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12 hours ago, Chindie said:

That was the match where Billing committed about 7 yellow card fouls in the first half without getting a card and then got subbed at half time, wasn't it?

 

Nah.  That was the first home game of 2019/20, the one where Tom Heaton conceded a penalty 45 seconds into his home debut and Dougie Luiz scored an absolute worldie.  We lost 2-1 but played pretty well. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

The rebuild of the North Stand has finally been announced after being teased for well over a decade by at least three different owners (Lerner, Xia and NSWE, I don't think Herbert ever said anything did he?) and it's kinda exciting.   Obviously this is only a sketch (though I've seen enough of these kind of images in railway infrastructure proposals to know they are never too far from the final designs) but I kinda like it.   I assume this image is how it would look from the corner of Witton Lane and Station Road, where a car park is at the moment.  I like the commitment to red brick in keeping with the rest of the stadium and the surrounding area, and the new building behind the stadium looks like it's going to be some bar/restaurant/community hub which I'm sure the club hope people will use before and after the game.  If people have a reason to hang around in the area to grab another drink or bite to eat after the match then it spreads out the traffic jams and it's an extra revenue stream for the club.  It's not a bad idea at all in my opinion. 

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I like the concept of it all, it's what we need. The North Stand is in dire need of being binned off and pretty much any modern stand design is going to immediately improve things. As it is they seem to have done a fairly good job of getting a design that fits the rest of the stadium while having its own personality, and being midnight and filling the corners.

 

The main negatives from the concept I can draw are pretty minor. Firstly the 'Villa Live' building is literally just a box. It's architecturally... pragmatic, rather than exciting (although the concept is better inside). And secondly because of the placement and the box shape it does look like an afterthought.

 

I do wonder how much it can do to make the stadium more of a destination. We are basically starting from zero in respect of matchday fan capture/engagement and Aston isn't exactly dripping in entertainment venues or 'destinations' besides Villa Park. In theory it should help keep people around the stadium far more effectively than we do currently (because it's basically starting from zero). I'm not so sure it'll work to make Villa Park a year round destination.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it’s a sensible, if unspectacular signing.  We need cover for Digne and I don’t rate Young defensively, certainly not for potentially extended periods.

 

I though Chrisene was quite highly rated, presumably this means he’ll go out on loan to get some game time?

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Yeah. That seems to be the plan. Chrisene is only 18, he’s not gonna get in the first team this season when he’s got a France international in front of him so maybe now is the time to send him out on loan to experience senior football.  I’d probably keep him until August deadline day and send him out then so he can do pre season and maybe the first League Cup game with the first team squad. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not sure Gerrard has the faintest idea what his best team is. The one that started against Manchester United today isn't it. The one that finished probably isn't either though.

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I don’t think anybody does tbh.  I’m not too concerned right now, there are probably half a dozen places which are locked (GK, three of the back four, Kamara, Watkins?) but the rest is up for grabs.  I’m a big fan of Buendia but I think Coutinho is a problem for him, I’ve got high hopes for Bailey this season and we certainly need a bit of pace in the squad.  

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Mings seems pretty professional.  I’d almost forgotten he’d only been captain for a year, it seems longer.  I’m still of the opinion that the armband doesn’t mean that much, leaders are gonna lead with or without it.  However it does suggest that McGinn and Kamara are two of the midfield three, so does the final spot go to Dougie or JJ?  I’ll admit I’ve got a real soft spot for Dougie, it’s gonna be a shame if he leaves on a free next summer.  

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Fair play. I envisioned him having a big stop and causing a distraction.

 

Agreed on Dougie, I don't think he's hit the heights we hoped when he joined but I'd still want him here.

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Pre season results are in then, and they look pretty good.  I'm not reading anything at all into them, had really good results ahead of 19/20 and it took a pandemic to save us from relegation but the squad looks like it has a bit of depth to it for the first time in a while, even if you could accuse it of being lop sided with some areas where we don't know how to crowbar everybody in and others which still look a bit iffy.   I don't anticipate any more big signings unless someone gets sold but I've got high hopes for Kamara and Diego.  I'm still where I was on Coutinho, he's a joy to watch but his signing feels like a marriage of convenience.  Hopefully Ings will have a better time of it this year, I like how he's got the number 9 shirt as it's been a while since we had a good one and Leon Bailey might be that cliched "it's just like a new signing!" if he takes his current form into the Premier League. 

