So, bad opening day, then 9 goals to 0. It’s a funny old game.

Of course, that’s nine unanswered against Everton and Hibernian. But. That’s how Villa should be handling inferior opposition instead of sweating out cup ties against League Two teams.

Progress. We actually look like we know what we’re doing. And still haven’t gone through the gears. So now it’s Burnley. A tougher game than midweek, to be sure.

But Emery and Villa have to be targeting three points. With a decent training session under their belts following the Everton rebound, Villa should be fine, no disrespect. Obviously the money gulf is huge when it comes to the Hibs, but Villa did exactly what you’d hope and make it clear.

And that’s really all I have to say. The incomings have gone a bit quiet, the outgoings…? Yeah, maybe we can get Phil off the books even though he’s injured. Otherwise, it’s time for the players to show they can live up to their ambitions to play in Europe and come right back to league games.

And I’m guessing we’ll see Zaniolo take a bow. And hope Olsen can do a job.

Over to you.

Comments 116

  1. Thanks JC. I’ll start by giving my best wishes to Cameron Archer at his new club. I hope he’s a success with the usual caveat of “but not against Villa”. I think there will be more to follow him out of the door in the remaining few days of this window. Would be sorry to see Couts go, but we have only seen glimpses of what he can do and not enough week in week out.

    Sadly not attending Turf Moor today but will be following the boys with interest. COYVB.

  2. Took me a minute to recognize what was right in front of my eyes, but Emery playing both Cash and Digne with Konsa, Carlos and Torres…Well. Two for Cash.

    Bit of tactical success there.

  3. Burnley look like a team of promising acadamy players. Promising but not quite ready, definately a team for tomorrow if their fans can be patient,

  4. Overall, a good professional half. Cash with the license to get forward, his strength, takes two nice chances, Villa patient against a well-coached Burnley side. Not showing any midweek hangover.

    Getting that feeling back from last season. You know, the one where it seems like Emery knows what he’s doing.

  5. JG,

    Yeah, all three are looking solid, though looks like Vincent did watch the Hibs tape, Digne not being left alone in acres of space. Bouba seems to be building on the improved midweek performance.

    Really impressed with the change in setup (probably because it’s working). Leaving out Leon and Bert, going five at the back. Haven’t seen it before I don’t think, and apart from just having better players, that’s been the difference in terms of the scoreline.

  6. Fabulous result. Fabulous week. Another outing of control demonstration. We have goals in this team. Time to crack the beers open.

  7. Shame about Pau costing us a clean sheet, but in two games we’ve turned a -4 goal difference into +2. And we should have had more goals today.

  8. Well sad to see the kids go but £40m and a side that the established players have to fight to get in is plain to see, no time or room for them, hopefully we have buy back clauses like Luis did. On that score I wonder what pepes thoughts are now having not taken it up?

    We really look a good side, Olsen a bit dodgy with his passing but the quality on the bench is there, you have to shake your head when you remember Mings and Beundia are out. Bring on the scousers.

  9. Really was a masterstroke on the day. Cash has always been better going forward and he took his chances well.

    Dunno if it was something Emery saw, or just the case he wanted to give them something they hadn’t seen from us. But really worked well, obviously.

  10. Liked Nico’s cameo. Shame he didn’t score, obvs could’ve put Ollie in for a tap-in, but was good to see Ollie smile and understand the desire to score on his debut.

    But he seemed to be in good positions, has some speed, strength. Also seems like a team player who understands systems and the doing the simple things to keep possession ticking over.

  11. Agree with comments

    Some thoughts. Back 3 with Cash and Digne is brilliant. They’re so well drilled. Pau was a #10 at one point!

    SJM, Douglas and Kamara. All brilliant. SJM has moved to a new level. All 3 – their fitness is off the charts

    Ollie, didn’t score but can’t ask for more. Diaby, slow start but then took over the game. For Diaby we have to remember it can take a year to adjust. He doesn’t need a year

    Same with Zaniolo. What a talent he looks. Big, strong and confident

    Jhon and Traore were ok, but coming back from injuries. I thought Olsen was great. Best performance for Villa in my view

    Special mention to Konsa. What a talent. How he’s not 1st choice for England is beyond me

  12. VillaMD, I have been one of Konsa’s biggest critics. But his improvement under Unai has been unrecognisable. The same can be said of other players too. Long may Unai reign.

