The West Midlands is a hot bed of football passion; dirty, grimy football passion.

The great tradition of local derbies continues this week. Yet in this week of derbies its worth reflecting on the international nature of football now and the effect that this has had on ‘local rivalry’. Few clubs invested more heavily in European talent than Aston Villa in the recent transfer window. It is thought to be one of the reasons why Tim Sherwood has kept faith with the fading contributions of Gabby Agbonlahor.

For better or worse (but mostly better over the passage of time) Gabby has resonated with the club and the Birmingham community. It’s an honourable gesture from Tim but he releases too that losing local derbies a sure fire way to lose your job. Our new signings know little about the North/South divide in the City or the difference in watching football with your Dad on the Tilton Road or the Holte End. Gabby does, but so does Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott for that matter. Joleon tweeted after Saturday’s defeat ‘Honour to have made my home debut (boyhood dream) just gutted with the result. No time to mope though with the biggest game of the season ahead’.

These players can at least colour these occasions, ruffle the opposition and get under the skin of opposing fans. In a low key team performance against the Baggies, Gabby at least showed more effort than most with his willingness to run (often still at great pace) for the team. He created the best Villa opportunity of the afternoon, setting up Carles Gil with the opportunity to go on a scoring run. Micah also did well, his runs out of defence started several promising attacks. What Gabby, Micah and Joleon realise most of all – and for example Jordan Ayew probably doesn’t – is that if you score the winner in these games, you spend the rest of the year shaking hands and kissing babies. Indeed Ayew is yet to realise that even the chaotic reception he had a couple of weeks ago when he scored the winner for his country against the Congo is nothing like the ovation he’d get should he ever score the winner against the Blues in the Holte.

If further evidence of the importance of these games is required take Saido Berahino for example – bitterly reviled on social media three weeks ago and loved by all the Baggies faithful today.

Yet here’s the motivational dilemma with the squad we now have and it goes to the heart of what Tim has said he wants to do – building a winning mentality. What will it take to raise their game? When you’re a newcomer to the English Premier league what really floats your boat? We still don’t know enough yet about the footballing ability of our squad but we know even less about what makes them tick.

Comments 243

  1. Well you can feel the dread on here, its only the scummers folks!! if Kosak plays I’d be amazed Timbo has said he’s behind all the other non-scoring forwards we have, perhaps if he stops shooting and getting goals for the stiffs Tim will give him that fair chance he says he gives players.

  2. Hello Matt.

    An appropriate leader given today’s opposition. I guess the best foreign players short of the best are those with a burning ambition to move to “bigger clubs” because they need to play well for Villa first before a bigger club will take them. They need to make a name for themselves first.

  3. Trinity- For me nobody at the club has more desire at the club than Kosak at the moment, he’s like Rocky, everything is against him. The only other player with his desire and who is probably more talented than any of our forwards is Jerrel Sellars.

    Is Timbo falling foul of the I bought them so I must play them syndrome?

  4. Mark
    Should be a good match to set Kosak free. He’ll be itching to have a go, but it’ll be a sink or swim match for him. He’s being thrown in the deep end, but if he’s up to it, he’s up to it. If he succeeds, it’ll be great for him and us.

  5. Trinity- unfortunately its unlikely Tim will play his fourth choice striker, never did against county and he played the entire second string. Kosak must have spilt wine on Tims favourite gullet or something.

  6. Surely we must be able to beat brum tonite

    i see TS is getting a lot of stick and i can’t say he is the ideal manager but surely if we lose our best two players by a country mile , but about 12 players with only a net spend 6mil – i dont see how we are going to progress past a relegation battle with that level of investment
    Randy has been the main problem with the club and nothing has changed there

    i don’t think knows what is best team is yet especially upfront – he has brought some potentail but it useally takes time for a young up and coming player to settle and start showing there worth

    3-1 the villa coyvb – thanks for the shout Jen – bless up

  7. Imagine losing to baggies and blues at vp in space of 4 days !!!!!!!!

    We need to man up and sort our s**t out now. End of last season and beginning of this season is relegation fodder.

    Make VP a fortress starting from tonight.

    Kozac is on his way out and wont be playing.

    Hopefully having local lads like gabby, jack, richards and lescott will swing it our way.

    Saying that meant nothing against the baggies.

    I can see pens tonight.

  8. I’m dreading it. But I bet the scum are relishing it. I don’t think our players will handle the pressure

    Imagine losing LCFC WBA and the scum in 9 days

  9. will say it again villa have been sh ite for the last 3 or 5 years and our worst 2 players have been scabby and the crab west wood any body with a brain or eyes can see it yet nice but dim tim builds a team around them and you wonder why we are worrying to beat the scum tonight 4 to 1 the scum is a great price as was 4 to 1 the tea bags on sat which i had to have would love to win but cannot see it as i hate to say it the scum with there villa fan boss will have more bottel than our load of rubbish imports and s**g bag scabby

  10. Another interesting write up for the big game Matt. You make excellent points about the pressure or motivation of playing in a local derby – where the rivalry is so intense. We have local lads and villa fans in Lescott, Richsrds and Grealish . The new foreign players won’t have played in anything like this before . Thiis could be a good blend .
    All the pundits I’ve heard are praising Gary Rowett and expecting a blues win and wading into Tim. I wouldn’t under estimate AV – we are the prem league club and whilst Rowettt has made a silk purse out of a pigs ear – and with their financial woes they have done remarkably well but come on – player fur player we have better – surely !
    As I said before a villa win 4-1 . Maybe kozak will be played as at least they won’t have been able to suss him out ! I hope so .
    With Runtingz making his return – we’ve missed you – the Evenjng looks brighter . TV booked from 7 – 10 with a talking ban . For those lucky ppl going , enjoy and keep safe !

  11. Thanks all and enjoy the night!
    We have to believe collectively we’re better than them – because we are. The continued omission of Kozak though troubles me as well because he’s worked hard to regain fitness and has done everything expected of him pre season and since.
    He’s proved he’s motivated and he’s the type of player who would benefit from having more creative players supporting him.

  12. Brian little says we will win that’s good enough for me.
    Don’t think Tekkers will play against us on sat he’s having a scan on his hamstring bonus.

    Rushian Hepburn-Murphy scored a couple on his return from injury for the U21’s who won 4-1 and he’s just signed a 2 year professional deal, wish him and Sellars were ready to start tonight.

    where you been hiding runtingz? Its very early days for Tim but talking about Luck doesn’t help him, should be talking about how he’ll fix it.


    Team to play Birmingham: Guzan, Bacuna, Richards, Lescott, Amavi, Clark, Sinclair, Veretout, Westwood, Agbonlahor, Gestede

    Subs: Bunn Hutton, Richardson, Ayew, Sanchez, Gil, Grealish

  14. its 433 richards right back – interesting

    i am hanging on too the hope that the 2nd half of the season will be better than the 1st due to bedding in so many players

    huge game for us though as we can either do really well and gain confidence but lose and moral will be on the floor and digging

    hi mark cheers for the holla – been on the music making thing and a few gigs – jazz refreshed has now been sponsored by the arts council and was a free event @ southbank royal festival halls – great for what is britians premier young musicians showing what a vibrant creative seen we have on these shores to a heck of a lot of people that havent heard the likes before


  15. Just seen the team for tonight…

    1/ what has Gabby got to do to be dropped. We may as well play with 10 men. The only plus side is that this is his level (championship) so maybe he won’t be as rubbish.

    2/ Clark in MF? LOL – Tactics Tim strikes again… The idiot!!

    We’ve won 1 in the last 10 now under Sherwood…

    Can see us losing tonight.

  16. runtingz sounds excellent mate all the best with it, did 2 jazz festivals last weekend they are all over the place now although we are not strictly Jazz more Jazz/blues/funk fusion

    2 left footers at CH? could be, although right side of a three might suit Richards clark sweeping?

  17. Gabbys going to get himself sent off – need to sub him asap for Gil or Grealish… now Clark – not sure which team is in the Premiership at the moment

  18. Well its on a plate for blues to win. Gestede is worse than ormondroyd. Ts makes lambo a tactical genius. There aint going to be 3 worse teams than us this year im afraid.

    Apart from that its all good

  19. Ian

    No doubt in my mind we are gone… over it.

    Just going to support them and anything like a win is a bonus.


    Kozac must be worse than me! Gestede is like bambi on ice. Remeber after bournemout game ts bigging him up and thanking the scouts finding him!!

  20. Words really cannot describe how bad these players are.

    Clark in midfield
    Bacuna with a 5 yr contract
    Gestede at a Premier League Club
    Westwood at any Club
    Sinclair at a premier league club
    Veretout at any club

    Please explain these to me

  21. Aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!!

    Rubbish first half.

    How many times has it come of Gestede and been lost both because of his bad first touch and the fact it’s being lumped up to him when he’s tightly marked.

    Another nightmare from Gabby who might do better if it was chopped into space behind their midfield rather than being lumped. It isn’t so there’s no space for the two of them in this game.

