Now the reality of Europe begins to set in: Between Saturday’s late comeback win against Palace and a visit to Stamford Bridge and struggling Chelsea Sunday, Villa are in Warsaw as the group stage of the Conference League kicks off. Having only dim recollections of our last and rather ill-fated European campaign, I’ve no idea what to expect, but I’m assuming that at least Legia don’t have a plastic pitch.

All the talk is on Emery’s selections, of course, (or Villa Park hospitality) and what sort of juggling and accommodating he’ll be doing. Tielemans wants starts, Lenglet still doesn’t have a picture up on the official site. Moreno and Ramsey have ‘returned’, and Chambers has been insurance. I’m guessing there’s an update on Carlos I’ve missed. Never mind, he’s still out.

Naturally, all the players will want to start tonight. They’ll all want to start against Chelsea. But they also need to be rotated and load-managed. Ramsey and Moreno, who’ve traveled with the team, will need minutes at some point.

So, rather than playing a bare minimum side against League Two opposition in an early cup tie with players happy to sit out and get a break, Emery will be playing with a full deck raring to go and likely needing it: Legia Warsaw are unbeaten in their first six league matches and won three playoff games to get here.

Which means I’m obviously expecting a strong side because that’s really about what we’ve got: a strong side with a little bit of depth. Ideally, Villa grab an early lead, build on it, and then get to rotate comfortably in the second half. Because Emery will certainly be targeting a win tonight, and he’d dearly love to spread out the minutes to better take advantage of playing Chelsea at this stage.

But Legia Warsaw will be well up for this and intending to have something to say about the first group standings.

So, anyone’s guess. Well, I think most of the side we know, actually, but again, a couple-three players/positions are what’s in play at the starting lineup. Zaniolo, Bailey, Kamara/Tielemans…These seem the likely decision points in the starting XI. But Diaby also put in a hard 100+ minutes at the weekend, and maybe even Martinez will be rested.

Should be fun and I’m jealous of the traveling support.

Over to you.

Comments 61

  1. Team news:

    Villa XI vs Legia Warsaw: Martinez; Chambers, Konsa, Lenglet, Digne; Kamara, Tielemans; McGinn, Bailey; Zaniolo, Duran.

    Subs: Olsen, Marschall, Cash, Luiz, Watkins, Pau, Moreno, Diaby, Dendoncker, Ramsey.

  2. Solid selections from Emery for this match. Tielemans, Duran, Zaniolo , Chambers and Lenglet need minutes.
    Happy we finally have a manager who is excellent tactically and is not afraid to make changes considering we are playing Chelsea next.
    I predicit 2-0.

  3. Interesting first half
    Mistakes yes ,players ring rusty sure ,but we probably should be ahead ,Nicole looks good ,Duran took his goal well worked hard,possibly could had penalty at the end,midfield poor to start but finding there gears as half went on
    Looking for a winner our bench looks promising

  4. Give them the fucking freedom of Warsaw Villa. Our defence is non-existent. You can drive a coach and horses through it. Thank goodness we’ve got a potent attack. Unai will hopefully sort them out art half time.

    And Duran was fouled just before the break. He was held back. Penalty. Where’s VAR?

  5. Bad result
    Awful goals conceded,Chambers not fit for fullback,probably only good for last 10mins in centre
    More worrying how poor kamara and mcginn were
    In January emery has to get a couple of how do you put it ,not nice lads,ones who not be afraid to break a finger nail

  6. Yeah, that was poor…

    I was a bit surprised at the selection, understood with Chelsea coming up, but that put a lot on the back line. And seemed out of sync all night.

    Credit to Legia, tidy and took their chances, but there was also a lot of cheap fouling to stop us playing.

    Can see how much we miss Mings in all of these losses.

  7. Seems like the usual starting group does best together…Will take a little to get Zaniolo in sync, but looks a good player. Dougie and Kamara more effective together, Youri didn’t do a lot to say he should be starting.

    But Bouba’s been very up and down.

    We also didn’t seem to play quick enough, and there just wasn’t the quality on the night with through balls, etc.

  8. At this level, teams are not mugs. They can all play skilful football. So disappointed with Lenglet and Chambers. But they were not the only ones. SJM, Kamara, Tielemans all below par.

    In the last 10 minutes, there was no urgency at all. Just played the ball across the back and ran the clock down for them. So poor.

  9. If we are going to progress, then Unai is going to need his best team selection possible in each game and if that’s tough on those in the squad who moan, then so be it.

  10. Don’t understand the grief lenglet is getting ,
    First goal was Chambers and digne fault,mcginn kamara didn’t cover themselves with any heroics,2nd goal was same as 1st only opposite way round,3rd goal was pathetic room konsa and Chambers left and martinez was poor too
    Wake up call all round,seriously missing mings and beundi intensity

  11. Good comments. Agree with JG. The 1st two goals were school boy defending. I’m a bit shocked.
    Desmond, yeah, the Bosnians beat the “so called” best team in the group.

    No cake walk getting out of the group! May be good though. 6 tough games. Can only improve the players

  12. I’ve seen the highlights and have to agree with the comments above,what we’re our defenders doing. They looked appalling. Attitude was rock bottom, not from Duran/Zaniolo.
    These guys have extremely generous contracts,good coaching etc and that’s how they repay the management and supporters.

    Let’s hope for better on Sunday.

