Villa Blog

Baggies Entertain Aston Villa Tonight

The Baggies ‘entertain’ Aston Villa this evening in their first game with Big Sam as their manager. I use the word ‘entertain’ with reservation as the Baggies will not offer any entertainment from a footballing perspective. The lack of proper football under Bilic was there for all to see. This was understandable as they are basically a mid-table Championship team masquerading as a Premier League team.

But with Big Sam now calling the shots I think the Baggies will make Burnley’s performance against us last Thursday night look Barcelona. I think Covid has done the Baggies fans a huge favour by banning fans from the games. I am assuming even they will be able to appreciate how dire the football will be under Big Sam.

Villa Is A Bigger Club

Villa is a bigger and better club to WBA in every possible way. History, stadium, owners, money, management team, head coach, players, youth development, ladies team, facilities, fans, and most importantly a positive future. We must show we are a bigger club this evening by not giving the Tesco Bags even the slightest sniff of getting anything from this game. This game should be another nail in the Baggies relegation coffin. However, I do hope they pick up a few points this season as it would be proper entertainment if Villa were to relegate the Baggies when they visit Villa Park on April 24th for the return leg.

Villa Must Assert Our Superiority

Football is a funny old game and even the worst footballing teams in the Premier League will have their 15 minutes of fame. Didn’t Norwich give Man City a good beating at Carrow Road last season. Villa must assert our superiority and not make this evening’s game the Baggies 15 minutes of fame.

They have some things going for them and we need to be aware of this. Significantly, this is the Baggies Cup Final this season and they will probably be well up for the game. For Villa, it is just another game against a team counting the days till relegation. Further, they have a new manager in the form of Big Sam. This is the perfect game for them as they may benefit from ‘new manager bounce’. Also, Big Sam won’t have been there long enough to completely kill off any ideology of trying to play football that Bilic had thought them.

Dean’s Team Selection

Hopefully, our team selection will be fairly straightforward. Cash and Luiz return form suspension. Barkley is hopefully fit again and I believe that Trezequet is still injured. Cash will return as out right back. Luiz will return as defensive midfield. Barkley back in as attacking midfield and Grealish will go back to the left side of our front three (where he is better than in a central role).

The open position which requires a decision is the right side of our attacking front 3. The choice is El Ghazi or Traore. Yes, El Ghazi had a good game against Burnley and had 8 shots on goal but I would opt for Traore to start. I like Traore, he needs to improve but I see aspects of his game that make me think he will become a good player for Villa. He needs a run of games and Dean needs to afford him this opportunity.

Villa Starting 11

Villa starting 11

How The Game Will Unfold

Prior to the appointment of Big Sam, the Baggies had built a reputation of ineptitude in front of goal and comically stupid defending. They balanced this with an average of about 30% possession during games to give them the slim hope of getting a goal on the break after boring their opposition into complacency. Their record signing Karlan Grant (15m) has managed one goal this season. It is very difficult to judge him as a player as he gets no service from his teammates. I don’t expect much threat from him nor the rest of the Baggies but maybe it is a chance to rest our defensive players and Martinez and give the young lads a chance to play with the senior team?

We must play to our strengths and we need to be much more clinical in front of goal. Luiz will add to our attacking threat as he is much more forward-minded a player to Nakamba. Villa’s ability to unlock a defense and show our qualities tends to rest with the relationship between Grealish and Barkley. When these guys click we are unstoppable as Liverpool discovered the hard way. If Barkley is fit to start I expect a bag full of goals to go along with our 25+ shots and our dominance in possession. If Barkley doesn’t play we will find it much more difficult. This does not mean we won’t dominate the game. It is just a sign that we need that extra bit of quality in the midfield when Barkley is not available.

What The Bookies Think

Villa win: 10/11

Draw: 14/5

Baggies win: 14/5

10/11 looks like very tempting odds for a Villa win. Put a grand on that and you will nearly double your money.