  13. Plug – great to hear you’re view. We all have opinions. All great. I’m happy that you’re liking Konsa.

    I’ve 2 current Villa jerseys – Konsa and Buendia. It was funny, for preseason in Philly I wore Konsa jersey the day b4 the game in a Toon pub as my best friend is from Newcastle. I had so many Toon fans come up and say – love you didn’t go for attackers

  14. Still buzzing. I know it’s not the sharpest opposition we’ve faced recently, but I still have vivid memories of getting stuffed at Bournemouth this time last year. Then there was the 3 goals hammered past us at Watford and Fulham. So it feels good to see the strong performances of late. Guess next Sunday at the bindippers will give us a more accurate progress update.

  15. It’s been amusing watching the Wai Ayes supporters. After they battered us, the Geordies including Shearer raved noisily about title contenders etc etc. Then came two defeats to strong opposition and they want Howe sacked with immediate effect. Apparently his substitutions are crap, hooked the wrong players and is tactically inept. You couldn’t make it up. Loud mouths and empty heads come to mind. Big Sam and Spud had no chance in that environment.

  16. You could see it coming with toon after that big win Ha. After our pre-season of letting in goals you could also see the potential for a tonking and it happened.

    Liverpool will be tough as they have pace and guile up top and we are still gelling, Salah vs Torres or Digne ? we will cause them more trouble than Toon did I think so not expecting a clean sheet from either team.

    Yeah Totally forgot Ramsey, Moreno and the Donk. Be surprised if the latter stays but that’s half a team out. If Donk can play CB then he may have some use but he’s not shifting any of the mids unless some legs fall off.

    Digne actually earning his huge wage and Moreno out not helping with him going maybe an xmas exit. We still have room on the loan front.

  17. The five defenders thing I question, Cash more or less replaced Bailey and was a winger. we have seen the 3 CB’s several times now with Digne or cash pushing on. I’m thinking this was a straight swap for Bailey. Could be used that way against better teams but was Cash really a wingback?

  18. MK,

    Don’t know that he was a true WB, no…Seemed like he simply offered more defensive cover than Bailey, for example. So, in most ways just a swap, seems like.

  19. MK (and others),

    It was fun seeing the toon undone like that. I was hoping for a draw in Villa’s interests, but seeing those late daggers and an emptying St James was well worth Liverpool picking up all three points.

    Never mind the look on Howe’s face.

  20. Far as the squad goes, seems like we’ll have to keep Digne, would agree that a January move could then be on the cards.

    I could see Dendoncker staying for depth at this point. It is coming down to the wire, though, so I’m guessing everything is contingent on any possible late incomings and who those would be. Then whether we can move anyone on. Not sure he’s a necessary body now with Tielemans, but given the rash of injuries, he could be an insurance policy.

    Seeing different rumors pop up now, Clement Lenglet, Cornet from Spam, so who knows. No attackers being named today, though.

  21. I see that Gary Neville has bene critical of Arteta and his ‘experiments’ with formations. Neville says:”I would say that for me, looking at Arsenal, there is an element of experimentation and this expectation that full-backs think they can play midfield and midfielders think they can play at full-back.”
    I wonder if he’d say similar things to Emery and Cash after this weekends performance.

    I think I’d be more inclined to trust Emery, or Arteta (with his 77 wins out of 137 in the toughest league in the world) than Neville (with his 3 wins out of 15 before getting sacked)

  22. Mark and JC have both commented on the number of players out at the moment. It is remarkable that last weekend we were without:
    All of whom would be expected to start normally. As Mark says. . . .pretty much half a team!

    Then there was Dendonker and Coutinho, both of whom could have been asked to step up instead.

    We don’t seem to have had anyone returning ‘before’ they were expected and if anything, recoveries seem to be taking longer than expected. If we can hang in there, or perhaps even a bit better than that, until they do return, then maybe we do have sufficient depth this season, even if we don’;t manage to make any more signings?

  23. We were missing a lot, r0bb0, but the team looked good.

    I think probably the only real concern is depth at striker. And maybe that will be addressed if Phil goes.

    I’m sure they’ve also been taking a long hard look at Bailey and Traoré. Think we’re probably stuck with them for now, so we persist, and they will pop up with the odd goal and assist. But I think the team could become almost ‘overwhelming’ at times with a winger who’s just a better version of either of them.

