The weekend was good for Villa: They took care of their own business, and City did, too, the two results pushing Villa’s cushion to sixth back up to 11 points. Not insignificant at this stage of the season. And then of course it’s Ajax on Thursday to recommence our European campaign after a much-needed break. So first off, let’s stop and take that in: Villa are fourth in the League, and playing Ajax in the elimination rounds of the Conference League. Sounds a bit like the sort of scenario we’ve been dreaming of returning to for god knows how many years.

First, the league. Others have gone through and done the maths (thank you), which is very useful for gauging expectations. Still some variables in play (four places or five for Champions League, etc). But in the end, Villa have a very good shot at finishing no lower than fifth. The fact that a very uneven United are the ones chasing, well, lovely to seem them looking up at us, and there’s a touch of optimism to be had from their disjointed performances. Are they still in it? Most certainly. Have they shown they can maintain the kind of form necessary to blow by us? Not yet. In essence, Villa just need to hold serve.

Will it be easy at this pressure-packed end of the season? No. We saw that Saturday. Will it be nervy? Oh yes. Do Spurs have what it takes to overtake us? Yes, again. And that’s what will be driving Villa much more than United.

Digne’s late winner against the flow was just the sort of goal that lends belief, though, and there was Diaby providing the service. The idea that they’ll find a way, just like when the Forest match also looked and felt like dropped points incoming. Of course people will say those are teams we should be beating, and sure, if you want to finish high, you have to win those games. Those are the points your competitors will generally be picking up.

Naturally, it’s the players who have the final say, the product on the pitch. Their strength of mind, belief, and desire. But Emery’s given them the platform. Time and again as we’ve sat sweating, Villa have patiently played to his instructions and found a late goal. And while the high line will always carry a risk, it’s how you maintain possession high up the pitch. Villa now play smart. Don’t force it, don’t turn it over in the middle of the pitch with everyone sucked up. Play it back, move it round. It’s what the best clubs do.

And like the best clubs, Villa are now making adjustments based on the opposition. Given Luton’s relentless pressing, Villa worked it forward much more quickly first half. We quite often saw the ball to Lenglet, then Moreno, who was quickly passing down the left to Ollie, who was hanging over there waiting for it. Low risk versus working it through middle of the pitch, bypass the press without a lot of tight passing, launch moves quickly. We got the cushion we needed and deserved. And as Ollie noted, Villa need to be better at 2-0 or even 3-0.

Me, I think some of that relaxation is down to mental fatigue. You’ve played them off the park, gotten your goals, and you’re thinking about saving yourself, thinking why shouldn’t that dominance continue. This weekend, they knew there’s a big game Thursday, after all, then another Sunday against Spurs. Both of those could go a long way to determining the season’s and ECL’s outcomes.

But however it happened, quality came on off the bench, and the points were secured by staying within the system.

Ajax? Not much to say, really. It’s not make or break in the first leg, you just want to come away with at least a draw.

These extra matches, plus a league run-in that isn’t easy, and we can all see why it’s a big deal that Villa have managed to get maximum points against Sheffield, Fulham, Forest, and Luton. They simply wouldn’t have gotten all 12 on offer in the past. Without them, we really wouldn’t still be in the hunt.

At the moment, I’d probably prefer not having a game Thursday before Spurs. But, that’s what we’ve wanted, the players, too. Emery can’t rotate too much, and I’ve no idea how much threat Ajax actually pose, but they’re in the round of 16, and clubs I’ve never heard of have pushed us hard in the group stages.

Anyway, basically everything’s important from here on out and for all the right reasons. We’re just about where we want to be, and it’s almost miraculous. Here’s to belief and finding that little bit extra a few more times.

Over to you.

Comments 286

  1. It’s a huge week for AVFC. Ajax followed by Spurs. It promises so much……how much will it deliver? We all want 2 wins of course. In the bigger scheme of things a draw in Amsterdam keeps us in the Conference tie. A draw against Spurs keeps them the same distance between us. Not the worst results. A loss to Spurs will be very gut wrenching and bring back memories of a certain home game against Ipswich that prompted Ron’s now famous words about betting against us. If we can win one, let it be Spurs. That doesn’t mean ignore Ajax, we want their scalp. Whatever Unai decides for the next 2 games has my full approval.

  2. So Villa have published their 2022/23 accounts and as well documented on this blog previously they are not good. A loss over the year of £119.6 million. Turnover up from £178.6 million to £217.7 million. But total salary bill of all employees comes to £194.2 million, that’s 89% of turnover. As previously mentioned according to UEFA’s website, our playing staff salaries came to 70% of turnover which is the maximum permitted by UEFA for next season’s European teams. We expect the EPL to follow suit as some 40% of EPL clubs now play in Europe. So the PSR regs appear to be about to change.
    Turnover in the current year should be well up on the £217.7 million of 22/23 with European games, additional TV money and increased gate receipts. Hopefully the salary pile will reduce once the one off payments to Slippy G and his entourage fall off the books not to mention the hiring costs of Unai and his team from Spain.
    We will know in the summer window how these figures impact the club. Watch this space.

  3. Plug,

    Saw a bit of meltdown over the numbers…NSWE have said nothing to worry about, all within the plan. And I trust those two with numbers and regulations.

    However. No idea what it means for the summer and strengthening the squad.

  4. I was just taking a look at the player statistics and in particular, players under or over-performance against their XG scores. A player may score lots of goals, but only because their teammates provide them with lots of great chances, and conversely, some players manage to convert more difficult chances than others. It wasn’t a huge surprise top see the two worst performing players this season have been Nunez and Jackson, both who struggled, particularly in the first half of the season. The third worst player at converting their opportunities, also came as little surprise to me, and that was Haaland. His unbelievably atrocious miss at the weekend will only have made things worse.
    Incidentally, The player who has turned most half chances into goals is Son (yes, he’ll need watching at the weekend and Martinez will have to be in tip top form), second Jared Bowen, and third, our very own Leon Bailey. This time last year he cut a dejected figure and was clearly very self critical. It’s all the better when you see an honest player like him, delivering on the latent talent that he always had, but just wasn’t able to unleash.

  5. Confidence is interesting, r0bb0.

    Binged a four-part look at Messi and Argentina in the WC. Was telling to hear them talk about confidence, belief, how conceding made them feel, how they were interpreting Messi’s reactions on the pitch, goals not going in.

    Game against Netherlands, being two up: “The game was over, we’d dominated the match.” Didn’t quite turn out to be over, but clearly that thinking creeps into all sides.

  6. R0bb0,

    Yeah, turn around in Bailey is magical. He’s a brilliant player. I also love his interviews. A real humble and nice man. Compare that to tossers like Anthony.

