Here we go; what is possibly our biggest season for decades.

This really is how it feels to me.
I don’t remember the last time I faced a new season with such expectation or trepidation (yes, both go hand in hand for me).
There have been times where I’ve had optimism, but that’s not quite the same as it feels this season.
I keep harping back to a certain fact and I still can’t quite get my head around it;
If we look at results in this current calendar year only, we would have qualified for the Champion’s league.
That is some statement that I still have to keep mulling over. And then I consider that we hardly changed any players.

I know. We’ve said this before. It’s a sign of how a top manager changes things. But Emery has been adding to the squad. Maybe not as fast as most of us would like, but no doubt we’re all enjoying what we are getting in Moussa Diaby, Pau Torres and Youri Tielemans, all at very reasonable prices.
I don’t know who’s proposing these deals, but apparently Emery has the overall say. If this is the quality/price ratio we’re going to see, who cares? but it’s another sign that things are working well.
Have we finished our signings? I honestly don’t know what to think there, because Emery strikes me as the sort of man who wants players in quickly , so he can spend time explaining exactly what he wants. Yet, now Jacob Ramsey and apparently Buendia are both long term injured, you would have to suspect another midfielder is on the cards. And then there’s a striker too, as much as I’ve proposed that we might not exactly need one, with goals being expected from all over the pitch.

But these are the same old sort of questions that we always ask ourselves.

Let’s go back to that expectation.
Tomorrow, we face a tough game in Newcastle away.
I suspect their owners are itching to sack Eddie Howe and sign some “massive statement” type manager. But they can’t, can they? because he’s done extremely well for them. Certainly better than I expected, as much as I rate him.
He’s bought well and seems to have done the same again, in signing Sandro Tonali from AC Milan, Harvey Barnes from Leicester and Tino Livramento from Southampton. Hardly marquee signings that I’m sure the club could afford if they wanted, but very solid players.

But it doesn’t concern me in the slightest.
I could go into the ins and outs of how I think the game will go, but it would be pointless.
I’ve always said that first day games don’t count, because anything can and most likely will happen. Freak scores always happen on opening day.
Except I don’t think tomorrow will be a freak score.

I’m going for a straightforward 2-1 win.
Because I genuinely believe.
And if we don’t get it, it’s no big deal. It’s first day, remember.

Roll on the Burnley game.
This ashes thing is all well and good. But in the words of Sinead, “Nothing compares”;


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  1. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum August 12, 2023 at 8:32 pm . Reply

    I wonder if all that travelling and playing in the US heat did us any good?
    It’s the first game. It was a car crash and we’ve had some bad luck and some very debatable performances today but it’s the first game, lads.
    Abominable and frankly unfathomable. Utterly perplexing.
    Unai will sort it out. Early days, but don’t both with MOTD later. That smug hypocritical Shearer would make me put my foot through the telly.
    Roll on Everton…!!!

  2. Holte
    Holte August 12, 2023 at 8:44 pm . Reply

    Let’s keep the optimism everyone. If we beat Everton and Citeh beat the Barcodes we will be back level on points.

  3. Sidforever
    Sidforever August 12, 2023 at 8:59 pm . Reply

    Checks and balances needed. Today was poor but not as poor as the score line have us believe.

    I’d took the following from the match.

    1: Villa must be clinical. Diaby showed the way. Watkins, Luiz and Cash were not. We should have scored 4 in the first half. It would have been a different result.

    2: Psychological impact of injuries. No doubt the team had Buendia in their thoughts and when what looks like the same occurred to Mings, it left an impact on their collective psyche for this match.

    We now have 4/11 1st 11 players out. Mings, Buendia, Moreno and Ramsey.

    3: Defence ill prepared. Firstly, Digne will be replaced by Moreno when fit. He is not up to Emery’s standard. Unfortunately, nor is Cash.The experiment of moving Konsa to right back was not a success. I expect a new right back before the window. With Mings likely to be out for the season Konsa needs to remain at centre half.

    Torres and Carlos have never played together in the Premier. Newcastle is not the place for them to play together for the first time.

    4: Limited midfield options: With Ramsey, Dendoncker and Iroegbunam injured we lacked defensive cover. Bailey demonstrated he is not up to the physical demands of the Premiership.

    5: What next? FFP versus squad needs. 2/11 Buendia and Mings are out for the season. I am sure Emery wanted another right back and attacker. These injuries reduce the amount for the needed players as additional ones are now required and the limited cash can only go so far.

    I believe Emery now has a long hard season in front of him. But if anyone can overcome the adversity fate has handed us, it is him.

    1. Tom
      Tom August 12, 2023 at 9:35 pm . Reply

      I wonder if certain players (Digne, Luis, Kamara) have had offers elsewhere and are until resolved, will not be 100%. It’s a joke the window stays open this long into a season.

  4. RSS
    RSS August 12, 2023 at 9:05 pm . Reply

    Talking to a mate and the conversation was around our high back line and maybe that could be our undoing…
    How prophetic that now seems?
    Time for plan Unai?

  5. Gerry
    Gerry August 12, 2023 at 9:50 pm . Reply

    I don’t think Shearer will be saying very much about either team. This is what he said before today’s game.

    “It was amazing to see Newcastle break into the Premier League’s top four last season, but it would be another miracle if they manage it again.

    I really hope I am wrong and they do even better this time, but finishing fifth would still be a great achievement, and keep the club on track for where they want to go.

    I would say Aston Villa are my dark horses to make the top six but they are not really a surprise package because of how well they did once Unai Emery took charge midway through last season.

    They have already shown they belong in this group of teams, and with Emery’s experience they will be in and around it again.”

    We were all caught out today and as many have already said we should have put away two very easy chances, we were robbed by crazy Var calls. It was not a disaster and it was a match not a season.

    1. RSS
      RSS August 12, 2023 at 10:00 pm . Reply

      You’re right Gerry, let’s not too carried away either way but we did play into their hands today ( imo).

  6. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 August 12, 2023 at 10:38 pm . Reply

    I didn’t see much of the game as I was impersonating a chef entertaining a few guests 🙂

    Emery now has a massive job on his hands – how does he turn this around having lost his two key players for the season. Any manager would find that a challenge.

    It seems we have no luck as a club.

    I realise it’s only one game but, yet again, we will have to reset our ambitions to a lesser level and look to rebuild for next season.

    Defeatist – no; realist – yes.


    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 August 12, 2023 at 10:48 pm . Reply

      Just want to add that I think the injury to Mings following that to Buendia had an impact, maybe bigger than imagined, on the players.

      Trying to deal with that against Newcastle at home was more than they could cope with.

      Without Mings I fear for us – he is the key to our defence – who is going to take on that role?

      I suspect we are now going to have a very difficult season as West Spam did last season.

      Who would want to be a Villa fan

  7. Roy Bracy
    Roy Bracy August 12, 2023 at 10:51 pm . Reply

    Villa should have bought Barnes no doubt about it,Premier league experience and is direct also assisting other players badly missed opportunity
    I also think villa wanted to sign Abraham but he got bad injury
    Bailey should go,traore seems to be hoping his injury keeps him at the club.
    Looks like best we can hope for is 10-12th
    Why wasn’t Carlos played more in preseason?
    To much change in backroom not enough on the team

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