So here we are, start of a new season, and this one’s full of hopes and expectations. Me, I’m cautiously optimistic. Which is probably what I’ll have put on my gravestone. As Emi Buendia’s injury illustrates, football can be cruel no matter how well you look to be set up.

But. Emi’s only one player and Emery’s reaction has been excellent. Honest, unruffled, full speed ahead. With a number of strong rumors persisting, especially ongoing moves for Nicolo Zaniolo, I think we’ll still get to the required depth in strength for a strong campaign on a number of fronts.

And as gutted as I am (since I really like Buendia), I’m buoyed by the optimism I still see among the support. Villa were never going to live or die based solely on Buendia. It’s a loss, but I trust Emery to adapt and move forward.

And that really is the crux of things: Unai Emery. He gets the best out of players and gives them every chance to play their best football. There’s a system that doesn’t rely on the individual brilliance of one or two players. There’s tactical flexibility, intense preparation, a beguiling optimism and focus. He’s not sentimental and has an almost ruthless edge. The man wants to win, and knows it takes more than a collection of names to do it. We’ve seen the effect he’s had.

The trick, of course, is to keep it going. The season is long. The game can be capricious (as we know all too well). But like everyone else, I do think Emery is building something we can believe in. I also think Emery knows this is his moment. He’s toiled long and hard to get back to the Premier League and he has a point to prove. But it’s about more than ego or personal ambition. He’s simply driven to succeed and wants to do it at the highest level. It’s how he’s wired. He demands excellence of everyone, including himself.

So, we can easily imagine a starting XI today that can win without any contribution from Buendia. And given we also await the returns of Ramsey and Moreno and have played very well in a tough preseason without them, it’s a testament to Emery’s work. It’s also clear that by the end of the window, this will likely be the best Villa team we’ve seen in a long long time. The owners are all in, and the set-up is there to leverage Villa’s ambitions and resources into results.

Today? No idea. A tough place to play, a tough team to play against. But Villa have more than held their own in the last two encounters, and Emery’s been studying more film of the Saudi Arabian Football Assault embodied locally in the barcodes. In the other dugout, there’s no doubt Eddie Howe will be thinking about how easily we carved them open over the summer and the comprehensive defeat at Villa Park in the spring. Villa will not be intimidated in the least, and Newcastle will want to lay down their marker. Should be a rather interesting encounter.

Seen a lot of lineups being tossed around, and they all look pretty much the same. Biggest difference is whether Emery picks Bailey or Philogene to start. I suppose you could throw Tielemans into that mix, as well, but I’m guessing Luiz, Kamara and McGinn will make up the engine room to start. Most everyone seems convinced we’ll see the Torres, Mings, Konsa project as well. Can’t say I disagree, as we’ve seen Emery will stick with his ideas.

Anyway. The summer’s flown by, football’s back and Villans are excited. Here’s to a memorable season and another potentially big step toward Aston Villa reclaiming a spot among the elite.

Over to you.

Comments 136

  1. Interesting…So Emery’s gone with a traditional back four in Cash, Konsa, Mings and Digne, which on paper I’d say is a smart move to best match up.

    And Bailey gets the nod over Jaden.

  2. It’s showtime indeed John. It’s not quite the starting 11 I’d have picked, but whatever happens I have complete faith and trust that Unai knows exactly what he’s doing.

    I’d leave Bailey on the bench but now he’ll probably bury a beauty. COYVB.

  3. Poor start,2 bad goals conceded, cash look to be fouled for 2nd one,as for offside how r players in box not Interfering with play
    Diaby brilliant goal

  4. So Torres gives us real strength in depth in central defence and Diaby gives us creative attacking strength in depth. . . then we lose Buendia and Mings and we’re basically back to square one but with a European campaign coming up.
    Tough old game eh?
    Gotta feel for Emery but it’ll really test the strength of character of the squad

  5. Well, I’m imagining we’ll see more incomings, r0bb0.

    Don’t think we were done anyway, but. Not sure we’ll go after a replacement for Mings, guess it will depend on Carlos’s fitness.

