What a game of football. From Emi’s howler, to a missed tap-in, narrow offsides for and against, top-class saves, Salah blanked…, this one had it all. But what we saw tonight was more than great entertainment. It was a statement.

Down 1-3 to Liverpool, it would’ve been all too easy to quit. Disappointment in the Conference League, a dreary loss to Brighton. Everything looked like it was fizzling out. But Villa had still something to say, and what they said is that the culture has changed. They weren’t going quietly into the night. And we know the man responsible. Unai Emery has taken a rag-tag outfit, made some astute additions, and turned a club that was facing relegation into a European semifinalist and one that is now on the cusp of finishing ahead of Spurs, Chelsea and United to claim a Champions League spot for the first time ever.

It’s remarkable. Beating City, doing the double over Arsenal, and then coming back against a Liverpool side playing on song to claim a crucial point. But more than that, they proved that they have the heart and soul to rightly claim a Champions League finish. Toe to toe with royalty and on the ropes, they dug all the way down to the bottom and showed the fight and spirit missing for far too long at Villa Park. And the spirit in the ground. Sounded glorious.

They’ve taken us on one hell of a ride this season. Goals, excitement, drama. Elation, despair. That’s what football should be. And through all the challenges and obstacles, they found a way to say ‘We belong’.

I’ll be honest…in the dreariness of Gerrard’s tenure, I thought long and hard about hanging up my spurs. I thought I couldn’t face the drab tedium of untold years of underachievement and disappointment, an old and tired story for Villa only briefly interrupted by Dean Smith’s hand-of-god intervention getting us back up. But it looked like it had gone, and I thought, “What do I really have to offer, to say anymore? Recriminations, finger pointing, disappointment, excuses, faint glimmers?” I thought, “Just step back and let others do the talking. There’s plenty far younger who want to.”

But Emery changed all that. I think I speak for a lot of supporters in saying that he brought the game back to life, Villa back to life. Brought pride and joyful anticipation. Unbelievable results, fantastic days and nights. He gave us back our pride. He made it fun. He showed that Villa don’t have to be perpetual also-rans. That the promise Sawiris and Edens made to us weren’t just the empty words of far too many new owners. I knew tonight would be hard. But I was excited to watch. I wasn’t dreading it. That’s the difference. I don’t know how long it’s been since a Villa side went two goals down to a Big Side like Liverpool and fought back in the final minutes to shock them and take something. We got knocked down and we get up again.

Sawiris seized the moment, found the man, and may, just may, have ushered in a new era at Aston Villa. If nothing else, he and Emery have given us a season to remember, something we all desperately needed. A season that said through all the ups and downs, we belong because in the end and as much of a cliché it is, the table doesn’t lie. And based on what we’ve all seen, I back Emery to keep us going.

We’re not over the line just yet, of course. We’ll all have our City tops on tomorrow along with Bravearse. But we still control our destiny by fighting back for a solitary point against a far better team on paper when it would’ve been much easier to just give up and say it was one of those games. Villa showed up. Villa overcame adversity. Villa refused to lose. And even if Spurs pull an upset tonight, we still have something to say about it on the final day.

Who’d have thought.

In the meantime, I’m going to bask in the moment. The lads, all of them, showed up and did us proud.

Over to you.

Comments 95

  1. Your excitement and passion shone through in that article JC, and at points, it gave me goosebumps. It certainly has been one hell of a season, and none of us will forget it. Can Emery now build on it and make it a Top 7 (or 8) rather than a top 6, well that’s why we follow sport isn’t it. . . . . . . . . .hoping, but not knowing.
    You said that we may now “rightly claim a Champion’s league spot”, and it’s a point worth emphasising. I’ve seen some quite odd comments on other forums from people suggesting that if we don’t achieve 70 points, then they we don’t really deserve a Champion’s league place. It’s a silly argument on so many levels, but not least because over the past 10 years, our current points tally would have been enough in half of those years, but also because ‘the table doesn’t lie’
    If anything, we’ve ‘more than’ earned our place, because I didn’t see a single person predict that our current squad, even if fully fit, was yet ready for a top 4 place, but when you factor in the long term injuries, plus that we’ve had to play more games than pretty much every other side, we fucking well DO deserve to be in the top 4.
    Of course we’re not there yet, but we just ‘might’ get there this evening.

