Here we are traveling to the Riverside to take on Middlesboro and try to avoid a slightly embarrassing record of FA Cup exits. I’d think that in itself would spur Emery on. But obviously, how seriously Villa take the competition has to be viewed in a larger context.

The most common sentiment I see is that a majority of fans (maybe a slim one), see the domestic cups as a manageable path to glory and want Villa to take both of them seriously. And now we only have the one to worry about. I completely understand. A 67-year drought in the FA Cup is a bit sobering, and I know everyone would be over the moon to see us lift it again.

The flipside, of course, is managing the load with a fairly thin squad…What are the priorities? I’d imagine the league comes first, and I’d also imagine the Conference League comes second. But. Depending on today’s result, it could change. I do believe Emery would want this squad to win any silverware on offer for the supporters, the players, and his own résumé. And like I said in a comment on the last thread, Villa’s better competitiveness against the top sides over the last year makes going the distance a bit more realistic. We wouldn’t necessarily be looking at most final or semifinal matchups as likely losses (unless the team played out of its skin like the Liverpool tie) the way we have in the past.

Either way, it’s always going to be a balancing act for a manager in Emery’s position. Teams not trying to keep pace at the top and in Europe are obviously in a better position to pour more into the cups. MON had the same dilemma, and always prioritized the league…much to many fans’ anger.

So, I’ll wait the nine minutes for the team sheet before posting, and we’ll have a better idea what Unai’s thinking…(tick tick tick).

Starting XI:
Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Lenglet, Moreno, Dendoncker, Kamara, McGinn, Ramsey, Bailey, Duran.

Marschall, Proctor, Carlos, Luiz, Watkins, Diaby, Zaniolo, Iroegbunam

So, you’d like to think strong enough (and needed minutes for Ramsey) with plenty on the bench to come on to change things.

Over to you.

Comments 190

  1. Well that just about sums it up JC. My guess is that we all have slightly mixed feelings, with most wanting us to prioritise the league, then the ECL but then, hating the thought of losing when match day comes round.

    As you point out, our run of FA cup exits is also getting embarrassing so it’d be nice to break that . . . . . and then we can feel more comfortable going out in the next round (except when match day comes round, once again, we really won’t want to see Villa lose!)

  2. I speculated about the rumours of Werner joining us on the last thread and said I could see merits in it. Apparently, a move to Spurs is now a done deal. . . . . . . . .so I’m convinced once again that he’s a donkey of course 🙂

  3. r0bb0,

    Priorities aside, what’s interesting is the expectation we’re coming to have. We’re now expecting Villa should win, by and large, even with a weakened squad.

    So I’ll be watching (like everyone else) to see how well the team executes ‘within our structure’, to see how rooted it is, and how we get on trying to maintain the fundamental principles without either Tielemans or Luiz in midfield.

  4. R0bb0,

    From previous thread- Bertie injury a bit dodgy, but he had scored so many crucial goals for us that I’ll always give him a pass

    JC – yeah, Digne situation is interesting. I prefer to keep him as a new foreign player will take time to get up to speed.

    Poor 1st half. Zaniolo for Dendoncker?

  5. Duran has a good left foot for a shot, but the rest of the time I’m afraid it just follows his right foot in a relaxed saunter around the pitch

  6. We missed plenty of chances and finally got lucky care of an opposition backside. But the real surprise for me was the clean sheet.

  7. Rob Jones never runs a level playing field when he’s involved with Villa. Don’t know why. This time I’ll excuse him because it was a lower team in a cup game. The lower team always gets the 50/50’s.

    The away support was noisy all evening. They’ll have a great run home. Pleased for them.

  8. But we do have to find a more energetic and skilful way of beating a parked bus. We’re in Monday’s draw, that’s all that matters.

  9. A word about VAR. So good to enjoy a game without any shit interference from them. More games without VAR please.

    On the negative side though, it is real dangerous playing our high line without VAR as a back up. Linesmen often get it wrong and we might have been punished tonight. I still think we need real pace in our CB’s playing it and I don’t think ours are the quickest defenders.

  10. Yeah, was nice not having the VAR interruptions, but they likely would’ve caught the peno on Moreno, which would’ve opened up things to our advantage.

  11. Plug, you’re right that the lower league team does often get the benefit of the doubt from referees but I reckon Rob Jones took it too far this evening. . . . . he’s not a very good referee.

  12. Plug, I get what you say about VAR, but the answer surely is not to get rid of something which regularly corrects mistakes, to find a way of speeding it up so that it minimises disruption of the game

  13. Seeing lots of chat bout the badge so started noticing the badges were currently using and it struck me how hard it is to see what’s going on with our current round badges.
    Apparently, the round badge is the fans favourite (although not in the poll of 17,000 fans conducted by the club) but as a distinctive, memorable image on our kit, it’s very poor.
    I can u dertsamd why someone texting to build worldwide awareness of Aston Villa might not like it and might prefer the shield design with clearly distinguishable lion on it.
    I’m not saying the suggested logo is good, but I do understand why the club might want something like that rather than the poorly defined round one.
    If that IS why the club prefers the shield then it may have been smart to at least try and explain that.

  14. I really must type more slowly and check what I’ve typed! What I meant to say about the badge is that the round one works close up, (e.g. on a fans shirt) but from any distance, it’s just a blob and isn’t recognisable as anything at all so doesn’t work for brand recognition, which like it or not, is important these days and leads to more cash in the bank, better players etc etc.

  15. I don’t know much about the man at all so can’t judge if it’s Heck’s arrogance, or insecurity or inadequacy that is holding him back from engaging with the fans, but just leaving them to stew over the badge issue is not a good look.

  16. Birmingham Live big headline:

    “Unai Emery responds to Jhon Duran transfer speculation after Aston Villa’s win at Middlesbrough”

    Very first line of the article:

    “Unai Emery was unwilling to answer questions on the speculation surrounding Jhon Duran’s future at Aston Villa”

    Grrrrr. . .

