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The Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge

Started on 20 November 2020 by Aaron
Latest Reply on 5 September 2021 by YAMS
Doing great so far and some good signings. Looking forward to seeing how it goes.
Scott: It was a very kind draw and I too am expecting maximum points but dependent on rotation who knows where we might drop points?

ImDonkey: Good to see you mate and thank you, glad you're enjoying so far.

September - The Top 6 Nightmare

Aston Villa 2-2 Fulham | Premier League | Grealish x2
Randers 0-2 Aston Villa | Europa Conference | Wesley, Mousset
Arsenal 4-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | McBurnie, Watkins, Szoboszlai
Aston Villa (4-1)p 0-0 Manchester City | EFL Cup Third Round | N/A
Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester United | Premier League | N/A
Aston Villa 3-0 FC Botosani | Europa Conference | Trezeguet x2, Wesley

The September fixture list was far from kind to us. If playing United and Arsenal wasn't enough between travelling around Europe the EFL cup drew us against Manchester City in a massive cup tie.

We always said we want to make improvements in cup competitions and to begin with that's everything we're trying to work towards while raising our game to challenge for titles so to come up against one of the best sides in the country so early on was a little frustrating as we don't want to be crashing out in early rounds.

We know that we can beat anyone on our day though and despite not setting up to frustrate City it was clear we wouldn't get much from this game from the 90 minutes of football. City came to play and they did, but our defending was like nothing I've seen yet from these boys. Martinez also was called upon to make quite a few saves and ended up putting in a man of the match performance practically winning the whole tie by saving a De Bruyne spot kick in the shootout.

Trezeguet stepped up four the fourth penalty of the game and rippled the net to thunderous applause. We were into the 4th round at home to Brighton!

As expected we got off to a great start in Europe winning both games without conceding but it was our Premier League form most notably that took a bit of a dent. Fulham was the first game of the month and to a point we were doing very well and looking like sure winners but we were brought back down to earth late on by Seri who gained a point for his side. Another disappointing draw just like the Burnley game.

Either side of the cup match against city we had Arsenal and Man United both to play and these were definitely two games we should be disappointed about not getting anything from. It was a tight game against the Red Devils, we had a penalty shout late on as Martial went through the back of Norton, but VAR ruled what I thought was a certain penalty to be no foul and as a result we gained nothing.

We played fantastic against Arsenal but once again we were our own enemy in defence letting in 4 goals. It's just not good enough from them really, the only player in our back 4 I can truly say puts in a shift consistently is Konsa. The rest are very off and on, especially Mings.

I've decided to shift the tactic ever so slightly in a bid to improve at the back. Everything works so well the way it is so I'm thinking the only thing I can change at the moment is how our full backs play so we've pulled them back off the attack duties to just become wing backs now.

A disappointing month in the league but context is important. We were dealt a tough hand here, and next month we face both Chelsea, Liverpool AND Arsenal again. Though I suppose it could be nice to get these bigger games out of the way early on, especially considering we won't face Arsenal in the league in 2022.

October - Unbeaten Again

West Ham 0-1 Aston Villa | Premier League | Cash
Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins
LASK 0-2 Aston Villa | Europa Conference | Trezeguet, Mousset
Aston Villa 2-0 Liverpool | Premier League | Watkins x2
Aston Villa 4-2 Brighton | EFL Cup Fourth Round | Szoboszlai x2, Konsa, Trezeguet
Aston Villa 3-1 Arsenal | Premier League | Wesley x2, Miazga

A quite unbelievable month in the run up to Halloween really. Putting the disappointments of Last month behind us we were determined to push on and show the world we were capable of competing with this big lot at the top.

West Ham first in a game we just had to win with the Hammers sitting just above us and Chelsea up next. They've a knack being quite impenetrable this season and their goal scoring form has been brilliant too but we were just able to get ahead of them through Matty Cash on the right wing taking home three points.

I set up specifically to nab a victory off of a struggling Chelsea, they set up a little differently to how I expected but still we took the lead and for the ENTIRE game were in front. Not the emphasis on the word 'entire'.