  22. We’re the champions of Birmingham! … we’re the champions of Birmingham! … we’re the champions of Birmingham!

    For one night at least, we celebrate!!

    Tense and nervy throughout, but thank you Villa!


  23. Jack Greakish is the real deal. Made a huge difference to the team. And we finally saw something from Ayew.

    I thought Richards and Amavi played well.

    Put the ball on Gestede’s head and he will score.

  24. wierd how we can play decent football but not for a whole game

    thought ayew started to show some promise tonight
    i will hold fire on judging the younger signings for now are we havent brought finished articals – due to cash avaiable – but we may have a few rough diamonds

  25. Paul Whiting:

    Slate all the other signings to your hearts content, but in addition to Amavi, both Gana and Richards are very worthy signings; of these three, their quality is simply unquestionable.

  26. Richard S I think guestedes had 3 headers at goal this season 2 goals, why the fook can’t we hit him more regularly? also the movement improved second half.

  27. runtingz- you know what its like mate some players need better quality around them to get the best
    we are not exactly Barca, thought vertoute grew into the game too, given time I still think we have something there.

  28. What a nervy game that was . First half embarrassing second half like a different team .
    Bham were excellent considering they are a championship team – with 500k spent in the summer . Gary Rowett has the makings of a good manager and has worked wonders . For the first time Tim showed some tactical nous and his subs transformed the game – thank heavens . Good to see Rudy score in front of the holte ! Not sure I believe that the first half was all to “the plan ” as Tim
    Sherwood has just said . Gabby was injured – that’s why he came off and Lescott “isn’t getting any younger so he only gets one half “.

  29. Mark – Gestede is not the best forward, his first touch is not good enough. However if you put in decent crosses then he can score with his head.

    We are missing Gana and Traore. Both good signings.

    Grealish is excellent and is a joy to watch. So is Gil.

    Richards has been a good signing.

    We just need to get all of our best players onto the pitch at the same time.

  30. Jen the plan speech made me giggle, he doesn’t like criticism much. I see Mcleish had to make out that he used clarke as some sort of midfield wizard, what a knob, He made forwards and midfielders into defenders and defenders into midfielders.

  31. the players are under huge pressure and will have to grow up very quickly just to survive in the prem – but if the attacjking players stay fit and fynd there feet we may just be ok

  32. Ts talks some balls.

    He planned to be that bad first half!!! Gabby went off injured.

    Pleased to see ayew do well and grealish was effortless, makes it look so easy allthough 45 mins against championsip side, lets not get to excited.

    Cant stand clarke, bacuna, westwood. Guzan.

    Vertout did not impress which is a shame

  33. jack was just different grade he is ten times better than an other player at villa park and is the best midfield player in England his first touch and the way he finds space is world class so much better than any england midfield player think he will have to move from villa to become a superstar as if he had players running of the ball for him he would look out of this world ayue played well pleased for him Vertout is just no where near fit but could come good west wood again what does this crab do worst free kick and corner taker in any standard of football wake up tactics tim what a diffrent team without scabby all he is good for is knocking out kids as a footballer he is the worst player in the prem worst first touch and needs to lose 2 stone wake up sherwood

  34. Vertout did seem to grow into the match, caried the ball into the corner with a good run near the end….maybe getting fitter? He needs to speed his game up. Aint got long to make a decision in england leagues.

  35. Fair play to Guzan, a player who has certainly made his share of atrociously clueless mistakes this season, for not screwing up the one-on-one late in the match. Granted, it wasn’t the most deadly of shots but still: he didn’t go wobbly and let it in.

    At this point, we can be thankful for small mercies.

  36. Must agree with Jen’s comments.

    Definitely a tale of two halves, where for once Tim got his subs right.

    Westwood still is not good enough, and hopefully will be replaced by Gana, when fit, or Gil.

    Clarke did ok, and it is good to note that TS has taken his mid field capabilities into account.

    It was so great to see Villa keeping the ball on the ground in the box and using to much better use, creating chances once more, maybe, just maybe we will have a team capable of winning in the near future. The next six games are going to be a real test of where we are. It wa also good to see Gestede getting more involved.

  37. Tim got it wrong first half but credit he made changes at HT. Grealish was obvious change and my god he good. Ayew shows what a poor player Gabby is! Is there really fans out there who still like him ? Glad for Rudy who did well seco no half. Veretout to

    It’s time for Westwood Bacuna and gabby to stop playing

  38. Mark – too touchy when Yorke asked him how was the first half to plan 🙂 to say it went to plan is like saying I planned for them to play like a league one team – which they did . As Yorke said , that first half was unacceptable. The worrying thing was that The reasons given fur the subs “Lescott is getting on – I planned for him only to have one half and Gabby was injured so had to come off – weren’t the obvious ones so you were left with the doubt that instead of tactical genius they were forced !
    I expected us to start the game the way we did the second half and play like we did first half against a premier league team and we will be demolished . But I will enjoy the win for tonight .
    JD – with any luck your favourite player gabby will be fit for Saturday and leading the line again 🙂

  39. Hahaha! Fair play to Gary Rowett’s reaction to Tim’s post-match comments.

    From the Guardian:
    Sherwood said afterwards it was always his tactic to take Birmingham by surprise at half-time by removing Joleon Lescott, a central defender, and bringing on Grealish to orchestrate play, rather than operating with the unrefined, direct style of the first half. That drew a withering response from Rowett bearing in mind the voluble dissent that could be heard from Villa’s crowd in that period. “I’ve heard Tim say he did it purposely,” Rowett said. “I’m not so sure the tactic of being booed off at half-time would be a good one. They changed out of desperation because they had to.”

  40. A tale of two halves is papering over things…
    I had to walk away from the screen and forget about it at the 20 minute mark…
    Fortunately, an interesting gent from Lancashire talked Rugby League with me until half time.
    I’m not a Brummie and was watching in SE London, in an empty pub, ‘cos no one cares about Birmingham, and that’s the real tragedy…
    Jack is 3 moves ahead of anyone else on the pitch… Ireland was the same…
    But we won, so the City is still owned byThe Baggies , but we didn’t lose to a team from a lower division…
    Little victories and all that…

  41. Yep, looks like Kozak’s Villa career is all but over!
    We’ll inevitably see Rudi and Ayew next match so let’s hope they can make an impact at Prem level against a good but not dominant Liverpool team.
    Would really like to see Ayew show people what he is capable of to shut up some of the folks who’ve written him off after a month!

  42. Shame about Kosak because if you want to use the type of tactics we supposedly did in the first half a Gestede and Kosak combo would make sense. As we saw to often with Benteke a loan stationary
    striker gets bullied no matter how big, 2 up top with movement are a nightmare if you can get quality balls into them.

    Gestede works better with space and another goal threat about, that isn’t gabby and if not kosak then maybe Sinclair or Ayew down the middle. At Blackburn the defence had to watch Rhodes too and Gestede profited. He’s no Gary lineker but can be effective if we use his strengths and the more he gets on the ball and his confidence grows who knows we may see a better Rudy.

    the Tactics Tim comment made him look a plonker, basically we kicked them first half to show them we can mix it? out of the arc stuff. Rowett is saying he knew the line up the day before, we have a mole. wonder if they wore thicker shinpads? 🙂

  43. Well, I nearly ended with *getting* the Blues last night! 🙂

    We have to forget the first half. Terrible it was, it was.

    But though G and A made a huge difference second half (and Clark did well too, I thought), we have to remember that Blews did not look more than a Championship side in reality, even though they played with some method.

    But, for me, Ayew looks like a natural Gabby replacement. After Gabby’s sad first half, I’m now thinking he needs a long rest.

  44. morning john- yes I thought clark looked an upgrade at the back, reality has set in for him that he’s no longer first choice and he needs to perform like he can, well done to him. Got a glimpse of what Vertout and Ayew can bring hope that continues.

    On gabby, sometimes a players presence can influence a teams play too much, so much sometimes they forget to play themselves.

    It may have been only a championship side but I think they would give WBA a run for their money and being the local derby levels a lot out in the desire/fear stakes so I wouldn’t downgrade it too much.

    The worrying part for me last night was Tims tactics claims and our own supporters seemingly wanting players to fail bizarre.

  45. Easy enough to write off the first half given we won but, this was against a championship side with no history and no fans. We looked pedestrian at best, granted there was a bit more bite and closing down but we gave them far too much respect or we were completely s**te.

    What other tactic do you employ at half time when you have a potential game changer on the bench but bring him on, Jack just looks to have so much time on the ball and caused real problems for SHA.

    Pleased for Ayew to have had a confidence building second half, certainly contributed to our attacking options, great goal even if we are told to love tiki tacky, a headed goal is a joy to behold.

    Gabby and Sinclair hang your heads because you contributed zero to Villa but at least Gabby is a Villan.

    Onwards to Anfield, two sides incapable of scoring goals, Sky Power Rankings (meh) has Benteke as the bindippers best player and he’s out, this has 0-0 all over it and it will be interesting to see if it is still a happy hunting ground for us without Tekkers.