    One last thing to consider, and that’s how we’ve performed against the other teams in this year’s top 5 places in the Premier league. Well, it doesn’t even matter what happens in tonight’s game between Spurs and City. . . . . . this year, the team with the best record against the other 4 teams at the top of the Premier league table is. . . Aston Villa.
    We’ve gained 13 points against the other 4 top sides, Arsenal are second on 12, Liverpool on 10 and City and Spurs on 7 and 5 respectively.

    Those results surely give some small comfort when thinking about the challenges that may face us in the Champion’s League next year (or Europa if Lady Luck really does throw her dice in a weird way right at the end of the season!)

  2. Last night, I think it was JC who made a comment about Zaniolo being injured again so quickly after coming back from injury. I didn’t pick up on it last night, but Emery’s take on his injury was:
    “We have players to be ready to help. Nicolo is hopefully not a lot because he has the Euros as well, which is very important for him.”
    You can read what you want into that, but I know what I read into it.
    Assuming I’m reading it right, he won’t be with us next season. . . . .he doesn’t fit the Emery mould or new Villa ethos.

  3. Apparently, in injury time, when Emi collected the ball and did his usual, smother it on the ground to waste a bit of time, Emery was shouting at him to get the game moving quickly and get the ball down the other end of the pitch. This says so much about the man. There’s no way he was going to be satisfied with a draw. When the belief of the fans may be wavering, his doesn’t, and he feels in his bones that we can beat anybody. That belief is clearly percolating through to the players, and that’s why, this season, we have been THE best team when playing against the best that the Premier league has to offer.

  4. Excellent points, r0bb0. We tend to remember the heartbreaks, and it’s easy to forget the points we’ve taken off the top four. Absolutely agree with your comments and logic.

  5. So I think you’re right, r0bb0, the side do have it in them to play big games. Whether CL or Europa, so much of it will come down to strengthening and simply having better luck.

    No idea how Buendia and Mings will be when they come back. Long layoffs, and you never know with knees. Same with Bouba. But statistically, it would be hard to believe if we had another season with so many significant, long-term injuries.

    No ideas what Emery’s plans are, but I can’t imagine he doesn’t see we need someone like Ty in the back line. Can’t imagine that Buendia wouldn’t have a place in this system. Bouba? I actually think we could improve on him, but would be much better if we could spend the money elsewhere.

    Anyway…Just getting players back helps. I think you’re right about Zaniolo. Unless he broke a bone, he was in no more pain that SJM, Bailey, Konsa (that was a nasty stomp on his ankle). Seems like Emery knew it early and I’m guessing that’s why Emery never gave him a run of starts and had Rogers take that role instead.

  6. I hadn’t seen McGinn’s full comments on Duran, just the first couple sentences. Interesting for the captain to say “have a bit more respect”. And I’d seen the “nightmare” comment misquoted as “nightmare to play against,” rather than “have in your team”. Maybe that meant the same thing.

    “Big Jhon…he’s a bit nuts. He’s a nightmare sometimes to have in your team. But he has moments of quality, we need to try and keep his feet on the ground the next couple of days.

    “Jhon doesn’t have a scooby who they [Duran Duran] are. He does not have a clue. I mean Jhon I don’t even think he knows he’s actually in the city of Birmingham never mind who Duran Duran are. But, he’s such a raw player, some days you think what a good boy, some days you think come on big man have a bit more respect. But he has everything to be one of the top strikers in the world and hopefully he can do that here.”

  7. Interesting quotes there JC. The picture that’s emerging of Duran is not that different from the one we’d been forming anyway, based on what we’d seen on the pitch. . . . . a talented maverick. At this stage in his career, things could go either way for him, but it really is up to him and his entourage whether he fulfils his potential. We’ve seen other talented players show real promise and then fall away when things haven’t worked out as they’d hoped. There are probably better examples than Benteke, but he was one player who looked unplayable on his day, but fell short once he transferred to Liverpool. Someone like Pogba had a full developed ego, but never seemed to fully develop his football and only ever scored more than 10 league goals in a season once in his whole career. he must have been a nightmare for his managers and team mates who could see what he ‘could’ do for them, if only he’d realised that football is a team game. No matter how good you are, your legacy will ultimately be defined as much by how you interact with your team mates and manager, as how talented you are.

