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About frastheowl

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    AFC Owlstalk - Double Premiership Champions
  • Birthday 17/09/1986

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    Wadsley, S6

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  1. I'd be bitterly disappointed if Bruce left so early in the job. He has that aura that this club craves in its manager. Big Ron-esque. And I'd like to think the amount of patience we allowed him when pursuing him would be taken into consideration. That said, the Man Utd job aside, this is Bruce's dream job, in the Premier League, and I'd imagine all this uncertainly regarding our transfer embargo, doesn't go in our favour either. If Newcastle do make an official approach, they'll have been given assurances that Bruce is open to the idea of moving. And that'll be that. Chansiri will have to ensure he gets the maximum compensation possible, and then begin to start replacing him...immediately. For me, I'd go all out for Chris Hughton. He'll build the club in the right way, sustainably and he'd be able to continue to build on the early foundations Bruce's team have started to implement. No other candiate for me...he's the best out there. Go and get him. Like Chansiri did when replacing Luhukay. Identify the best available, and go and get him.
  2. Technically, he's a fantastic player. His passing stats last season were seriously impressive. Along with Norwood (who we all know too well, begrudgingly, was one of the players of the season), he stood out in the accuracy and distance of successful forward passes. As a comparison, Bannan, our statistically best midfielder, was deemed to be above average on accuracy of forward passes (around 72%), but bang average in terms of average forward pass length. MaEachran possessed a much higher average forward pass length, and also a higher accuracy percentage (76%). (Pelupessy and Onomah had a similar accuracy % to Bannan, but a much short average forward length. Meanwhile, Reach, statistically, was pretty hopeless. Really low accuracy percentage (60%) along with a well below average length of forward pass.) So all this nonsense about Potter-esque, Crab-like, sideways passes, is simply rubbish. He sat deep and played a role that allowed him to dictate the game with probing, forward passes. That said, his xA and 2nd assist statistics were really poor, despite possessing good numbers of final 3rd passes. Poor finishing or wasteful build up play from Brentford's forward players? I'm not sure. On the face of it, he seems a very similar player to Bannan...perhaps less dynamic. Hutchinson, as you'd expect, is superior defensively, but McEachran and Bannan actually compare reasonably similarly in defensive statistics. It could simply be a case of Bruce having a look at a previously lauded youngster for nothing (what harm can it do?!), it could indicate either a viable alternative to Bannan (something we don't have) OR it could be a nod towards Bannan playing further forward, something I wrote about on here not too long ago. A potential midfield triangle of McEachran at the base playing as a Busquets-type deep lying dictator, with a ball winner in Hutchinson further forward, and Bannan giving the freedom to get into more dangerous attacking areas?
  3. We'll sign a left back I reckon. The fact Bruce signed Lazaar when he first arrived last season. And were fairly strongly linked with Bidwell. And now the Souare rumour has surfaced. Are pretty strong indications that Bruce feels we're short in that area. Although, personally, I hope by signing a left back, we don't cast aside a very promising youngster in Penney. He needs games this season to be able to kick on from an encouraging start last season.
  4. Oh aye, forgot about him. Easily done. He'll be gone. Back to Holland on a season long loan I reckon. Can't any future for him whatsoever.
  5. I can't imagine we'll be after two more centre halves. With Lees, Thorniley, Borner and Iorfa who can play there, surely there's only room for one more. Hector is clearly first choice, but it's likely we might have to play the long game in that pursuit. Is Willis going to wait patiently by on the off chance we fail to agree a deal for Hector? Very unlikely. I suspect Willis will agree a deal with another Championship club whilst we're still pursuing Hector. Agree about Souare though. He was a top performer for Palace before his car accident. If he could rediscover that form, he'd be a top player in the Championship.
  6. He was really impressive when he initially signed for Crystal Palace. Then I seem to remember he had a really bad car crash, and he's struggled to get back from the injuries he sustained. As a result, he fell down the pecking the order.
  7. He's got a release clause of £2.5m in his current contract, which expires at the end of next season. Peterborough are hoping to renegotiate his current deal, but as it stands, £2.5m gets him. Sunderland aren't interested in him according to Darragh MacAnthony, despite the continued links. Probably through lazy journalism, Maddison is from Durham. The only club to have shown any interest are Hull, after McCann got the gig there, and they've yet to come back with an actual offer for the lad. For me, as it stands, I don't think we could justify spending £2.5m on a player yet to have played at this level, never mind proven at it. However, if we manage to get rid of a couple of players for some decent money, and it gives us a reasonable transfer fund, I think he's a player who could well prove to be an absolute bargain. His bare stats for the past couple of seasons are unreal. Ridiculously efficient both in assists and goals.
