hearing what he has to say hope you can open it.


    They tried to nail the MP with racism but the Jewish scientist quoted by him has come to his defence. He is one of the only MP’s with a science background.

    By your reaction I don’t expect any of this to change your mind 🙂

  95. Yeah, Moreno is definitely interesting. Clearly Emery’s choice, a good player, a good price.

    As noted, can play further up, or be direct competition for Digne. Will be curious to see how Unai handles this (as well as any other purchases).

    My overall impression from all the talk I’ve seen is that he’s just a better version of Digne.

    A lot of folks wondering why sign a LB, and I think it’s down to the fact that in Emery’s system, he looks to this position for more attacking support/contribution than from RB.

    As we’ve seen Bailey often played more like a second striker over on the right, and the left ‘winger’ a little more withdrawn, the LB is expected to provide width/balance and overlap/combine with that left wide man. RB is expected to stay more at home to compensate for the RW.

  96. Mark (with the one, not to be mentioned exception) I agree with a hell of a lot of what you say on here. Like me, im sure youd be pleased to see that Trezeguet is now enjoying life, playing Europa League football and has 7 goals and 6 assists so far this season.

  97. Wolves doing absolutely phenomenal business. Again

    They have a great squad and it’s only getting better

    I don’t know why our owners haven’t got rid of Lange he’s absolutely awful at what he does. We only sign obvious targets

    The club need to go and buy some quality scouts like wolves and Brighton

    We will be left behind by wolves at this rate they will start flying next season

  98. Snd they will have spent 200 million lady 2 windows all together

    They will fly now under the new man

    Our owners need to back uni

    We haven’t spent the money we should have but also Lange and purslow have failed them

    I don’t understand why we don’t have a scouting network outside of obvious players

    Go and scout South American league clubs are signing great talent
    Whislt Lange signs Digne and Countino


  99. Frem,

    Agree with you about scouting networks. Vital, and South America is not a place you want to overlook.

    Supposedly we were getting the deep-dive data, the “here’s a guy for £15m-20m that will basically be the same as this £50m player everyone wants.”

    But, we haven’t unearthed many gems, in the end.

    I would assume Phil was all SG’s doing. Digne had that feel as well. And that’s kind of my assumption on a lot of big-money/high-profile signings. The manager has to really want them and push for them.

    Me, I’m more puzzled by Traore, Sanson, Bailey. Those were supposed to be kick-on buys, and given where they came from, seem more like Lange’s business than anything Smith would’ve come up with. Probably Luiz, too.

    Ings? That smacks of “we need a known striker to get everyone excited, go get him,” without regard to system, etc., like we all say.

    Trez, Nakamba, Ghazi…Would’ve hoped one could’ve become a true starter, and maybe Ghazi seemed to have the best shot at it. But they were definitely ‘value buys’ because we couldn’t splash much on any individual. And at the risk of making everyone ill by repetition, that whole squad we pulled together coming up was always going to be replaced.

    Naturally, Wolves have worked a certain angle, and Mendes has been central to that.

    The interests we supposedly have seem to show that Emery has a similar idea. Maybe more Spanish-focused, but pulling together players who are technical, known (which doesn’t necessarily mean expensive), and used to playing certain ways in line with the manager’s thinking…Emery may well get us going a similar direction.

    So, yeah, we’ve missed on a number of players, and I’m guessing the blame gets spread around a bit.

    But if I’m NSWE, I am looking at the clubs getting more for their money and asking questions. Especially when we have to keep letting players go for a loss.

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