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Arsene Wenger - A Villa Tale

Wenger Decides he needs a new challenge
Started on 6 November 2018 by No1VillaFan
Latest Reply on 13 January 2019 by Griffo

Wengers First Game

Aston Villa started there new season with a match against Nottingham Forest today. Villa, who are third favourites to go up this season threw some of there new signings into the action from the start. Goalkeeper Nyland, Tuanzebe, Zinchenko, McGinn, Allen, Bolasie, Abraham and Harry McKirdy (more on him later) all got a taste of the action in a claret and blue shirt for the first time.

First things first though, Alan Hutton was named captain by Arsene Wenger for this upcoming season. On receiving the captains armband Hutton was said to touched and moved by the show of support from Arsene Wenger. With new keeper Nyland taking the vice-captain role it is clear to see that Wenger has his own ideas and will stick to them.

Starting Line ups for both sides in the first EFL game of the season

Aston Villa have Nyland in goal and then play a 4-2-4 utilising wingers. Alan Hutton and Olexadr Zinchenko are the wing backs and Tuanzebe and Chester in central defence and then they have new signings John McGinn and Joe Allen in holding roles. Allen and McGinn are going to be important for Villa this season and Wenger likes the ball moved around to Wingers that are fast (yes I realise I just called Alan Hutton fast!).

Wenger is playing 4 upfront, two wingers who this match is Bolasie and Lookman. I am very excited to see Lookman play in England after his incredible season I the German Bundesliga with Red Bull Leipzig because this boy can both score and provide assists. Upfront Villa have a lot talent in Kodjia, Abraham, Hogen, O’Hare(appears to be preferred as a winger though), Hepburn-Murphy and Keinan Davis. Wenger also has Harry McKirdy on the bench. McKirdy is a 21-year-old Midfielder/Attacking Midfielder and striker who has impressed the coaching staff so much since Wenger came into the club that he immediately promoted his to the main squad. I think it is safe to say we will see McKirdy feature this season in all competitions for now he started on the bench.

The Match Report

So you would expect this to be a close contest, wouldn’t you? Forest spent £13.5m on Joao Cavalho from Benfica and they have Costel Pantillimon, who played for Man City, Sunderland and Watford in the Premier League. Villa started well though infact all they did for the first 35 minutes was to bombard Pantillimon’s goal with shot after shot. It was no surprise then that after just 5 minutes Aston Villa scored the first goal. The big surprise was who scored it.

Hutton opens up the scoring

Villa had just won there second corner in a row from the right, Zinchenko was already over the ball and delivered a peach of a corner towards the penalty spot. It was a late running Alan Hutton header that flew past the outstretch keeper and into the net. Hutton looked as surprised as the rest of the Villa fans did but wheeled away in celebration and 1-0 Villa.

You might have expected a response from Forest? There was one and that to play even worse than they already were. In the 11th minute Villa picked up a freekick after Abraham and Kodjia were being very busy and the Forest defence could not handle them. The free kick was around 20 yards out and Zinchenko and McGinn stood over it but it looked more suited for the Scotsman than Zinchenko. Oh my god how wrong was we. The Ukrainian curved a delightful stunning dead ball into the top left corner and 2-0 Villa.

Tammy Abraham scores the third for Villa in the demolision of Forest

Villa continued to batter Forest who finally had a shot from Soudani but it was wayward and not very handsome. Joe Allen and John McGinn were dictating play and it was Allen who delivered a delightful through ball to the on rushing Tammy Abraham and left him 1 on 1 with Pantillimon and it was a no contest as he slotted it away into the net and made it 3-0 39,000 people inside Villa park and 32,000 were delirious.

Forest had to improve because Villa were running them ragged but Forest did not improve and when Kodjia connected to a Bolasie cross to make it 4-0 it was almost game over for the visitors. The wingers Lookman and Bolasie were so fast in the first half and with Hutton and Zinchenko getting forward at every opportunity Forest were probably not expecting the ferocity at which Wenger’s boys had come out in the first half.

