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We’ll end up where we end up, if indeed the season even actually finishes. I’m confident we’re a much better team than last season and that we’ll have some brilliant wins along with the inevitable disappointments. Mid table is great progress so whether that’s 8th or 14th, it’s all good. I’m just here to enjoy the ride. 

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The most important thing this season, to me, is we keep progressing and show our core players (Grealish, McGinn, Luiz, Mings) that they can continue to grow and flourish here.  
 

this past window and this season was always about that.  We were able to not only retain our top talent but sign them all to renewed deals.  Based on our post-lockdown form, relegation always felt far fetched to me given our transfer investment as well compared to other relegation-threatened clubs.  On the flip side of that, realistically challenging for Europe this season is an unreasonable ask given our handcuffed wage bill.

Next summer transfer window is where things get really interesting... another summer of talent retention and focused, concentrated investment.  Will be one we absolutely have to get right, and ideally the discussions about challenging for Europe will be in the picture.

if we were 1 season ahead of the plan when we were promoted, Crazy to think where we are in the long range plan after survival.  This summer showed we are where... year 4 of the plan after just year 2 I imagine?

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1 hour ago, blandy said:

I think the top 6 this year have a kind of disadvantage - not only is the season compressed, but they have Euro telly games and cup games and perhaps less bias towards them from refs given the absence of crowds, so they are potentially brought closer to "the rest" - We've already seen 3 of the "top 6" clubs get absolutely mullered.  It's ridiculously early days, but I haven't seen anything so far that makes me think "they're miles better than us from any team - Everton have looked excellent, Tottenham good but in terms of team performances so far, Villa have been also good, so I kind of accept @villalad21's point as a fair one at this stage - 12th would be OK for us, but in a hypothetical no injuries situation, our first 11 is not far off whoever will finish 5th.

In my opinion the season being compressed is an advantage to the clubs with the strongest squads and greater ability to rotate and cover absence. 

Lack of crowds and removal of bias is an interesting one and could certainly be a factor in why home advantage isn't what it once was so I'll agree there. Although VAR has to a degree already reduced that.

In terms of 3 top clubs getting mullered, one of those was by Spurs who are themselves part of the top 6, I can't think which the other example is.

In terms of being "miles better" I don't think they are but I stand by the previous comment that there are 8 sides who I think are better than ours.

Yes we've been good so far but I think talk of challenging for the top 6 is getting a little carried away personally. We shall see.

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If you work down the names in the Premier league there are plenty of teams who you wouldn’t be amazed if we finished above them. Teams like Newcastle, Burnley, Sheffield, West Ham etc are all likely to be in the mix with us. Then there are a group of teams at the top end you would be very surprised if we finished above. 

Looking at the season that way I think us finishing 9th would represent a great season without being crazy or a huge shock. So really anything around 10th is a reasonable finish. 

Pushing into the Europe places is likely unrealistic with our lack of squad depth but another relegation battle would be a poor season after the amount we have spent on our first 11. 

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Improving on last season is my goal for Smith and the squad this season. Whether that's finishing 15th or finishing 8th.

It would be nice to be 'The best of the rest' but being the best if the rest shouldn't be what determines this season as a success, imo. We haven't got a squad that warrants that.

Edited by PieFacE
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40 minutes ago, TrentVilla said:

In terms of 3 top clubs getting mullered, one of those was by Spurs who are themselves part of the top 6, I can't think which the other example is.

Man City got Leicestered, Spurs as you say horsed the prawn eaters and ....no...Liverpool couldn't have. got a hammering by anyone...could they :)

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I am very open minded at the moment.  We could avoid injuries or, at least relatively to other teams, get more lucky with them given most of our team are in an age bracket where they should be in or close to their physical prime. 

That said, Mings and McGinn have both had recent injury layoffs, and I would be surprised if they avoided them all season.

If we avoid injuries and play like we did against Liverpool every week, we could win the league.  It almost certainly won't happen, but it could do. Now that we've demonstrated we are capable of this it is slightly less unlikely than it was before the season started but still extremely unlikely. 

If we accept then,  a drop in performance is likely here and there (and repeating the Liverpool performance likely impossible),  that we'll get the odd injury to a key player, and that occasionally we'll face a team that's having their best day off the season,  you begin to accept that any finish in the top half would be a great achievement. We'll have to revise this view every week as we get more evidence and more information about whether what has taken place so far is a blip or the new norm.

I'm optimistic that we'll be top half,  and if everything goes our way but we don't achieve this I might be disappointed,  but realistically I'll accept any improvement on position last year and signs that the improvement will continue. 

 

Edited by MrBlack
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47 minutes ago, TrentVilla said:

I think talk of challenging for the top 6 is getting a little carried away personally.

So do I. My comment was that our first 11 is not far off the first 11 of the lowest of the teams who get called the top 6 (those that were top 6 last season)  - Man U, liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Spurs, Leicester. That's probably looking like  Man Utd at the moment.