  46. Texas- its pretty accurate isn’t it, wonder when Wilkins is going to grow some and sit Tim down, my guess is never. I thought Wilkins would be a steadying influence on Tim but it seems are Tim is very head strong.

  47. Mark: “It may have been only a championship side but I think they would give WBA a run for their money and being the local derby levels a lot out in the desire/fear stakes so I wouldn’t downgrade it too much.”

    Forgive me, Mark, but that statement was probably made when looking through your c & b spectacles! 🙂

    Again, we see things differently and come Saturday my gut feel is that we’ll be having the same analysis as we did after the last few Prem games. CB and Milner will be doing their best.

    The fact is that Blews looked no more than a reasonable Championship side, but in the first half Villa looked even below them in terms of ideas.

    The second half Blews couldn’t handle G & A (because they’re not a Prem outfit) and I reckon Albion would have stuffed them 2-0 or 3-0. If we had played first half as we did the first 20 mins of the second half, we would probably have won 4-0.

  48. I have a horrible feeling Ts is going to axe Gill.

    I like Sinclair but he has been very poor the last 3 games.

    Hopefully see Vartout & Ayew start and get westy off deadballs for gods sake.

    I have an increasing feeling ts is just winging it, we are so much up in the air. Just pick a formation and stick to it with the same players. We need to get settled.

    Richards was immense last night. Love him.

  49. Whoops, I see (nudged by D’OR) that Benteke may be out for this w/e.

    Well, they still have Sturridge … and he’s an ex-Villan from way-back too, isn’t he? And there’ still Milner.

    Old Villans always seem to come back and do damage…

    … in particular Derek Pace comes to mind, but he’s going back a long way for most on this blog.

  50. JL- my C&B’s are in the draw my friend. Seems to me these championship teams become “only championship” when we play them. Funny how Swansea lost to Fulham who are in 16th while we beat shitty who are in 6th and unbeaten in 6.

    Last night does not mean we will now take the prem by storm and I don’t think anyone has said that. I’ll tell you one thing though, if we had lost last night things would be a whole lot different on here, the wailing wall would have nothing on it, the press would slaughter us and most certainly next Saturday would be a lot more daunting.

    What it has done is hopefully given some of our new recruits a shot in the arm. And a point you might be missing is we are about to play teams that play football and leave space, second half we had space and our team thrived, theirs didn’t. At Wembley in the semi we did the same to Liverpool.

    Maybe Ilori will play and have a blinder or Traore come back to haunt Rodgers as they wanted him too. The latter could most definitely cause some damage against a poor Liverpool defence and I’m sure they are looking forward to seeing Grealish 😉

  51. Mark,

    I’ve no argument with what you’ve just said … I think the same myself … but until the transformation *does* start (assuming it will, and I’m pretty happy that will be the case) then we are as we are.

    All I’m stating really is that we can’t draw undue hope from last night’s second half. But I think we all probably know that in our hearts.

  52. JL- It does show that the players we bought are better than championship level though if your right about the differing standards. We haven’t looked totally useless this season and in truth should have at least 4-6 points more but for some dodgy changes and mistakes that may or may not of occurred due to those changes. we have looked poor up top with Gabby playing a role that doesn’t suit him (hold up play) If we can to get back to better movement from midfield and up top we will improve by the week, if not we will remain our own worst enemies, next to Tims subs 😉

  53. Couldn’t watch the game, but can’t say I’m surprised that TS sat down Grealish and Gil and kept 45mins off their legs. He knows the league is more important, but also knew he needed to get a result. Encouraging that they could change things, ie that there was some quality in the side to call on, and that we scored on what should be one of the default approaches we have.

    Not saying that Gestede will set the league on fire, but surely we ought to be able to make that sort of goal a more consistent/credible threat.

    I really was gutted by the Albion result…not because of the derby, but the manner of the goal. It’s been a shame we haven’t gathered more points because they’ve been there for the taking, and Villa have played some good football to go along with the poor stretches.

    Would be great if we could just put the best side out there for a run of games. Not saying that will cure the striker issue, but it surely would help in terms of the overall threat and cohesion.

    I think TS clearly wanted another striker in the summer, but for whatever reason the right deal didn’t seem to come off. Austin…But Ayew may well come good/better. He’s certainly not setting expectations too high.

    When it comes to derbies, I don’t really expect so many transplants to have any more feeling about that game than any other. If they’re around for a while that will likely change somewhat.

  54. I thought it was a strange decision to play Clarke as the holding midfield player last night – surely Sanchez would have been a better option?

    Tactics Tim did have the fortitude to change things at half time, although his post match tactical analysis was garbagio.

    I am not sure why we didn’t start with Grealish and Gil. The more we play these together the better they will become.

    I thought Amavi and Richards were both stellar in defence.

    Villa are in a precarious position at present. We need to start getting points on the board and we are moving into a difficult series of fixtures.

    Let’s see if we can build on this result and the positive signs in the second half.

    Liverpool will be an entirely different proposition.

  55. Richard S maybe Ts wanted to give clark game time. If he truly wanted to rest Lescott then play Clark. maybe Sanchez was more in need of a rest after recent outings he’s run his legs off? really hated Mcleish asking why Clark didn’t look as good on the ball as when he was manager what a ginger knob head.

    I think Tim wanted to weigh shitty up and see what they had without being weak defensively. He was scared of losing this one that’s for sure. when he saw the crowds reaction to the non display he soon changed it, hopefully he won’t be going Mcleish on us again.

    JC- I’m not surprised that we don’t cross to Gestede more, we are useless at it! Westwoods floaty corners, muttons flat crosses, even Bacuna has lost his accuracy. Amavi looks the only decent crosser. Why they can’t cross into an area, say the pen spot and let Gestede move to it I’ll never know, easier than trying to hit his head, gives him no chance to lose his marker.

  56. Mark- Nothing more frustrating than Westwoods corners. Sunday league players can do his technique. We Obviusly don’t work on corners

    Not sure how truthful TS is being about the first half being part of the plan. It was awful

  57. frem- considering we only got the one goal could of easily backfired, I’d rather have 90 mins trying to score than 45 any day. If you try to defend it only takes one c**k up and god knows we are good at that.

  58. A. As to losing to lower league clubs in cup matches: remember all the deserved stick we got for losing to League Two side Bradford City in the League Cup a couple of years ago? Anyone care to guess who their previous victim was before ousting us?

    B. Our corner-taking surely needs to become more lethal, and if that means replacing Westie with another (maybe Amavi?) then I’m all for it. However, just because what’s fair is fair, remember it was a Westwood corner to Rudy’s head that garnered us our only league victory so far this season.

  59. texas- that was an accident 😉 vertout is supposedly a dead ball specalist.

    liverpoo go to extra time 40+ shots 15+ on target . Carlisle 3 shots 1 on target

    mighty west brom done 3-0 by Norwich, still think they’d thrash city JL ? 😉

  60. Hilarious – Arry’s wife coukd have hit at least 40 of those 57 shots in .
    Looks like now is the time to play Liverpool – unless Brodgers does get the sack . The pressure is on them .

  61. Mark: “mighty west brom done 3-0 by Norwich, still think they’d thrash city JL ”

    It would help if we were comparing like with like, Mark! 🙂

    Norwich have shown a different level of capability to Blews this season – and they *are* in the Premiership.

    Yes, I’d definitely take Albyun to beat Blews – any day.

  62. Mark: “[Norwich] are essentially a championship side.”

    In spending terms, yes. But you could have said the same about the Ipswich teams of the past under Ramsay and Robson … and other smaller clubs that showed up well for periods.

    It’s what the club actually does on the pitch that’s the main thing, don’t you think?

  63. JL- yes it is John and that’s why labelling teams as “championship” or “prem” isn’t truly a mark of how good they are at any one time. As in all team match ups some cause problems to others you wouldn’t expect. City have stood up well to teams predominantly in the top half of the championship this season so are not easy to beat. if you were going to bet on prem v champ you’d have to say prem I admit but its rarely that clear cut. Norwich have bar 4 players the same side that came up from the champs an inferior league yet they continue to buck the trend as do Bournemouth. I think the Champs has some very good footballing sides in it not just the long ball teams we associated with it in the past.

  64. Off topic AVFC history question for JL or anyone else that might know:

    On that famous night that we won Europe, what formation did we line up in? And was it the typical formation that we usually lined up in that season? I’ve become familiar with the 11 starting players (plus Nigel Spink of course) and their positions, but I can’t seem to discover what our formation was at the time.

  65. Texas – you are now taking anorak to new proportions 🙂 who the hell could remember the formation – save for our resident historian of course 🙂

    Came across this classic from Gary McAllister following the Liverpool “victory” over Carlisle

    “The positives were we are through to the next round and we’ve had over 50 shots at goal.”