  6. Overall, a half that had just about everything. Obviously gutted for Ty, the boot, the stretcher. It’s bad.

    Beyond that, Bailey was terrible once again. Torres stepped in pretty well. Diaby took that chance beautifully, and despite everything, could’ve had two others if Ollie hadn’t dragged his shot and Dougie had connected better on the header.

    Will be very interested to see what Emery changes. Missing Ramsey on the left. But anyway, we’ll see how he shuffles it round.

  7. Was also impressed to see Torres giving instruction. To my mind, Buendia’s a miss in a game like this, but Villa did manage to settle down and get it moving through the middle. Kamara still seems bit oddly uncomfortable.

    I figured toon would come out flying with the crowd behind them, and they did.

  8. Delighted to see referees clamping down on player dissent and time wasting. Just nervous that Martinez will be the one to really ram the lesson home by becoming the first player sent off for time wasting !

  9. An easy 3 for NCU. Eddie Howe took a page out of Emery’s playbook. How many missed passes? Dispossessions? NC really protected the ball too. Cowed by the crowd? But there were some good things happening too. All in all, first game jitters.

    Oh well, you’re gonna lose some, might as well get it over with.

  10. Good summary Ian.
    A really weird opening game.
    Watkins should have scored
    Cash should have scored
    Konsa shouldn’t have created their 3rd and the game would look co.pletwly different
    But. . . . .the biggest worry is that our high line in defence is so easy to exploit that we surely need a rethink of how we set up?

  11. Think monchi will be in overdrive after this
    We won’t be only team to get a hiding ut st james
    But this match shows how valuable goalscorers are ,Newcastle have a host of them we dont

  12. There have been some big plusses too though.
    Diaby is class
    Torres is class
    Coutinho has shown he has class
    PhIlogene has come through well in pre-season
    Luis has gone up another level
    The underlying position is not as bad as it feels right now

  13. JG, you’re right about the difference being down to goal scorers.
    I’m a fan of Watkins, but his job is to score goals and today he failed.
    On a positive note. . .were bottom of the league, so the only way is up!

  14. Well the only thing anyone got right was it wouldn’t be 4-0 again 😉

    Last season two of their goals would of been offside and Konsa would not of fucked up, we missed some so did they , in the end one to forget and a wake up call, we move on .

  15. I suppose you could say with Mings out for a while, Ashley Young would be useful. That’s a bit nasty but I didn’t think Young should have left.

  16. But, like most are saying, not as bad as it looked. The game was still there until the third, and then Villa just looked done.

    It’s going to take a little bit for Torres, Carlos and Konsa to get on the same page with the high line if Emery sticks with it.

    But the big thing for me was the strength and pace down the wings for them, and us not having the fullbacks or wide midfielders to deal with it. They’re a fast, strong team.

  17. Agree with comments. Game much closer than scoreline. High line and playing out from the back is a disaster. I think it could work against bottom 1/2 teams, but not top 6. Good to learn a lesson while window is still open

  18. I’m not so sure about Pau. He was definitely at fault for 5th goal. Granted he looks good on the ball, but not sure about his defensive skills

  19. At least emery didn’t look at his feet during last 15 mins
    Starting Bailey wouldn’t have been my choice but when you look at bench we are very light in attacking options yes ramsay moreno will soon be back,but not near enough
    Another issue is going to be suspensions,especially the way bookings added up today

  20. It’s a big adjustment for Pau, VillaMD. Mings was starting for a reason, and that’s a big big loss.

    In many ways the heart of the team. I’ve no doubt losing Buendia and then Mings like that did not help the mentality.

  21. Sod’s Law. What could go wrong did. Just didn’t see this scoreline coming. Sure we might have had 2 or 3 more goals but so could they.

