Villa – Newcastle; Quite looking forward to this massive game

After a restful couple of weeks for the lads, the games are coming thick and fast again.
Chelsea on Friday, the Barcodes tonight and Sheffield on Saturday. I love it, as much as we know it’s not great for the players.

So it’s as per the headline really and I have a feeling this game could define our season. Win it and the wagon keeps on rolling. Lose it and I think it might be fair to say it’s probably indicative that the wheels are in the process of falling off.

I’ve been reading around and I’ve just seen the dreaded “Newcastle haven’t won since mid December”. You can guess what my immediate thought was. But we’re not the same team that we have been over the last few years.
I really ought to move away from that negative thinking, but I don’t feel we’re quite in that position yet. The draws at home to Sheffield and Bournemouth have ensured that loss of 100% confidence.

Squad news then and there’s nothing new. Pau Torres, Lucas Digne and Jhon Duran are all out, the young striker possibly until April, having done his hamstring. Why was I under the impression that he’d only tweaked it and it wouldn’t be for long? Unai has said we’re okay, because we have Zaniolo as a back up striker should Watkins get injured. I wish I was equally as convinced.
Still, I’ve consistently said we can score from all over the pitch, yet we haven’t been doing lately. It seems like we could do with someone to take the lead in helping us get our shooting boots on again and if Ollie was to get injured, you wonder who that might be. Then again, he needs to get his on first.
I’ve seen talk that Jacob Ramsay (the 100% definite target for Newcastle until Eddie Howe told them they were miles off) might be involved but I don’t think they’ll risk him yet. I can see this being a bit of a tough game and we don’t want him to aggravate the injury, which has already happened once.
Traore is still at the Afcon, I believe. Oh and Olsen is fit. Not that that matters much, as he won’t be getting on unless Martinez is in serious trouble.

As for Newcastle, they have quite the injury list.
Pope, Wilson, Barnes, Willock, Anderson, Joelinton, and Targett are all out. There’s some very decent players there and looking at that I can see why they haven’t reached the heights of last season.
And then to cap it all, Trippier, Lascelles, Almiron are all doubtful and Tonali is suspended.

Oh dear, how sad, never mind, to coin a phrase.

In all seriousness though, that is some list and hopefully it will be good for us.
What do I think then?
Well, this might be a bit controversial, but I’d actually drop Matty Cash and put Konsa in at Right back.
There. I’ve said it.
It’s just that his one decent effort on goal apart, I thought he was poor against Chelsea, as much as I saw he’d got good ratings in a couple of papers I read after the game. That and I just think he’s been off it for a few months now. I suspect the manager thinks it too, which is why he’s rested him previously. Why we haven’t signed a new RB or at least given one of the kids a proper go is something I find perplexing.
Which all of course, means Diego Carlos comes back in. I think that’s not a bad idea for this game, as he’ll help cover the back, which should let Luiz maraud forward a bit more.
I’d also be inclined to drop Diaby too, but I think Emery is trying to play him back into form, so doubt that will happen. He should though, be hooked at half time if he’s proving ineffective again, to be replaced by Bailey, in my opinion.
But what do I know? Emery often does things that surprise me and I’m sure he’ll do similar tonight.

Right, I’m sticking my betting hat on, as much as I don’t really bet and am going for a 2-1 win.
Losing this is unthinkable and I’m not even sure I’ll be at all happy if we draw it either.
In fact, I know I won’t.
I know you can’t expect to just keep winning games, but it’s this sort of game that sorts the wheat from the chaff and if we want to stay with the big boys, well, we just need to get the result somehow, as much as I see it being a bit of a bruising game, which will be played out in the midfield.

2-1 it is then.



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  1. OLL again
    OLL again January 30, 2024 at 10:31 pm . Reply

    Geordie version of Sod’s Law.
    “If anything can go wrong, it will, and always against Newcastle.”

    Diaby is waiting for the sun to shine. Somebody replied last time to that comment ‘it was cold in Germany’, but I discovered he was the same there, mental freeze in mid-winter.
    Why won’t Douglas Luiz make a run into the area from just outside the D? He passes it wide and Newcastle mop up the following cross.

    We have run out of ideas since half time at Old Trafford. Maybe Pau Torres will improve it. Ramsey is bottling the 1 on 1’s, sign he isn’t mentally fit. Newcastle had 4 players who looked like they could score, we had 2 and 1/4.

  2. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 January 30, 2024 at 10:58 pm . Reply

    According to Sky we’ve agreed a deal for Rogers and are also pursing an Aussie GK – Gauci (I think) who’s just been called up by the Aussie team for the Asian Cup. Probably can’t be any worse than Olsen!

    1. BFR
      BFR January 31, 2024 at 6:44 pm . Reply

      If he’s half as good as Bosnich, he’ll do.

  3. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum January 30, 2024 at 11:39 pm . Reply

    Nobody has really mentioned the absence of Digne. Although I really rate Moreno, Digne has been excellent until his injury.
    Aren’t we traditionally shite around the month of January? 24 hrs left of the bloody month if it’s true…
    Bring on Chesty!!! We need fresh legs!!!!

  4. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum January 31, 2024 at 9:48 am . Reply

    The morning after.


  5. BFR
    BFR January 31, 2024 at 11:51 am . Reply

    More on Diaby’s shooting. I recently watched a highlights montage of Wilfreid Zaha’s goals for Palace. Not to mention assists. His right foot is like a guided missile: explosive and accurate. Proven PL quality. He would’ve cost nothing in the summer. The 50 XL for Diaby could’ve been banked, and we wouldn’t be talking about cashing in on another star player. Just a thought.

    Meanwhile, Eze and Olise are tearing it up down at Selhurst Park. Surely one of those should be on Villa’s radar?

  6. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 January 31, 2024 at 1:50 pm . Reply

    According to Fabrizio Romano we’ve agreed a deal to sign another young full back – Lino Sousa (18) from Arsenal.

    Looks like we’re back to the ‘young and hungry’ mantra and look where that got us!

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum January 31, 2024 at 2:55 pm . Reply

      Don’t forget Martinez was an Arsenal reject!!!

  7. Holte
    Holte January 31, 2024 at 2:53 pm . Reply

    Do we want to be a breeding club for the big boys? Buy them cheap and if any good we sell at a profit. Great for FFP but not if we want to challenge the top 6. Who was it at Villa when Arsenal were reportedly wanting to sign Luiz again, said maybe we will be shopping for their players!

  8. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 January 31, 2024 at 3:43 pm . Reply

    I have found as I’ve got older that it’s harder to accept watching a defeat particularly when our team is playing so poorly.

    Like Emery said though it’s important to retain one’s perspective and I’m now rather embarrassed at turning the TV off so early!

    I promise to try harder and hope my fellow Villans will forgive me for failing to keep faith with the players.


    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum January 31, 2024 at 4:42 pm . Reply

      I’m still well pee’d off from yesterday. It stays with you doesn’t it… Let’s hope we can restore some sort of form at Sheffield Utd. God help us if we can’t!!!

      Anyone else a massive Brentford fan tonight?

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 January 31, 2024 at 6:00 pm . Reply

        Be in the local Greene King pub but will be watching if it’s on!

        Sky reporting Villa have agreed a deal for Aussie GK Gauci (23). I suspect (hope) this will see the end of Olsen’s stay at VP. I wish him no ill but sadly he’s just not good enough.

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