    This quote from Emery gives another little insight:

    “Football is different in Colombia. Tactically, this is the most difficult league in the world. You have to be compact always. We are working with him a lot to be very demanding. When he is not [demanding of himself], I am pushing him.

    “But I know he will score, I know he will create chances. Today, I am very happy with how he helped us.”

    The key bit being ‘when he’s not (demanding of himself)’.

    JG picked him out early as someone who can make a huge difference for us. I’m fully in his camp, but so badly hope that he matures into the player he can be.

  8. Another excellent bit of writing JC
    Sitting watching city,looking at pictures of awards night ,it’s such a pity its over,its been relentless since usa tour last summer,so enjoyable, so mentally mad ,new heroes,old heroes coming good again,even Chambers played his part
    All I need is city not to concede tonight

  9. Seems wrong that a player of Grealish’s talent can’t even get on the pitch but hey. . . he’s winning another trophy

  10. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE VILLA. Congratulations Nassef and Wes. Top men. Congratulations Unai and the entire coaching staff. Top men. Congratulations playing staff. What a season. Congratulations to all supporters, it’s been a long time coming.

  11. That’s really kicked over the Sky 6 apple cart. Apples all over the fucking yard. Granny Smiths running down the pavement. Golden Delicious bouncing over the road. Russets rolling along the gutter. Bramleys trundling down the hill. What a sight.

  12. We’re going to new places in Europe next season. Can’t wait. A big shout out to our neighbours too who are also going places next season….Stockport…..Burton…..Crawley.

  13. Gary Neville said around Xmas time that it would be a miracle if Villa achieved Champions League football. Guess he now believes in miracles.

    What a night. Wine bottles are uncorked. Work tomorrow will be a struggle.

  14. Can’t believe it…Wasn’t able to watch, but how sweet is the combo of Monday and Tuesday nights.

    Hats off to everyone. Truly astonishing. I’d really come to think we were cursed somehow, that we’d never quite get there.

  15. Good morning Lifers. What a season we’ve had. In the Champions League next season and as the table does not lie, 4th place is fully deserved. It’s been a consistent position results wise since the day Unai arrived.

    What makes this finish all the more impressive is that it’s been achieved whilst the team have also gone deep into a European competition which is something that didn’t weigh on Newcastle last season because they weren’t in Europe. But it did weigh on them this season and they only went halfway through a European competition.

    Even more impressive is that the achievement was made against a backdrop of injuries that have affected Villa more than most other teams. It’s no wonder we’re running on fumes.

    We can now look forward to some big teams visiting VP next season. No doubt Unai will have a plan in place to cope with it. We should also bear in mind that he is still building his squad which currently comprises mainly Deano’s players. And the improvement in those players is there for all to see. Remember Frem hammering Ollie for not being able to hold the ball up and not scoring enough goals? He wasn’t wrong. But I’m sure he’d now be the first to admit Unai has transformed him like only a wizard could.

    So what’s the Champions League worth to us? The Athletic has a minimum payout for English clubs of £50 million in prize money alone. It’s a complicated calculation with unknown variables but that’s their best conservative estimate. Then there’s the gate receipts, increased sponsorship amounts and other extras on top.


  16. What a feeling ,looking through European pots to see what our 8 games can be
    Real Madrid,is stand out tie everyone wants
    It’s also scary we could do a celtic win no matches

  17. Maybe getting rid of var wouldn’t be a bad thing,watching Chelsea tonight Brighton lad elbows Chelsea lad giving him concussion nothing doing,James gives a petulant kick and gets red,19 mins injury time.e mainly because of var

  18. So VAR can work in tennis
    VAR can work in cricket
    VAR can work in Rugby
    But football is special and it can’t work there
    What utter bollocks
    I agree that it isn’t working as it should now, but that absolutely doesn’t mean that it ‘cant’ work.
    If you’re in any doubt, just remember that the village idiot Shearer is against it.
    Yes, of course he’s against it, because it takes away much of what he has to argue about on MOTD. Don’t you remember how they used to spend half the programme discussing if someone was offside or not and berating the world and his mother because the officials got the decision wrong?
    What I find hard to believe is that in 2024, when people are worried that AI might take over the world, they can’t even get it to decide if one player is in front of another.
    What nonsense. Of course they can. . . . they just haven’t asked the right questions of the right people. . . . but hey. . this is the FA we’re talking about, so why are we surprised?
    It would be such a cop out to ban VAR now. . .no. . .don’t ban it. . tell the wankers to make it work ffs!