Forest were better in the second half but Villa went down a couple of gears and still easily maintained the midlands club. Villa made changes with Glenn Whelen, Ahmed Almohamedy and Harry McKirdy all coming on. It was a special day for McKirdy who had dreamt of playing for Villa’s first team for years and finally got his chance. McKirdy gave a solid performance and should have had an assist but Kodjia missed it.

After the match Villa fans went home very happy and if Villa perform like this every match then it will be a very happy season. Who needs Jack Grealish?
Fantastic result to start the season. Start as you mean to go on!
2018-12-02 22:14#253042 ScottT : Fantastic result to start the season. Start as you mean to go on!

Thanks dude :)

Hutton Injured and Out For a Long Time

Aston Villa today lost the services of Alan Hutton for upto 6 months after being stretchered off in the second game of the season. The Aston Villa captain had just scored his second goal of the season with a thunderbolt from just outside the area. Hutton broke his ankle

Hutton though was on the end of a bad tackle from once Villa target Jonny Howson. Howson got yellow carded for the tackle but Villa, who have looked good since the season started will be hoping for a quick recovery. Aston Villa fans will be hoping that Hutton can come back and remain as steady as always.

Could Richards be given a Villa lifeline

It is not known who will take Hutton’s place but it seems to be out of Ahmed Elmohamedy or rumours are that Wenger wants to maybe give Micah Richards a chance to resurrect his career at Villa. Micah Richards is still only 30-years-old and given the right chance could well excel under Arsene Wenger. I would say that Elmohamedy will get the call to start with but with Villa you never know.
That's a massive blow to the team. Interested to see who will make the step-up to take his position for the foreseeable future.
Not ideal, Hutton is a very experienced defender!

Harry McKirdy: I have dreamt about this moment since I was a young boy

I am still on cloud nine! said McKirdy. McKirdy was a player who was told by Stoke that he was not good enough after spending 2004-2011 at The Potteries. The younger central midfielder was a nobody before Arsene Wenger cam in and spotted the youngster at his first under 23 training session. The gaffer came up to me and said that he thought I had something. I had to ask him if he was the manager of the first team because other than Villa I do not follow anything else. Wenger introduced himself and said to McKirdy that he was coming to train with the first team.

I was in shock but I couldn’t wait to go and do this. I thought to myself that I was going to fulfil a lifelong dream. I then started to dream about the moment I could set foot on the Villa park turf to play infront of fans and think to myself, That is where I used to be. I still get to the games when I have the days off from playing for the under 23’s.

Harry McKirdy’s rise to fame for Villa has been nothing short than a miracle. McKirdy joined Villa as a 15-year-old and played for the youth sides. McKirdy trained with the first team in 2016–17 pre-season, but had played no first-team football by the time that he joined League Two club Stevenage on 31 August 2016, on loan until January 2017. He made his club and Football League debut on 24 September, coming on as a substitute in a 2–0 defeat to Exeter City. He scored his first goal for Stevenage in an EFL Trophy tie against Brighton & Hove Albion Under-23s on 4 October 2016, and scored his first league goal in a 2-1 win for Stevenage at Mansfield Town on 29 October 2016.

In January 2018, he signed for Crewe Alexandra on loan to the end of the season, and scored on his Crewe debut against Wycombe Wanderers on 20 January 2018 after coming on as a second half substitute.

McKirdy stepped out against Norwich, it was his first premier league, but you would never have known it. McKirdy who played in central midfield in a Mazzala role dominated the play.

McKirdy’s positioning, passes and goals

McKirdy dominated the last third of the pitch and his link up play with Tammy Abraham and Jonathon Kodjia especially was excellent. He is not really a playing you will find wide but he will look for that pass and then when needing to finish he definitely knows how to finish grabbing two goals, he only had three shots on goal! McKirdy scored a tap in and then a 16 yard screamer. After the match Arsene Wenger said that he now has a few decisions to make in regards to central midfield. Harry McKirdy is definitely one to watch this season and will really push the team forward as the rest of the younger squad to think they can get into the first team aswell. Players like Callum O’Hare, Ruslan Hepburn-Murphy and Keinan Davis are all trying to force there way into the team. I hope they all can see that it is possible.

