The Promoted

What to expect from Aston Villa’s attack in FPL as Smith forced to recruit

Aston Villa’s attacking options could provide value for Fantasy Premier League managers in 2019/20.

The Villans arrive back in the top-flight off the back of a late surge for the top-six and a play-off final win over Derby.

They achieved that through Dean Smith’s preference for attacking football and, looking at what they have to offer, that style of play should continue in FPL next season.

However, as was the case with their defence, we have to remember that the make-up of their squad does hang in the balance over the summer.

Villa have already signed Jota from local rivals Birmingham City, so we’ll cover his potential in a Scout Report later in the week.

What is Aston Villa’s goal-scoring potential?

Dean Smith likes to play attacking football

Aston Villa will fancy their chances of troubling Premier League defences as they were one of the most attacking teams in the Championship in 2018/19.

Operating in a 4-3-3, the 82 goals they scored was the third-best in the division last season, with only West Bromwich Albion (87) and Norwich (93) finding the net more often.

Crucially, that goal total was the exact same number as Wolves managed in their promotion-winning campaign of 2017/18 and, as we all know, they were a constant threat upon arriving in the top-flight.

Villa’s 2018/19 was largely split into two halves, as at the turn of the year they were ninth and not really in the promotion picture.

However, even at this stage, they had found the net 47 times (after 25 matches), which was the same number as eventual champions Norwich.

Of further encouragement is the way in which Villa finished the campaign. During their record-breaking 10-match winning run in the spring, which propelled them into the play-off picture, they scored 23 goals, at an average of 2.3 per game.

Not surprisingly, Villa Park was where the majority of the goals came for Smith’s men. Their total of 50 in home matches was the joint-third best in the Championship last season, behind only Norwich (51) and West Brom (53).

Naturally, the Villans weren’t as prolific on their travels but a total of 32 away goals was still the joint-fifth best in the second tier of English football in 2018/19.

Villa’s impressive goal tallies were well backed up by the underlying statistics too. Across the whole campaign, only Leeds (825) and Norwich (709) had more total shots than the Villans’ 701.

When filtered by location, Smith’s men still performed well, ranking fourth for their 343 efforts in the box and third for the 70 shots recorded inside the six-yard box.

Set pieces were also a key weapon in Villa’s arsenal over the last 12 months. They scored 25 goals from dead-ball situations in 2018/19, more than any other Championship or Premier League side.

The Villa View‘s Dan Bardell certainly believes that his team have what it takes to find their shooting boots even when the opposition increase in quality. Although he freely admits that Smith has a lot of transfer work to do over the summer first…

“Under Dean Smith yes (they can score in the Premier League). He prides himself on attacking football, it’s just difficult at the moment to tell you who will be scoring them because we will be waiting on Tammy Abraham who has obviously ripped up the Championship this season. Jack Grealish, John McGinn and Conor Hourihane have all got impressive numbers for goals and assists this season. They all compliment each other and I’d back them all to hit at least five or six goals in the Premier League. I’d imagine a couple of strikers will be coming in, as well as a few wide players so it will be interesting to see who Smith wants.” – Dan Bardell

Key Players

John McGinn

Central midfield

Starts: 42 | Substitute appearances: 1 | Goals: 7 | Assists: 9

McGinn was virtually an ever-present for Villa in 2018/19 – and was most effective in the season run-in

No player started more games for Aston Villa in their promotion-winning campaign than central midfielder John McGinn, and he certainly looks like an interesting asset for Fantasy in 2019/20.

The Scottish international, traditionally deployed on the right side of the central midfield trio, was one of the stand-out stars as Villa made a late surge for the play-offs.

Five of McGinn’s seven goals were scored in the last 12 matches of the season (including play-offs), while he was the most threatening midfield option at Villa throughout the entire campaign.

The 40 shots inside the box he recorded was the most of any midfield colleague, only two forwards besting him in that department. No Villa midfielder managed more shots on target either.

Crucially, McGinn is capable of offering multiple points avenues considering his assist potential.

The central midfielder was second for chances created among Aston Villa players in 2018/19 (75) and joint-top for big chances created (11).

