After the whole world seemed to go nuts after Zlatan’s wonder goal last night, the folks at Who Scored released the following stat related to the genius, and it involves our own Christian Benteke:
‘Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Only Benteke (9) has had more headed attempts without scoring a header than Ibra (8) in the top 5 leagues this season’
Now this is your classic both positive and negative stat, and while we’d obviously like to see him score more with his head, at least he’s getting in the positions. Earlier on in his Villa career he came really close a couple of times, and should have certainly scored against Tottenham.
It’s great though that he’s continuing to create chances for himself, and on a team like ours that sometimes struggles with supply, this has to be seen as encouraging. We mentioned in our earlier post on the player that he’s already improved a fair bit in the past couple of months since making the move, and looks like he will get better and better….good times!
With our fullbacks starting to get forward more, and getting some good crosses in I fancy the player to start scoring with his head sooner rather than later, and we saw against Sunderland he’s also capable of notching up an assist. Now that Barry Bannan has returned to favour, this should also improve supply to the big man, though I and others would like to see an improvement in the corner department (think this is more a management order than anything to do with Bannan’s ability).
Wouldn’t mind seeing Benteke get off the mark on the weekend against a Man City side that has struggled with set-pieces this season.
On to Enda Stevens now, and this pleasing stat is a good illustration of what was a pretty decent debut against top opposition:
‘No player in Europe’s top 5 leagues has successfully blocked more crosses in a game than Enda Stevens on his debut vs Manchester United (6)’
I thought he might do okay, because I’d heard decent things about the player, but I think he surprised many, especially when you consider he was up against one of the better right wingers in the league in Antonio Valencia. He admitted fault for one of the goals, which was refreshing to see, and he linked quite well with Gabby and looked capable going forward.
With Bennett also looking promising at times, and Lowton settling in very nicely on the other side with Lichaj an able deputy, we’re actually looking quite solid now in the full-back positions. When you look at those who featured last season (namely Hutton and Warnock), it’s been an area of real encouragement, and hopefully Stevens can push on after a promising start.
Ah what a nice quiet day. Thankfully the madness of transfer windows is over for at least a few months, meaning we can actually concentrate on the football, rather than getting too caught up in who we may, or more likely may not, bring to Villa Park. With that in mind, here is a quick look at our newest arrivals with an Up the Villa rating to boot.
Here we go.
Shay Given (£3.5 million): 9/10 – I wasn’t too keen, but am delighted to have been proven wrong as Shay Given has been a revelation since making the move to the Villa. He has renewed enthusiasm for the game, and is looking as solid as ever. His communication is a joy to watch, and our defence looks a lot more solid with him in goal. A great shot stopper, and the fact we’ve conceded only the one goal in the league to date, tells you everything you need to know.
Charles N’Zogbia (£9.5 million): 7.5/10 – While he has yet to really show the form that was a big reason that Wigan stayed in the Premiership, I still have little doubt that he will be a great player for Villa for years to come. He was brought for half the prize of a certain Mr Downing, and that is terrific business on our part. Still in his mid-twenties, when he gets up to speed, we will have one hell of a player on our hands.
Enda Stevens (£250,000): 5/10 – I like many other Villans, was left wondering ‘Who?’ upon the news that we were to sign young Irish left back Enda Stevens. I haven’t seen him play, but look forward to seeing him in action for Shamrock Rovers in their Europa League campaign before he joins the Villa in January. A relatively no-lose signing, from what I’ve read he seems highly rated by those who have seen him play. I love moves like this, and the Irish league has of course produced a number of world class players (Paul McGrath anyone). Looking forward to seeing him in action.
Alan Hutton (£3 million): 7/10 – In my opinion a great bit of business by our club. He’s 6 years younger than Luke Young, cost around a million more but will probably be on less wages. What’s not to like? Very well known by our manager, Hutton was reportedly extremely keen to join the Villa revolution. A solid defender who gets forward well, could prove to be a very shrewd acquisition.