30 seconds after the allotted injury time of 3 minutes given by Dave Coote, Chelsea were able to continue playing and Tammy Abraham scrambled the ball into our net from a corner ball. This month should have ended with a 100% win record.

Off to Austria for another game of football, another routine win. Easy as you like, but the main focus was on the next three. Liverpool, Arsenal, Brighton. To get top 4 you need to beat teams like Arsenal it's that simple. We'd lost once already but I'm so pleased to say we got our own back. Wesley was fantastic in this one scoring 2 goals, I had intended to use his off the ball movement to lose Matvienko in defence and it worked so well.

Liverpool were absolutely brilliant it has to be said but so was Emi Martinez. Saved EVERYTHING. knocked the ball onto the post about 3 times, scooped it off the line. Liverpool for the life of them couldn't get it over the line and we took advantage on the counter with Ollie Watkins bagging a wonderful brace.

Brighton took the lead against us in the cup but we replied with a Szoboszlai thunderbolt instantly before taking the lead through Dominik again. Hove bagged one back and drew level but Konsa at the near post from a free kick lobbed the ball over the keeper and it was 3-2.

Trezeguet rounded off a wonderful performance that took us into a Quarter Final against you guessed it...Wolves.

Third in the league is absolutely nothing to scoff at. Wow...Liverpool and Arsenal, 6 points. Consider it should have been 9 against Chelsea and you start to wonder if we really could make light work of Champions League qualification. I certainly hope we can.
Some tough games this month so I wouldn't be too upset.
Aaron's avatar Group Aaron
3 yearsEdited

November - A Rock In The Road

Aston Villa 1-0 LASK | Europa Conference | Trezeguet
Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham | Premier League | Watkins
Aston Villa 4-0 Randers | Europa Conference | Trezeguet x3, Mings
Manchester United 2-4 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins x2

So a short month (thankfully) with not too much to talk about, I only really have some complaints to share about the fixture list but first lets take attention to the Europa Conference. We've had two more wins keeping clean sheets in both which means in 4 games we've conceding absolutely nothing in Europe. Not too shabby.

This also does mean we qualify for the first knockout round and I'm well excited to see who we get. Hopefully more of a challenge, I know Roma are in amongst the mix.

Speaking of draws, we were pegged back in the league by West Ham, quite lucky for them really. At the time they sat 3rd in the league while we were 8th. The 2 games in hand we have are important but we should have won this and West Ham have gotten ridiculously lucky.

We took the lead against Man United twice in the last game of the month but fell short in defence conceding another 4 goals in a game against a top 6 team. Really frustrating because the scoreline did us no justice whatsoever.

My main thoughts at the moment though are the fixture list. We've now played Arsenal, Man United and West Ham TWICE in the league. It's not even December yet. We've had Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs. As it stands nearly half way into the season we have played TWO teams that reside in the bottom half of the table.

I'm not sure why this fixture list is like this whether it's because of covid (Though that wouldnt make sense as any impact of covid to fixtures would be last season) or whether it's a bug in which case we'll have to wait and see on the 24th if it gets fixed.

If not, we move on and do our best. I guess one silver lining is we play most of the bottom half in the second half of the season while we fight for Europe.

Anyway, back to 9th in the league. Game in hand to bounce back into European spots which I believe we're pitted against Everton for who would you believe are in the bottom half. It's going to be a tough game but tough games are our speciality.
Scott: Certainly mate context is important when coming up against these big teams!
Might want to fix the United result. I was going to congratulate you on three points but it turns out you lost haha.
Scott: Aye thanks mate didn't even realise

December - Goal Glut

Everton 2-6 Aston Villa | Premier League | McBurnie x2, Watkins, Cash, Grealish, Trezeguet
Aston Villa 2-0 Leicester | Premier League | Grealish, Watkins
FC Botosani 2-2 Aston Villa | Europa Conference | Cork, Miazga
Newcastle 1-4 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins x2, Traore, Mings
Aston Villa 5-0 Wolves | EFL Cup Quarter Final | Trezeguet x2, Watkins, Grealish, Szoboszlai, Grealish
Fulham 1-5 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins x2, Mousset x2, Grealish
Aston Villa 0-3 Brighton | Premier League | N/A
Leciester 1-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | Ramsey, Wesley, Schmeichel

A monstrous month that's required 110% of our efforts in the Christmas build up. We've travelled through Europe, we've had rivals arrive at Villa Park and we've had another string of fixtures in which we play the same team twice in the Premier League...Leicester. Who right now just cannot seem to lay a glove on us.