    At this rate, we’ll fill the knee clinic by the end of the month. And players will be on 8 yellow cards by the end of next month when the suspensions start.

    After match day 1 we are…..bottom. The only way is up as they say. On reflection, it was suicidal to play a high line at their place. Needed to tuck in much tighter behind the ball. That plus Tyro’s injury has cost us the battering.

  22. JC,

    Yep, Pau and Carlos need time. On the flip side, Tonali is MoM on debut.

    A few interesting pundit comments. Unai concentrates on positioning and not so much on fitness. Eddie puts major focus on fitness. Villa looked a yard slower in 2nd half.

    Isak – we knew Villa play a very high line. We have fast players and game plan was to play over the top

    Anyway, hopefully it can only get better

  23. As Mark said, “one to forget and a wake up call”
    We’d all been getting a bit giddy about how good this season might be, but I reckon Emery is a big enough man and, a sufficiently experienced manager, to have seen it all before, ànd won’t let it divert him too much from the plans he has in mind.

  24. Just watching Lepizig v Bayern Munich and it has very much the feel of our game. Leipzig have been freed up by having a good lead, and Bayern Munich are pushing forward to try and score. They have a very high defensive line which is being exploited again and again by Leipzig.
    Today won’t define Munich’s season, but it is a wake up call for them (and Harry Kane no doubt!)

  25. New day,result performance and injury all horrible,what can emery do have we much money to spend replacing mings and beundi definitely unplanned
    Pre season our highline was badly exposed which carried on yesterday, var I don’t understand offside or fouls anymore
    Burns was holding cash for 2nd goal ensuring he was playing Newcastle onside

  26. I would say that beating has been coming, The highline worked last season as we got Var decisions time and again, yesterday they were given to the attacker rather than to us. If that is to be a reoccurring theme then we need to change. Its obvious that many teams have seen that high line and practiced breaking through, this time it worked, we didn’t put enough pressure on the delivery nor players running through midfield. Oddly the front line did not shut down well, McGinn, Watkins, Diaby and Bailey did not do enough and were pounced on. When we got the ball with a little time they could not get it back but they waited for that final ball and stepped in and took it, we didn’t have those runners with the ball in midfield and often only 2 mids often when they broke.. Passing was not slick or fast enough and they isolated players quickly, sometimes 4 players crowding our one while our lot looked on bemused.

    Beundia in the pre-season game was very quick thinking and we cut them to bits hence why they went into overdrive closing us down all over. Maybe Phil instead of Bailey would of been a better bet or Philogene. Both can carry the ball better than Bailey does who likes a cul-de-sac. Ramsey will improve this no doubt too. Diaby needs intelligent runners too and there wasn’t anyone on our side bar Luis, unfortunately they cut the passes to him out to easily.

    Why McGinn wasn’t told to drop back I’ll never know he was hardly in the game. Add the mismatch in height and size to our slow passing it wasn’t a huge surprise, we have got used to shots going in and yesterday they didn’t, Emi did make 7 saves to popes 5 they had a massive XG of 4.32 to our 1.49.

    Everton thankfully are not Newcastle.

  27. To add to Mark’s comments above, our back line has been tee-square straight across the pitch but after Mings went off that was not the case. Was Tyro the gaffer that made it work?

    And yes, VAR never got the lines out for their 2 tight offside/onside goals. To my naked eye, both looked offside and as the missing lines didn’t appear to prove otherwise, I can only assume as Mark suggests that the attacker may now be getting the close calls to increase the number of goals scored. Always excepting the “sky 6″ of course when the lines will magically appear and rule in their favour. Yep, call me a cynic.

    The other noticeable thing was at defensive set-pieces it was always SJM marking Burns who must be 6’15” tall. A real mismatch. That was also the case when Tyro was on the pitch.

