Reviving sleeping giants (chapter 2): Aston Villa

Oct 8, 2015
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February 2019: sweet revenge

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Bad news for us at the start of the month as Barkley will be out injured until after the Manchester United game. He's been one of our best if not our best player this season so we really needed him but we'll have to do without.

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Barella continues his amazing form for the club with another player of the month, his first senior one and our second of the season, after Barkley won it a couple of months ago. The rest of the podium goes to show how well we played this month, with Grealish and Berahino in 2nd and 3rd respectively, both having incredible months as well. Let's hope this will continue!

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I don't think I've ever really seen this before! Not only did Barella win both the Player of the Month AND Young Player of the Month in the same month, but both of the awards had players from just one club: Aston Villa! Incredible stuff and honestly, we deserve it after our insane start to 2019.

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I was a little worried about this West Ham game since they're a good side and well, I was right to be! We just about scraped a win, thanks to Barella scoring 2 goals, his second coming in the 86th minute! This now means that we make it to the FA Cup 5th round, right where the board wanted us to get and we'll be playing against arguably a much weaker side than West Ham in West Brom. Is this our chance for a great cup run? We did it last season in the FA Cup, could we do it this season as well with a much better team?

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Talk about an anti-climactic game! I knew Everton weren't in the best of form but I wasn't expecting that bad a performance from them! We come out 4-0 winners against them as we continue our superb form in the Premier League. Grealish continues his good season with another 2 goals added to his tally and in Barkley's absence, it's Hourihane who stepped up and scored 2 goals to take his place in the side!

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This was a lot closer than I would've wanted but a win once again! What an incredible result and what a way to prepare for our huge Manchester United clash! At the end of last month though, the game against United was supposed to be our last one of the month but now the schedule's been switched up a bit and we play West Brom in the FA Cup after United, then City at home in the league! Talk about another insane month!

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The lads and I were feeling really positive going into this game but it just wasn't to be. A 1-0 defeat to Manchester United is still a more than respectable result, and Mourinho came over to me after the game to reassure me that I was doing a great job and he wasn't expecting such a hard game against us today. Coming from one of the greats, it's a huge compliment obviously, although I would've liked a win or at least a point from the game instead!

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Well, this is less than ideal... A 2-2 draw against West Brom away from home can be considered a good result I guess, although I wish we would've gotten the win because we've now got to play Manchester City in the league and then play West Brom again in the 5th round replay. At least we're playing the second game at home, which could give us a big advantage, but just would've rather won the game on the day!

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Am I... Am I seeing this right?! A 4-0 win against MANCHESTER CITY?! Wow, just wow... Barkley just came back from injury and scored within 5 minutes to give us the lead, Davis continued his stellar month with another goal just 5 minutes later and Barella and Hourihane finished the game off with goals of their own later in the game as well. This is an incredible result against one of the best teams in the Premier League and despite the defeat to Manchester United, I think we've done incredibly well this month.

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With 10 games left in the league, we're still yet to face Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea for the second time this season. We're just 3 points behind the Gunners who are in 4th, and 4 points ahead of Newcastle who have a game in hand and sit in 6th. I would've never expected to be where we are in the league right now for my first ever season in charge in the Premier League but I guess I shouldn't be doubting my ability so much! Some incredible signings also helped as well, so much so that I think we can definitely feel it's doable to get Europa League football next season! Next month is looking alright, with games against West Ham and Leicester who we both beat in the league previously, and bottom-of-the-league Burnley. Oh, and the FA Cup 5th round replay of course, after which (if we get through) we'll play either Brighton or Manchester United (it'll be United, I think we all know that).

Villan of the Month:
View attachment 48048#39 Keinan Davis
21 years old
Striker
English

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After a tough start to his first ever Premier League season, Davis not only has picked up form but he's also doubled his goal tally in the league in the space of a month. With 5 goals and an assist from 6 games this month, he deserves the award despite Grealish's fantastic performances. I find Jack to be a little too inconsistent but Davis this month was outstanding and he wins the award for I think the first time this season? I may be wrong, all these amazing results are making my memories of our bad start go away!
 
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March 2019: heading back down?!

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Despite a defeat in February, we still made up the top 3 for the young player of the month for February, which is great to see. Maresic continues his impressive form as a Villa player, Davis justifies getting the Villan of the Month and Sessegnon, who's recently started to play more games due to disappointing performances from Hutton, is looking like a great signing!

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Well, I said the replay at home would be easier and it definitely was! A huge win for us which sees us through to the 6th round of the FA Cup, meaning we've gone above the board's expectations for the competition! We'll play Manchester United in the next round though, so this might be the end of our journey but it was a great one for sure.

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In the league, it didn't go so well. Leicester destroyed us away from home and even though the result was harsh, it was just not a good performance from us. Mahrez had an outstanding game though and he was the main reason we lost the game. We need to just focus now and look ahead to our next few games, because those are the ones that matter.

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I expected us to get a win against Burnley and we did just that. They put up a good fight but again, our quality showed against a clearly much weaker side than us as we got the 3-1 win. We still have 2 games left this month, one in the league and one in the FA Cup. Let's hope the players perform in those games like they did today.

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Well, I guess that's what we get for knocking them out of the FA Cup... Away from home, it was never going to be an easy game but I expected better, especially considering we had a lot more opportunities than them overall. We're now on 3 defeats in our last 5 away games. If we keep this up, could we be going back down to the Championship?!

