Circumstance is one of many factors how a result should be received. A point at St. Mary’s would typically be greeted with a wry smile and a post-match write up featuring many a positive spin.

Unfortunately given our rock bottom position and no win since the opening day it was met, by myself, with more of a shrug of the shoulders especially seeing as we had taken the lead in this one. Further grace due should we have beaten Watford at home the week previous in what I wrongly perceived as a winnable game.

We took the lead just before the interval through Joleon Lescott. A far post tap in from a poorly taken corner which somehow found a path through a number of players before landing at the feet of the onrushing Villa centre-half. The goal coming totally against the run of play what with Southampton wasting several first half opportunities.

Travelling back from Southampton I turned on the car radio to hear Remi Garde praising the lads for their fight; which made seeing a replay of the 73rd minute equaliser that bit tougher to swallow as Oriol Romeu outmuscled and outfought Carlos Sanchez to swoop home low past Guzan from a James Ward-Prowse corner.

From that moment on it was obvious that we were content with the draw. Sitting in and dropping deeper whilst showing minimal intent in terms of going forward.

Eyebrows were raised in the second half as Ashley Westwood came on and played what appeared to be left midfield. I’m not adverse to a new manager feeling his way in and trying out a few different things but this was just a little too kinky for my liking.

Before being replaced by the former Crewe man in the 75th minute Gestede had been playing pretty much as a lone man, reliant upon Ayew and Sinclair shuffling up the pitch to support. Ayew’s work rate was second-to-none, up and down that left side, chasing from the front and yet still fulfilling his defensive duties admirably.

The problem that I have with Gestede playing as a lone man is that it’s all a bit static. He’s not the type of player to run down defenders, you can’t play those cute little balls between the centre halves or down into the channels because he simply just won’t get to them and so you rely on just chucking balls into him at chest/head height and yet, as I’ve pointed out so many times before, he still seems to lose so many of those battles and that’s with him being our biggest unit and greatest physical threat. I guarantee that he won’t score the goals to keep us up.

Due to his sheer desire Ayew has been our best hope to nick a goal this term, so some might say he’s wasted on the left flank, but that’s not the case when you consider just how much he tracks back and so for me there’s a void to fill up front more so than anywhere else the pitch. That void may be best filled by playing Adama Traore through the middle as a lone striker or even be fitted in alongside Gestede.

What single-handedly scares any defender most? Pace. And that’s something Adama has in his locker to the extreme.

I understand Garde’s reluctance to play him from the off as a winger because he wants to build on a nitty-gritty solid foundation and the 19 year old Barca graduate is single-tracked in terms of forward thinking. He doesn’t often involve others. He just likes to run. I think that playing him up top where he can simply just run through the middle and down the channels and be somewhat greedy in front of goal might be best suited not only for him, especially in our predicament, but also add something that we’re missing – a genuine attacking threat. It’s best to try something like this sooner rather than later otherwise I fear it’s just a case of wilting like a shaded flower. White flags at the ready.

And that’s why I found it difficult to clap the players from the pitch on Saturday. Given the position that we are in we just have to throw caution to the wind and once the equaliser comes we must have the mindset of ‘right lads we have 20 minutes to find a winner’ rather than ‘let’s hold on to what we’ve got.’ The occasional point will not keep us in the division. The longer we drag our heels the shorter time frame it will leave in terms of getting ourselves out of this hole.

History is already against us and so I fail to see what we can lose by simply just going for it. Granted we might leak some goals but I’d much rather go down saying that we gave it a good go rather than keeping it tight and still not gaining anywhere near the requisite points in order to stay up.

Maybe that change in attitude may come on Sunday when we host Arsenal.

Up The Villa!

Comments 81

  1. We are fooking doomed.

    I simply couldn’t believe our calamitous defending in the first 20 minutes. I was taking notes ad after 11 minutes I counted 10 mistakes in our defending and giving the ball away. A couldn’t believe after the comedy show against Watford we started so badly.

    Garde was pleased with the point. And it is frustrating that he seems to be dependant on the same players that Sherwood – Lambert and KMAC picked.