 

Olly Watkins is getting a lot of hate at the moment and I wonder if he'll be less important to the team if his contribution to leading whatever press we try to impose can be picked up by Ings (which he did very well at Southampton) but I don't want to write him off just yet.  I really like him, and we won't be getting much better as a striker unless we luck out with another Benteke or absolutely smash our transfer record (and even then, who do we buy?). 

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Carney gone then.  
I think him leaving was inevitable, I just figured he’d be in the bomb squad or with the kids for a year while his contract ran down so going now, to Chelsea, for twenty million? seems a little crazy.  I’m sure the quoted fee is probably at the absolute upper end of whatever add ons need to be met but it’s probably the best result for us for a teenager with one year left on his contract who’d checked out emotionally a while back.  He might go on to be great, he might be the next Daniel Crowley but he’s got a bloody good agent if Chelsea have been convinced to drop that kind of cash on him.  

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He supposedly doesn't have an agent. It's a family friend relating to his church or something.

 

Either way, £20m, for a pure prospect, who might be great or might be nothing, nuts. 

 

I'd wish him well, but to be honest, I don't. Jumped at the first chance despite being given first team opportunities where the best he did was look alright at Prem level, training with the first team, a good offer on the table.

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11 hours ago, dizogg said:

Pretty much the worst club he could have gone to if he wants to play any football anytime soon.


 

It appears he’s in it for the money. He was getting football at Villa, he was on the pitch against Liverpool, Man City & Man Utd last season so he’s even getting ‘glamorous’ minutes.   He’s been outstanding in age group football for a couple of years and he’s had the odd moment this season (Leicester at home?) where you’ve seen the player he can be but for the most part he’s not shone against opponents he cannot dominate physically.  
 

He was offered a new deal by Villa, it was lucrative by all accounts but he wanted more and Villa just weren’t prepared to pay. Good luck to him at Chelsea but my main memory of Carney now will be ‘did we really get £20m for him?!?’

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I know it's silly to be talking sackings after 1 game in a new season, but... It's not 1 game. We've been shite for ages, and Gerrard doesn't seem to know how to fix things. Yesterday was appallingly bad, and I've no faith at all in Gerrard making things better.

 

He doesn't seem to know the players he has at his disposal. Dropping Mings just made no sense at all, our best defender last year and main aerial threat while Konsa who was crap all season and then got a major injury immediately comes back in. McGinn and Ramsey were hopeless, as much as I love McGinn he's not a top half midfielder and I'm not sure he's a captain - making him basically undroppable is stupid. Coutinho was dreadful, totally and hopelessly off it, meanwhile our best creative spark is on the bench for some reason.

 

It's already painfully obvious we've got a favourites system in place, which seems to be influencing how we play (or don't). Sanson for instance, must be ripping his hair out. He can't buy a game. He looked decent in preseason and he's had his moments in the few minutes he got last year. But he made 1 bad mistake and Gerrard has made him persona non grata. Meanwhile McGinn is pony week in week out and is an ever present.

 

Gerrard has to go. He's not going to, but he needs to. He's not a very good football manager. The brains of the operation, allegedly (and that's a generous description based on last year) has jumped and there's no evidence what's left is any better. Or even as good.

 

Go and get someone with proven ability. No punts. No gambles on finding a gem of a manager. Someone who's had success in a good league. Someone whose shown they're a good manager at a good standard already.

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If I was in charge, I’d be breaking the bank to get Poch in.

 

Can’t see anything in Gerrard that gives me any confidence that he can build an effective team. Agree about Sanson - I haven’t seen much of him, but from what I’ve seen, he’s comfortable on the ball and can control it when under pressure - which are two advantages over McGinn. Pretty sure he played in France with Kamara, so there’s probably an understanding there already.

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Poch isn't coming to Villa, he's paid his dues at mid table sides and I'm sure now he'll just sit and wait for a big Champions League job to come up in England, Spain or Italy.  