    Yes – 50 shots on goal and one went in . 🙂

  66. The league cup games shows how the pressure of “we should win this and it will be embarrassing to lose ” affects the premier clubs and how the lesser pressure of “we’ve got nothing to lose” can get the lower clubs performing above their usual standard. I didn’t see Carlisle, but by all accounts they gave a great performance against prem league players whose team cost around 300 mill. Add to this the fact that Liverpool have lost their last five games and this is why the result against SHA can give us the boost we need to shake off the anxiety of losing again. As for the Liverpool pens, which I did see – Coutinhio, Lallana say no more.

  67. Hi JL

    like Gary Rowett, I got the team news leaked to me in advance of the Liverpool game 🙂
    Injuries to Lovren (no loss) and Firminho (hopefully serious enough to last til Monday) will help further.

    Watching the bindippers is like watching us when Lamberk was in charge, every player doing their utmost to be pedestrian in the hope the manager gets sacked and then do a 180 for the next manager. Hopefully this will go in our favour along with Anfield being Villa friendly down the years.

    I’ve a lot of Liverpool loving friends that I’d love to help drive a nail into the coffin of History FC. Time is right for them to realise they are flattering to deceive if they think they’ll ever get back to their 80s dominance.

    Also, Matt can you switch off the American English 🙂


  68. Getting back to Matt’s article and I quote “What will it take to raise their game?” That second half performance is going to do wonders for Rudy, Ayew and Grealish. Coming off a very good second half will be more confidence building than the miserable win decided by penalties against Carlisle that the Pool got. Add the pressure of Saturday being the final nail in the coffin for B Rodgers potentially and playing at home. Our lads can go out believing Pool are there for the taking and all the pressure is on them not us. That’ should be the focus anyway.

  69. I agree Darren – lets just hope they don’t sack BR before Saturday though. We saw what the so called professionals did at Man U when Moyes got the sack and even the Chelsea pensioners could get out of first gear when AVB got his cards.

  70. Mark: ‘that’s why labelling teams as “championship” or “prem” isn’t truly a mark of how good they are at any one time’

    I’m befuddled, Mark! I’m not sure what this has to do with anything I’ve said!

    I wasn’t talking in general terms about sides in general, but specifically about my view on the Blews’ ability and where I put them as a rating . I viewed them as a “reasonable championship side” and I see no reason for me to budge from that view or my use of words.

  71. Mark,

    Yes, I also referred to Norwich as a Prem side, agreed, but I think you’ve taken the wrong slant from that. I also inferred that they play at a better standard than Blews … because they need to – they wouldn’t survive in the Prem unless they did.

  72. JL- Forgive me for getting confused because you said

    “Blews did not look more than a Championship side in reality”

    I took that to mean being in the championship makes them inferior as they play a different style of football there. In my opinion that has changed drastically with good footballing sides emerging each year almost ready made for the prem. No doubt Teams are taking a look at the likes of Swansea and Southampton and seeing what can be done on a budget below the prem level.
    In the first half would an onlooker been able to tell which was which? WBA in my opinion under Pullis play more of the style I’d associate with the championship in the past.

  73. Jl- Also Norwich with the addition of 4 players now playing prem style football to survive must mean most of Norwich’s side from the champs are prem level players capable of playing at that level? that’s why I’m saying the lines are most definitely blurred.

  74. here’s an interesting post from a self professed pro gambler

    Excessive use of negativity for effect, did you used to work in the press ?
    Are you a betting man? Clearly not. I am a professional gambler and we are not even favourites to go down Sunderland are @2/7 and that does not quite squeeze into the betting parlance that is hot favourite.
    At 6/5 we are exactly 45.45recurring likely to go down or in layman’s terms if the season were played out from the position 11 times, 6 we would stay up and 5 go down….not perfect i do agree.
    However Newcastle and Sunderland are included with us as favoured relegation candidates and as the odds play out the 5 next also rans of Norwich, Stoke, West Brom, Bournemouth, and Watford’s combined likelihood of relegation (1 team only which would suffice) is 2.5 more times likely than our demise.
    However i see more potential in our youth, yes it must ripen soon but the triumvirate of Gil, Grealish and Adama really does get my juices flowing. They need to be fit granted and mature quickly again i agree.
    If a bet is what you fancy i would say the 6/4 currently available for Newcastle to go down is wrong by a fair way and invest some loot and maybe some unneeded negativity will vanish as pound signs begin to circle.

  75. Mark: ‘ Forgive me for getting confused because you said “Blews did not look more than a Championship side in reality”’

    I think you’re looking more into what I said than needed, Mark. 😉

    We *all* know what you mean about the overlapping abilities of teams in the top few of the Championship with the bottom few of the Premiership (that’s commonsense really). However, I failed to see a Blews side the other night that looked capable of making the spring into the Premiership, although they did play with some method. They had no outstanding players.

    Hence why I referred to them as a Championship side as they look (to me) stuck there for another season at least. I wasn’t trying to be scientific about it; I was just speaking in broad terms.

    Norwich and Albion (as you’ve intimated) are stronger teams that are likely to hold their own this season, i.m.o. Norwich have 9 goals to their credit (a For and Against record just better than Chelsea!) and Albion have Berehino and one or two other useful players, their limitation to my mind being mainly their manager.

    No, I’d say that Norwich and Albion are some way above Blews, though I’d agree that they might not last the pace. Though they may well remain safe this season, you’d be thinking that next season they might go down, particularly if they lose their best players.

  76. 🙂 Texas
    It is a kindly / humorous way of describing a person who is obsessed with minute and mundane (to some boring ) detail of their particular interest or passion . It’s a description that’s been used for the last twenty years id say and you may ask why anorak . I think possibly because anoraks as an item of clothing are worn by the “uncool” and usually associated with trainspotters, bird watcher types (whatever they are ) My teenage daughters would not be seen dead in one whereas I’m happy to walk the dog in one . I have what I call anorak tendencies – my recording of football games and replaying repeatedly bits like the teams comjng out of the tunnel – the warm up – seemingly unimportant bits of the game which I disect to examine body language , team relationships, confidence levels etc. So I guess AVLifers are probably all anoraks 🙂
    The idea that someone could remember what formation was played 33 years ago may just be a touch anorak like 🙂 hope I’ve explained this adequately , but it’s a term of endearment not criticism .

  77. Jenny:

    No offense taken, my friend! I’d be the first to admit that I can be “anorakish” (if I may coin a word) when I’m trying to research a bit of information, especially if that info becomes hard to find or difficult to pin down with certainty.

    I got a tad frustrated as I read the contemporary news accounts of that match, for in today’s world almost all news articles will specify not only the starting lineups but the formation as well. Apparently that wasn’t the standard case 33 years ago, as I’ve yet to find an account that does list it.

    Perhaps being an “anorakist” (to coin yet another word) would be an accurate representation of who I am as a person, as my university degree was in History.

  78. By the by, it seems to me — though my understanding of it might well be wrong — that we probably played a 4-3-3; Mortimer, Cowans, Bremner in midfield, Morley as left winger, and Shaw and Withe as strikers.

  79. On a more humorous note, speaking to Gary Shaw in the Lions Club before the game on Saturday, I was referring back to a previous occasion when we had met and Nigel Spink, Lee Hendrie and Peter Withe were there, he replied with Pete who???

    There was only one Gary Shaw……..

    Now looking slightly slimmer again….

    Sorry MK

    but LLori cannot play for us against the Binddippers… he still only a loan player…

    Just hope TS will use Gil as much as Grealish, as I feel he has so much to offer…do not see Kosack in his plans…..and yet he deserves to be in there at present. Gestede showed a little more promise, and could become the real deal in the future.

    Soton away looks a a real challenge, but TS has now an opportunity to show them that the Lion can bounce back with a bite.

    Saturday is now a real opportunity to put Villa back ontrack,especially when we are an Anfield bogey team….

    UTV.. VTID…

  80. Texas – I know exactly what you mean – nothing like in availability to up the desire to find it 🙂
    So I will throw this out to my fellow anoraks . When did 4-4-2 s etc formations become such an important talking point . We have Gary Neville, Linekar et al chatting about them in great detail -but does anyone remember them being talked about on MOTD in the 80s. We get so much more info now and the pre match reviews by the papers will always put in what formation they think they will play.
    When did this arrive in our papers ?

  81. Jen- I think 442 arrived in a big way with our national team winning the world cup and stayed up until the prem started. there was the odd flirtation with 352 around Hoddles England time I seem to remember, could be completely wrong. Don’t really remember much tactical chat as the formations were the same, 4 at the back was the norm and fullbacks attacked and defended . don’t forget 442 can be played several ways.

  82. Well that kind of answers my question Mark – but the article goes up to 1958 . Someone posted on here ages ago that Johann Kreyf had said setting out formations are largely academic anyway to what goes on when they get on the pitch . I don’t know enough about it to give an opinion.

  83. Jenny/Mark,

    The 4-2-4 system was popular amongst continental sides in the 1950s, which is what that article alludes to I think, not 4-4-2. 4-2-4 was imported to Britain about the beginning of the 60s – Tommy Docherty and Chelsea were one of the first sides to use it a lot.

