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Title chase 2020/2021


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6 hours ago, PaulC said:

Leicester fans are not so optimistic about there teams chances. Without Vardy theres not much threat. Surprised they didnt invest in another striker. 

Three weeks ago they were scoring 5 at Man. City. And also beaten Burnley and West Brom comfortably so I wouldn't write them off from top 6 contention just yet.

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I used to say last season, take it one at a time, don’t just think how hard is it two games later. I think Leeds will be hard, Southampton and Arsenal are harder. But let’s worry about what infront of us. If we beat Leeds and results goes our way we’ll be in a very good position before Southampton. Just play every game as a cup final. 
Don’t think about future games (unless when about resting or about when to prefer getting the 5th yellow card). Don’t think about the league after Christmas, if we’re a top 4 team by then, I think that our board will easily invest in 3 new players. The target can always change depends on how the season goes. The unrealistic part is invest heavily without having the solid base so instead of going to Europe you go to a relegation battle. 

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46 minutes ago, VillaJ100 said:

So are we still on for the Dr Tony winning the champs league in 5 years prediction? 

Only 1 year out I believe... Still on target for winning the league 5 years after he bought the club ;) We’ve come a long way since then :) 

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14 hours ago, Danishlad said:

OK which one of you was on the bcc podcast saying we would win the Europa league in 2028 and champions league in 2030. That made me laugh.

Well, whomever it was is utterly deluded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No way will it take us that long. 

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12 hours ago, abdulaziz1 said:

I used to say last season, take it one at a time, don’t just think how hard is it two games later. I think Leeds will be hard, Southampton and Arsenal are harder. But let’s worry about what infront of us. If we beat Leeds and results goes our way we’ll be in a very good position before Southampton. Just play every game as a cup final. 
Don’t think about future games (unless when about resting or about when to prefer getting the 5th yellow card). Don’t think about the league after Christmas, if we’re a top 4 team by then, I think that our board will easily invest in 3 new players. The target can always change depends on how the season goes. The unrealistic part is invest heavily without having the solid base so instead of going to Europe you go to a relegation battle. 

Certainly doesn't help us with Gabby's arrogant post on Twitter.

Can quickly come back and bite us. Please leave that stuff for after the game.

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Our fixture list for the rest of 2020 looks really nice. 

We could well be in the top 4 or close to it when January window opens. A couple of great signings and who the **** knows where we could end up. 

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Tony Cascarino has written about our terrific start, in today's Times:

"Aston Villa were heavily criticised for the way that they spent last summer. They shelled out nearly £135 million — including on three front-line defenders — and conceded 67 goals, which was the second-worst total in the Premier League behind 20th-placed Norwich City. Before the Premier League restarted, Villa were down. They looked out of it. It took a serious upturn in form in July — when they drew with Everton and beat Crystal Palace and Arsenal — to save them from relegation to the Championship.

Understandably, given the goals they conceded in the first part of last season, the back four came in for some flak. But if you look at the team that started in the 1-0 victory against Leicester City yesterday evening, three of them were signed last year. They added Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest this summer, but Ezri Konsa, Matt Targett and Tyrone Mings all joined permanently after Villa were promoted. Look at them now. They have conceded two goals this season — and both of them were against Liverpool. It looks like Villa worked tremendously hard during the period when there was no football — they were very good at the end of last season — and the influence of John Terry on that back four looks as if it is growing. He is one of the great centre halves and since Craig Shakespeare joined Villa in August as an assistant head coach, Terry appears to have had more time to focus on improving Villa’s defence. Another factor is Emiliano Martínez, the goalkeeper. He was excellent for Arsenal at the end of last season and Villa were the one club brave enough to go after him. He looks calm and collected, holds things together and it makes such a difference to the team when you have a goalkeeper and a back four who trust each other.