Jermaine Jenas (Season long loan): 8/10 – He has his detractors, but I have a feeling this could be a brilliant move for Aston Villa. He has over twenty caps for England and I don’t care who you are, who have to have something about you to play so many times for your country. He’s hungry, has a point to prove and is a box to box midfielder who could prove to be a valuable addition to our squad. It be interesting to see if he takes his place in the starting 11 immediately, but I think by the end of the season we’ll all be happy with his impact.
So there we have it. As always let us know what you think by getting involved either here, or on our Facebook and twitter pages (links above)!
So far today we’ve seen the usual amount of Villa transfer madness.
Here is an update:
It looks like young Irish left-back Enda Stevens has all but confirmed his proposed move to Villa, and will be joining in January after Shamrock’s Europa League campaign.
We were apparently in talks with Joe Cole, but he has completed his year long loan move to Lille.
Still looking likely that the Hutton move will be completed at some point today.
The latest link is with Jermaine Jenas, with Sky Sports News (SSN) reporting that we’ve made enquiries for the England midfielder.
Latest update is that Villa and Tottenham are discussing a loan move for Jenas.
Despite reports linking Fulham with a move for Hutton, the Birmingham’s Mail Mat Kendrick understands that the player is en route to Bodymoor Heath for a medical. Talk emerging of Jenas to Stoke.
It has been confirmed that Villa have completed the signing of the aforementioned Edna Stevens and he will join the club in January.
Hutton fee has reportedly been agreed and a medical is close. Jenas deal edging towards being completed as well.
Still waiting for an update on Hutton and Jenas. It is understood we have a 6% sell on fee for Gary Cahill should he move to Tottenham or another club.
After a quick break from reading football to play it, come back to read official Villa announcement that Jenas and Hutton are undergoing medicals. It seems that these two will be the end of our transfer dealings and the latest news that Hutton has turned down Fulham surely means an announcement is inevitable.
And we’re done! Villa have completed the signing of Alan Hutton on a deal until 2015 and Jermaine Jenas has signed on a year long loan. Good deals in my opinion and we have a very promising young left back to come in in January.
There was a time when I used to love this time of the year, transfer deal following transfer deal, 12 hours sat watching Sky Sports News, constantly refreshing newsnow. This year though the usual excitement seems to be missing, and I can’t wait for the window to close.
I’m not sure if it’s depression at Villa’s lack of activity, other clubs buying players I would like or Man City being…. well Man City but I just want it to end!
With a little under 24 hours remaining of this transfer window, the general consensus is that Villa will look to bring in three new faces (feel free to prove me wrong Randy and Alex!) with two of those targets well known at this stage. One of those is Alan Hutton, who has been linked for a while and makes sense. He will only cost a bit more than the money we received for Luke Young, is six years younger and will be on less. He did go for £9 million when he made the move to Spurs, and is a good solid player who will do a good job for us.
The other is an unknown to the majority of fans and goes by the rather awesome name of Enda Stevens. He’s a young Irish left back currently playing for Shamrock Rovers and it looks like the move is more or less complete. Now this offers virtually no risk to Villa, and will offer good cover for Warnock when he arrives in January (it appears he is staying for Shamrock’s Europa League campaign). I’ve seen a lot of Villa fans dismiss him without probably seeing him in action. Those who have seem to rate him and if he does turn into a good player, then what a move by the Villa. Countless players have been plucked from lower leagues or Ireland (Paul McGrath + Roy Keane anyone) so let’s give him a chance.
I’m hoping the last player is a midfielder and with Makoun leaving we need to add another new face. Yes he hasn’t featured in the league this season but if we have an injury crisis like last season, things could get messy. A number of players have been linked, including ex Villa old boy Steven Davis this evening but the truth is it could be one of any number of players. McLeish may still yet pull out a wildcard like he did at the Blues, now that would be nice!
I just want it done, whoever we bring in great, let us move on, get behind the club and look to the future.