  8. To be fair, in that game, Wednesday dominated that 2nd period to the extent Villa couldn't get out of their own half. Of course, there's going to be games or periods in games, where that happens, and players naturally are forced to play deeper. The beauty with playing Bannan in such a position, is in those circumstances, he's defensively disciplined and adept enough, to be able to help the team defend resolutely. But, in the last 15 minutes or so of the game, it was evident that once Grealish began to see a little bit more of the ball in advanced areas, how much more threatening Villa were.
  9. I think you're doing Bannan a great disservice, and that's come about from our inability to get him to utilise his all-round game. We've become used to him playing deep, and spraying balls around the park and looking to dictate from those areas. But let's not pretend (or forget) that there's much more to his game. In some of the best games he's had for us, he's shown his ability in and around the box. Bannan is a very underrated dribbler of the ball... he's brilliant at giving and going and moving quickly around players. In a recent interview, he professed himself that his strength was his ability to out manoeuvre players (citing as Moussa Dembele as the one player who matched him for his manoeuvrability) and glide past players. With the positions we play him in, the times he gets chance to do that is limited. I'm not saying Bannan hasn't been effective during his time here, because he most certainly has. But, my feeling is, he can be even more so. And IF Bruce can managed to eek another 10-15% out of Bannan's contributions, that could well be the difference between success and not.
  10. Yeah, and that's the exact point of the post. Grealish has previously been played as an "attacking midfielder" in a number 10 role, and they've struggled to get the best out of him. The role he's been playing for the past three months, is as a playmaker in a more general midfield position. It allows him to be neither too deep, nor does it isolate him from the rest of the midfield. There are so many parallel's between Bannan and Grealish. Smtih has managed to create a system, built around Grealish, which gets the best out of him. Since he's returned from injury and played in this role, he's played in 13 games, and Villa have won 11, drew two. He's got four goals, and four assists.
  11. It's been a long-standing, constant debate on here over the last two or three years...how do we get the best out of Bannan? Since he arrived here, he's played wide left, and in central midfield as part of a two-man partnership in 4-4-2, a three man midfield in a 5-3-2 or in a double-pivot in a 4-2-3-1 system. But despite him producing consistently good performances, there's always been a feeling that there's still more to come from him... And I couldn't help but think, after watching the Playoff final yesterday, that the system Dean Smith has employed over the past three months at Villa, could well hold some advantage to ourselves and the quest to make Bannan so much more effective. Villa's midfield is a fairly simple, 1-2 triangle in a 4-3-3 system. With one player holding at the base, and two more advanced midfielders given licence to go and support the three forward players. At the base, Hourihane is brilliant. Despite perhaps not been known for his defensive work, his anticipation and ability to break up attacks is key. Added to that, he's calm and composed on the ball and likes to set things up from deep, by keeping things fairly simple. Ahead of Hourihane, Smith has the fortune of having two of the best midfielders in the division. The first, McGinn, a player Steve Bruce managed to bring to the club for a bargain £2.5m less than 12 months ago. For me, there aren't any better traditional box-to-box midfielders than McGinn in the Championship. I would love to see his running stats for this season, but he must be up there. He's constantly looking to make runs beyond the midfield into the half space, but he's also always in the right place defensively. And the final, most crucial part of the jigsaw, Jack Grealish. I can't say I like him...but he's a fantastic, technical player. In the past, a lot of the issues we have seen with Bannan, Grealish was also labelled with. Villa just couldn't seem to find a position for him. He's played out wide in 4-4-2 systems and as a No. 10 in 4-2-3-1 systems. Neither brought the best out of him. He's also been accused of dropping deep too often, as he looks to get involved in play and dictate things from deep. Sound familiar? However, in this system, he's able to affect things in dangerous areas. He doesn't rely on others having to get him into the game, like he would playing as a No. 10 or out wide. But neither does he need to drop deep to dictate things, because Hourihane is already there doing exactly that. Grealish and Bannan have very similar playing styles. Both are exceptionally technical...good enough to play at the highest level. Both have the ability to see the game and paint pictures. Both have a deceptively quick turn of pace, and are able to glide past opponents effortlessly. And both have an eye for a cute, clever pass in dangerous areas. If either of them see enough of the ball in dangerous areas, they'll both cause opposition defences a real headache. So how realistic is it for ourselves, to be able to replicate that midfield triumvirate? It might be closer than you think? Although the summer transfer window has only just re-opened, we've already been linked, quite seriously, with two