    We don’t do anything well. We don’t have a style of play. We cannot defend. And we cannot score. And the midfield cannot dominate games.

    We will lose against Arsenal. We always lose against Arsenal.

    I am so depressed watching Villa.

  2. Agree with the above. The football against Saints was indistinguishable from PL, McLeish etc. it was bad -no structure, no composure, no quality passages of play. If anything we have regressed from RG’s first game. Another worrying similarity is these managers talking up how they play attacking footballing but then reverting to the same useless players such as westwood and gabby. If the club has not been able to find better than these, that is a damning indictment of the entire managerial hierarchy.

  3. Richard

    Exactly right about the defending. Same against Man city. They say we deserved the point but it was just dumb luck. I have seen us years ago properly defending and then yeah you deserve a bit of luck ie ball bouncing your way. but against man city, saints everton its just the basics we are not doing. Its just fluke we got a point against city and saints…the normal outcome if you defend like that is the 4-0 against toffess or 3 conceded watford which will be the case against arsenal!

  4. After Newcastle’s win I cannot see us getting out of this unless RG really goes for. With this formation, we may fluke a win but may quite easily pick up barely a couple of points in our next five games. Gestede is one of the worst forwards I have ever seen. we struggle to get a cross of any note into the box let alone one that this one dimensional forward can actually make something out of.

    Assuming we buy a forward in Jan, I would play an attacking trio of ayew – gil- troare behind him and stick to until the end of the season.Sinclair is far too lightweight -when was the last time he actually did what most wingers do i.e beat a man and whip in a dangerous cross?

  5. Said it once ill say it again all we can hope for is a new owner and new set up to re build us in the championship.

    Im ok with garde…he aint got much to work with in an impossible job. Ill give him a few years to judge him.

    Im just glad i come to terms with relegation months ago! After the foxes game it was…i went for a run after, think i cried and that was it. Home for a shower and have been numb to villa since. The horrible part is we have ages till the season is over and we can all move on.

  6. Let’s face the facts – we have not experienced an upturn in our performances or points since the arrival of Garde.

    It an absolute calamity – we are everyone’s favourite joke in the Premier League

    The players are not good enough – and the players who could change the game are left on the bench or in the reserves.

    I am so incredibly upset with the state of affairs at Villa Park. But not surprised. The last 5 years as a Villa fan has been unbearable. It has been an insult to all Villa fans.

    We should not be in this position. The Championship will be the graveyard for our great club.

    Where is the pride? Where is the fight?

    Sack the board. f**k off Fox – f**k off Reiley – f**k off the other German

  7. can t see lerner selling when we are down lose too much ,my biggest worry he stay thinking we ll come straight back up pocketing tv money for himself, why did bacuna clark baker steer westwood get new 4/5 long term contracts along with gabby huttton.
    to me our biggest problems this season come from older players at club,and saturday when garde put on westwood for rudi showed me that he is no different from sherwood lambert mcleish,happy to tale lerners money and not care one bit,already excuses for remi not his team for god sake we have spent almost 100m in 4 years buying cr*p after cr*p kea,bowery helnius tonev luna crespo lescott others on frees cole sendross richardson .bournmouth played football we can only dream off seeing villa play again chelsea and other matches ,we are rotten from head down and when something is rotten from head down you have no chance need to get rotten bit LERNER out of club all rest happy to take his millions and do his bidding for him
    we need big demo front sky match world to show them what a shambles we are

  8. I am deffo pro Garde and personally i can see that he is drilling the players to attempt to play constructive football
    unfortunately for him and us he hasn’t got the right tools to do a great job and our team is more lacking in know how , desire and ability

    i think he is either brave or stupid for taking the job on after the window had closed as he has to work with all the shocking buys of the previous managers

    the cries for jack and the likes to be in the team inst going to make us any better – were cr*p and i know we are

    need quality buys urgently – but to make that worth while we need points – i am losing faith as to whether this group can scape some results in the next 3 games

    formations are neither her or there if your players ant good enough

  9. We have a core of a team that should be capable of mid-table obscurity…
    Clark (Irish bias ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    Amavi (unfortunately no more)

    We are light in defence and we are light in midfield protection of the defence, hence the problems we have faced down the years, we also never replaced Benteke so we need his goals coming from different areas of the pitch but that then exposes our back 4 as midfielders have to press higher up to make attacks worthwhile, Benteke did have an ability to make goals as opposed to being supplied and that is missing.

