Is El Ghazi the new Ronaldo, Chelsea next and January expectations

Well maybe not but four goals in as many games, spectacular shooting and showing his free kick abilities has certainly caught the eye. But not just that, his all round contribution has shifted to a new level.

I’ve always believed that El Ghazi has the ability to become a very good player but perhaps lacked the physical and mental strength to realise it. Some of the credit must go to Smith and the coaching staff, not least because of the way they encourage the players to express themselves and the way the team is set up to best utilise individual skills.

A great team performance and for me Watkins was MoM. His speed, and non stop intelligent running, had the Palace defence in disarray even when we went down to 10 men. Disappointed for him that he wasn’t able to top his all round display with a goal – but they will come – and at Β£28m, he’s starting to look like a real bargain.

Mings might count himself a little unlucky with the first yellow but he seemed ‘out of sorts’ making one or two unforced errors and appeared to allow Zaha to unsettle him.

Can’t help feeling for Traore, being substituted following Mings dismissal, when he was playing his best football since joining us – even scoring with his right foot – showing why we spent Β£17m to acquire his services. However, Smith clearly made the right call.

Three tough games to come, Chelsea and United away followed by a home FA Cup tie against Liverpool (who have still only lost once this season!).

Chelsea were pretty poor against Arsenal and I can’t see them playing that badly again on Monday, although they have lost three of their last four following a 17 game unbeaten run. Our recent record against Chelsea, home and away, is dismal. Chelsea have won 10 of their last 11 games against us including the last six in a row; our last win at Stamford Bridge came in December 2011 which is our only away success in this fixture in the last 18 years.

We’ll be without Mings and Barkley (who is ‘loan tied’) but Konsa looked a class act when he came on in yesterdays forced reshuffle and Hause is proving himself to be a reliable defender. What Mings does is organise the defence well and is known to be very vocal; something we have missed in the past so it will require others to step in. I see Martinez role as being crucial here.

It remains to be seen how big a miss Mings will be and might just be the difference between getting something from the game and coming away empty handed – again.

As we approach the notoriously difficult January transfer window, the old Grealish stories have been dusted off and lazily fill several column inches. It’s plainly obvious that Grealish is going nowhere in January – even if he wanted to leave (which I very much doubt) no one could afford him!

Kalinic leaves on loan to Hajduk Split on 18th January (when the Polish transfer window opens) and there maybe one or two other outgoings. A question mark must hang over Hourihane’s future at the club and it wouldn’t surprise me if he went out on loan; he will have plenty of suitors in the Championship. Similarly will Guilbert go on loan to a French club having (I believe) turned down a loan move in the summer. Elmo, Neil Taylor and Lansbury’s contracts are up at the end of the season and can talk to clubs in January; I really can’t see any of getting extensions although we are light at left back and Taylor is reputed to have a positive influence in the dressing room.

I really can’t see us doing much business in terms of bringing players in, preferring to concentrate our resources on bringing in new recruits in the summer.Β  Having said that, if Wesley is going to be out for much of the season, which looks increasingly likely, then we may try to bring in striker to help Watkins. I suspect, however, that quite a number of Villa fans are hoping to see Louie Barry promoted to the first team squad!

No doubt there will also be interest in Ross Barkley’s future particularly given the rumours that he is not in Lampard’s plans – but we’ll have to wait until the summer on that one.

It’s been an excellent Christmas bringing cheer to all Villa fans in a horrible year; long may it continue.


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  1. Avatar
    Hitchens60 December 27, 2020 at 2:52 pm .

    Holte, OLL – If you haven’t seen them, Badger has commented under the last post on the possible reasons for the moderation issues.

    1. Avatar
      The WARRIOR December 27, 2020 at 4:12 pm .

      MINGS OUT we won 3-0 against CP he doesn’t have a clue what to do so good night Tyrone and good riddance

  2. Avatar
    Tony Hill December 27, 2020 at 3:18 pm .

    Superb performance with 10 men, the Palace defence couldn’t cope with Ollie and Jack in the second half!…I accept that Mings is an organiser who does a lot shouting in a game, but I think he has to cut out the all too often errors from his game. As you say Badger sometimes unforced!
    I think a point from Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford would be good results.

  3. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. December 27, 2020 at 6:25 pm .

    Welcome Big Sam, …. hes done it again .,

  4. Avatar
    Holte66 December 27, 2020 at 8:43 pm .


  5. Avatar
    Badger123 December 27, 2020 at 11:06 pm .

    No, El Ghazi isn’t the next big thing.
    Not quite yet anyway.
    He has a lot of games to make up for, to my mind.
    That said, I do want him to come good and he is nice to watch when he’s firing as he should.

