Liverpool – Villa; Let the real games commence.

So, a recap.
We’ve done very nicely, ta, over our first few games, with a loss at Newcastle, which is no disgrace to say the least and a couple of wins against Everton and Burnley.

So basically, about where we ought to be if we’re being honest.

Now the real tests begin and we face a team, that while currently in decline to my mind, is still a formidable opponent. Well, it’s just Pool away, isn’t it?
They’re never an easy game.

The thing is though, they are weakened when compared to the last decade or even more.
They have a Saudi club wanting to buy Mo Salad, who has basically announced by his silence that he wants to leave for their $2million a week and £150 million offer, which the club have knocked back. Expect them to come back with a £200 million offer and it just confirms that the game is just stupid.
He’s 31, ffs!

Whatever, I don’t see how Pool can account for this and I’ve heard of no replacement in place.
In fact, I personally think Pool are somewhat shellshocked.
I like Klopp, but see his days numbered at Liverpool.

Not that this affects our game tomorrow.
Except it does. This sort of event can totally unsettle everything and I’m hoping that’s happened here.

Squad news and nothing has changed for us, except Martinez will probably be straight back in after his calf twinge.

As for Liverpool, Van Diyk is suspended after his sending off last week and hopefully the inquiry into his abusing the ref will see another couple of games out too.
Curtis Jones is back is training, but Ibrahima Konate and Thiago Alcantara aren’t ready.

Useless fact;

Villa are winless in their last five league visits to Anfield (D1, L4), although only Manchester United and Chelsea have won more Premier League away games against Liverpool than Villa have.

I’m expecting a really good, all out, tactical game here.
Both teams can play at pace, while both defences, if I’m keeping my neutral head on, are prone to errors.

We are going to go for this, because Emery doesn’t do “taking a point”, which is yet another reason why I like him so much.

Let’s not forget;
“The aim of the game is to score more goals than the opponent”

I’m going for a 2-1 result.
The trouble is, I honestly don’t know who’s going to get it and can’t call it.

UTV, while hoping it’s us!


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  1. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum September 21, 2023 at 7:30 pm . Reply

    Thank God there’s a second leg…

  2. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson September 21, 2023 at 7:39 pm . Reply

    Is he on the pitch? Sell the player for me does nothing to inspire fans no more .

  3. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 September 21, 2023 at 7:43 pm . Reply

    Our away form is very troubling – conceding far too many goals.

    We can’t afford to drop too many points on the road or we won’t be in the knock out stages.

    From what you guys are saying, all this talk about Villa being favourites appears to have affected the players and gone to their heads!

  4. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 September 21, 2023 at 7:45 pm . Reply

    Also think Emery has to take some responsibility putting out such a weak defensive line up.

  5. Holte
    Holte September 21, 2023 at 7:47 pm . Reply

    I think Emery has to shoulder some responsibility for that defeat. Too many changes particularly in defence which brought back memories of O’Neill’s European blunders.
    Watkins came on and offered nothing which made me wonder if he will be sold in January.
    Digne despite the goal is a terrible defender.
    One consolation was Ramsey coming on and getting some minutes.

  6. Adam
    Adam September 21, 2023 at 7:47 pm . Reply

    The only positives from tonight were Zaniolo looks handy and can be a real asset once fully settled and Ramsey getting back fit again. Hopefully Moreno was being saved for Chelsea, Digne can be a liability at times. Chambers is also not good enough for us it’s becoming more and more obvious. Pretty angry after that. We wait donkeys years to play in Europe and that’s how we play very very poor. Must win next game against Zrinjski at home.

  7. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson September 21, 2023 at 8:01 pm . Reply

    My gripe is this playing out from the back , you got to know other teams are not stupid and counter us every time . What’s the old saying! Attack is the best way to defend, well in our case we lose the ball and concede more times than the scum down the road .. Not only that it’s not football, so boring it makes me wonder have we the right man leading the team . I’m glad we have the chance to put it right when they come to us .

  8. Sidforever
    Sidforever September 21, 2023 at 8:03 pm . Reply

    Luckily the groups stage means we lost a battle but can still win the war.

