Hibs 0 – 5 Villa; A gulf in class

Well, how easy was that?

Unai Emery surprised me with this game, with the team he chose. I think the commentator said it included eight of our most expensive signings and was very close to our best possible side, notwithstanding injuries.
The manager was taking no prisoners and it shows how seriously he is going to take this competition.
I don’t expect that he’ll play the return leg with anywhere near a similar strength side, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he only makes two or three changes, at first, at least, just to see how it goes.
Yes, even though you would bet your boots that Hibs won’t be coming back from this score.

So the gulf in class showed, just as it rightly should have, but we should remember that we’ve had a gulf in class in our favour a few times and have failed to get a result. I’m sure I don’t need to mention Stevenage or Millwall, examples that immediately spring to mind.
But this time it seems different.
When you consider that we’re about/we’ve just sold a kid with a few appearances in the first team for just under £20 million (Archer), which is probably more than the whole opposition cost, it’s only right that we should win.
And it continues to show the gulf in the English and Scottish games.

How typical was it that just as I start to verbally lay the boot into Ollie Watkins, so he shows us that I don’t know what I’m talking about and scores a hat-trick. I’m chuffed for him.
I suppose normally that would justify him the man of the match award and I’m guessing that he probably did get it officially, but as much as I’m happy for the forward, so I don’t really think he did anything special to get them.
I’m taking nothing away from him, as you still have to put them in the net, but really they were all very easy chances that were very poorly defended.

No, I’m going to give that award to Lucas Digne, who has hit top form and carried on fron Saturday in consistently banging great deliveries into the box. Again though, it was all too easy and he was given the freedom of the left wing to do as he liked in the first half. Perhaps the bigger surprise was that Hibs didn’t even try to cancel that part of our game. Or perhaps they just couldn’t?
Hibs tried what has obviously been seen as one of our weaknesses and tried to get in behind the left, only to be found wanting and just lacking the required quality.

That pretty much summed up the game and the Edinburgh side just had nothing to counter our superior strength, athleticism and particulaly our slick passing in their third.
I actually found it slightly embarassing at times, but such can be the nature of cup games.
After we wrap up the tie at Villa park next week, I’ve no doubt that we’ll see more of this type of game as we progress. Which I fully expect us to do to quite an advanced stage as a minimum.

I know many don’t like the idea of this cup, but I’m all for it. Long may these sorts of victories continue and UTV!


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  1. BFR
    BFR August 23, 2023 at 8:30 pm . Reply

    Well done Unai and the team. Ruthless. That’s the attitude that wins things! I’d predicted a brace for Ollie tonight but he went one better, and why not? Onwards and upwards!

  2. Holte
    Holte August 23, 2023 at 9:10 pm . Reply

    Just when we thought Everton was an easy win, then up come Hibs and it was even easier. I actually thought we were sloppy at certain times during the game but didn’t have to work too hard to get the win.
    We will have to up our levels against Burnley at Turf Moor that’s for sure.

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain August 23, 2023 at 9:26 pm . Reply

      Agree with your comment about the slopiness: there were a dozen occasions where Villa players tried pointless back-flicks in front of their own area, only to give the ball away. A better team (anyone in the EPL and more than half of the Championship, IMO) would have made us pay for those.

      Overall, the result was slightly better than I expected before kick-off – my money was on 0-4!

    2. Bill Pearson
      Bill Pearson August 25, 2023 at 12:21 pm . Reply

      Never the less I enjoyed the game lads, yes some sloppy moves being tried but you could see the intention as to why . I’ve just had notification on our third strip , what the hell and who would buy , it’s almost the same as wolves strip but for the badge and advertising. It’s a No from me .

      1. BFR
        BFR August 25, 2023 at 5:20 pm . Reply

        Still waiting for the 1991 yellow third strip reboot…not happening though

  3. 1874 was a good year
    1874 was a good year August 24, 2023 at 12:05 am . Reply

    We never needed to get into second gear (BBC commentators said the same) but we still did more than enough to win the tie and then cruise along until the final whistle. In the past we’ve often struggled with lesser teams but not here. We quickly identified that Hibs were crap in the air and we pelted them with crosses which led to the first three goals. Digne was superb and I guess that he’s making his case to stay at the club.
    I like what Emery said about respecting the opposition and the competition and he did this by fielding a strong team. I always think that, if you want to win something, don’t take the piss by fielding weak teams. Our manager is obviously up for the fight. Long may it continue.
    Happy days.

  4. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 August 24, 2023 at 8:28 am . Reply

    Just read that Zaniolo was not in the squad because he can’t play for Villa against Hibs as he’s already played for Galatasaray in the qualifying rounds (of the European Conference League). He can play for Villa from the Group stages onwards.

  5. Ardent Villain
    Ardent Villain August 24, 2023 at 11:08 am . Reply

    I read some of Emery’s comments about Digne – he admitted that with Moreno injured, and now with little chance of landing a replacement, it’s not likely that Digne will be leaving in this window.

    Which is good news as far as I’m concerned, since he’s been one of our best players in the last two games, and always seems to cause opponents no end of damage.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 August 24, 2023 at 5:57 pm . Reply

      Ardent, Digne now has an opportunity to prove to Emery he was wrong to consider replacing him – although I suspect getting his high wages of the wage bill are a good part of the clubs thinking!

      1. Ardent Villain
        Ardent Villain August 25, 2023 at 1:51 pm . Reply

        I keep seeing references on here to his wages apparently being ‘high’ – but I have no idea where that has come from, or how anyone outside the club actually knows who is really paid what!