  19. JG. . .absolutely right. . . the officials are frequently inconsistent in how they apply the rules. Unfortunately, that’s what you get when you have to deal with people. VAR ‘should’ be about how you can simply and consistently get VAR to help people to make quick, correct decisions in ‘some’ aspects of the game.

  20. It’s good to see that we have 3 midfielders in the top 20 of the FA fantasy rankings, but I couldn’t help contrasting that with Grealish, who now doesn’t even rank in the top 100. What a travesty for a player with such talent. . . . . what a waste.
    Not only is he below Bailey, Diaby and Luiz, he’s also below McGinn. . . oh and Tielemans too.

  21. It looks as if Duran has his heart set on Chelsea for next season, so no doubt there have been some behind the scenes conversations. From his point of view, the question will be whether he can get ahead of Jackson, and maybe he’s in with a chance of at least getting more game time than he will at Villa? It’s not nailed on, with both Jackson and Nkunku showing that they ‘may’ have what it takes, I guess Chelsea would then have 3 players in a similar position, of having latent talent but needing to demonstrate it on the pitch.
    I suppose the other question is what sort of transfer fee we may demand, and whether Chelsea would be in a position to pay it.

  22. R0bb0
    He could sit on the subs bench with Chuckie.
    Refs have a bit of a bad rap (I think) as the final decision on a play or penalty is up to the refs digression. This would give a different result in a quite a number of penalties as no ref are alike. For instance, a tackle, even if the ball was contacted first can be considered a foul if the ref deemed it dangerous. To my knowledge any penalty is left up to the ref to sort out in his head whether he’s going to blow his whistle or not.

  23. Duran,really hope he can buckle down and work under emery,if not I have complete faith in MASTER UNAI
    martinez is going to be busy copal de America and straight on to Olympics with Argentina as a reward for qualifying for champions league
    As for Sunday think we will see some young lads as cash Rogers zanilo and tielmens are all ready ruled out

  24. Fabulous words from Unai in his Palace presser. He’s intending to construct a Champions League winning team or an EPL winning team. He wouldn’t be this bullish without knowing that Nassef and Wes will facilitate it.

    As fans, we know such a squad takes several years to compile. I don’t believe for one second the current squad can reach such heights but it will improve over time and with a few astute additions it will take shape. The time required depends on the speed of growing our turnover and by hiring Heck in lieu of Purslow it seems to me that they’re looking States side to increase the coffers at least in the immediate future.

    The Laandan media may be in for a shock because I’m sure right now they think we’re just a ship that passed in the night. Events down VP way are looking very promising and the media bods may have to change their attitudes.

  25. Big Jhon can set his heart wherever he likes. He won’t be departing VP until Unai says so. We therefore have nothing to worry about because if he goes, there will be a better replacement inbound.

  26. R0bbO, Grealish has gone backwards since leaving Villa. But he has the medals and bank balance to compensate for it so I guess he’s happy.

    Don’t think the EPL will vote to bin VAR. I think it will be retained but they’ll also express their displeasure at the way it’s been used and may offer some ideas for improving it. I believe it came in too early and needed testing/trials in a less emotive level of football than the EPL. Plenty of room for improvement. (1) Automate offside. Use the GPS tracker in the players bras and points deductions for teams that try to cheat by wearing the bra back to front. Might need a sensor in the ball. AI should be able to buzz the lino’s wrist for offsides and the flag can be raised immediately. Bit like how the goal line technology works. Means goals will be celebrated again like they used to be. (2) Scrap its use on fouls in build ups, leave that to the ref and lino’s. (3) Scrap its use for penalties, leave that to the ref and lino’s. (4) Items (1) to (3) should get rid of the need for Stockley Park.

  27. Ian, Its a good point about all referees being different, so taking Plug’s point, should VAR be limited to matters of fact. The referee could ask simple questions:
    Did the player touch the ball?
    Did the ball touch his hand?
    Was anyone offside?
    Did the defender touch the attacker’s leg?

    He can then use the extra ‘factual’ information to decided whether to change his original decision or not. If the officials in Stockley Park are unable to answer the factual question in say 30 seconds, then the referee sticks with his infield decision.

    IN the meantime, they really do need to pull their fingers out and get some informed advice on how to give quick answers to simple questions. . . . along then lines suggested by Plug!