    I was surprised at how skinny Tim is. He definitely needs to hit the gym this summer and bulk up. Good to see the U21’s winning.

    It will be interesting to see what team Unai picks vs Ajax. Good to see Carlos sprinting again. I wonder how Mings and Buendia are doing. It’s like having 2 new signings for next season. Hopefully we don’t have to sell Ramsey

  7. You have to love Unai. When asked if he intended to pick a strong team against Ajax, he replied:

    “I want to separate each competition. We are improving and we are taking experiences and important matches during the week before the groups and now we are going to start playing again.”

    “We have very important matches in the Premier League on Sunday and West Ham next Sunday. If we want to reach our level or increase our level, playing important games is very important to play matches that we are going to play in this week and in the next week.”

    In other words, he completely swerved the question. All the attributes of a politician.

  8. I see Olbyun defender Kipre managed to turn a goal bound shot off the line with his hand last night and get away with it. Wasn’t that long ago Rodriguez caught a cross, threw it towards the Villa goal then dived to sweep it into the net with his arm and he got away with that too. The yam yams have got it down to a fine art form.

  9. Nearly match time,massive 11 days coming up,will test our squad to limit,hopefully emery is correct about ramsay then we would have best squad possible at this stage with Carlos and Duran back training
    On money side of it we spent over 20m in January so would think our owners management side have it all under control, remember Big Ron selling Platt and few others completely revamping side to great success so I trust emery to be able to work the same especially with monchi here too

  10. Team news. Strong line up.

    Villa XI: Martinez, Konsa, Lenglet, Pau, Digne, Iroegbunam, Luiz, Diaby, Rogers, Tielemans, Watkins.

    Subs: Olsen, Gauci, Cash, Carlos, McGinn, Moreno, Zaniolo, Bailey, Kesler-Hayden, Kellyman.

  11. An uncomfortable first 40 minutes.
    They’re crowding us out in midfield and we don’t seem to have an answer to it so far

  12. Take that result,Tim Rogers got decent run out ,konsa red card disappointing but with Carlos back it will be OK
    Ref made Michael Oliver look good
    Roll on spurs

  13. I guess a draw is a result for us. We never really provided any attacking intent for much of the game, happy to sit and conserve energy. They were defo thinking of Spurs on Sunday. I’ll take the clean sheet, that’s welcome.

  14. Albanian refs eh? They wave cards around like it’s a poker game. Not a dirty game at all but he lost all control.

    Thought Tim and Rogers were average. Both seemed to lack the control necessary at this level.

  15. Ajax hunted in packs of three when out of possession. The effort eventually caught up with them. As for us, I think maybe the number of changes caused some disruption. My biggest concern was Pau departing again at HT.

  16. Emery is brilliant
    Torres was just to play 1 half
    When asked about ref he said players coaches all make mistakes wouldn’t comment on officials
    Spurs seemed to be on his mind plus players

  17. Owen Hargreaves said take into consideration emery gave Tim and Rogers their debuts plus a half for torres it was a masterclass from emery
    Have to agree

  18. An interesting game in the abstract, a frustrating watch in the moment.

    Was a bit surprised Ajax aren’t a better footballing team. Quick, organized, strong, but otherwise underwhelming.

    Villa seemed disjointed, which probably isn’t surprising given SJM was held back and Tim and Rogers got starts. Saw a lot more gesturing, misunderstandings than I have before. Ajax had something to do with that, of course, but was a bit odd.

    There was some dwelling, which didn’t help, and an overall lack of sharpness. Spurs was probably on more minds than just Emery’s.

  19. But, as also said, job done, advantage Villa. I think that was probably the best they have to offer. I’d expect Villa to be better and quicker at home, and they’ll have this to learn from.

  20. Wasn’t exactly a classic was it, but relieved to get through without conceding.
    The referee struggled a bit and that must make it tricky for the players.
    Ajax had a strategy of choosing their areas of the pitch in which tonpress, and going in hard. With our overall quality on the pitch down a little on our usual, we struggled to cope with it and unsurprisingly tried a few more of the long through balls in the second half, but they weren’t accurate enough so did t really create any chances.
    It’ll be I terracing to see how both teams approach the return leg at Villa Park.

  21. I thought this quote from Emery at the end of the game was interesting:
    “We were planning to play 90 minutes today – and keep in our mind the next 90 minutes. The players were a little doubtful at half-time and I told them it’s always difficult to play in Europe. And taking a good result here is better than worse.”
    It shows that he was trying to manage our run of fixtures (although was he talking about the next 90 minutes against Spurs or Ajax?), but what interested me was the insight into what happens in the dressing room. It seems it’s not a case of him coming into the dressing room and laying out just what everyone has to do, but the players get their say too and he then puts across his thinking. He’s clearly earned their respect and they’ll try to go with his plan but you also imagine that it’s the instinct of every player to want to go out and win. . . . .and that’s good to hear too.

  22. I’m sure the Ajax game has already been parked up by the team and the focus of attention is firmly on the six pointer this coming Sunday. The anticipation is immense. But it does have to be approached like any other game. Destiny calling.

  23. I’ve only just read your intro piece JC and it’s a good one. What you said there still holds. We should have been happy with Thursday’s draw (and let’s be honest, most of us will have been). Emery did manage the squad to a degree and as Plug said, all eyes will now be firmly on Sunday. . . . both teams know just how important that game is. . . And both would probably be happy with a draw again?

  24. R0bb0 – I think we need to win. It’s at home. Pau is back. Ramsey is the only big loss, but I think Diaby is ready. Diaby, Watkins and Bailey……wow

  25. Manure have everything going for them. TWO penalties in one half. Favourite Manure ref Tubs Hooper couldn’t point to the spot fast enough. Ignores Manure fouls on the edge of their own box. Thug Tarkowski couldn’t resist leaving his foot in. Old habits die hard. Garnacho leaves his foot there ahead of any tackle if he’s in the opponents box and then goes down like a flying salmon that’s been shot with an AK-47 at two paces. The Manure ra-ra-ra machine call it clever play. Some might say it’s plain cheating.

