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An easy win against 19th in the table Barnsley to continue our charge for promotion. It was a midfield masterpiece today from Huddlestone and Westwood who controlled the whole game and ended up with a goal each to show for it. Naturally Iheanacho got the other goal to keep his own streak going.
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Norwich managed to lose to Nottingham Forest, while Derby picked up a draw with Brighton which brings Newcastle back in to the mix and leaves us top of the table! we are so nearly home!
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It was scrappy, it was undeserved, but my god was it important! a fantastic win against Brighton keeps us top of the table, Ashley Westwood stepping up to make all the difference, despite missing a penalty that would have made it so much more comfortable. I almost had a heart attack when Brighton hit the bar with a header from a deep cross deep in injury time, but we held on for another massive three points!
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Norwich were held by Bristol City! A single point against either Rotherham or Cardiff will be enough to take us straight back up to the Premier League!
View attachment 124797 View attachment 124796 View attachment 124795 WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE! A fantastic performance wasnt even needed as Norwich lost to Wolves, but the boys pulled it off anyway and we have safely secured promotion. Iheanacho and Adomah scored the goals for us but the whole thing was soured by an awful injury to Iheanacho as he had his leg broken.
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Derby only drew with Cardiff which see's us all but wrap up the title as well, barring a catastrophic swing in goal difference.
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Am a little bit heartbroken for this lad. What a star he has been. We would not have achieved promotion without his goals and this is how he is re-payed. It also puts paid to any attempts to try and bring him back to the club next season as he will still be out when the transfer window closes. Kelechi, Aston Villa thank you!
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The perfect season ends with a perfect finish. The title is ours after another convincing display against Cardiff. We will be promoted to the Premier League as champions of the Championship. Young Hepburn-Murphy got his chance up front again and played a decent role in the win but it was Albert Adomah who showed his worth once more to get the goal.
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Derby are promoted with us automatically, leaving Newcastle and Norwich to fight it out in the playoffs.
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Norwich win the playoffs, joining ourselves and Derby in the promised land and subjecting Newcastle to another season in the Championship. The stats probably back up the view that we have been perhaps the least impressive champions in recent years but the fact is, we did just enough. We didnt have the top scorer, we didnt have the best goalkeeper, we didnt have the best assister, we didnt have the highest ratings, but we are in the Premier League.
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Speaking of relegated, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Sunderland face the pain of relegation after last minute escapes from Swansea and Burnley. So what have people been saying about our promotion?
So it's that time of year when awards are handed out and the efforts of all the players are rewarded!
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Its very hard to argue with the overall awards handed out by the Aston Villa board but I do think that Iheanacho and Micah Richards are unlucky to miss out on the team of the season.
Manager's player of the season
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Kelechi Iheanacho came in to the club in January like an absolute tornado and there is no doubt he saved our season when the goals had started to dry up. For me, none of this would have been possible without his contribution and this award can perhaps soften the blow of his broken leg slightly. Well done Kelechi! this kid is going right to the top!
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Aston Villa have today announced the signing of Argentinian Striker Jonathan Calleri on a free transfer. Calleri, 22, who spent last season on loan with West Ham United, scoring 15 goals, is set to be out of contract with his current club Deportivo Maldonado on the 30th of June which has allowed Aston Villa to settle on a pre-contract agreement to bring the striker to the club.
"Jonathan is one of the hottest young prospects in world football" Villa manager Rickie Lambert said upon Calleri's arrival. "his arrival here is a massive coup for the club and I am confident in his ability to spearhead our attack in the Premier League."
Aston Villa achieved promotion to the Premier League last month after successfully claiming the EFL Championship crown.
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So this was not something I was expecting. Leicester City, 10th place finishers in last seasons Premier League offered me a job interview after Claudio Ranieri retired. I went along to the interview just out of curiosity to see if it could give me an opportunity to enhance my career. To my surprise they offered me a whopping £70 million transfer budget, along with the chance to work with players like Vardy, Mahrez and Drinkwater.
I actually thought long and hard about the job, but in the end I decided to turn it down. I have developed a certain soft spot for my Villa side, and I am really happy about the transfer deals I have completed so far which I will post shortly. For now, unless something drastic happens, my future is at Villa Park.
A huge season of change for us in terms of our squad with a massive amount of comings and goings. I felt last season that a lot of players let me down at various points while others faced problems with injuries. In short, I didnt want to carry any liabilities forward into the Premier League. While it may seem harsh on a lot of the payers that got us promoted, i didnt see any point in buying back up for them as the quality just wouldnt have been there to survive. So with that in mind, I decided to focus my attention on first team players. £30 million isnt the biggest budget in the world, and with a fair few positions needing to be filled, i did a lot of my shopping in the bargain basement, taking advantage of free transfers and transfer listings to sign players at cut prices.
Andre Ayew - £4.5 mil (+£4.5 mil in add ons) - West Ham
I spent a long time looking for some quality to supplement the likes of Grealish, Adomah and Lingaard out wide, and an unhappy Andre Ayew answered my prayers. A bargain price for a great player with almost flawless physical and mental stats, I am hoping he can bag us some goals this season, even if it may be a little confusing having his brother Jordan at the club too!
Kyle Walker - £6.5 mil - Tottenham
I saw this fella on the transfer list and knew I had to get it done. Still only 26 years old and only on £40k a week, Kyle is a Champions League level right back that can be a key building block for the entire team I am trying to build.
