Villa – Lille; European quarter final

So we face a Lille side who are actually in a very similar position to us in the French Ligue 1, where they’re challenging for a Champion’s league place, although without wishing to be disrespectful, I’m not convinced that’s the equivalent of how well we’ve done, given the standard of their league.
But then, current league position is not that important at this stage, as we all know any team can beat any other in knockout games. Plus, given that they’re unbeaten in all their previous Conference games this season, you could actually say they’ve done better than us.

So while I know nothing at all about Lille, I think I can pretty confidently say that this won’t be an easy game at all. Is the fact that we’re playing at home first an advantage or a disadvantage? I’ve never really been convinced although no doubt most people would say you have the advantage of knowing what you need to do if you’re at home for the second leg.
Me, I’m more inclined to think that if you’re the better team, you’ll win out, whatever happens, on average.
The one worrying thing is that Lille apparently beat us 2-0 at Villa Park in the Intertoto cup, albeit in 2002. I can’t say I remember that at all. Anyway, we’re a totally different side to what we were then.

So are we better than them? I don’t have a clue.

Squad news and Mings, Buendia, Kamara, Ramsey, Cash and Lenglet may not be available depending on how you interpret Emery’s comment;
“Lenglet has a small problem but is not available for tomorrow.”
Is it a small problem or big enough to keep him out? I’m going with the latter.
Zaniolo is back after his suspension and Watkins should start.

Lille have Angel Gomez back from a similar hamstring niggle to Ollie, but Samuel Umtiti, Andrej Illic and Tiago Morais are all going to miss out. Yes, I was distraught about that news too.

So there we have it. I’d like to think we have enough about us to win this leg at least.
And if we’re going to go on and win the competition, you have to beat whoever you face. It’s really that simple.

But it’s not simple enough for me to be able to make a prediction. Not even a guess.
So it’s a case of me just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping.



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  1. Sidforever
    Sidforever April 11, 2024 at 9:33 pm . Reply

    Why does Emery persist with Zaniola? He can’t retain the ball. Arny any of the younger lads worth a go?

  2. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 April 11, 2024 at 9:34 pm . Reply

    Without Martinez we’d be in the sh1t

  3. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 April 11, 2024 at 9:37 pm . Reply

    This referee is doing my head in – twat

  4. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum April 11, 2024 at 9:44 pm . Reply

    WTF. Why have Liverpool imploded now in Europe? This could derail their title hopes…not that I care, but the European wins are important forbus and The Spuds.
    Shit. LILLE just scored.

  5. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 April 11, 2024 at 9:46 pm . Reply

    Now we’re fuc**d.

    Lille are a good side and I can’t really see us winning this tie over two legs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Lille get a second here.

  6. Sidforever
    Sidforever April 11, 2024 at 9:46 pm . Reply

    Just typical.

    Why so many changes upsetting the play?

  7. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 April 11, 2024 at 9:47 pm . Reply

    And a fifth Championship place is looking very remote given tonight’s results.

    Where’s the whisky

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum April 11, 2024 at 9:50 pm . Reply

      Funnily enough I got myself a bottle of 12 yr old single malt yesterday.
      Shall I email u a wee dram?

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 April 11, 2024 at 9:58 pm . Reply

        Yep – thanks Bum Bum 🙂

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson April 11, 2024 at 9:52 pm . Reply

    It was on the cards Bum Bum , Uni done his nut over some players not concentrating in the game Teileman
    Was guilty of standing off on a free kick . We have lost the bite in our game it’s now over Lilli will murder us in France you see .

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 April 11, 2024 at 10:02 pm . Reply

      Agreed Bill – there’s no way we can win this tie with just a one goal cushion.

      In the last 25 minutes we were nowhere.