  28. MK and Plug,

    Can’t disagree. Other point is playing out from the back. We were constantly under pressure. Not sure how man times we overhit an out from back pass into the crowd. The 2 injuries makes it hurt more. Never want to see any player or person in soooo much pain. That’s a 2nd knee injury for Mings, so he knows the recovery process and hopefully him and Buendia can help each other.

    I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I’m finding Martinez to be irritating. Wish he would just play football and cut out the antics. Seems like WC win has given him such an ego.

    Carney starting for Chelsea!

  29. Number of good points…I’m still sort of processing it, myself, along with all the other takes out there.

    On the high line, yeah, if they can’t hold the discipline, it doesn’t work. Mings was the general for that, Plug, yes. Most often last season, it seemed Cash was the one most at risk of dropping for fear of being beat. Only takes a step, that one leg being back.

    Also, was surprised about the lines. A lot of talk about the continuation of play in offside situations and how Mings might just have become the poster child for that nonsense.

  30. Now the squad looks thin. Villa start another season with not one major injury but 2. Both vital players.

    Many interesting comments like the general stature and physicality of the players generally lacking bar Torres. This comment has arisen many times over the last 2 seasons at least. Add to that the fitness has been called into question.

    Fitness in Ron Saunders’ teams was never in doubt and in my 66 years as a supporter that era was the best Villa have been. They and Clough’s sides played great football.

    Liverpool in for Philogene. Apparently because Klopp allowed us to snaffle Tielemans on a free,Villa owe him a favour. Really?

    Mind up until a month ago Philogene was in touching distance of the 1st team squad. Also Newcastle are interested.

    Is Diego Carlos the full ticket after his bad injury and hardly a youngster?

    Pundits were saying at the end of last season,our high line could be broken. Speedy teams such as Newcastle will exploit that as we’re not fast enough to recover.

  31. Desmond,

    Yeah…I didn’t think we were finished in the window anyway, but today’s Jack Harrison ‘saga’ tells me Villa are definitely going to be making some more moves.

  32. VillaMD, Martinez’s antics tend to bug me too but not too much as it definitively ticks off the opposition and from what I’ve read, fans from the other teams. But it’s his way of playing and I think it’s OK with Emery or he would have been told to tone it down a bit. It appears he has sorted it out so he is under the radar of the referees. He gave Elmiron (I think) a pat on the cheek after he pushed him away from the ball. That would have burst a vessel in my head and would have retaliated.
    The National Hockey League is famous for retaliation penalties. The ref misses the first transgression but sees the retaliation-all part of the game.
    Philadelphia Flyers had a player, Kenny Linesman, his nickname was “The Rat”. This guy makes Martinez look like Mother Theresa. Everyone hated him even the officials. Funnily enough Philadelphia only hated him once he got traded.

  33. New signings,watched Chelsea yesterday and most of there new men are all units big physical lads,we seem to buy below average size,
    Now with mings out long term set pieces are a worry especially we keep using mcginn to pick up opposition tallest lad

  34. Ian – good comments. Thanks for sharing.

    JG – I was impressed with Chelsea 2nd half performance. Carney and Gallagher were excellent.

    Why would Lavia go to Chelsea when they just signed Caicedo! Silly Business

    I’d like to watch Toon game again, but can’t bring myself to do so. Three big disappointments- SJM, Luiz and most notably Kamara. I’m having doubts if Kamara is a top 6 player.

  35. So anybody……tell me here…..that the EPL is not fixed. Couldn’t care less about Wolves but at Manure this evening, with minutes left and looking for an equaliser, Onana cleans out a Wolves player with both hands inside the area. It was an astonishing assault. Goes to VAR. Nothing clear and obvious to see here. Play on ref.

    It’s nothing to do with consistency. Just plain fraud at OT once again.

  36. They have to get some consistency into the reffing and drill home that refs cannot be biased by the teams or players involved, that should be the emphasis but they are only human so abuse/cheating has to be cut out or face the consequences of a miffed ref, it goes both ways, either that or put up with it.