    As Mark states, 4-4-2 was used by England by 1966, and should be taken as a British invention i.m.o. – until then 4-2-4 was the more favoured of the new formations.

    Charlie Aitken has told that Villa didn’t start to begin to understand those new formations until the end of the 60s! Until then Villa played 2-3-5, believing that the old British system was still the best.

    Anyway, the 1960s was when these ‘new’ formations began to be talked of a lot, although more by those in the game rather than the media. Media chat about it didn’t really come until later.

  84. By the way, I should say that at the beginning of the 1960s there didn’t seem to be an obvious benefit in going to new formations, particularly as by 1960-61 England were walloping continental sides – vs Spain 4-2, Italy (away, Hitchens scoring 2) 3-2, Mexico 8-0, Luxembourg (away) 9-0 and also Scotland 9-3, NI 5-2 and Wales 5-1.

    What a really great team England had then – from a purist point of view I’d say greater than the 1966 and 1970 teams. Pity they peaked before the 1962 finals.

    But Tommy Docherty was one of those who really brought new systems to the forefront … and Chelsea were dazzling at times playing that style. Mind you, they had some wonderful footballers to make it work … like Bobby Tambling, Charlie Cook, Alan Hudson, George Graham, Peter Osgood. Can’t help also remembering the tough nuts in their defence, though!

  85. Thanks for the links and explanations about the history of formations, my friends!!

    Just spent a marvelous two hours watching Aston Villa defeat ManU in the truly thrilling ’94 League Cup Final. What a great match it was, filled with drama and wonderfully stylish play — surging from end-to-end with highly-skilled players on both teams giving it their all. Our triumph denied the Red Devils the domestic treble that year, as Cantona led them on to claim both the League and FA Cup trophies.

    Anyway, if any haven’t seen it, here it is in its glorious entirety:

  86. I was reading ‘the article’ provided by Mark again just now, and the following caught the eye when looking at the old way of British play (before Chapman).

    “The key player is the center half, who marks the opposition striker and is in charge of pivoting the team from defense to offense. After retrieving the ball in defense, he organizes his team’s attack and feeds the ball to the forwards.”

    In my opinion, this para does not emphasise just how important the old centre-half was. He was nothing like the modern centre-back. He defended and supported his forwards (as stated), but to do his job properly he had to be something of a super athlete, as well as being a competent defender and midfielder. Villa had Jimmy Cowan in the 1890s and Jimmy Gibson (up until the mid 1930s) who it is said were the greatest exemplars of the old centre-half. Chris Buckley and Jimmy Harrop were also highly rated.

    It could be said that it was Chapman’s new style that really killed Villa’s attempts to re-gain the position as top dogs in the 1930s.

  87. Texas,

    That 1994 final was the epitome of Big Ron’s tactical skill. He sussed out how to counteract Man U in a brilliant manner.

    We looked as though we were going out in the semi first-leg at Tranmere but Villa magically turned around the situation and won the cup in great style. Great days!

    Fergie seemed to think that Villa were so impressive in those 1992-94 years that he thought we would give them the closest run for the title. Doug Ellis had other ideas!

  88. Jenny – I am coming in here late and only staying briefly. I think Johan Cruyff meant that the Dutch teams played total football, in fact every player was trained to play in every position (within reason obviously)
    I’m hoping for something positive about the team selection for Anfield – at least Doug will not be giving out yellow balloons!
    I’m afraid I become more dissatisfied with UK football and am drifting to rugby union and league in both hemispheres for genuine sport endeavour – maybe something to do with the salary caps in southern and bulldog spirit in the north?
    Anyway – in the meantime UTV

  89. Clive,

    Quire right! 🙂 Yes, my c & b specs caused me to forget that interlude, so, yes, there was a touch of fortune there.

    But – putting that aside for the moment – it was nevertheless a remarkable turnaround from the first leg of the semi to actually winning the trophy. As Texas intimates, the final was one worthy of the name.

  90. Thanks for the lessons in formation everyone and revisiting our glories .
    Clive – yes I remember now how Kruyf ‘a objective was to have interchanging and thereby multi talented players – who could slot in and out of each other’s positions – wasn’t this the forerunner of the tics taca style from memory (not reliable !)

    Be good to see a brave (ie not defensive ) team set up and selection tomorrow. So much pressure on Liverpool with Brendan Rodgers job already being eyed up by Klop and Anceloti , the discontent of the Liverpool supporters and their lack of scoring players with Bebteke out, our disadvantage in terms of having less quality players is out weighed by the advantage of having much less to lose .

  91. Jl

    Must compliment you once more on your great knowledge and ability to retain the facts, making it a pleasure to be part of this site. I have many great memories, but often need that little jog to bring some of them back. The main thing for me is that like you JL, I have had the fortune to follow Villa for many years, and see some great players at Villa Park and elsewhere, and some great games.

    I am still enjoying my time back as an S/T with Villa, but now much of it is about the friendship and togetherness of Villa supporters, with an occasional match that brings pleasure watching young players plying their trade and showing glimpses of great skill.

    Nice to see that Gary Gardner is now about to start training, and that we may soon have a fully fit squad. Let us hope that by then, Tim has been able to blend a team that can play and win.

  92. You’re very generous, Paul … thank you.

    Ever since I used to go down to the British Library to look into what I called “a crystal ball into the past” (actually the Library’s film reader!) I’ve built up a big picture of how things were and how things developed. It’s such a magnificent period of time (footie-wise) that it’s important in a way to not forget what has gone before while watching events unfold in the present era.

    In fact, only by being aware of the past can we begin to comprehend what we have now. And that applies to anything, not just, footie … does it not?

    Recalling the past can also be fun! 🙂

  93. I would second that Paul. We are indeed very fortunate to have John L on the site – the VIlla historian – our gain and Aston Villa’s loss.
    Agree on both counts John 🙂

  94. No excuses today. We have to go and win atLiverpool. Tim has to get the tactics spot on.

    Liverpool are in a precarious position and Rodgers is under real pressure.

    We need to go and frustrate the Liverpool team and silence the crowd. Not lumping the ball up to Gestede and playing Clarke in midfield.

    It means keeping the football, retaining possession and playing our creative footballers. Grealish, Gil, Gana and Traore have to start.

    My team:

    Bacuna Richards Clarke Amavi
    Traore Grealish Gana Gil

  95. Driving to Anfield in about an hour with a couple of mates so I’m looking forward to it but at the same time I have the feeling it will be helping hand Villa at Anfield today. The soft touches. WBA needed a win, Berihhino needed a goal. Liverppol need a win, Sturbridge needs a goal !?!?!?!?

    It would be nice to get BR sacked but we have to become winners to do that. Liverpool have been that bad it would be embarrassing to lose today. We are 17th as well so we need to win

    Line up- Anyone but Guzan. Anyone but Hutton and Bacuna at RB

    The rest Richards Lescott Amavi Gana Veretout a Adama Gil Grealish Ayew

  96. As it stands the 3 worst sides in the league occupy the relegation places us and the Tyne and wear pairing. It could be a while before we get out of the bottom 3

  97. IT certainly will B62 if we play westwood as our attacking mid option. Also why are we set up 433 when liverpool are swamping the midfield. Hutton what can you say. That said 2 good chances for gestede. From tues game, Clark, vertout and Ayew deserved a start where are they? we start at a deficit then have to change things to amend the starting line up, its not tactical its survival.

    wish we could have 5 subs

  98. Hello Mark.
    I’m starting to view the games as a respectable loss now. It’s beyond me how many players villa have who have excelled in the near past and turn to sludge in this team

  99. Well we got down after just minutes which was exactly what we didn’t want…
    Don’t understand why Ayew didn’t get the start, he completely deserved it.

    Gueye is clearly off the pace today after the injury which doesn’t help when Milner was clearly up for this. Also Veretout deserved a start perhaps over Gueye who again hadn’t played in a month!?!?!?!

    Undone by two sublime moments from Sturridge… World Class and great news for England and u can see why when he and Suarez were together why they would have won the League with a bit of luck and a slightly younger Gerrard.

    Very good news… Gestede is a bloody central defender’s nightmare if you get the cross into the right area, what a header of a ball., WOW that second goal sent a tingle down my spine. Now he’s got his confidence and truly believes he can play at this level he could be a force especially if Gana gets back to his best, Grealish plays a hell of a lot better than today and Adama can stay fit and starts whipping in crosses for Rudy.

    Stoke match really will say a lot about our season… they are winning today. We need to go at them and give Rudy someone to play with (Ayew?) and get him some service from the wings. Do that and he will score!


  100. More positives. Veretout’s delivery from set pieces already looks a hell of a lot better than rWestwood and Adama has real quality and makes everyone else more confident when he scares the life out of defenders.

    I’m not throwing in the towel yet but Sherwood like his last two predecessors is really disappointing me and makes me think managing in this bloody league can’t be that hard if these clowns are employed to do it… UTV

  101. Somewhere in that bunch is the right eleven. I see flashes and then it turns against them.
    They still need some time. Injuries haven’t helped.

