Sheffield United, a Ghost Goal and the New Traore

Cast your mind back a mere 12 weeks or so and Nyland is calling on the Gods of Norse Legend to sabotage the goal line technology as he tries to wrestle the ball around the goal post and into the net! Fortunately the gods of fortune smiled on us that day but not for Nyland. Rather than the draw at West Ham, it was probably that moment which saved our Premier League status.


Fast forward to today and its somewhat fitting that our opening fixture for the new season should be against Sheffield United.

Villa come into the game on the back of two successive wins at VP – a bit of a rarity in latter years – whilst United are on a run of four successive defeats although they haven’t lost to Villa in four games.

Chris Wilder is a good manager and, as always, his side will be well organised and difficult to break down. They attack and defend in numbers but, like last season, may well be short of goals.

With new signing Ollie Watkins leading the line, Smith will be hoping to see a sharper attack than in that game 12 weeks ago. There were signs against Burton that Grealish and Watkins are already starting to form a good understanding. 

I expect to see Cash handed his full debut along with Martinez even though, by all accounts, Steer played well in the game against Manure and Smith is on record as saying that players have to earn the shirt. 

The acquisition of Cash does raise a question mark over Guibert’s immediate future given that Elmo is also on the books.

The rest of the back four really pick themselves – Konsa and Mings in the centre with Targett at left back

I would also start with Hourihane  – I know he’s a bit of a ‘marmite’ character and can go ‘missing’ in games but he creates chances, scores goals and, arguably, has the best dead ball delivery of anyone at the club.

McGinn who our head coach described last week as being ‘like a ‘new signing’ given his improved form and fitness over the summer and the brilliant Luis who, this week, earned another international call up will complete the midfield . 

Up front looks nailed on to be Trezuguet on the right, Grealish on the left and Watkins through the middle.

Last season we lacked a clinical finisher to convert the chances created. I can see lots of chances being created by us and with Watkins speed and movement in the box and natural goal scoring ability we should score plenty this term. 

And that brings me to Traore.

A right winger with Champions League experience with Ajax and Lyon but with a reported tendency for his form to fade after a good first season with a new club. It’s also said that he can play any position across the front three which, if so, gives Smith some real options. If Smith can get the best out of him on a consistent basis then at £17m it’s a good piece of business. Tonight is likely to be too early for him; maybe against Bristol City?

Big hopes for the season ahead; now we need to kick off with a win.

 

100 Comments

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  1. Avatar
    Roy Bracy September 22, 2020 at 12:30 am .

    Can’t understand why some comments are negative. We won that’s all that matters.if we win every game 1nil I’d be extremely happy remember the 1nil to the arsenal didn’t do them any harm.
    At last we seen out a match 1nil
    Goalkeeper gave the defence real confidence. I think mcginn was very poor otherwise all good a win is a win only 37more points needed now for safety 😂

  2. Avatar
    Hitchens60 September 22, 2020 at 8:16 am .

    Mings has extended his contract to 2024. Another good piece of business.

  3. Avatar
    Originallondonlion September 22, 2020 at 8:51 am .

    The Head coach Badger quoted said McGinn was like a new signing with improved form and fitness. Maybe in training or in friendlies but come last night’s match he was cautious and careless. Reminds me of Ray Graydon – a swashbuckling winger who incurred a serious injury. Physically he recovered from it, mentally he never did, and would not take on a defender again. Last night McGinn was a shadow of the player who started last season.

    Targett gets panned as usual. He gave away a penalty, true, but he was tackling a player who was Mings to tackle in that position. Targett positions himself in a straight line between the winger, who hasn’t yet received the ball, and the centre of goal. It is the right line but he needs to be much closer to the winger to give himself a chance of intercepting the pass to him. Where he stands now – two yards at least off the winger – give the opposition a free pass.

    1. Avatar
      Ardent Villain September 23, 2020 at 3:37 pm .

      OLL, you must be my sort of age!

      Haven’t heard Ray Graydon mentioned anywhere in donkey’s years, but I know exactly what you mean; he was brilliant until his big injury, but nothing like the same when he came back. From what I remember, Sir Ron moved him on pretty quickly after that.

      1. Avatar
        Originallondonlion September 23, 2020 at 8:48 pm .

        I guess so – I’m 72.

        1. Avatar
          Ardent Villain September 23, 2020 at 8:55 pm .

          A little senior to me then (~10 years) but there aren’t that many left on here who were watching back in the late 60’s or early 70’s!

          1. Avatar
            Hitchens60 September 23, 2020 at 9:14 pm .

            71 – first game at Villa Park 1960 v Blackpool. Hitchens scored twice. Now you know the reason behind the monica. Hitchens was my first football hero.

            1. Avatar
              Ardent Villain September 23, 2020 at 9:30 pm .

              Respect.