    Love Emery’s use of Cash on Sunday, but it does seem to point to a perceived deficiency in that area. Whether it was because we caught Burnley by surprise, dunno, but Cash’s return on the day shows what we might expect with a serious player out there.

  24. Reading between the lines, Unai will have an accurate idea of who might be poached from us at the death. He will have informed Monchi who has done what would be expected of him and lined up possible replacements should any dominoes fall. These will be separate from any players “known” to be an outgoing.

    With the above in mind, I’d say our incoming transfer business is done pending no surprise last minute outgoings.

  25. Plug,

    Pretty sure that Villa won’t sanction any meaningful outgoings except maybe Phil (depending on length of layoff and anyone we could bring in with the wages freed up, etc).

    Watkins or Luiz…they’re going nowhere.

  26. Still would love an attacking option, but that’s maybe just plain greedy
    Look at our transfers window so far 5 internationals, 2 French,Belgian Italian and a spainard all decent names
    It’s unbelievable been a villa fan at the minute which makes a great change

  27. I was disappointed with the Lenglet rumors, considering he’s not good in the air. However, since he’s great with his feet and Unai wants him (at least for a year) – bring him in.

    Also read he was decent in a poor Spurs. Second season in EPL should help a lot.

    Wouldn’t mind Coutinho and Dendoncker leaving for £25k combined. If they stay, they’ll be good European players

    Looking forward to match tomorrow and Friday draw

  28. I think we are light in terms of a direct replacement/rotation for Ollie. But then most sides are. I’ll trust Emery to shuffle the deck if need be. I know it sort of contradicts what I said earlier, but…Duran fits the physical profile, but he’s still really green.

    If we were to bring in just one more, I’d really like a RW or a #10 type.

    We have the bodies in midfield, but I think we would benefit greatly from an upgrade on Bailey/Traoré, or a true playmaker.

    I think a true, constant threat wide right would make us really tough to defend. The #10 would replace Buendia/Phil.

  29. I’m off down to VP this evening. Might get to see one or two kids but I think Emery will pick a competitive team for entertainment value.

    Not impressed by Beaky’s selections for England. He has his favourites doesn’t he? Three from Palace, 3 from Chelsea and 4 from Arsenal. This is how he deflects any criticism from the Laandan media.

  30. Plug
    Southgate is a yes man and a woeful manager,in one way its a good rest for the players,yet its always an excuse for some to leave so not so good
    Konsa in last calendar year has been outstanding, as for Watkins perfect for international game with his workrate and goals scored assists

  31. So, good mix here and a rather strong bench.

    Olsen, Konsa, Chambers, Torres, Revan, Bailey, Kamara, Luiz, Tielemans, Kellyman, Duran

    Cash, Carlos, McGinn, Digne, Watkins, Diaby, etc…

  32. JC,

    Yeah, initially I was thinking it’s too strong. However only 4 starters for Anfield assuming Emi will be fit

    No goalie on the bench!

  33. VillaMD…

    Yeah, that’s the thing with Leon. I think he’s an honest player, but he can’t really beat a man, all of that, and adds nothing off the ball.

    Took his chance well, but I also think that doesn’t happen in a PL game. (And maybe not Duran’s, either.)

    That side, though, is the one without the FB, so we’re sort of giving it to them with Bailey in front of Chambers.

    Other side, Revan seems like he might have a future defending. Haven’t seen him whipping it in, but he’s stout and seems smart enough. But again, has to do it in the Prem.

  34. Just really Kamara and Luiz who’ll play a lot of minutes at Anfield. Well, Konsa and Torres, too, but they do a lot less running.

    And honestly, the game’s almost being played at a walking pace.

  35. Another goal for Big Jhon. Got to see a few of the kids. Hibs were not the most challenging of teams. I can see why they’re struggling. Defensively negligent, OK in the middle, no cutting edge up front. Not even Villa at a canter. As JC says, walking pace. I’ve seen more competitive training games.

  36. But it’s job done. Into the group stages with more European opposition due at VP. Hopefully no injuries from last night, didn’t look like it, but you never know. Onwards to Anfield.

  37. Some good information: We’ve got AZ Alkmaar (Holland) Legia Warsaw (Poland) and HSK Zrinjski (Bosnia) in the Conference groups.

    Some useless information: There is a hotel in Mostar about 1 kilometre from Zrinjski’s ground called Villa Park. I’m not lying! Unfortunately the ground only holds 9,000 so we might get 450 tickets for the game.