    There are two ways to go – gung ho – bigger chance of being beaten, fan appeasement because we are making an effort to win but Garde doesn’t look like a risk taker. Option 2 – pragmatic/cautious – 4 or 5 at the back, more protectionist midfield and a lone attacker, better chance of not conceding, terrible football to watch but increased chances for draws, 1 nil wins.

    We don’t have the players to combine approaches within game management but January has to ensure we get proven prem players or genuine gems that have been ignored that Garde knows about because the list of quality players is half a team.

    Almstadt and Riley need to take a step back and Lerner needs to step up whether that happens is one thing but we’ve bounced along them bottom for one reason only and that is Lerner (well discussed at this stage). There are 69 points to play for, we need a win/draw ratio of a top ten side to survive if 40 points was the marker, I expect it will be lower again.

    We might be propping up the table, but there are equally cr*p teams as us. Norwich, Bournemouth and to a lesser extent Watford, have the desire to prove themselves worthy of promotion but this will wear off during the season as the pressure mounts, Swansea, Sunderland and Newcastle are equally in trouble (with only the North-East having knowledge on how to play their way out of trouble). The pressure is on us no doubt and we can’t accept any more draws/losses week by week but we have a chance.

    If we don’t survive and given our recent contribution to the prem, would we be such a loss then we can rebuild, we can get an identity, a system and players for that system under Remi and in the words of Lamberk ‘go again’.

    There are no long term negatives in football just fleeting disappointments, most of us are old enough to remember the 80 relegations and promotions but the core of support in those times remained intact and survived, the same again albeit the media focus on the premier league, initiated by Sky will attempt to remove Villa from the history books and i don’t think we can consider Villa fans as sheep or gloryhunters.

    It’s still possible to survive another season, it’s beyond platitudes like keeping the faith but the likes of Frem and co going week in, week out and supporting the lads.


  10. we had lots of time to create a shorlist of strikers to replace tekkers. (knew for at least 2 seasons he is too good for us) and who do we come up with. Gestede

    …thats why were going down…

  11. dear oh dear oh dear, where has our bottle gone?

    All I’m reading is a huge amount of Fear and anger and to much over reaction.
    Since Garde has come in he has identified a communication problem and thereby division which he is working to fix, the French players will not learn English overnight and the rift caused partly by Timbo won’t either. The French will have felt marginalised by the management who labelled them not good enough and dropped them all. The English will now have to trust Garde won’t favour his countrymen, it all takes time.

    On top of that Garde is having to teach them how to play his way instead of building on a platform Tim should of set since the start of the summer.

    One thing no-one is mentioning is in Garde’s first game we had structure, Amavi made a difference, we were more balanced. We lost him and this was cruelly exposed by Everton’s Delefou the next game coupled with Grealishs non presence in front of the hapless Richardson set us back. We are having to play in a way that minimises the defences exposure, not ideal but I’d stick Richards at RB, okore, Clark, then Lescott at LB until we have one.

    Again Tim did us no favours by keeping Richardson instead of Sissoko a huge gaff in a position we have struggled to fill, I assume as per he wanted to go the crosses from full backs route rather than ones that can defend too. Also without Delph or someone similar on that side any more its open season. Garde knows this but only has emergency solutions like Bakuna at this point.

    On Saturday we saw yet again a new defence, cue keystone cop defending until they settled. Its worth noting Southampton made several changes second half to get back in the game which resulted in more pressure on us and a goal hence the Westwood sub for gestede who was knackered. Other injuries put paid to having a go at Southampton once the game settled again IMO, Guye with an lump on his face, Sanchez similar and Bakuna injured so Reme did the sensible thing and took the draw. Tim would of thrown 2 forwards on and lost, I’ll take the point its about confidence after a couple of losses.