  17. Have to say, r0bb0, don’t like the version I’ve seen floated. It really isn’t a hard exercise. Aston Villa FC + Lion + 1874 + star: Make it look good.

    The gold lion (which might be intended to help it stand out) looks indistinct and lightweight. The border treatment, unnecessary. The whole thing looks unbalanced and incohesive.

    Heck? You never know…Edens and Sawiris are not dumb in commercial matters, and the development guy can’t actually listen to 40k different opinions. But. Fans have been pretty loud and clear, and that should be taken into account.

    And in my little world, I’d like to see some truly interesting and classy kit variations, rather than the modest tweaking from year to year. I’d like to see the stripes of ’57 given another go one season, for example. Or the ’82 era design. I think retro designs would be big sellers (they feature regularly in the NFL) and tie into Villa’s history.

    But if we’re sticking with the basic claret body, blue sleeves, there are some more interesting things they could do. The annual new kit rollout is such a strange enterprise. Over the last few years, the Acorns era top is still my recent favorite. If I buy anything, I usually get something from the training range…much more fun and interesting designs.

  18. r0bb0, your ongoing crusade against Aston Villa News is warranted…and funny.

    Raises an interesting aspect of sport. Having started in publishing with a competitive cycling magazine/newspaper (kind of a hybrid: magazine color and production values in a tabloid, ‘newsprint’ package), I quickly realized how repetitive it all is: Same races each season, same favorites (during their periods of dominance), same ‘intangibles’. You hear it from all the talking heads, the sheer repetition (and so many clichés) based on this or that single nugget.

    Fact is, despite the insatiable hunger, there really isn’t a lot to be said: Previews, reviews, player interviews are nice, some insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Tactics (which is the most interesting component, but is time consuming). Transfers.

    But it’s not really more than one article a day (apart from game days), maybe a couple during the season. So we get the constant aggravation you’re on about. “How do we take one presser and turn it into 25 different ‘stories’ based on pulling sentences out.” That’s a part of where I go nuts with social media, 25 different accounts all posting the same quotes from Emery or whoever like they’re the exclusive source. Mind-numbing.

    We can go on and on about this or that player, performance, etc., and it’s just fun and we’re not asking loads of people to read it so we can make a living from it.

  19. Very interesting question, JG.

    When we were wondering what kind of team Emery would field against Boro, it occurred to me that unless we’ve secretly been incorporating a number of kids into training we just don’t have any, apart from Tim, maybe, who are judged ready to be coming through.

    Instead, we’ve seen most of the high-profile kids sold (with buybacks) or loaned out.

    Seems to me like there’s a culling going on. Emery, now with Monchi, has looked and not really been keen on what he’s seen. Not that there aren’t some decent players, but apparently not any that he sees joining the first team, raising our levels, and turning into top PL quality.

    Some of it may be down to FFP, clearing some room, but I don’t think he’d part with Archer if he thought, “You know, he could be like Jermaine Defoe…” (Just a name out of the air). Same with Azaz…has done well in the Champs, but Emery clearly wants a different level.

  20. I know he’s still young, but look at the multiyear investment in Jacob. If it hadn’t been a needs-must situation, I don’t think he’d have continued getting the huge number of minutes needed to unlock the player we see now.

    He was finally starting to show the consistent levels needed, got hurt, came back very rusty, but looked much better yesterday. Question is: Would any of the top 6 in for him? The answer is no. And that’s where the mark is now.

    Emery would probably be thinking, “I could go buy ‘x’ and instantly have twice the player there tomorrow.” And it might not mean a £30m-£40m signing. I’ve seen plenty of young players in other squads give us more trouble than Jacob gives our opponents. Not quite like-for-like, but we’d be a lot more dangerous with someone like Gordon on the left (blows a little hot and cold, but stronger, faster, gets up and down the pitch, constant threat, very combative).

    Not a dig, just a qualitative assessment. I like the kid, hope there’s more to come.

  21. Saying all that, Bailey looked a complete bust. But again, needs must, and Emery’s gotten more out of him. Settled him down, gotten him playing within himself, etc.

    I still think there are much better two-way players in his position (stronger and faster with the same or better quality on the ball), but at least he’s somehow pulling a rabbit out of the hat with some regularity now. Even if it’s only two or three moments in a match…That’s been enough.

  22. JC, I guess your cycling magazine work sprang out of being a keen cyclist? I cycled to Athens once and still have the bike in the garage. I keep telling myself I’ll get it out again, but the trouble is, we now live in a valley with a steep hill in both directions from our front door and that’s enough of a disincentive for me!

  23. JG and JC. Must admit, I was disappointed not to see some of the youngsters on the bench yesterday. Is it a sign of a change in strategy of the club? We do seem to be still investing in young players and you may think that it would be a disincentive to young players if there seemed to be little chance of first team football, but maybe the Villa youth system will be seen as a great ‘finishing school’ from which players become sought after by other clubs.

  24. I’ve wondered about the youth aspect of the game and there are few that make the jump from the academy or Prem 2 to first team for any Premier League team. Players develop at different speeds, have different levels of confidence, and physically grow at different rates. IE: Duran at 20 is literally full grown. And like John said, it’s circumstance that leads to an academy player making the jump.
    They have to be kicked out of the nest. Sent off to develop and prove themselves. And to use a cliche, only the strong survive.
    I thought it was clever to put buy backs in place. Like a money loan instead of an actual loan out to another club. It gets around FFP for the moment with the sale of the player and a chance to buy back. And why wouldn’t you? You’d spend a lot for a player who is rated, why not one you have a grip on? Does it make any difference?
    In hockey the lower leagues are owned by the NHL teams. They are “farm” teams. It’s what Villa are doing with the purchase of shares in teams on the continent, Egypt, and Japan. Also a future team in the MLS.
    It’s the media that puts these players in a spot light and then creates a story, mostly more on the negative side when they get shipped off. It’s a business. Villa are keeping a hold of any player they think will make the break through. They will buy a player they think that will improve the team regardless of who they might be replacing. And there are always a set of statistics that make the current player look like a donkey.