    Strange that we lose Mings and suddenly the reminder of the CB’s look vulnerable where it had looked strong, even suggesting Mings place was in peril. I don’t think for a minute this won’t be addressed and pronto. Maybe a signing that will turn out to be pivotal or a loan who knows.

    Nicolò Zaniolo is coming here and can play across the front three, has a history of knee injuries so should fit in 🙂 I think there will be plenty of ins and outs yet it just feels that way with the circumstances and Monchi on board.

  37. Over the years watching Villa get screwed, I can only say I don’t know what constitutes a penalty.

    The only major decision I’ve seen go in our favor was Nyland’s save of the century. I’m sure I’m missing one or two, but.

  38. In other news, Zaniolo seems to be good business if the terms I’m seeing are correct. Appearance minimum to hedge against his injury history was the most significant part, but the loan-then-buy arrangement was very astute for FFP.

    Elsewhere, Acuna talk is very persistent and seems legit. What I find funny about this is some Villans complaining about an aggressive, strong, two-footed World Cup winner at 31 being signed for €12-€15m (either as cover/competition/rotation with Moreno or Cash), who are also likely the same people saying we shouldn’t have let Young go and he would’ve made a difference against the toon.

    We’ll more than make that up if Digne goes and get a better player in the deal, probably on lower wages.

  39. The only decision I see that might provoke reasonable debate is whether Phil stays. With three years left on his contract and his almost invisible on-field contributions, I’d think selling him to some sheik or sovereign wealth fund (for a tidy sum) would be excellent business, especially with his wages.

    The debate rests on Buendia’s absence and whether Emery can get more from him or he’s just shot.

    Oddly, don’t see anyone in for Bailey.

  40. The premier league should never have entertained anything that has Middle East connections. MC being the first example of unfettered spending. So St James park is owned by a Saudi? They can do as they please. One only has to look at the Saudi backed golf league. Only 18 months or so and the PGA capitulated. What do you think is going to happen to soccer? Kashoggi was only one person cut to bits. Whole sports leagues are looking at the same fate.

  41. Must say I think the Saudi sovereign wealth fund will take over whatever sports the family who own it decides to “invest” in. There’s so much money around for them, they are awash with it. £10 billion is pocket shrapnel to these guys.

    Having said that, Boehly at Chelsea is making a fist of matching it. Always wondered what would happen to that club if the Russian got fed up of funding it. We now know.

    On a separate item of interest, reports in France (Foot Mercato) state that Clipperty is now looking at Kamara for his defensive midfielder. But Unai doesn’t want to sell him. They’re another team currently getting trumped by the big money.

  42. Hello Villans.
    I am fully behind Emery. Newcastle and Eddie Howe outthought him last weekend. This is the weekend to kick start our season.
    Aside from PSG, i do not think Emery has ever been given a huge budget to run a team.
    It is only here at Villa where he has a big say on how the transfer business should be run and has a carte blance on running the affairs of the team.
    It is his chance to prove to the naysayers who do not think he is an elite manager. I think he can, let us believe he can.

  43. I am interested to see what Emery will do tomorrow tactically. With Mings, Moreno and Ramsey out, that is our left side competely chopped down. It was our strong point for virtually the second half of the season.
    I would pick Torres and Jaden. Drop Bailey. I rated Leon, but he does not track back enough.
    On the transfer front if we could get Acuna i think we are all set for another season. The academy players like Feeney, Kellyman and the aforementioned Jaden should be given runs in the team to prove their mettle.

  44. Jackvilla,

    I’ll write up a little something for a preview, but I do think Pau has to be nailed on, either in a back two or three. Need to look at Everton more closely, tendencies, etc. as to which side Emery might favor if he were to do the three.

    And of course there’s Digne, how close Acuna is, whether we’d risk injury to Lucas if he is indeed out the door. Need to go check the news.

