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Birkir Bjarnason highlights Steve Bruce error by shackling Messi and co

The Icelandic midfielder put in an exceptional performance at the World Cup this weekend.

Mathew Nash

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Two years ago saw Iceland midfielder Birkir Bjarnason first come to Europe’s attention with some excellent performances in the European Championships. Now, he is doing the same thing on the world stage.

The 30-year-old midfielder put in an exceptional performance for his country this weekend as they drew 1-1 with Argentina. He delivered a brilliant man-marking exercise on Lionel Messi which kept the Barcelona hero quiet for much of the 90 minutes.

The Aston Villa star was the talk of Twitter with his crunching challenges and relentless pressure telling on the Argentina superstars. Pictures comparing him to Thor abounded.

What this performance also showed is how big a mistake Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce made in the Championship play-off final.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Bjarnason was left on the bench by Bruce for the biggest game of Villa’s season. Bjarnason is a big game player. He has played in the Champions League and Europa League with Basel and in numerous crunch fixtures with Iceland. Leaving a player of this magnitude on the bench v Fulham was a massive error and it was highlighted yesterday afternoon as he shackled the Albiceleste.

Bjarnason turned his Villa career around after nearly leaving in January and wants to stay next season, despite the play-off snub. However, with the World Cup a massive showcase more performances like this will see him hit the radar of other teams.

Given Aston Villa’s current financial situation a handsome offer for the midfielder would be accepted.

But if not, ‘Thor’ could play a huge role in keeping Aston Villa competitive next season.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Paul Messenger

    June 17, 2018 at 10:28 am

    I said as soon as the team was announced on play off day that a colossal mistake was made in leaving “Thor” out. Houranie looks a more aggressive player with Bjarnason in mid-field. Showed Fulham too much respect in that first half by sitting back should have gone for it from first minute like we did at home to Wolves. All that press talk about Fulham being the best footballing side in the Championship seemed to get to Villa that day. When Blues played them two weeks before they went for it from the kick off and could have had 5 goals in the first half. They never allowed the opposition to get started. Look where we are as a result.

  2. bmac78

    June 17, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    We all know it was a mistake dropping him for the final, knew we had lost it when I seen the starting XI. I like Bruce, but he’s too negative tactically, I would rather play well and lose than bore fans win,lose or draw

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Aston Villa

Is Corey Blackett-Taylor’s in last chance saloon at Aston Villa?

The 20-year-old will be hoping to play for Aston Villa this season.

Mathew Nash

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Aston Villa are facing a difficult summer and, it seems, a difficult season. The club is in turmoil off the pitch. Since Aston Villa failed to win promotion to the Premier League it has emerged that the club is struggling financially. It appears they cannot currently sign players and are in fact trying to offload some of their current talent in order to get by.

With that in mind, Aston Villa may need to bring through some of their young players next season.

So is this season set to be a breakout campaign for attacker Corey Blackett-Taylor?

(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

The 20-year-old has impressed for the Aston Villa youth teams in recent times and he has all the natural attributes to make it into the first-team set-up. Capable of playing on the right or left wing the England youth international signed a new deal with the club in April, suggesting he does have a future at Villa Park.

He played 15 times for the Aston Villa under-23s last season and was one of their best players. With four goals and two assists, he looked like a player ready to take the step up.

It has to be now, or it will surely be never. His extension is until next summer and the wideman turns 21-years-old in September.

If Blackett-s not playing regular football at Aston Villa next season, then his long-term future would seem to be elsewhere.

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Aston Villa

Burnley should pursue Aston Villa sensation Jack Grealish

Sean Dyche has signed quality from the Championship in the past.

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Jack Grealish
Photo: Getty Images

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is one of the very best English managers currently plying their trade in the Premier League and it remains to be seen whether he will get a shot at one of the country’s biggest jobs.

Dyche has done an incredible job in establishing the Clarets as a Premier League outfit and their stunning campaign during 2017/18 saw the club rewarded with a place in the coming season’s Europa League.

The 47-year-old isn’t particularly interested in shopping for stellar recruits and with one of the top flight’s smallest budgets he has previously recruited especially well from the Championship.

Chris Wood, Jeff Hendrick, Charlie Taylor and Robbie Brady have all arrived at Turf Moor from second tier clubs in recent years and it is clear that Dyche is open to signing the league’s very best talent.

With Burnley about to embark on a European adventure the lure of joining the Lancashire-based club has now increased and Dyche might once again look towards the Championship to tempt Jack Grealish away from Aston Villa.

It seems unlikely that the 22-year-old will remain at Villa Park as the beaten Championship play-off finalists battle severe financial difficulties this summer, with several of their first-team set to be the subject of interest from elsewhere.

Grealish is one of the country’s hottest properties and although bigger clubs might be interested in acquiring his signature the chance to play regular first-team football in the Premier League, and in European competition, might act as a massive incentive for the player.

With the right manager overseeing his development Grealish could become of the of the best talents in the Premier League in future years and Dyche might be just the tonic for a player who has previously lost his way somewhat.

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Aston Villa

Missing out on Jonathan Ikone highlights Aston Villa demise

The winger has instead joined Lille, with Aston Villa not able to afford a deal.

Mathew Nash

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Jonathan Ikone has joined Lille, deciding he was never going to get the chances he felt he deserved at Paris Saint-Germain and has therefore headed to their Ligue 1 rivals. The deal is said to be worth €5 million (£4.4 million) and is a brilliant piece of business from the French side.

For Aston Villa, this will be a case of one that got away. As reported by Paris United the winger was on the radar for Aston Villa this summer.

Unfortunately, the club could only offer a loan deal and Ikone was ready for a permanent exit from the French capital.

(Photo credit should read JAY LAPRETE/AFP/Getty Images)

It is a striking fall financially from Aston Villa that they can no longer afford what may turn out to be a bargain £4.4 million for one of France’s more talented young players.

The club that spent so heavily to bring the likes of Scott Hogan, Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia to Villa Park are now in serious peril.

After two failed promotion attempts Aston Villa are now into their third year in the Championship and are, therefore, out of parachute payments.

The overspending has left them short of Financial Fair Play and it seems things are not going well behind the scenes.

Ikone is a player that, in any of the last three or four summers, Aston Villa could easily have snapped up. It is an indicator of their troubles that he has slipped through their fingers.

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