“Sometimes people had the perception I was just a runner, just a hard-working player. I think I am that, but I think I’ve got a lot more to my game. I can always improve, I’ve still got a lot to learn – playing against the best players in the world is going to enhance that. I feel I’m different to everyone, so hopefully, I can put that on show in the Premier League.” – John McGinn

“I just want to say this guy (McGinn), since he’s been here, he’s been unbelievable. He’s such a popular figure in the dressing room, off the pitch. He gets so much credit from the fans and we can see why.” – Jack Grealish

However, Fantasy managers should at least be aware of McGinn’s disciplinary record.

He was booked 14 times in 2018/19, the second highest in the Championship last season.

If that streak follows him into the Premier League then his Fantasy potential will be dented somewhat as yellow cards trigger one-point deductions and cause penalties in the Bonus Points System (BPS) too.

However, the BPS could still reward McGinn as he posted truly incredible defensive numbers in 2018/19.

No player in the Villa squad managed more interceptions, tackles, tackles won or recoveries last season than him.

With 13 goal involvements in 2018/19, either a £5.0m or £5.5m price-tag beckons for McGinn.

Wolves midfielder Ivan Cavaleiro was priced at the latter upon arriving in the top-flight, after scoring nine goals and assisting another 12 in the Championship.

By that logic, there is a decent chance that we could see McGinn come in at £5.0m, which would certainly present great value if he hits the ground running.

Conor Hourihane

Central midfield

Starts: 35 | Substitute appearances: 11 | Goals: 8 | Assists: 11

Hourihane is one of the most important players in the Villa squad

While Jack Grealish and Tammy Abraham are often seen as the poster boys for Aston Villa, Conor Hourihane is arguably their most important attacking asset – even though he plays at the base of the central midfield trio.

The former Plymouth Argyle and Barnsley man was the only player to be involved in 46 matches for the Villans in 2018/19, and only Abraham was involved in more goals than him (19).

When it comes to scoring, Hourihane is a specialist from range. He ranked fourth for total shots among Villa players in 2018/19, but seven of his colleagues registered more inside the box.

However, Hourihane clearly knew how to find the net with only McGinn and Abraham ahead of him for shots on target, and the latter one of just two Villa players to score more than his eight league goals in 2018/19.

On top of that, Hourihane provided more assists than any of colleagues during the promotion-winning campaign (11).

It was his delivery that helped Villa do so well from set pieces in 2018/19, as Hourihane created more chances from dead ball situations than any of his team-mates and more than double that of Grealish.

Factoring in his creativity from open play, two Villa players were ahead for key passes, but Hourihane was still joint-top for big chances created, alongside McGinn.

However, just as we’ve seen the Scottish international may have a constant battle with the BPS, Hourihane should have slightly fewer problems.

Firstly, he was booked half as many times as McGinn was in 2018/19, but the Republic of Ireland international’s role as an all-action box-to-box midfielder should see him perform well for baseline bonus.

In Villa’s promotion-winning season, Hourihane came second for tackles won and third for recoveries – so without the worry of yellow cards he could end up performing better than McGinn here.

Hourihane does feel more likely to start 2019/20 in the £5.5m bracket considering his 19 goal involvements, two short of Cavaleiro in 2017/18.

However, given his importance to Villa, and his ability to do well for goals, assists and bonus, that price could still see him provide value.

Jack Grealish

Central midfield

Starts: 34 | Substitute appearances: 0 | Goals: 6 | Assists: 7

Grealish is now the club captain of Aston Villa

While Hourihane and McGinn look the more effective options in midfield, that’s not to say that Grealish doesn’t also carry some appeal. He was one of Villa’s best players in 2018/19.

Given he was missing from December to March with a shin injury, the fact that he was involved in fewer goals than his aforementioned central midfield colleagues seems inevitable.

However, he averaged a goal involvement every 230.4 minutes, just marginally better than McGinn’s 235.5, although still some way behind Hourihane’s 174.5.

Grealish’s true worth to the Villa side is the fact that, despite his limited game-time, he finished the season top for chances created among his colleagues.

The majority of these were from open play, as Hourihane largely dominated set pieces, although Grealish still played a part in dead-ball situations.

Even though Hourihane finished the season with the most assists, Grealish fashioned an opportunity every 38.4 minutes compared to his colleague’s 47.4.

As the Villa captain, Grealish looks a nailed-on option to start every match in the Premier League, provided he can stay fit.