When & Where To Watch

For most of us, kick-off is at 19:15 on BT Sport 1 with the pre-match warm-up starting at 18:45. For those of us lucky enough to be living on the beautiful West Coast of Canada kick-off is at 11:15am and is available on DAZN. Some of us will be enjoying a few beers and others will be tucking into some Canadian bacon with maple syrup with some fluffy waffles. Personally, I would like both!



132 Responses

  1. Vancouvervillan

    There is a Christmas rumour that Dean Smith’s next contract will include some elecution lessons 🀣🀣🀣

  2. HenleyVillain

    Great game, just love watching this current team. Almost faultless performance, even the players I have come to doubt have stepped up massively. And just reading back the comments during the game, looks like all of you to a man wanted El Ghazi off after the sending off. Another glaring mistake from Deano 🀣🀣. A point at Chelski will do for me, but we rarely end up drawing games, so who would back against us getting all the points there??

    1. Vancouvervillan

      I honestly think we are as good as Chelsea on the day. Interesting with the injuries & suspensions and changes playing Jack centrally we haven’t missed a beat. Its wonderful to see smiling players enjoying their football.

      1. Vancouvervillan

        Yeah, I liked that squad, memorable away draw at Everton that season too.
        Thankfully we’ve moved on to winning games now πŸ˜‰

      2. HenleyVillain

        Yep, all smiles to a man. Feeling good about not spending a fortune on Tuanzebe too. Never thought I would be saying that. And in my book, Watkins looks to be as good as Abrahams – he works a lot harder.

        1. Vancouvervillan

          Abrahams is quick but looks slightly amateur and less skilful to me. Think Watkins is a much better all round CF.
          I always liked Tuanzebe but tbf Hause has been emense for us, asked to come in and play on his wrong side hasn’t put a foot wrong out of position, then asked to switch back to the right side today to cover for Mings.
          The squad “stand ins”? Have been truly outstanding. Credit to the coaching team & the players patience waiting for a chance.

  3. Vancouvervillan

    Who knew Targett could defend like that as well ?
    Heaton going to need a heated seat πŸ˜† Mings will have to fight for his place as well. Got to be the best December we’ve had for many a year.

  4. Vancouvervillan

    Looks like El Ghazi found his shooting boots at the back of his locker then πŸ˜†
    Think that’s 4 in 4 games.

  5. Vancouvervillan

    Logic maybe was because Traore would be odds on the 1st substitution in 2nd half.
    We’ll miss him though he’s one of the few moving the ball quickly, linking up well with Watkins and Cash.

  6. Vancouvervillan

    Lol, Zaha picked wrong player there πŸ˜† what a little tw*t he is, live it when he’s upset 🀣

  7. Vancouvervillan

    Not sure how you really measure the stat but commentator said earlier we have the best press in PL right now.

  8. Vancouvervillan

    Yeah, inconclusive all day and Vaan arnolt was leaning into Cash. Excellent referring, VAR judge delayed the game not the ref

  9. Vancouvervillan

    I’m reading Chelsea want to off load as many as 7 to take a stab at getting Haaland & Rice amongst others. Both Barkley & Alonso in the 7, both would be solid signings imo.
    I think a little too soon for us, but I would just love us to be in a position to entice Haaland, can you imagine.
    Best wishes all πŸŽ…

  10. AVFCVillablog

    Hi lads
    I just want to Wish you and your familys a Merry Christmas and to Thank you all for your continued support keeping the blog active throughout the year
    Stay safe and have good one

  11. Vancouvervillan

    I think the big fear for me was with Barkley injured where would we find the depth to be able to continue to compete. The last 3 or 4 games has shown me apparently I shouldn’t have been worried. As a squad we’ve shown we do have the depth, at least more than I had imagined. The recent starters who were barely involved prior to injuries & suspensions have really stepped up with no noticeable drop in performance.
    Because of this I think the window becomes slightly less important, meaning if we can’t get the right player or deal then we can simply wait until the summer. Nice position to be in.

    On the other hand with European teams hard up for cash and the slim chance we could really make a big leap towards being in Europe, given the performances we’ve achieved so far, maybe this is a huge opportunity to improve the team ?