    As for Chelsea, I’d have seen this as a nailed on loss before this season, but Arsenal beating them is just typical.
    Can we possibly do them?
    I seriously think we can.

    As for the winter window, I’ll keep my powder dry re comment.

    In the meantime, keep up the good work Hitch.
    I’ll be back as and when πŸ˜‰

  6. Avatar
    nath December 28, 2020 at 7:16 am .

    el ghazi form is down solely down to smith, i keep harping on about the mentality of the squad nowadays. they are all performing to their best once in the team. smith has released them of the nonsense that used to haunt us. ghazi had been frozen out and would have been frustrated watching the team this season. barkleys injury add trez injury suddenly el ghazi has been thrown a lifeline. he has come in and been brilliant. suddenly our depth isnt so shallow as we thought. smith has not got the 1st team playing he has got his whole squad playing the same way.

    if we can add to this squad with more quality we are gonna be better for that, chelsea have a very decent squad and excellent first team what ever is played. chelsea should be able to rotate and still have the stronger team on paper today. but form and momentum is with villa, it used to be hard for villa to rotate, it never easy for players not used to playing getting in and performing, chelsea will be no different. i think villa can pick up something today if lampard rotates. they were beaten easily by arsenal last time, they were also weakened arsenal too. chelsea are fast paced usually lightening quick on countering.

    very tough to call this one 1 2 villa i just hope we do pick up more injuries this game is so close to the palace game where we worked so hard second half.

  7. Avatar
    Bum Bum December 28, 2020 at 8:04 am .

    On Amazon Prime? Thanks for that.
    I was at Stamford Bridge when they beat us 7-1. Horrible experience. I think we’re due a bit of payback.
    El Ghazi has been great the last couple of games despite those two weak shots. Maybe Mings just needs a short rest. Quality player and a great leader.
    Got a feeling it’ll be a corker tonight. Chelsea and ManU aren’t the clubs they were 10 years ago even with overpriced idiots like Pogba. Let’s do ’em both!!!
    Are you on holiday Badger? Again???!!! 😁

  8. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. December 28, 2020 at 8:07 am .

    I have that same concern about Chelsea, but I’m telling myself its only history of being a big club over the last 30 years that’s made them a force to worry about, Lampard hasn’t the same clout that passed managers had and can be beaten. We are on a roll and I think we are close to being back where we belong, my worry now is the disruption of dropping inform players to make way for players that are in form. Just take a look at Taggart how he’s moulded in the team now, Luis being an asset in the middle, we have the backbone to be a team that the club and owner’s want. We won’t win the league but we will be above mid table and possible enter the European games next year, im proud to be a Villa fan now and never think back but going forward with the team we have.utv.

  9. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. December 28, 2020 at 8:10 am .

    No Bum Bum, he’s having to stop in to pay for the speeding fine. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    1. Avatar
      Bum Bum December 28, 2020 at 9:37 am .

      Cheers Bill!
      Best keep your view of Taggart private mate, Badger will have you banned!!!!!

      1. Avatar
        Hitchens60 December 28, 2020 at 11:59 am .

        New name, new player πŸ™‚

        Though, to be fair, the much maligned Taggart has been excellent in defence of late. Seems he’s not required to bomb up field as much so is concentrating more on his defending. He’ll need to be on top of his game today.

    2. Avatar
      Sidforever December 28, 2020 at 12:22 pm .

      What a turnaround in affairs? Last year we went to Chelsea with very little optimism. This year there are grounds to be optimistic.

      The jobs Smith, Terry, O’Kelly and Shakespeare have undertaken this year have been phenomenal. The ability to get a tune out of every player and at the same time is outstanding. For example, I was of the opinion that El Ghazi would be the one to sell with Troare arriving. I thought El Gahzi and Trezeguet were light weight. Suddenly Trezeguet is excellent at tracking back and helping out the defence and El Ghazi has manned up and makes better decisions. Now if one were to be sold they would go for a far higher price than previously expected and any new player would be an excellent team addition.

      So back to today. I believe this match will boil down to which team has the most amount of running in their legs. Chelsea can virtually put out a fresh team for today. We can only make two / three changes at best. Konsa for Mings is a given. Will Smith go with Troare on the right and Grealish on the left with El Ghazi rested? Or play all 3, with Grealish behind Watkins? Does Ramsey make a start?

      All I know is that this afternoon I will be watching Amazon Prime.

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