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Everything posted by John

  1. Targett applied a Matt finish in the dying seconds of this game to break the hearts of Brighton fans and players alike yesterday. His late, late winner sent us up into mid table above our visitors and prevented VAR from robbing us of another two points. Quite why VAR chose to overrule the match officials and cancel out Hourihane’s well hit 42nd minute goal is beyond me. It certainly was not a clear and obvious error by the match referee, to not rule that Wesley’s attempt to reach a cross from Guilbert at the far post, represented an illegal challenge on Ryan as he flapped at the ball. Yes, Wesley’s arm was raised, as is invariably the arm of anyone who tries to climb in the air to head the ball. To adjudge that to represent a foul on Ryan is taking protection of the goalkeeper, way too far. This decision left me wondering, how many of Andy Gray’s or Peter Withe’s headed goals VAR would have ruled out?’ Brighton started brightly yesterday and scored a 21st minute goal that we could see was coming, from a Gros free kick that was floated towards Webster on the left edge of the 6-yard box. The defender had unforgivingly been left unmarked and he proceeded to head the ball back across the face of the goal and into the far corner of the net. Having been reduced to 10 men on 35 minutes, our visitors still posed an occasional threat to us during the second half. They came into this game with confidence following a surprising, yet well-earned win against Spurs. Their performance yesterday, should probably have seen them coming away from Villa Park with at least a point, against a Villa side that had struggled to find the scintillating form, that had put Norwich to the sword before the international break. Our visitors made their long journey back to the South coast yesterday, having failed to register their first ever win at Villa Park and having been denied a point by our late winner. This was because for once, we were able to find a way of beating both 10-men and VAR. VAR really does need sorting out. We are in mid-table despite VAR, which again intervened as the players had been about to re-start the game. It had also done so in the first half of our last home game, when it cancelled out McGinn’s goal against Burnley, as the players lined up for the re-start. It is rapidly killing the spontaneity of goal celebrations. When the ball has crossed the line, fans at the game are now in fear of its intervention until the game has been re-started. Goal celebrations, which are such a joyous part of attending a game, are therefore now understandably becoming muted. Brighton had enjoyed the better of the game before Mooy’s sending off. Having escaped an early booking, he could have no grounds to complain that he had been harshly treated on collecting 2 yellow cards so soon. Perhaps he was still finding difficulty in coming to terms with England’s earlier convincing World Cup win against the Wallabies! Another 6 points would see us match the total number of points that we were able to accumulate during the whole of the last season that we spent in the Premier League. This like the Norwich game before it, could have been considered a potential 6-pointer. It certainly represents a welcome win, given that our next two league games are against Manchester City and Liverpool. We were not at our best yesterday, but we didn’t resort to hoofing the ball into the penalty area as time was running short on us and winning on your “off days” is a necessary habit to acquire for any successful football team. We stretched our unbeaten home run to four games yesterday, came back to win the game having been a goal behind and have now won our last two league games. These results have seen us go ahead of Manchester United in the league table. I must admit that I rather like seeing that again, it has been far too long since that was last the case! My player ratings from a game that left us singing “Sweet Caroline” again when the final whistle sounded are: Tom Heaton – 7 – Got down to stop a 26th minute Maupay shot at his left-hand post. Maupay then played a nice ball on for Connolly, whose 31st minute shot from right of the penalty spot was prevented from giving them a 2-goal lead by Tom’s left foot. He gathered another Maupay shot at the second attempt on 45 minutes and did well again when he saved a 66th minute Montoya shot low at his left-hand post. Frederic Guilbert – 7 – Hit a couple of nice crosses into the box, including the one that produced our equaliser. Bjorn Engels - 6 – Played his part in the centre of our defence. Tyrone Mings – 7 – A solid performance. Matt Targett – 7 – Scored our winner with the last kick of the game. He was found by a well weighted 94th minute ball from Jack and coolly hit our second from the left edge of the 6-yard box, past Ryan and into the far corner of the net. Anwar El Ghazi – 4 – Had a 29th minute shot from the edge of the box blocked by a defender and hit a loose ball that had cannoned off Ryan wildly over the crossbar on 42 minutes. He really should have done so much better from only 6 yards out. He also headed a nice 67th minute Trezeguet cross harmlessly wide of the far post. Anwar can and needs to do better than this. Marvelous Nakamba – 6 – Left with a lot to do by himself in the middle yesterday. John McGinn – 6 – Some way off his usually very consistent best yesterday. Found the side netting with a shot on 37 minutes and had an on target shot blocked 3 minutes later. Hit a 65th minute shot over the bar, after Jack had pulled the ball back to him on the edge of the box. Jack Grealish – 9 – MOTM – Pulled the strings in our midfield yesterday and made good runs forward. Scored our equaliser and created our late winner. McGinn found Jack just outside the left of the box, he then played a superb ball between 2 defenders for Targett to hit our late winner. Jack had earlier started and finished the move that produced our equaliser in the 2nd minute of first half stoppage time. He ran forward with the ball before finding Wesley near the edge of the box, who in turn played the ball out wide to Guilbert whose low cross eluded a defender and Ryan before being bundled home by our captain. Conor Hourihane - 8 – Wrongly given a booking on 19 minutes and thereby conceded the free-kick from which Brighton scored their increasingly likely goal, having made a perfectly fair tackle and won the ball. Unluckily hit the left post with a 23rd minute free kick from 30 yards out. Conor was even more unfortunate to have VAR cancel out what would otherwise have been a 42nd minute equaliser. Ryan had been unable to deal with a cross aimed towards the far post by Guilbert for Wesley, the ball ran to McGinn who played the ball to Conor, whose accurate shot beat the keeper and found the top left-hand corner of the net. He attempted to turn in a 51st minute Targett cross, but hit the ball directly at Ryan, who blocked it and El Ghazi failed to turn in the loose ball. We missed Conor’s midfield contribution following his 63rd minute substitution, which led to Brighton at least initially, having more of a say in the middle. Wesley – 4 – Hit a 53rd minute cross over the bar and struggled to make any impression against defenders who looked like extras from “Land of the Giants”. Substitutes: Trezeguet – 6 - Replaced Hourihane on 63 minutes and looked worthy of a start next time out. Douglas Luiz – Replaced El Ghazi on 76 minutes. Hit an 88th minute shot from outside of the box a couple of feet wide of the post, having been teed up by Jack. Not on quite long enough to gather a rating. Keinan Davis – Replaced Wesley on 76 minutes. Not given long enough to earn a rating. He did however, do very well to take a 93rd minute cross down on his chest, before turning powerfully back towards goal and then hitting a shot from a wide angle, that Ryan fingertipped wide of the far post for a corner. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  2. Brighton have never won at Villa Park. We know all too well that such records are there to be broken, but hopefully this one will remain intact after Saturday's game. Overall, we have won 9 and have drawn 6 of the 18 league meetings, that there have been between the two clubs. Brighton last beat us at The Goldstone Ground 39 years ago. Who would have thought that we would go on to be champions after that? I must admit, that I had a doubt or two myself. A win will take us 2 points ahead of our visitors. Let's stretch our unbeaten home run to 4 games and get up to mid table with another win. Just do it for us Villa!
  3. John

    Douglas Luiz

    Yes, but I doubt that is not a decent sum and it's probably the only way we got the deal done. He will have to be some player (which I suspect he will become) with us to attract them to buy him back, so it's potentially still a bit of a win for us.
  4. John

    Douglas Luiz

    He's our player now, so I don't care what Pep wants or doesn't want. I think that he will soon become a first team starter for us and that it will take a lot of money for Pep to get him back (assuming he's still there then).