As already mentioned, he missed three months of 2018/19 with a shin related injury. Perhaps then, it was no coincidence that he sustained damage to that part of his body considering his unorthodox shin pad policy.

Even after coming back from that injury, the 23-year-old insists on wearing his socks low down on his legs for “superstitious” reasons, opting for smaller ‘teenage fit’ shin pads instead of adult ones.

With large portions of his shins not protected in the Premier League in 2019/20, he could be more likely to suffer than every other player in the division.

“Obviously, your socks are supposed to go above your calves. But one year when I was here, the socks once shrunk in the wash. So they wouldn’t go higher. That season, I ended up playing really well. So it became a superstitious thing for me. I thought ‘I’m going to keep doing this because I’ve done well’. (The shin pads are) a superstition that I’ve done all my life and I’m going to keep it that way. A few referees have tried telling me but I’ve got to keep it like that.” – Jack Grealish

Anwar El Ghazi

Left / right attacking midfield

Starts: 28 | Substitute appearances: 6 | Goals: 6 | Assists: 6

El Ghazi scored Villa’s second goal in their play-off final win over Derby

Versatile attacker Anwar El Ghazi is one of the key players that Smith will have to work on keeping at Aston Villa ahead of their Premier League return.

The Dutch international spent the 2018/19 season on loan in the Midlands from Ligue 1 outfit Lille, operating in a number of positions, but predominantly on the flanks of attacking midfield (left or right).

In just 2,448 minutes he managed six goals and six assists, including a strike in the Championship play-off final. It was also his shot that was deflected into the path of McGinn for the second goal in that game.

El Ghazi’s future does remain uncertain at this point but reports in the local media suggest Smith is confident he can tie the player to a permanent deal. The loan agreement with Lille contained an option to buy, and El Ghazi himself has already expressed a wish to stay at the club.

“I have really enjoyed it and I love the club and the fans. I have to talk with my agent now. This club is amazing and I will be very happy if I can stay here. But we have to figure it out first with Lille and I hope everything goes well so that I can stay here.” – Anwar El Ghazi

If he sticks around, there is plenty of potential for El Ghazi both types of attacking returns in the Premier League.

He averaged a goal involvement every 204 minutes in the Championship, more often than McGinn and Grealish, who admittedly registered more game-time.

El Ghazi also managed a shot every 37.7 minutes, which was better than both Hourihane and Grealish.

Tammy Abraham

Centre-forward

Starts: 40 | Substitute appearances: 0 | Goals: 26 | Assists: 3

The future of Abraham currently hangs in the balance

Perhaps the biggest and most influential unknown ahead of Aston Villa’s return to the Premier League is the future of Tammy Abraham.

The centre-forward scored 26 goals to fire the Villans to promotion in 2018/19, adding three assists along the way.

However, his loan deal from Chelsea has now expired and as things stand he will be turning out for the Blues in 2019/20.

Convincing Abraham to return to Villa Park will obviously be a big priority for Smith over the summer, but the circumstances at Stamford Bridge could get in the way.

Chelsea are currently under a transfer ban for the next two windows and may require Abraham’s services.

There have already been rumours circulating that Olivier Giroud would like to leave the club while Gonzalo Higuaín has hardly been in formidable form.

Abraham could not be quite as forward as El Ghazi was with his intentions for the new season when interviewed after the play-off final.

“You can never say never (about coming back to Aston Villa). First of all, I’ve got to enjoy it with the boys tonight, you know. But you can never say never. We’ll see what God has planned for me.” – Tammy Abraham

If Villa can keep hold of Abraham then their attack in 2019/20 will certainly be better for it.

Not only does the forward already have Premier League experience from his time at Swansea, five goals and one assist in the 2017/18 season, but he was also Villa’s top-scorer over the last 12 months.

Including the play-offs, Abraham scored 26 league goals and added a further three assists.

Not surprisingly, he was top among his colleagues for shots, shots in the box, shots on target and big chances in the 2018/19 campaign.

Compared to the rest of the league, only Teemu Pukki and Brentford’s Neal Maupay recorded more shots in the box, and he actually registered more on target than Norwich’s prolific Golden Boot winner.

However, with just three assists, it should be no surprise that in terms of chance creation, Abraham was a little behind what Pukki looks likely to offer in 2019/20.