Our goal scoring all season has been a joy to behold, it's just been a pity we can't keep them out at the other end. Up to the Brighton game we'd gone 17 games without not scoring against our opponents which in the grand scheme of things is pretty impressive.

It was a shame to lose so heavily to Brighton, we'd been working hard on making Villa Park a fortress and still are but these games come and they go. It was a game we could have and should have won but it's exactly that. coulda, woulda, shoulda.

The main result as you can see is the Wolves game in the Quarter final. We absolute trashed them 5 goals to 0 and at no point did this one look like a contest. We've already improved in this competition on last years performance so with Man United to play in the semi's it's all just about how far we can go now.

Dropping points in Europe for the first time in the last game was a little disappointing but we qualified well beyond Randers. It was a good showing from some youngsters.

We made up for a slack showing in Europe by absolutely smashing the rest of our Premier League opponents. Fulham, Newcastle, Leicester. They all tried and all of them failed. Things even got so bad for Leicester that Brendan Rogers was sacked straight after they played us.

We've now done the double on the Foxes and they're the next team we have to play in the FA Cup. (I got it wrong when I said Wolves in an earlier post).

Again, there are no easy games in England but we know we can beat these lads as they're in poor form so I expect a good showing.

We are tiring quickly though...May need some reinforcements in Jan.

5th in the league at the half way mark is absolutely brilliant and so far a lot better than what we achieved at Norwich last season I think so I'm really happy with that. Next summer I just know with the right additions in defence and maybe a new keeper, we'll be a force to be reckoned with in the league and (hopefully) in Europe.
Not bad at all. Keep this up pal!

January - A New Arrival

Aston Villa 4-1 Leicester | FA Cup Third Round | Wesley, Watkins, Rasmey, Miazga
Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa | EFL Cup Semi Final | Mousset
Tottenham 2-0 Aston Villa | Premier League | N/A
Aston Villa 6-2 Norwich | Premier League | McBurnie x2, Watkins, McGinn, Grealish, Szoboszlai
Burnley 1-0 Aston Villa | Premier League | N/A
Aston Villa 1-0 Crystal Palace | Premier League | Szoboszlai
Aston Villa 3-3 Cardiff City | FA Cup Fourth Round | Wesley x2, McGinn
Aston Villa 1-3 Manchester United | EFL Cup Semi Final | Mousset
Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City | Premier League | McBurnie

With the excitement of a transfer window comes the demand for new additions. Without any money to really speak of I wasn't hopeful we'd be able to bring anyone into the club but with the departure of Kortney Hause we were able to make one last gasp signing on transfer deadline day.

A player I'd wanted for some time now, Marcus Edwards. We're all aware of our weakness in defence so some people might ask why I'd go out and by a right winger instead for a pretty large sum. The answer is simple, Edwards was currently playing mid table Liga NOS football in Portugal. At this time he's probably the cheapest we'll ever get him for. He's 23, perfect age to start his Premier League career and he's English. Aside from all that, he's absolutely fantastic. I had to act fast before someone else did, there will be plenty of defenders in the future I can pick up but players like this are few and far between.

Joining at the end of the month with a slight knock we would unfortunately have to wait until February to see our new man in action. Whilst we were all excited we still had a lot of hard work ahead of us and due to that fact form seems to have finally taken a dip and our squad depth has been our undoing in the fight for top 4.

We've had a really tough ride against the bigger teams with key players out, Szoboszlai is finding it hard to play every ninety minutes. We're desperate for a proper back up option so we'll be on the search in the summer I would hope if cash balance allows.

