What a hideous time to be an Aston Villa supporter. A very active transfer window continued right into its final hours, during which an actual game of football had the temerity to burst our bubble. With the signing of Brentford's Scott Hogan waiting to be announced, the new Villa man's former club destroyed his new one in front of the television cameras.
After that reality check, another. Villa lost at Nottingham Forest on Saturday to round off an appalling week and to continue our poor start to 2017. If January killed off our play-off hope, February's conduct with its corpse has been questionable at best. In this week's Aston Villa Review, Chris and Steve welcome some new faces and lament some old habits.
With Chris temporarily out of action, Aston Villa Review returns to ring in the end of the transfer window and assess the business we know about so far. Aston Villa's promotion hopes have faltered and they now face an uphill battle. At the very least, January has showed that there's work to be done and a long, long way to go.
This week, though, Steve is joined by 7500 to Holte's James Rushton to chew the fat over Villa's busy transfer window. Will shuffling the pack again work the miracle that's needed, or has this been done with an eye on next season instead? There are also two games this week with Steve Bruce's men travelling to Brentford and Nottingham Forest with an eye on a maximum six points.
Aston Villa's recent Championship form has taken on an unnerving familiar character in recent weeks, and continued to disappoint with a woeful 1-0 defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday. In this week's show Chris and Steve discuss that game and Villa's run since Boxing Day, so if you're expecting positives then you'll have to look for a while.
But football's not the be all and end all, and last week we lost Graham Taylor, who managed the club for two spells and became a huge part of the Villa family. It's only right that we pay our respects to a wonderful man who was able to maintain his humanity, his humility and his dignity in a game that seems to rob others of all three.
Well damn, it's been a while ay it? We would apologise, but you know...it's free. Sod ya. We will, however, give you a reason for our absence, and that is that we are people with lives and jobs and issues. Unfortunately we've been unable to record the show for a few weeks, but we did manage to get together again on Sunday to recap what we've missed. That it's now Wednesday and we're just getting around to publishing says everything you need to know about our status at the moment.
Anyway, on with the show. This week we quickly rattle through recent games, including the end of Steve Bruce's unbeaten start at the helm, before diving into Sunday's win over Queens Park Rangers in a little more detail. With Christmas coming up we'll be away for another two weeks, but at least we knew in advance to preview what's coming up. Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.
Aston Villa's modest but essential revival under Steve Bruce continued this past weekend with a 3-1 home victory against Cardiff City. Albert Adomah, Jonathan Kodjia and Rudy Gestede scored the goals as Villa overcame a setback at 1-0 up to dodge the swinging boots of the opposition and bag three more vital points.
Luckily for Villa, Jack Grealish getting booted up and down the field isn't enough to knock the team off course at the moment. In this week's show we talk about Grealish's performance along with those of James Chester, Jonathan Kodjia and others, and assess the overall afternoon's work. Next up is a trip to Leeds United, previewed briefly within.
A Friday night fixture took Aston Villa to the new home of Brighton & Hove Albion for the first time last week, and Steve Bruce's side came away with a very respectable 1-1 draw against one of the most highly-rated teams in the Football League Championship. Nathan Baker scored Villa's goal in a game that left us with mixed feelings.
Most Villa supporters would've been happy enough with a draw if offered beforehand, but the performance in the second half especially deserved all three points. In this week's show Chris and Steve focus on the positives of the Brighton game before looking ahead to Saturday's home game against Cardiff City.
Aston Villa haven't taken 11 points from 15 games since long before Aston Villa Review began, but that's exactly what new manager Steve Bruce has achieved since taking over. Okay, so it's in the Championship, but that's no guarantee of anything. Saturday's 2-1 home win over Blackburn Rovers was Villa's third under Bruce, and takes them up to 14th.
In this week's show Chris and Steve talk about Villa's latest win and the current state of play, and discuss their wishes for the Villa Park redevelopment that Tony Xia teased last week. Filled-in corners? Not for us, thanks. And, of course, we talk about the supporters' relationship - such as it is -with midfielder Ashley Westwood.
This week's Aston Villa Review focuses squarely on Sunday's Second City Derby, in which Aston Villa battled manfully but had to overcome a sub-par performance to hold on to a draw against Birmingham City. Our misfit hosts came on strong in the second half to level a game that Villa led at the break thanks to Gary Gardner's header.
Chris and Steve pick apart the whys and wherefores of the match, talk a lot about shape and systems, and ask which Villa players came out of the fray with the most credit. We also briefly look ahead to the next game in the Football League Championship, which brings Blackburn Rovers to Villa Park next Saturday afternoon.
Two weeks into the Aston Villa job, new manager Steve Bruce seems to be making some headway. After picking up a sketchy home point against Wolverhampton Wanderers in his first match, Bruce's team put together the best week they've had in ages. On Tuesday, Steve looked on as Villa defeated Reading with a last minute goal from Jordan Ayew. On Saturday, Chris was at Villa Park for the 1-0 win against Fulham.
