I can't not write about Philippe Coutinho signing for Aston Villa, but I'm probably in the minority that and think it's not that exciting. Don't get me wrong, a very good player and we all hope he can find that form of of six or seven years ago, that enticed Barcelona to pay so much money for him. But what if he doesn't?
Don't get me wrong, I'd like him to find that form but surely the chances of that happening are not as good as the chances of it not happening. I mean, he'll be 30 when next season starts and you don't often hear about players at that age, finding their form again from younger years. And for me, Coutinho starting mostly means that 25 year old Emiliano Buendía doesn't.
Look, a great player in his day and I'm all for it even if the above doesn't sound positive, I'm just not as excited by a lot of others and I'd far rather see Buendía play more. Mostly it makes me question the manager, but that is another post and not for today.
Crystal Palace at Villa Park
But instead of new signings this post should be about the match tomorrow and well, it's much like all the matches we have left this season and that's to say, just a match that means little. We are twelfth in the table and we can't be relegated.
We're also not competing for a place that will mean European football next season. And while mathematically we could still get my prediction of 8th, it wont happen and nobody predicted we'd have sacked the manager so early into the season.
However we do want to finish well this season because there are nine points left to play for and we need them all to finish this season three points worse off than last season under Dean Smith. But I should stop talking about Dean Smith, I mean he was never going to finish this high this season.
But I do expect a win next season. I mean, the manager has had long enough to get across what he wants and while some will say he needs a pre-season, I disagree. I get it and I can easily be proven wrong, as in we see what happens after a pre-season, but I think he's had enough and I expect to see better and I expect to beat sides like Crystal Palace.
So, that written, it's the FA Cup today and a little gardening. I'll be back in the morning.
Match facts from the BBC
- Villa won the reverse fixture 2-1 in November and are aiming to do the league double over Crystal Palace for only the second time, having beaten them home and away in 1980-81.
- Palace haven't scored at Villa Park in their last four league games there.
- All three of the south London side's victories in their last 25 away games at Villa Park were by 1-0 - in 1967, 1991 and 2013.
- Villa are two points adrift of 10th place. They last finished in the top half in 2010-11, when they were ninth.
- Steven Gerrard has lost 11 of his 24 Premier League fixtures as Villa manager (W10-D3-L11). He lost the same number in 118 league games in charge of Rangers.
- Aston Villa have lost their past five games against London opposition. Their only win against a London team this season came against Palace in the reverse fixture in November.
- Danny Ings has scored five goals in eight Premier League games against Palace, a joint career high along with Everton, Spurs and Villa.
- The Eagles need two wins to set a club Premier League points record, eclipsing the 49 they earned in 1992-93 and 2018-19.
- Top scorer Wilfried Zaha has 13 Premier League goals this season - eight of those have come since the turn of the year.
- He has scored four of Palace's last five goals.
- Joel Ward is one short of becoming the second player to make 250 Premier League appearances for Palace, behind Zaha.
So we ran a competition with Luke to win tickets for the Burnley match and it was a tie. So I used Twitter to pick a winner. An email has been sent to you, but you've not replied to me, but if your initials are JH, check your spam.
Two people got the exact same number for last nights competition to win two tickets to the last #AVFC home match of the season courtesy of @Luke_Sport so I'm going to let you decide who wins with this 30 minute poll.— The Villa Blog 🦁 (@AVFCBlog) May 11, 2022