Aston Villa – What Now?

Saturday 16th April will be remembered in the history of Aston Villa Football Club for all the wrong reasons, the day that their relegation from the Premier League was officially confirmed.

A 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford finally hammered the last nail into the coffin and placed that dreaded “R” next to their name in the table.

If we are all honest it was no more than a waiting game from the turn of the year, they have played out one of the poorest season’s the top league has ever seen.

A quick overview this season’s of key events below:-

  • Key men depart in the shape of Delph & Benteke (£40.5Mil income)
  • 12 players arrive, mainly from France for a total of £52Mil
  • October sees the club sack Tim Sherwood and replace with Remi Garde
  • Remi Garde departs and is replaced by Eric Black
  • Gabby Agbonlahor put on a 2 week personal fitness programme
  • Jores Okere refuses to be involved in a match day squad as a substitute

These all make for grim reading and that is leaving out all of the media coverage surrounding Grealish, Lescott, Traore and Agbonlahor’s extremely questionable behaviour whilst not wearing the famous colours.

Aston-Villa

They nearly had a glimmer of a smile with a win at Watford, however avid Birmingham City fan Troy Deeney struck twice in the final 2 minutes to add another defeat to the already long list. It leave the club with the measly total of just 3 wins from 36 attempts.

Disarray from boardroom to touchline has left the easiest of footballing questions even easier to answer…

  • Should Remi Garde have been appointed with no PL experience?
  • Would Tim Sherwood and Ray Wilkins have done a worse job?
  • Should they have spent all their money on untested players from Ligue 1?
  • Are Hutton, Lescott, Richardson or Sinclair still good enough for this level?
  • Were Aston Villa likely to be better than a minimum of 3 other sides this season?

We’ll save you wasting any brain power, the answer is a resounding NO to all 5 questions.

But it now needs to be onwards and back upwards for The Villans. They must recruit the right manager and do it quickly.

The Championship is an unforgiving league, all those midweek trips to Rotherham, Wolves and Reading among others will take their toll.

Among the contenders mentioned are Nigel Pearson, David Moyes and Steve Bruce. To be honest we can’t see any of these being the right men for the Trinity Road Stand dugout.

Villa need something different, someone who knows the leagues and does well on a budget whilst producing results.

Simon Grayson currently at Preston North End could be a good call, a former player with multiple football league promotions on his CV.

Simon-Grayson

They need a complete squad overhaul, it’s the only way.

Get rid of all the deadwood and rebuild, if it takes 2 or 3 seasons then so be it. Aston Villa need to stop being a home for footballers that no one else wants.

A guideline would be as follows, presenting the out the door XI:-

Guzan

Hutton     Okore     Lescott     Cissokho

Sinclair     Bacuna     N’Zogbia     Richardson

Agbonlahor     Kozak

Hundreds of thousands of pounds saved per week by ridding yourselves of this useless lot, promoting youth and re-investing in solid lower league footballers.

Combine youth and solidity with the Westwood’s, Gestede’s and Richards’ you have a decent starting line up with a fighting chance at a top 6 finish.

This is potentially the most crucial period in their 141 year history.

All the best to Aston Villa and their fans, the Premier League needs sides like you albeit a strong competitive version.

Villa-Park-Fans

Aston Villa players image sourced from; www.skysports.com/astonvilla
Simon Grayson image sourced from; www.football-league.co.uk
Villa Park fans image sourced from; www.birminghammail.co.uk

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The Europa League just got Interesting!

Last week saw the draw for the last 16 of the Europa League and what a draw it was!

Europa-League-Draw

Of the remaining 16 teams, 3 have won European Cup / Champions League with 5 having contested finals.

With the Europa now offering a coveted place in the top competition it is more than worth winning.

Thursday’s look like they are about to provide a spectacle worthy of Europe’s 2nd competition. For too long the we have mostly ignored Coupe UEFA for a reason we actually can’t answer.

Perhaps the competition is too long? Maybe we don’t understand the 18:00 kick off times? You could argue there are too many teams we don’t know? Or are just blinded by the glamour of the Champions League?

We are looking at Liverpool v Man United for the 1st time in a non-domestic meeting. 180 minutes of packed European nights at 2 of the most iconic stadiums in world football. One of the most intense rivalries brought together on a stage we wouldn’t expect.

Throw in the bonus element of small travel time and a St Patrick’s day 2nd leg at Old Trafford, the Guinness will be flowing in the North West that’s for sure.

Add in high flying Tottenham v Borussia Dortmund, an all Spanish clash of Athletic Bilbao v Valencia and Sevilla going for a 3rd successive title…you have one hell of a competition remaining!

Realistically of the remaining sides who could honestly say they don’t want, or in some cases need, to win this trophy.