    There is no doubt that the injuries we have suffered has demonstrated that some of the 2/3rd choices are struggling to make the grade.

    Emery will get it right. With Ramsey and Moreno coming back we will become better. Carlos recovering hives better choices for defence.

    If we beat Chelsea at the weekend then this result becomes less important. The team was changed to rest players for Sunday. If we lose then this loss becomes harder to stomach.

    And finally, whatever team we put out today should not have lost.

  9. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum September 21, 2023 at 8:07 pm . Reply

    Emery was going mental. Absolutely apoplectic! I think if anything we’re guity of underrating Warsaw. We gave fringe players game time but they failed to show up. Cash made a massive difference. Ramsey was understandably rusty.
    We are technically 1-0 down. We’ll sort it. Faith. (In our first team anyway).
    I seriously thought Emery’s head was going to explode like in Scanners!!!!!

  10. Holte
    Holte September 21, 2023 at 8:37 pm . Reply

    I know Emery has a great track record in European competition but he is now in charge of a club without experience in playing in Europe. Legia Warsaw deserved their win and probably the fact we played a much poorer Hibernian in the qualifying gave us the feeling we only had to turn up to win.
    We have given ourselves an uphill battle already to qualify from the group. And before anyone suggests that we will sail through because of our home form had better remember Stevenage last season when thinking we could get away playing the kit man and stewards.
    My preference is to start with the best XI and try to win the game and if comfortable, then take players off early.
    How many times does it work out when resting players for the weekend only to suffer a double loss. Unfortunately we now need a result otherwise the team selection today will have a lot more criticism.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum September 21, 2023 at 9:03 pm . Reply

      I think we’ll see the perfect 11 out next game…

  11. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson September 21, 2023 at 9:12 pm . Reply

    We Bloody need to Bum Bum . What a shower Chambers slow So was our left back we tried to walk our way out of defence and what a cock up was that . We supposed to be going to be better? No way will we, not in the reign of pig’s pudding .

  12. OLL
    OLL September 21, 2023 at 9:21 pm . Reply

    Another 3 goals conceded away, another example of the same mistake in strategy. Also something not unique to Villa – another manager blundering into changing half the team and expecting to be good enough.

    Worst mistake was giving a starting place to the debutant Lenglet in a back four which also had a stiff at right back. Any new player deserves to start as the only change or preferably come off the bench after observing the match for 45-60 minutes. I don’t disparage Chambers: he arrived as a stand in centre-half who could also play defensive midfield. He has never been a full back, and certainly not one who could play in a dangerously high risk play-out and high-line defence. He looked a nervous wreck.

    And where is that blasted stopwatch! Emery must start with the assumption any team he does not know will have faster forwards than some or all of his defence. It is inexcusable to find that out when 2 different players streak away and lay on a goal.

    I bet he won’t own up to it!

    1. Holte
      Holte September 21, 2023 at 9:38 pm . Reply

      OLL, you’re spot on with your assessment. We have a bigger squad but unlike Citeh or Pool we can’t afford to make so many changes away from home against a team with more European experience than us and a vociferous crowd which definitely added the 12th man effect.
      I’m absolutely certain that Emery regrets now making all those changes and hopefully won’t make the same mistakes again.

      1. BFR
        BFR September 22, 2023 at 1:32 pm . Reply

        Holte, he would’ve regretted if more if he went full strength and lost another key player. He can’t win. But another right back should have arrived in the summer. I assume that’s not Emery’s fault.

