Opinion

Writer’s Round Table (Part 2): Davis, Johnstone and Promotion Hopes

The second part of our Writer’s round table is here. Same questions, differing opinions.

Harry Trend – (@hazatrand)

1) At this time, Aston Villa have seven wins this season. In your opinion, what was the most impressive win so far?
In my opinion the 2-0 win away to Preston was the most impressive win purely because of how comfortable we looked. At no point after we took the lead did we  look like losing it. The tenacity in the midfield was something to behold, while Sam Johnstone was hardley going to be beaten.

2) Scott Hogan is the name on a lot of Villa fans lips these days. If you were the manager at Villa, how would you try and get Hogan back into form?
Unfortunately, the more I see of Scott Hogan at Villa, the more I think it’s not going to work out for him. Against Sheffield Wednesday he played up top with Keinan Davis, but that wasn’t even for that long until he was stuck out on the wing which shows Bruce doesn’t have faith in him. So in answer to the question, I’d give him a run of games in upfront with Keinan Davis.

3) Sam Johnstone has been the unsung hero for Aston Villa this term. How likely do you think it is for Aston Villa to sign the keeper permanantly at seasons end?
I think we’ll sign him. Johnstone clearly enjoys being at Villa much more than Man United, and his Man United contract runs out at the end of the season. However, I’ll be a lot more confident in us doing so if we get promoted.

4) Do you feel it is neceseccary for Villa to go out and stock up on centre-back depth in the Janurary, and why?
It all depends on injuries. I’ve said before that Jedinak is a capable replacement for Terry as he shares many of the same qualities. If the Australian gets injured as well then yes, I would get another centre-back in. Hopefully Terry will be fully recovered by the time the transfer window closes.

5) If there was one result you could change on the season so far, what would it be and why?
Probably the last one, the 2-1 defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday. How nice it would’ve been if we carried on from Preston and brushed aside our Yorkshire neighbours to squeeze the gap on the automatic spots. However, it’s done now and luckily we’ve got the international break to reflect and regroup.

6) In the event that Aston Villa end their season in a playoff place, what other club would you not want to see in the playoff mix?
Cardiff City. When we played them earlier in the season they completely tore us apart. Their front three of Mendez-Lang, Zohore and Hoillet really exploited the lack of pace in our back-line, plus Sol Bamba and Sean Morrison were unbreakable. Also, I’ve got a lot of Cardiff supporting mates and I don’t think I’d be able to take the stick if they beat us in the play-off final!

7) Alan Hutton has been lights out during and after the suspension of Neil Taylor. Do you feel that Hutton now has a strangle hold on the left-back position at Villa?
Hutton has had some excellent games at left-back recently. However, I don’t think it’s a permanent solution and it won’t be too long till we see Neil Taylor back in the team.

8) If Villas’ hand was forced for transfer funds, what member of the starting eleven would decide to sell? 
Considering two/three of our starting eleven are loan players, that doesn’t leave me with much choice. If Villa’s hand was forced I’d have to say Glenn Whelan, I do rate him as a tenacious defensive midfielder who gets a lot more flak than he deserves, but Mile Jedinak can do just as good a job at CDM.

9) In the event that Aston Villa finish in an automatic promotion spot, which area of the field does Villa need to improve on first?
It’s unlikely that Terry will stay on for next season, so I’d say defence is the first place we’d strengthen. Nevertheless, I’d like to think that Dr Tony would be give Bruce funds to reinforce with Premier League quality in every position.
10) Keinan Davis is starting to turn some heads with his game. Even for a young man, there are rumors circulating all over the place that top teams want his services. Given his potential, what would be an acceptable fee to accept for Davis?
Right now I think we’re looking around the £10 million mark. I think losing him would be a real loss and we do need to shake off that “selling club” tag.


 

Jake Evans – (@jakeevans_11)

1) At this time, Aston Villa have seven wins this season. In your opinion, what was the most impressive win so far?
The 2-0 away win over Preston. Preston are a top team with a great manager, and to go to Deepdale and win with a resilient, dominant display under the lights was remarkable- especially when you consider our away form over the last 5 seasons.

2) Scott Hogan is the name on a lot of Villa fans lips these days. If you were the manager at Villa, how would you try and get Hogan back into form?
I think he needs to be playing with teammates who will pass the ball into his feet rather than lump it up to him as though he is some sort of Benteke-Lukaku hybrid. He makes some fantastic runs, but the big void of competent passers in the team is letting him down. Hopefully the return of Grealish will go some way to changing that.

3) Sam Johnstone has been the unsung hero for Aston Villa this term. How likely do you think it is for Aston Villa to sign the keeper permanantly at seasons end?
I’m not too optimistic, unfortunately. Although it would be great for Villa and Sam if he could return, I think Sergio Romero will be in search of first team football in the summer, and Manchester United will probably want Johnstone to sit on the bench… competent cover for David De Gea.

4) Do you feel it is neceseccary for Villa to go out and stock up on centre-back depth in the Janurary, and why?
No. However, I do think that we should be looking for a replacement for John Terry. Selling one of our best defenders for someone who will only be with us for one year was a stupid decision – but we don’t need to panic buy. Don’t forget that Tommy Elphick and Micah Richards have both proven their ability in the past for their former clubs, and there is no reason why they can’t rectify their embarrassing start to life at Villa Park. If I had to choose one player to sign though, I’d like to see us make a move for Preston North End centre-back Andy Boyle. He is a fantastic leader on the pitch, and at just 26 years of age has not yet peaked as a footballer. He could definitely slot into the back line.