  26. Plug, I didn’t see the game, but imagined Garnacho dangling his leg to make contact. In fairness he’s far from being the only player that does this although I’m struggling;ing to think of a Villa player who is able;e too attract fouls at the moment. . . . . .we’re certainly lacking anyone of Saka or Garnacho or Rashford or Grealish’s skills in that area just now.
    You imagine that such ‘clever play’ is discussed and maybe even encouraged in some clubs but you somehow can’t imagine Emery approving or condoning such things

  27. I’d not seen this before but thought I’d share it having read somewhere that this week’s games tipped the scale away from the Premier league achieving the 5th Champion’s league spot
    It seems that it’s the average coefficients of the competing clubs that matters although I’m not sure if it’s just in this year, or the average of 5 years. . . . . anyone know for sure?
    Anyway, it seems that we’ve added 14 points to this year’s tally so far, but Brighton being on the verge of going out isn’t going to help our cause.
    Not wanting to make tomorrow seem even more important, but it does seem that the 5th place is still in the balance

  28. r0bBO, that’s the best table yet that I’ve seen explaining the coefficients of each association country for the extra 2 ECL places next term. It highlights the lamentable efforts of Manure and the Wai Ayes who only managed 1 win each. Had they both won 3 games each and still gone out we’d be in 2nd place already. It’s now a case of making up points on Germany. There is still an incentive for Brighton to win their return leg even though their cause is hopeless as it would put 2 points to the England total overall.

  29. Following on from my earlier comment about diving, I’m just watching the Arsenal Brentford game and boy oh boy. . . . the Arsenal players really are horrible cheats!
    One dive after another . . .punching the grou d to show they’re in such
    pain when the replay shows they weren’t even touched. Non stop removing starting with the referee. . . Really unpleasant to watch, and such a shame, from an other wise very talented team.

  30. Nerves jangling how must players be
    Just after watching England deservedly beat Ireland in rugby,Ireland just can’t turn up in big games
    Seen tickets for sale for Bournemouth game, good week this then maybe I will get a trip to the sacred ground at long last

  31. Martinez Cash konsa lenget torres digne mcginn Luis tielmens Watkins Bailey
    Good as can be expected Duran back on bench no ramsay ,hopefully he will be fit for ajax tho

  32. 2 records they I would happily see broke,spurs have scored in last 38 matches and something similar for our home record
    Nil all will do no injuries either missing kamara and ramsay today

  33. Watkins also looking just slightly jaded. . . makes it tricky if both of our key goalscorers are lacking a but of sharpness.
    Wo der if those two early crunching tackles on Watkins have affected him

  34. Intrigued to see Lenglet starting ahead of Carlos. Has Lenglet gone up in the pecking order or is Carlos being given time to recover from injury?

  35. VillaMD. . .. I’m pretty much with you on Bailey, (or maybe move him wider?)
    I’m afraid I’m just not convinced with Duran at all and even if I was, coming into this game after so long out, would be a big big ask for him.

  36. I typed that it shouldn’t be a ref in the immediate passion after it happened. Having cooled down a little and seen it again I am still convinced it really shouldn’t have been.
    You’ll see many tackles very similar to that every weekend that do not receive a red

  37. I remember when Diaby first came in, it seemed that he and Ollie were developing a really good understanding.
    They’re not showing thst today . . . . We need them to refind it

  38. We’ve previously responded well to losing games. . . .particularly ones we’ve lost badly.
    Let’s hope for a similar response against Ajax

  39. Agreed R0bb0. We were unlucky with a few chances. Didn’t have any luck. Three games suspension for SJM is a disaster. I thought Zaniolo looked decent but co-commentator hammered him for not making a run for Diaby cut back

    Disaster weekend except for Joshua punch

  40. 5th and cup in Europe would be great. I read it’s based on this season for extra Champions League. Need Italians and Germans to lose

  41. Well, that was certainly a kick in the nuts.

    Thought Villa looked leggy, seemed like the fouls affected Ollie. But decent enough just keeping the game in front of them first half.

    Second? What can you say. Hard to argue with the first goal, great cross. Shame about the second. As usual, that’s where things turn. And then McGinn…Just a rough day.

    Here’s to Chelsea winning that game in hand.

  42. Emery has his work cut out this week lifting morale trying to figure out teams for ajax and hammers
    Think Carlos if fit has to come in we are better side with him,his strength is a big help likewise ramsay
    Few players will be disappointed but look at city today debruyne coming off with a strop
    10 games to go and we are in a great position, maybe diaby Duran zanilo can come good

  43. It’s sods law. What could go wrong did go wrong. Got thoroughly soaked and disheartened. Don’t believe for one minute that Spurs thought they would get that result today. We just never showed up.

  44. For me, the game turned when Konsa ran into a cluster of Spurs players when he should have been far more decisive in getting rid if there is nothing simple available. It cost us the 2nd goal and I’m convinced it wound SJM up into a heavy tackle. It was never a red and Udogie leapt to his feet before remembering he had to act dead whilst his team mates pursued the situation to ensure a red card. Johnson pushed a Villa player far more forcibly than Kamara did at Brentford when he picked up his red card. Kavanagh fell for the act hook line and sinker. He’s a plank. The 2 early crunchies on Ollie were ignored.

  45. I have my ticket for the Ajax game on Thursday. We will need to show some attacking intent and physical effort if we want to reach the quarters.

  46. Just seen goals plus red card
    Most of the goals we concede could should being stopped really missing a mings type player no leaders
    Red card can see both sides but another way of looking is we have got no joy from any officials all season,the last 10 games we are owed big time
    But still it’s being a great season and it’s not done yet

  47. The morning after. Still hurting. It’s hard to take getting stuffed by a Laandaan outfit.

    Did Unai get his set up wrong as some fans/media are suggesting? Five at the back? I’ll leave that discussion to the knowledgeable ones. What I can say is the performance was awful. If Unai did get it wrong, he’ll get no criticism from me, he’s been exceptional all season and why we are 4th in the table.

    No doubt there will be an inquest at BMH today. We can’t dwell too much on it, Ajax are next up and it’s a knockout game. All or nothing as they say.

  48. Team for ajax
    Cash konsa Carlos digne
    Mcginn Tim Luis
    Diaby Watkins ramsay
    For hammers
    Konsa Carlos torres moreno
    Luis tielmens Tim ramsay
    Watkins Bailey
    Hopefully ramsay is fit,need Carlos strength at back

  49. Plug
    Team worked in first half,it’s this first 15 after halftime is doing harm
    Just a bad day all round compounded by mcginn red mist,not like him in all fairness
    Hopefully emery has it figured out,spurs will drop points,kinda expected to lose either mcginn or Luis to a 2 match suspension so just have to make sure Luis doesn’t get 10 booking s before game 33

  50. Well. . . .I’ve fallen out with a Spurs supporting mate over the sending off. At the time, I was shocked when the referee took out his red card. The thought of it being a red card offence genuinely hadn’t even occurred to me. I tried saying to my mate that I can see how a referee can read it as being a red card but in the vast majority of cases it would be given as a yellow or just treated as a foul and we’d have moved on.
    He went on saying things like McGinn is just a thug, a coward, and any player who deliberately and aggressively tackles a player should be sent off. I told him you will probably see a deliberate and (arguably) aggressive tackle in every single 45 minutes of Premier league football and 99 times out of a hundred they won’t receive a red card. He disagreed of course, so when they happened in the very next game (Liverpool v City) I childishly pointed them out.