  5. The league table looks do much better for us, following Norwich's biggest ever defeat against us yesterday. Delia Smith gives her six favourite autumn recipes in The Sunday Times today. I tried the Stuffed Canary yesterday and I can't get enough of it!
  6. We're having a disco!!! A fantastic win.
  7. Really? I had heard that he only had a tiny tempah...
  8. I was thinking that if he's half of the striker that the last one we signed from them back in 1975 was, then he's our man.
  9. Gayle just scores goals in the box and there is still a question of how well he would do that outside of the Championship. Bowen has pace, but also has to prove he can score goals in the PL. If we can find and afford someone with pace, that scores goals and that also harasses defenders count me in.
  10. Don't even think about that! If we go down yes, that worst case scenario is likely to happen, but to sell them with half the season to go would be accepting relegation as being inevitable and I don't see our board being willing to that.
  11. Rodriguez showed on Saturday that he is the sort of player who could have provided us with an option coming off the bench or as cover without breaking the bank. He's a nasty individual but sometimes you need that, Dwight Gayle is just as unpopular with me, but might be available to do the same for a similar fee. If not, we are looking for players who are not getting many games with their clubs, at younger players on loan with a view to buy or at players from abroad/the Championship whose clubs look unlikely to be involved at the top or bottom (like Bowen at Hull).
  12. We last won at Norwich in 2013 and have lost our last four games there. That is a losing run that needs to come to an end on Saturday. A win would take us out of the bottom three, it would also see us move two points ahead of The Canaries and it would probably see them taking our current place in the bottom three. We were promoted alongside our hosts last season, having both spent three seasons in the Championship since both being relegated at the end of season 2015-16. Overall we have won 26 and have drawn 15, of the 62 league games that there have been between the two clubs. The last draw between the clubs at Carrow Road was a goalless one and it happened 15 long years ago. Will this be our first away league win of the season or our first away point? I would gladly take either, but would obviously prefer a resounding victory. Let's be having a win. Just do it for us Villa!
  13. Points win safety and we are not gathering enough of them. It’s still early days in this season and we are not cut adrift yet, but we really need to get out of the habit of not holding onto winning positions. We had the lead twice yesterday, but we were twice pegged back and therefore failed to gather the three points that we so needed. As a result, we still find ourselves sitting uncomfortably in the bottom three. We now need to win our next home game against Brighton and to start picking up points from our away games, to begin to compensate for the points that we are dropping at home. We should aim to start doing that next week at Norwich, in what they may see as an early 6-pointer. Four points from these two games would see us average a point a game, which if maintained over the course of the season, should be enough to secure our safety. Villa started brightly yesterday. We had the best of the first 45 minutes, and we went in at half time, a goal to the good, despite VAR having ruled out one from McGinn’s on the 25th minute. Villa failed to really push on in the second half, frustratingly twice conceding equalisers. The second of which was a real sucker punch, that came within 2 minutes of our regaining the lead from the head rather than the hand of Rodriguez on this occasion. By the way, what really is the point of VAR, given the way that it is currently being used? Perhaps it is, to quote my friend Sinead, an abbreviation for “Villa Are Robbed”? It certainly does us no favours and creates a lot of uncertainty after the ball has hit the back of the net. It also impacts adversely on the spontaneity of the game. Yesterday we celebrated a 25th minute goal from McGinn only for it to be ruled out a couple of minutes later, after the goal celebrations had died down. Are we soon going to have to wait to celebrate a goal until VAR tells us that it is safe to do so? VAR also backs up the decision made by the on-field referee 99.9% of the time, as was the case again yesterday when it ignored a foul on the edge of the box on El Ghazi in the build-up to their first goal. It also rubber stamped the referee’s decision that a yellow, rather than a red card was adequate punishment for Rodriguez’s crude late challenge on Jack. It seems to me, that VAR is more concerned about supporting fellow officials than making the right decision. This was never going to be an easy game, there will be no easy games this season. Burnley are a scrappy side and they made this a scrappy game. They were adept when it came to time wasting and to making over-robust challenges, particularly