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If we'd been at Villa Park, maybe we would've pulled something off? At Old Trafford though, we were never going to win. I told the players that before going out to motivate them, but also knowing inside that we didn't really have a huge chance of making it through. United have been outstanding all season in the league and in the domestic cups so congratulations to them, I hope for their sake that they go on and win it now so we won't look so bad!

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Saying we could be going back down in this kind of form is definitely a bit of an overstatement as we sit 26 points clear of the relegation zone with 7 games to go, but still. Wherever we end up in the top half of the table, I'll be happy but at this point, I want us to go for Europe! We've worked so hard all season it would be such a shame not to make it to 6th or 7th, maybe even 5th. Next month isn't looking great for us though, we have a lot of tough games coming up...

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Three of our rivals for European football in the same month... Newcastle at home could go either way, they're 4th and doing very well but we play really well at home. Arsenal and Liverpool away however, I'm not too confident. We've played terribly against the big sides away from home and I'm fully anticipating the same thing against these two. The home game against West Brom could give us some confidence though, since we already beat them 3-0 in the FA Cup so let's see what we can do! Once these tough games are out of the way, it'll be all down to us to finish between 4th and 8th.

Villan of the Month:
View attachment 47883#10 Jack Grealish
23 years old
Winger
English

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It was about time Jack got his award since he's been playing so consistently well and he's finally got it. Villan of the Month for March despite 3 defeats and just 2 wins in 5 games, but he scored 4 goals and made 3 assists in that time so absolutely deserves this award. Playing on the left-wing, he's been crucial to the team and he's now being scouted most games by Tottenham, who seem really interested in him. I hope that he decides to stick around because he could really become a Villa legend if he stays around long enough.
 
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April 2019: cutting it close

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Ahead of a really stressful month for the club and myself, I was greeted with some great news by the board as we turned the calendar page from March to April. They wanted me to sign a new contract! After such a bad start to my career at Aston Villa last season in the Championship, I would have never expected to have been given a contract for another 3 years until 2022 but it's happened and it's fantastic.

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With Newcastle in 4th, this was one of our tough games this month. Compared to Arsenal and Liverpool, this game was supposed to be easier; it was anything but. It was a really tight game and Newcastle came out on top in the end, with the winner from André Ayew in the 19th minute. It's a shame because it would've gotten us closer to 5th and 6th, the Europa League spots and losing points is not what we need right now.

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I was expecting a tough game against Arsenal away from home. We got just that. Özil put them ahead within a minute which was just a horrible start, and it went downhill from there. We managed to go 2-1 up by the 27th minute but we just collapsed after that and the "big club" experience kicked in for Arsenal who got the win in the end. That makes it 3 defeats in a row for us now and even though we're still in 7th, Tottenham are quickly closing in and could overtake us by the end of the season if we keep that form up.

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We needed a win against West Brom and Davis stepped up to give us that! A hat-trick from the young man who went 10 hours without scoring before this game, gives us the 3 points and keeps us in the race for Europa League football next season! Even if we don't get it, it would be a successful season but at this point in the season, after all this work, I would be really disappointed if we didn't bring European football back to Villa Park for next year.

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I'll take that considering! A point against Liverpool, just above us in the table, is amazing. They smashed us during the game as well and Grealish's 95th minute equaliser was very much appreciated. We now can go into our last 3 games in the league confident that if results go our way and against Liverpool, we could get Europa League football next season! The big negative from this match though was losing our main left-back Taylor for 2-3 months and from experience, I can tell you that he won't be the same player when he comes back from that injury. At 30 years old, we might have to invest in a new full-back during the summer.

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We're just 2 points behind Liverpool and 4 points clear of Tottenham, who have a game in hand. European football is definitely achievable for us, but we'll have to work REALLY hard to get it. Games at home against Chelsea and Brighton will be crucial, especially since we can prove ourselves against a big team and get 3 points against a lower half of the table team in Brighton. The one away game against Bournemouth could also be a good game for us to grab a couple of points, whilst we'll have to hope that Liverpool get bad results against Manchester City, Leicester and Burnley.

Villan of the Month:
View attachment 47854#10 Jack Grealish
23 years old
Winger
English


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With 2 goals and an assist from 4 games, Grealish not only carried us to some good results (mostly against West Brom and Liverpool) but also became the club's top goalscorer and player with most assists for the season! Using a system with wingers for our first season in the Premier League has really proved to be a huge positive from the season with Grealish on the left and Berahino on the right playing so well. With huge games against Chelsea, Bournemouth and Brighton next, I hope Grealish can carry us to European football for next season.
 

dporter8999

Member
Jun 5, 2015
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Doing great just to be in the top half, but 100% rooting for you to get European football! Have you eyed up any potential transfer moves for the summer yet?
 
Oct 8, 2015
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Doing great just to be in the top half, but 100% rooting for you to get European football! Have you eyed up any potential transfer moves for the summer yet?
Well, I've now simmed through May and already know what budget the board have given me and let's just say there are some very good players transfer listed that I will be able to really easily buy with that money!
 
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May 2019: heartbreak... or nah?!