Abraham’s future is also important for the penalty situation at Villa. He was the primary taker in 2018/19 and would need to be replaced if he remains at Chelsea.

Jonathan Kodjia

Centre-forward

Starts: 22 | Substitute appearances: 19 | Goals: 9 | Assists: 2

Kodjia is currently Villa’s number-one striker if Abraham does not come back to the club

As things stand, Jonathan Kodjia is the only senior forward at Aston Villa in contention for Premier League game-time in 2019/20.

Fantasy managers should certainly track how the Villans recruit for the striker position over the summer because if they aren’t able to bring Abraham back to the Midlands or sign another big-name, Kodjia will be their number one option.

There are certainly worse options to lead the line for Villa, as Kodjia scored nine goals on the way to promotion, behind only Abraham in that respect.

Largely acting as an impact sub in 2018/19, the Ivory Coast international, is naturally not too high-up the charts for raw goal threat among Villa players.

However, he still managed a shot every 33.4 minutes, not too far off Abraham’s 29.5.

Again, Kodjia was not too far behind Abraham’s shot in the box every 34.1 minutes as he averaged one every 38.5.

Other options

Jedinak will not be on the books for Villa in the Premier League

Of the players who helped Villa to promotion in 2018/19, very few others are suggesting they can appeal to Fantasy managers at this stage.

Firstly, Mile Jedinak, Glenn Whelan, Albert Adomah have all been released, despite playing important roles in earning promotion.

The departure of the latter, plus the limbo state that El Ghazi current resides in, means that Andre Green is the only recognised senior attacking winger at the club – although the signing of versatile Jota has already provided some relief.

The 20-year-old made just seven starts last season although he still managed to add one goal and assist in that time.

Versatile midfielder Birkir Bjarnason started 11 times and appeared as a substitute in six matches, although it seems unlikely he will feature too heavily in 2019/20.

He provided just two goals and no assists in 2018/19 and is probably going to provide nothing more than cover for summer signings in the Premier League.

Central midfielder Henri Lansbury is even more on the periphery after he made just one start and two substitute appearances last season.

Also, forward Scott Hogan has now returned from his loan at Sheffield United, but it seems unlikely that he will remain at Villa Park.

Before leaving for Bramall Lane in January, he made just six appearances for Villa off the bench and, as we mentioned earlier this summer, there are rumours he may sign permanently for Chris Wilder’s side.

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213 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Revival
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 7 Years
    5 months, 29 days ago

    Another Bernardo assist

  2. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 9 Years
    5 months, 29 days ago

    Nationals League trophy ceremony? Bloody 'ell. They give a trophy for everything in football nowadays.

    I'm a Villa fan and I don't even think a trophy is warranted for winning the playoffs.

    1. POLSKA GOLA
      • 6 Years
      5 months, 29 days ago

      Winning Nations League 1st division is way higher on the importance list than winning promotion from 2nd to 1st league in any country, regardless of how much money that promotion is worth. To win Nations League you have to beat best tems in Europe

      1. MeatPieSausageRoll
          5 months, 29 days ago

          I hope this is a joke.

          1. POLSKA GOLA
            • 6 Years
            5 months, 29 days ago

            No joke, dead serious, cannot compare winning promotion from 2nd league in England to winning a trophy against top European national teams, not even close

            1. MeatPieSausageRoll
                5 months, 29 days ago

                A competition which is effectively a replacement for friendlies.

          2. Ron_Swanson
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 9 Years
            5 months, 29 days ago

            Winning the Championship Playoff is vastly more important and desired than winning this mickey mouse trophy.

            However, I do agree that winning a trophy for the Playoffs is a joke.

            1. POLSKA GOLA
              • 6 Years
              5 months, 29 days ago

              Completely disagree, lofe is not all about money but about quality. You play crap 2nd tier teams to wing promotion from 2nd league. You must beat the best teams and best players in the world to win Nations League. Whoever won Championship promotion did not have to play against Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, Hazard, VVD, Mbappe, Griezmann, Modric, De Jong, Kompany and other top players competing in the Nations League

              1. MeatPieSausageRoll
                  5 months, 29 days ago

                  Wow.

                  Do you also not believe then in a trophy for the winners of the championship? Of League 2? Of the SPL? None of them have had to play against players of that calibre.

