Villa Blog

Do The Hammers Hold The Key

Do the Hammers hold the key to Europe for Aston Villa? In the last Blog Leader, I spoke about how I believed Aston Villa is a midtable side. So why am I now talking about Europe. Well, believe it or not, it is possible for a midtable side to qualify for the Europa Cup. I really should define what I mean by midtable. For me, midtable is finishing anywhere from 7th to 14th in the league table next May. And I am certain that Aston Villa will finish between 7th and 14th.

The winners of the domestic cups will determine how may places in the PL table will qualify for the Europa. In summary, if the winner of a cup qualifies for Europe via their league position then an extra Europa qualification spot is allocated to the league. Basically, we want Man City or Liverpool to win the domestic cup double and as such there will be 2 extra Europa spots up for grabs from the league position. This will mean the teams that finish first through fourth will qualify for the Champions League and the teams that finish 5th through 7th will qualify for the Europa Cup.

With 7th potentially giving a Europa spot that means a midtable club will possibly grab a European spot. As Aston Villa is a midtable side we are therefore challenging for Europe this season. There can be lots of debate as to which teams fall into midtable etc so I have put together my thoughts, see below. This is not intended to show final league positions, although I think it will be damn close, it is just to show which group each club belongs to.

Table Categories

Midtable Mini-League Battle

Our battle this season is against the other 7 teams in our midtable mini-league battle. Just a quick look at midtable and we can see some serious competition. Arsenal and Everton are two teams I do not like having to go head to head with over the course of 38 games. The other teams don’t worry me as much. The ‘better’ of the other teams: Wolves, Southampton and Leeds are having injury problems and can’t appear to put a decent run together. The Hammers are overperforming this year IMO, maybe there is still a little life in the old dinosaur. They have to be seen as a real threat to our final position. The table below shows the relative positions of the teams in our mini-league.

Mini-League Table

Some Are More Equal Than Others

If George Orwell was a football fan I think he would say ‘All points are equal but some are more equal than others‘. If we win against any of the teams in our mini-league then we not only gain 3 points but we also stop our direct competition from gaining any points. These games are critical in determining our final finishing position and whether we qualify for the Europa Cup or just have a very satisfactory midtable finish.

Tonight’s game is a huge game. It is 1st against 3rd in the mini-league. This is a real 6 pointer as Villa will go top of our mini-league with 2 games in hand over The Hammers with a win. Points won against The Hammers are more equal than picking up 3 points against The Baggies or other Championship sides. If we have real aspirations of Europa qualification I think we need to be showing it tonight.

It is not just tonight that is important. Our following fixture is against 4th placed Arsenal. These two games will go a long way to determining if we need to get our passports renewed in time for next season. We will also be playing both Leeds and Wolves in the next month which highlights the fact that we are now entering probably the most important month of this season. Win all four of those games and I believe AVFC will finish 7th and will qualify for Europe.

High Class Problem

I have to admit this is really a high-class problem I am discussing. We already have 32 points. This makes us safe from relegation and we are exactly halfway through the season. I watched Baggies v Sheffield United last night and thought (laughed) at how it must be for their fans. This time last year the discussion was about Villa trying to avoid relegation. It is an absolute pleasure to write about how we are competing for a Europa Cup place.

Hammers Tonight

This is a tougher game than I expected it to be, simply because The Hammers have been on such a good run. They are top of our mini-league and rightly so. They are a big strong side and our players will have to be on song to get the win. We were not great against The Saints but came away with 3 points. We will have to play a lot better tonight than we did on Sunday. That said, I am confident that we will win. We should have won the last time we met and hopefully, we are a little more streetwise now.

Deano needs to make the right calls tonight. We cannot afford to have a tiring Traore or Barkley gifting them opportunities. Trez, El Ghazi and Sanson should come on to provide some fresh legs which helps to take the pressure off the full team. I am going for 2-0 to the Villa

What The Bookies Say…

The bookies are with Villa tonight and have us at 6/5 favourites, the draw is 12/5 and a win for the Dinosaur is 9/4. Villa don’t really do draws so I am thinking the bet to make is 6/5 on a home win

UTV

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Muz1
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

How close to disaster were we ?

Vancouvervillan
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Vancouvervillan
19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

He should have bought the blues, then it just would have been business as usual.

We’re so lucky to have NSWE as our current owners, there aren’t many clubs, if any, better run than us at the moment.

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

“One game at a time” ๐Ÿคฃ

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago

I feel a little for Liverpool, the most entertaining team in recent years, injuries caught up with them this season. I hope they don’t panic too much and overreact, I like to watch them front 3 play together, Firmino I think one of the most underrated no.9 in the league.

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

I keep thinking its going to be better than ever when stadiums are full again.
Needs to be a while before we put people at risk though.

Muz1
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

He was poor again yesterday, put in the odd block, that was about it. Should never wear the shirt again, it was only because the wind was in our favour both halves that we didn’t concede. Get rid along with DS.

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Muz1

NKB gets worse, Barkley today’s scapegoat.
Mingscrecord with clean sheets speaks for itself, plus we have no right sided CB available anyway.
Watkins hasn’t scored without Barkley on the pitch.
Some real idiots showing themselves up on that blog lately, it’s embarrassing

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

The calls for Barkley, SJM & Mings to be dropped are coming from posters looking for reaction, not based on football knowledge.
Barkley is our 2nd best player.