  102. Ronnie- Tims set up and team choice from the off was too negative. you don’t give Grealish defensive duties you get him the ball in the final third or you don’t play him. We could of beaten this lot today but Timbo set up to help them, its so f’ing frustrating. He doesn’t play to our strengths he pampers to theirs then reacts but unfortunately he’s only fixing what he should done to begin with, must p*ss the players off, it does me.

  103. Hey Ian mate,
    Perspective is a wonderful thing.

    Some people see feces in their front yard and say look at this a big, dumb animal has crapped on my yard. Others will look at the same situation and say it’s my lucky day, I’ve had the good fortune to have my new garden christened by a Grizzly Bear perhaps the most majestic creature on earth and not only that he’s been good enough to fertilize my tomato patch.

    That being said if we lose a few more on the trot and it’s due to Sherwood’s p*ss (cornflakes anyone?) poor decision making then even I’ll be calling for his head!

    Expecting much more and better from our key players next match because I’m starting to believe Rudy has premier league class!


  104. Ian – I think I could tell you them right now Ian, timbo’s got the Yips, 3 defence minded midfielders!!!! but no shape, No movement off the ball either. Grealish was made to look a fool today by his manager.

  105. Firstly , the three BGs…

    Grealish … No, he’s not ready for the big time *yet*

    Gueye … off pace (as said by Ronnie) – but he will get back

    Gestede … Oh yes!!

    First half – and defensively most of the match, Hutton was awful. Fine cross for the first though. I don’t know what Sinclair did either.

    Lescott – is he better than Clark?

    The rest – OK, but giving Pool too much space. As Ian, says, sometimes you see glimmers of something good … and then …

    But, don’t we need (a) Milner…?

  106. Señor King,
    As usual I abide with your comments!

    Grealish needs to be in the 10 role with a license to roam.
    Was expecting Ayew and Veretout to start with Gueye coming on in the last 20 mins.

    Perhaps I’m naive to believe Ayew could play in midfield but he’s one heck of an athlete.

    I would have set up with:

    Veretout Westwood Ayew
    Hutton Lescott/Clark Richards Amavi

    If Ayew was struggling in midfield I’d have pushed him up to partner Rudy and pulled Grealish into midfield.

    Didn’t help going down 1 after a few minutes but you’re right Sherwood was way to negative against a team and manager that were under real pressure and could have imploded if we’d gotten on the board first and Gestede started bullying their centre backs.

    Far too many times already this season where the players have done ok and the Manager shoulders the blame. Already losing confidence in this manager and wouldn’t mind a new one to be honest but let’s give him a bit more time.


  107. tom fox
    mr sherwood one thousand lines
    you must not play hutton westwood gabby again
    we have some decent players but must get formation right which rudi playing has to be two widemen that can cross ball like 2 goal class we have scored 3 fantastic goals gil grealish rudi and got nil points
    lescot not been a success either
    team for next match
    ilors worth a shot
    clark hope okore soon fit
    vertout play out wide left let armavi attack
    grealish/gil just behind rudi
    subs from ayew gil/grelish sinclair bacuna to be used wide midfield

  108. Yes JL,
    What an absolutely bone shattering header that was from Rudy, surprised it didn’t burst the netting. If Amavi and Adama and even Mutton (Steamer(s) where r u?) can send in 4,5 penalty spot crosses like that per match he will score it’s a banker! Poor Skrtel looked like my mate’s 12 yr old son out there against him on that goal, dominated, men vs boys stuff! That’s given me a boost for the season now knowing he’s got some real quality at the Premier League level and like I said whenever Adama comes on the rest of the players grow a foot because he brings that swagger and attacking threat that shifts the match psychologically and opens up space for players like Grealish and Gil.

    Next match will say a lot about how our season will go but it’s too early imo to panic yet!

  109. Was Hutton that bad? He certainly isn’t the best but I would consider him meat and potatoes. Nothing exciting. To me he goes about his job and does enough To thwart the opposition. It was his cross that gave Gestede his first goal

  110. Ian,

    Firstly Grealish gave the ball away to start their move for their first goal … and then when the ball left there was just a second when a good f-b could have got in an nabbed the ball. At that time, Hutton’s mind was still in the dressing room. I didn’t see him do a good thing for the whole of the first half.

    Second half couldn’t have been worse than the first and he did wake up a bit.

  111. Hutton played well today Ian but not the long term answer that’s for sure.
    Looking at the schedule we definitely need to win 2 matches in October or we could be in real trouble as outside of Sunderland and Newcastle the league looks to be stronger than last season so we need to bring W Brom and Bournemouth into the battle.
    Off to watch my mate’s sons play now. Enjoy the rest of your day Lifers!

  112. Off to walk the dog. That should clear my mind a bit. I’m for having Villa play on Sunday only that way I’m not in a pinky mood for Saturday 🙂

  113. Texas- I think its a case of too many cooks in the DM spot let one man do the job, or find 2 that can play together.

    JL- mutton was pants but like Amavi was exposed by Tims tactics. Grealish and Sinclair are not wide midfield players and that’s where they ended up most of the game. If we wanted to be solid
    Play a diamond with vertoute out right and Geuye out left sanchez at the base with grealish or Gil in the 10 slot.

    Gestede did well for his goals but has no pace to close the defence down, should of had the midfield I just mentioned with Sinclair or Ayew off of him, Ayew is known for dropping into midfield so would get my choice to pressure Liverpoo. Amavi can then get down the flanks when we attack.

    Timbo is killing this team and keeps on pointing at individual errors, well its a team game Tim and poor set-up can and does magnify any errors that happen. Can anyone say we didn’t deserve to get beat the way we approached the game?
    watch this interview and tell me why a man that see’s these players all week A: doesn’t see we have considerable threat and B: are not suited to a defensive game for extended periods like an entire half!!! to release pressure you have to have a threat or keep the ball!! therefore you need players on the pitch to do that.
    If every game your going to defend then change the team to attack when you go behind its going to be a long time before we win a game again.

  114. Mark:
    IMO, no way to Sanchez at the base of your diamond. He’s had one good game and woeful for the rest.

    Grealish doesn’t seem to be nearly as effective as a true wide player. He’s at his best playing from the middle and just drifting into pockets of wide space as needed.

    Poor Joleon, his whole career he’s waited for the chance to play for the Villa and now his legs are gone. It’s obvious now why the Baggies were quite happy to let him go.

  115. Texas- not in my opinion bud, I think he ends up trying to do too much because are shape is so poor, spends the whole game fire fighting. He see’s the gaps appear in front of Mutton and Amavi and tries to cover to much ground. Westwood doesn’t know how to play in front of him he wants to be where Sanchez is.

    This is Tims words “The first thing I said when we left the dressing room was make sure we stay in the game for as long as we can, make it anxious out there.” very inspiring.

  116. Watched the Poo goals repeatedly to see what went wrong, and this is what I think:

    First goal — surely rests almost entirely on Lescott, who is simply glacially slow at this point.

    Second goal — Sturridge splits the defense by going to the inside of Hutton but the outside of Sanchez and then let loose with an absolute belter of a goal. Both defenders might have done better, but Sanchez really has to react faster if he’s to protect the back line.

    Third goal: Sturridge is held up by Hutton, then passed from Hutton to Veretout. Sturridge then uses his pure pace to burst past Veretout, flashing from left-to-right across the goal and leaving Veretout helpless and Guzan hopeless.

    To be fair, Sturridge showed his true class in both his goals, but it’s so obvious that we absolutely must upgrade at DM and RB.

  117. Hutton v. Bacuna:

    Hutton, as a much more experienced fullback, is way more astute in his positional play. What lets him down is his appallingly poor footspeed. Really pacey players can destroy him.

    Bacuna is far quicker but is let down by egregious positional mistakes.

  118. Just caught up with the result. Another 0 points on the board! Into the bottom three and we better get used to it. This league is too for us. Will need at least 39 points to stay up. Last 5 years there has been some bloody rubbish teams thats kept us up but not going to be so this year……yep its only sept and we are cheering a chelsea equaliser to keep is third from bottom. Im ok with going down, im calm about it and 100% believe it. Well its been coming!!

  119. Mark: Sanchez may indeed be trying to cover too much ground, but his biggest problem in my eyes is how quickly and cheaply he gives away the ball.

    I agree with you about not playing Westwood and Sanchez together — they just cannot seem to mesh.

  120. The Team & Tim have had a shocker really today, all bar Rudy & Guzan (I’m not a Guzan fan but he played well today).

    The pressure cooker was there for us to utilise today and what does Tim do he goes with the most negative formation of his tenure to date. I think his confidence in his attacking ethos is gone since the Leicester game. The cheeky chappy Tim is already becoming a distant memory.

    We made Liverpool look like Barcelona today and they are far from it, Sturridge couldn’t even run and he opened us up time & time again with a simple one-two inept shambolic defending that U12’s would get in trouble for.

