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.

Aston Villa vs. Norwich: Match Thread

You wouldn’t normally think Norwich at home is a big game, but with Deano returning to Villa Park for the first time in charge of another club, it is a big day. Never mind that Villa could help seal the Canaries’ relegation and put to rest any such concerns of their own.

Which is also an odd thing to be writing. Villa should be nowhere close to relegation worries, and maybe they’re not, overall. Yet…

Leeds vs Aston Villa: Desperation versus Progress

Given Leeds’ precarious position, Bielsa’s demise comes as no real surprise and only made sense. And it will no doubt have a heavy influence on tonight’s game. Leeds desperately need something, and Jesse Marsch is convinced they’ll see the same Villa set-up that beat Brighton and Southampton. Can’t say I disagree.

His key to the game is bottling up Coutinho, of course, but that’s easier said than done if he’s on song and carries its own risks if it takes more than one player. It also means everyone else needs to help create space and options then do something with it.

Aston Villa-Southampton Match Thread

Apart from Digne’s and Konsa’s absences, there are no changes to the side, suggesting the same tactics as last week. A bit harsh on Buendia, I think, but you understand not changing a winning side, and this approach isn’t leaving room for him if Philippe Coutinho is going to start. Which he is. Whether he can be more influential this week, we’ll be waiting to see. The Ings-Watkins experiment will continue, but the hybrid 4-3-3/4-4-2 is maybe not the worst idea at the moment.