    Yes, JG, there are 2 sides to it, but some of the Spurs chat is laughably ridiculous. If Udogie hadn’t been trying for an Oscar later that evening, and if it hadn’t happened next to the touchline where the ref was confronted by the baying bench of Spurs players and managers then I’m convinced a red wouldn’t have been given.

    Anyway, the red card was given, as the referee decided that the tackle was made “with excessive force endangering the safety of an opponent” and as the subjective, ‘excessive force’ interpretation is down to the referee, it was right that VAR didn’t reverse it.

    By that same interpretation, the tackles on Watkins should also have received reds, as surely should the studs to the middle of the chest by Doku in the Liverpool game (which inexplicably, wasn’t even considered to be a foul!)

    We just have to accept that many of the rules are subjective, and referees can choose how to interpret them. If they interpreted all rules literally, every time, then we’d never complete a game of football, as one of the rules is that a player should be sent off for:”Offensive Language/Behavior – Verbal or physical abuse directed at referees/other players/officials.”

  51. JG and Plug, like then sending off, there’s lots of discussion and varying views on how well/badly we played and whether our formation and approach were right or wrong.

    In the first half, Spurs went for longer without a shot on goal than in any other game this season, so if the objective was to stop them scoring then the formation worked and the players executed their tasks well.
    We had created more openings, had more shots, had a greater XG and probably should have been ahead by half time. Odds are, we’d have then gone on to win the game.

    I was proud of how we responded to going down to 10 as we still created chances, and I was forgetting that we had 10 men. . . . .and then the further goals. Even by the end of the game, the two team’s XG scores were not that different. They scored their chances and we didn’t. As I said at the time, both Bailey and Watkins seemed to be slightly down on their recent performances, and to my mind ‘that’s’ why we ended up losing the game.
    Oh. . .and yes, every player goes through good and bad spells, and sadly, both of them had an off day yesterday.

  52. RobbO, over the years I’ve found it’s not possible to have a meaningful discussion with a cockney. We are based north of Watford mate, out in the sticks, short of intelligence, would be starving if it wasn’t for them earning all of the UK’s riches. You can always tell a cockney because you can’t tell a cockney anything, they already know everything.

  53. No ramsay for ajax
    I unai I trust,probably his worst week I a year but hopefully he and team bounce back ,March has been a horrible month for results for years

  54. I will be in attendance at VP again this evening. There’s no room for a mediocre display. I trust Unai will have them set up to bring home the bacon. Looking forward to a full house and the place rocking under lights.

  55. Worrying times when Ollie goes off injured. If we’re without Mings, Buendia, Kamara, Ramsey, McGinn and Ollie you have to ask Bow on earth Unai is supposed to keep delivering the results. They talk about the spine of the team but that’s more than half the body.

  56. Watching Rogers chance ,if he had buried chance v Sheffield utd likewise zanilo had few chances in his first few games mind have been so different confidence wise

  57. I hate myself for it, but just this once I’ll half forgive Duran his histrionics becusse of the red card it cost them. . . . .was there any chance he could have reached the ball before the keeper if he’d carried on running?

  58. JG. . . .yeah I know I have it in for Duran but it’s not because I think he’s a bad player. . . I honestly haven’t seen enough to judge, but I really don’t like the play acting and whingeing and strutting. I just want him to play football to his best ability and maybe we’ll see he’s a really good player.

  59. Even more pleased to see that. . . We may be needing Diaby at his very best if we’re to get what we deserve out of this season

  60. Superb response. Unreal how much it mirrored Spurs.

    Like everyone, really pleased for Diaby and Duran, really liked Bailey’s finish. Very interesting how much more easily we played through them and between their lines, they definitely came away with the right lessons from last week.

    Fingers crossed on Ollie.

  61. Baileys interview
    I asked ollie to stay on to halftime then I seen the cut ,so hopefully it’s few stitches some glue get him patched up for hammers
    Mcginn interview the lads have to go home and rest ,I don’t
    Got to love him

  62. I know I’m Duran’s biggest detractor on here, but it’s because he frustrates the hell out of me.
    I ‘suspect’ Emery has to deal with some similar frustrations. Last night he said that of course he believes in him, and then: “Tactically, it is very important to be disciplined. Today was very good practice for him to get confidence, experience, scoring goals and playing as well collectively with him, getting our tactical idea.”
    There are a couple of hints towards that in Emery’s comment. . . “discipline”, “collectively”, “getting our tactical idea”. It’s a team game, and if he fully takes that on board, then we might start to see more of him.

  63. Villa Park at its finest. Under the lights. Packed to the rafters. Baying for blood. Ajax stood no chance. Heavy police presence there last night but the away support were happy just to sing all night.

  64. Ollie soared like an eagle for the opener. Great corner ball in. We were always in control but were reminded at the end of the first half how tenuous the lead was when Cash cleared off the line. A second goal was needed and Bailey delivered.

  65. Have to share RObb0’s comments on Duran. He’s a massive unit and when he came on he didn’t do much running. His movement is not like Ollie’s. Nor is his strike stats as he made a dog’s breakfast out of some good chances. Then his missile went in off the underside of the bar and from that point on he chased everything. This does my head in, why doesn’t he chase everything from the moment he came on? In defence it has to be said that he had his shirt shredded by the Ajax defenders and the Israeli ref didn’t even award a foul. Same ref then insisted he change his shirt and antagonised the crowd even more when sending him off the pitch to do it rather than just getting it over his head.

  66. Also pleased to see Diaby get a goal. It will do him nothing but good. The game did become easier once the ref had red carded one of their players midway through the 2nd half. And VP lapped it up.

  67. Yep James, it’s LOSC Lille next with the first leg at VP. They are the bookies 2nd favourite to win the competition after Villa.

  68. Plug, I envy you last night’s experience. . . . I do miss being able to get to games like that . . .the ones that stick in the memory. Let’s just hope it’s one of many to come!

  69. Well. . . . I suppose if we have to beat the bookies’ second best team in the competition it might as well be in the quarter finals eh?