  25. BTW, I’m trying to think of a way to buy another bicycle without my wife getting all wifey about it with 3 perfectly good ones in the garage.
    Boo hoo, two hills to deal with. Does it rain and get windy every time you look out the window? I know it does here.
    That’s cool that you rode to Athens. What make is your bicycle?

  26. Hi Ian, my mate and I made our bikes for the Athens trip but I can’t remember off hand what the frame was. I need to dig it out from the back of the garage to remind myself.
    It needed to be a bit sturdier than a racing frame as we carried our camping gear with us.

    As for the weather. . . Has been the wettest we’ve had for years here in Devon but gloriously sunny today. My brother sends me a daily ‘cloud’ photo from Vancouver at this time of year so I do know what you’re talking about! 🙂

  27. r0bb0,

    Was never a cyclist, funnily enough. Just the first opening that presented itself. Joined on as a copy editor, and spent enough time around cyclists (a couple ex-Olympic team, minor pros on staff) and the editor-in-chief, John Wilcockson (lovely English gent and one of the deans of cycling journalism) to be able to eventually do interviews, cover races, write editorials, etc.

  28. If I had been a cyclist, I’d have had to be a sprinter or track racer. Too short and stocky to ever be a climber! Shudder at the thought. Could maybe have done criteriums.

  29. I think it’s lack of quality, tbh, r0bb0. They get hyped no end, but they don’t go on to do much after they leave us.

    Maybe Archer, maybe Azaz will show they can cut it at the PL level, but like Ian says, I think we’ll buy to develop and sell for the most part (just cold hard facts), and when we do find the odd gem we’ll hold on. Kind of like panning for gold to find a Grealish.

    Jacob, like I say…if we hadn’t been skint and needed him (probably rushing him), I don’t think he’d ever gotten the minutes he did. He’s become a good player. Can he be great? There’ve been flashes. Yesterday was encouraging, best he’s been since coming back from injury.

    We could probably do better finding those physical, hard-working players you can plug in instead of a Dendoncker. Sort of job where you don’t have to be world class to be effective (and cheap).

  30. Ian and JC, the ‘sell with buy back option’ does indeed look shrewd as most of the youngsters probably won’t reach the levels to which we now aspire.

  31. Having said that most won’t make it, to the levels we aspire, you might have thought that more would be judged to have reached the levels of the players we’re trying to let go, and could at least have been regular banch players

  32. I fucking hate the auto correct on my Samsung phone. . . .it’s CRAP!!
    Changes perfectly good words like ‘bench’ to made up words like ‘banch’!
    On the other hand it frequently fails to correct nonsense words to real one’s.
    Oh. . . . . And it adds apostrophes where they’re really not called for!!!

  33. R0bb0 – Apple is no better with auto correct!

    I was also disappointed with lack of youth on the bench, but if Unai doesn’t think they’re good enough / I’m not going to judge.

    It’s a shame with Mings and Buendia injuries. Would be great squad with both of them. Rumors of Paolo Dybala for 12m – I’d take him or bring back Coutinho

  34. Villa MD. That’s a timely reminder about Coutinho. I sense that Emery is a decisive guy who’s already made his decision about him but it does seem a shame that a player with his innate skills can’t be found a use for.
    I suppose its just possible that, having noticed how teams ate incteasingly sitting back against us, Emery might think that Couts may be the sort of player who has that bit of magic to open a defence towards the end of a game?

    Ps. . . I wouldnt mind so much if my phone ‘suggested’ a change of spelling, but it arrogantly just effing changes it itself with no notification!

  35. Agreed, think we do miss Beundia and Mings. Course Youri can play a lot of the same sorts of passes Emi can, but there is a difference in style, and Emi does have an eye for goal. They’re both more consistent in the quality/weight of their passes than SJM particularly through balls, and Emi generally doesn’t take a second touch in transition.

    Mings, naturally his aerial prowess, but also his speed. Faster than Torres, Lenglet, Carlos. Course, don’t think Lenglet would be here if Mings hadn’t gone down. Might well have been Konsa, Mings, Torres, with Diego the odd man out. Torres’ range of passing is better, but Mings in the middle might help run down some of the counters we face. He takes good angles, too (though less important if playing in the middle).

    Also agree that Emery won’t look back re Coutinho. He might be a bit useful right now, but I’m guessing we don’t want the wages back, atm. Anyone know how he’s getting on?

  36. There is talk of Coutinho going to the MLS. Several clubs have been sniffing around.
    Perhaps Coutinho was never bad but the club was below him in quality. Now that the club has better quality perhaps Coutinho would thrive in that quality.
    Players aren’t necessarily shit but just don’t fit. Some can change to fit in some can’t.

  37. Ian,

    Couts will always be an interesting case. I don’t think you’re wrong about the side when he joined. I’d be curious whether Emery’s structure and style would make a difference.

    The other side is that it’s always hard to know with players and injuries. He had more than one setback, and who knows if he ever fully recovered. He seemed well off the pace after that first injury, but no idea whether his legs had gone, the side/set-up exposed certain limitations, or what.

    I suppose I could use this thing called the internet to see how he’s doing…But if he’s considering MLS, might well be that he’s just not up to the demands of the PL anymore. It’s a lot, especially where he was being asked to play.

  38. Sort of related: Couple of accounts I follow post old highlights from the FA Cup, etc., and apart from the mud-baths, what strikes me is the pace. Football is football…there’s nice passing, some great moves, great shots, all the things you see today, but at a slower pace, by and large. Crunching tackles, punches, fist-fights, they were tough, but the pressing is nowhere near as intense. And the keepers seem much less athletic on average. Lots of goals from yesteryear would not be going in today, would be my guess.

    Saw a famous dribble, goal, and it all looked more like a jogging pace than what we see today. Mind you, these clips are from the 60s-70s, not 80s-90s and on. Cigarettes at half time, etc.