In this week's Aston Villa Review we examine those two victories and ask what Bruce has done to improve the side in a short amount of time, if indeed they've actually improved at all. We also look ahead to some game Villa apparently have lined up next Sunday, and Chris narrowly avoids dying on the show twice.
After an eventful international break, Aston Villa returned to Football League Championship action with a new manager in the dugout. Steve Bruce, formerly of Manchester United as a player and a whole bunch of clubs as a manager, has embraced the challenge of turning around a team that has taken to Championship life like a duck to a wood chipper.
Bruce's first game at Villa Park was a 1-1 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and brought about one of the worst performances of the season. A penalty apiece told nothing of the story; Wolves can be furious that they didn't leave with all three points. Next up for Bruce and Villa: Reading away and Fulham at home.
124 days. We've had colds that lasted longer. But 124 days was the total length of Roberto Di Matteo's managerial tenure at Aston Villa, by whom he was sacked this week after Villa's latest games against Barnsley (another draw, another late concession) and Preston North End (rubbish) didn't go his way. Even after five minutes in the job, few seem surprised or upset.
In this week's Aston Villa Review we stick the boot in. Chris and Steve talk about Di Matteo's performance, weaknesses and sacking, and, of course, the vital question of who might be coming in to replace him. The list is uninspiring, but them's the breaks. There's no game to preview this week because of the international pause, so the ex-manager gets both barrels instead. Lovely.
Aston Villa made a meal out of taking a point from the game against Newcastle United on Saturday, but take a point they did. After going behind to a Tommy Elphick own goal, Villa battled back with a rousing last half hour. And, for once, it was Villa who grabbed a goal at the death. Aaron Tshibola's header gave us something to cheer about.
In this week's Aston Villa Review we examine the myriad questions posed by Saturday's match, discuss Roberto Di Matteo's tactical choices and ask whether the latest in a long line of draws might be the one that pushes Villa on. We also preview two upcoming matches, namely the visits to Barnsley and Preston North End.
Chris and Steve have been unable to record a show for a while for various reasons that ain't none o' ya biznizz, but we're back in action this week to catch up on the latest happenings at Aston Villa. Roberto Di Matteo's side has hardly impressed since last we spoke, and our conversation about Villa's recent matches against Brentford and Ipswich Town is a case study in brave-facery.
As well as assessing the two freshest games, we talk about the apparent pressure on Di Matteo, his performance to date, Villa's start in the Football League Championship and a few of our new signings. Is it really all doom and gloom yet again, or is this simply a football team that needs a little time to click?
As the international break takes Aston Villa briefly out of the firing line, three parting shots from Bristol City ensured that our temporary departure wouldn't be a happy one. In this week's Aston Villa Review we talk about the team's second loss of the Championship season and ask some of the questions so starkly asked by the performance that inspired it.
There's also yet another chat about Dr Xia, his input so far and his ongoing Twitter exploits, as well a quick update on transfer comings and goings. Ritchie de Laet has joined and Jores Okore and Joe Bennett are amongst the leavers. We skip over a couple of those. Firstly, we (aptly) forgot all about Jordan Veretout, and, secondly, we recorded too early to celebrate the excommunication of the biggest disgrace to wear our shirt for generations.
If relegation to the Championship has one effect, it's that a single week out of the podcasting racket leaves a backlog of too many matches to review at once. Since we last spoke, Aston Villa have lost at Luton Town, beaten Rotherham United, and drawn against Huddersfield Town and Derby County. There have been new signings, injuries and some horrendous goals conceded, and we talk about them all this week.
But the truth is that the football was overshadowed last week. Former Villa striker Dalian Atkinson died after being tasered by police in Telford, leaving behind a tale of tragedy. Our thoughts go out to the people who loved Dalian personally, of course, and this week's show includes a tribute based on our own love for the man as a giant of our formative football years.
The 2016/17 season is underway and Aston Villa made their Championship bow on Sunday against much-fancied Sheffield Wednesday. Roberto di Matteo's side put in a performance of two halves but conceded late in the better half to lose 1-0, but there are some positives to be taken alongside the same old negatives.
In this week's Aston Villa Review we assess the game at Hillsborough, welcome Ross McCormack to the club and wave goodbye to a few of the departed. There's no show next week so we also consider the next four upcoming games. Villa face Luton Town in the EFL Cup this week before league ties against Rotherham United, Huddersfield Town and Derby County. No rest for the wicked.
It's been a minute but we're back. Yes, plenty has happened since our last show but we needed a break after four brutal years or we might not have even made it into this coming season. It all begins on Saturday, with Aston Villa's Football League Championship kick-off taking place at Hillsborough on Sunday afternoon.
In this week's Aston Villa Review we have a quick preview chat about that game against Sheffield Wednesday and recap the club's summer dealings, welcome the new coaching staff and ponder the pros and cons of Dr Tony Xia's outspoken Twitter ways. Buckle up, it's going to be one hell of a season.