  70. R0bb0 and Plug,

    I’m the opposite on Jhon Duran. He turned 20 on December 13. Signed for Chicago Fire as a teenager, then to Villa for £16m and Villa management make a statement that they were watching him for years. If I was Duran – that would go to my head.
    He has also had injuries. Needs to settle back gradually. I don’t mind him going 100% throttle. I think he’s Benteke class. Would not take £50m for him.
    For now I’m fine with his 80% effort. Maybe I’ll also get pissed off down the road

  71. Meant – don’t mind Duran not giving 100%.

    That’s a sad statement, but it’s because how highly I rate him

    I think he can be our best ever striker if we can keep him happy

  72. Never heard the TV commentators so downbeat when covering a match. They were totally gutted. Oh dude, this beer tastes good.

  73. Match days come round fast these days. Last week we had a big disadvantage against Spurs with our game 3 days earlier. The ‘Aammers don’t have that advantage this week although they do have a full squad to select from whereas we have injuries and a suspension to cope with. Today is an opportunity, can we take it?

  74. Nerves are kicking in
    We have come up short in a few of these matches this season or it just seems that way
    A good start from both halves is needed
    Main team guess work is ramsay fit ,and if not who plays,hope diaby keeps his place but emery definitely knows best
    Come on the villa

  75. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that Spurs’ loss will help the resolve/legs, along with the upcoming break.

    An interesting lineup, to be sure.

  76. Not the line up I think any of us expected and its impossible to judge how today will go. Notwithstanding any reservations I might have, I’d just love a Duran/Ollie partnership to work. I imagine that Emery was also thinking that a bit more height in set pieces (at both ends) would be useful today but that’s quite a challenge to set a young footballer against some seasoned, Moyes trained, pros.

  77. I made the mistake of taking a look on the other blog and all I can say is that it’s a good job they’re at home in front of their keyboards rather than at the game booing the players on the pitch!

    Today was always going to be difficult, having lost Kamara, Ramsey and McGinn. Before the game, I didn’t envy Emery the task of trying to create a similar quality of play, but missing half the tools in his toolbox.

  78. Think emery has got it all ro do at halftime
    Lenget has been awful in possession, moreno not his best,Rogers not quite up to speed and then Duran and watkins,Watkins is looking for space Duran is occupying
    Interesting half time,west ham are beatable

  79. Shame we conceded, but I guess the game is about what you’d expect. We’ve played through them nicely at times, others we’ve been sloppy.

    Lots of bodies to work through again.

  80. They are beatable, JG, and I’d like to think there’s at least goal in there between Watkins, Duran, Bailey and Rogers.

    Just need to be a bit more incisive on our breaks. We do miss McGinn’s holding.

  81. I can’t see the game, so am just going on text updates. Have we been trying long balls to Duran and Watkins, or if not, how are the two playing together?

  82. JC, McGinn is a huge miss isn’t he, particularly with Kamara already out, I’m finding it hard to picture how we manage that defensive/controlling, midfield battle.

  83. Robbo
    We are not creating much for either Duran or Watkins and there at the end of half Bailey should tried to pick out Duran but didn’t even look at him,Duran getting frustrated

  84. No issue with playing Duran and Watkins together. Watkins is giving Duran space in the middle and sort of going a bit wide. Duran shown a bit of strength now and then but to no avail. We have been crap getting the ball to the two forwards so can’t fairly judge the front pairing.

  85. It’s not easy critising emery or team especially after this season and then amount of injuries and matches played but defensive setpieces are shocking

  86. JG. . . You’re right about the doom and gloom merchants. I’m just so glad that Villa chose the Enery who’s taken us to a European quarter final and 4th with 10 games to go rather than the clueless one they’re watching.

  87. Cash my mom,subs all improved side zanilo was a lucky boy throwing ball away but did enough to start v wolves,felt for Duran being better on 2nd half when we attacked for most of it

  88. So glad we have the good Emery rather than the rubbish one they follow on the other blog.
    Must admit though, I was extra nervous today, bearing in mind the changes we’ve had to make and I really didn’t envy Emery trying to find a way through.
    His first half gamble with Duran and Watkins didn’t come off, but credit to him for making wholesale changes that worked, despite our thin squad.
    I was a huge fan of Dean Smith and am still grateful for what he dud for us, but neither he, nor any of our other recent managers were as decisive in their substitutions as Emery was today.

  89. Think they outbustled us today but a good point considering that our form is still stuttering due to missing half a first choice team. Wish emery would stop playing Konsa as a quasi right back – he is wasted there and is probably why he cocked up for their goal. I’m a Lenglet fanboy but Konsa is a better right side CH. Cash is a better RB than Konsa ergo we were more assured when those two were in place. PS, I rate Carlos as our 5th rate CH behind Lenglet.

    Glad Rogers got more minutes. Think he is coming along nicely even though he isn’t prem league sharp – YET. I’m sure we aren’t keeping Zaniolo but Rogers is definately no worse with a much better temperement and none of the issues.
    Wish we could see Diaby on the left wing away from under Bailey’s toes. Wish we could swap both Bailey and Diaby for Bowen. Would spam bite?

    Happy with that point. Can’t pick a motm. Oh sod it, Cash for that block.

  90. I didn’t get to watch the game so I’m reliant on you guys for info. Seems Unai made changes at HT and retrieved a losing position. Guys, we’ve got to be happy with a point at the ‘Aammers. Also seems we’ve benefitted from VAR today. All I can say is……that makes a bloody change.

    There are still 9 games to play. It’s a quarter of a season and when said like that it appears a long time. Much longer than what 9 games sounds.

  91. Just watched the highlights of our game. I’ve felt for a while that if VAR can’t quickly see that an error has been clearly and obviously made by the infield referee then the goal should stand. . . . . but why couldn’t they immediately see the very clear and very obvious foul by Bowen on Konsa for that late West Ham goal claim?
    Konsa clearly told the referee that his short had been pulled and he should have asked the VAR officials to check that, but heck. . .they should have just seen it for themselves, its was so damn blatant.
    Their second goal claim clearly went in off an arm so that’s fair enough. As for the possible penalty for us, I have slightly mixed feelings and reckon it was probably fair to stick with the referees original decision. Bailey seems to (quite cleverly) aim the ball for the defenders outstretched arm and the defender would struggle to move away in time. As I’ve seen said even by West Ham fans, it ‘could’ have been given, but it’s one of those marginal calls where it’s probably best to stick with the original decision.

  92. Jdb656,

    Could be an important point. Rogers looks quality.

    Unfortunately have to agree with R0bb0 previous comments on Duran. He’s so lazy. WTF

  93. I’ve only seen the highlights so far, and didn’t see a lot of Duran in them. Clearly Emery has seen something in him, but did he show any of it on the pitch today?
    If not, maybe the set up just didn’t suit him

  94. VillaMD. .
    I really would love him to come good, but as you say, he’s just not going to succeed if he doesn’t fully apply himself

  95. Trawling through the Laandan media reports and they would have you believe Villa stole a point. Yet the stats don’t back that up. And what about our penalty claim. Their defender’s arm was in an unnatural position out there when striking the ball. Oh I’m so stupid, the media would never mention that. They are obviously gutted our point gained was 1 more than Spurs got yesterday.