                  1. POLSKA GOLA
                    • 6 Years
                    5 months, 29 days ago

                    You should read all my post before making unsubstantiated comments. All I said was that Nations League trophy is worth more than a trophy for winning Championship promotion play offs.
                    Not everything in football is measured by money.
                    Winning the FIFA Wold Cup is worth less than winning that play off and it doesn’t make it less important either.
                    It’s about winning versus the ellite players.
                    Here is how much teams make off the World Cup in case you were intersted in facts:
                    17th-32nd place: $8 million
                    Ninth-16th place: $12 million
                    Fifth-Eighth place: $16 million
                    Fourth place: $22 million
                    Third place: $24 million
                    Second place: $28 million
                    First place: $38 million

                    1. MeatPieSausageRoll
                        5 months, 29 days ago

                        In what way is it unsubstantiated?! It’s exactly what you said.

                        I’m not going to search through the entire post history of someone just to try and make sense of their most recent post - sorry.

                        I didn’t actually mention anything regarding money either. All I know is that as a professional athlete, winning promotion to the premier league would mean far more to me than winning a friendly competition.

                        1. POLSKA GOLA
                          • 6 Years
                          5 months, 29 days ago

                          Your post above is untrue. That’s nothing like I said. You insinuated that I didn’t believe in a tropy for winning a Championship play off when it was Epic Fail who said he did not believe in either play off or Nations League trophies.
                          Your words ‚also not believe’ are the proof I’m right.
                          I only said that winning Nations League is more worth of a trophy than winning the Championship play offs. That play off is not even winning the league for Christ’s sake, just a promotion in case a team finished possibly 6th haha
                          How does that even compare to winning a trophy played between the European ellite teams?

                  2. Brosstan
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    • 5 Years
                    5 months, 29 days ago

                    You realize international sports news arent even reporting from the joke that is nations league? Its a summer camp training tournament.

                    1. POLSKA GOLA
                      • 6 Years
                      5 months, 29 days ago

                      Depends what you’re using for sporst news. I use SofaScore, Sky Sports and BBC Sports and they do report on UEFA Nations League. Maybe the sites you’re following have been focusing on a cricket world cup instead of football 🙂

                      1. Brosstan
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • 5 Years
                        5 months, 29 days ago

                        Because your news sources are English 😉

                        1. POLSKA GOLA
                          • 6 Years
                          5 months, 29 days ago

                          I also check Polish news sources for football but haven’t posted here because no one else’s heard of them 😉 All sources in Poland do report on NL

              2. Epic Fail ⚽ 墅
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                • 9 Years
                5 months, 29 days ago

                Just to clarify, my original post isn't an opinion on the 'importance' of the NL, just that it doesn't warrant a trophy. A trophy after playing 4 games?

                The NL winner gets a back door the the Euros, that's their prize, it doesn't warrant a trophy. What next, having a trophy ceremony for all the Euro qualification group winners? A trophy for the runner up play off winners?

            2. Flapjack
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 7 Years
              5 months, 29 days ago

              Definitely worth a trophy. The 12 best European teams entered and Portugal won.

              Yeah it replaced friendlies, but that’s made them competitive.

              1. POLSKA GOLA
                • 6 Years
                5 months, 29 days ago

                Yes, that’s my opinion as well.
                I never enjoy watchig friendlies but NL has been suprisingly good. Let’s not forget that NL isn’t just about the top 12 teams, all nations are divided into 4 tiers. That’s basically a UEFA version of now definct Davis Cup - we have Herard Powue to thank for that

            3. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • 9 Years
              5 months, 29 days ago

              Its a farce - these invented tournaments are nothing but a waste of time

              I’d put it on a par with the club World Cup or whatever name it goes by these days, charity shield, European Super cup (in fact any “super cup”) - the Europa league isn’t far behind in its current format - straight/2 legged knockout all the way would be more appropriate and no safety net for eliminated teams from the CL, even the World Cup has been so diluted by utter guff teams that it’s light years behind the champions league in terms of quality - Peru, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Costa Rica, Morocco, Panama, Tunisia, Iran - utter nonsense teams who would get hammered in league two let alone the premier league

              I don’t want to watch this tripe, and I don’t want any half decent players distracted by having to spend any time on it after a long club season