We had our first ever semi final tie against of all teams Manchester United. I've had a really tough time of it against the Red Devils in this save and I'm still unable to get the better of them. They rarely out perform us to a impressive degree but every time they seem to find a way and as a result we've missed a chance to play in our first cup final of the save.

It's a disappointment for sure but we aim for improvement next year.

We passed the Leicester test again in the cup with flying colours but it was Cardiff who would hold us up for a replay in the fourth round. Something I really did not want. Big teams in an around these three FA Cup games it was so difficult for us to find any sort of result against Spurs and Man City. I think given our form this season we can be afforded the benefit of the doubt provided the size of the team.

We have the replay against Cardiff up straight away and I'm hoping we can pass through to the fifth round without too many issues. Extra time would be a killer at this stage. We've Wolves in the league just after and I think we can expect to see Marcus Edwards make his debut in the rivalry which I'm extremely excited for!

February - Back In The Saddle

Cardiff City 1-2 Aston Villa | FA Cup Fourth Round | John McGinn, Wesley
Wolves 1-3 Aston Villa | Premier League | Szoboszlai, Kurzawa, Wesley
Aston Villa 7-2 Bournemouth | Premier League | Watkins x2, Mousset x2, Grealish, Konsa
Brentford 1-1 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins
Aston Villa 2-1 Leeds United | Premier League | Watkins, Mousset

Bang for our buck this month. With the arrival of Edwards there seemed to be a visible boost in the teams performances when he was on the pitch. We had a full week of rest in the lead up to the game against Bournemouth which was just what the doctor ordered.

We went 1-0 down to Cardiff early into the replay before levelling off the score just after half time. It was looking certified that the game would go to extra time but a late penalty would cost the Welsh and Wesley would seal an away tie at St Mary's against Southampton. 2-1 the final score.

We were desperate to make things right in the league. All season we'd been in and out of top 4 and if we wanted any hope of getting the last spot we couldnt afford another run of games like the last. All season we'd been up against the very best so it was time for a well earned break of sorts against some of the easier sides in the league.

We went to the Molineux hoping to secure bragging rights and did just that. Szoboszlai scored the first of three in what was a dominant performance from ourselves. We were so good even Kurzawa got himself a rare goal. It wasn't until late on that Wolves stopped our clean sheet in it's tracks.

One thing I was really frustrated about was slipping up in the easiest game of the month against Brentford. The most useless team in the league some how found a way to go 1-0 up despite our sheer dominance in front of their goal. Eventually Watkins came off the bench and got us the all important equalizer. Our opponents were just solid enough to earn a point. A frustrating day away from home.

We made up for things against Leeds. Just. Once again it was 1-1 for quite some time, we took the lead and were pegged back in the second half. Luckily Lys Mousset was on hand to strike a 93rd minute winner home and keep us in the fight for top 4.

The best result of February of course goes to Bournemouth though as you can imagine. We absolutely ruined the Cherries from top to bottom. Everyone was getting in on the act and it was a very joyous occasion. You can now understand how frustrating it is to do this and then score just 1 against the 20th team in the league.

We're still very much in the fight but for now it's all about winning as much as possible, doing our bit and hoping either United or Spurs can drop some points here and there. We haven't too many difficult games left so on paper the fixture list favours us. We'll have to wait and see what happens in March where we return to Europe against Wolfsburg!

March - The European Return

Southampton 4-0 Aston Villa | FA Cup Fitfth Round | N/A
Aston Villa 2-1 Everton | Premier League | Kurzawa, Wesley
Wolfsburg 2-6 Aston Villa | Europa Conference 2nd Knockout Round | Wesley, Szoboszlai, Cash, Watkins x3
Brighton 0-5 Aston Villa | Premier League | Wesley, Watkins, Szoboszlai, Konsa, Trezeguet
Aston Villa 4-1 Wolfsburg | Europa Conference 2nd Knockout Round | Wesley x2, Watkins x2
Aston Villa 3-1 Newcastle United | Premier League | Traore, Wesley, McGinn

Another fantastic month coming up to the run in of the season. Minus the obviously frustrating blip at the start of the month we've barely put a single foot wrong and we are no well in the mix for a fight amongst the top 6. We love a good scrap don't we?