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Well, the first bit of heartbreak is that Ross Barkley, after less than a season at the club, wants to leave! He heard that Manchester United were going after him and immediately put in a transfer request. I was so focused on keeping Grealish at the club that I totally forgot about Barkley and he might leave us for a bigger club next season. What a shame.

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More heartbreak as we lose against Chelsea, meaning we now need 2 good results against Bournemouth and Brighton and need Liverpool to lose to make sure that we get European football next season. It's going to be close!

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Unfortunately, the heartbreak didn't stop at the Chelsea game. We lose to Bournemouth as Liverpool beat Fulham, meaning we're officially out of the race for the 2019/2020 Europa League campaign. After all this hard work, to lose to BOURNEMOUTH and be denied a a chance in Europe after just one season in the top flight is really heartbreaking. With our last game against Brighton, we'll make sure to enjoy it but also make sure that we don't lose it, because a loss for us and a win for West Ham or Tottenham would see us drop down the table even more!

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An easy win in our last game of the season against Brighton, who couldn't survive another season in the Premier League. Barkley isn't making his eventual departure any easier, by getting man of the match performances against Chelsea and Brighton. It's been an incredible season and it's just such a shame that such a good result doesn't bring the positive atmosphere that it would've if it secured us Europa League football for next season.

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Here's the final league table. We end up finishing 5 points behind European football, and 2 points above West Ham who won their last game of the season. It was a really incredible season for us in the end though, scoring an impressive 77 GOALS but conceding a disappointing 57. Pope, who was definitely a great keeper for us this season, only managed to keep 7 clean sheets from 38 games. As I was looking at this league table however, I noticed something. Arsenal are in the Europa League final and have qualified through the league for the Europa League. On top of that, Chelsea play Arsenal in the FA Cup final and traditionally, the FA Cup winner qualifies for the Europa League. This means that whoever wins the FA Cup will have to give away that Europa League place to the next team in the league table, and that's us!!! A win in the FA Cup for either Chelsea or Arsenal and a Europa League win for Arsenal gives us a Europa League spot for next season! Absolutely incredible scenes!!!

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And there's the official confirmation that we've made it to the 2019/2020 Europa League after securing a top 7 finish in the Premier League!!! Chelsea I love you!!! What a season it's been... Some amazing wins against Manchester City, Arsenal, Huddersfield and West Brom secured us this achievement and I'm so, so proud of this team. No one expected anything from us going into this Premier League season but we've somehow gone and qualified for Europe next season. If that doesn't keep Barkley at the club next season, I don't know what will!

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I was also really proud to receive the Premier League manager of the year as a result of our incredible season. With 713 manager points, I certainly received a lot of votes and I'm just so happy that everyone recognises how much of an achievement it is for Villa to be back in Europe for the first time since 2010-11, when they were knocked out in the play-off round by Rapid Wien. I'm certainly looking to do better than that in the competition next season, and that vote of confidence from other managers and players in the Premier League definitely makes me excited and motivated.

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And this definitely explains the interest in Ross Barkley in the last couple of months. Champions Manchester United have 6 players out of 11 in the Team of the Year, whilst Ritchie is perhaps the odd one out along with Barkley in there. Three Chelsea players make up the rest of the team in Morata, Hazard and Alaba.

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Ross Barkley gets the player of the season and goal of the season from the fans, whilst Davis gets the young player of the season. I find that to be somewhat controversial to be honest as the likes of de Jong and Barella have gone a little under the radar in my opinion and should have been in with a shout but oh well. Grealish finished with 18 goals and 16 assists in 42 appearances, which is pretty incredible if you ask me. If he stays at the club, he's really got the potential to take us far in the Europa League so I hope he sticks around. This season will mark the retirement of John Terry as well, who didn't play much this season since Maresic and Chester played so well together all season. Oh and I almost forgot! Pope for £2.5 million? Back then I thought it was a steal and well, he clearly was as he gets the signing of the season award from the fans!

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I think what I find most incredible about this season is how consistent we ended up being. From just before halfway through the season all the way until the end, we were between 5th and 7th place. What an achievement that is. The stadium was also kept 98% full during the season which is incredible and despite a heavy defeat to Manchester United being the most forgettable moment of the year, our first win in the Premier League against Watford was a memorable one. I found it quite weird though that we apparently only used 18 players throughout the whole season, the lowest in the Premier League! Maybe that explains the amount of injuries we got!

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This was the news I was most excited for since I wanted to see how much the board would give me to push for Champions League qualification next season and a good campaign in the Europa League as well and I was within reason to be excited! Look at that! £80 million to spend on new players, excluding the amount of money we could potentially get from Barkley's departure! I've already got my eyes on a few players for next season and whilst I know the names of those players and how much they'll cost me, you won't know that until the next update where I'll introduce the new signings and start off our 2019/2020 pre-season!
 
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June 2019: the magnificent 7

With £80 million to spend, let's just say I didn't waste any time in making a few signings and getting rid of players I need I wouldn't be using. Some big departures did happen in the side though, so let's go through those first:

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With my plans to bring in a new right-winger so Berahino can play up front, this meant that Davis was now going to become our backup striker and I didn't see any place for Kodjia in the side. It was a really tough decision to let him go, but I think in the long-term it's the right one and we get a nice £9.5 million to keep investing in the team.