The real problem with the 2019 transfer window was the money wasted on forwards. Wesley cost £22 million and managed five goals in the Premier League. Villa brought in Jota and Mbwana Samatta, too, and neither of them performed. Managers rarely get big money twice if they haven’t delivered the first time but Dean Smith has had that luxury. It is difficult to know how much say Smith has in transfers — Villa sacked their sporting director Jesús García Pitarch in July and replaced him with Johan Lange — but the owners seem to have backed him, or at least the team, again. Smith worked with Ollie Watkins at Brentford and they brought him in for nearly £30 million, as well as Bertrand Traoré, Martínez and Cash.

Where Villa have improved this season Dean Smith's side are facing nearly five fewer shots per game compared with last season. They are also completing more tackles, interceptions and shots on target

2019/20 - 2020/21

Goals 1.1 - 3.0

Goals Conceded 1.8 - 0.5

Total Shots 12.1 - 14.5

Shots on Target 3.9 - 5.5

Shots Faced 16.0 - 11.3

Shots on Target Faced 4.9 - 4.3

Expected Goals 1.2 - 1.5

Expected Goals Against 1.8 - 1.0

Possession 43.3 - 45.9

Passes 364.1 - 384.3

Passing Accuracy 76.9 - 77.8

Tackles 13.8 - 14.3

Interceptions 11.1 - 13.5

Smith now has a lovely blend of players. Jack Grealish is given free rein to create and exploit space, then he has the pace of Watkins and Ross Barkley driving forward, which will continue to cause problems. He also has the advantage of having no European commitments and few players leaving for international duty. In this never-ending season, with no substantial break for pre-season, that could be crucial. So, too, having players like Grealish, Cash and John McGinn, who probably think that they have a point to prove — that is always excellent for motivation.

It is early days at Villa, but in 38 years involved in the game I have never seen a season like this. The volume of goals, deflected goals, the general madness — it’s difficult to say exactly what has caused the chaotic results, because so much has changed. Even with one element, say the absence of fans, there are layers to it. There is the psychological aspect, the dip in motivation, but also when you play, the fans can be a great help to you — if someone is closing you down, they’ll scream “man on” and it’s like having an extra set of eyes. Kai Havertz lost a ball in exactly that situation in Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with Southampton. On every level, the game has been changed. Villa have adapted nicely to it — and in this mad season, who’s to say that cannot take them a long way?"

Edited by John
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Yeah, we really were saved by the lockdown. I think this proves that our problems in defence weren't the players we had, it was how we were playing. Credit to the staff, they really worked out how to make the team to be able to defend. I don't think our complete change in defense would've happened had the lockdown not happened.

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37 minutes ago, John said:

Tony Cascarino has written about our terrific start, in today's Times:

"Aston Villa were heavily criticised for the way that they spent last summer. They shelled out nearly £135 million — including on three front-line defenders — and conceded 67 goals, which was the second-worst total in the Premier League behind 20th-placed Norwich City. Before the Premier League restarted, Villa were down. They looked out of it. It took a serious upturn in form in July — when they drew with Everton and beat Crystal Palace and Arsenal — to save them from relegation to the Championship.

Understandably, given the goals they conceded in the first part of last season, the back four came in for some flak. But if you look at the team that started in the 1-0 victory against Leicester City yesterday evening, three of them were signed last year. They added Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest this summer, but Ezri Konsa, Matt Targett and Tyrone Mings all joined permanently after Villa were promoted. Look at them now. They have conceded two goals this season — and both of them were against Liverpool. It looks like Villa worked tremendously hard during the period when there was no football — they were very good at the end of last season — and the influence of John Terry on that back four looks as if it is growing. He is one of the great centre halves and since Craig Shakespeare joined Villa in August as an assistant head coach, Terry appears to have had more time to focus on improving Villa’s defence. Another factor is Emiliano Martínez, the goalkeeper. He was excellent for Arsenal at the end of last season and Villa were the one club brave enough to go after him. He looks calm and collected, holds things together and it makes such a difference to the team when you have a goalkeeper and a back four who trust each other.

