An Away clean sheet at the 27th attempt, Samatta leaves and Fulham up next

Aston Villa’s second XI comfortably disposed of Bristol City last night whilst removing an unwanted statistic. 26 Consecutive away games in all competitions without a clean sheet is not something to be proud of, certainly not for a club of our standing and ambition.

I admit to being rather concerned when I saw the team being fielded by Dean Smith – eleven changes from the line up that started against Sheffield United. Where would the goals come from and Elmo at centre back? I feared an(other) embarrassing result against lower league opposition particularly given our poor record against City who had started their season with four straight wins.

I was wrong; 3-0 and it probably should have been more.

We were on our game from the start, pressing high, moving the ball quickly and within 15 minutes 2-0 up and it should have been three. Davis or El Ghazi, on the rebound, should probably have scored but fair play to their GK who kept them out. The two goals though were classy efforts – worthy of a higher stage and both from open play – a refreshing change as the majority of our recent goals have come from set pieces.

Davis’ run into the box and along the goal line – dancing around several City defenders left floundering in his wake – before perfectly putting the ball at El Ghazi’s feet was a good example of why he’s so highly rated at Villa Park. If he can add 10 goals a season to the rest of his game he will be some player.

Two minutes later and Traore scores on his debut with a sublime cushioned volley from Jacob Ramsey’s perfect cross field pass.

We continued to press throughout the half and were, perhaps, unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Ramsey was brought down when clean through on goal.

Second half we opted to sit back more and play on the break – whether that was a deliberate tactical change by Smith or not is open to debate – but we still created a number of good chances – not taken – until Watkins came on to score with an accurate shot  into the bottom corner from a cross field ball by Trezuguet.

Elmo was excellent looking like he’d played at centre-back for years with an assured defensive display and accurate distribution going forward (is he now the ultimate utility player?) but I made Ramsey man of the match. With his darting runs from midfield, so reminiscent of Ian Taylor, and his accurate passing, at 19 he looks every bit a class act for the future and I can see him challenging for an EPL start before the end of the season. I’m not sure that sending him out on loan would be a good move.

It’s been an excellent week for our three debutants and there may still be more additions to come. First impressions are that we have added real quality to the core of a team and are building on the work done over the last twelve months. The Lyon fans, it seems. were pleased to see the back of Traore – as they were when a certain John Carew joined us – and look how that turned out.

It’s been confirmed Samatta has left the club joining Fenerbahce on a four year contract for an undisclosed fee (rumoured to be in the region of £7m}. He was the first Tanzanian player to both play and score in the Premier League having netted on his debut at Bournemouth. Its fair to say that he probably didn’t get the best of opportunities given our position and the onset of Covid but Smith has presumably decided that he’s not going to make it in the EPL.

I wish him all the best at his new club.

So onto Fulham at Craven Cottage, on Monday night, as we continue to play ‘catch up’ in the league.

We haven’t managed an away win in the EPL since Burnley on New Years Day when both Wesley and Heaton were injured, nor do we have a good record at Fulham – last winning there in January 2010. Our last trip to The Cottage ended in a 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup, earlier this year.

Fulham have started with two defeats, shipping seven goals in the process, and will be looking to improve whilst Villa are on a five game undefeated run and will want to continue that and secure another away clean sheet.

A draw would be acceptable but, if we really are going to make progress this season, then this is a game we should be winning.

 

107 Comments

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  1. Avatar
    CharlieAitken 59 September 30, 2020 at 6:14 pm .

    I’m hearing Milot Rashica deal done.

    1. Avatar
      CharlieAitken 59 September 30, 2020 at 6:17 pm .

      BTW….i’m not ITK but the same bloke called Ross Barkley some 3 weeks ago (he has a loose link to the Shakespeare family)

      UTV

    2. Avatar
      Ardent Villain September 30, 2020 at 6:46 pm .

      That’ll be interesting if true.

      It’s dragged on for so long I thought it was gone…

      1. Avatar
        CharlieAitken 59 September 30, 2020 at 7:01 pm .

        Just Werder Bremen playing games to get the best deal, hoping for an auction to put his price up. Luckily for us, the auction never materialised!

        UTV

        1. Avatar
          Ardent Villain September 30, 2020 at 7:15 pm .

          Maybe.

          All the recent reports suggested that we’d reached a deal with the club weeks ago – but it was the player/his agents who were holding it up with sky-high wage demands.

  2. Avatar
    n September 30, 2020 at 8:12 pm .

    yeah villa have been very impressive in recruiting this time around. but last year last was different. being promoted through playoffs means you are behind most teams in drawing up plans for recruiting. yeah you can have two one if you go up and one if you remain. but you can not start really planning until you know.

    all the signings look class they all improving us, but matinez and now Barkley is a real statement made by the club. i was thinking back to when villa last signed a class player who was not past his best. i could only recall the ex pool players staunton and houghton but the best of them was saunders. Big Ron recruited some top players and we certainly had three there who were class players and not past their best. (iam sure there will be disagreements but thats the best i could recall)

    anyways do we think anymore will be coming?? i am more than happy like i said before. totally made up, the villa machine is steam rolling our way to a exciting season.

  3. Avatar
    Hitchens60 October 1, 2020 at 7:18 am .

    John Carew but the greatest of them all – Paul McGrath.

    1. Avatar
      Bum Bum October 1, 2020 at 10:38 am .

      Bit of a pointless post that, Hitch. We all know he was God!!! 😁

  4. Avatar
    Bum Bum October 1, 2020 at 10:40 am .

    John Carew, Carew
    He’s done an enormous poo
    He’s eaten a vindaloo
    John Carew, Carew!

  5. Avatar
    Badger123 October 1, 2020 at 12:03 pm .

    Good article here;

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/who-scored-blog/2020/oct/01/aston-villa-winning-transfer-window-premier-league

    Oh and Josh King is suddenly available for £10 mill apparently.
    I still wouldn’t want him.

    1. Avatar
      Ardent Villain October 1, 2020 at 12:41 pm .

      Agree with that piece, although my (possibly over-optimisitc) feeling is that barring distrous injuries we may be more likely to be challenging for the sort of place that Wolves have enjoyed for the last couple of seasons, rather than being involved in anything down the bottom of the table.

      As for King – wouldn’t pay for him at all.

  6. Avatar
    Bum Bum October 1, 2020 at 1:31 pm .

    I’d forgotten about Brad Guzan…

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