    We are in big trouble now, Tim has lost confidence you can see it with every interview. Once his belief wains the player’s will too.

  121. Just back from Anfield. What a gutless team and manager we have

    Tim got it so wrong today. Lamberk Mark two with his tactics. Everyone back and scared of the the opponents. Packing the midfield. Westwood and Sanchez are cr*p. Do nothing . Guzan is s**te. Lescott and richRds looks lost. Grealish out of position. Sinclair is s**te as well. Gestede needs a partner. Nice goals though

    Stoke next. Tim will get turned on when they do us. He isn’t learning.

    I said Liverpool need a win and Sturbridge needs a goal…..

  122. I think Lancaster managed to out substitute Tim tonight against Wales.

    Frem- I hate to say it but Tims comments are not the most inspiring, somehow he seems to think they shouldn’t of scored and we should of won 2-0 #losing the plot

  123. Superbox- I think Tim needs to decide what his tactics are, even Lambert did that for 2 seasons. We have enough to really get at teams but we need to get a real RB and I don’t care if he promotes from the U21’s . we also cannot sit on our own penalty spot, is it me or is this Lescott???

  124. Why are people debating the merits or otherwise of Hutton? The man is sh1t, there is nothing to debate…even Lambert knew this. Also sh1t are Guzan, Sinclair, Westwood, Agbonlahor, Sanchez, Kozak, Gardner, Clark, Bacuna…
    See, until the club sign some capable footballers, it really doesn’t matter who the manager is.
    Villa are going to be relegated this season because they have a Sh1t midfield who can’t create anything and who can’t protect the defence. Gestede’s heading will not result in a glut of goals against most defences.

  125. Well today has been utter s**te and it came in threes
    1) Broke down on the M5 limped back home after an RAC call out so now have to take the car in Monday for an ass raping
    2) The Villa continue to be one of the most irrelevant inept s**te footballing entities on the planet, and another season of embarrassment and disappointment is upon us, only this season we are going down.
    3) England f**k the Rugby up despite being the better side and having a healthy lead, meaning an almost certain early exit from our own World Cup .
    It’s enough to turn you to alcohol!!!!!!!!!!
    Sherwood is s**t and so is Lancaster both need to be replaced

  126. Tactics Tim is so far out of his depth it’s untrue , 4 points from 21 this season, add that to our disasterous end to last season and I’m struggling to see why people think he can turn this around, when I think it’s clear he won’t. After Lambert I thought he was a breath of fresh air, the complete opposite of the dour inbred Scotsman , yet it is abundantly clear Sherwood is all mouth and no trousers. He really is stupid and believes his own( undeserved ) hype, but as his record is now showing he looses far more matches than he wins, and that is why he will take us down. As a ST holder I am f**king fed up of watching the same s**t week in week out, no wonder we are struggling to attract the future generations of Villa fans, why would you sign up for a life of misery

  127. There aint alot left to say….were just s**t and going down. You can see it a mlle off. Ultimatly its down to randy.

    The only interesting thing is how long fox and the new fella keep with tim. When they see us 2 points off of safety there going to get twitchy i reckon £££££££

  128. Congratulations Wales. England can still get through but need to beat Australia.

    There’s still tough games ahead for all. No one in the “Pool of Death” is safe, yet.

  129. Trinity, England threw that game away, stupidity I’ll discipline and poor decision making especially the kick to the corner at the end. There was still time to take the point ensuring a draw( still a poor result) and take the kick off, Wales played well but for large parts of the game were second best to England who bottled it. Under Lancaster England’s on the pitch Ill discipline and inability to close games out or get over the line in 6 nations/tournaments is clearly evident.
    As for Villa it’s already clear we aren’t good enough for this league, Tactics Tim is already trotting out the party line about survival is and always has been the sole aim for this season. That in itself is absolute bollox, yes survival is imperative but we should be aiming higher than 17th or why get rid of Lambert, Mcleish and the other fuckwits. Sherwood is proving to be yet another false dawn, producing yet another losing side with a losing mentality. He is using excuses like its a new young team blah blah yet he is playing all the s**te that were here previously like Hutton, Guzan, Westwood, Bacuna, Gabby, Clark , Sanchez Richardson etc. it’s like Groundhog Day , the second half against the Vermin Ayew looked bright as did JG but TS is showing he doesn’t understand how to utilise our better players or set up a team to win football matches or play to our ( very few strengths). I still maintain the summer transfer window was wasted and a scatter approach used rather than a well thought out targeted recruitment process, obtaining the players we need. Charlie Austin, Tom Heaton, a RB, a CB ( not Lescott he looks so slow and well past his best, I would rather have had Jonny Evans) a striker to replace Benteke as we haven’t done that, a midfielder to replace Delph( have we done that really??) We are now pinning all our hopes on TS playing his foreign legion and that all come off, yet even TS doesn’t believe in them and isn’t playing them. A lot of hope and expectation now on Traores shoulders,the Liverpool loanee, Vertout, Gana, Ayew, Amavi, Ayew , Gestede none of whom have played at this level or been in a relegation battle. There is a split on social media on how long to give TS as its only 7 games in, a lot want him gone now and others are saying at least Xmas. My worry is that TS is already in panic mode, his win% since arriving is beyond awful, he managed to scrape over the line last season, but we have looked even worse this season and haven’t actually looked comfortable or like winning a game this season, this includes Bournemouth where they were easily the better side, and we have thrown away valuable points against world beaters like Albion and Leicester. It looks very bleak going forward and it’s painful watching the football club we all love die in front of our eyes. Looks like the second city Derby will be a permanent fixture in the coming seasons as we both languish in the championship( I pray they don’t go up and get the mega TV deal we look like losing out on ).

  130. Tims win ratio for us is unbelievably 40% and still 45% career wise. He does seen to of lost any conviction in the methods that got him wins, namely attacking. I believe we have a team that is better suited to an open game not this cagey s**t he is trying to pull off. Teams must love playing us as we offer no threat until we have lost the game. As I said yesterday if you have to make subs to enable your team to attack you put the wrong team out to begin with.

  131. Never thought Tim would would be so defensive in games and scared of teams

    He changed nothing yesterday to try and win he game or get back level

  132. Mark
    Is that ratio for league games?? It seems rather high for someone that has one once in seven matches, and only won a few at the backend of last season. Ilol be amazed if it is as high as 40% I would have had it at half that.

  133. One of Tim’s huge faults has been his reluctance to bench the “critical failure-point” player — the man who’s repeated failures cause a cascading series of errors in surrounding players.

    Tim repeatedly refused to sit Gabby when playing him led the offense to stagnate into non-scoring morass of hopelessness. Guess what? Now that Agbonlahor is out the offense looks lively again and we’re finally a real threat to score.

    However, now Lescott is causing the defense around him to collapse. Before he joined we were remarkably tougher to score against.

    A gaffer must be have the grit to be a Captain Hook and bench players, even the ones who are lifelong Villa supporters.

  134. sherwood has to end of october for me if no improvement sack him then
    needs to forget about 433 or anything else with players we got has to be a straight forward 4411
    with traore gana sanchez verout mid
    gil/grealish /sinclair behind
    drop lescott hope okore is fit lash it in to rudi he has more goals in first 7 matches than gabby last 40

  135. B62 ,
    Just to pick up on one of your earlier comments , Englands decision to kick to corner for a lineout was’nt a bad or wrong decision though it was brave given the circumstances. That would have been a very difficult kick for farrell and had he missed , it would have also been a ‘wrong’ decision . England are experienced and skillful enough to make 7-8 yards off their own lineout and the commentators had been ‘bigging ‘up Englands brawn up to that point. They should’nt have been in that position but I was impressed with Englands bottle to go for the win though their execution of a routine set-piece with a short throw was’nt their finest hour . Good luck to both of them I say , and Englands destiny is still in their own hands against Austraila.
    Would love to see an Ireland V England/Wales final in twickenham.
    You boys need to loose the dogs of war on the the wallabies.

  136. Prox
    It was a brave decision to go for the corner but not a wise one IMO as the hooker hadn’t been on long and the line out hasn’t exactly been our strong point and they made a real mess of it. We had thrown it away before then if I’m honest and should have gone for the draw keeping the group alive. We simply have to win every game and stick a shitload of points on the board, inc bonus win points, but I think Wales will get turned over by the Aussies especially with their injuries, leaving England a mountain to climb. Right now I’d snap your hand off for an Eng v Ire final!!!