  39. Fernandes is a turd. So is ref Taylor come to that. He decides the only way to see off 3rd tier Wigan is to cheat a penalty. He keeps doing it. I’m really surprised nobody in the Wigan team raked his ankles in retribution. Back in the days of mud bath pitches as JC says, that would definitely be the response, even a punch up.

    Yep Chelsea in the next round James. As an entitled Landaan club, home advantage was assured.

  40. Also did a little looking on Coutinho. Been out injured at least eight games, 2 goals + 3 assists, I think.

    So, same old and not tearing up that level of competition. €25m assessment against whichever club breaks the loan deal, so sounds like he comes back in the summer then maybe/hopefully to MLS or some such.

    I’d be shocked if he plays for Villa again.

  41. The MLS season is about 6 weeks away and they are starting to wheel and deal amongst themselves. Coutinho could be gone this transfer window. Villa might be willing to take a bath on selling but save a bunch on wages.

  42. Transfermarkt is being a little confusing, but looks like we paid €20m, Al Duhail paid €10m (loan fee or salary, but not listed as such), market value now €9m.

    Saw that we paid 65% of his Barca wages while he was on loan. Reading something that says he was on €24.5m/year at Barca, so…that would’ve been €15.9m full year, €7.96m half year (presumably).

    Means we’re in at €27.9m, not sure what Al Duhail’s €10m is offsetting, probs wages, but no quick details of our deal with them that I saw. So can’t tell whether we clawed back any sunk cost on him or just got his wages (or some portion) off the books for the season.

  43. The Wai Ayes have released their 2022/23 statement of accounts showing a loss of £73.4 million over the year. That makes the losses over the last 3 years total £155 million. Under FFP (or PSR as it’s called these days – Profit Sustainability Regs) they’re allowed £105 million losses over 3 consecutive seasons. They say they comply because the £40 million shortfall between the 2 sums can be allocated to other items such as youth development, women’s team and the like. However, it must be getting tight for the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund because they’ve mooted that a top player may have to be sold this summer as part of their growing pains.

    Which brings me to Villa’s 2022/23 accounts that must be submitted to Companies House by 29th Feb 2024. We understand they’ve already been submitted to EPL on 31st Dec 2023 under their regs but we await release to the general public. What do we think they’ll look like? Has Heck suspended the North Stand demolition to avoid loss of turnover if we’re going to be tight with FFP? All will be revealed between now and the end of Feb.

  44. Interesting, Plug.

    Not sure City will ever truly face justice, but seems like FFP’s showing a little teeth finally. Course, don’t want Villa to get caught up, but I think NSWE have been pretty careful.

    Investments like the training facilities, etc., are exempt. Or were, anyway, as I understand. But yeah, overall the numbers don’t lie. Everton were easy to make an example of, but perhaps that was the point, a shot across the bows after Chelsea’s shenanigans.

    My guess is that we’re still haunted a bit by former missteps, like Phil, and selling youngsters has maybe given us a bit of breathing room. Saw Villa were fourth highest in England for Academy revenue.

    We’ve seemed to have a rather large number of senior players over the last few years who we just can’t move on. When Emery says, we only want players who will raise the level of the team, he’s saying the obvious, yes, but also that we can’t afford future dead wood just to make up the numbers.

    When it comes to the North Stand (and various schemes that have annoyed supporters), it’s whether and how quickly spending large sums on construction, etc., will impact profitability.

    Saw this, and the sheer pragmatism/coldness of it tells you what happens behind closed doors.

  45. Apologies if this article has already been discussed, but I’ve only just caught it:

    The Real Union club that is being partnered with Villa through our owner’s V Sports business, is majority owned by our very own Unai Emery. Both his father and Grandfather played for Real Union so Unai now has an additional, indirect financial interest in Villa on top of his current contractual one.

    It felt like good news to me 🙂

  46. You’ve opened a really interesting and important topic there Plug. JC’s linked article is crammed with further talking points. One towards the end of the article that I took heart from was the comment that it was niw only the 2 Spanish clubs which have a heart for a super league. The article also shows why so many US investors are now moving in on the Premier league as the comparison with US franchises suggests that there’s huge untapped financial potential in European football clubs, even if they find the thought of potential relegation particularly uncomfortable for investor values.

  47. The implications of FFP do seem to be filtering through to fans now and online discussions are becoming much more realistic about our limitations for bringing in new players. . . . . Who knows, it may even filter through to the Frems of this world eventually (and my pigs may learn to fly. . . . which would be extra impressive now they’re in the freezer)

  48. JC, I’m still hopeful that City will eventually see justice served. Hopefully the long delay will mean that the prosecuting lawyers are building a rock solid case and the final punishment will be severe and just.
    I don’t have sympathy with Newcastle, or Villa, in being restrained from spending big. . . . I just want to see that the rules are impartially applied and there is no prospect of oil nations buying 6 clubs and dominating the league after just a couple of years mega investment, robbing less wealthy clubs of prime assets on the way.

  49. Oh, and JC, you used the word ‘coldness’ about the analysis in that article you linked to and it’s such an apt word!
    There was hardly a mention of competition, or players, or passion, or trophies, and as a fan, it’s tough to accept that ‘coldness’ as the new reality.

    Having said that, we’ve seen our own owners’ genuine emotional involvement at games, so you’d like to feel that passion for the club does, none the less, seep a little deeper into their souls than we might fear from reading that article.

  50. Unai has made clear that new arrivals will happen on a one to one basis. I.e. one out and a replacement in due to FFP constraints. We can rest assured he’ll find any replacement an upgrade on the outgoing player. He has my total trust in this.

    Which logically means Big Jhon and/or Lenglet will not be released unless an improved replacement is already sourced. In this manner, jig-saw piece by piece will be found to mould a great team. I am definitely buying in to this.