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

I’ve come to the conclusion there is a distinct lack of knowledge & common sence on that blog, barr a few I’ve always enjoyed reading.
Calls today for VP redevelopment at a time when fans are not allowed and everyone’s finances ever tighter ๐Ÿคฏ

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

Not just Virgil, no luck with their other CB’s either, it’s made a huge difference to their chances. I thought they were okay today just Allison mistakes. Not sure why it’s become so bad to punt the ball up field now and again, this keeping possession mantra is a tough ask against such a fantastic press from city.
Thought Foden was excellent today, would love him at Villa.

Mr Klopp, sorry Martinez is not for sale ๐Ÿคฃ

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

Distribution in particular is top class. I love the way he’s always looking for a quick ball out. Makes me laugh sometimes he’s annoyed at our defenders being in the way of his quick kicks out to Ollie ๐Ÿ˜†

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

He did that yesterday. I would like to see us retain more possession but time and place for everything. Possession is not so much of an issue, only when we play top six.
I do think we need a plan in general to keep possession better late in games, closing games down.

Muz1
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19 days ago

Man City will take some stopping on that form. Liverpool, after such a long unbeaten home run have now lost 3 on the trot.
If we won our games in hand we would be above them.
I think if anyone, at this stage of the season, would have had you carted off if they had predicted that at the start of the season.
We have come a very long way in a very short time.

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

Yep, Leicester & especially Utd are not good enough.

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19 days ago
Reply to  Muz1

Need to covert them games to wins, but it is doable.

Muz1
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19 days ago

Not saying we will do it, but to be this close to them with over half the season gone is testament to how far we have come in a very short space of time. If we can keep improving at that rate who knows what we can achieve.

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

Nor me, but no win for Leicester is good for us. West brom look gone as do all current bottom 3, strange for it not to be tight at the bottom, sometimes more interesting battle than the top this time of year.
Hoping for a Liverpool win to keep it interesting at the top.

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

I still think if we can put a few wins together Europe is still on. I don’t see anything too special in a lot of the current top sides, barr pool & city.
Next few difficult games will tell us more but we certainly can’t afford any more spam performances.
You’ve got to believe ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Vancouvervillan
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

Entertaining game yesterday’s 3-3 but I feel Everton are really not that special and Utd really have had some lucky wins, against us included, lucky calls etc.

Muz1
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19 days ago

Down to ninth, Smith out. Pulis is available.

Muz1
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

The baggies are in serious trouble now , can’t see big Sam getting out of this one.

Bigfatron
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19 days ago

What a time to be a villa fan,how high can we get this season,then onto to next year what players do we need
Keepers unless heaton wants out no need to do anything
Defenders normal back 4 with hause,we need a pair fullbacks and another centre half would sell engells ,give Elmo a coaching role with an ambassador to Africa included keep the owners sweet
Midfield sell Conor , undecided on barkley price would be issue would love lange to get us a souek type player
Wingers sell elgazi he has redeemed himself this season would like a ashley young type of winger
Strikers hopefully Wes will come back along with Barry been a bit older should do send Davies on loan
Management give Smith a fancy accent
In short want 2 fullback centre half ,a 6 foot plus midfielder plus a winger
Sell release loan,Taylor engells elgazi Conor davies

HenleyVillain
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HenleyVillain
19 days ago
Reply to  Bigfatron

Yep. really good times a coming for us. Have waited a very long time for this and am enjoying it to the full, just a pity we can’t be at the games. I reckon Targett is possibly the most improved player this year, so maybe we only need to look to our youth for cover at LB? I think we should be looking to buy someone like Allan Saint Maximan. I was hoping Bruce would take them down there might be more chance of him becoming available. Not too sure about Wes but I think it would be very difficult to get a striker in who knows he would just be sitting on the bench. Great players wouldn’t be prepared to do that – just look at Barclays reaction to being subbed last game. Difficult times ahead for the manager but I agree, a few elocution lessons might help when he has to explain the new rotation policy ๐Ÿ™‚

HenleyVillain
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

Sometimes, you just get what you deserve ๐Ÿ˜‚

Last edited 19 days ago by HenleyVillain
Bigfatron
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

You know jose is desperate kane rushed back and then missing 2 sitters, surprised baggies haven’t had a nibble at his ankles

Bigfatron
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19 days ago
Reply to  Begley

If spam can give lingerad we surely can reward jack

Vancouvervillan
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Vancouvervillan
20 days ago

Arteta really does talk some crap, typical of today’s privileged managers who think alot of themselves. We had twice the shots & shots on target despite less than half the possession. We looked dangerous every time we went forward unlike arse with 200 mil + strike force, (Ovegaard looked v. Good though). I wonder if some of these prima dona’s even grasp the realities of the EPL.
He does have a nice accent though ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last edited 20 days ago by Vancouvervillan
Vancouvervillan
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20 days ago
Reply to  Begley

Yes soft red. Lookman impressive again in that game. I’m also very happy that despite his small glitch in form we got Barkley instead of Loftus-Cheek. I remember the debate in the summer about which one we should go for, think we made the right decision.

Bigfatron
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Bigfatron
19 days ago

Doubting Smith I am surprised at you,I suppose with barkley scouse accent Smith thought he was a foreigner,jcv Wondering does anyone know his barkley phone number in case he knows anyone selling oldstyle hubcaps lol

Muz1
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20 days ago
Reply to  Begley

Must be hard for them after constantly telling us how crap we were. They seem to have gone very quite recently, ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Vancouvervillan
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Vancouvervillan
20 days ago

Defensive performance, a little frustrating we couldn’t hold the ball a bit better, but another 3 points and a week’s rest.
Off for golf now
UTV !

Vancouvervillan
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Vancouvervillan
20 days ago

Good win, just caught up.
Mings and Watkins clearly need dropping ๐Ÿคฃ

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