  38. In reality it has been fabulous, monchi came in after big 3 signings had been sealed,but got to work getting rid of excess players which should give us wiggle room next year ffp
    For us to buy more players you are looking at minimum 50m per player
    Hopefully now monchi can work on his long list of contacts and pick up some bargains like Brighton Leicester and soton managed,but keep rather than sell on

  39. It was the same for Ron Saunder’s early years when Vic Crowe left him Brian Little, Chris Nichol, Ray Graydon and Ian Ross. Won the League Cup almost straight away with essentially a Vic Crowe. Just a few years tweaking and we were European Champs. Easy peasy!

  40. Poor 1st half,torres is going to take a while ,maybe that’s why emery wanted Saville fullback
    We have had chances and really need ro score next, diaby looks really good,Watkins is in noscoring mode

  41. Just for the record, I’m watching the game as well. Just looks like one of those days when nothing goes right. I will be surprised if Emery will be able to change anything today. Our C/H curse has bitten hard. Konsa is just about holding our defence together.

  42. I’m going to be positive. Duran, Zaniola and Tielmans got some game time – and it was only 3 nil.

    Got some strictly non PC satisfaction in seeing Duran getting physical with Gomez. Hope he can channel that w/o getting sent off.

  43. Can’t deny pool were better, but it’s a shame how they actually got the goals.

    We needed to be clinical with the chances we did get, and we weren’t.

    Overall, though, they just had much more pressure on the ball, and I think that’s what really told.

  44. Such a bummer. That’s 2 batterings in 3 away games. Thought we were now competitive, but the evidence says otherwise against the better teams.

    The defence needs to sharpen up. And we can’t let TAA run the show like he did. Gutted.

  45. 2 weeks before we can put it right,
    The first goal is getting a lot of stick from var,it seems Peter schmicel gave all reasons why it should been disallowed
    Hope it’s not serious with Carlos we need his physicality in team along I a. Hoping Nicole can also earn a spot,we are to lightweight in big matches

  46. Clearly without VAR playing on our side we have a problem, said it pre-season we would get found out. Surprisingly the team had little fight or idea how to respond and Unai didn’t either by the looks.

    Annoying that they have changed offside yet again and now go on opinions of the officials. There is no consistency and maybe the big name teams have pushed it this way for obvious reasons or maybe we need to have a better plan than we presently have. Keep this up and they will lose faith in it. The template is there for teams to see. Don’t let us pass around the back and we are buggered.

  47. Transfer window shut,so emery has to bring us back to life
    Don’t think we are as bad as we were at Newcastle or Liverpool or as good as we think
    Leaders we lack in,mings took the flack but he never went missing,didn’t help Carlos going off,maybe we are too young inexperienced, we are definitely too small watching mcginn trying to pick up nunes is criminal
    Think emery made mistake in putting on Bailey first then taking him off when he had plenty options,needless disruption

  48. Not much to write. Better team won. I think Anfield got into the heads of the players as we’re a much better team. Could be worse, at least 2 wins

  49. Not sure we’ll win the Europa Conference League with away performances like those at Newcastle and Liverpool. But I’m not pessimistic either.

    I have every confidence that Unai will find a way to maximise the effectiveness of the current squad. It may take a few more games, but he’ll do it.

    Regarding expectations for the season, I’m still solidly behind finishing in the top 5 thus providing a Champions League place. We’ve got 2 tough fixtures out of the way. See what the table looks like after 7 games.

  50. Was away for the weekend, so couldn’t really engage.

    A funny match…The early goal is unfortunate, as always. Chasing from the beginning at Anfield, crowd pumped up, players pumped up.

    Villa settled a bit, and I thought at 2-0 if we could get a goal back there might well have been something in it. But we couldn’t take the chances we had to do that. On another day, Cash doesn’t put it in, ball bounces a little differently, etc. Not saying they didn’t deserve a 2-0 lead (or more), but games do turn on those moments.

    Liverpool definitely won the intensity battle in midfield. They looked more like the side we’ve come to know under Klopp. That really stopped us getting a foothold with any kind of possession-oriented play.

    Not all teams are going to be as effective beating the high line, though. Diaz, Nunez and Salah are a real handful on their day. Pace, guile, experience. TAA and others played some really good balls into them.