  28. Mad season has started one click bait site saying we are talking to barclay
    Archer is a good one we sold him 18 m ,goes on books clear profit ,buy him back minus loan fee ,5 year contract cost us 15m or 3m a season so if we sell him again is that another 12m profit on books,it’s confusing

  29. r0bb0, regarding hand ball, what is considered a natural position? For me a hand ball is a conscious effort to redirect the ball with one’s hand or arm otherwise it’s just a gift. Offsides should be a no brainer—several times John and I have suggested the leading foot be the indicator of offside and also that player being part of the play not some random guy at the far edge of the field. Regarding VAR, more cameras are needed and like Plug mentioned sensors in the ball, bra, goal line, side line, you can go on forever here.
    But, to be honest, going back to just the ref and linesmen would be the holistic thing to do. Accept that there will be variances amongst the refereeing staff, learn their quirks and get on with it.

  30. Duran to Chelsea? Fine. Big fee or he stays put. He’s not starting there with his current attitude/game. Is there a big-time player in there? Yes. But he has to be relentless and box to box or he’s no good to anyone. As was said, he can keep Chuck company.

    VAR? The whole thing does my head in.

  31. Ian, I don’t know what the ‘right’ answer is for VAR, but I very strongly feel that the one definitely ‘wrong’ answer is to give up on it entirely.
    The goal line technology was a sensible first step and nobody gives that a second thought now.
    It really shouldn’t be beyond the wit, even of the FA, to come up with a similarly uncontroversial solution to offside. . . . and like you and John, it seems to me that the leading foot seems to be the sensible measuring point. I would leave it as being measured against the last man, wherever he is on the pitch, otherwise, we’d be introducing yet another subjective measure.
    There ‘should’ be a wider role for VAR but it does rely on competent officials at Stockley Park. Take the stamp on Konsa followed by cheating Fernández dive. . . it should have been clear to any quarter competent official that the penalty should be over-ruled, but sadly. . .

  32. JC, the problem with telling Duran he has to stay put, is that he was only taken on a 2 year contract. It started in January ’23, so unless it was actually a two and a half year contract, he could leave for free in January next year.
    I suspect his ego will prevent him from signing a new contract with Villa as his skills surely deserve to be displayed on the biggest stage right now, playing in the Champion’s league final with Real Madrid?

  33. JG. . . It’s so hard not to be tempted in by some of the clickbait headlines. I was sucked in by one saying we might swap Duran for Gallagher. I ended up thinking. . . well actually. . . that might make sense after all!

  34. Here’s a quote from Emery about Duran: “I speak to him a lot, individually and collectively about him, even with his agent because his agent helps with him as well. His potential is great, but he needs a plan and I am trying to do it.”
    I thought the bit about speaking with the agent was interesting. I suspect Emery doesn’t have conversations with all the players’ agents, so it’s possible that it’s not just Duran’s ego that’s driving things here, it could be an agent, wanting to make the most from his asset.

  35. so the Express are running a competition to pick the Premier league team of the year, starting with goalkeepers. Here are the options you can choose from:


    Guglielmo Vicario

    Jordan Pickford

    David Raya

    Andre Onana


    Am I missing something here?

  36. Sounds to me like Duran is another Chuk. Very young, driven by an agent who wants money and likely to end up making the wrong career choice. Emery is an elite coach and just what Duran needs at this time in his career. But a few million now is more appealing than the many millions lost later.

    His agent will be in his ear telling him to look at Palmer at Citeh. Under the best coach in the world but made the move to Chelsea and has soared. His agent definitely won’t mention the likes of Chuk.

  37. That keeper of the season list confirms that the Express only know 5 goal keeper names. Their shortage of knowledge is demonstrated, their comic value up there with the Beano and Dandy.

  38. Ah yes…that’s right, r0bb0.

    I guess to Plug’s point, seems like an agent playing to a young man’s ego. What did we pay for him again? Transfermarkt have it at €16.64m with a current value of €17m.

    Gallagher swap? Yeah, probably the best value to be had. He’ll get CL football at VIlla.

  39. Game 56 of season and finally no pressure, a high scoring draw will do as long as Watkins gets his 20th,diaby and even mcginn get double figures,roll on kick off

  40. Few more kids got their debuts out the way. Palace will never play better and Villa will never play worse. Jordon Ayew still looks like he drank a glass of rancid milk – so it wasn’t just our worse relegation team in history – but who cares ‘cos now we are 4th. My overall summary, glad it’s all over – I’m knackered.

