Villa Blog

Aston Villa Brush Aside Arsenal With Ease

What do Aston Villa need to do after crushing ArsenalLast night. Aston Villa crushed Arsenal to move to 6th in the Premier League. To me, this was the best Villa performance in many years, even better that the 7-2 mauling of Liverpool. There was not one Arsenal player that would win their place in the Villa team on last night’s performance. We are now 12 points clear of the bottom 3 and I am confident that worrying about relegation this season is not something Villa fans will need to do. We can leave that to The Baggies, Fulham, Sheffield Utd and a few others.Β 

So where do Aston Villa go from here?

My goal this season was to avoid a relegation scrap. I believe that Smith has delivered this. Yes, we need to continue and win another 5 games from the remaining 29 games to be more or less sure of this. But, should we be now reassessing our expectations for this season or should we be content with what we have accomplished. We need to keep our feet on the ground and not get carried away with dreaming about European football, but we also need to set targets for Smith and the team.

Working on the squad

I would like to see Smith work on the squad this season and build a squad capable of a European push next season. We have our starting 11 just about nailed down. The only position open for change is wide right with Trez and Traore battling it out. Trez is doing a fantastic job at making this his and Traore has yet to get a chance to prove himself. But we need to plan for injuries and suspensions. Smith needs to be able to introduce substitutes earlier and he needs to be able to have more competition for the starting 11. 

Integrating players

The likes of Ramsey should be getting more game time, particularly when we are 3-0 up with 10 mins left to play. Guilbert should be able to give Cash a rest for the last 15 mins and we need to be able to take Jack off and feel comfortable with his replacement. Luiz too, he is proving to be an outstanding purchase, but we have Nakamba and Hourihane that can come on and give him a break. Smith needs to show his skills at managing a squad and he needs these players to be integrated into the team properly and not just as bench warmers that don’t get to kick a ball in anger.

Dean Smith

Last season I was firmly behind keeping Smith as manager. My logic was it was a new team and the players and Smith and little or no experience in the PL and I believed that a season working together would benefit them all. This season is different. Smith needs to keep pushing Aston Villa forward and I think developing the squad will be his most important task. If Smith manages to accomplish this then I am happy to see him remain as our manager. I am not suggesting replacing him now. That would be crazy as he is doing an excellent job. But as the season develops, we need to keep the pressure on and keep looking to see how we can improve.

Jan transfer window

Bar having to replace an injured player I think Jan will be an interesting window and should be more about planning for next season rather than trying to influence the latter stages of this season. Three new players are required for next season. We need to upgrade El Ghazi, backup for Targett, replacement for ElMo and a replacement for or preferably the purchase of Ross Barkley. Some activity with these positions would be very welcome to give the new player(s) a bedding in period before next summer.


Wes is the forgotten man at Villa. He will be like a new signing when he come back from injury and hopefully, he will rise to the occasion and justify his 22m price tag. I am hoping that he will be joining a squad which is high on confidence which may just be the perfect environment for him to thrive and put pressure on Watkins for the starting role.

The future is bright, it is fun being an Aston Villa fan. It is fun watching our games and it is fun watching Match of The Day. 


27 Responses

  1. Vancouvervillan

    3 players in Shearer’s team of the week. Jack, Watkins & Luiz.

    I thought we had the best keeper in years when we signed Heaton, he is a very good keeper, but Martinez has been brilliant both on the pitch with distribution ive never seen before and off in his class comments, real nice guy too. Like many I’m trying to temper my expectations but he thinks he’s going to get us into Europe 😁

  2. HenleyVillain

    Feeling great about being a Villa fan again. The game against Arsenal was just something else and the Β£60 spent on ppv was worth the money just for that one match. Someone asked me who was man of the match afterwards and I couldn’t name one, that’s how well they all played. Just have to hope the international break doesn’t upset our rhythm this time around.

    1. HenleyVillain

      The sooner the powers at the FA realise just what a fraud the man is, the sooner players like Konsa will get recognised. England need a forward thinking manager, not someone who only ever plays his favourites.

  3. Vancouvervillan

    Nice post Begley agree with most of that.

    I do think we need another strong DM, Luiz could be off this summer and regardless I think we need another capable DM as cover for SJM & Luiz. Barkley is capable of playing deeper but I think is most effective playing further forward. I also see Ramsey more of a forward MF’r.

    I must admit I was worried yesterday for our tactics & organization when I saw McGinn driving into the box for his disallowed goal, hardly part of a DM role in a 4231 but I do accept its much more fluid than that, however, it did raise some tactical doubts for me. Smith had hinted earlier players weren’t following orders in the two losses.

    The use of subs I’m putting down to the int. break coming up meaning no need to rest anyone, but I would much rather have seen Davies on for Watkins & Guilbert or Ramsey on for a more professional slow down of the game, ekking out the time. A chance to show players on the bench they are part of the team & squad.
    Not the first time we’ve not used subs & as we were at 3-0 another slight concern.

    It’s exciting doing better than we imagined right now but I still think it’s a little early to be talking about Europe, the last two losses I think taught us that, we are still very much work in progress. Tactically possibly still a little naive for sure something I hope improves.

    For now I’m sticking with a top half finish as a sign of some real progress, but hell beating any top six club away with such a thrilling performance is sure great to watch and enjoy πŸ˜„
    UTV !

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Easy for everyone to agree when we’re winning πŸ˜†
      Long may it continue.
      The realist made it pretty clear he has no respect for anyone posting on here. No loss.