    As for Newcastle, they beat a tired looking Liverpool with one shot on goal the 1st being deflected
    They now have spurs, villa, Everton,Arsenal and Man utd. We simply have to beat them, Norwich and Sunderland, and maybe get a point or surprise win against Wet spam, a point against arse would be nice too. Three wins would give us more than Leicester had at that point so forget the no-one has ever scenario’s, we would still have a chance if we can begin to play as Reme wants.

    Next up the Jan window, I think Reme knows what he needs and is preparing the the team accordingly. I don’t expect mega signings, Reme took steve melbranque to Lyon to steady a young side so expect something similar, cole being touted at left back and where the money will be spent is up top. Guzan had his best game for ages and actually commanded his area, was that the inclusion of two CH’s that know their business? vs Richards raw ability?? I expect a keeper may come anyhow.

    go on shoot me down ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Andrew- If what Butch was saying is true Tim brought in some and had the job taken away from him. Why that would happen I don’t know but when your targets are Gestede, Lennon,Townsend and Addy I think we can guess. So what we have essentially is Tim didn’t want the foreign lads yet the foreign lads IMO are better quality. One day we may see the what the split was but Tim said he’d been watching, Gestede, Iloris, for years and maybe Richards and Lescott are his?? would be good to know wouldn’t it

  13. Mark – in the voice of Jim Carey ”So your saying there’s a chance” ๐Ÿ™‚

    i must say i have lost a lot of optimism from the last round of games –in my view the other struggler’s are improving much more than we are

    while there are so many points to play for it would be criminal to just give up — however if i am realistic about things we look like the worst side in the prem — again not down to Garde and what he is doing but more with what he currently has to work with

    lets go out and batter the gooners – ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Another good ‘un Ryan, we’re lucky to have so many good leaders.
    It just shows how totally inept Fox is when he gives 5 year contracts to players when not one them can get in the worst team in the clubs history.
    Agree with Mark about the French lads being better than the London crepe that we correctly assumed was coming our way.
    I did suggest Cashley a couple of weeks ago, not that iv’e ever rated him one iota, take his pace away and you’ve got ……. Richardson and he wasn’t actually that quick anyway.

  15. Runtingz,
    Well said. When i started going to VP Arsenal were just another average club, no bigger than the Sheffield teams, but since the mid eighties they’ve adopted a fiscal policy thats suited to a 21st century club with ambition and nous. New stadium, multi national squad, just lacking a top manager, Jose would have won 6 doubles if he was in charge at Arsenal.

  16. steamer – i must say i went of jose after his stint at real

    he has shown that if like fergie he can buy some of the worlds best he can build a top side , however he is useless at bring through kids or developing players
    too much flair doesnt suit his hard working style – i.e Shurle and de bryune shown the door

    i think wenger is the best manager in the world and for him to have the foresight to plan and get his club into a new stadium while maintaining champions lge is amazing (all his idea and planning)

    also the football philosophy is 2nd to none – if madrid had got there wish to get him he would have matched barca due to the calibre of players couple with the oley football side midrid have been missing for many years – imo of course

  17. Runtingz

    I think its a reflection of how I played myself I wouldn’t give up and I didn’t care how good the opposition was I backed myself totally. It was competition and I like a bit of that ๐Ÿ™‚

    If we could find a few quality players with that attitude the others would follow, I honestly think at their age they are a bit too fragile mentally. Ronaldo truly believes he’s the best player in the world
    and he acts that out, maybe we need acting lessons.

    Should be interesting as Garde must be the foremost expert on arsenal tactics after Wenger, its his dad after all ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. KMAC now that was some team selection from him

    been having a debate at work as to how the best player in the world is and also the best player ever

    my picks Neymar – currently the best in the world – reason – scored and created more goals than messi or ronaldo at his current age than they did — and the biggy for me neymar does exactly what he does for country as for club – in fact the world stage is his stage

    the same goes for pele who was a star amongst stars at the age of 17 on the international stage and at the time when top top notch players were 10 a penny

    any thoughts

  19. Mark

    I’m not angry or fearfull… looking forward to the champ, think we will do ok and be nice to win a few games! Nor am i over reacting (see league table)! Im just resigned…..seen enough footy to know we aint staying up.