5) If there was one result you could change on the season so far, what would it be and why?
I would have to say the opening day draw against Hull really irritated me because we had some great chances to win it – but I wouldn’t be a Villa fan if I didn’t pick the Birmingham game.

6) In the event that Aston Villa end their season in a playoff place, what other club would you not want to see in the playoff mix?
I think that Fulham and Cardiff will be in there, and I’m hoping that Sheffield United and Wolves finish in the top 2 because they will be impossible to beat… but the team that I would dread to see in the playoff mix would have to be Brentford. They are a fantastic team who can beat anyone in the league when they are on their game – and they would be my favourites to win at Wembley should they finish in the Top 6.

7) Alan Hutton has been lights out during and after the suspension of Neil Taylor. Do you feel that Hutton now has a strangle hold on the left-back position at Villa?
No. The thing with the Scottish Roberto Carlos (editors note: that’s some lofty praise) is that he seems to always come roaring back whenever he loses his place in the team. He is a fantastic player and a great asset to the club who I don’t want to see sold, but Neil Taylor is the better Left-Back, without a shadow of doubt.

8) If Villas’ hand was forced for transfer funds, what member of the starting eleven would decide to sell? 
Probably Albert Adomah. The abundance of players is in that LW position, and while Adomah is a top player, I’d hate to see the likes of Andre Green and Jack Grealish sold just to keep our heads above water.

9) In the event that Aston Villa finish in an automatic promotion spot, which area of the field does Villa need to improve on first?
Our midfield. Too often this season players have run through it at will – and Premier League teams will tear Whelan to shreds. I’d like the possibility of bringing in another defensive midfielder, and possibly another attacking midfielder to cover for Jack Grealish.

10) Keinan Davis is starting to turn some heads with his game. Even for a young man, there are rumors circulating all over the place that top teams want his services. Given his potential, what would be an acceptable fee to accept for Davis?
An acceptable bid has to be defined by how much it would cost to buy a replacement who would be just as useful to us  – and with today’s market, all I can say for certain is that the cheque would contain a lot of zeros. Personally, I wouldn’t accept anything less that £25,000,000 for a player with the potential that he has…for a young English striker who is destroying quality defences, the top teams will part with that amount of money without blinking.


 

Mitchell Grimes – (@mitchell_grimes)

1) At this time, Aston Villa have seven wins this season. In your opinion, what was the most impressive win so far?
I would have to say the most impressive win of the season so far for me would be the Burton game, we tore them apart on the counter and hopefully we can put in a performance like that against a top side sooner rather than later.

2) Scott Hogan is the name on a lot of Villa fans lips these days. If you were the manager at Villa, how would you try and get Hogan back into form?
To be honest, I wouldn’t bother with Hogan, you can argue we don’t play to his style but
Kodjia and Davis for me are having a much better effect on the team. If he’s not scoring
goals, I don’t really want him near the first team.

3) Sam Johnstone has been the unsung hero for Aston Villa this term. How likely do you think it is for Aston Villa to sign the keeper permanantly at seasons end?
I think and I’m hoping we’re a big chance to land Johnstone at the end of this season, he
seems to be enjoying the regular first team football and enjoys being at the club.

4) Do you feel it is neceseccary for Villa to go out and stock up on centre-back depth in the Janurary, and why?
I would welcome another defender in January however if we do fail to sign one I don’t think it’d be the end of the world. Terry is aiming to get back before Christmas anyway and I think if we slot Jedinak in at Centre half we will be just fine.

5) If there was one result you could change on the season so far, what would it be and why?
Would love to change the Wolves result to a win or even a draw just to show that we’re one of the big players this season. They played us off the park and although we’re seemingly travelling pretty well, I believe we are still a fair way off Wolves.

6) In the event that Aston Villa end their season in a playoff place, what other club would you not want to see in the playoff mix?
Obviously Wolves but they should go up automatically, Cardiff are the other one, Warnock has had Bruce’s number in the last couple outings.

7) Alan Hutton has been lights out during and after the suspension of Neil Taylor. Do you feel that Hutton now has a strangle hold on the left-back position at Villa?
I have been very impressed with Hutton’s performances but still feel it’s Taylor’s position. I imagine after the international break he’ll find himself back in the starting eleven.

8) If Villas’ hand was forced for transfer funds, what member of the starting eleven would decide to sell? 
I would try and sell Hogan while his name still holds a bit of currency, hopefully can still get around 10 million for him.

9) In the event that Aston Villa finish in an automatic promotion spot, which area of the field does Villa need to improve on first?
I think our defence is pretty sound, the midfield has been our weakness for years and is still not the strongest, also if we’re going to compete in the premier league we’ll need a proven goal scorer… Benteke anyone?

10) Keinan Davis is starting to turn some heads with his game. Even for a young man, there are rumors circulating all over the place that top teams want his services. Given his potential, what would be an acceptable fee to accept for Davis?
At the moment I wouldn’t value Keinan over 15 million, although at the pace he’s travelling it could be double that come seasons end.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.