    And unless RObBO is telling porkies, his pork chops will be flying out of his freezer when Citeh comes face to face with the authorities. In the event that they don’t, the authorities will be seen to have let the “big clubs” gain a huge advantage over the rest by letting them build and then lock in the megabucks incomes before FFP kicked in and in so doing locked all other clubs out of the “cosy club” as the article link that JC provided points out.

    The way forward is increased turnover at a faster rate than the “cosy clubs” manage so that the gap closes. Here, I trust Compass but it will take time.

  51. r0bb0,

    I think we’re lucky with NSWE. Yeah, they’re businessmen, but they aren’t some investment consortium. They don’t want to lose money, of course, and they want to maximize revenue, of course, but I think they are vested in sport and enjoy the club for its own sake.

  52. Yeah, r0bb0, the deal connecting Emery to V is very interesting and I hope it signals a long and happy marriage. Emery’s moved around a little bit, but may well have found his perfect fit: highest-profile league, historic club, lots of autonomy, and supportive owners.

  53. Plug…

    Of all things, I think it was Ellis missing the bigger picture upon the advent of the Prem that’s been the big hurdle to overcome. The old corner-shop mentality. Then others locked in at the right time (Chelsea, and City just pipping us because of the sheikh vs Lerner) and it’s been very hard ever since to overcome them and Pool and United’s long-time pulling power and brand value.

    I do have concerns about SA and toon, for example, being able to offload and onboard players for respective fees that other clubs couldn’t negotiate. Villa are getting their foot in with a portfolio of clubs, but it’s not the same kind of thing.

  54. Looks like beats time is up,shame I liked his way ,old time winger for me,even he didn’t know what he was going to try hibernion defender still hasn’t straighten up
    Chambers is also free to go
    No messing with unai

  55. JG,

    Saw a possible ‘link’ wither Bertie and a Saudi team. Think he’s out of contract this summer, they want loan with buy option. Hardly does much good, not sure what his wages are.

  56. Anyone see the Burnley game last night. I see people getting uptight about the Luton goal and calling out the VAR controversy. It isn’t a VAR controversy, it’s a refereeing controversy.
    The original referee’s decision could have gone either way and VAR stuck with the original decision.
    I can imagine the avAR official asking himself if it would have been given as a foul anywhere else on the pitch and concluding that no it wouldn’t.
    Would I have been upset if I was Kompany, yes I would, but that was VAR being used as it should be. On balance, I think calling a foul by the ref would however have probably been the better decision, but it’s a matter of opinions not technology.

  57. JG, I hope you’re right, although I haven’t seen a report suggesting Tielemans will be back. Have you seen an optimistic story somewhere?

  58. Eddie Howe gave an interesting interview, explaining why it’s so difficult for them to recruit players due to the Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR).
    Kieran Maguire has made the further point, that the spending limit has not changed since its inception in 2013. The £105m allowable loss over 3 years should be £218m now if it had only been adjusted in line with inflation:
    If the limit was a sensible number back in 2013, it can’t possibly still be a sensible number now.

    We managed to be promoted (ahead of schedule) due to Dean Smith’s canny management of quite a few older players, but of course, that meant that we needed quite a rebuild in order to compete in the Premier league after promotion. We’ve seen how Nottingham Forest were one of the biggest net spenders when they returned to the Premier league, for a similar reason, but it has enabled them to stay up. We can also see this season, how tough it is for promoted clubs to compete if they ‘don’t’ invest comparatively heavily when they first come up.
    The downside of course, is that if you invest heavily and then manage to stay up, additional spending to help you advance further is curtailed. Both Villa and Newcastle are feeling that pinch now and it’s only because we have very good managers that both teams are able to still compete at the highest levels.

  59. You could argue that PSR is simply designed to maintain the supremacy of the existing top clubs, and that certainly has been the effect, although encouragingly, we’ve also seen other teams starting to break into the top 6 places ‘despite’ these constraints. It does seem perverse that the spending limit has been unchanged for over a decade but it just shows that it was a pretty arbitrary figure right from the start.
    The one team that has managed to break into that group of top clubs of course is Man City, with their barrels of dirty oil money behind them. The big injustice of PSR is that Man City appear to have flagrantly distorted the rules, and up to now, got away with it. If they are found guilty, then the punishment should be extremely severe, because the breaking of the rules and their subsequent success has of course brought them a huge, and continuing windfall of cash, which quickly elevated them to a financial position that they wouldn’t have reached otherwise.
    The good thing about PSR now starting to be applied, is that it is stopping a new stockpile of dirty oil money from quickly elevating Newcastle to the heights of Man City and this will hopeful deter other oil rich countries from being tempted to do the same.

  60. Having PSR tied to profits a club has made is useless. Why the football poobas make everything so convoluted is beyond me. Whether it’s the stupid bending and interpretation of the rules or the money being allowed to be spent. The answer? A spending cap. Make it 250 million for the summer transfer and 100 million for the winter transfer…whatever the number. Leave sales of players out of the equation and any other profit/loss. Most teams tie themselves up in knots trying to work things out the way they are. If rules are going to be put in place then rules are going to be circumvented so make it as simple as possible.

  61. The athletic had a good article on our ffp situation, think it was the one stating we have to get incoming revenue up massively, why Addis deal is crucial, big sponsors needed next,possibly why stadium upgrade was put on hold losing 6000 seats for a season plus with hopefully champions league coming would really hurt

  62. Pep is losing it with 4th official
    Another inept ref ,same type of fouls,city are getting booked Newcastle are getting off with them
    Wouldn’t mind I made foden captain jinxed him

  63. Well, bar codes buckled in the end. I was hoping for a draw, but it doesn’t really matter as City are going to win the league anyway.

    Beyond that, what’s incredible to me is how far Emery has taken us. We’re now in the position where we’re playing the same kinds of games, conceding the same kinds of goals as Pep’s setup. He has better players, but the match dynamics end up being very similar.

    Exposed on two perfect counters, otherwise, in control, patient, and getting that late winner you know is virtually always going to happen.

  64. Biggest differences between Villa and toon:

    1. Gordon, Isaak, and Almiron are all very fast. Maybe in a straight sprint Diaby and Bailey are there, but neither is as stout.