The real problem with the 2019 transfer window was the money wasted on forwards. Wesley cost £22 million and managed five goals in the Premier League. Villa brought in Jota and Mbwana Samatta, too, and neither of them performed. Managers rarely get big money twice if they haven’t delivered the first time but Dean Smith has had that luxury. It is difficult to know how much say Smith has in transfers — Villa sacked their sporting director Jesús García Pitarch in July and replaced him with Johan Lange — but the owners seem to have backed him, or at least the team, again. Smith worked with Ollie Watkins at Brentford and they brought him in for nearly £30 million, as well as Bertrand Traoré, Martínez and Cash.

Where Villa have improved this season Dean Smith's side are facing nearly five fewer shots per game compared with last season. They are also completing more tackles, interceptions and shots on target

2019/20 - 2020/21

Goals 1.1 - 3.0

Goals Conceded 1.8 - 0.5

Total Shots 12.1 - 14.5

Shots on Target 3.9 - 5.5

Shots Faced 16.0 - 11.3

Shots on Target Faced 4.9 - 4.3

Expected Goals 1.2 - 1.5

Expected Goals Against 1.8 - 1.0

Possession 43.3 - 45.9

Passes 364.1 - 384.3

Passing Accuracy 76.9 - 77.8

Tackles 13.8 - 14.3

Interceptions 11.1 - 13.5

Smith now has a lovely blend of players. Jack Grealish is given free rein to create and exploit space, then he has the pace of Watkins and Ross Barkley driving forward, which will continue to cause problems. He also has the advantage of having no European commitments and few players leaving for international duty. In this never-ending season, with no substantial break for pre-season, that could be crucial. So, too, having players like Grealish, Cash and John McGinn, who probably think that they have a point to prove — that is always excellent for motivation.

It is early days at Villa, but in 38 years involved in the game I have never seen a season like this. The volume of goals, deflected goals, the general madness — it’s difficult to say exactly what has caused the chaotic results, because so much has changed. Even with one element, say the absence of fans, there are layers to it. There is the psychological aspect, the dip in motivation, but also when you play, the fans can be a great help to you — if someone is closing you down, they’ll scream “man on” and it’s like having an extra set of eyes. Kai Havertz lost a ball in exactly that situation in Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with Southampton. On every level, the game has been changed. Villa have adapted nicely to it — and in this mad season, who’s to say that cannot take them a long way?"

Bit harsh to say we wasted money on forwards when Wesley got injured and Jota was basically swapped for Gardner, but why bother doing actual research. Not quite sure we have "few" players leaving for internationals either, plus Cash, Konsa and Barkley are likely to be added to that list soon not to mention Watkins and Targett knocking on the door. Oh that's the entire best XI then, as well as bench players like Traore, Heaton, Elmo (?) and possibly Heaton and Wesley when they're back.

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16 minutes ago, mjmooney said:

Credit to Cascarino (or his copy editor) for correct use of 'free rein'. 

There’s no way Cascarino would be given free rain to write that, his copy editor clearly had the reigns with that one :)

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18 minutes ago, It's Your Round said:

There’s no way Cascarino would be given free rain to write that, his copy editor clearly had the reigns with that one :)

Boooooo. Boo this man.

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1 hour ago, Laughable Chimp said:

Yeah, we really were saved by the lockdown. I think this proves that our problems in defence weren't the players we had, it was how we were playing. Credit to the staff, they really worked out how to make the team to be able to defend. I don't think our complete change in defense would've happened had the lockdown not happened.

I actually still think we might've stayed up without lockdown. Let's remember we didn't win any of the six games that followed and only got 2 points from that. When we kicked off v Palace we were 6-7 points adrift of Watford so guess at that point pressure was off and we played with some freedom and it worked.

Big thing is lack of crowd as I doubt we'd have held onto the 1-0 v Arsenal with VP being a pressure cooker for last hour hour but then a crowd in might've pushed us more to beat Sheffield United and get draws v Chelsea (which we were also leading) and Wolves, difficult to say.

What's improved us in summer is better players for first 11 and a great tactical mind on the coaching staff so we're far more flexible during games now in terms of changing tactics/shape.

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