We are out of the FA Cup thanks to Championship league leaders Southampton. I was always sceptical for this one as they're in top form and riding some brilliant morale in the search for promotion. It was always going to be a hard game, I just didn't expect us to capitulate so badly.

We have been without Marcus Edwards for the last month or so due to an injury so we're doing all of this with him still to come back into the team yet which as you can imagine is a really promising thought.

Absolutely no slip ups in the league this month is what we love to see. Champions League football is so close I can almost smell it, the only problem being we've played an extra game than Arsenal and Spurs. A bit of a shame but just because they have an extra game to play doesn't mean we automatically give them the points so I remain hopeful that London's best bottlers will bottle.

One can only hope.

We returned to Europe with two emphatic performances against Wolfsburg in the second knock out round. 6-2 the first result which by any standards is about as good as it gets and we could just about consider ourselves into the Quarter finals against Apollon.

We still had to make sure we do the job in the second leg and we provided the goods again in a resounding 4-1 victory. Even a weakened side wasn't able to be rocked by the Germans and we were well on our way to the Quarters.

Our next tie is against Apollon Limassol. Provided we win that tie, we'll play either Randers who we had in the groups, or Olympiakos.

Should we make it to the final, it's looking likely we'd play Roma but it's too early to think about that just yet.

10 games left, 4th in the league. Need I say more?

April - A Culmination Of Brilliance

Leeds United 2-2 Aston Villa | Premier League | Watkins x2
Aston Villa 2-0 Apollon Limassol | Europa Conference Quarter Finals | Traore, Edwards
Apollon Limassol 2-3 Aston Villa | Europa Conference Quarter Finals | McBurnie x2, Mousset
Liverpool 4-4 Aston Villa | Premier League | Szoboszlai, Mousset, Watkins x2
Bournemouth 2-5 Aston Villa | Premier League | McGinn, Wesley, Szoboszlai, Watkins, Wesley, McBurnie
Aston Villa 2-0 Chelsea | Premier League | Cork, Mings
Aston Villa 3-0 Randers | Europa Conference Semi Final | Mousset x2, Grealish

Well we're finally here. With just one month left we sit a point behind Spurs in the fight for a place in the final top 4. It's not been easy putting ourselves in such a good position but we have to acknowledge how much work we've put in and that we're here on merit so should we poach that last spot...It's fully deserved.

We started the month to Leeds in a disappointing way to drop points as we were pulled level twice after taking the lead. It was a shame to draw this one as just like the Brentford game last month these are the games we need to be winning. A real shame to slip up yet again to a team in the drop zone but we have to deal with it and move on.

We've run out of superlatives to describe ourselves in Europe, we've now got one foot in the final after a fantastic quarter final tie against Apollon, and beating Randers in the first leg of the semi final. We've got one fairly easy game to get through and it looks very much like we'll be playing AS Roma in a European final.

Fingers crossed.

At the time of playing Liverpool we were 1 point behind Spurs so a draw really wouldn't be good enough, we had to win. Especially with Chelsea and City yet to play us. We went 2-0 down but Ollie Watkins had clearly had enough of all that and decided to score 2 in 2 minutes. A lovely display from the leagues top scorer which set Szoboszlai to take an absolutely wonderful free kick, curling it into the top corner and putting us 3-2 up.

Salah was the main focal point of Liverpool's attack and that was evident when he too got 2 of his own putting his side at the time, top of the league. Lys Mousset was brought on in place of McBurnie and the French man put away the 8th goal of the game.

It all finished level at 4-4. A win would have put Liverpool top, a win would have put us 4th. Not good enough for either side, but had we just snatched a third successive title from the Reds' hands?

Coming up against Chelsea is never easy and for a time in this match it was very tight. With just one goal between the two teams things could have gone either way but we were in control of the game and an experienced Jack Cork came on to volley home one of the goals of the season.

A thoroughly brilliant 2-0 Victory at Villa Park, which busted the top 4 wide open.

Wolves, Manchester City, and Brentford stood in our way.

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