    I would defo drop Bailey for Jaden, if for no other reason than in the abstract Jaden couldn’t possibly be any worse. And having seen him, we know he would almost certainly offer more over 90mins no matter how cowed he might feel to start.

    But again, Unai might just be trying desperately to get a contribution out of Bailey that could help move him on.

  45. Would also appreciate if everyone spare a thought for Ian in Canada. The wildfires have gotten very close to his home.

    He’s a former firefighter, no mug, and they were packed and ready to go as the evacuation calls were staring to come in.

    Checked in on him this morning, the message didn’t deliver, so they may indeed be on the move.

    The pictures he’s sent have been terrifying and heartbreaking.

  46. Hope Ian and his family are safe,fire is horrible
    Welcome Nico ,do we sign any brittish names anymore lol
    Emery has his work cut out getting a settled side but would agree with swapping Bailey out for phillogene or even coutinho
    We are better than Everton all over pitch and bench so we need right frame of mind
    Hopping for another attacking option to come in

  47. Thinking of Ian. I’m sure he and his family will move to safety if necessary, but it may well be a different situation for his home. With so many properties in his part of the world built with timber, a wildfire is the worst of threats. Awaiting news from the man himself.

  48. A couple of years ago, relatives of ours in Australia had to move out when their house had a really narrow escape from a wildfire.
    Having heard their story first hand, including text updates whilst they were on the move, it’s a really testing and anxiety ridden experience. Ian may be more equipped to handle the experience than many, although he’ll also be well aware of how devastating wildfires can be so I add my thoughts and best wishes to those already sent by others.

  49. My brother in Vancouver sent me a graph, comparing Canadian wildfires this year with previous years and it was frighteningly stark, how the number has leaped up this year compared with all previously years on record.
    It’s even more dramatic than the leap in ocean surface temperatures this year, compared with all previous years.

    Whether you believe that it’s down to human intervention, or natural causes, the facts continue to pile up that the climate is changing.
    Having studied environmental biology way back when, the fear in the back of my mind is the possibility of triggering certain ‘tipping points’ which could irreveribly accelerate the change. One or more these may have even already been triggered, and if so, these are the sorts of graphs that the models predict we’d increasingly see, for a number of natural events.

  50. Just read a piece in The Athletic about Zaniolo. There was something familiar as the article unfolded. Then came the phrase “bout of depression”. Then I thought Stan Collymore. Please don’t let that happen.

  51. Jbd, I suspect that Emery would be more adept at managing a player with depression tha Gregory was. I suspect Gregory would admit as much himself now

  52. VillaMD, yes, I’d like to see Archer get a run out too.
    I saw a BBC piece about the 5 Young Premier league players to keep an eye on this season and they picked out Archer as one of them.
    Duran is only just coming back from injury though I think, so is less likely to get his chance today.

  53. Hard to imagine that Tielemans, Coutinho and Carlos are coming on as 3 substitutes for Villa. Even more so when you consider the length of our injury list.

  54. Villa MD, I find it hard to understand the persistent rumours of Digne being up for sale but they don’t seem to be going away.
    I know we’ll all stand behind whatever decision Emery might make, and his reasons behind it, but I’d be sorry to see Digne go

  55. R0bb0, I think the only issue with Digne is his £160k a week wages.

    Great to see the 3 at back experiment with subs

    Duran on ahead of Archer. What does that say!

  56. Glad I lulled them into a false sense of security by suggesting we wouldn’t see Duran today. They just didn’t see him did they.

  57. Can’t believe PC got injured, and it looks like a long layoff. The luck right now is terrible, and it’s really eating into our depth.

    And that one hurts particularly…If he was gonna go, fine. But now we don’t have the potential of Emery getting more out of him, don’t have the body for rotation, still stuck with the salary and no potential for a move.

  58. And then Bailey…His didn’t look as serious, but given his history, who knows.

    Depth, again, and then if he wasn’t in the plans, he’s not going anywhere now. Even worse, he actually was a net plus on the day, and the assist and goal likely would’ve really boosted his confidence.