  96. So, we’re edging closer. If the 5th spot is England’s then 3 more wins and a draw should see us in the Champion’s league. . . If we need 4th then 5 wins out of our last 9 games will do it

  97. Robbo
    Weren’t many highlights from 1st half,harsh on Duran I think,if the penalty had been given and we scored it would have been a total different game,there goal came from a free near our corner flag and between konsa and lenget we gave to hammers and only got it back to centre
    On konsa he frustrates the he’ll out of me,he has it all apart from confidence, he doesn’t bully opposition strikers or when he is up for our corners never looks like he can score he had decent chance today and took to long to shoot

  98. Another problem on the horizon is Luis, can he go next 3 with only 1 booking will be a 2 match ban otherwise ,today’s was stupid,only grace is mcginn will be back hopefully fully refreshed with ready for final 7 league games

  99. JG, yes Konsa did take a bit too long with that chance . . . Contrast it with Zaniolas instant shot without even breaking stride.
    It’s going to be hard for Luiz not to get a ban. . . You can just see us getting McGinn back and losing Luiz

  100. So tielmens is new fall guy,according to some
    He is no mcginn no doubt but I thought he put in a hardworking shift including the pass to diaby for equaliser

  101. And with one kick of the ball, Zaniolo is back in favour.
    One block of a ball and Cash is no longer the liability that some were painting him as.
    It was interesting to see Zaniolo’s ‘shusshing’ goal celebration to the Villa fans, which goes to remind us that players are only human, and are aware of what is said about them.
    It’s been said before that Bailey is the prime example of a talented player who needed time, patience and finally confidence, to show his true potential. Other players will be just the same, but for whatever reason, some fans can’t help channeling their inner Frem and fail to see any good in a player, or any chance of them turning round their fortunes.
    I’ll admit that I have wondered just how good Zaniolo ‘might be’ but after yesterday, many pundits are saying he has a bright future. I hope they’re right, but I fear it may not be with us.

  102. Notts forest could know today about charges,hopefully it will be at least 6 points give luton greater reason in next match and then spurs have forest a week later
    Will take any small help at this stage

  103. Robbo
    Cash has been decent for a few weeks now,noticed he is starting to play to emery rules not his,tucking in as 3rd centre half when moreno/digne are attacking
    Noticed very little criticism of konsa yet first 2 spurs goals he was at fault and then yesterday he was facing cross from which Antonio scored,think he needs a rocket up the jackzy

  104. Ahh JG, I’ve seen that comment about Tielemans too. Apparently ‘someone’ has to be the scapegoat of the hour eh?
    Tielemans is a tricky one though. He undoubtedly has talent, as we saw with that match defining pass yesterday, but he’s no McGinn type workhorse (not many are) so, as ever, it’s up to Emery to work out how we harness his skills whilst not leaving the midfield exposed.

  105. JG, I think maybe we need to give Konsa time to fully recover and get back into his stride. We seem to have recognised that Ramsey would need a while to get back up to speed so perhaps we have to afford Konsa a similar luxury?

  106. Jg, yes Cash has been doing well lately. . . but I don’t think he ever did as badly as some armchair critics wanted to paint him.

  107. I agree with you regarding Cash and Zaniolo. I’ve always liked Cash and he has been good the last while. From what I see on TV, his attitude appears to be a good one. I would want Zaniolo to stay too. Durhan was excited to get a start. It’s a shame he didn’t score or be a bit more into the game, he would have lapped it up.
    Everyone are having their moments and are unable to catch up or put distance between themselves and others. Luton for example losing after a 3 goal lead and Spurs stinking up the joint with a possibility to move into 4th. Liverpool gassing it at MU.

  108. On Youri, I was getting frustrated with him until that pass.

    He’s seemed loose/lackadaisical with the ball of late, leaving passes short, etc., creating turnovers in dangerous spots. But he did run down and recover the ball after one of those.

    He’s been a bit up-and-down, does have those moments of pure quality. We heard from foxes fans he was a bit lazy, though I have seen him work hard.

    Thinking he benefits from a freer role, presence of McGinn, etc. And he might be feeling the wear of the season.

  109. Duran, absolute unit, but as I keep saying, still immature and doesn’t quite seem to buy in to the kind of work Ollie does as a given.

    If he stays, grows up a little, and accepts how hard he needs to work, he can be quite a player.

    If it were me given a start like that, I’d have run myself into the ground by halftime, not walking back and complaining.

  110. Oh, and Youri has been guilty of dwelling a bit, either getting caught or initiating a string of forced passes in bad spots. The dwelling also seems to be slowing things down a bit.

    We’ve seen better from him, so I don’t know. I’m sure it wasn’t necessarily easy yesterday with Rogers and Duran starting, the lack of understandings, etc.

  111. Back line, we simply need Tyrone back, or someone like him. Physical, has an edge, provides emotion, throws his body around, and gets to everything in the air.

    Konsa, Lenglet and Torres are all too much the same physically. Carlos is strong, but not tall. Konsa, Mings, Torres would be more formidable as a three.

    But there are several pairings in the league that are big and much more physical than any duo we can put out there.

  112. Penalty shout…was a funny one. I’d normally agree with “ball was too close for player to react”, but when you have your arm stuck straight out like that in the area, it’s a pen for me.

  113. Billy Smarts have found a new act. It’s called 5 different coaches in a season. It’s the only act in the world. And coming soon to small heath. Eustace, Rooney, Mowbray, Venus, Rowett. Who needs clowns?

  114. The media are reporting Beaky is the preferred option to replace ten Hag at the end of the season. Yes please, let’s hope this story has some legs.

  115. Yes JG, new sponsorship deals look like making a significant difference next year and will certainly go a long way to changing fan perceptions of Heck. It’s a shame one of his first interventions involved the logo, which inevitably stirs up much subjective emotion

  116. Yeah, great news on sponsorship.

    For anyone bored – 53 minutes – podcast is great.

    Hopefully none of our players get injured on international duty. I saw Cash came off for Poland, not sure how serious

  117. McNulty on the BBC website puts England’s loss against Brazil down to the missing Kane and Saka who everybody must realize are Laandaan’s gift to us all and without them we are nowt. He blames Watkins for missing his one chance. No mention that the defender got a toe on the ball first causing the misdirect.

