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Yeah.  I guess I consider this to be Ramsey’s breakout season, I know he got minutes last year but he was on the fringes.  
 

Decent game at Villa Park tonight.  Burnley knew a point would mean a win on Sunday guarantees survival (unless Leeds win 22-0 or something) and seemed quite happy to keep it tight.  I’d love to ask Buendia about his goal, he went to ground in the centre circle and kinda laid there for a few seconds while we had the ball but nobody put it out of play so the Burnley players seemed to assume he was injured and they collectively forgot about him. He then stood up and sprinted into the box and got on the end of McGinns pass and scored. Pre planned move? 

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Given Cash was taking the throw so quickly he was still on the pitch when it left his hands, I would suggest yes.

 

(I think that we got the draw that we came for, although on balance of play we should have lost, but still could have nicked it at the end.) 

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Pope basically won that point on his own. Made at least 6 goal stopping saves of varying difficulty.

 

McGinn excellent last night and looked unleashed a little. Buendia's goal was excellent. But the moment of the match for me might be Mings' last ditch block. It was an absolutely brilliant bit of defending.

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I was right behind the Mings clearance at the end.  It was unbelievable.   I felt Burnley considered this game "must not lose" rather than "must win" because going into the final day outside of the relegation zone is huge.   Villa were neat and tidy but Burnley seemed happy to let us have the ball in midfield, Pope was the best player on the pitch but other than the save from Bertie's header I felt all the other stops were ones you'd expect a good keeper to make. Even the header was too close to him if we are being super critical.    Not sure about the red card, Martinez's reaction probably swung it for the ref because he kinda recoiled in horror when he saw Chambers on the deck.  I think it was upheld by VAR after the ref had brandished the card, but I don't even think the Villa fans wanted Lowton to walk.  He's still popular in B6 for the late late winner against Stoke:

 

 

 

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I've only seen the three minute highlights - for the red card, it was one of those that in a one-watch, no real replay viewing my immediate reaction was "I've seen that given more than once".

 

I thought it was an amazing block and if it had been at the other end we'd have been singing the praises of whoever did it.  However, one of the more prominent fan journalists was blaming Weghorst for the miss.  But then he has a history of picking on a player for no reason and trying to turn the fan-base against them because he, frankly, loves shit-stirring.

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image.thumb.png.20cca883a4d6bc2d1f24d9eb4b35ff75.png

 

Well, we work quickly.   If he's as good as the FM fanboys seem to think then we've got a decent number 6 at long last.   As far as I can tell he's the sort of DM who screens really well, wins a lot of interceptions, is decent in the tackle and just keeps the ball moving with simple passes.  It's exactly what we need, and on a free transfer too? 

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Sometimes I clown on the "appeal of playing for Gerrard" factor as it seems like something people just say.  The Coutinho deal definitely was Gerrard but that was based on a previous working relationship much like Eriksen going to Brentford was to do with Thomas Frank, but this one? Highly touted prospect available on a free?   Maybe Gerrard did swing it. I think we pay good wages but we can't blow other mid table clubs out of the water with contract offers so I'm not sure it's entirely financial.  I guess we now see if Kamara was in demand because he is really good, or if he was in demand because of his contract situation.  

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Watkins is one of the big, difficult questions now. I don't think he's good enough for a team with our ambitions - he misses so often and has no composure. But he also is pretty integral to the way we play with the endless running and pressure.

 

I kinda can't see us upgrading him, but equally I don't think we can get European football with him.

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Yep. Yesterday was him in a nutshell. He gave an interview ahead of the match saying he wants to be seen as a killer in front of goal, cut to clips of tireless running and missing the chances you’d expect him to take.  That’s what £30m buys in today’s market but how do you upgrade? An unknown Carlos Tevez type who might be worse than Ollie? A geriatric Luis Suarez? 

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I think it's got to be a punt on a young player who looks a prospect. We were linked with Alvarez before Citeh chucked money at him, that's the kind of but we need to make and hope it works out.

 

Watkins isn't good enough to progress and at 26 realistically isn't going to become clinical now, Ings is ageing rapidly and seems to a lost a bit of edge this year, and after that it's Coutinho and Buendia for goals semi-regularly in the team, which isn't enough. Easier said than done though and will be big money.

 

If we bring Suarez in we should sack Gerrard on the spot. He can barely move.

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Aye. It’s been on the cards for a while, he didn’t appear in a recent squad photo because he was ‘at a wedding’ or something.  I’ll never be annoyed at a coach taking a manager’s job, but Beale was sold as a big part of the reason why we went for Gerrard in the first place.   
 

Now the football hasn’t been great since they came so if we just rate Beale on his six months at Villa then I guess it’s just a ‘meh’ and we get someone else in. I don’t think for a second we will struggle to find someone compatible, there’s gonna be no shortage of applications and Alex Ferguson famously changed his assistant all the time. Obviously Gerrard isn’t Ferguson but we should be able to sustain after losing one member of the back room staff.
 

 My concern is how it affects pre season.  There seems to have been a change in direction since Gerrard joined, we’ve gone from a moneyball approach to buying experienced players who are supposedly good right now.  The early signings of Bouba and Diego Carlos seemed to imply we are going to have a full on pre season and try to hit the ground running in August.  Will the loss of Beale affect that?  I guess as long as the new guy is in before the start of pre season training then it might not matter, but obviously it’s a worry we didn’t need. 

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Twenty minutes later we announce Neil Critchley, another product of the Liverpool academy system who spent the last two years at Blackpool. He got them promoted to the Championship in his first season and kept them up last year. 
 

 

 

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Just now, ilpostino said:

 

@OneDvBmbr is a Blackpool fan. He's probably miffed at the manager leaving to be someone's assistant.


Indeed. I see why it’s happened. Sure it’s more money, perhaps gives him the chance to either succeed Gerrard at Villa or follow him to Liverpool when Klopp goes which seems inevitable. Perhaps he also thinks he might have a tricky job kicking Blackpool onto the next level. 
 

But still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth given all his fist-pumping, beating the badge act over the last 12 months or so. 
 

That’s just football I suppose. 

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Yep.  Circle of life.  Unless you support one of about five teams in the world (admittedly those five teams probably have about 20% of all the fans in the world) then it happens.  Villa can offer more money than Blackpool, even if it's for a "lesser" job title.   Critchley gets to quit while he is ahead at Blackpool too, if the remit was to get them up and to keep them up then he's passed with flying colours but where does he go next?  Difficult third season trading water?  

 

From a Villa point of view I think the takeaway is consistency.  If all those ex Liverpool youth team coaches are singing from the same hymnbook then Gerrard + Critchley shouldn't be too different from Gerrard + Beale, at least in terms of the footballing philosophy should be compatible with the coaches we have and the squad we are building.  I kinda feel like we've got through this with minimal disruption, even if I know next to nothing about what actually goes on at Bodymoor. 

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Feels like Critchley is an upgrade, which you wouldn't have expected when the news about Beale broke.

 

Agree the concern is how much this has disrupted things at Bodymoor, but hopefully with the timing we've been able to handle it as smoothly as possible. And it's not like Beale set the world on fire if he was the driving force behind the Gerrard regime.

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I was friends with the current Liverpool U18s manager when we were kids.  Presuming Villa keep the current trend of hiring assistant managers from that production line then when Critchley leaves I’m thinking free tickets.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

New fixtures.  I'm firmly in the "woo, we play everybody twice" camp here, especially as we don't have a proper derby game this season. At a glance it doesn't appear we have any months that are fucking brutal, so I'll take that. 

 

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