    Agree about mentality, we are so weak physically and mentally.
    Cant stand jose, a 2 year a job money manager.

  20. Mark King – WTF are you talking about?

    Have we lost our bottle? Too right we have lost our bottle. We have no bottle left.

    Aston Villa is f**king appalling.

    We are useless.

    5 years of absolute s**t.

    We are a joke.

    Our home record is a disgrace.

    Our away record is a disgrace.

    Our goals record is embarrassing.

    We are actually very good at conceding goals.

    The next time you watch Vila have a pen a paper at the ready. Make a note of all the mistakes that we make in a game. You will be shocked at a number of times we give the ball away, defensive errors and the number of shots we have on goal.

    But you are right. Let’s get Sissoko back – that will make us Champions League Contenders!!

  21. interesting Andrew – most people here say the same but i don’t see how Messi can be when he goes onto the international stage he is far from the best ever and that is the highest stage of football

  22. Richard S -I don’t need to mate I watch every painful moment doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed and at the moment there is still room to do that before we go down the gurgler so I’m not going to give up as yet. Champions League Contenders? I’ll take 17th.

    As for the best player all good picks runtingz but I wish George Best was In the prem and could of played at a few world cups.
    I also think there are as many great defenders that deserve the title but it always seems to be the attacking third that get a mention.

  23. Runtingz,
    Busby said Di Stefano as did Maradona.
    Brian Glanville mentions Juan Schiaffino a lot.
    Fair to say it ‘aint Richardson.
    Attackers –
    1 – Di Stefano
    2 – Maradona
    3 – Messi
    4 – Garrincha
    5 – Kubala
    6 – Luis Suarez (Spain ).
    7 – Buffon
    8 – Beckenbauer
    9 – Scirea
    10 – Puskas
    11- Rivelino
    12 – Hagi.
    13 – Cruyff
    14 – Neeskins
    15 – Gullit

  24. good shout for georgie best Mark – pele said he was the best for a few years of his career

    steamer no pele ? – great list though Di Stefano was a beast as was Puskas

    Franco Baresi was a player that always amazed me with his positional sense and timing of a tackle

  25. Gazza ? what did he ever do apart from not getting sent off after the worst foul in an FA cup final. Media myth. Even Taylor dropped him for Sid.
    Bobby Moore ? 100 meters in 12 minutes cr*p in the air had the turning capacity of the Ark Royal.

  26. Runtingz,
    Very good but overated IMO.
    The thing that Scirea had over Baresi was he could attack as good as he could defend, died ina car crash while scouting for Juventus.

  27. Pele FIFA World Cup: 1958, 1962, 1970

    Worldยดs most successful Top Division Goal Scorer: 541 goals

    Worldยดs most successful Top Division Goal Scorer: 541 goals

    Guinness World Records: Most FIFA World Cup Winnersโ€™ Medals[183]

    all this and more in a time when flair players were not protected or wrapped in cotton wool as they do in the modern game and defenders were good at defending and were happy to snap your legs

    i can’t see past Pele myself but someone please convince me

  28. yes i think because he didn’t play in Europe means some may think what he done in the game wasnt all that but i think he was the most amazing player i have watched

  29. Only played in Micky Mouse Leagues, when he played for Brazil he had Gerson, Rivelino, Tostao, Garrincha, Nilton Santos,Jairzinho and Djalma Santos. When he played in NASL Steve Hunt won the best player award. Not sure about him playing in 1962, Amarildo was in his position.

  30. One thing that stands out to me is the ability to ride a tackle, no diving just the skill to role with it and carry on. Players today seem to lack that balance, Jack Grealish has it if he can be arsed

  31. Saw him at VP in that midweek game. Think Herbert was trying to convince him he invented the bicycle kick. He was at Arsenal the day we won the League, bet he didn’t ask where Herbs was.