on McGinn and Jack, that the referee was happy to be exceedingly lenient with. They however are, annoyingly effective, know how to grind out results and they left Villa Park yesterday with the point that they came for. On the positive side, we are looking so much more competitive on our return to the Premier League than we had been on our embarrassing exit from it. We also stretched our unbeaten home run to three games yesterday, although the last two of these have been draws. My player ratings from a game that left us still waiting for our second league win of the season are: Tom Heaton – 6 – Tom collected a 36th minute McNeil free kick low at his right-hand post. Was rooted to the spot when Wood headed home their second equaliser. Frederic Guilbert – 7 – Looked good when moving forward as well as in defence. Bjorn Engels - 7 – Both Bjorn and Tyrone were given a thorough test by Burnley’s forwards. Tyrone Mings – 7 – Didn’t always look quite as comfortable as usual yesterday. Matt Targett – 7 – Nice to see him getting a start, typical of his and our luck that an injury led to him not being able to see out this game. We missed him up front and at the back, after his 62nd minute substitution. Anwar El Ghazi – 7 – McGinn swept a lovely ball wide to Guilbert, who hit a 33rd minute cross that Anwar turned sweetly into the far corner of the net for our opener. Substituted having sustained an injury in the build up to their first goal. Marvelous Nakamba – 8 – Looked solid, reliable and kept busy throughout. I would like to see us try a midfield with him starting alongside Douglas, with John and Jack playing ahead of them. John McGinn – 9 – MOTM – Scored one, had one ruled out by that dastardly VAR and not even a succession of illegitimate challenges could stop him making a terrific impact upon this game. Headed a nice 3rd minute Targett cross over the bar. Side footed Trezeguet’s precise 79th minute cross inside the near post and through Pope with aplomb to give us the lead again. Jack Grealish – 7 – Looked noticeably more effective playing further forward yesterday. Hit a shot well over the bar on 9 minutes, after the ball had been played back to him on the edge of the box. Jack was denied by Pope who saved his well hit 45th minute shot from just outside of the box at his left-hand post. Wesley found him on 74 minutes but his shot from the centre edge of the box was hit harmlessly over. Conor Hourihane - 6 – Nice to see him back in the starting line-up. Struck the outside of the left-hand post with a nicely hit 13th minute free kick from just outside of the area. He was given offside eventually by VAR, having hit the cross that McGinn hit home on 25 minutes. Had a decent shot blocked by a defender by the near post in the 6th minute of second half stoppage time, after a corner had fallen to him. Wesley – 4 – I was thinking that this just might be one of those days when a striker does virtually nothing throughout a game, other than score. Sadly, it wasn’t! Substitutes: Neil Taylor – 4 - Came on for Targett on 62 minutes and the impression that he made on the game was not a positive one. Neil was badly mismatched as Rodriguez raced ahead and easily climbed above him to head home their first. Committed himself embarrassingly early, allowing Lowton the space and time to put over the cross that led to their second equaliser. Kortney would surely have been another viable option; had he been sitting on our bench yesterday. Trezeguet – 6 - Replaced El Ghazi on 70 minutes, I for one, had rather expected him to start. He hit a splendid old-fashioned winger’s cross from the line for McGinn, to claim an assist for our second goal. Keinan Davis – Replaced Wesley on 88 minutes. He holds the ball up well and brings others into play, but he also unfortunately makes Heskey look like a bit of a goal machine. Nevertheless, two out of three ain’t bad, as Meat Loaf once said, and he must be getting very close to a league start now. Keinan wasn’t given long enough to gather a rating yesterday. Up the Villa! John Lewis
  14. A win will take us within a point of our visitors on Saturday, it will stretch our unbeaten home run to three and it will also be likely to take us out of the bottom three. Our last league win at Villa Park against The Clarets came in 2010, when we won 5-2. Burnley won 1-0 on their last visit to B6 in 2015, but prior to that they had not took all of the points from a visit to us since 1973. Overall we have won 40 and have drawn 22, of the 98 league games that there have been between the two clubs. We won the first league meeting between the two clubs at Villa Park 4-2 in 1888 and recorded a 10-0 home win against them in 1925. I would be happy with either of those two results on Saturday, although the most recent one would also give us our third consecutive clean sheet at home! We do need to pick up points regularly at home, as we are not collecting too many, away from home at the moment. For me, we need a minimum of 4 points from our next two home games and 6 points would be even better, so a win it is. Just do it for us Villa!