              Utterly meaningless and a waste of time

              Football calendars are way too congested as it is - delete all these silly nothing competitions and allow the players to focus on tournaments that matter - I.e. domestic leagues and cups and the champions league with a slimmed down Europa league, World Cup and euro championships

              I’d put the championship playoff final so far above the nations league in terms of relevance and importance that they wouldn’t even be in the same postcode

              1. POLSKA GOLA
                • 6 Years
                5 months, 29 days ago

                That’s your opinion, I completely disagree.
                Long term Nations League may even replace the Euro qualifiers, way more important in footballing terms than 2nd league playoff in England

                1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 9 Years
                  5 months, 29 days ago

                  Yeah I just totally disagree with that position - the nations league to me is a joke, having it alongside the European championships is a joke, having it in a time when we should be trying to declutter calendars is a joke....

                  I think the description of the tournament says it all:

                  The competition largely replaces the international friendly matches previously played on the FIFA International Match Calendar. It is basically a friendly trophy.[2]

                  The quality of international football full stop has not kept up with club football and the answer is not to add in international games - it’s to slim down international tournaments and focus on quality, not quantity.

                  But hey-ho what can you do, when you have corrupt scheisters including FIFA and UEFA in charge this sort of nonsense will continue unfortunately

                  1. POLSKA GOLA
                    • 6 Years
                    5 months, 29 days ago

                    Let’s not forget that Euro Championships qualifier play offs are no longer based on 2nd place in the qualifier group but are for the winners of the Nations League groups (each of 4 tiers), if NL group winner qualified for Euro directly from their group than the second team would move to Euro play offs. To me NL has replaced the pointless friendlies, that are currently set up by each country’s FA purely for money, with a system that makes is worthwile for players and interesting for the fans in a long run. I see NL as a positive change

                    1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 9 Years
                      5 months, 29 days ago

                      Let’s not forget the nations league was not created for football teams, it was not created for football fans - it was created by a suit (and group of suits) in a governing body, to line the pockets of said suits

                      It’s a farce competition, and totally unnecessary with the current state of the football calendar.

                      There are competitions that matter (domestic leagues, domestic cups, champions league, and to a lesser extent the Europa league, the European championships and the World Cup) and there are completions that don’t (this farce, the charity shield, all supercups, the world club championships etc)

                      Fair play to anyone who can get excited about it and congratulations - you’ve succesfully been conned.

                  2. Game Over
                    • 3 Years
                    5 months, 29 days ago

                    The Nations League is pretty important to lower tier teams as a potential way into Euro qualification via the play offs.

                    The top tier teams, not so much.

                    The finals just held in Portugal are a meaningless waste of time. A needless extension of an already elongated season.

                    1. POLSKA GOLA
                      • 6 Years
                      5 months, 29 days ago

                      UEFA should make both NL finalists to automatically qualify for the Euros, that would make semi finals worth players and respective FA’s while

              2. POLSKA GOLA
                • 6 Years
                5 months, 29 days ago

                For players and supporters of Peru, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica or Panama it does matter they are represented in the World Cup.
                By your line of thought we should scrap all European leagues to get rid of rubbish teams playing against the ellite, just one European super league as advocated by the richest clubs. I guess you don’t see a point in ManCity or Liverpool playing Norwich or Burnley unless it’s in the FA Cup

                1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  • 9 Years
                  5 months, 29 days ago

                  The World Cup should be about the best teams in the world - Peru, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Panama - they are unfairly represented and are so far from being amongst the best 32 teams in the world it’s a joke

                  Outside of Europe, South America and Africa the qualifying process is far too easy and tokenistic representation of inferior football teams doesn’t help international football, it damages it, and dilutes the quality of the competition horrendously

                  So much room for improvement in so many aspects of international football, but it won’t happen while we have FIFA/UEFA in charge

                  Instead we’ll have absolute nonsenses like the nations league concocted to generate a few extra quid to line a few extra pockets - their attitude is blatanantly screw the fans, screw the players, screw the teams screw and the actual football - that stuff is not a priority

                  1. POLSKA GOLA
                    • 6 Years
                    5 months, 29 days ago

                    UEFA went towards your suggestion of ellite ‚league’ by creating the Champions League in current format that allows more than one team per country.
                    Call me old fashioned but I enjoyed football more in the old days (I mean 1980s and 90s) when a club like Cervena Zvezda Belgrade had a realistic chance of winning the European Cup. Back than it was pure Cup of Champions, one team per league from each country under UEFA, doesn’t matter how good the league was. European football has moved on since than, there’s much more money in it now and it was the Premier League that’s lead a way in commercialisation of football in Europe

