Bolasie signing is a real statement of intent from Villa

August 27, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa 

Aston Villa confirmed the loan signing of Everton winger Yannick Bolasie on August 25 and revealed he will wear the number 11 shirt. The 29-year-old joined Everton from Crystal Palace in 2016 but had only gone on to make 23 Premier League starts due to injury.

Bolasie ruptured his cruciate ligaments in December 2016 with 13 league appearances under his belt, just four months into his debut season with the Toffees and didn’t return until December 2017. He made 16 league appearances in his second campaign but hasn’t made the matchday since.

As a result, the DR Congo international has sought a loan move away from Goodison Park to get much-needed playing time again, and his arrival is a real statement of intent from Villa. Bolasie is sure to be rusty, but at his best he’s a top Premier League winger who is capable of beating anyone.

Bruce spoilt for choice in attack

Villa manager Steve Bruce is overstocked with attackers after Bolasie’s arrival, let alone the other loan signing of Anwar El Ghazi. The duo will compete with Andre Green, Alberto Adomah, Jonathan Kodjia and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Scott Hogan and Keinan Davis for minutes on the pitch, so Villa certainly shouldn’t have a problem with goals.

Bolasie should be a regular in the starting lineup when fit. He likes pulling players out of position and whipping balls into the box. The 29-year-old can also put chances away himself. Bruce has a lot of variety and should enjoy the selection headache that ensues from having so many players fighting for limited places.

Bolasie has a point to prove

After scoring and creating just six goals in 32 games for Everton, Bolasie has a lot to prove at Villa. He should favour playing one division below the Premier League as he gets used to regular first-team football again, and should use the opportunity to send a message to Everton that he’s back. He could put himself in the shop window for other sides too.

With three years remaining on his contract at Everton, Bolasie could yet forge a career with the Merseysiders if he has a good season at Villa Park. Supporters can’t believe their luck that such a talented Premier League player has arrived at the Midlands and their bid for promotion has taken a big boost.

Bolasie’s signing is a real statement of intent from Aston Villa. The club beat out a lot of competition and should reap the rewards from his influence.

It’s hard to tell if Villa have started well or badly this season

August 27, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa 

Aston Villa are currently fourth in the Championship, unbeaten with nine points from five games this season, but supporters aren’t sure if they’re doing well or slightly underachieving.

Being in a playoff spot so early into the campaign is certainly good, but Villa’s unbeaten start glosses over a three-match win that they’ve failed to win.  Steve Bruce’s men last tasted victory on August 11 with a 3-2 win over Wigan.

  • 6/8/18 (Championship) Hull City 1-3 Aston Villa
  • 11/8/18 (Championship) Aston Villa 3-2 Wigan Athletic
  • 14/8/18 (League Cup) Yeovil Town 0-1 Aston Villa
  • 18/8/18 (Championship) Ipswich Town 1-1 Aston Villa
  • 22/8/18 (Championship) Aston Villa 2-2 Brentford
  • 25/8/18 (Championship) Aston Villa 1-1 Reading

Manager Steve Bruce isn’t satisfied with nine points from a possible 15 and admitted in a post-match interview that Villa should be doing a little better. To have dropped points at home to Brentford and Reading is disappointing and was the reason why Villa had to settle for a playoff place, rather than be in the mix for an automatic promotion spot.

As per the Birmingham Mail, Bruce said: “Unfortunately, we have had a decent start but a few mistakes have cost us dearly. We could have been four points better off but individual errors, which is the one thing you can’t legislate for, have cost us. We should have been in front and away, but we weren’t. We remain unbeaten but we’re disappointed. It could have been a really wonderful start.”

He’s not wrong. Back-to-back wins over Hull and Wigan had fans daring to believe again after a woeful summer of uncertainty, but Villa then couldn’t break down 10-man Ipswich at Portman Road and had to rescue a late point to Brentford. Reading scored late to earn a draw against them on the weekend.

Villa are only four points off the automatic promotion places with 41 more games to play, but home matches against supposedly weaker opponents has to become their bread and butter victories. They can’t keep falling short in games they’re big favourites in otherwise the Villans will continue to lose ground on the frontrunners.