        1. Holte
          Holte September 22, 2023 at 2:19 pm . Reply

          The thing is BFR, he ended up throwing on our big players to chase the game so there could still have been injuries. My belief is play a strong team minus maybe 2 or 3 at most so we can rest players (if winning which is an assumption I know)

    2. BFR
      BFR September 22, 2023 at 1:27 pm . Reply

      OLL, you’ve been quick to criticise Unai’s team selections, especially in defence, and you have a point. However, the fact remains that the manager has lost his two most powerful centre backs in the opening month of the season. I don’t need to reinforce the importance of Mings. Add to that the problem of playing twice a week and having to travel, which we knew would be an issue with the ECL. Imagine if another CB or Cash got injured last night. The domestic season would be derailed before the winter. The squad isn’t threadbare but I’m not convinced it’s deep or strong enough to cope with demands. I had that concern before the injuries. Chelsea will be a tough one and we need a result. The reality is we could afford to lose last night. Emery is managing the season. But the fact that his blood pressure appeared to be through the roof last night suggests that he didn’t send them out to lose and the mistakes they made may well have been warned against before they were made.
      Just keeping it real.

      1. OLL
        OLL September 22, 2023 at 2:02 pm . Reply

        BFR you made several good points, but who is the second CB after Mings you refer to? I agree Emery has to manage the minds of the squad and often that means putting a player you have doubts about into the position he insists he can play. A ‘go on prove it’ challenge. But Chambers at full back still with a high line – I doubt Chambers said he could do that job. I agree with you the Chelsea game is more important, but if you are prepared to bring on the A team at all – surely you should start with them and take them off early rather than the reverse. Finally the high line. Away teams in Europe usually sit back at the start, until they have tested the one v ones for speed and danger.

        1. BFR
          BFR September 22, 2023 at 9:17 pm . Reply

          The other CB is Carlos, OLL. Mings’ natural stand in based on playing style, build etc as opposed to the more ‘cultured’ Torres. In hindsight, could have gone with Chambers at CB with Konsa, and Cash in the team at RB. But there’s no cover for Cash apart from CBs playing out of position – very MON ala Carlos Cuellar. So yes, it appears Unai is making selection errors, but I’ve no doubt it’s because his options aren’t exactly abundant.

          While I’m here I regret to predict Chelsea will score 4 on Sunday. They create chances. The goals will come and I fear we’ll arrive right on cue…

          1. Hitchens60
            Hitchens60 September 22, 2023 at 11:13 pm . Reply

            BFR – I agree with you and, indeed, made the point earlier that, within the squad we have, I believe Emery sees Carlos as the best replacement he has for Mings. His injury was yet another serious blow to our season.

            Having said that it seems to me that Emery took a risk naming both Chambers and Legolet in the starting line up but he’s entitled to expect a better defensive showing than (apparently- as I haven’t seen the game) we offered.

            I wouldn’t be surprised to see another reshaping of the squad in January.

  13. Holte
    Holte September 21, 2023 at 9:31 pm . Reply

    A year or two ago, I would never imagine I would be saying how much we are missing Mings. Emery had him playing to a level which deserved more England call ups but Southgate as we know is a dick who hates Villa. We are also missing his leadership and a voice on the pitch. With Konsa, we had a back four which finished last season as one of the best in the league.
    Now we are seeing constant disruption as Emery tries to find another way of coping with Mings absence. The current alternatives look like they are struggling to step up at the moment. Now I’m missing Mings ability to get back with his long legs and pace plus the amount of blocks he managed. We don’t have anyone else who can do that unfortunately.

    1. Texas Villan
      Texas Villan September 21, 2023 at 9:56 pm . Reply

      Completely agree, and what worries me, is he going to get back to the same level of fitness as before? At his age, and the type of injury, it would be a surprise.

    2. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 September 21, 2023 at 10:09 pm . Reply

      Absolutely agree Holte.

      We’re also missing Carlos who, maybe, Emery sees as the best option to fill in for Mings?

      Notwithstanding, I thought his team selection was strange and very risky. He may well have been unhappy with the way the team performed but I think he made mistakes today – even given our injury challenges.

      We really can’t afford to drop many more points if we’re going to win the group and go straight through to the knock out stages. Group runners-up have to play a (two legged) qualifying game against a team dropping out of the Europa Cup.

      It’s unthinkable that we’ll fail to fill one of the first two places in the group.

  14. 1874 was a good year
    1874 was a good year September 21, 2023 at 10:16 pm . Reply

    At times we couldn’t control or even pass the ball and that was right from Emi up to Diaby. Very strange. Overawed, complacent or perhaps both?
    I can only hope that it serves us a lesson. It may be the Conference but don’t expect to just turn up and win the game. West Ham found that out last year when they had some right battles to get to the final. Tonight we had no fight at all.