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Apologies about the screenshots above. In all my excitement to sign a lot of new players, I totally forgot to take the screenshots of these two leaving the club. Hogan is going back to the Championship with Bristol for £10 million, while Hourihane is joining Burnley, also going down to the Championship, for £12 million. Two really decent sales for players who, with the new arrivals I'm planning, weren't going to make it in the side which is why they were let go.

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The last departure is one that you would've probably expected. Barkley said he wanted to leave at the end of last season and he pressured me into lowering his asking price from £35 million all the way down to £25 million. A steal for Manchester United at that price if you ask me, but we made a nice little £13 million profit so I'll take it. A huge shame to be losing such a great player for us but as I said, I've got big things planned for this team. Here they are then, the MAGNIFICENT SEVEN!

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With Barella signing for the club permanently, one of our midfield positions was sorted. With the big gap left by Barkley though, we needed a new centre-midfielder and who better than one of the promising English centre-mids in the Premier League?! James Ward-Prowse was also available but after getting relegated with Southampton and then again with Swansea last season, that kind of put me off. On top of that, my scouts seemed to think that Hughes would be a better fit to the team so there he is! Our most expensive signing of the window, actually breaking the club's transfer record.

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This one is arguably the biggest one in terms of player reputation. Just like Ward-Prowse, Shaqiri got relegated with Stoke, only to move to Brighton and do the same last season. He had a release clause of £21.5 million and who better to sign as our right-winger than someone who can also play on the left-wing and has experience playing for the likes of Inter and Bayern in the Champions League? I'm so excited about Xherdan joining us and it's a HUGE move for us for sure.

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With one of our non-UK transfers done, I needed to focus on bringing in good English players and with Terry now retired, I wanted a great Premier League centre-back to replace Chester and partner with Maresic in the starting lineup. That's why I went with the big man Harry Maguire, who comes in for just £20 million. A steal in my opinion. He's a fantastic player who still has a little bit of room to grow so I'm really excited for him to play at the club and hopefully he'll be a start here.

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As good as Pope was last season, he clearly lacks a little bit of quality against bigger teams and with the Europa League next season, I wanted a new keeper. I could've signed Jack Butland from West Ham but decided to go for Pickford, who's got a lot more potential, is already a lot better than Butland, and wanted to leave after a terrible season at Everton. I'm really happy to have him in the team and it means that Pope will now become our backup keeper. Talk about quality of depth!

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This one might seem like a bit of a weird one but I assure you it was necessary. With Hutton's contract expired and me having no intention to extend it since the Scotsman is way past his time, I needed a new right-back to be the starting right-back and have Sessegnon as backup. Trippier was available for just over £10 million and considering how well he's doing in real life for England and Tottenham, I just felt it was right to get him. Kieran is a great talent who at 28 years old has amassed a lot of experience and will be great for us in the league and Europa League.

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Similar situation here. Neil Taylor is now 30 and despite his good quality, isn't the most amazing left-back I could have at the club. Davies was available for £10.5 million so why not go for him? Just like Trippier, he brings in Premier League experience and Europa League experience and should be an amazing player for us who can stay a couple of years here.

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The last one of the magnificent seven is what I think could be our signing of the season. Andreas was free after his contract with Manchester United expired and after a terrible season for him of having to wait for his chance at the Red Devils, he wanted out and he joins us as a backup to Jack Grealish. Pereira can play as a centre mid and a left-wing, both of which need backups so it's fantastic to have him at the club and at just 23 years old, he still has a lot of room to become better and grow to his potential so I'm really excited to see him play! That's it for our 7 amazing new signings then, next update will be the pre-season fixtures and results, and then we'll get straight into season 3!

 

danjames101

Member
May 30, 2018
122
0
0
View attachment 1167408

June 2019: the magnificent 7

With £80 million to spend, let's just say I didn't waste any time in making a few signings and getting rid of players I need I wouldn't be using. Some big departures did happen in the side though, so let's go through those first:

View attachment 1167409
With my plans to bring in a new right-winger so Berahino can play up front, this meant that Davis was now going to become our backup striker and I didn't see any place for Kodjia in the side. It was a really tough decision to let him go, but I think in the long-term it's the right one and we get a nice £9.5 million to keep investing in the team.

View attachment 1167410
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Apologies about the screenshots above. In all my excitement to sign a lot of new players, I totally forgot to take the screenshots of these two leaving the club. Hogan is going back to the Championship with Bristol for £10 million, while Hourihane is joining Burnley, also going down to the Championship, for £12 million. Two really decent sales for players who, with the new arrivals I'm planning, weren't going to make it in the side which is why they were let go.

View attachment 1167412
The last departure is one that you would've probably expected. Barkley said he wanted to leave at the end of last season and he pressured me into lowering his asking price from £35 million all the way down to £25 million. A steal for Manchester United at that price if you ask me, but we made a nice little £13 million profit so I'll take it. A huge shame to be losing such a great player for us but as I said, I've got big things planned for this team. Here they are then, the MAGNIFICENT SEVEN!

View attachment 1167414
With Barella signing for the club permanently, one of our midfield positions was sorted. With the big gap left by Barkley though, we needed a new centre-midfielder and who better than one of the promising English centre-mids in the Premier League?! James Ward-Prowse was also available but after getting relegated with Southampton and then again with Swansea last season, that kind of put me off. On top of that, my scouts seemed to think that Hughes would be a better fit to the team so there he is! Our most expensive signing of the window, actually breaking the club's transfer record.