  59. More like it
    Shame on injuries but that’s life
    We have nico moreno and dendonker to add to squad shortly plus ramsay end September plus whatever additional players we might get
    Couple matches v hibs I now to give players game time no big travelling either looking good again

  60. I would give motm to Digne

    Not sure why Ollie said he has target of 20 EPL goals. Why put that pressure on yourself!!!

    Even with injuries, we still have squad for 8th + cup runs. U21 players will get match time

  61. So we got the result we needed, but paid quite a price. Lots to like: Duran scoring, Tielemans looking class, clean sheet, great game from SJM, Diaby makes a difference, and more.

    At the same time, my god Everton were terrible. I know they’ve got woes of their own, but we won’t have an easier fixture all season.

    I’d have liked to have seen us convert more from completing moves rather than flukey goals (the two throw-ins). But obviously you take it, that was the way it went, and at least we made up the goal differential.

    (Don’t mean to sound gloomy, all wins are good wins, but would like to have just seen the dominance and nice passages rewarded differently for the sake of the players.)

  62. JG,

    Can’t say I’ve seen much of Hibs…can’t say I’ve seen them at all. But I’m guessing they’re going to be a couple of really combative matches, if nothing else.

  63. Apparently Hibs vs Swizz team was really poor standard. I’m sure Hibs will be up for it, but probably a 2 leg vs English League 2 standard. If we can’t win that, then Unai is out 🙂

  64. JG, VillaMD…

    Yeah, assuming they are poor. Makes me think of a cup tie, though, nothing to lose and kicking people.

    Hopefully we can just play through and around them, get our result and then another with Burnley.

  65. Strange digne seems to be off on loan,didn’t play today like a man off
    Phogene rumoured to be off,looks like monchi going to be busy in next 2 weeks

  66. I’m well stoked by that result. Wiped out our negative goal difference. As always though, it wasn’t as good as the score suggested which was the case also last week. Everton are in a poor state at the moment. Villa didn’t get out of 2nd gear. Like a training game.

  67. SJM was the man today for us. He was everywhere. Thought Everton had some big lumps playing for them who only seemed intent on kicking us. I was disappointed to learn Bailey was on the team sheet but he collected a goal and an assist. What do I know? I was also pleased to see Dougie place the spot kick. Ollie needed a rest from peno duties and it was the England keeper in goal. Duran is unit eh?

  68. Hibs up next. I expect them to hassle us and kick us if we run past them. Think Unai will field a strong team on Weds evening. We need a result in Leith. No point in saying who I’d like to see start the game. Unai will know exactly how to deal with it.

  69. Chelsea have spent nearly a quarter of a Billion pounds (including potential add ons) on 2 of their worst players today.
    You have to believe that they’ll do much better in future games but it would be nice to see that spending loads of dosh doesn’t necessarily bring success.

  70. Plug, I think you’re right about us putting out a strong team against Hibs. . . It seemed that Emery’s substitutions had half an eye on that too.

  71. We can only beat what is there but we will not get many easier games than that coupled with Evertons injuries etc they are in the sheite. If Bailey is causing you problems you have problems 🙂 I hope that signals his rebirth and not yet another false dawn for him.

  72. The news/rumours around Bidace are a little disconcerting. A permanent £5 million transfer to Hull City? Albeit with a buy back clause inserted in the sale. I would think he’d tear past the Hibs defences. However, I do have complete trust in Unai and if he OK’s it, I’m with him all the way.

  73. Plug
    Bidace didn’t set championship ablaze last season ,now according to some he is new Ronaldo
    Me I trust emery in buying selling players,ings thought it was mad selling him We never missed him
    Would like to see us buy less of nice lads few muscle men won’t go amis

  74. Philogene does puzzle me a bit, as well, given lack of depth. Also given how detrimental Bailey has been. As I keep saying, it’s not that he isn’t scoring, it’s that he loses/turns over the ball so much, and doesn’t have enough defensive presence to justify including him on that alone.