Villa have signed Federico Ricca

Villa have added there last signing to there squad with Uruguayan Federico Ricca joining the club for a modest £1,500,000 from Malaga and on signing had this to say.

Estoy muy feliz de unirme a un club como Aston Villa y creo que puedo llegar a la Premier League y ganar trofeos. Me preguntaron si quería mudarme a Inglaterra y realmente espero convertirme en un favorito de los fanáticos. Sé que tendré que luchar por mi lugar, pero estoy encantado de estar en Villa Park.

I am very happy to join a club like Aston Villa and believe that I can get to the Premier League and win trophies. I was asked if I wanted to move to England and I really hope to become a fan favourite. I know I will have to fight for my place but I am delighted to be at Villa Park.

It will be interesting to see how Ricca will fit in.

ScottT yeah I am thinking of using Micah Richards or Ahmed Elmohamedy

Justice Yeah he is one of my favourite players to be fair
Really great post mate! Brilliant read!

Wenger In Dream Start

August Review

What a month it has been for Wenger and his new team. Anyone who thought that he could not replicate the way he got Arsenal playing were wrong. This was a Villa team without Jack Grealish but was a team full of youth that Wenger wanted bought through but also with Joe Allen and John McGinn it showed that Villa will spend money too. Lets see how they did:

Championship: Aston Villa 4-0 Nottingham Forest
Hutton (5)
Zinchenko (11)
Abraham (27)
Kodjia (45+2)


Championship: Middlesbrough 2-2 Aston Villa
Hutton (44)
Kodjia (66)



Carabao Cup R1: Aston Villa 3-1 Port Vale
Keinan Davis (20)
Hepburn-Murphy (33)
Bolasie (53)

Championship: Aston Villa 5-0 Norwich
McKirdy (8)
Abraham (32)
Abraham (49)
McKirdy (69)
Bjarnason (87)


Championship: Derby County 1-1 Aston Villa
Zinchenko (11)

Championship: Aston Villa 5-0 Bristol City
Abraham (34)
Abraham (64)
Kodjia (66)
Zinchenko (85)
Lookman (90+2)


Carabao Cup: Walsall 1-1 Aston Villa (Villa win 5-4 on pens)
Bolasie (78)


Aston Villa did not lose a game this month. At home Villa have looked fantastic where Tammy Abraham just loves playing at Villa Park, scoring five goals this month but not one away from home. Villa started with the fantastic 4-0 win on the opening match of the season against Forest. This was followed up with a battling 2-2 draw in Middlesbrough but it was a game Villa struggled in but showed they can battle. Alan Hutton picked up an injury which will no doubt hit Villa hard because he was the new captain of the club and had just scored two in two games.

Abraham celebrating scoring

The first match after Hutton’s injury saw a raft of changes as it was the Carabao Cup against Port Vale and this was where Wenger showcased the young talent and the young talent shone through. Keinan Davis and Ruslan Hepburn-Murphy both scoring in a 3-1 victory, two assists from Harry McKirdy sending Villa through into round two.

The came THAT GAME where Harry McKirdy came of age scoring two and setting up two goals. McKirdy and Abraham have got a great understanding with each other. It is however the impact of the bench which Villa have changed this season. You have players, young players like Hepburn-Murphy and Davis coming on. It was Birkir Bjarnason who came on and scored the winning goal. The Icelander has been on the sideline under Wenger but took his goal well and Villa are flying.

Aston Villa then claimed an away draw with Derby County with a stunning Zinchenko free kick goal. Derby were excellent throughout but it was the defence of Villa who were great and then one lapse in concentration and former Villain Andreas Weimann scored a deserved equaliser.

The match against Bristol City was a big one for Ademola Lookman, the on-loan Everton winger set up four and scored the fifth goal in a 5-0 victory. Tammy Abraham’s brace and another from Zinchenko meant that Villa are riding high in the league.

Villa almost got beat against Walsall and with no extra time in the Carabao Cup this season Villa needed penalties to go into the third round the draw for Round three will take place soon

League Table

Aston Villa are in forth place but have the best defensive record so far and by far the best scoring record. Leeds United, Sheffield United and Norwich City are the only teams above Villa. It has been a excellent start for the club.