                    1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      • 9 Years
                      5 months, 29 days ago

                      As good as the champions league is (and it the highest quality football tournament in the world by quite some distance) it’s still not perfect - but remember it wasn’t that long ago that they had 2 group stages instead of a single group stage

                      Given free reign these governing bodies will always veer towards revenue over quality of football - and this is exactly what they have done with manufacturing the nations league

                      Confine it to the dustbin where it belongs and jail everyone who had a part in its creation

                      If they can’t be jailed at least sack them and ban them for life from football

                      1. POLSKA GOLA
                        • 6 Years
                        5 months, 29 days ago

                        I absolutely hated the CL with two group stages. Even stopped watching for some time. I do like the World Cup format allowing ‚exotic’ pairings. It’s a magic of the World Cup that football fans all over the world are glued to the screen watching Saudi Arabia v Egypt or Panama v Tunisia that ‚normal’ people won’t understand

                        1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          • 9 Years
                          5 months, 29 days ago

                          True football fans in Saudi Arabia would not switch off the World Cup because their national team was held to the same stringent qualifying criteria as other unfortunate nations who just happen to be geographically located in a continent that contains quality football teams

                          And if they did - they’re not true football fans and are no loss

                          Allowing these dumpster fire teams a free pass destroys the quality of the tournament and is yet another example of wht’s wrong with football - with the Nations league being exhibit A of that particular charge

                          It’s not only not worth a trophy - it’s an outright disgrace & an endorsement of how dysfunctional the governing bodies have been allowed to become

                          For someone to have the cheek to suggest that it is more important, more valuable, more worth a trophy, more anything other than absolute nonsense - than ANY aspect of ANY domestic league is beyond the pale - and they should be rotting in a cell with Sepp Blatter, The Warners, Chuck Blazer, Hawit, Burzaco, Esquivel, and all the other parasites sucking every last drop of blood out of the game

                          As Bunk Moreland once said - makes me sick how far we done fell

                          1. Maximus Bonimus Pointimus
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 9 Years
                            5 months, 29 days ago

                            *just to clarify - I am not having a go at you personally here - but international football needs the nations league like a fish needs a bicycle

                          2. tbeans22
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 5 Years
                            5 months, 29 days ago

                            Bonus points for Bunk reference

                          3. Dr. Mantis Toboggan
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • 3 Years
                            5 months, 29 days ago

                            Use of "beyond the pale" pretty nicely sums up your attitude

                        2. Game Over
                          • 3 Years
                          5 months, 29 days ago

                          Polska, shouldn't the world cup feature the best 32 teams in the world? And therefore, the highest quality product.

                          I can't believe I'm even asking that.

                          What other tournament doesn't feature the best teams?!

                  2. Game Over
                    • 3 Years
                    5 months, 29 days ago

                    The World Cup is a prime example of when a system and organisation is corrupted from top to bottom.

                    I'd love to see an elite breakaway world cup led by Europe and the Americas.

            4. noquarternt
              • 4 Years
              5 months, 29 days ago

              I guess it takes time to get prestige in these sorts of things.

              There are obviously too many tournaments in club and international football but as long as clowns like us watch them, they'll find a way of churning out as many of them as possible.

              I'd say the importance of a tournament comes from the players' quality + effort levels.

              If in the Nations League all the players were playing as hard as they can, then like it or not there must be a good level of prestige to it.

              3 team groups at an expanded World Cup is just going to be awful though. Odd numbers always break the competition. Guess I can just tune in from the knockout stages though...

              1. POLSKA GOLA
                • 6 Years
                5 months, 29 days ago

                I followed most of the NL’s group stage matches and watched the semis and the final, so for me that’s been a great addition to the calendar.
                They should scrap the NL 3rd place match though. That’s a most pointless game I can imagine

          3. Slouch87 Scott Talent
            • 4 Years
            5 months, 29 days ago

            Football is the greediest sport on the planet . Too many tournaments to line the pockets of those organisations who put them on in the first place. As long as TV companies continue to pay such obscene sums for exclusive rights this situation won't change.