    But then Bailey goes and has a good match against a very poor toffees side. Fair enough.

    But, yes, in Emery et al we trust, and the sales likely have to do with clearing FFP space, along with the idea the players aren’t showing enough to get enough minutes to do them any good.

    And with Bailey, I have to think there’s simply the fact we paid a fair amount (£25m-£30m, wasn’t it?) and he has no suitors. So you play him, hoping he gets it. And it could very well be he shows enough in training that the staff believe he can make a breakthrough and get back to what we thought we were buying.

  75. I also think, given the rash of injuries and Villa’s urgency that we aren’t going to see a lot of young players make it for a while. Villa are looking for impact players who are ready to start and influence matches, and seasoned enough to read the game and implement the tactics.

  76. Best wishes Ian, hope you and your family are all safe. I know it must bad as my Granddaughter’s baseball got cancelled again due to air quality. We can actually smell the smoke in the air again today here in Ontario.

  77. James, I totally agree about the need for more muscle men. Impact players that don’t get pushed about. Built like brick shit houses. Acuna is that type of player. I noticed he played for Sevilla tonight against Alaves but lost 4-3 which is a poor result for Sevilla. I’m watching this space with interest.

    Also waiting for any news from Ian.

  78. Thanks CV. Where I live is an absolute hell scape. The two small villages close by are almost completely burnt down. All the buildings and homes along the lake shore to where we live are burnt down. For some reason the fire stopped a few km above our house. Our neighbours also escaped the fire. This fire jumped the highway 32 km from home and raced up into turtle valley and headed east to wards sorrento. The evacuation orders cover over 60 km and another 15 km are on alert. The smoke is so thick you can only see 200 metres. We left home at 5:30 PM last friday and headed north on logging roads with Laura’s mom, 2 dogs, and a cat as the road out of the area was covered in fire and debris. 60 km north there is a community that had set up evacuees in cabins to which we were part of. Saturday morning we left early headed north up the side of a mountain and finally turned east after an hour. Finally after 5 hours we reached the highway well east of the fire. We are now settled in Salmon Arm, staying with Laura’s brother. There is no time line for when we can go back as the highway runs through the middle of the fire. Even if we got home there isn’t any power as 100’s of kms of electrical wires are burnt. On the bright side, Villa thumped Everton.

  79. If you are interested google Adam’s Lake BC fire. Or global news bc fires.
    These fires are all over southern BC. Our son is hunkered down in Kelowna in a fire almost as big but with 20X’s the people. To the north in the Northwest Territories the city of Yellowknife was evacuated. Definitely a summer from hell.

  80. Glad hear you got out safe Ian. As i was posting my well wishes yesterday at my desk of course, my mates phone rang and it was his daughter. She’s out in Rutland a little east of Kelowana, she was upset and asked if he would put her up for a few days if she moves back home to Ontario. Apparently the fire jumped the Lake due to high winds from the McDougall wild fire or something. Anyway looks like his empty nest won’t be empty soon until she finds a new job and apartment. Her current landlady is being very fair in the circumstances and not demanding last month rent or anything so she hoping to hit the road out before the weekend. Anyway, thoughts are with you all out west, cant be nice!!!
    Lets hope for a good win up at Hib’s tomorrow.

  81. Wishing Aaron Ramsey all the best for the future at Burnley (except next weekend of course). Sky reporting £14 million plus add-ons.

  82. Strong starting line up tonight.

    Starting XI: Martinez, Konsa, Diego Carlos, Pau, Digne, Bailey, Kamara, Douglas Luiz, Mcginn, Diaby, Watkins

    Bench: Olsen, Marshcall, Cash, Tielemans, Traore, Chambers, Duran, Revan, Feeney

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