  41. Thank you UNAI for giving us our greatest season since 1996,along with players what an effort,not forgetting our own leader JC for giving us a platform to praise,moan complain about our beloved ASTON VILLA

  42. Always said Palace should be better than they have been, and have always been a tough matchup for us. Not sure what changed with new manager, but he’s got them playing.

    Trick for them is keeping any of Eze, Olise, Mateta.

  43. Most apt tweet I’ve seen:

    “It turns out that in order to qualify for The Champions League, all we needed to do was concede 5 in our opening and final games of the season.”

    That seems fair from the Villa Underground.

  44. First game I’ve switched off…shame about the scoreline, but having seen video of McGinn drinking and singing Tuesday night at least, I had a feeling their hearts might not be fully in it.

    But it matters not. Time for extremely well deserved rest for the lads, even if it’s brief. Good summer of football ahead, and I’m really anxious to see what business we do.

    Been a brilliant season.

    Will get a season’s end post up for tomorrow.

  45. I was fearful of a mullering today. As JC mentioned, watching players celebrating before the season is over…..less than professional. Then I saw the team sheet and was sure it wouldn’t end well. It didn’t, the season ended as it started score wise.

  46. Defensively very poor today. No contact offered to opponents running at the goal. Just stand offs and letting them bang the ball home. It’s been an exceptional season but the players must consider the travelling support. Can’t let them down like this.

  47. May has been a disaster for us. Five games played. W 0, D 1, L 4. To say the draw was fortunate against Pool is accurate. Might have lost them all.

    Last 4 league games 2 points from 12 available. Appreciate we’re running on vapour and seem to have all and sundry as walking wounded but Unai does have some work to do this summer.

    Time to reflect on a great season and not let recent disasters colour the picture.

  48. Plug
    cash moreno TORRES
    Rogers tielmens zanilo BAILEY
    have missed most last few matches or played through pain,add to kamara and ramsay out since start of February it’s been a miracle
    Yeah travelling fans deserve better but I am sure they can forgive today, we finished match with 5 under 20 and olsen in goals

  49. Yeah, I can’t really be bothered about today…Do feel for the traveling support, but I think everyone needs to understand just how gassed and depleted the side are. The season ended with Spurs’ loss, and guys are thinking ahead to the summer commitments, etc., and not making any knocks they are carrying any worse.

  50. I didn’t see any of yesterday’s game, which is indicative that the tension had already gone from the season due to us (amazingly) having achieved champion’s League qualification, even before the last game was played.

    I saw this paragraph in a report of the game and wondered if anyone else had seen the incident at the time?

    “On the cusp of half-time, Watkins had Jhon Duran in support as Palace were caught short at the back. He chose to drag the ball towards the left in an attempt to create an angle to get a shot off instead of using the 20-year-old.

    “Duran was angry with Watkins’ decision to ignore him and showed his frustration by throwing his arms and then failing to make a run in the box once Watkins moved back into position to possibly cross the ball. After the half-time whistle blew, Duran stood still looking at Watkins, but the England international put his hands up questioning why his strike partner was upset. Duran then pointed towards the box gesturing that he should’ve received the ball, before he trudged down the tunnel.”

    I have slightly mixed feelings about this. It’s good to have a little competitive tension between players, but more importantly, as this is a team game, there needs to be mutual respect. It’s not the first time that a player will have expressed frustration with his team mates, indeed we saw a bit of it in the Olympiacos game, but whilst I think it’s fair enough for Duran to show some frustration, if Duran really did ‘give up’ on the move when the first passing opportunity was missed, then that would be unforgivable.

    As I say, I didn’t see it, so it could be the media trying to make something out of nothing, or did anyone else see it that way too?

  51. Robbo
    Emery took Watkins off with half hour to go,think that says it all
    Yes Duran threw a hissy fit like described,but I think if you left Duran in an empty room he would fall out with himself

  52. 2024/25 now to look forward to.
    Players to leave
    Players to come in
    It will be interesting, can’t see us having same amount of games 56 ,hopefully we won’t have another injury hit season

  53. JG:
    “2024/25 now to look forward to.
    Players to leave
    Players to come in”
    I wonder how much tripe and nonsense are we going to sift through over the next 3 months then?
    Is there anyone half worth listening to other than Fabrizio Romano?