midfielders. One Sam Morsy. The other Josh Onomah. Now, both of those would occupy the other two roles in that midfield very nicely. Morsy, like Hourihane, is a sitter. He breaks things up and looks to keep things simple. He might not be quite as easy on the eye, nor possess the set piece and long range attributes Hourihane has, but he'd certainly provide a very solid option at the base of the triangle. We've also got a nice added bonus of having Sam Hutchinson as a fantastic rotational option for Morsy. Much like Villa have with Glenn Whelan. Secondly, Josh Onomah. Although we've yet to see the best of Onomah yet, he's certainly a player who would class himself as a box-to-box midfielder. He has the dynamism and power to be able to play that role. I'm pretty sure when Villa signed McGinn, those fans wouldn't have expected him to become the player he has. Onomah has the skill set to provide the necessary attributes to the midfield. And let's not forget, we've also got a certain Kieran Lee potentially back in our squad next season...a player who three seasons ago was one of the Championship's best all-round box-to-box midfielders. For me, we've spent too long trying to build a system around a certain player (often Forestieri) or trying to shoe-horn our best players into a system. But we've neglected our most naturally gifted player. Bannan has been a constant in our side for three seasons...but I've never felt his role has been given the necessary detail that was required. Because he works hard, and can perform an all round game, we've tended to just expect him to do that. I personally think we've missed a trick. Let's try and build the side around him. He's a player who has never let the club down, and very rarely misses games through injury. He's dependable...but he should be so much more than just that. --------------Morsy/Hutchinson------------ -------Onomah/Lee------Bannan---------- Joao----------------------------------Reach -----------------Fletcher--------------------- Going with that, it'll allow us to shed the likes of Forestieri and Rhodes. Two players we've tried to change systems and style of play for, and two players we've yet to see any consistency from. By getting rid of those two, it might allow us to upgrade the striker option, to a more dynamic striker who's more capable of playing the lone forward role than Fletcher. That side...with Joao and Reach supporting close to Fletcher, and the two midfielders running beyond, Fletcher would still be a more than adequate option.
  12. Talk of us wanting £7m is all a bit of posturing. Norwich last week leaked to their local rag they wanted him on a free transfer. Neither of those scenario's are going to happen...and both clubs know it. There is definitely a deal to be done which suits both parties. Given that we paid £8m over four years (whether some of that was appearance, goals, bonus related, who knows...if it was, we'll have saved a bit of that fee because he won't have triggered any), then we've still got £4m spread over two years on the P&S accounts. I think a deal between £3.5-4.5m, perhaps weighted by some triggers, is the golden number. We will have essentially wrote off what we currently "owe" on the accounts, and actually recouped a fair % of the entire fee, given Norwich's loan fee and promotion bonus last season. And Norwich have a striker who scores goals at Championship level, who knows the system and philosophy they play and is settled in the area, for a bargain price of approx. £4m. Norwich will do well to find a striker with the record of Rhodes for less than that.
  13. I was so disappointed with Onomah last season. Genuinely expected him to be a shining light in our side when we signed him, and by the end of the season I was left wondering what his strengths were, never mind anything else. That said... he was thrown under the bus by Luhukay. I can't remember the game it was, but he was publicly lambasted after a poor team display, despite actually playing reasonably well in that particular game. From that moment on, he was a player playing with no confidence whatsoever, and it showed. Bruce is a long time, known admirer. He had Onomah for a full season, and used him a lot...and that was as a 20 year old in a Villa side that pushing for promotion under immense pressure. And lets be honest here...if Onomah is available for a reasonable fee...he's a player who's a great age, with a good, solid reputation who could be worth a lot of money in a year or two, if he performs at this level. Almost universally, we all agree we need legs and power in central areas. Onomah provides that. If we do end up signing Onomah, I'd be willing to write last season off (based on poor man management by Luhukay, and two lengthy injuries), and I'd like to see him in a well-balanced, organised side under a manager that puts faith in him.
  14. Yep. And by that reasoning, there's no reason why we can't hold out to recoup most of what we paid for him Norwich would struggle to find a striker with Rhodes scoring record (and add in the factor that he already knows the system, the club, the dressing room) for less than £4-5m. If Wednesday hold their nerve, given with Norwich paid in loan fees and bonuses last year, we could well get very close to recouping what we paid for him.
  15. Yeah, Fletcher, Nuhiu, Winnall and Forestieri are all out of contract, as well as Rhodes. That's a fair amount of value potentially worthless in 12 months time. I'd keep Fletcher and Joao, and the rest I'd be very open to cashing in on.
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