Villa’s home form has been a worry in recent months. Bruce’s men have dropped points in five of their last six league games at Villa Park. An unbeaten start to the new season sounds good but being three games without a win sounds bad. There’s plenty of room for improvement, so at least Bruce has acknowledged that and hasn’t defended results by using Villa’s high league position.

What a difference a month makes for Aston Villa

August 12, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aston Villa 

Aston Villa are currently third in the Championship table with a 100% record from their first two matches and supporters may be dreaming of promotion this season.

It’s quite the turnaround, as a month ago Villa were facing a winding up order and threatened to go out of business before Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens came in to save the club.

Now, the Midlands outfit have enjoyed their best start to a season this century and things are looking up. What a difference a month makes.

Previous uncertainty over the future of Xia, Bruce and Grealish

After Aston Villa missed a tax payment, Tony Xia’s future at the club was in doubt. Many felt he could sell the club and depart, but the Chinese Businessman said himself in a club statement that he wanted an investor to make up the shortfall.

Xia had no intention of leaving, as he clearly felt he could find financial backing, but it was a nervy period for supporters before Sawiris and Edens were announced. The Midlands outfit were barely surviving from month to month, racking up a lot of debt in the process and Xia’s statement revealed the sales of key players could chip away at the deficit – leading to Jack Grealish speculation.

After failing to achieve promotion in his two seasons as Villa manager, Steve Bruce may have lost his job had it not have been for the club’s spiralling finances. Sacking the experienced boss would mean compensation, something the club had little money for. Bruce was in a strong position and was backed by the club’s new owners, so he’ll remain in charge for at least another season. Could it be third-time lucky?

Promotion the aim again for Villa

After such a good start, it’s hard to temper expectations. Villa are third in the Championship table with six points from their first two games after beating Hull City 3-1 and Wigan Athletic 3-2. There’s still plenty of the season remaining, but they’ve confounded their critics to start well amid all the previous uncertainty.

The Midlands outfit reached the playoffs final last season, losing to Fulham at Wembley. They were fourth that campaign, seven points adrift of an automatic promotion spot. With Bruce still in charge and the squad having kept all but one of its important stars – John Terry could retire after leaving Villa – their squad is more than capable of improving upon 2017/18.

Time will tell if they can deliver, however.

‘Let’s get to work’ – Grealish seals legendary status at Aston Villa

August 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Transfer News 

Aston Villa Jack Grealish endeared himself to supporters after handling speculation about his future in a mature fashion. Rather than releasing soundbites about his ambition to play in the Premier League and Champions League while loosely committing his future to his existing club, he kept out of the limelight and has since done his talking on the pitch.

Despite some tabloids suggestion the opposite, the 22-year-old has been focused on the start of the new season with Villa and wasn’t entertaining the idea of a transfer. Jack’s own brother spoke out on social media to deny the rumours still linking him with Tottenham, insisting he was staying at Villa Park. And after that news was confirmed, Grealish shared his most-liked tweet:

After impressing in Villa’s opening game victory against Hull City days previously, the midfielder reaffirmed his love for the club in a tweet. But the latest one mean a lot to supporters given many were divided on whether or not he wanted to stay. There were rumours he was furious with Villa for not letting him leave and that he was considering taking action to push through a late move. That turned out to be wildly inaccurate and Grealish has instead been doing his talking on the football pitch.

The England u21 international was outstanding against Hull City on August 6, making one assist, completing 95% of his passes, drawing seven fouls and making more interceptions (2) than his teammates. He followed up a top performance with another terrific showing against Wigan Athletic on Saturday, creating six chances, having more touches (70) than any teammate and making five dribbles.  He’s clearly not let the speculation get to him and relishes being Villa’s golden boy. Grealish will be key to Bruce taking the club up this season.

New deal on the table

The latest news is that Grealish could be signing a new deal with Villa to take his contract past 2020. The 22-year-old has already committed his future to the club, but now he has the chance to cement his loyalty. Fans already see him as a legend despite his young age, but a new contract would propel him to new heights.

Villa manager Steve Bruce admitted he feared losing the playmaker, but it looks like he’s set to stay for at least another season. Whether or not Tottenham Hotspur return for the midfielder remains to be seen, but fans won’t be scared of losing him anymore.