Andrea Poli - £6.25 mil - Milan
Italian centre mid with 5 senior caps for his country. Poli brings some class and grit to the centre of midfield. Once again he possesses almost flawless mental and physical stats and suits the box to box role that I use perfectly. Only 26 years of age too which means he should be hitting his prime.
Jasper Cillessen - £4 mil - Barcelona
I wanted a quality goalkeeper and I got one! It ended up as a straight choice between Begovic and Cillessen and I opted for the cheaper, at just half the price of Begovic. He has long been touted as one of the brightest young talents in European goalkeeping and has his chance to shine now. Only 27 years old, but his £54k a week wages are amongst the highest in the squad so he needs to perform
Nampalys Mendy - £4.5 mil - Leicester City
One of the few instances of signing a player as backup, Nampalys will rotate with and provide support to Jedinak over the course of the season. With excellent speed and stamina, the lad can run all day which is useful when he also has an eye for both a tackle and a pass. 24 years old with his best years ahead of him.
Vlad Chiriches - £3.2 mil - Napoli
Next on the list was an experienced centre back. Tick. The 26 year old Romanian has great stats and a wealth of experience with Tottenham and Napoli. Never really been the first choice anywhere he has been, he will certainly be that now.
Kristoffer Ajer - £2.1 mil - Celtic
When I saw his asking price I snapped Celtics hand off. The 6'5 Norwegian is still only 18 years old but has the potential to go all the way to the very top. His stats are already amazing and he can play anywhere in the middle of the park from centre back to striker. His energy and flexibility could prove vital.
Ron Vlaar - Free Transfers
He struggles a bit with injuries but I am certain bringing Ron back to the club can be a successful move, and if its not, he was a free anyway! He has the experience and quality to sit nicely alongside Chiriches at the heart of the defence however because of his injury history I am still on the lookout for a centre back to sign on loan as extra cover.
Jonathan Calleri - Free Transfer
Already covered in an earlier post, this deal is astonishing! he has the potential to develop in to one of the finest strikers in the world, scored 15 goals in the Premiership last season and still came in on a free? Why on earth didnt West Ham snap him up!? Their loss is our gain.
Michy Batshuayi - Loan - Chelsea
The move that brings some real depth up front, Batshauyi is a proven source of quality and makes up an impressive set of options up front along with Calleri and Ayew. Only scored one goal last season in 14 apps for Chelsea but he has pace and power along with potential.
Total Spent - £36 mil
Carles Gil - £3.5 mil - Celtic
One of a few players that were out on loan last season following our relegation and were deemed surplus to requirements on their return. I wanted completely rid of the rotten wood from the disastrous relegation squad so they had to go, even for cut prices.
Carlos Sanchez - £2.9 mil - Marseille
Sanchez was another player who fell into the mould of rotten wood. While I could have saved some money and used him as backup to Jedinak, he is already 30 and not getting any better so I decided to cash in.
Gabby Agbonlahor - Free - Marseille
Rotten to the core. He was taking far too much money off the club and giving nothing back, throwing tantriums about not playing me and refusing moves away for financial reasons. In the end I forced him out on a free, saving myself £55k a week on wages in the process. Good riddance.
Micah Richards - £7.5 mil - Middlesbrough
A tough call to make but one where I feel I made the right choice. I managed to replace him with Kyle Walker, whilst saving £15k on the wage budget and making £1 million profit, tidy business?
Tommy Elphick - £1.3 mil - Celtic
Inconsistent and sloppy, I did not want to be in a position where I had to trust this man in the Premier League. Chiriches and Vlaar arriving were the final nails in his coffin, moving up to Celtic for a minimal fee.
Alex Tettey - £1 mil - Verona
A shame, as I like the lad a lot. His injury record pretty much forced through this sale as I didnt want to be paying his £30k wages for a player I couldnt rely on. We took the loss on this one and sold him again for a minimal fee.
Junior Stanislas - £500k - Sheff Utd
Didnt get a lot of game time in the Championship anyway, he started complaining about his lack of games. A non-vital part of the squad, I didnt want to risk my squads harmony over him, so he leaves.
Gary Gardner - £475k - Hull
Not good enough to make it in my squad, especially with the quality we have bought in. Makes way for more wages saved.
Total Income - £17 mil
On top of these player sales, Max Clayton and Aaron Tshibola leave on loan to the championship along with a couple of other promising academy youngsters, while Jonathan Kodjia, Nathan Baker, James Chester and Jordan Veretout remain for sale. [HR][/HR]
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I am now really happy with the make-up of the squad. If we can find a tactic that suits us in the Premier League, I am certain we now have the quality to stay up. Still keeping an eye on the transfer market, just in case an awesome opportunity pops up!
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A fairly standard affair as we go undefeated in Pre-Season. Each of my strikers were amongst the goals and Jack Grealish is showing really positive signs. A first goal Andre Ayew can only be a good thing, as can three consecutive clean sheets to finish off proceedings. The squad is injury free and fully fit and ready to go.
Aston Villa Vs Manchester United
13th August, 2016.
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After much deliberation, Batshuayi got the nod to start up with Grealish and Andre Ayew. Westwood and Jedinak keep their places in midfield and are supplemented by Poli who takes Matty James' place in the team. Bruma starts at CB after a training injury to Ron Vlaar (I know!) will keep the dutchman out for the next 2-3 weeks. The search for a loan CB has started!
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Pinch me. The stats make it look like we absolutely robbed them.. and we kind of did, but we played some lovely football along the way! Andre Ayew got a brace of assists on his debut while Grealish and Jordan Ayew got all the fun of being on the scoresheet. A home win against Manchester United on our first game back in the Premier League? Perfect.