    2. Overall, a ‘longer’, rangier set of players. Longer strides mean they get there just that step faster, longer legs mean they stand a better chance of getting at the ball when tackling/pressing.

    So, a very fast, more physical side. Yet here they are struggling.

  65. I’m sure they work on this in training, and try to see the keys, but the counters we typically face are like we saw today:

    Working it out to someone around 30-35 yards from goal who almost instantly turns and plays that ball knowing 1-3 players are making the run.

    Much less about being played through than being hit over the top. The success rate depends on the % of quality balls, speed of the attackers, and the discipline of the offside trap.

    One thing we seem to lack is that player who can consistently drop that longer ball right to Ollie or Moussa in stride. Ours often go wide or just miss getting over the CB.

    But, opponents are often playing deeper against us, meaning there aren’t that many opportunities per game for Villa’s attackers to get a running start with 35-45 yards to play the ball into.

    So yeah, difference between playing a high line and not.

  66. Following that interruption, feel free to return to PSR/FFP.

    Biggest issue, yes, is that it’s based on revenue. So, bigger ground, bigger merchandise sales, expensive players trading places (often to profit), other ancillary revenue (Etihad sponsorships, etc), it creates a barrier that smaller clubs can never overcome.

    Then of course, you have what the owners can put in to cover losses, etc.

    Me, I think it’s salary cap that’s needed. That would be the greatest leveler. You just couldn’t pay all those players what they could make elsewhere. Doesn’t mean Luton can pay up to what City will (because it would be set pretty high), but it probably means there would be 5-10 clubs who could, or come pretty close.

    Revenue sharing would also help. There should be no difference in league placings payouts (everyone gets the same share of the PL TV money), and all merchandising money should be evenly dispersed. That would include any per-club video, membership schemes, overseas TV, whatever.

    However, being very wealthy, I’m not at all certain NSWE have any real incentive to support any of that. And you’d face dilution of the concentration of talent (to Europe, SA, etc), which might impact the value of the league’s TV deals.

  67. Jc
    Big difference in unai and pep,is the hysteria pep uses when things aren’t going his way
    For years they got away with professional foul Fernandino was skilled at it

  68. Yes, a salary cap would work. It needs to be based on equal amounts for all teams, not based on revenue which is the root of the problem. Probably needs UEFA to implement it as well to create a truly level playing field. Will it ever happen? I don’t see any flying pigs. Changing the current regulations for the betterment of all clubs is the challenge. Otherwise each country is going to maintain a league with just a few teams that matter and honours will not be spread around like yesteryear. It’s not beyond the wit of man. Start by demoting Citeh to League 2 as an example.

    It was interesting watching Citeh and the Wai Ayes last night. JC has given a good account of the comparisons above. Citeh’s midfield ability to pick an accurate pass over the top to a player making a run was the difference in the end despite their possession advantage.

    As for the Geordie’s, after their demolition of us in the first game of the season, their fans were booming about winning everything. Looking at what has happened since, Howe might be feeling a tin tack scratching his back.

  69. No torres or ramsay only 8 onbench again,very little defensive cover but tielmens on bench
    Martinez konsa lenget Carlos moreno Luis kamara mcginn Watkins diaby and Bailey

  70. I’m a bit supporter of VAR but that decision is wrong wrong wrong.
    I still don’t know which player at which point was given offside and judged to be interfering with play, but more to the point, it can’t possibly be clear and obviously wrong when it takes that long.

  71. JG, yes Lenglet may have been pulling more than he was pulled, but that was way before the goal was scored and they’d had plenty of time to regroup . . . . Or was I watching the wrong ‘offence’
    How far back can they go to ‘try and find’ an offence?
    Are they now going to punish ‘every’ shirt pull?
    Let’s see shall we?
    No need. . . I’ll tell you now, no they aren’t.

  72. OK. . So it was nothing to do with lenglet.
    Bailey was offside. . . So why didn’t they just check that?
    We need to hear their commentary as they discuss what they’re looking for . . . Rugby does that so why not football?

  73. Robbo
    They finally showed li es baileys foot was offside
    Watkins s gets booked for a duel with tarowski another poor ref
    We have to get at Coleman, weakest link in Everton

  74. In fairness, I wouldn’t fancy being the referee today.
    Planty of dark arts on display from both sides and it’s so hard to judge where to draw the line on what’s a foul and what isn’t

  75. It has thevpotential to be a good game, but too stop start.
    Everton’s high press certainly creating difficulties for us but it should open gaps too once we can break out from it

  76. Diaby could have had a penalty there if he’d gone down from the first touch.
    It’s a shame, but the only way you get a foul from this referee is dramatically going to ground. Everton players have been coached to do that

  77. JG
    You’re so right about the stop start.
    We need to stop arguing and get on with playing football.
    We’re the better side but falling into the Dyche trap

  78. Tarowski again through back Watkins
    If we can get out of here without any red cards injuries we will be lucky
    Dyche make Wimbledon of old look like choirboys

  79. Robbo
    It was hard not to fall for it
    Tarowski finished on the pitch after cleaning diaby,up in corner,then through back of Watkins
    Sky pundits just after saying diaby pen appeal was 2 great shouts first tackle then horrible Tarowski

  80. Tarkowski is a thug. A hatchet man. He wipes players out regardless of what injuries may result. He gets away with it when the ref is scared of being fair and they are at home.

  81. Glad people seeing Lenglet. Think he was the calmest most professional Villa player on the pitch. Big Up for Lenglet.

    Horrible scrappy game – not blaming Everton for that. We seemed ratty and muddle headed today – obviously still on a bad run. Is that ref a homer or does he have a problem with Villa? Was there only one booking for Everton???

    Liked Kamara cruising through the game winning his battles and keeping us in the game. Liked the physical presence of Duran but hated the childish latin macho histrionics, could Mings have sorted him out?