  32. Dick Scratcher ,, best player l’d ever seen in a Ridgemere Social F.C shirt . could play defence , midfield or centre forward and still holds a record in the Coronation Premier , and could give steamer a run for his money after in the club talking bollox .

  33. Steamer,

    You are obviously a legend to able to name virtually the same list of payers that I would for the best in the world.

    I also agree that Gascoine was not fit to lace most their boots. He was a top player for a very short time.

    Villa are in a very strange place at the moment, but I am impressed with Garde and his attitude, humour and down to earth beliefs. I really hope he can turn it round over the coming weeks

  34. steamer
    sunday afternoon channel 4 super football super players
    ac milan with 3 dutch men in their prime gullit play anywhere rijkard much the same and my personal favourite centre forward van basten cut down in his prime the goal he got for holland euro 1988,what a volley ,the rest of team wherent bad baresi hand up costacurta maldini donadoni think anncelotti was in as well.was it RED STAR BELGRADE had great side before all the balkan wars

  35. nobody mention we are away to wycombe in the cup
    just watching pal veverton we are light years behind the two of them but for gabbbys fall over and miss,guzan and clarks f**k ups we would have come away with all 3 points

  36. Watching cabaye. Nothing srand out but he does not stop talking and arranging players. Just told wickam to calm down after getting bookef. We have nothing like it. No leaders or proper men as lambert would say.

  37. James G,
    What a wonderful team AC were.
    Kojaks got two now.
    Red star beat Marseille in the EC Final. Savicevic, Mikhailovich and Jugovich were MF and Darko Pancev CF.
    Me too, i hope he sticks with us and we show him some loyalty.
    Knocking on heavens door mate.

  38. Kosak scored 2 well taken goals actually.

    On Gazza, have England had a more singularly influential player than him in their team? He was a talisman for us in Italia 90 and if by chance we had made the final could of been our maradona. I will always remember him for that and not his flaws.

  39. Mark,
    I remember Italia 90 for England being outplayed by Belgium and Egypt and scraping VERY lucky wins against them but all you hear about is the Jeermany game. And if Chris Waddle was an international player then so is my granny.

  40. Steamer-
    so do I but wasn’t it better than going out at the group stage? Anyhow it was revenge for Maradona. Right now I think I’d take 11 lucky wins for the Villa

  41. Steamer nothing beats the dying fly – and that sally James has a lot to answer for in my misguided youth
    there is only a few years between us so i will see you at the pearly gates steamz
    love it Jen ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. Good to see that at last we may be near to having a full squad to pick from, which must be a first for a long long time….

    Let’s hope that Remi can pick a team that can pay with heart and confidence, and VTID attitude for over 90 minutes…!!!

    It would be great to chalk up our first home win of the season..!!!

    Can’t believe it is December and we are still looking for our first home win!!!

  43. wonder if kosak will get a chance, it hasn’t looked good for him but they keep playing him so he must have a chance. Celtic were watching him again last night

  44. Decent article in football365 about God, more focussed on addiction but you can tell it was written by a non-Villan because he doesn’t have the concept of how highly revered Paul McGrath is, even if we do call him god.

    Yet to meet a Manu fan old enough to talk about him and wax lyrical about his performances which suggests he was part of the utd machine that wasn’t hugely successful in comparison with prem league years or just unappreciated.

    Going for a draw on Sunday to build on the Saints game albeit still not enough but more than most relegation candidates will get against Arsenal.


  45. Nice to see the Manc rat brothers start off with a defeat, can’t see them lasting long abroad, English footy is about their level.
    Ferguscon reckoned Bruce and Pallister were better CD’s that PM which shows what a knob he was, won those titles by intimidation and the two lucky Champions Lge wins Untied shouldn’t even have been there ( err CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ) and even then both the opposition teams hit the woodwork twice.

  46. The Telegraph did a list of the top 50 (or 100 ? ) players to play in the EPL and McGrath wasn’t on it, and they call themselves experts. Ledley King, Phil Neville and crepe like that, amazing.

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