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.

93 Comments

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  1. Avatar
    Bum Bum December 31, 2020 at 10:52 am .

    Is the game on TV anywhere?

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 December 31, 2020 at 1:33 pm .

      On Sky Bum Bum

      1. Avatar
        Bum Bum December 31, 2020 at 7:08 pm .

        Cheers Hitch.

        Shame to hear about the Doc, but a good, long life lived.

  2. Avatar
    Hitchens60 December 31, 2020 at 1:38 pm .

    OLL – your posts are still going into moderation – did you see Badgers post setting out possible reasons?

  3. Avatar
    Holte66 December 31, 2020 at 2:50 pm .

    Hitch / Badger, I don’t know what the problem is with my posts suddenly awaiting moderation. I always enter and save my email and name but it is never recognised for next post. I have tried on iPhone, iPad and laptop with windows 10. I hear OLL is also having issues so I’m guessing something has changed with the site.

  4. Avatar
    Holte66 December 31, 2020 at 2:52 pm .

    Test with my work email address as suggested.

  5. Avatar
    Hitchens60 December 31, 2020 at 5:42 pm .

    See Lawro persists in predicting Villa to lose!

    Will put a new post up either later this evening (if still sober) or in the morning.

  6. Avatar
    Hitchens60 December 31, 2020 at 6:20 pm .

    Sad news; another football icon ‘The Doc’ passes away.

    The Doc was the first manager appointed by Deadly with Villa in the third division. I remember going to his first game in charge at VP. From memory we drew that game. Sadly he only lasted 13 months before becoming the first casualty of Deadly’s reign (tbf we were bottom of the table at the time).

    Nonetheless, I have very fond memories of that time.

    RIP Doc.

  7. Avatar
    VillaAwayInDiv3 December 31, 2020 at 6:32 pm .

    He sealed his own fate when we had won a few he said judge me in a year not a few games……loved “The Doc”…exciting times…

  8. Avatar
    nath January 1, 2021 at 8:28 am .

    new year no new post come on hitch badger biggest game of the year.

    hey i was listening to utd fans on youtube they are very confident, they believe we are easy fodder for them cause we will attempt to win the game when wolves parked the bus. also grealish is the only danger. they pondered whether to man mark him with fred but decided to stop him where he wonders. they are so arrogant its unbelievable. another said it will be a crazy game which i think might happen. i believe the two teams are pretty evenly matched, i think we are both gonna try to counter the other. utd are poor defensively, we can get at them watkins will be too strong/fast/clever for mcguire. they kept classing grealish left winger but he isnt that he will drift from behind watkins and drift wide both flanks.

    in case you dont post the preview in time. i will predict utd 2 villa 4 very ambitious

    1. Avatar
      nath January 1, 2021 at 8:35 am .

      p/s watkins will get the first goal and hattrick he will be bang in the goals again and we will stop them reaching the top of the premiership to start the new year

  9. Avatar
    Holte66 January 1, 2021 at 11:49 am .

    Turned off wi-fi and send!

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