    Mings is definitely a miss, losing Carlos doesn’t help, either. It’s a more makeshift line than Emery would’ve expected, and obvs both Torres and Carlos are still getting used to the league. One would imagine they’ll be okay after a bit, but it’s a steep learning curve made more difficult by bad luck with the injuries.

    I’d like to think Buendia would’ve helped with the press/pressure, but you never know.

    So we’ve lost to two very good teams on the road, beaten two we should be beating. It’s been a rougher start than you’d like, but I’d probably have targeted only two more points at this stage if I’m being realistic.

  51. Win all your home games and draw all your away games, league champions – simples. We are only 2 points behind schedule, only have to win the next away games and we are back on schedule – simples again.

  52. jbd, yes. Points-wise, best I would’ve hoped for (realistically) were draws at SJP and Anfield coupled with the wins.

    Been surveying opinions (good and bad), might watch the match back (very distracting environment I was in), but overall I think there’s a tendency to get too excited and then too down.

    Which is probably me describing football the same way everyone else does, in the end.

  53. I think we can could I’d would of all day long but they had 2.73 XG and we had 0.63 so it would of been a stretch to say we could of got something. What’s disturbing is the lack of tactics to change at this moment against better teams .

  54. Let’s face it, we’ve got too many English players in the team. Need more Spanish and South Americans to show us how it’s done. English football academies, especially ours, are obviously clueless at producing first team players.

  55. MK,

    In the final numbers, yes, a stretch. But goals change games (!) and if we’d gotten one back, hard to say. Might’ve changed nothing, in the end. We see it all the time, a team gets flying, never looks back. Team dominates, doesn’t get the expected return, and it becomes a different game.

    Tactics-wise, hard to say, obvs, what Emery was thinking beyond lining up the way we’ve become used to. Read a couple takes on what was different from our last game against them, more pressure on TAA, sitting back a little deeper, etc.

    I really would have to rewatch (and I may very well) to more carefully look at exactly how we were losing out in midfield. There was a lot pressure, yes, and a lot of intercepted passes (which could mean we were hesitant, telegraphing, too easily prepared for, not patient enough, scared to try and play it around….), and we were a step slow all around the pitch.

    Overall, do the injuries/new guys mean he’s willing to take some lumps? Does he need to see whether they can handle it? Or was an insistence on a particular style our undoing?

    If he believes really strongly in a high line as a foundation, I don’t necessarily see him abandoning it quickly unless he becomes convinced the players just can’t do it.

  56. jbd,

    I wasn’t surprised that virtually all the links in the summer were the kinds of players you mention.

    I’m also fairly convinced legacy players we couldn’t seemingly replace (Bailey, Traore) are another part of the composition problem. Not English, and not particularly good under pressure, either. Cash, Konsa, Ollie…I guess throw in SJM as a Brit.

    So, we’ve made a start getting them in, but I have to believe that contracts/wages, etc., probably undermined a bigger overhaul to some extent. All the outgoings seem to point that direction.

  57. So, Couts has gone to Qatar on a season long loan. He made an instant impact at VP by scoring against Manure, always a great way of getting the fans on board. But then……not much since. In my book he’s a talented player, but too many injuries limited his effectiveness. Unai was obviously happy to let him go, so I’m happy too. Hope he finds some form in the sand dunes.

  58. Beaky has made us world champions at passing the ball slowly across the back line. This selection of players didn’t look like they wanted to win the game. The game plan had no idea how to prise open a packed defence. All in all, fortunate to get a draw. I’ve watched more exciting tiddly winks games.

  59. “England’s gifted players are in danger of outgrowing Gareth Southgate”

    Article in The Athletic today suggesting that Southgate was ok upto a point for the England team when they were younger, just starting out and expectations were low but now that a lot of them are at elite clubs they need someone better to bring them to their full potential and maybe win things.

    Who do we know of that is vastly experienced and successful in coaching players to a higher unthought-of level of performance and maturing inexperienced teams to their full potential then improving them? Has he got international aspirations?

  60. 656, I’d much prefer he scored a hat-trick against Palace this Sat. Thought he looked a bit knackered as the game wore on tonight. Beaky finally played Bellingham in CM and he ran the show. Shame he didn’t play him there against Ukraine. Thought Rashford had a stinker, England took control of the game again after he was subbed.

    Beaky is wasting this England talent with his selections, formations and style of play.

  61. Got to admit SJM wasn’t up to much tonight but then his team weren’t a third as good as they thought they were. England just beat a team they ought to beat.

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