View attachment 1167413
This one is arguably the biggest one in terms of player reputation. Just like Ward-Prowse, Shaqiri got relegated with Stoke, only to move to Brighton and do the same last season. He had a release clause of £21.5 million and who better to sign as our right-winger than someone who can also play on the left-wing and has experience playing for the likes of Inter and Bayern in the Champions League? I'm so excited about Xherdan joining us and it's a HUGE move for us for sure.

View attachment 1167415
With one of our non-UK transfers done, I needed to focus on bringing in good English players and with Terry now retired, I wanted a great Premier League centre-back to replace Chester and partner with Maresic in the starting lineup. That's why I went with the big man Harry Maguire, who comes in for just £20 million. A steal in my opinion. He's a fantastic player who still has a little bit of room to grow so I'm really excited for him to play at the club and hopefully he'll be a start here.

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As good as Pope was last season, he clearly lacks a little bit of quality against bigger teams and with the Europa League next season, I wanted a new keeper. I could've signed Jack Butland from West Ham but decided to go for Pickford, who's got a lot more potential, is already a lot better than Butland, and wanted to leave after a terrible season at Everton. I'm really happy to have him in the team and it means that Pope will now become our backup keeper. Talk about quality of depth!

View attachment 1167417
This one might seem like a bit of a weird one but I assure you it was necessary. With Hutton's contract expired and me having no intention to extend it since the Scotsman is way past his time, I needed a new right-back to be the starting right-back and have Sessegnon as backup. Trippier was available for just over £10 million and considering how well he's doing in real life for England and Tottenham, I just felt it was right to get him. Kieran is a great talent who at 28 years old has amassed a lot of experience and will be great for us in the league and Europa League.

View attachment 1167419
Similar situation here. Neil Taylor is now 30 and despite his good quality, isn't the most amazing left-back I could have at the club. Davies was available for £10.5 million so why not go for him? Just like Trippier, he brings in Premier League experience and Europa League experience and should be an amazing player for us who can stay a couple of years here.

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The last one of the magnificent seven is what I think could be our signing of the season. Andreas was free after his contract with Manchester United expired and after a terrible season for him of having to wait for his chance at the Red Devils, he wanted out and he joins us as a backup to Jack Grealish. Pereira can play as a centre mid and a left-wing, both of which need backups so it's fantastic to have him at the club and at just 23 years old, he still has a lot of room to become better and grow to his potential so I'm really excited to see him play! That's it for our 7 amazing new signings then, next update will be the pre-season fixtures and results, and then we'll get straight into season 3!

What a season last year mate! As an Everton fan i'm not suprised by Barkley leaving for a bigger club...no doubt he'll rot as a backup player for them! Brought in some great players too, Maguire and Maresic will be a decent partnership, both ball playing centre halves. Looking forward to seeing if you can push for top 4. With those signings i think you may!
 
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What a season last year mate! As an Everton fan i'm not suprised by Barkley leaving for a bigger club...no doubt he'll rot as a backup player for them! Brought in some great players too, Maguire and Maresic will be a decent partnership, both ball playing centre halves. Looking forward to seeing if you can push for top 4. With those signings i think you may!
Definitely looking to push for the Champions League now, especially with the likes of Pickford in goal! Overall managed to strengthen the squad really well so it should be a good season :)
 
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2019/2020 pre-season

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It was a very successful pre-season for us with 5 wins from our 5 games and a total of 33 goals scored and just 2 conceded. Obviously, I'm not expecting us to score that many goals in the Europa League and the Premier League but it was a great way to get the season off to a good start.

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We also had some good news during the pre-season with Grealish signing a new contract and rejecting any interest from Spurs, which was great to see. Ross may have left, but from the start Jack is the one I wanted to keep at the club and we've managed to do just that so it's great.

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In terms of the bookies, they're putting us in 9th before the start of the season. They're not giving much of a chance to Wolves and Fulham despite the two of them having really good seasons last year, but we're up in 9th. It's no less than I expected to be honest, we were never going to be predicted to finish above the big teams and with the Europa League on our hands, we might have a tough time juggling through the amount of fixtures we'll have. Speaking of fixtures, here's how we start off our season in the Premier League.

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Definitely not the easiest start to a Premier League season... As for the Europa League, we'll be entering in the Group Stages so no news on that front until the draw later in August. I'm confident we can get a good result against Huddersfield and maybe even Liverpool as well, but Manchester City, even at home, will be really tough.

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So here's the lineup I'm thinking of using going forward. The 4-1-2-3 DM wasn't great at the end of last season, but we have a lot of quality in the team now and well, it's a completely different team than what I had to start with 2 years ago. The only actual Villa player who's stayed since I got here is Grealish and that should tell you something. This looks like a really good team though and I'm looking forward to our first game in the Premier League now.

Villan of the pre-season:
View attachment 47774#7 Xherdan Shaqiri
27 years old
Winger
Swiss

View attachment 47773
With 9 goals and 5 assists in 5 games, it's Shaqiri who gets the first Villan award of the season! He was outstanding throughout the whole pre-season and really carried the team to some amazing victories. Davis was the runner-up in the award, with 11 goals and 5 assists in 5 games but I felt Shaqiri deserved it more because he brought more to the team as a whole.
 