  137. Mark
    Sherwood has won 6 from a possible 20 league games and drawn 2. It’s not the worst record in the world, but this season we are playing with less freedom, passion and purpose than we were when Tim got us on a little run which included FA cup games against the Albion and the semi final, before the end of season capitulation which we haven’t recovered from, and don’t look like doing so anytime soon.
    At the end of last year Sherwood was full of bounce and he boasted we wouldn’t be in another relegation battle under him, even if he had no new players and had the same team as last year.
    Fast forward and now our only aim is survival which in his own words will be difficult to achieve with these young players. We have spent very little if you go on net spend, but Sherwood has brought in 13 players, I just don’t believe they are the right ones overall, far too many gambles . None of that can be rectified until January so we have to sort out our best 11 and give them a run of games, and utilise the bench properly not as we have been doing.
    Against Stoke I would go for
    Richards. Clark. Lescott. Amavi
    Gil. Vertout. Gana Traore
    Subs Grealish Gabby westwood. Lori. Sinclair bunn

  138. B-62 wouldn’t argue with that although grealish is no use if not played with players of a similar mind, so I think he would fit in well on the left with the team you’ve outlined, much better balance between attack and defence although the CB pairing would be a suck it and see job. I’d rather keep Richards and clark and promote webb from the U21’s steady all rounder who can defend if The other 2 defenders Tim bought can’t step up.

  139. Mark
    I would play Jack behind the striker so would bring him on to replace Ayew as an impact player( just to try something different). I agree the defence is a suck it and see , perhaps Richards and Clark with the Liverpool loanee at RB/u21 lad Webb . So far Lescott has proved my worst fears, slow and well past his best out of the two we should have bought Evans not Joleon even if he is a local lad, he has looked way off the pace and should have been stepping down a league.
    I don’t think TS has recruited to a plan more a kid in a sweet shop effort

  140. Don’t think we will see Adama start on sat after a Tim said he’s a frustrating player. Gil won’t play either. Tim’s losing the Plot. He’s turning into Lamberk tactically and in terms of playing his favourites

    Gabby Westwood Sinclair. There s**t but he keeps playing them

  141. No time for Sinclair, did little to earn a contract, already his pre-season goals are a distant memory as is his contribution to the team.

    Already feels like we are running out of time and it’s not even October, my line up against Stoke

    Llori, Richards, Lescott, Amavi
    Gil, Gana, Veretout, Adama

    Yes 4-1-4-1, Clark i think would do a better job protecting the back four than Westwood and not being on the pitch means he can’t take corners, Sanchez as back up to Clark. Simple balls to Gana. Veretout and let them takeover.
    The midfield 4 are all comfortable on the ball and can provide movement and possession in attack. Gestede upfront with back up from Ayew.
    Guzan needs to be dropped and find a club in Jan, too many goalkeepers links to suggest he’s not no.1 so lets give Bunn a chance now, can’t be any worse.

    once again beaten by the odd goal, we’re close but not quite there in terms of results but it’s getting painful to watch after the high hopes of new players, new beginning, I’m starting to doubt TS, i just hope he settles on his team and it doesn’t include Sinclair/Westwood/Gabby

  142. D’OR
    I agree it already feels like we are running out of time as we head into October , we simply have beat Stoke Saturday or we will be averaging 0.5 pts per game and could be gone before the Christmas trees come down.
    My only reservations with your team are Clark and Bunn, after the blues game I never want to see Clark in midfield ever again, that first half display dispelled any myths he can do a job further forward of the back 4. Bunn is a strange one as he just isn’t a premier league GK, bombed out of Norwich, couldn’t earn a contract at Bristol City before we snap him up, a real let down after being linked with Begovic, Heaton etc and having to reinstate Guzan who is cr*p as our No1. GK was a position we really needed to address in the summer but TS didn’t, preferring to buy a ruck load of players in random positions without really addressing our obvious weaknesses in every dept

  143. Hi B62

    i don’t think Westwood or Sanchez are providing enough protection to the back four so looking at options, Clark is a defender, won’t wander forward and should be capable of simple balls forward sideways and offer more protection.

    Given Guzan is cr*p and we only have Bunn, i’d prefer to give him a go than continue watching Guzan pick the ball out of the net. We’ve no choice.

    And in case you didn’t see it by all means get in touch with me for when you come over in the New Year.

  144. Why is it every manager we get is afraid to get his team to go out and play
    we are so negative it’s untrue and keep making a rod for our own backs

    Gil on the bench seems silly considering we hardly create chances

    tactically Tim is showing himself up and the pool defenders wont get an easier game this season

    Our best or most creative players seem to have caught the negative bug too — Jack had a few runs at the defence but gets near the penalty area then turns back to midfeild

  145. Whatever happened to Villa’s solid back four……

    last season it started with Clark and Senerdross being a great pair, then Clark and Okore,meanwhile Richardson and Hutton were doing well as backs, then Vlaar returned for a while, we just could not score with Benteke injured. Since Tim has arrived, Seneross never played again, Okore injured, Vlaar injured, Clark confused, but a couple of good games with Richards, but Lescott appears to be a disaster, Hutton and Bacuna are nothing like they have been, and only Amavi is showing any really consistent promise. Richards has patches of being really good, but is not really pulling the defense into shape.

    It really needs to be sorted now. I do not really see where the next win is coming from.

    Maybe TS would have done better to have taken Milner for free, and saved £9 million or more on Lescott and Gana, and perhaps invested in Charlie Austin, who is already the Championship leading scorer..!!!

  146. Happy that Jack has declared both as he is something different that England don’t have and it may now both settle and Galvanize his performances for us. Better hope he’s loyal though once he’s in.

    With statements like “hold out as long as you can” as a pre-match talk I’m not surprised we can’t defend. Very arrogant to stick with Lescott after Clark had played well and he hadn’t, Sinclair plays better on the left, why play him on his weaker right and why play JG out left when Tim has said I don’t see him as a winger I see him as a 10? was half the bench really injured? no Ayew no Gil? strange tactic to play Adama who had barely played in 3 weeks too.

    Westwood still gets in after 2-3 poor performances, does Tim want him there as he speaks English?? I’m fed up of guessing

  147. Jack Jack Jack,

    I hope you’ve picked England for the right reasons and not just for the $$$, as an Irishman I’m disappointed but naturally confused too as Mr.Grealish has painfully portrayed himself as an Irishman for quite sometime in his social media posts. But in essence he is not a man but a boy which makes some of the twitter abuse he is receiving for picking England rather disgusting.

    The entire system is flawed but Ireland have poached former youth players from the North so we are in no position to cry wolf and England tried to get Januzaj for crying out loud. I hope Jack has a staggering career but he really should never tweet support for the Irish team again as he has turned his back on the Irish FAI.

    Good luck Jack but I have to say I see traits of another former player I lost respect for in you and he wears a Man City jersey now. You have an agent who will have you out of B6 as soon as he can just like he now has you in an England shirt.

  148. Evening all.
    Well I couldn’t watch the game as I was out with my daughters at Warwick Uni on the pick a uni for next year trail . But I was tuning into twitter for news every fifteen mins So when their second went
    In I thought “that’s that then. “. Shies how low our expectations have come – when I got the full time result I was incredulous that we’d scored 2 goals to make the result an acceptable 3-2. Whilst I can see the concerns voiced here , the thing that differentiates our present firm from Lambert’s latter decline is that we are scoring goals. Rudy is proving he can hack it in the premier league and we are losing games by just one goal in the main .
    Being in the bottom three isn’t acceptable of course but I believe at this point that we do have the players to get us out of it –

  149. B62:

    Must say there’s not much I don’t like about the team you’ve selected although I might swap out Jack for Adama then again the speed that he brings could give us the start we need!
    If we lose this then we’re digging a Lamberk style hole again… had better WIN!

    ‘Against Stoke I would go for
    Richards. Clark. Lescott. Amavi
    Gil. Vertout. Gana Traore
    Subs Grealish Gabby westwood. Lori. Sinclair bunn’

  150. We do have players that can make a difference and we can improve, but can Sherwood mold them together, making the right selections, and using the right tactics……

    The fans are already becoming impatient. I do not think that Tim will have the same time and luxury that Lambert did.

  151. Hi Paul

    Is it down to higher expectations of the squad that TS has assembled, does that mean less time than Lamberk because we had no expectations of his squad regardless of manager.

    Probably an improvement in itself that we feel we should be doing much better than we are. Still only losing by one goal a game so there isn’t much to do to turn those defeats into draws.

    But agree completely that it is tactics and settling on a best 11 sooner rather than later will be the key and this lies with TS/Wilkins. Alongside dropping Gabby and Sinclair.


  152. thankfully for most villans im not in charge because id go for big sam now to give us a chance of staying up.

    TS is all talk. No depth or substance. The bad run has been going on well into last season.

    His tactcs, subs are awful and no sign of him learning. To not sign a gk and rb in the summer is unforgavable. Along with his treatment of Gill last season and also this season i can tell he does not really rate him. He has failed to address our home form

    We have stoke, man city, spurs, chalsea, swansea and after that we will be alot further from saftey than 2 points.

  153. I see there are calls for Tims head already and although he seems far from perfect – who would come in thats worth having – big Sam ? – theres no future in thast appointment imo and we would go back to buying old players and journeymen freebees — for me a horrible thought

    As per Andrews last post = we have some very testing fixures coming thick and fast – i think we have some talent at the club that can get better – just hope tim stop going out with this lets not conceed mentality and puts more focus on a lets go bury them attidude to a match – as clearly the lambert style all out defend and break mode isnt working

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