      We have to play Arsenal Sunday whilst the cheating French postpone Lille’s game because of their Conference tie. Sometimes you just have to admit the cards are stacked against you

  9. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum April 11, 2024 at 10:00 pm . Reply

    Hey! Stop the negativity dudes! A good game, again on a shoestring squad. Give the guys some credit!
    We take a lead to France with minimal travelling and a lead. Emi was monstrous again.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 April 11, 2024 at 10:05 pm . Reply

      Actually Bum Bum we’re being realistic.

      We won but only because Martinez pulled off four or five outstanding saves.

      In reality, with the injuries we have, our defence is broken.

  10. Holte
    Holte April 11, 2024 at 10:07 pm . Reply

    We look a shadow of the team that beat Citeh at Villa Park. Far too many injuries for our squad size. How can we be good at set pieces in the opposition box yet so shockingly poor in defending them? I don’t know what is going on with Carlos but he needs to be replaced in the summer. Torres needs competition assuming Lenglet is off. Hopefully Mings but unlikely after a season out. In fact a new RB and LB if Digne leaves. It’s our defence that is our weakness at the moment.
    I think their home advantage will be significant in the second leg. They should have had a hatful of goals were it not for Martinez who was by far our best player.
    Typically Pool and West Ham have probably cost us getting 5th place in the Champions League.
    It feels like a disappointing night even though we have won. I guess I’m never happy 😏

  11. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum April 11, 2024 at 10:28 pm . Reply

    Well let’s pause the catastrophising and see what the hell next week brings. We won!!!!!!
    These last few games are nothing short of a war of attrition. Hold your breath…
    And FK Arsenal too!!!!! We were the ONLY English team to win in Europe this week!!!!!

  12. 1874 was a good year
    1874 was a good year April 12, 2024 at 12:04 am . Reply

    Well, we do have a one goal lead which is slightly better than Liverpool for instance. We just need to keep Lille out to get into the semis. Trust Unai, he’s been there before and bought the T shirt.
    If we don’t make it then hasn’t it been a great journey? Next year all our players will know what Europe is about and be the better for it.
    It’s been a stupendous and exciting season and whatever happens from now on is okay with me.

  13. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum April 12, 2024 at 8:31 am . Reply

    We need to glue Cash back together so Konsa can pair with Pau.
    I don’t think I have the nerves to watch the Arsenal game. Might just check the score at the end…

    1. BFR
      BFR April 12, 2024 at 1:29 pm . Reply

      Given Arse’s scoring record and our stricken defence, the smart money may well be on Villa being splattered at the Emirates. I hope I’m wrong!

  14. Jed Steer's Death Stare
    Jed Steer's Death Stare April 12, 2024 at 12:52 pm . Reply

    The lack of intensity and overall sloppiness from Villa, with the resulting loss of possession, made Lille look better than they are. Mid to lower Prem level team at best. Still enough about them to be dangerous, but clear gap in quality. Villa didn’t come close to hitting top gear all game, although McGinn’s goal was a joy to watch from the Lower Holte it has to be said. It didn’t help later in the game that the subs made about as much impact as a banana on an anvil.

    Poor refereeing as usual, and how they managed to escape without a single yellow card is unbelievable. There seemed to be a blatant handball in open play in their half which was completely ignored by the referee. Their 22 was a proper shithouse, like Neal Maupay and Dwight Gayle had a love child.

    I don’t know how it came across on tv but the away support wasn’t up to much, only used lower Doug Ellis and no-one in upper. I’ve just checked and astonishingly their stadium capacity is 50k with average attendance just under 40k. Numbers like that you expect Forest levels of support but they were like Bournemouth in disguise.

    Biggest concern is Villa’s mental toughness away from home, and we’ll need to score because we’ll almost certainly concede. I’m sure the French fans will be much louder at home but I’m going for improved performance and another 2-1 to Villa in France.

    1. BFR
      BFR April 12, 2024 at 7:33 pm . Reply

      Agree JSDS. The worry is if they score early. And if Villa set-up with the aim of not letting them score early. Then it could get messy…

    2. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 April 12, 2024 at 10:08 pm . Reply

      JS – your points about the ref are well made.