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View attachment 47743

August 2019: mixed emotions

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Absolutely terrible news for us as de Jong gets injured in training for 7 months. The season hasn't even started and we're already getting injuries! I'm really annoyed at this because Frenkie has been an integral part of the side since his arrival last season and he really is a huge loss to the team. Thankfully, I signed some midfielders over the transfer window and they should be able to step in and take his place but it's just really disappointing to lose him.

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The Premier League never disappoints in terms of spending during the summer! Manchester United finish as the team having spent the most with £194 million spent. We're way behind with "just" £113 million spent but it's still a huge amount for a club like
Aston Villa. After letting Pickford join us, it's clear Everton wanted to revamp their squad and it shows with 12 new arrivals at the club. Firmino to Monaco is the biggest departure from the Premier League whilst the biggest arrival was Yarmolenko from Dortmund, who joins the Red Devils for a staggering £85 million. Kane was also one of the biggest transfers of the window with a move to Manchester City for "just" £70 million.

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An absolutely incredible result for us to start our season off against Manchester City! Our new signings weren't the ones who did the damage today, it was actually Davis and Barella! Incredible stuff from the lads and we get off to the perfect start.

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Another disappointing injury but at least this one is a lot more short-term. Smith has been unlucky since he joined with injuries, amazing performances from his competition at the club, and a lot of other factors that have kept him out of the team. He's never complained to me though and he's a real professional, so I'm glad to be keeping him at the club.

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A hugely disappointing result considering our previous match was a win against Manchester City. Liverpool were decent so fair play to them and I guess they wanted to forget about that 4-0 loss they suffered to Manchester United in their first match. The game against Huddersfield next will hopefully allow us to get some more points and finish the month off strong.

View attachment 47736
Our first game in the Carabao Cup this season will be against Brentford, who aren't doing well at all in the Championship so far. We're expected to get to the 4th round by the board so it should be an easy game and an easy way for us to meet the board's expectations for this competition.

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This was the big moment I was waiting for this month. The Europa League draw! Let's just say we didn't get the easiest group and it'll be tough to get out of it. Ajax are a fantastic side and Fenerbahçe are also very dangerous. I think we should be getting really easy wins against Astana so I'm really focusing on the other two games which will be very tough but I'm confident we could get some really decent results if we work hard!

View attachment 47734
After all the different draws I had to go to, I realised it was my 100th game in charge at Aston Villa! I really never expected to stay at the club this long when I first joined so it feels amazing to say that I'm managing my 100th game in charge of this club. We've had some great times already and I can't wait for more. I just hope this occasion doesn't get to my head and the players' heads and we bottle it against Huddersfield...

View attachment 47733
Well, that's exactly NOT what I wanted... Pereira started the game and got sent off, so did Grealish. On top of that, we didn't even get a win! We come away with a point despite being 2-0 up inside 16 minutes and it's just really disappointing. We could have ended the month really well but instead we have to settle for a point at Huddersfield's ground, just like last season!

View attachment 47732
Being in 9th after 3 games, two of them against some of the best teams in the league isn't that bad. I am expecting a lot better in the future though considering the amount of money we spent this summer, and I hope these signings actually come to life a bit because it's been abysmal so far for them and we've just not performed well other than the Manchester City game.

View attachment 47731
Newly-promoted Southampton will be our first opponents next month, as we'll also face the likes of Everton and West Ham in the league. None of these are hard games for us and I'm counting on the fact that two of them are at home to get us some points. Ajax is our first opponent in the Europa League, and at home as well; arguably we're getting rid of our toughest opponent of the group first so that's good news.

Villan of the Month:
View attachment 47730#39 Keinan Davis
21 years old
Striker
English

View attachment 47729
Well, I wanted to start Berahino as our main striker in the starting lineup and clearly that was a mistake! Davis impressed me in pre-season so I thought I'd give him a go up front and he's done wonders! With 3 goals and an assist in a pretty mixed month, I'm really happy with his performances and hope he carries them into next month in the Premier League, but more importantly in the Europa League!
 
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Congrats on the 1st season, Impressive signings also! Looking forward to seeing how this season goes!
Cheers mate, last season was actually my second season of the save but yes first season in the Premier League. Really happy with how it went. Glad to hear you're enjoying it so far :)
 
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View attachment 47693

September 2019: time for a change?

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Davis gets young player of the month after a decent month in August. We weren't the best as a team but he gets the award and I'm really proud of him. He's been such a key player for us since I joined and it's just fantastic to see such a young player do so well.

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Another shambolic performance from us. Fair play to Southampton, they just got promoted and they played really well and their new signing Oxlade-Chamberlain did really well too but it's just a shame that we could only get a point from this game, especially at home. Even more frustrating is Davies being out injured for at least 2-3 weeks! He's just arrived at the club!

View attachment 47689
Amidst these really bad performances in the league, we really needed a good result in Europe and we got just that in front of a packed Villa Park. Maresic gets man of the match but it's Grealish who got the winning goal in the 73rd minute to get a crucial win against arguably the best team in our group!

View attachment 47688
I'm starting to think we need a formation change at this point. Hernández destroyed us so fair play to him for such a great performance but again, we just should be doing better. After investing so much of our money in our defence, you'd think we would concede less but we're actually conceding more and scoring less goals! A terrible result to continue our bad form in the league...