    Think Bailey needs to get slagged off again to get him going. Like Diaby but think the intensity of the prem league is catching up with him.

    I know Tarkowski was today’s panto villain but I would swap him (free) for Diego Carlos (£25M).

    World’s best goalkeeper my motm just for that double save – won us a point!

  82. It was a typical Dyche team performance from Everton. Fill the team with hard men, make sure they are guilty of roughing all game and get in the referee’s face. Dreadful to watch, a poor advert for the EPL and a success for the cheats. The ref let them kick us at every opportunity and offered no protection whatsoever.

    Moreno’s goal was absolute class. A beautiful effort that deserved to win any game. But VAR will find a way of deleting it. They don’t want to see any items of quality. More importantly, they don’t want any pretenders to the “cosy club” getting 3 points. Coote is so poor.

  83. It must be tough for an Everton coach trying to assess Tarkowski for a head injury. How could you tell if his responses were less intelligible than usual? More likely to suffer a brain injury from a stamp on his foot.
    If anyone in future thinks of criticising our style of play, just think back to this game, and imagine having to watch that every week.

  84. Plug, you’re right about Tarkowski, but I suspect that Dyche pays good attention to which referee is officiating and knew that today, in front of a home crowd, they could get away with a lot

  85. The bottom line though is a point gained. Some might argue it was 2 points dropped. We had control for most of the game but couldn’t get over the line. Thought SJM was not himself today. Maybe the position he was asked to play without Ramsey?

  86. So I’m watching Manure v Spurs. Wan Bissaka slides in and wins the ball but wipes out his opponent with the follow through. He gets a yellow card and Spurs get a free kick. Exactly the same tackle that Tarkowski did in winning the ball and wiping out Diaby with the follow through. Zilch, no yellow card, no foul, no penalty. It’s this type of inconsistency that does my head in.

  87. Yep plug point gained rather than 2 lost,we have gained a good habit of not losing
    Coote was an absolute disgrace gave foul today from watkins when ball was out for our corner yet less than 4 weeks ago maupay barged martinez off ball when ball was dead yet carriedon with cornerto Brentford,wonder will sky ref watch show tarowski horror tackles,as for var how does it take 4 mins to draw lines across screen baileys foot was offside

  88. Yeah, was a funny game…Almost like we’ve had too much time off.

    But Dyche, Everton, stop you from playing, look for the smash-and-grab. Shame Duran’s effort went just wide, shame Bailey’s foot was off.

    Well done, Emi, though. Not asked to do much, but was alert the only moment he had to be.

  89. There were more instances than usual today of players making a good pass but it not being anticipated by a team mate. I guess that’s why Emery would prefer to keep a more stable starting line up?

  90. I know I keep criticising Duran, but once again, I didn’t like him berating a team mate. . .this time when a cross was a little further back than he ideally wanted.
    I’d much prefer him to be self critical for not making as much of the opportunity as he could have done.
    Having said that, and although I hate to see it, you won’t seem him missing an opportunity to fall in the box if he feels himself touched. Also, although I hate to say it, Diaby is commendably honest, but today was the second time when we could have won a game if he was a little more steeped in the Dyche arts and had fallen over when tripped.

  91. Being a tough 6 weeks,lot of games,high pressure
    Take injuries cash digne torres tielmens olsenand ramsay all missing at different times
    Suspensions cash digne Luis and kamara all served bans,others watching their step in games to avoid a ban
    All in all we are in unbelievable position at mid-season break so much to be thankful especially the free transfer of frem

  92. Still seething over referee and var officials over diaby penalty and length of time to rule out moreno Goal,never mind tarowski tackle,
    Getard tried hard to sign tarowski even inviting him to Gérard house

  93. JG, ‘which’ Tarkowski tackle are you most cross about?
    I think I’m right in saying that Tarkowski was booked for what happened ‘after’ the tackle, in which case there is something wrong with the rules or the referee, that allows a player to deliberately follow through with a potentially crippling collision with an opponent. He did it twice, and even Roy Keane said that a penalty could have been given and that Tarkowski “knew exactly what he was doing”. I suspect he’s right, and you can imagine he’s the type of man who feels he’s done his job well when he injures a player.

  94. JG, I suspect I have been too hard on Duran, and that I am now guilty of noticing negative things in his play that I let pass in other players. Having said that, we’ve now seen him berating team mates a couple of times when he really should have been concentrating on his own shortcomings rather than looking for scapegoat. Yesterday’s wasn’t as bad as the onfield lecture he gave Zaniolo, but it still looked like him trying to cover up for his own ‘mistake’ to me.
    There was one moment in yesterday’s game with a long angle tv shot where a large villa player was chasing down an Everton player hard towards their corner flag. I thought it was Duran and said out loud, “ok, good on you”. The camera panned in and it turned out to be Zaniolo not Duran. My point is, that I was surprised to see Duran chasing so hard (as I thought) and was then prepared to adjust my view of him being a bit lazy.
    I think we can all see signs of a good player there, I wish he’d just focus on trying to working harder and trying to make himself better. There are players like Pogba, who have so much innate skill that you might forgive them being arseholes. It’s not a good look for a player to have a similar attitude (and actually boast about it), before he’s achieved those skill levels.

    Damn. . . . . I intended to write a note about how Id been too harsh and have ended up even harsher!
    (I promise I’ll try to watch him with fresh eyes, next time out!)

  95. Here’s a really interesting article about our high line defending:

    There are a couple of pictures half way through the article that actually gave me goosebumps. The symmetry and precision in the positioning of the Villa defenders is remarkable and a great example of the benefits you start to see when working with a coach as analytical and demanding as Emery.