              1. Avatar
                CharlieAitken 59 September 24, 2020 at 10:47 am .

                1959 my first Villa game

                Charlie Aitken my all time favourite …..Nigel Sims and Pat McMahon my other favourites

  4. Avatar
    steve September 22, 2020 at 10:21 am .

    McGinn was quite poor last night but I think he will get better with games. After lockdown I thought he was poor to begin with and improved each game and was nearly back to his best against west ham.

  5. Avatar
    Bum Bum September 22, 2020 at 2:47 pm .

    Don’t forget McGinn was linked with a £50m move to Utd at the beginning of the year…He’ll be back! It seems there were quite a few tired legs in C&B shirts towards the end of the game last night…

  6. Avatar
    Hitchens60 September 22, 2020 at 5:55 pm .

    Keinan Davis signs a new contract to 2024. Another good piece of business.

  7. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. September 22, 2020 at 6:08 pm .

    It’s reported in the Liverpool echo that Villa are watching James Milner, the fee would be 8 million, its worth a thought he has the knowledge in midfield but does he have the fitness now.

    1. Avatar
      Ardent Villain September 22, 2020 at 8:11 pm .

      From what I’d heard over the summer – think it was reported from Klopp – Milner is the fittest player in Liverpool’s squad.

      Would have him back in an instant – but not for £8m!

  8. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. September 22, 2020 at 6:13 pm .

    Its been reported that James Milner being watched by Villa, Liverpool echo saying fee to be 8 million, thoughts.

  9. Avatar
    nath September 22, 2020 at 7:20 pm .

    season started with a win and clean sheet. what a goalie we have now 🙂 the penalty was hit firm and in the corner. it was ideal height for a goalie, but martinez still had to have lightening reactions and strong hand. he came out to claim the crosses the few that came in. he distributed the ball very comfortably and accurately. i usually have a heart attack every time the ball is in our box, but i found myself in total relaxation mode.

    cash was also pretty decent, crossed a few decent balls,he has good energy up and down the wing adding width, but he was way behind my man of match martinez. watkins also was decent showed good movement and linked up with his support. he was well marked by two or three.still had the odd chance, put one slightly high and wide late on

    overall i was contented with the performance,thou i thought we were too slow and deliberate with the passing. we should have up the tempo and stretched blades more than we did. the main thing was a wining start and clean sheet, three points. we can play hell of a lot better and we will play a lot better and lose. it was the first game and all teams are no where near match fit yet. so its a great start to a season, we will be much more competitive this year. so excited but its one step at a time for now. we are going to be behind teams also as most have played a competitive game more. which will be a slight advantage for the first odd games

  10. Avatar
    DSVilla September 23, 2020 at 8:49 am .

    I didn’t bother checking it out but there seemed to be quite a number of away wins in the first sets of matches. It will be interesting how that pans out across the season with teams not having the fans to gee them up.

    I thought we played OK but really Grealish is the only player who can do something out of the ordinary to unlock a defence. TBF Sheff Utd defended really well. I think Traore and any further additions will be aimed at fixing that.

    We opened last season with a defeat and only got a point at home to Sheff Utd so it’s a decent result.

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 September 23, 2020 at 1:38 pm .

      DS, I suspect Traore has been bought in to inject some pace, but Trez isn’t slow, yet we’ve rarely seen him use a burst of speed, except when he’s running to get on the end of a chance.

      It’s what totally annoys me about our game. It’s overall way too slow and is mostly easy to read. Even the vast majority of crosses are overhit giving defenders more time.

      I can undersand retaining possession, but all this sidewards and backwards passing is ridiculous. The amount of times the ball goes back from the halfway line to our own box is riculous.

      And it frankly bores me to death.
      I seriously struggle to think of the last time I enjoyed watching a Villa game, but it would no doubt be when we were going gung ho early last season.

      We need to massively up the pace and play way more direct, at times, at least, imo.

      1. Avatar
        DSVilla September 23, 2020 at 2:16 pm .

        I was quite impressed by Trezeguet’s work rate and fitness on Monday. He didn’t play all that well but I saw a level of commitment I hadn’t seen before.
        I agree we need an injection of pace. I think the solidity of Sheff Utd and the sending off affected the game. It will be interesting to see what we look like when teams come at us a bit more

      2. Avatar
        Ardent Villain September 23, 2020 at 2:26 pm .

        Badger, I couldn’t agree more about the pace (lack of-) and the ‘tippy-tappy’ sideways/back-passing.

        Totally frustrating to watch our defenders constantly passing back to the ‘keeper and sideways to each other rather than trying to move the ball forward; the only one who seems to ever want to take the play forwards from defence out of our half is Luiz.

        i don’t know who started the ‘modern’ style of treating the ‘keeper as an outfield player and involving him in pretty posession-play for half the game, but I wish it would stop!

        No wonder we don’t create as many scoring opportunities as we could: we seem to want to ‘win on points’ by keeping our posession stats looking as good as possible, rather than attacking (and that goes for a lot of other teams in the division as well).

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