Player Of The Month

John McGinn

Everyone would expect Harry McKirdy would get the award but I have gone for Villa’s Mr. Reliable John McGinn. McGinn plays deep just infront of the defence and that allows the likes of McKirdy, Allen and Hourihan to venture and he literally mops everything up giving the 23-year-old Scot so much possession and he is able to pick out anyone he wants, playing it over the top or just the short simple passes.


Mgriffin Thanks mate I love some of the new features on FM19
An incredibly strong start to the season. Hopefully this form can continue throughout the season and Wenger can lead Villa back to, arguably, where they belong - in the Premier League.

Wenger In Dream Start

Villa Sign Simon Royce As Goal Keeping Coach

Aston Villa today announced the signing of former Leicester, Q.P.R and Southend United goal keeper Simon Royce. Royce, who played 28 times in the Premier League will come in to give new keeper Orjan Nyland the chance to become a better keeper.

So who is Simon Royce?

Royce began his career with non-League Heybridge Swifts and after claiming the number one jersey off long standing Albie Bridge while still a teenager soon attracted the interest of many Football League sides. He spent a few seasons as understudy to Paul Sansome before finally establishing himself as the Shrimpers' first choice and a fans' favourite – he played in the successful Southend side in the mid 90's under Barry Fry and later Peter Taylor before Charlton Athletic manager Alan Curbishley snapped him up on a free transfer. Despite some strong performances in the Premier League, including many clean sheets resulting in setting a post-war club record, injury prevented Royce from establishing himself as regularly as he would have liked and, after the arrival of Dean Kiely, he rejoined former boss Peter Taylor at Leicester City. Some good early form resulted with speculation about an England call-up for new manager Sven-Goran Eriksson's initial squad, however this never materialised and further injuries prevented Royce from making as many first team appearances as he possibly could.

Simon Royce in his Leicester days

A second spell at Charlton followed before he moved into the lower tiers of the Football League with Queens Park Rangers, Manchester City (on loan), Luton Town (on loan) and Brighton & Hove Albion (on loan) again teaming up with Peter Taylor. During a Stoke City vs QPR game, he was attacked by a Stoke fan.

n August 2007 he joined Gillingham on a free transfer, saying that he intended to see out the rest of his career at Gillingham and his performances in goal won him the Supporters' Player of the Year award for the 2007–08 season. He was first choice goalkeeper at Gillingham again in the promotion season of 2008–09 and at the beginning of the following season. He was forced out of the team by injuries sustained in a car accident in December 2009 and never regained his place from Alan Julian. His Gillingham contract expired at the end of that season and although he had been offered a goalkeeper/coach role at Gillingham, he opted in June 2010 to take up the role at Brentford, where he remained until the end of the 2017–18 season.

Royce then went and studied for his coaching qualification which he will continue at his new club Villa. In what will be seen as an odd signing, it thought that Royce will be able to help the younger guys at Villa Park.


ScottT it has been a great start thanks for reading it
Just caught up with this story, has been a brilliant, entertaining read. Keep up the good work!

United Kingdom Leave The European Union

Welcome to ITV news at 10! It is the 26th September 2018

Today the United Kingdom has left the European Union. Prime Minister Teresa May has said that Brexit meant Brexit. There had been political leaders who has said that Brexit was not going to happen but Teresa May pushed ahead and withdrew Britain from the European Union.

May announces Britain leaving European Union

It is not yet understood what rules will be implemented but the Premier League and Championship will find out in the next couple of week. This will make January transfer window will be very, very important as it will be the last window where the work permit situation will remain the same. The F.A released this statement:

We are very disappointed to be leaving the European Union and are working around the clock to try and secure a deal to make signing players easier but because of what we feel is an unfair Brexit and that it has not been fought enough by the government. I would like to hope that we can come to some arrangement but I feel we will be talking to a brick wall. This is all I have to say on the matter for now.

There is going to be impact for everyone but what impact will it have on the football side of things? We tried to contact Downing Street for a comment but they were unable to comment. More on this when we receive it.
A very good start to the league campaign! Hopefully you don't get a rough Brexit deal!
Quite controversial that the FA appear to be pro-EU :P

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