Championship vs Premier League

Before I start this article, let me make it clear – this will not be an article which focusses on FFP and the penalties we may face if we do not get promoted. This is for two reasons: 1) I am not an expert on this topic and an article about it, from me, would not make for a good or well informed read; 2) I am not clever enough, mathematically speaking, to understand the figures related to FFP. If you would like that kind of information, then please see […]

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Why Dean Smith must be afforded time to get it right at Villa

Four months have now passed since Dean Smith waltzed into Villa Park promising a fresh brand of attacking football. Upon his appointment the former Brentford boss claimed he wanted us to play at “an intensity” and that he believed that “we have the players to do that.” Smith’s assumption that this group of players ought to have enough in them to compete comfortably in the top six of the Championship stems from a culmination of factors. This Villa squad is littered with experience and then there’s the price tags certain players have commanded […]

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The Revolution is happening; The Academy and The Unknowns

So here we are – in the middle of the January sales and if it’s not speculation surrounding some of Dean’s former Brentford charges on their way in, it’s the question of who to bring back from loans spells. Every time I think I have the answer on what Dean is thinking, I find myself taking a step back to look at the bigger picture. It seems somewhat stupid that a club of Aston Villa’s size should be struggling with strength and depth and yet here we are scrambling about […]

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What life would be like if Aston Villa remain in the Championship for a fourth season

I’m not the kind of person that puts much thought into hypothetical scenarios. The what ifs. I’d be scared to open my front door each and every day if I did. But after Saturday’s 3-0 mauling up at Wigan I began wondering what life would be like for us should we remain in the Championship for a fourth term. Unlike some fans, who are already willing to write-off this season, I am not saying that it’s beyond the realms of possibility that we end up in the mix come early May. But […]

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Operation Smith-ball: Licence to Thrill

If I was to say the last couple of months have been refreshing, I would almost certainly be guilty of making the most extreme understatement of the year. The arrival of Dean Smith has given Villa Park a team with an unrelenting attacking intent – rather than the pragmatic approach of his predecessor, an unfashionable approach in the modern age. Our last two games against arch-rivals Birmingham City and cross-midland team Nottingham Forest have highlighted our obvious strengths whilst exposing concerning flaws. But it’s all part of the ride. The […]

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Operation Smith-ball: Who fits in and who falls out?

After a disappointing defeat at Norwich on Tuesday night, Smith’s fledgling Villa era reads as won one, lost one. The defeat wasn’t necessarily an unexpected one given Norwich’s current form and confidence against our own tactical and philosophical transition post Steve Bruce. The Championship though, is an unforgiving division and 3 games in 6 days (2 away from home) was always set to be a tough introduction to the Villa hot seat for Smith and his new team. Norwich were however, an intriguing opposition to analyse. They’re a team who […]

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Who knew tactics were a thing?

Whether it is due to my own personal enlightenment in the theoretical and practical implication of tactics or not, there seems to have been a sudden yearning for tactical innovations and knowledge of these over the last few years in England. “Inverted full-backs” at Man City or the “Gegen-pressing” of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, football teams have established an identity or tactical innovations in recent years, something that seemingly passed Steve Bruce by. In that sense, the liberation, and I do consider it a liberation in the highest sense of the […]

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