Aston Villa Get Back on Track as The Gates of Hell Open in the Loan Market

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Fulham and the International Break

Is it safe to come out yet? Is the water torture that is watching international football outside of tournaments over? Good, then let’s get ready for Aston Villa’s season truly beginning.

The Good

It might feel like ages ago, but the Fulham win was massive for Aston Villa. After a poor performance against Forest and a laboured win over AZ Alkmaar, an improvement was needed to keep Villa in a healthy position in the league and to carry momentum through the international break.

Emery’s side delivered in spades against Fulham, in effect, wrapping up the match by half-time with an own-goal and another captain’s goal and performance from John McGinn.

The drop-off in the second half was a little frustrating, but there were still plenty of gears to go through in they had been needed.

13-straight league wins at home is nothing to be sniffed at, and with Manchester City and Arsenal to come to Villa Park in quick succession, the first marker of the season has been laid down getting to this point with a 100% home record.

If it’s still 100% after those two tests, then anything is possible.

Villan of the Week – Ezri Konsa

It may seem strange with the headline performance from John McGinn to give Konsa the nod, but for him to make his way into an England squad under the increasing hypocrisy and insanity of Gareth Southgate’s squad choices is no mean feat.

For Konsa personally, it shows that he can live with the big boys as far as international selection goes, and by being part of the conversation he will be in the mindset of whoever succeeds Southgate.

Of course, it would’ve been nice for him to get his first cap, but the madness of playing Harry Maguire into even worse form continues for England. Konsa perhaps did his reputation no harm at all by maintaining a watching brief from the bench for both games and staying fit for Villa.

It’s back…

The Bad

Speaking of staying fit for Villa, it was a relief to see Ollie Watkins come through the break unscathed. As the focal point of Emery’s side, he is along with Emi Martinez the main irreplaceable piece in the side.

Unfortunately, being the understudy to Harry Kane in an England side is a bit of a double-edged sword. Watkins tries his hardest with no service for an hour before being replaced by Kane, who subsequently stands beside a defender who puts it in his own goal and gets all the praise.

You just couldn’t make it up. Kane didn’t even score and the press said how vital he is to the England cause. This is why Aston Villa players should be in no rush to play for England, the whole setup is becoming toxic again.

It’s a far cry from the summer of 2018 when England should have gotten to at least the World Cup Final. The freshness that was in that setup has become stale and too many fans are just switching the channel and watching something else.

Watkins received unfair criticism, with some reports asking who should be Kane’s understudy without addressing the real issues. A more attacking coach would have both Kane and Watkins playing together instead of shoehorning fullbacks into every other position on the pitch.

Ollie Watkins can ignore the bad press and get back to performing for Villa in the crucial games ahead.

The Ugly

I didn’t think I’d be around to see the gates of hell opening, but when the Premier League failed to ban loan transfers for the next transfer window between associated clubs, it felt like Pandora’s box had been opened.

Whether it was seven or eight clubs that voted against the move is immaterial, the fact that there wasn’t some form of check on this scenario before shows the need for an independent regulator in the game.

For context, Newcastle United can now loan any of the ”superstars” who chose to play in the Saudi Pro League to cover the gaps in their side from injury and gambling suspensions. Let’s not forget, PIF, who own Newcastle United, recently acquired four Saudi Pro teams.

The obvious scenario is ex-Wolves star Reuben Neves slotting into the Newcastle midfield after swapping between two clubs owned by the same entity.

Everton, who voted against banning this eventuality, were just docked 10 points for breaking profit and sustainability rules, while Newcastle can bring in a World Class midfielder in theory for free. How is that a level playing field?

Get the Saudi Team to spend the money and keep it off your balance sheet while you get the player. It’s so brazen and simple, it’s destined to happen.

An independent regulator was a must before this farce of a decision. Now, it cannot arrive soon enough to punish state-owned clubs under investigation, while racking up league titles they’ve won through alleged financial doping.

Football fans just have to hope the damage isn’t irreversible or covered up to protect ‘the integrity’ of the Premier League.


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