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.



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  1. Avatar
    Badger123 September 24, 2020 at 8:29 pm .

    Watkins again, 3-0.

  2. Avatar
    nath September 24, 2020 at 8:58 pm .

    good result second half was cruise control, watkins came on a could off had three but had to settle with one. trez looked lively too coming on, could have had two assists but ramseys shot was saved. bristrol had won4 before this so this had been a good result and 11 changes made. looking great boys long may it continue

  3. Avatar
    Holte66 September 24, 2020 at 9:01 pm .

    Just watched Traore goal. Great technique and I would suggest that we don’t have anyone else capable of that type of finish, except maybe Grealish.

    1. Avatar
      nath September 24, 2020 at 9:06 pm .

      davis set up for el ghazi was also brilliant.must watch

  4. Avatar
    Hitchens60 September 24, 2020 at 9:30 pm .

    First clean sheet away from home in 26 games!

    1. Avatar
      CharlieAitken 59 September 24, 2020 at 10:46 pm .

      Really? That is an alarming stat!

  5. Avatar
    Hitchens60 September 24, 2020 at 10:26 pm .

    Samatta loan deal to Fenerbahce now confirmed. Does that mean another striker coming in as without Samatta and with Wesley out until the New Year, we are, yet again, very light up front. An injury to Watkins and we have no real back up in-depth.

    1. Avatar
      CharlieAitken 59 September 24, 2020 at 10:44 pm .

      Traore can play CF. 12 goals in 24 games the last time he played there. Not a bad return albeit in the French league!

    2. Avatar
      Badger123 September 25, 2020 at 2:00 am .

      Got to be Hitch, I’d have thought.

  6. Avatar
    CharlieAitken 59 September 24, 2020 at 10:45 pm .

    Nyland not even making the bench now. Must be on his way soon!

  7. Avatar
    Badger123 September 25, 2020 at 1:44 am .

    CharlieAitken, I’ve worked out what the issue was. You should be good to go now.

    1. Avatar
      CharlieAitken 59 September 25, 2020 at 10:30 am .


  8. Avatar
    Badger123 September 25, 2020 at 2:11 am .

    Good grief, I’ve just seen the Traore goal. How cheeky of him!
    He didn’t even bother to look, because he knew it was in. Absolutely brilliant and I’ll be well happy to be wrong about him.

    Big well done to Ramsey(?) I think it was, for putting that superb pass into Traore so he didn’t even have to break stride. Simply sublime.

  9. Avatar
    Hitchens60 September 25, 2020 at 10:16 am .

    It seems Samatta to Fenerbahce is a permanent move – fee undisclosed but being mooted at £7m where we paid £8.5m. If true then we paid the equivalent of a £1.5m loan fee for 6 months and one goal!

    Another example of some poor decision making last summer when we left ourselves short in two key positions. With Wesley out ‘till the New Year (or so it’s been reported) surely we have to bring in another striker or are we seeing Traore as back up in that role as suggested by CharlieAitken?

  10. Avatar
    CharlieAitken 59 September 25, 2020 at 10:48 am .

    My thoughts about last night’s performance.

    Steer …back to full fitness. Good back up to Martinez. I have my doubts that Heaton will ever get back to the same standard that he was before his injury.

    Traore….good debut, exceptional goal and good team player

    Ramsey…very good game and can possible stand in for Jack if he’s injured (I wouldnt let him go out on loan unless we sign Barkley)

    Davis….led the line very well, underated IMO, terrifies defenders who cant cope with his strength.

    Elmo. Great professional and did well at CB, calm on the ball with good distribution. Hope he ends his career with us. Great role model who never complains. Can picture him in a coaching role in our academy.

    1. Avatar
      Ardent Villain September 25, 2020 at 4:24 pm .

      Agree (in particular) about Ramsey- he seems to get better with every game and looks reall class; certainly would prefer him to get time with the 1st team rather than go to some lower-league club for 3 or more months.

      As for Elmo, I think he’s been a very good player for us since he arrived; not spectacular, but usually reliable and does seem like the sort of model-pro that should be in the squad as along as he can,

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