  96. Plug, your point about Wan Bissaka’s yellow card is a great one. Is it against the rules to tackle dangerously, even if you cleanly win the ball first?
    The rules quote 3 potential levels of severity for a foul, and as far as I can see, there’s no mention of whether they get the ball first:
    Careless is when a player shows a lack of attention or consideration when making a challenge or acts without precaution. No disciplinary sanction is needed
    Reckless is when a player acts with disregard to the danger to, or consequences for, an opponent and must be cautioned
    Using excessive force is when a player exceeds the necessary use of force and endangers the safety of an opponent and must be sent off.
    Yesterday, the referee who penalised Wan Bissaka seems to have got it right. Coote bottled it twice yesterday. The only question should have been whether either tackle should have been a yellow or red. To my mind, both should have been yellows. Coote didn’t even see either tackle as a foul, which is bizarre.

  97. JG, I think it was you who commented on Frem’s transfer. . . . . . I just wanted to check that it was a permanent free transfer and not a loan?

  98. Robbo
    On tarowski any of 3
    First on diaby I thought that was var job to pick up on that type tackle really late /follow through nasty tackle
    2nd on moreno same late follow through leg breaking tackle
    3rd on Watkins after he was finally booked
    He went through back Watkins ref played advantage

  99. Yep, Tarkowski did get booked for his 2nd reckless tackle. Had he been booked for his first one then maybe the 2nd one doesn’t happen. Reckless is the wrong word, they were plain dangerous. If he’d been given a red card, the 2nd one definitely wouldn’t have happened. Fifty years ago when players kicked lumps out of each other, OK. Not today. Coote did sweet FA about Tarkowski like he did sweet FA against Brentford. In both instances players lost control as they attempted to protect their own. So we are currently facing some form of penalty for the Brentford fracas when in fact Brentford played Coote knowing his shortcomings. It’s completely wrong to punish any team due to incompetent refereeing.

  100. Judging by the lack of activity in the transfer window, not only from us but also from all the other EPL teams, it seems PSR is a close run thing for everyone. We know Forest and Everton have fallen foul on their 22/23 results whilst everyone else seems to have satisfied the regs but possibly only just.

    Unai has mentioned it and suggested he would consider a big sale in the summer if it freed up cash for several improvements elsewhere. Likewise Howe at the Wai Ayes. I’m sure they’re not the only ones.

    Looks like 18 year old right back Nedeljkovic will be coming for a small fee from Red Star Belgrade only to be loaned back to them for the remainder of the season. Explains why Kesler has returned from loan as cover for RB?

  101. We now await with interest the general release of our 22/23 accounts. Nothing to do with PSR as we’ve already cleared that hurdle apparently. I’m more interested in turnover. If memory serves me right it was approx £180 million in the previous released results. It will be interesting to see if it has increased and if so by how much. It will be the key to future team strengthening. Turnover in 23/24 will be a further improvement due to our European involvement this term.

  102. We could be sitting 4th after this weekend’s games and just 3 points above 5th place. But it’s tight at the top with all to play for. At the moment there is a handy gap to 6th but I do hope we keep running with the leading hounds.

  103. That was an excellent result for us at Sheff U. A penalty 6 minutes into stoppage time for the Blades gave them a point and far more important, took 2 points off the ‘Ammers in 6th place.

  104. Was a good result, Plug. I love looking up, and that’s what Emery and the players should be doing, but I’ll be looking over my shoulder on their behalf.

  105. Welcome to VP Kosta Nedeljković. In advance as there is a loan period back to Red Star Belgrade for the remainder of the season to be completed first.

    We’ll have to wait until next season before we get a look at him. Hopefully one for the future.

  106. Must say I’m a fan of this type of team building. Relatively inexpensive, they won’t all make it but if we can develop their skills and value it will be as important as growing revenue.

  107. Welcome to the new lad,
    Unless we get a replacement for donks I think it’s a strange one especially its not a mandatory loan to buy
    We have minimum 20 games to play yet,our sub bench hasn’t being full of late even with 2 Keepers
    Not trying to pick fault with unai

  108. Try going on Newsnow Aston Villa and look up “Villa News”. Their headlines are pure scum – never mind what they actually write. They are worse than Uni / Harry Johnstone.

  109. This should be of interest to every Villa supporter. We are still awaiting AVFC to publish its 2022/23 results but it appears that Deloitte have managed to get their hands on them as well as every other team. According to them, Villa are ranked 21st in the rich list based on revenue of just over 250 million Euros. That’s impressive considering there was no European football available.

    See for yourself:

  110. Injuries
    Even with mid season break we are still u der pressure
    Duran out for next 3 games,digne hopi g to start group training next week probably after Newcastle match,torres was back then out again no clear timeline available but looks like missing tomorrow at best case,ramsay no clear news ,with donks gone how many Keepers on bench
    Martinez Cash konsa lenget moreno kamara Luis mcginn diaby Bailey and watkins
    Olsen,kessler Carlos zanilo Tim
    Pretty light

  111. Plug
    It’s impressive, but to see Leeds their shows purslow didn’t do as well as he should have
    Spurs new stadium shows we need more bums on seats what ever way HECK can manage it

  112. So…haven’t been to Newsnow in ages, doesn’t sound like I’m missing anything.

    Transfers: I’m completely tired of the Duran talk. Looking ahead with the new RB is good. Morgan Rogers or Jon Rowe? Dunno…seeing opinion lean toward Rowe, but have to confess I’ve not seen much of him.

    Duran pt2: I’m sure he wants more minutes. I’m sure that if Emery thought he deserved them he’d get them. Physically, looks like he has all the attributes. But emotionally, has to get a grip on himself. And I think he’s probably also still either refusing to conform to the tactical aspects, or just hasn’t been able to yet. Only 20, seems like he still has things to learn, and probably was able to skate a bit just on raw physical talent.

    So, would love to see him knuckle down and let Emery work his magic. But we’ll see. At any rate, he’s not leaving unless we sign a replacement.

  113. It’s a schoolgirl error by Carla Ward in selecting a player for a cup game that has already played in previous rounds for another club. This is not the level of professionalism expected at Aston Villa.

  114. Logged in, saw “Klopp leaving” and thought for a minute he’d just up and quit middle of the season. Not that it isn’t news, but announcing he would be leaving ended up being a bit less juicy.

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