Which fan wouldn’t want to travel to a European final ?

Sevilla

We will be tuned into the latter stages with a keen eye on the outcomes of the afore mentioned ties.

Put aside the “Thursday – Sunday” debate and embrace it as an additional midweek game to watch.

So let’s all take a positive outlook into the remaining games, after all who knows…Mr Guardiola may just be strutting his stuff here next season if recent form continues.

Europa League draw image sourced from; http://www.uefa.com
Sevilla Europa Cup winners image sourced from; http://worldsoccertalk.com

 

The January Transfer Window – Who Needs What?

The festive season has come and gone, we’ve eaten and drank our weight multiple times over and December coming to an end means one thing…..the January transfer window is now OPEN!

So with that in mind, we are going to take a look at teams from various leagues and in various predicaments.

transfer-centre-transfer-window-generic

We are going to summarise what they need and who they need to hold onto in order to prolong, challenge for honours or in some cases save their 2015-16 season.

Man Utd
Where to start with the world famous Red Devils?!

LVG has already spent over £250Mil and achieved no more than the sacked Scot David Moyes. I would question the Old Trafford’s board decision to give him much more money, but they do need at least 1 position filled.

The post Fergie era has been slightly worse than expected but transition was inevitable, Champions League qualification is the minimum but even that is in danger.

Cole, Yorke, Sheringham, Van Nistelrooy….where is United’s lethal feared finisher?

What do they need -A proven striker is a must, Higuain or Zlatan could be achievable.

Higuain-Image

Aberdeen
There may well just be a sustained title challenge to Celtic this year.

Aberdeen will stutter and drop points that the Glasgow giants won’t, however we are in January and they are only 3 points behind.

Derek McInnes will be a wanted man come the end of the season for sure so this could be a big few months for the former Rangers man.

They are too reliant on a couple of players (like most SPL clubs) but need to add a touch more quality to pull away from the rest and closer to the top.

What do they need – A back up striker to take the pressure from Adam Rooney.
Who can’t they afford to lose – Niall McGinn.

Sheff Wed
One of the “big” clubs still plying their trade in the 2nd tier, this season however is looking different for the Owls.

Currently one place outside the play offs they have a real chance of being in the end of season shake up to return to the bright lights of the Premier League.

Carlos Carvalhal’s men are strong in certain areas of the park but are missing a bit of squad depth for the final few weeks of the season.

They could do with adding 3-4 players, if they can find the right ones to add to the underappreciated players they currently have in the side.

Ashley Westwood, Michael Turner, Sam Hutchinson & Fernando Forestieri provide a fantastic spine for a team at this level.

What do they need – A creative / goalscoring midfielder such as Alan Judge at Brentford.
– A winger to provide needed width
– Centre half cover

Sunderland

The Black Cats are more than likely in a “sell before you buy” situation.

They have a lot of squad players picking up good money who have been purchased by many previous bosses. This is a club who pays Patrick Van Aanholt to play football!

Looking at the players available Sunderland do have a decent Premier League forward line. Defoe, Fletcher and Borini should score enough to win the club points when they are needed. It’s the other areas of the pitch that are the problem.

I can see the likes of Danny Graham, Adam Matthews and Will Buckley heading for the exit door.

One thing is for sure though, Big Sam will bring in trusted and experienced players in order to help beat the drop.

What do they need – A good centre half (O’Shea, Brown,Coates and Kaboul provide poor options)
– Full back cover left and right
-A winger to put the ball in the box

Who can’t they afford to lose – Jermain Defoe for goals and Lee Cattermole due to suspension!

James Tomkins is someone Big Sam would trust and could sign.James-Tomkins

Coventry City

Finally the Sky Blues appear to be on the right track back up the leagues. After being relegated to League One in 2012 they have a serious chance of promotion back to the Championship, a level at which a club of this stature should be operating.

Tony Mowbray has done a great job since taking over in March 2015, Keeping them up before taking them into the play off places.

Youth mixed with experience is a great balance at this level and they have that in abundance at the Ricoh Arena.

What do they need – A striker to share the responsibility with Adam Armstrong
– A permanent deal for Joe Cole, amazing player to have in the dressing room

Who can’t they afford to lose – Adam Armstrong, 16 goals in 22 games speaks for itself

Cases could have been made for Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, Crewe Alexandra and Dundee United however I’m afraid all of your seasons look to be beyond salvation.

Whatever happens we are sure to see records broken, last minute deals and panic buys between now and 11pm on February 1st.

We all love it really.

Transfer Window Image Sourced From; www.skysports.com
Higuain & Ibrahimovic Image Sourced From; www.gettyimages.com
James Tomkins Image Sourced From; www.express.co.uk/sport