  6. Tom
    Tom August 25, 2023 at 8:43 am . Reply

    So I see Martinez is a doubt for the weekend now. I don’t think our squad can take any more injury’s now. If we were to do any sort of business in what remains this window, it has to be a quality second keeper.

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain August 25, 2023 at 1:55 pm . Reply

      Been saying the same all through this window.

      Olsen isn’t a ‘disaster’ by any means (we’re used to Martinez – so a bit spoilt I guess), but would still like to see someone ‘better’ – have no idea who’d want to come here as number 2 keeper though…

      1. BFR
        BFR August 25, 2023 at 5:18 pm . Reply

        The Brighton coach has gone on record saying both his keepers will get equal games. If the ‘number 2’ is the same standard as Martinez, why not give them all the cup games and early European ties? One game a week for each is fair. But who is good enough and available?

  7. Gerry
    Gerry August 25, 2023 at 12:23 pm . Reply

    As everybody seems on board with Villa winning this Eufa competition you might note that the draw for the Group Stages is 1300hrs Friday 1st Sept. It will be streamed from the https://www.uefa.tv/ website.

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain August 25, 2023 at 1:58 pm . Reply

      Every time I read or hear anything about us being ‘nailed on favourites’ (etc.) for this competition, my blood runs cold. I’d rather we just did quietly like WHam did last time.

      Emery keeps talking about taking it and the opposition seriously, giving respect, and so on. I hope he means it and is drilling that into the players.

  8. 1874 was a good year
    1874 was a good year August 25, 2023 at 5:51 pm . Reply

    Unai Emery on Archer, Bidace and Ramsey being sold – “We are selling them because as well for us economically it is good, but always trying to control them and follow their progress like we think they can do. Then, of course, they are increasingly the level we are thinking, they can be again with us coming back.”
    At last some logical thinking going on at the Villa. Emery is paring down the squad to the players that we need right now. Doing it this way means that these young players will develop by getting first team experience and minutes on the pitch without ruling out a return to Villa Park in the future. In the short term, it also helps to balance the books too.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 August 26, 2023 at 8:53 am . Reply

      Also said ‘buy back’ clauses written into sales contracts

      When Archer/ Philodene sales completed Villa will have raised £157.5m – all profit – from graduate sales since 2021. That’s a serious amount of FFP business

    2. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain August 26, 2023 at 12:59 pm . Reply

      It makes far more sense than keeping them on the fringes of the 1st team squad for another year, and they maybe see a few substitute appearances or a couuple of starts in cup games.

      If they’re not considered good enough for a regular starting place now, they won’t get any better just sitting on the bench – and later, perhaps, we might get them back for a reasonable price if they really do have quality.

      There’s no point running an expensive academy system if at it does is produce 22-23 year-olds who we keep sending out on loan to lower-league clubs before eventually letting them go on a ‘free’.

  9. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 August 26, 2023 at 12:01 pm . Reply

    Romano is reporting that Coutinho has agreed personal terms with a Quatari club and the fee mentioned is €20m which is below the figure which would trigger a 50% share to Barca.

    I think the transfer window closes two weeks later in the Middle East so presumably it’s felt that Coutinho will be substantially recovered from his injury before then.

    It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that Villa are ‘clearing the decks’ – body wise and FFP wise – for more transfer incomings before next Friday

  10. Holte
    Holte August 26, 2023 at 5:57 pm . Reply

    If the likes of Archer, Philogene and Coutinho go out in the current transfer window, we definitely need additions because our squad will be threadbare. We are probably okay in midfield but another full back and a striker should be prioritised. Losing Mings and Buendia in a few days has heightened the problems we will have if say Watkins or Cash sustained bad injuries.
    For the Hibs game I would be tempted to play as many kids as possible with Liverpool to play a few days later.

  11. BFR
    BFR August 26, 2023 at 8:32 pm . Reply

    Mike Dean’s comments about protecting his “mate” Anthony Taylor are beyond scandalous. And what’s worse, he doesn’t even get it; he thinks his comments have been blown out of context. WTF???!

    Cast iron proof that VAR is completely and utterly flawed!

  12. Holte
    Holte August 26, 2023 at 9:04 pm . Reply

    So instead of using VAR to correct a wrong or missed decision by the on field referee, they openly confess they don’t want to upset / embarrass their mates!
    When it was first introduced we thought maybe it would stop the Sky 6 getting the ‘benefit of doubt’ decisions in their favour but it’s just another tool to condemn the wannabe pack of teams. It’s corrupt just like FFP and every other organisation that wants to protect its inclusive club.

  13. OLL again
    OLL again August 27, 2023 at 12:14 am . Reply

    Vincent Kompany, the Burnley manager, is on a short list of players or ex-players whose reputation in my eyes is at variance with the opinion of football writers. I thought he was a dirty cheat. I had a similar opinion of Kenny Dalgliesh. Burnley under Dyche could inflict a lot of damage, but the players didn’t hide it well. I will be hoping they don’t practice some of their new manager’s dark arts on Sunday.

    1. 1874 was a good year
      1874 was a good year August 27, 2023 at 12:44 am . Reply

      Well, as a Barca fan I hate and detest Sergio Ramos. He was, without doubt, the world master of the footballing dark arts. But would I have had him at the VIlla in his prime? You bet. The same for Kompany. Any really great defender has to have a good appreciation of the dark arts and I hope that our defenders have been doing some brushing up on theirs for the season to come.

  14. Holte
    Holte August 27, 2023 at 1:06 pm . Reply

    No Martinez or Bailey. Also 3 CB’s and 2 wing backs which suggests Emery hasn’t got the same confidence in Olsen.

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