The Good, Bad and Ugly of Everton Win
Once again Aston Villa needed a result against Everton to kickstart their season, once again they got it, but it wasn’t all pretty.
When news broke that Tyrone Mings was to be in the starting line-up for Aston Villa, it felt like a bit of a cloud lifted over Villa Park, even if the crowd needed something to block the sun in the sweltering conditions.
The Mings vs Gerrard scenario, so joyously stoked up by all corners of the media, had the potential to distract from footballing matters.
With Mings back to fitness and taking his place alongside Diego Carlos, the excuses were gone and Villa had to perform, which they largely did.
There were many positives, Jacob Ramsey looked to be up to speed and made a number of eye-catching marauding runs, Ollie Watkins was stretching defences and Danny Ings remembered how to finish.
A storm at centre-back may be on the horizon, but the Villa attack looked bright.
Villan of the Week – Emi Buendia
Buendia, is simply the best thing to watch about Aston Villa.
When he came on for the injured Coutinho, he had the perfect scenario, a game fizzling out, an opposition who gave you space, and a match to win.
Buendia managed all of this.
The challenge now is the same as it has been since the arrival of Coutinho, how do you fit them both in the team?
A vital three points it was, but again it was far from comfortable. It seems to be the worse state the opposition is in, the bigger problems Villa have.
Bournemouth apparently weren’t prepared for the start of the season, yet they turned Villa over with ease.
Everton had no strikers and their centre-backs were making their first and second appearances for the club, we won’t even mention Alex Iwobi in midfield.
Sometimes it looks like Villa are in their own tactical bubble when it comes to the opposition.
While this is all well and good for the best teams in the league, teams that finish 14th need to do their due diligence and stop leaving themselves open to the most obvious opposition strengths.
Don’t play around at the back vs Manchester City, don’t give away set pieces against Bournemouth, and when Everton bring on a striker, expect them to go direct.
This is a very simplified way of thinking, but it’s something Villa didn’t do under Dean Smith and continues to fail at under Steven Gerrard.
Villa look to just line-up the same way, try to do their thing and hope it’s good enough to beat the opposition. Too often it isn’t enough.
Beating the Everton side that turned up to Villa Park, was the bare minimum required. If Villa are to improve on last season and finally crack the top half, they will have to realise what their opponents do well and stop them from doing it.
Poor Diego Carlos, two games into his Villa career and he’s out for the majority of the season. It’s not the first time it’s happened to a Villa player, but it’s left Aston Villa in a tricky situation.
The immediate response from some seems to be, go out and buy another £25 million replacement. Villa have rich owners, but they are here to make the club sustainable in the future, not to be the Barcelona of the Premier League.
The £15m to £20 million, Villa got for Carney Chukwuemeka, is a blueprint for how to beat the established top six and head off the emerging challenge of Newcastle United. You have to play the long game.
Get the conveyor belt of talent churning out players to sell or have in the first team and you will make enough passive income, to challenge. It’s how Chelsea are able to spend bucketloads of cash every window. They loan and sell so many players, that FFP is never an issue.
While it would be tempting to go and spend big on another Carlos, it’s not part of the plan.
Look at the current mess Manchester United are in. It’s not down to a lack of investment in their squad, it’s down to panic-buying players to fill a hole without thinking of the season beyond or further.
How many centre-backs have they bought to partner Harry Maguire, without thinking he might be the issue? How millions down the drain?
According to transfermarkt, Since Villa’s promotion, they have spent £401.1 million on 70 arrivals compared to Manchester United’s £477.87 million on 58 arrivals to date.
Looking at the two squads and their potential resale value, throwing more money at the same position isn’t the answer.
Villa still need an upgrade in midfield, so any deal to replace Carlos will need to be a savvy one, if a deal happens at all.
The sensible approach would be to upgrade the midfield and take the pressure off the defence. That way the existing central defenders, who not so long ago kept 15 clean sheets in a season, can do the job.
The ugly approach would be to throw money at the unfortunate situation and be left with a high wage bill squad, full of players nobody wants to buy and nobody wants to join.