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I guess the positives from our season so far is that while we're performing badly in the league, we're doing well in cup competitions! A close result against Brentford gets us through to the next round of the Carabao Cup to meet the board's expectations, and we could exceed them if we beat Hull next month in the 4th round. I really think we should be getting a good result against them and to lose would just be devastating.

View attachment 47685
Shaqiri finally comes up big for us as he scores his first 2 goals in a Villa shirt to gift us 3 points against Everton! Despite a poor season last year, the Blues are a good side and I'll take a 3-2 win against them any day. We dominated the match and definitely deserved the win in the end. Those 3 points now allow us to climb to 12th, which isn't great but better than where we would've ended up without this win!

View attachment 47684
Liverpool have a game in hand and could overtake us, but here we are in 12th after 6 games. We were in 9th at the end of last month I believe so it's an obvious step down but I expected it considering we experienced European football for the first time since my arrival. We haven't done TOO badly since our bad results have come against some decent teams but I really want us to do better and am seriously considering changing formations to fit this new team better and hope that we play better from now on!

View attachment 47683
Our first game of the month could be a huge confidence booster as we travel to Kazakhstan for our game against FK Astana in the Europa League. Just 3 days later through we need to travel to Newcastle so it'll be a lot of travelling in a short amount of time but I guess that's what European teams need to deal with. The games against Tottenham and Wolves will be vey tough ones based on their current form in the league and the other two cup games we'll have against Fenerbahçe in the Europa League and Hull in the Carabao Cup won't be easy either. Overall, a very tough month ahead of us with a lot of fixtures.

Villan of the Month:
View attachment 47682#24 Dario Maresic
19 years old
Centre-back/defensive midfielder
Austrian

View attachment 47681
When will I ever run out of good things to say about Dario? At 19 years old, he's consistently been one of our best players since he joined when he was 17 and he's never looked back. We're now competing in the Premier League and the Europa League and he's still pulling out incredible performances, whether that's as a defensive midfielder or centre-back. In de Jong's absence, a couple of players have had to fill his role and Maresic has done it the best so far. Some really good performances even when we got bad results throughout the month and I hope it'll continue.
 
Oct 4, 2017
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Can't believe you got Ajax in the Europa League! Remember Villa Park was bouncing when we beat them in the UEFA Cup in the 2008/09 season I think it was. Pretty sure a young trio of Vermaelan, Vertonghan and Suarez were all in their team as well!

Make sure you don't do a Martin O'Neil and completely ignore the Europa League in order to concentrate on a top 4 finish... and then end up not finishing in the top 4!
 
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Can't believe you got Ajax in the Europa League! Remember Villa Park was bouncing when we beat them in the UEFA Cup in the 2008/09 season I think it was. Pretty sure a young trio of Vermaelan, Vertonghan and Suarez were all in their team as well!

Make sure you don't do a Martin O'Neil and completely ignore the Europa League in order to concentrate on a top 4 finish... and then end up not finishing in the top 4!
Hahaha it's definitely a nice group for sure, hoping we get some nice results now to not just get knocked out in the group stages! And don't you worry about that, based on the matches I've played so far it seems we're maybe focusing TOO much on the Europa League and not enough on the league XD
 
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View attachment 47671

October 2019: turning it around?

View attachment 47670
Once again, a player justifies me giving them the Villan of the Month by winning the young player of the month afterwards! Out of two months in the Premier League so far, only Villa players have won this award which is amazing to see since I've been focusing heavily on youth for this team.

View attachment 47669
View attachment 47668
After a great 1-0 win against Ajax in our first game in the group stages, we were playing our second one against Astana and got another great result! A 6-2 win with a Davis hat-trick gets us another 3 points and ready for the Fenerbahçe game later this month. A win in that one surely would put us through to the next round of the Europa League right? I've been really happy with our European performances so let's hope now the lads carry that form into the league. Barella will be out for the rest of the month which is a huge shame since he's been so important since his arrival at the club last season. Let's hope he recovers quickly...

View attachment 47667
View attachment 47666
A fantastic result in the league, finally, to really get us started in the Premier League! It was overshadowed by Grealish's injury which will keep him out for 5 weeks but again, we have players who can replace him temporarily. Winning 3-1 at St James' Park is no small feat and I'm really happy with the result. With some big games against Wolves and Tottenham coming up, we'll NEED to take our performances from this match and replicate them in those games.

View attachment 47665
Berahino continues his stellar form this season with the winning goal in a close game against Wolves. It's only his third goal of the season but it's very much appreciated with yet another win that helps us climb the table just a little more.

View attachment 47664
Davis has another incredible performance, along with the team as we win 3-2 away from home against Fenerbahçe! An incredible win which puts us on 9 points after 3 games in the Europa League, surely putting us through in the 1st Knockout Round!

View attachment 47662
A disappointing result to finish off our Premier League games of the month but Immobile was incredible for Spurs. After Kane's departure, they needed a new goalscorer and got the Italian for just £27 million and what a steal he was, clearly. We played well but were 3-1 down at half time so it never looked like we were going to make that back and get at least a draw so I'm not too disappointed with this result.

View attachment 47661
View attachment 47660
Grealish came back really early from his injury to be able to face Hull and what a great time to come back! We smash Hull 3-0 and go through to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup where we'll face Sheffield United. They really aren't the best of teams but we won't be complacent and think it's an easy win. I am thinking though, could we get to the final of the Carabao Cup?!