    The real problem was the lack of chances created by the midfield so Kane would have been a passenger without the movement that Ollie showed. Konsa was sound when he came on and got an hour on the pitch. Gallagher and Chilwell were awful. So too was Maguire. It will be interesting to see what Beaky does next.

  118. Plug, you’re right that the poor service to Ollie must have been intensely frustrating for him. It’s not just Villa fans who are unhappy with Southgate though, there seems to be universal dissatisfaction.

    When you look at his track record, it seems fair to ask the question whether (in rugby parlance) we’re all playing the man rather than the ball. Based on his results he’s in the top 4 of all time England managers, which is no mean feat
    It’s reasonable for us to criticise Southgate for his contradictory and frequently hypocritical, public comments. It’s also reasonable to point out that our playing style, particularly when you consider the attacking talents at our disposal, is frequently turgid, but Southgate’s track record would suggest that we should give him more credit. . . . . . . . or does it?
    I saw a stat quoted about his performance against the better teams and it seemed hard to believe so I took a look, and as far as I could see, under his tenure we’ve played 25 games against teams ranked in the top 10 and of those, we’ve won. . . . . . 7. We may be currently ranked third in the world, but that probably flatters us due to our consistently good performances against lesser sides.
    I’ll admit, that the stat above was based on teams ‘currently’ ranked in the top 10 as I couldn’t see an easy way of checking the rankings at the time the games were played, but according to the other stat I saw, we’d actually only won 4 games out of 25 against top 10 ranked sides. . . . . either way, it’s pretty rank.

    It does tend to confirm what pretty much everyone is saying. Southgate has found a way to pick a squad, set us up, and coach the players, to do well against lesser sides, but when we come up against the better teams, we fail. Now it could be that fans are expecting too much from the quality of players that we have. Are his results against the better sides all we could hope for, bearing in mind the players we have?
    When you list the players at his disposal, you can’t help feeling that a different manager would find a way of using those talents to at least do better than win just 4 (or 7?) games out of 25 against top 10 ranked sides.
    It’s nice to feel we will win against lesser sides, because that hasn’t always been the case, but sadly, it’s not good enough is it?

  119. Those stats you’ve listed R0bBo are interesting. They seemingly confirm what I believe about Beaky, but of course that’s only my opinion, nothing more. To beat the better teams, you need to be tactically astute and this is where I think he comes up short. Given the offensive quality at his disposal, we have so often in the past set up too defensively and it’s cost us. I’ll refer to the Euro Final against Italy where we grabbed the lead. Mancini was looking well rattled in the dug out. But he worked out the situation and changed a few things at HT and got them back into the game. He tactically out manoeuvred Beaky. There are parallels with our own team Villa.

    Deano did great getting us promoted and better still keeping us there with an entirely rebuilt squad. Second season up and mid table was an improvement. Following season we slipped and I like many Villa fans thought he’d hit the glass ceiling. The squad was better that it was performing. Enter Gerrard who did much worse with the same squad plus some. The sum of the parts was producing less than it should.

    Under Unai I actually believe Villa are producing more than the sum of the parts. In other words, he’s taken them up to another level with just a few additions. He’s done it with tactical acumen which we often see as he changes the team and it’s set up on a “horses for courses” basis. It doesn’t always work, but we are 4th in the table and we have had more than a few great results against top 10 teams. Beaky can hold his beer.

  120. Here’s a comment from Southgate about Toney:
    “He’s a confident guy, he comes in on the back of a good run of form with his club. He’s going to be on the field on Tuesday, no question. That swagger, that self-belief is crucial. All of the top forward players have it. I think sometimes the quality of his football can be underestimated. His passing, his link play.

    “We’re still getting to know all of those strengths because until you work with a player more regularly you don’t know them inside out. You look at him being a big guy but he’s not just a target man. His quality in link play is very good as well. [His penalty record] is definitely a great asset to have. We’ve obviously got to work out the balance of the squad.”
    Southgate has already made his mind up hasn’t he.

  121. Plug, well there’s a perfect example of clickbait. It looks as if I should add ‘Football insider’ to ‘Villa News’ as a blocked site.
    Of course they leave it to the last line to say something which could be considered factual:“Villa are in trouble…they’ll find themselves facing a PSR breach if they continue to have financial results like that.”
    The key point being “. . . if they continue to have financial results like that”. . . . . .no shit Einstein.
    Duhh. . yes.. . . . if the £120m loss was repeated every year then we’d be in trouble, so guess what, that’s not in the business plan.

  122. It was a Tielemans masterclass last night. Wish he could produce that kind of display for Villa. As for Toney, he was the beneficiary of a midfield service that was more productive than the one Ollie received against Brazil. Even then, he only managed the spot kick but the media love in is in full swing.

    The difference between the 2 players was there for all to see though. Ollie’s brief cameo appearance led to England’s 2nd goal. He chased a ball that was going out, managed to keep it in under pressure from the defender and feed Maddison who played in Bellingham. You don’t get that level of effort from Toney and England would have lost had Ollie not replaced Toney. Beaky must be a plank if he listens to the Laandaan media.

    But we did get another solid performance from Konsa. He will be on the plane to Germany, his versatility can’t be lost even on Beaky.

  123. I agree with every word, Plug!

    Tielemans’ first goal was just so cleverly taken and none of the commentators seemed to mention the fact he made the pass for Lukaku for the 2nd and then busted a gut to run 60 yards to get on the end of the cross with a diving header. Fabulous performance!

    Before the Brazil game, Southgate had made a point of saying that England had to adapt, in Kane’s absence, to Ollie’s different style – yet in the game he was starved of passes almost throughout. At least you and I noticed his crucial contribution to the equaliser last night – even if no-one else did!

    Regarding your last point – well, sadly, Beaky IS a plank……

  124. Villa fans, players, coaching staff and owners all have eyes firmly fixed on Champions League next season. No denying it. The UEFA coefficient difference between England and Germany for the extra place is now down to 0.107 and with 3 German teams left in Europe compared to England’s 5 teams the chances of us overtaking them is excellent. Which in turn places eyes on Manure in 6th place who have contributed sweet FA to the coefficient numbers and don’t deserve to benefit from them.

    Assuming they win their game in hand, they’ll be 6 points behind us with 9 games to play albeit with a huge goal difference handicap. If ever there was a must win game this season, it’s Wolves on Sat. Hopefully Cash is our only casualty from this weeks international games. Unai needs to find a way of getting the 3 points because with Citeh away next Weds we’ll need them.

  125. Beaky is interesting. I get that he’s wanting to play tournament football, and it’s hard to argue with a pragmatic approach. But. He’s got far too much attacking talent to choose from and he’s obviously been squelching it.

    It’s like he learned half of the Emery way. Needs to follow Villa around and take more tactical notes, not just watch individual performances.