  13. Oh dear, again the players looked off key, defensively poor as a team and attack wise too. For me too many changes by emery in a game likely to be no stroll in the park. We seemed very lightweight and lacked an edge. Passing was awful and cut out to easily. Seems to me when we face opposition that are likely to score that’s what happens as sure as eggs is eggs. They / He appear to have learned bugger all from several high score beatings so far.

  14. Certain blogs are going nuts again,all bar shouting emery out
    New season ,5 new players in,3 mainstays iut long term along with Carlos who had only came back,what do we expect apart from what’s happening up and down performances,last night the goals conceded were Sunday morning stuff,
    Chelsea on Sunday is going to be difficult, we are going in flat but back to basics with martinez cash konsa torres and just only digne as defence, Luis and kamara as our 2,would go for tried and tested mcginn and ramsay either side of diaby with Watkins leading the line
    Yes Duran scored again last night but he doesn’t fill the striker role as good as Watkins yet,you have Bailey nico Duran moreno tilmans all as subs,with Everton during week plenty games for them to start,hopefully Carlos and Bert will soon be back,Carlos gives us steel in which emery needs to concentrate
    on when buying new players,too many nice lads we have

  15. The disruption at the back is a real thing. Mings not only has certain physical traits (like great speed, strength, aerial ability), but he’s a passionate leader and excellent reader of the game. No one was ever planning on losing all that.

    I think that’s a lot of what we see going on at the back: a very established pairing blown up and along with it, the next-step concept.

  16. JC,

    Well said on Mings. Sometimes you don’t know how lucky you are until it’s gone. Hopefully Mings can come back healthy. Mings, Konsa and Pau would be ideal

  17. So, got the job done in the end, but I imagine Emery will not be happy with some of the decision making as we saw it out.

    Was also furious with Duran not being alert to coming on.

  18. JC,

    Yeah, great win. Ramsey back. Bailey looks better. Kamara and Konsa excellent. Brilliant finish by Ollie. Lots to work on.

    Loved the team bonding at the end. Also thought Martinez was immense

  19. Enough to like, MD. Whatever their troubles, that’s still a lot of talent out there for Chelsea.

    Thought Ramsey did a nice job defensively, and although they were attacking the high line like everyone has, got our share of offside calls, so it might be coming together a little bit better at the back.

    Emi…He did look like himself, had that feeling he wasn’t going to get beat outside of bad luck.

  20. Great result. Just what the doctor ordered. Didn’t see the game, but away to Chelsea, a win takes the carrot no matter how good we were. Top weekend.

  21. Jc
    Very good attitude and effort,starting to not like 5 subs,too much upheaval
    Kamara man of match for me
    No bad ones,maybe mcginn and diaby a bit quite than hoped
    All in all a good week with an improved Everton on Wed night and Brighton next weekend

  22. A clean sheet FFS. With our defensive issues this season, that was an achievement. Oh the life of a Villa supporter. Total despair less than 3 days ago to immense elation. It’s a roller coaster alright.

    Was reading an article on Poch who was being interviewed by a reporter at his training ground office. The reporter noticed a bowl of lemons. What are they for? Positive vibes said Poch, they bring positivity to the club and team. Yellow or green, they work. The reporter asked him how long they took to work at Spurs. He said 2 years.

  23. VillaMD, clearly his pay off included a ticket to any away game. Might see him again at some of the Laandaan venues. Fair do’s, those away ends when Villa travel are always riotous. It’s total pandemonium when we win.

  24. Still basking in the afterglow of today’s result so I watched MOTD. Watched the highlights in full HD (instead of buffering dodgy internet feeds). So far so good but I was too lazy to mute the ensuing talking muppet heads. Apparantly the game was all about Chelsea somehow losing to some unknown unspoken entity. There was some desultory patronising talk about some non sky 6 player with a slightly unusual name maybe being worth a look at to be thought about being considered for a cap.
    The sooner those arsehole gobshites throw a tizzy and go on strike – the better.

  25. Well said 656. The morning after and I’m still combusting. I’ve caught up on the action and yep, Martinez kept us in it. But their keeper did likewise for them. Didn’t fancy us to get a result at all, which makes it even better. There were some fine performances from other players too. Nice to see Konsa and Pau looking tighter in what was a fine Unai away day set up. And especially good to see Ollie bury his chance.

    Boehle with his trousers round his ankles looks even more ridiculous after shelling out £1 billion on “players”. Some fool.

    If our current average of 2 points per game is maintained until the end of the season, it’s Champions League next season boys. But don’t worry, I’ll be grounded again by tomorrow.

  26. Just watched the highlights as I’d missed the first half. Those were two incredible saves to keep us out. Zaniolo can strike the ball so well. Digne connected really cleanly as well. Hard to believe neither went in.

    Other end, watching Emi’s saves…not the same acrobatics required, but perfect form in one-on-ones. Just like when he kept Argentina alive.

  27. Nearly match night again,what team will emery pick,our fullbacks are giving grave concern decent going forward but lacking defensively, hoping Carlos is soon fit and stays fit,with 5 subs think I would start with
    Konsa length torres digne
    Tielmans kamara donks
    Bailey ramsay Duran
    If moreno is fit I would start him
    Great choices from subs

  28. James, Unai says he’s pulled Moreno out again for a couple of weeks as he believes he’s been brought back a little too soon. But that’s still a good line up you suggest.

    I think Everton will also make a raft of changes as their EPL position is more vulnerable and needs protecting at all costs. It’s one we should win. Keep our powder dry on the bench and use if needed.

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