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View attachment 47658
We're now back up in 9th in the Premier League after some decent form in October and sit in 1st in our Europa League group. We've been smashing it there and surely a win against Fenerbahçe in our next game would secure our qualification for the next round. Some surprises in the Premier League actually this season so far, with the likes of Bournemouth in 3rd, Southampton in 5th, Manchester City in 7th and Arsenal and Liverpool in 11th and 12th respectively! We're only 9 games in but it really is weird to see these teams where they are...

View attachment 47657
Some really big tests in the league next month against leaders Chelsea, 3rd-place Bournemouth and 4th-place Manchester United... Two of those games are at home but these are really good teams (clearly) and it'll be tough to get some points against them. Our games in the Europa League should be straightforward, especially as next game against Fenerbahçe at Villa Park should see us through to the next round.

Villan of the Month:
View attachment 47656#39 Keinan Davis
21 years old
Striker
English

View attachment 47655

After 7 games played this season, Davis had 3 goals. Now, he's played 13 games and has 10 goals! In his last 6 games in all competitions he got 3 assists and 7 goals. An incredible achievement for a 21 year old and I am so proud of Keinan. He's just been incredible since he started playing regularly for us and he's now just 9 goals away from his 50th for Villa in the league, and he's only played 83 games! Amazing stuff.
 
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View attachment 47654

November 2019: too inconsistent

View attachment 47653
It seems like the Villan of the Month always ends up getting the Premier League young player of the month award! Davis got it last month and he gets the young player of the month award to go with it, his second of the season and the club's 3rd of the season. Incredible stuff from our youngsters!

View attachment 47652
This was arguably our biggest game of the month since Chelsea went into it as Premier League leaders and we've somehow gone and snatched a win! Taylor, who was playing today ahead of Davies, scored the winner in the 87th minute in what was an insane game. Chelsea dominated the possession and had more chances, as expected, but we were just more clinical and I'm so proud of the lads for that result.

View attachment 47651
View attachment 47650
This game ended up being a lot tougher than I wanted but we got the win anyway and make it out of the group stages! It's not that amazing of an achievement in the grand scheme of things since the board expects us to get to the 2nd knockout round but I'm still really happy to be making it out of the group! Now what matters is whether or not we finish first in the group or second. Ajax are our next game and it'll be a tough one, especially away in Amsterdam.

View attachment 47649
View attachment 47648
A hard result to take considering how well we played throughout the game... Even harder to take is Shaqiri's injury, who'll be out until late December and that's just the worst time to get an injury. We have so many big games around this time of year and with Xherdan being, arguably, our best player this season, it's tough to be losing him.

View attachment 47647
Another disappointing result in a game that really should have gone differently. We lose 2-0 to Bournemouth who are having the season of their lives to be fair to them, but again with the quality we brought in during the summer I just expected more. A lot more.

View attachment 47646
And as if we couldn't end the month on a worse note, we lose to Ajax. Our last game against Astana should be an easy win and it should mean we'll finish top of our group but it's disappointing to lose a game. We'll probably finish the group with 5 wins and a loss, which is still a great record, but I wanted the players to work harder and get used to wins in Europe because we'll need them to get to the 2nd knockout round!

View attachment 47645
View attachment 47644
With 7 games to go until the halfway point in the season, we're in 10th. The board is expecting us to push for Europa League qualification and we're just 4 points off West Ham in 7th so it's achievable, but we need results. With 7 games in the league in December, it's bound to be a busy month and I really hope that we get the results we need to push up the table. As for the Europa League, we won one of our games against Ajax and they won one and yet despite our worse goal difference, we're top of the group right now. We face Astana at home in our last game so unless something goes horribly wrong, we should get a nice large win and finish top of our group. SHOULD. Let's hope nothing goes wrong...

View attachment 47643
Some of our matches in the league are easy-ish ones, some are much harder. The games I'm looking at that I know will be tough will definitely Arsenal and Leicester, even if we're playing at home. The easier ones will probably be Fulham, Crystal Palace and West Brom but I'm hoping we get results in all our league games. The game against Astana should be a nice and relaxing one whilst probably the biggest game of our month will be the Carabao Cup quarter-final game against Sheffield United. We have a big chance to make it very far in the competition and we're already in the quarter-final so we could even make it to the final if we work hard!

Villan of the Month:
View attachment 47642#11 Nicolò Barella
22 years old
Centre midfielder
Italian

View attachment 47641
Despite our consistency issues, there was one player who stayed consistently good throughout the month and it was Barella. Since his arrival on loan last season and permanent move this season, he's played basically every possible game and he's grown into an incredible player. Valued at £25 million now, he really is proving to be an amazing talent and I can't wait to see him grow even more at the club.
 

rock45

Member
Jun 21, 2018
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alhaditravel.co.uk
Maresic Resembles a Ticking signing! Lets expect the sort proceeds to grow soon after the regrettable beginning! Along negative, you're still merely a couple of things from this very top! Fantastic luck!
 
Oct 8, 2015
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Maresic Resembles a Ticking signing! Lets expect the sort proceeds to grow soon after the regrettable beginning! Along negative, you're still merely a couple of things from this very top! Fantastic luck!
Cheers mate, quite happy with how the season has gone so far :) glad you're enjoying it!
 
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