  126. Thank god its end of internationals for this season especially ireland
    Now 9 league games and hopefully 5 European nights to savour
    An injury to cash has blemished past week but it looks like ramsay is back training today ,which is great news
    Suspension mcginn still 2 to go after which he should be well rested for run in,Luis is a worry 2 more bookings would see him miss 2 as well
    Games I see it as a block of 6 and a block of 3 big ones,we can get 15/6 points from 1st block ,2nd block as long as we avoid any beatings we will be OK
    Forest point deduction means luton match with spurs followed by forest next week are far from easy for spurs which is good news for us
    My team for wolves
    Martinez konsa Carlos torres digne
    Ramsay Bailey Tim Luis
    Tielmens Watkins
    Still no news has Wilson signed his new contract but having mcginn here has to be an advantage

  127. The news on Gordon SID Cowan is so sad, moved into a nursing home,dementia is horrible my mothers has a form of it she is in a nursing home she is coming 80 Sid is only early 60s

  128. UTV tomorrow,

    On a personal note, I ‘m 53. Divorced. I started dating a beautiful South African lady -51. Im white and she’s black. We click and enjoy our time together. Skin color is irreverent. It’s just the love for the person.

    I bring it up because I see racism in the US in redneck states. I choose to live in MD so I can date a person I love

  129. Revving up for the game before heading off to VP. I’m expecting a tough game but it REALLY IS time we defeated the dog heads. Today would do just fine. Shackle Ait-Nouri and we’re on our way to doing it. COYVB.

  130. Super result
    Clean aheet
    Zanilo Duran both played very well,run out for Tim plus debut forkessler
    Luis no bookings, so if he gets booked v city would rest him verses Brentford mcginn will be back ,Luis looks a bit jaded
    Only blot ollie going off

  131. Den haig is a complete fraud,thank fcuk Brentford scored ,would have been a travesty if utd won
    Won’t be easy next week against Brentford either
    Every match is a cup final now

  132. Had to miss the last 25 minutes of the game, was checking my phone furiously.

    Glad they saw it out…agree with JG, Zaniolo was effective, very pleased with Diaby. And Youri had a good game as well. Might have a little something in Rogers: some nice runs, seems to have good pace getting back and covering.

    Still hard to believe Villa keep answering the call. It’s a tough run-in, but they easily could have wilted already.

  133. I’m over the lunar at yesterday’s result. Diaby’s missile produced pandemonium in the North Stand. Can’t imagine what the Holte End was like.

  134. When Ollie didn’t return after HT I was inclined to think maybe Unai pulled him for Big Jhon to take care of that dirty piece of shit Kilman whose MO is simply to go tight on the CF and foul him to prevent a turn or break. Was looking forward to Duran giving him some back but unfortunately he tends to fall and complain rather than stick his boot in. If ever there was an opportunity to grab someone’s nuts, Kilman offered it. Shame on Tierney for letting him get away with it until the card came out late in the day.

  135. It was not our best performance, but beating a troublesome neighbour who we struggle against…happy days. It’s not surprising the performance was off our highest standards but with our injury situation it’s to be expected. Right now, it’s results that matter.

    As JC says, you have to marvel at how we keep turning up at the coal face.

  136. Pleased for Konsa. Thought Moreno wasn’t himself although his assist broke the deadlock. Emi’s early save from Ait-Nouri was crucial to the result. Roger’s best game for us to date. Zaniolo contributed when he came on. And things looked stable at the back with Pau on patrol. We now start sweating over Ollie’s injury.

  137. And yep, I caught the last knockings of Manure’s game when I got home. Couldn’t believe it when Mount scored. There’s just no justice. But this time it was their turn to cop a sting in the tail. They are a long way behind us, I can just see their dust cloud on the horizon. But we have to keep going.

  138. R0bb0 – surely complements for Duran? He’s quality. Glad Zaniolo is playing better. I really like Rogers. Tielemans has stepped up. His passing is great.

    For me – Diaby, Bailey, Rogers, Tielemans and Duran are key to 4th. Looks like 5th will not make Champions League

    Interesting that Ajax have offered £15m for Tim I. No thanks

  139. With out bad luck emery would have none,Watkins ruled out now for city game to add to cash mcginn ramsay kamara mings and beundi probably 5 of our best side
    Martinez konsa torresMINGS digne
    WATKINS diaby
    Side for city
    Martinez konsa Carlos torres digne Luis tielmens Bailey Rogers
    Diaby duran/zanilo

  140. With out bad luck emery would have none,Watkins ruled out now for city game to add to cash mcginn ramsay kamara mings and beundi probably 5 of our best side
    Martinez konsa torresMINGS digne
    WATKINS diaby
    Side for city
    Martinez konsa Carlos torres digne Luis tielmens Bailey Rogers
    Diaby duran/zanilo
    Subs will be light

  141. Yeah, bit of a blow losing Ollie…that said, I’m glad it’s apparently minor and he’s had a long run injury free.

    Glad to see spam pulling back a point from Spurs. I’ve penciled in tomorrow as a loss, so that’s still two points to the good rather than being level.

    Don’t mean to be negative, but we’re so light now it’s unreal.

  142. JC, being the pessimistic buggers we are, I’m sure you’re right, that the majority of Villa fans expect us to lose tonight and expected Spurs to win last night so yes. . . we’re 2 points closer to our target!

  143. Yes we are now light, but Diaby seems to be recovering his confidence, Zaniolo is improving all the time, and McGinn will be back after our (anticipated) loss tonight. Ramsey is surely edging closer to recovery too?
    Oh, and we have our back line pretty much back to fitness (Mings excepted of course)
    . . . and Emery does seem to have the knack of shuffling even a small pack.

  144. Thought the ‘Aammers did us a favour last night as I expected Spurs to win. It eases the pressure a little for us tonight. I’m not expecting anything this evening but after the game finishes it’ll be one big shithouse of a fixture behind us and Spurs will still be below us.

    On the other hand, I’m sure Unai and the players will turn up and attempt to get a result. Fascinating to see whether we do.

  145. Expecting a loss against MC isn’t the right thinking but it’s expected. Saying this I suppose having Watkins sidelined isn’t that big a deal as long as he’s ready for Brentford.
    The proposed starting lineup by JG and VillaMD is a good one and would stand us in good stead in most games. In my mind its the thin bench more than the lineup.

  146. I will say, on the plus side, that Rogers and Duran might well be due a breakout of sorts. Jhon’s getting his big chance to show he belongs on a very big stage. He’s a lot for a CB to handle.

    Could also be time for one of Zaniolo’s nearly there wonder strikes to finally go in.

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