    1. BFR
      BFR September 22, 2023 at 9:21 pm . Reply

      Came back twice to equalise. “No fight is a tad harsh.” As Alistair McGowan’s Peter Beardsley impression went: “to be fair that’s not fair.” The obscure random crap rattling around in my brain…

  15. OLL again
    OLL again September 22, 2023 at 12:38 pm . Reply

    Brains, McGinn & Villa U-21s

    At the top level of Football, and I suppose other team sports, certainly American Football, players need to be intelligent. It is possible to get away with being a bit below the level required by forming a bond with a couple of more intelligent players and playing as a unit. I think John McGinn is not bright enough, but he can have a good game if Douglas Luiz and Buendia are playing, also Douglas Luiz and Camara because he forms a unit with them – he can be the free range player so long as they are doing the essentials.

    McGinn has inexplicably bad games sometimes. I have just had the above idea, based on watching again some of the performances why that might be when one of the others is absent.


    As you know I have a season ticket at Sutton United – because in the distant and amateur past I played for them briefly. This week they hosted Villa U-21s in the EFL trophy. The score was 2-2 with Villa winning the penalty shoot out for an extra point.

    Villa U-21s are also under Spanish management. More, the club prefers to send players out on loan and the more physically robust U-21s are those chosen by the loanees. The resulting gaps are filled by players up from the U-18s. So it was a young and lightweight side up against Sutton who like many L2 teams are big men. Vila U-21s had played 5 games before, in each match conceding the last goal, and in this match like the past two away games conceding a 2 goal lead after making substitutions to try and park the bus. They always fail and on Tuesday I saw for myself why. There were 3 Villans who looked capable of scoring, two of them did. All 3 were taken off and that sends a signal to the opponents “we can’t hurt you any more”. So Sutton sent on extra attackers and duly levelled in stoppage time.

    Four of the young Villans I would bet have a future in EPL. Kellyman who applied a clever chip for the 2nd goal, Tommi O’Reilly the skipper and midfield Dynamo. Marschall the goalie who has great anticipation already, Rico Richards just in from West Brom who ghosts past players. Villa U-21s have Charlton and Crawley to play, they might win the latter.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 September 22, 2023 at 11:18 pm . Reply

      OLL – I’ve only seen Kellyman, and briefly at that, but he does look like a very good prospect for the future.

  16. Holte
    Holte September 23, 2023 at 7:18 pm . Reply

    Does anyone else think we made a huge error by not keeping Ashley Young? He is still as fit as a butcher’s dog and would have done a much better job than Chambers at RB. He is hardly ever injured too which is a big deal. Add to that his experience which we are sorely lacking. He would have been a great alternative to Cash for the European games.
    As for Chelsea tomorrow, I can see us losing and probably by a hefty margin as it seems we can’t defend away from home and Chelsea are due a turnaround in form. Step up Aston Villa for the perfect opponents when you need a pick me up!

    1. Texas Villan
      Texas Villan September 23, 2023 at 8:15 pm . Reply

      A very odd decision, agreed. I would have kept him. Fair enough if his performances were below par, but they weren’t.

    2. OLL
      OLL September 24, 2023 at 9:36 am . Reply

      Holte – it is proven now in Warsaw. Cash was rested and the option chosen as replacement was Chambers, who has never been a full-back.

  17. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson September 24, 2023 at 10:19 am . Reply

    I fear the worst today , lost that belief we are improving in fact we are lost in what Aston Villa stands for, meaning play bloody football and stop pissing around defensive play all the while.
    Are you Better yet Badger ? Hurry up missing your input.

  18. RSS
    RSS September 24, 2023 at 2:02 pm . Reply

    Good to see your on the mend Badger.
    Emery tactics? Proof of the pudding and all that and as you say Badger – Definition of madness.
    I really don’t fancy us today and as they say any manager is only six games away from the tin tack.

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