    One thing I do know is we won’t be pressured into silly deals like we have been in recent January’s. It’s got to be a good deal for the right player who will improve the squad.
    We’re really in a great position and have become a club players will want to play for.

    IF we do sign players I think my priorities are for another Barkley type, i.e. central MF who is capable of defensive and attacking properties, someone who can drop deep if we need to with the same energy and game changing ability RB has.

    Obvious other position is LB, Targett has been great so far but Taylor as back up has reached his sell by date. He’s gone in summer anyway so no rush but a young challenger to Targetts position or even a new LB starter would be a welcome addition. These are the two main positions in need of attention for me.

    Other positions …

    CF, a lot will depend if Wesley is anywhere near fit yet, but if Watkins struggles or is injured the thought of relying solely on Davies would be a concern. If we sign a striker than clearly Wesley will take longer than expected.

    CB, I think we have cover, Hause has been awesome, but Engles involvement is a question mark. Hause is left footed yet is playing RCB before Engles even though Engles is apparently now fit. RCB interest wouldn’t surprise me, although Engles still young.

    DMF, I kind of semi covered this with my thoughts on a CM above but with uncertainty about Luiz staying in the summer, getting the feelers out for a proper DM not a bad idea.

    I think for once this January we are in a position to be much more fussy about who we sign, if any.

  12. Vancouvervillan

    Very scary situation in London and south east, I’m reading they are going into a tier 4 lockdown, essentially same strict lockdown as Springtime. The newer strain of Covid is said to be 70% more contagious and the majority of the new numbers infected have that strain. Could be a long time for all of us before we get back to anywhere near normal despite the good news with vaccines.
    Be safe and keep smiling everyone πŸŽ…

  13. Vancouvervillan

    “Jack Grealish has created 38 chances from open play in the Premier League this season, the most of any player in any of Europe’s big-five leagues in 2020-21.”

    Love this stat

  14. Vancouvervillan

    Played very well again. I do like it when players take their opportunity and wait patiently for a chance rather than sulking.

  15. Vancouvervillan

    We really need to come out and put them to the sword and no need for Mings to be too far forwards. I really hope we can get over this playing poorly against 10 men thing.
    Another 1 or 2 goals should see us able to shut the game down and just keep the ball.

    1. Vancouvervillan

      So no Barkley & Konsa still ill.
      Looks like Jack central again.
      Not liking 3 FB’s on the bench, but what do you expect from a Brummie manager 😎

      1. Vancouvervillan

        Let’s hope El Gastly proves you wrong.

        I do agree with no crowds this is an ideal time to get some youth involved on the bench at least, no need for 3 FB’s surely.

  16. Vancouvervillan

    🀣🀣🀣 You two are hilarious. comedy gold 😎
    Sell our best player we’ve had in decades and replace the only manager thats achieved in years

  17. Vancouvervillan

    I really don’t know about some of these managers lol How you ship out Walker-Peters and prefer Aurier is beyond me.
    Spurs looked awful this morning.

  18. Vancouvervillan

    We need to be at it tomorrow and not underestimate anybody, “their are no easy games in football” πŸ˜† plus the big sam factor. Be nice to beat a team we should and without any drama.
    UTV !

  19. Vancouvervillan

    Tomorrow’s starting 11 will depend entirely on whether Barkley is fit to start. I’d be tempted to leave him on the bench even if ready to go,and ease him back slowly. There are a lot of games coming quickly easing him back might be the prudent thing to do.
    Trezeguet is gone till early January I read, hamstring.
    I’d be tempted to start Ramsey with Jack left and El ghazi on the right. Either way I think we’ll see El Ghazi at some point. Hourihane will also be chomping at the bit. Like I say depends on Barkley & how we reintroduce him.
    Smith was cagey about Konsa last game, saying he’s “ill” ? Hope its not covid related. If he’s not recovered we might see Hause again. The 3 squad stand ins did very well last game.