  54. JG: “. . . can’t see us having same amount of games 56. . ”

    I guess that depends on how well we do in cup competitions so, it’d be nice in some ways if we DID have lots of games again . . . . unless top 4 of the Premier League is our absolute prime priority

    ” . . . hopefully we won’t have another injury hit season” Amen to that!

  55. JG: ” I think if you left Duran in an empty room he would fall out with himself”

    It seems you’re right. . . . he can even fall out with inanimate objects apparently:

    “Jhon Duran faced an internal disciplinary after a house he rented was severely damaged including light fittings being taken off the wall, damages were in excess of £12000 and the club become involved.”

  56. According to Romano,Ross barclay is in serious talks with villa,on a free as long as wages aren’t mad ,be happy enough
    Other sites are saying we trying to offload Carlos his wages r to big

  57. During the last knockings of the season it was midfield for me that came up short. It ran out of steam and put big pressure on the defence. So I’m not surprised we are linked to midfielders. With Lenglet leaving and possibly Carlos, we will need defensive reinforcements too. In midfield Zaniolo and Dendoncker will be gone not to mention Couts and Chambers. If Digne goes too, what does that say of Gerrard’s signings? Well, Kamara has been a success. But the rest seem more about wage bill reduction in Unai’s book. We will know fact from conjecture soon enough.

    One thing noticeable from the European knockout games was how each team was stacked with players that could control a ball instantly and move it on fast. Too many of our players had difficulty doing that when receiving the ball, it would bounce off them a couple of paces and then it was a fight to win control of it. This would not be missed by Unai and addressing the issue is going to take more time. But it will improve.

  58. I presume Hermosa is on the way to replace Lenglet. We just don’t know how Mings will be when he returns. Never was keen on Carlos. Wouldn’t it be nice to flog Carlos and get Branthwaite in from Everton. Anyone remember what happened when we replaced Chris Nicholl with Ken McNaught?

  59. Plug, your comment here is the biggest takeaway from Europe and the season:

    “One thing noticeable from the European knockout games was how each team was stacked with players that could control a ball instantly and move it on fast. Too many of our players had difficulty doing that when receiving the ball, it would bounce off them a couple of paces and then it was a fight to win control of it. This would not be missed by Unai and addressing the issue is going to take more time. But it will improve.”

    This is exactly the crux. To be a possession team you have to be a one-touch team. That’s how you play around and negate pressure. This is the most important thing.

    There are other areas of improvement we could point to, but this is the big one.

  60. Back upthread a bit:

    r0bb0: Duran not understanding Watkins going for his 20th shows the lack of maturity/selfishness. The way this works, he should’ve been doing everything possible to HELP Ollie hit that mark.

    I’m sure Ollie was thinking ‘who the hell do you think you are, and do you know how long and hard I’ve worked to be where I am?’

    To then give up on the moment…well.

  61. Looking at Beaky’s selections for the Euro’s he’s reverted to type and loaded his squad with Palace players. I’m struggling to see how he’s going to make best use of the attacking talent we have. Happy to see Rashford and Sterling over looked. And I realise we’re short on FB’s at the moment but Shaw? Not fit. Trippier? Ask the Wai Ayes about him. There’s our achilles heal right there. Of course, there is a place for greased lightning Maguire.

  62. Transfer rumours in overdrive,
    For me a replacement for kamara and a néw physical imposing leftback would be main aims,hopefully all our injuries will clear up before pre season, few tweaks then maybe a new back up keeper olsen just does not do it

  63. I can’t help but smile at the madness currently pervasive in the EPL. Everyone knows the MOST important signing is the coach. Get that right and he will get the best available outcome for his employer. Get it wrong and it will cost millions. But the merry go round keeps turning anyway. Poch binned. Ten Hag hanging by a thread. Some big names available. And as they come with their complete entourage, sacking them is expensive.

    Makes the market for players interesting. Agents spouting BS. Not much money around as the points deductions have frightened all the clubs. I expect asking prices to be down this window. No doubt the busiest man at VP at the moment is Monchi.

  64. Yeah, it is that time, JG and Plug. Had my head down with work, saw Poch was gone and Kompany to Bayern?

    We did so well to get Emery.

    Speaking of which, fresh post up to help move us along into the summer.

Leave a Reply