      He seemed to favour Lille throughout the game. Examples – Konsa has his shirt almost ripped off his back, foul, no yellow card; Luiz gets a yellow card for the mildest of shirt pulls not even denying Lille an attacking threat and the foul on Watkins in the box – it was blatant with no attempt to win the ball – if that wasn’t a penalty then my aunts actually my uncle; and then the booking of Martinez for ‘time wasting’ – really; presumably the ref was annoyed at Martinez making so many good saves.

      I know all fans are biased but we do seem to be on the receiving end of a lot of poor and ‘anti Villa’ decisions from referees.

      Is football now corrupt at all levels or am I just another conspiracy theorist?

  15. Holte
    Holte April 12, 2024 at 1:35 pm . Reply

    Considering we are likely to lose even with our best XI, would it make sense to rest our best players and save them for next Thursday?

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum April 12, 2024 at 4:22 pm . Reply

      We canafford our GD to be ripped apart. It could be crucial.

    2. BFR
      BFR April 12, 2024 at 7:37 pm . Reply

      You make a good point, Holte. Personally, I couldn’t blame Unai if he did that. If the first 11 go through the wringer on Sunday, there’ll be nothing left for the Lille game. Meanwhile, they’ll be putting their feet up with a brew on and scoffing croissants…

  16. BFR
    BFR April 12, 2024 at 7:43 pm . Reply

    Anyone seen the club statement about this partnership with ‘Atairos’? What to make of it? 🤷

    1. Badger123
      Badger123 April 12, 2024 at 8:12 pm . Reply

      This was first announced in mid December, but went totally under my radar.
      This is very interesting, as we have a partnership, but retain 100% say on everything.
      Why would a company enter into that sort of agreement?
      There’s only one reason I can think of and it’s because it’s lucrative.
      My guess is that Altairos will make a sizeable investment, with a pretty certain guarantee of a sizeable profit.
      I obviously don’t have a clue of any details, but I’d be willing to bet this is a way round FFP.

      I’m very tempted to say that contrary to the noses and their talk of a 62,000 capacity “spaceship” stadium and it’s 6 Billion cost, our owners put their money where their mouths are and don’t just talk big.
      I think this is probably going to turn out to be a very good thing for the club.
      Dodgy Man City type deals. Without the dodgyness, I’m guessing

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 April 12, 2024 at 10:12 pm . Reply

        Just read the statement – seems like NSWE are really ‘putting the foot to the metal’

        Now this deal is in the bag I wonder whether we’ll see further statements regarding the development of VP?


      2. BFR
        BFR April 13, 2024 at 12:20 pm . Reply

        Spaceship stadium. 🤣🤣🤣
        What planet are they on?
        I’m literally trying not to laugh out loud and the wife is like “what are you smirking at?”

        1. OLL again
          OLL again April 13, 2024 at 2:38 pm . Reply

          With a spaceship stadium – the correct question is ‘What planet are they on this week?’
          “Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.”

  17. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum April 13, 2024 at 10:44 am . Reply

    Cash and Lenglet back in training yesterday.
    Gonna be keeping a close eye on the 12.30 Barcodes/Spuds game…

  18. BFR
    BFR April 13, 2024 at 12:24 pm . Reply

    Just watched the Football Focus analysis on Arsenal’s defence. If we score tomorrow, it’ll be a minor miracle. I think Zaniolo, Duran, and Diaby have to come in. Is there anything in defence or midfield to rest some for Thursday? Doesn’t look like it. Can we risk Cash and Lenglet??? Moreno for Digne?

  19. BFR
    BFR April 13, 2024 at 12:30 pm . Reply

    Spaceship stadium! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  20. BFR
    BFR April 13, 2024 at 1:06 pm . Reply

    2-0 Newcastle! 🥳 🥳 🥳

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