 

Gerrard remains extremely unconvincing, doesn't he?  You'll often hear stories about hugely talented players failing at managerial level because the fact that they never had to think about the game much when they were playing suddenly comes back to bite them.   When you can beat two players and smash one into the top corner from outside the box or put a forty yard cross field pass on a sixpence then worrying about the nuances of stuff isn't really an issue.  Do we have that now with Gerrard?   The Rangers successes are there for all to see, but as has been said many times, except for the Celtic fixtures he was playing in a division where the 11 best players on the pitch were wearing Rangers shirts.  He's not getting that at Villa so he's got to have a cohesive team and I just don't see it.   The fact we've started buying older players like Coutinho, Digne, Carlos and Ings worries me.  We probably didn't even need half of them and Ings looks like a really bad fit tactically for the way we play but all of them are here on big contracts and will be 32-33 when those contracts run down.  We've got no midfield whatsoever, players either charge forwards or drop backwards and the centre circle becomes free territory for opposition players,  the public shaming of Mings was completely unnecessary and can't be good for the dressing room.  The signings of Sanson and Bertie seem like a huge waste of money and while (like Ings) they were here before Gerrard they don't make the club's recruitment policy look good at all.  

 

We do have talent.  There are a lot of good players in the squad and it's probably capable of getting 60 points (if you consider the 2020/21 team got 55) but the application needs to improve and it needs to improve now.   We were supposed to get this stuff right in pre season, and I wouldn't mind if we played well on the opening day and got beat by a better team but we simply didn't turn up.   Throwing points away is simply something we cannot afford to do.  

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Everton are dire. We were better than last week, which is a low bar, but Everton are shite. And even with that all it took was them upping the tempo a bit and we started to fall apart.

 

I'd still sack Gerrard.

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Serious question:  what would be the point at this stage of the season?  I’ve always been of the belief that you judge a manager on his second season and Gerrard is just starting that now. Sack him and who do you bring in? What do you do with the squad? How long do you give the new man before calling for his head?  
 

There’s a lot of love for Graham Potter right now, he got 41 points in his first and second season at Brighton, that wouldn’t fly at Villa Park. 

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My concern is the lack of progress, from when Smith was sacked. We’re still a streaky team who aren’t mentally tough enough. We’ll win a few games on the bounce and look ok, then fall apart for the next few. Too much quality to go down, not enough grit to threaten anything.

 

For all Gerrard’s talk of how he has a philosophy, I can’t see it. He still doesn’t seem to know what his best team is. He appears to have fallen out with Mings and Watkins - both of whom seem popular in the dressing room. McGinn as captain? Midfield is our problem area, and making one of our worst players undroppable seems foolish. Kamara has to play, so only one place is up for grabs.

 

I think the bulk of the squad is good. There haven’t been many disasters - nothing in the Balaban class. Bertie is too inconsistent and we’ve not used Dougie the best, but I’m sure a better manager would get more out of them.

 

I know you think Poch is unobtainable, but the board are rich and determined. I’m not convinced he couldn’t be brought in.

 

Other than him, I don’t know who’s available and good.

 

 

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I'm just not convinced by him at all. His tactics are bobbins, the kind of thing that only works if you're playing with players significantly better than your opposition every week, and otherwise becomes a coin flip, and doesn't seem to fit our squad that well anyway. The game last week was, legitimately, one of the worst performances I can remember. He seems loathe to play the likes of Buendia, despite being the only player we have that reliably makes things happen attacking wise, and clearly has favourites...

 

And although it's only the second game of the season, the poor performances extend beyond that. We've been crap all year. There's been no evidence of us particularly improving. The team still has flaws but it's better than the performances have shown.

 

This season feels particularly important, we need to see progress, and I don't have faith in the Gerrard regime to offer it. I'm certain there's managers out there, with good CVs with success in good leagues, that would look at what we have and what we can offer and think they could do something with us.

 

I actually wouldn't go for Potter, I think he's a gamble like Gerrard, not worth taking. In the PL I'd have a word with Rodgers, much as I don't like the man he's got a good record and it's a decent manager. You'd have to speak to Poch, even if it's a complete punt you need to have that conversation. I daresay there's others at the top end of the game out of work that would fancy a crack.

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