No sooner had we packed our bags and headed off on our Bert & Ernie-style summer holiday together than the one piece of news we'd been waiting for came to pass. Just days after the end of Aston Villa's dismal relegation season in the Premier League, it was announced that the club was to be taken over by Dr Tony Xia's Recon Group, a Chinese investment vehicle with big intentions.
Of course, Villa being Villa the whole thing's gone a little murky since then. Questions over Xia's wealth, means and plans have provided the media with a fruitful backdrop to the void left by the formal processes of the takeover and the question of Villa's new manager looms large as pre-season (we presume) approaches.
And with that, it was all over. 38 games done, the last of them a limp 4-0 loss at the hands of Arsenal, and Aston Villa are essentially now a Championship club. In the last show of the season Chris and Steve revisit the supporter questions asked in The Independent over the weekend, which Chris provided answers for; now it's Steve's turn.
There's also our annual review of Villa's players. Over the years we've tended to give each one a grade but this year we haven't bothered because, well...F. Nevertheless we rasp our way through the full squad, single out the bad 'uns, try to find some good 'uns and generally just have a good old whinge about the season just gone.
After what feels like an eternity it's almost over. Aston Villa's drawn-out relegation is one match away from being in the past. It's been a difficult season for everyone concerned except, apparently, for some of the players responsible in large part for making it happen, but it'll soon be behind us all. Next week's visit to Arsenal will end the misery and who knows what the future will bring?
In this week's show Chris and Steve have a quick chat about the weekend's goalless draw against Newcastle United, who look increasingly likely to be joining Villa and probably Norwich City in the Football League. We also cover a few other topics from around the Villasphere over the past couple of weeks, and there's a good word or two for Rudy Gestede.
It hasn't been an easy week to be an Aston Villa supporter. Since last we spoke, Villa have had their relegation from the Premier League mathematically confirmed, lost two matches and put supporters through one of the worst weeks of recent decades. From Randy Lerner's latest bout of nonsense to the double-resignation from the board that presumably triggered it, it's been a trying few days.
The players are doing their level best to compound the misery. Gabriel Agbonlahor is suspended - again - and now Jores Okore has apparently refused to play for the first time after a spat with caretaker manager Eric Black. We discuss all that in this week's show, which was recorded before Okore took to Twitter with the old "more to it" rubbish that clarifies nothing.
It might not be official but it's really really real for the first time. By losing to AFC Bournemouth on Saturday - their eighth consecutive defeat - Aston Villa condemned themselves to relegation from the Premier League into the Football League Championship. With sloppy goals conceded by a badly selected, incapable and gutless Villa line-up, the Bournemouth game was a fine summary of the season as a whole.
Norwich City's failure to take anything away from Crystal Palace means that Villa are, technically, not yet relegated. Nevertheless, in this week's show Chris and Steve follow up a brief chat about the Bournemouth game and its various curios with a discussion about the realities of the drop. It's over, folks. The game is up.
Aston Villa's heavy home defeat by Chelsea on Saturday leaves them, presumably, one week away from relegation. Like, actual real confirmed 'R' relegation. And yet the nature of the loss was so familiar that it leaves us with very little new to say. Alan Hutton was sent off. Villa can't defend or attack, and they're going down. World keeps turning.
Still, there's plenty going on elsewhere. Alleged striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is under investigation by the club and out of action in the meantime, and there's yet another managerial change underway. As expected, Villa and Remi Garde parted ways last week and Villa's drop will be confirmed while managerless. Who's next?
Aston Villa's defeat to Swansea City in the Premier League on Saturday took a familiar form but there's plenty going on at our listless club away from the weekly abomination on the field of play. Since Chris and Steve last sat down to talk about the overall direction of the club there have been several changes to get our teeth into.
The club's board now includes Mervyn King, David Bernstein and one General Charles C. Krulak, and a recent announcement introduced the Football board. Bernstein and King's involvement there will be bolstered by former Villa player and manager Brian Little as well as a new Head of Football Operations. Deckchairs on the Titanic, or a new dawn? Take your pick.
Chris is out of action once more because of work commitments but Steve is on hand to take over hosting duties and check in on all things Aston Villa. Except the football. And the table. And the future. He's joined by an old friend of the show, Kirsten Schlewitz, who makes her AVR debut at almost the worst possible moment.
Kirsten is a Villa-biased football journalists with many strings to her bow, from creating the Villa blog 7500 to Holte to the newly inaugurated crowd-funded project Unusual Efforts by way of several European countries most of us know little about. This week's show is a fairly wide-ranging affair; work permitting, we'll be back to something approaching normality next week.
Davinson Sanchez simultaneously looks like a good defender and an absolute calamity, I don't know how. His positioning is good, he's fast, strong. But he just has frequent rushes of blood to the head and does absolutely boneheaded things.