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 £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 £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.  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
    Bill Pearson.. December 29, 2020 at 5:37 pm .

    Could very well be Hitch, I did say something had gone on by our owners and wouldn’t disclose till Jan, to add fuel to fire it was intermated a top player. He’s hopefully the player .New Year Wish Hitch

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 December 29, 2020 at 6:08 pm .

      Hopefully we’ll sign someone to make the rest of the Prem sit up and take notice.

      Happy Days

  2. Avatar
    Hitchens60 December 29, 2020 at 6:16 pm .

    Oh dear – watching Albion making the biggest cock up ever – against Leeds as well. Horrible.

  3. Avatar
    Hitchens60 December 29, 2020 at 6:18 pm .

    Ho, ho but the good news is Derby 3-0 up at Blues after 25 minutes!

  4. Avatar
    nath December 29, 2020 at 6:53 pm .

    leeds 4 nil to the good against wba who cant not cope with leeds pressing. one of the best og i have seen in ages

  5. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. December 29, 2020 at 7:26 pm .

    R.I.P. Colin Withers, from a Villa fan of 70 odd years.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 December 29, 2020 at 7:47 pm .

      Remember Colin Withers well; very dependable GK. One of the few players that made a successful move from Blues to the Villa back in the 60’s.

      Only been a Villa fan for 60+ years so you have a few on me Bill.

  6. Avatar
    Hitchens60 December 29, 2020 at 7:43 pm .
    1. Avatar
      Bum Bum December 30, 2020 at 10:45 am .

      Good piece Hitch. Interesting point at the end on how social media posts can affect a player so personally. El Ghazi has been stunning this season. Very well worded defence of Anwar by Mings.
      We have to view Mings sending off as a masterstroke!!! 😁😁😁😁. Also good to see how vocal Mings is. Have we had that at the Villa since the days of Melberg???
      Can’t wait for the ManUre game, especially as they’ll have had a day’s less rest than us.

  7. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. December 30, 2020 at 1:46 pm .

    Watched Manure lastnight the lucky sods, didn’t deserve a win but as usual get a goal with 2 minutes of that game in extra time . that’s something Villa will have to watch stepping up the game in the last 15 minutes. Just found this, I thought we would show talent when found in the club as this 18 year old lad in demand , anyone know about him as I’ve never. RB Leipzig have approached Aston Villa about signing youngster Jaden Philogene-Bidace next month, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.

    The 18-year-old sensation has just six months left on his contract at Villa Park and could be set to leave the club in 2021. Bum Bum like you cannot wait hope we stuff them .

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 December 30, 2020 at 2:12 pm .

      Be surprised if he does Bill; highly rated at VP but he may be holding out for better terms.

  8. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. December 30, 2020 at 3:27 pm .

    May I be the first to wish Ollie Watkins Happy birthday …. bet He wont see this.

  9. Avatar
    nath December 31, 2020 at 9:16 am .

    almost the end of the YEAR good riddance to 2020. except it has been quite good to aston villa i will be welcoming 2021 in with open arms.

    i also watched the wolves manure game was quite boring. i wanted to see if they had any new weakness i missed. wolves would have won had they had a decent striker. then the inevitable happened manure get some mighty luck and shot deflects into the goal.

    utd did not show much invention nor did wolves. manure tried a square ball from edge of box into the centre to pogba or fernandeswho chipped a ball diagonally to the guy who squared it in a long one two. usually it was rashford and greenwood. they start wide but they are making runs into the box constantly. so we will have to be aware of these runs apart from that they offered nothing

    i am pretty confident i think only thing that can stop this villa win will be the weather. it snowed again in manchester overnight. nothing too deep and worrying yet.

  10. Avatar
    nath December 31, 2020 at 9:35 am .

    i found something interesting and i agree with him. a manure journalist predicting the game says aston villa style will suit man utd. villa can not sit back and frustrate they prefer to attack that will play into utds strengths. i agree that man utd seem to prefer teams to attack them.they do indeed struggle with teams like wolves who do not get to ambitious.

    but i think one strength villa have nowadays is our balance, when we attack its not over committing like last year pre covid we take calculated risks, so while they are right, we will not sit deep and defend. i don’t think we will be easy to counter as well.

    it should be a good open game, which should suit villa as we will be slightly fresher. plus utd are not the only club that counter quickly and lethally. villa can get very direct and turn defence into attack in a blink.

    man utd main strength is attacking behind the defence, greenwood rashford and martial will all look to get in behind us.

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