Villa’s Summer So Far and Life after Beale

Been away on business for a week, and I guess the big news has been the departure of Michael Beale and the finalizing of Diego Carlos. Oh, and a welcome to Robin Olsen, too, and a farewell to Matt Targett.

Like Kamara, I’ve no idea how Carlos will do. We know he was highly valued and sought after, like Kamara, and he looks rather strong and no-nonsense. Will hopefully bring a little of that menace we’ve lacked. We’ve all probably seen the various graphics illustrating his game, and drawn our own conclusions. On paper, anyway, it looks to be smart, quick business so far.

Gerrard’s Villa Honeymoon Comes to a Familiar End

Lots of frustration and anger after Sunday’s stinker, and fingers are pointing everywhere, which will happen. Most are singling out the players, and some have gone a bit further, logically, saying the performance at St. Jame’s Park would’ve gotten Smith sacked.

I was more hopeful of a glorious charge, didn’t want to be back here so quickly. Perhaps a shake-up will help in the short term. Whatever, if it gets us results, I’m all for it. If Gerrard is indeed ruthless, there will be lots of changes come summer. But one hopes that solves the problems, rather than this being a failure of system and evidence of obstinacy.

Villa Have More than One Question Mark After January

So, wherever Villa end up, it’s a big second half. Everyone will expect us to climb strongly. Getting a European spot is a big, big ask, though. Possible, but not likely. If it happens, all good. If it doesn’t, I expect at least one more summer and season to try and get us there without a reset. Which could mean a round of big changes at more than one level.

The shine on Gerrard will depend mightily on how this plays out. Villa have done smart business, so it’s not as though the future has been mortgaged. But as elated as everyone is at the moment seeing Coutinho in a Villa shirt, the hard parts are yet to come.

Have Sawiris and Edens Changed Villa’s Remit?

Villa have gotten in one player this window we’d never have expected, another quality signing in Digne, perhaps another big surprise, a CB prospect in Kerr Smith, a reasonable #2 in Robin Olsen, and it’s anything but a normal January.

Everyone is rightly asking what all this means. There’s SG being backed versus Dean (ie, the Grealish money + what we’d have considered our expected summer spending outside that windfall); NSWE’s short- and long-term ambitions; and Villa’s previous recruitment/development strategy. Sure I’m leaving something out.

Liverpool vs Aston Villa: A Full 90, Maybe?

While loads of plaudits are being thrown Gerrard’s way in his short time in charge, the one nut he hasn’t yet cracked is getting Villa to start on the front foot. Free-scoring Liverpool will probably not make Villa want to go full tilt from the whistle, though. Caution will be in a lot of minds. Can Villa be brave, but smart, from the start?