  15. A good result, it's nice to see that we can win an away game and hold onto a lead in this competition. I would imagine Wolves will not dare to send out the team they did last night at Villa Park. It is about time that we won this cup again, another visit to Wembley would be nice.
  16. A cheeky bid for Erling Braut Haaland of Salzburg, anyone?
  17. A win might start a winning run and although the league game against them is clearly far more vital, we are both likely to be resting players, so why not win this one as well? Our last defeat at Brighton was in 1980 and we went on to win the title that season . Our only cup/shield defeat in the 4 games we have played, came in the first meeting between the two clubs in the 1910 Charity Shield. Overall we have won 11 and have drawn 7 of the 22 meetings that there have been between the two clubs. A win, with Jed once again possibly sealing it with his penalty shoot out heroics would be nice. Just do it to Villa!
  18. Just watched MOTD 2. They all agree it was a clear penalty. VAR just backs the ref's decision, once again it has proved irrelevant that the decision made was blatantly the wrong one. That's two late equalisers and two points that we have been denied against Palace and now Arsenal!
  19. Disappointing to lose this one, but not as disappointing a performance against Arsenal as others we have given in recent years (such as in the FA Cup final for example). We certainly gave them a game this time and they will be mighty relieved to have come away with the points. We are new to this league and for a second time have come away from difficult fixtures in North London, rightly thinking that we should have got something out of the game. That's far better than getting a hiding, as many none Villa fans would have anticipated us getting at both stadiums. This team can and will need to further improve. It will need to hold onto leads and to take advantage of teams that go down to ten men. It's still relatively early days though and a couple of much needed home wins can do much to lift the confidence of players and fans alike. We already look a better team to me, than we did at this time last season and most definitely a better team, than the one that last played for us in this league and were relegated so embarrassingly. It's too soon for us to give up on these players, their boss and on this season!
  20. We could of course look to repeat the sort of loan deal that we did in 2012 to bring Robbie Keane in from his US club for a few games. Welcome to B6 Zlatan!
  21. Loan wise someone like Dwight Gale, Benteke or Bowen from Hull with an agreed fee at the end of their loan periods, might be worth considering. I'm sure there will be several others that we would be able to look at in January. We do need cover and another option to use from the bench in the New Year.
  22. Let's hope their 3-0 win at Frankfurt will take it's toll on Arsenal on Sunday, rather than give their confidence a boost as seems more likely. This is a bit of a free hit for us in my opinion. We are not expected to get anything from this game, so coming back with anything will be a real bonus and a confidence booster. We last won at Arsenal (3-1) in 2013, since then we have lost there 5-0 and 4-0. Overall we have won 61 and have drawn 39 of the 174 league games that there have been between the two clubs. Three points would bring us within a point of Arsenal. It would also give us some sort of revenge for that embarrassing FA Cup final defeat in 2015. I would be more than happy with a point, but a win would be even better. We won there in 2013, 2011 and in 2008, so winning there is not unheard of for Villa. Just do it for us again Villa!
  23. They got a £42,500 fine for that attack on Jack last season. That will teach them a lesson!
  24. Seems I have not been anywhere near harsh enough on a couple of our lads. I struggle to see how Douglas merits a below average (6) rating after just over 10 minutes though.
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