The Good, Bad and Ugly of Bournemouth
An International break that for once was not a time for a massive reset for Aston Villa, other than to help hurry some injuries along, and has ushered in a new period of calm for Villa fans, is this the new normal?
Routine, comfortable, controlled, professional, any other adjectives you can think of to describe Villa’s win against Bournemouth?
It was certainly an assured display in front of the home fans. As soon as Douglas Luiz started and finished an incisive attack in the first ten minutes, it didn’t feel like there would be any other result.
The fact that a few blips occurred before Jacob Ramsey made it two-nil was quickly forgotten, as the last ten minutes had Villa playing the kind of football that every fan wants. Attacking, controlled and purposeful.
Now attention turns to a pivotal clash in the battle for eleventh place with Chelsea. A sentence that makes no sense whatsoever.
Villan of the Week – Jacob Ramsey
The positional enigma that is Jacob Ramsey continued with a stellar display against Bournemouth, a goalscoring cameo for the England U21s and then captaining the side in the second match of the break.
The reason I say enigma is, Jacob Ramsey can play games where he has 20 touches over the whole game, and nobody knows what he does, then again he can have a driving, incisive performance like he did against Bournemouth.
The reason for the disparity in displays is not always down to Ramsey. Like John McGinn, he is a very hard midfielder to put a label on positionally and he doesn’t always fit into the team’s best formation.
Luckily, that’s why Unai Emery is paid the big bucks. He has managed to get Ramsey’s numbers for goals and assists moving again and get his development back on an upward curve.
This is a bit tongue-in-cheek this week.
Where would Aston Villa ideally want to finish in the Premier League this season?
There is a school of thought that the best position to finish would be as high as possible without any European Football.
The advantages of this of course, would allow Unai Emery a clean run at the domestic season without the distraction of an unlikely European run.
It would also avoid the chance of more injuries, and more importantly, not affect league form.
If this is your position, that’s fine, there’s no right or wrong answer.
But would it be such a bad thing to sneak into Europe over a Brexit-like domestic approach?
There would be a bit of a trolley dash to get the squad into shape, but the state of minor European competition is similar to the early rounds of the League Cup.
If a relegation-threatened West Ham can make it to the latter stages, then an eleventh-placed Aston Villa could go further.
It would also pass the next milestone of progress since promotion from the Championship and give the owners some return for their investment.
It would be naive to think NSWE would continue to be the benevolent owners they have been up to now, if Villa continue to lounge around in eleventh place.
Considering the run-in, European football for Aston Villa is unlikely this season, but if the opportunity landed on the last game of the season it’s something to grab with both hands.
Villa Away Shirts £22 (below)
With the game against Chelsea approaching, it’s hard to ignore the investment in the team you are playing against.
Whether it was the record fee paid to get their current manager Graham Potter, or the equally absurd British transfer record for Enzo Fernandes, the post-Abramovic policy looks to be ‘shock and awe.’
While this isn’t a hatchet job on Chelsea, it’s an ugly scenario when a team can spend more than the GDP of some nations, to sit in tenth place (hopefully 11th come Saturday night).
This was perhaps expected when the Saudi-led consortium took over Newcastle United, but they had the good sense to address weaknesses in the side, and not double or even treble up in positions where World Class talent already exists.
It’s easy to say, ‘I don’t care about Chelsea’, especially when Aston Villa benefitted to the sum of £20 Million pounds for Carney Chukwuemeka due to Chelsea’s extravagance, but the bigger issue is the distortion of the global transfer market.
Aston Villa are now at the level where they need top players to improve on what they have, and this tier of player has now been allocated a price bracket because of Chelsea’s spending.
It’s the Premier League version of what Dr Tony Xia did in the Championship with Villa, only this time there may be some real money involved.
This distortion will make it hard for Villa to land their targets in the summer transfer market and still have change left over, meaning any fans desperate for more than a couple of quality signings may be in for an ugly shock.