I know we'll get injuries and stuff and we are not likely to finish 6th, that's a different thing to having a pretty handy "best 11" with everyone fit and healthy.

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Our start has been so good if we only managed last years points per game from now until the end of the season we would end on 47 points which was 13th last season.  I’m pretty sure we’ll do much better than that.  59 points got you 6th last season.  
 

Edit: got my maths wrong. I believe we would end on 41. We were pretty poor last season.

Edited by Vive_La_Villa
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17 minutes ago, Vive_La_Villa said:

Our start has been so good if we only managed last years points per game from now until the end of the season we would end on 47 points which was 13th last season.  I’m pretty sure we’ll do much better than that.  59 points got you 6th last season.  

That's very interesting. 

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1 hour ago, It's Your Round said:

We’ll end up where we end up, if indeed the season even actually finishes. I’m confident we’re a much better team than last season and that we’ll have some brilliant wins along with the inevitable disappointments. Mid table is great progress so whether that’s 8th or 14th, it’s all good. I’m just here to enjoy the ride. 

Good point. 

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I'm honestly not making any predictions or insinuating we are bound for European placing in what I'm about to say..

I think if our starting XI does stay fit, and Smith has us set up well enough in each contest, from one week to the next, we'll be a chance to win any fixture we're in.

You really don't know where we might end up. I believe we are going to make our presence as a PL team known once more this season, how consistently, we'll see.

Edited by A'Villan
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33 minutes ago, Vive_La_Villa said:

I got my maths wrong. We would actually end on 41 which was 15th.

Haha

Not as interesting. 

I guess it shows we should be able to achieve a much more comfortable points total and be safer a lot quicker this year. Which would be progress  

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Well we are 5 points up on the equivalent fixtures v sheff United and Liverpool. Can't compare Fulham as we were the play off winners the year before but they look to be the Norwich of this season ( well the next derby 07 I reckon). So we're already 5 up. 

It won't be 7-2 Every week and teams will adapt against our forwards. We could easily lose 3-1 v Leicester next time out. However I am optimistic that we have a good chance of springing far more positive results than we might have expected this year. Top half is a fair target. We can reassess at Xmas/ as we go as to whether we could go any further

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You may think I’m bonkers but there is something in the air, We survived by the skin of our teeth last year and if you look back into our recent history every time we have done this the season after has delivered well beyond expectation. I honestly don’t know what that expectation will be but I smell a top six and dare I say a trophy that will let older Villans complete the set

Edited by Follyfoot
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8 minutes ago, Follyfoot said:

You may think I’m bonkers but there is something in the air, We survived by the skin of our teeth last year and if you look back into our recent history every time we have done this the season after has delivered well beyond expectation. I honestly don’t know what that expectation will be but I smell a top six and dare I say a trophy that will let older Villans complete the set

I stopped reading here as I couldn't agree more with this. 😂

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5 hours ago, Paulie said:

The most important thing this season, to me, is we keep progressing and show our core players (Grealish, McGinn, Luiz, Mings) that they can continue to grow and flourish here.  
 

this past window and this season was always about that.  We were able to not only retain our top talent but sign them all to renewed deals.  Based on our post-lockdown form, relegation always felt far fetched to me given our transfer investment as well compared to other relegation-threatened clubs.  On the flip side of that, realistically challenging for Europe this season is an unreasonable ask given our handcuffed wage bill.

Next summer transfer window is where things get really interesting... another summer of talent retention and focused, concentrated investment.  Will be one we absolutely have to get right, and ideally the discussions about challenging for Europe will be in the picture.

if we were 1 season ahead of the plan when we were promoted, Crazy to think where we are in the long range plan after survival.  This summer showed we are where... year 4 of the plan after just year 2 I imagine?

Great post.

On your point about the schedule for the ambition and plans of the club to be realised, I think we have very sensible and level headed ownership, at least on the Wes Edens side.

That sensibility is perhaps only matched from what I have gathered by his desire to be ambitious and seek out excellency from himself and everyone on his teams. I like Edens.

When NSWE took over in July and set their sights on preparing us for another push at promotion, half the starting XI was overhauled between one season and the next.

Bruce failed to inspire any confidence and was unable to integrate the newcomers into an outfit to challenge, concerns were there and within three months he was replaced.

I don't think anybody who actually took the time to appreciate Villa's predicament and situation expected Smith to turn it around in the manner he did, even though he did.

NSWE would have been aware that the strategies Villa had been employing had been failing for a decade, and badly, and would look to bring in new methods of operation.

Allowing Smith the remainder of the season to implement his training and matchday ideas with a view to mount an undeniable promotion run next season.

They wanted Smith to settle and make the team what he and NSWE envisioned, but once the wheels were in motion, looking back wasn't on the agenda.

Once promoted, coming back down was not part of the plan in my view, even though a possibility, the goal was to make the most of the opportunities ahead.

I think we're still only a year ahead of schedule. Just my thoughts, but next phase from here is a push for Europe, and I think a few seasons will be afforded Smith for that.

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