What seemed like a very short close-season came to an end yesterday as Villa hosted relegated Hull City in the first game of a crucial campaign. It all started off well enough with Gabby Agbonlahor putting Villa up 1-0 on seven minutes, and it seemed as though Villa were going to score for fun. Alas, Villa don’t score for fun, Hull found their feet, and 30,000-some home supporters left Villa Park deflated by the final 1-1 scoreline.

I was deflated. But after watching the highlights again, I did find some encouragement.

The Good
Gabby scored. After much debate on the merits of him versus Hogan, they were both included, and it was Hogan at the top, Gabby playing wide and deeper. He made the most of it and looked better than he has for a long time. He proved me wrong enough, for a week at least.

The rest of it is a funny one. Throughout the majority of the first half, everything looked fine. I liked the formation, as the players seemed to be flourishing. They were working hard, fitness looked good, and they created several chances. The game should’ve been over at 35 minutes.

The play leading up to Gabby’s first chance was quality, quick and assured, and Lansbury played him through beautifully. Hogan’s run pulled the defense to leave leave Gabby open for a very confident finish on the goal. Hogan’s dribble into the box was only just the slightest of nudges away from a clean chance. Lansbury’s scuffed effort followed an unkind bounce. Elmo’s deflected ball into Hogan showed the right understanding and Hogan was only just unable to connect. He also had a lovely flick to Gabby that required a perfect intervention that most days would’ve yielded a penalty.

In short, I was writing a very different post-match summary in my mind during the half. And yet, as many of us likely felt starting just before the interval, there was the nagging doubt resulting from being just one goal to the good. Would it once again be a tale of two halves?

The Bad
It was indeed a tale of two halves. Whatever Leonid Slutsky had to say during the intermission, Hull came out looking a different team. And as they came at Villa, one would hope playing into our hands, we were unable to do much of anything but finally concede.

Was this a result of Bruce’s instructions, or just a natural swing in intensity that took the players by surprise? Bit of both, probably, and perhaps their own lingering doubts about being just 1-0 up.

It has to be said that we did finish on the front foot, and I really thought a winner was coming in the last 15. And it was there for the taking when Andre Green missed an absolute sitter. I honestly think he was surprised the ball made its way through to him. Onomah missed a more difficult chance, but would’ve been inches offside anyway. Terry’s flick-on to him, following a good delivery from Lansbury, was the sort of quality touch you expect from a player like JT.

The Ugly
I don’t want to be harsh here, and really, it could just go under “bad,” but what looked like Villa bossing proceedings ended up looking more like Villa failing to take advantage of a poor 35 minutes from Hull.

And here I had been thinking, “Bruce has got it right, and we might well be on our way.”

But in the end, the arc of the game was all too familiar. On top early, unable to capitalize, coming out flat in the second and conceding.

Final Verdict
As you can tell, I’m rather conflicted. A draw wasn’t the worst result in the world, obviously, and you can’t read too much into one match. Our most dangerous player, Jonathan Kodjia, wasn’t on the pitch. Neither was the potential moment of magic from Jack Grealish. As many noted post-match, there wasn’t much threat on goal from the edge of the box, and Grealish does provide that. Lansbury had a couple of opportunities and played some very good balls. And there was no Jedinak, who just gets things done, generally, but wouldn’t have been as advanced as Bacuna. Whelan had a bit of an up-and-down day, but did show a lot of what you’d have hoped he’d bring.

Steve Bruce rightly pointed out that the team can’t rely on Kodjia. And Dr. Tony took to Twitter again to say he was “bothered” by both the result and issues he’d thought they’d resolved. Touch cryptic there, but I think it summed up what most of us thought.

As many have observed, the substitutions may have come a bit late. Green and Onomah had an impact, and Green could’ve won it. A couple of players will be wondering how the loanee made it on before them seeing as he’s only just arrived.

At any rate, we could’ve been looking at this one quite differently. It also looked like Hull had pretty much given all they had to get level, and Slutsky was content to get out with a draw.

I might’ve thought, besides Green, that either Hourihane or Bjarnason could’ve come on when Villa needed an injection of energy. I didn’t have a problem with Samba coming on as a target. Might’ve seemed a bit desperate, but wasn’t exactly uninspired at that stage of the game.

Does Green start? I would think probably yes, at some point. On balance, I don’t think Gabby will have a lot of days like he did yesterday first half. But he did have an impact initially. A bit of clairvoyance would’ve seen Green come on to start the second, at least. He does need more minutes, bottom line.

I could also understand the thinking behind putting Bacuna out there. However, I know loads of supporters are done with Bacuna and would say it was a typical day for him—I understand and can’t say I disagree.

Bacuna aside, I feel a bit better about the match than I did yesterday. Which isn’t to say I’m not bothered that the game followed the pattern it did. But on balance, if we did that week-in, week-out, took just one more chance and didn’t cede the initiative quite so firmly for such a large spell, we’ll likely come away with more wins that last year. As always, the question will be just how many wins versus dropped points.

And my son did have a great experience…loved the banter, the fans, and the atmosphere. Disappointed we didn’t close it out, of course, but still enjoyed his first visit to one of the shrines of English football.

Over to you.

Comments 178

  1. you mentioned tonys tweet JC but he did put up two, both fortune cookie cryptic

    @Dr_TonyXia

    Still
    bothered about the game,not just result but some issues thought we’d
    solve though still positive&confident we can make the season.#UTV

    10:46 AM – Aug 6, 2017

    &

    @Dr_TonyXia

    From my
    entrepreneurial experiences, a good firm depends on teamwork not
    singles,no complaints2others. We all need stick together4good AV!

  2. Yeah, the second one I just didn’t know what to make of, to be honest.

    I mean, teamwork, sure, every team needs that. But the part about ‘singles’ and no complaints to others? Beyond Bacuna, not sure who was being singled out?

  3. JC- you mentioned the back-heal that gabby received from Hogan but got tackled/fouled well did you notice the one for his Goal? you have to watch carefully but Huttons cross was heading into the six yard box but hogan gives it the deftest of touches with the bottom of his right boot and it then rolls along just outside the six yard area to the onrushing Gabby, I think if he had not touched it it would have hit the hull player marking lansbury in the middle and not reached Gabby . I have watched it about 20 times and I can defo see the ball deviate and Hogan do a little hop as the ball comes to him. Hutton has been given the assist though.

    https://youtu.be/gzpK4DZNOwM

  4. Ha…yeah, Dr. Tony has a way with words, doesn’t he?

    And indeed, I should’ve mentioned the little backheel on Gabby’s goal. From the front , you can clearly see what looks like a touch and the ball does move. From the side, it’s much harder to see and almost looks as if the Hull defender might’ve had a touch.

    But I do think he rolled it along. He’s not selfish, and seems to have pretty good awareness.

  5. JC -If I was Bruce I would give hogan a run against Cambridge with either the spurs lad or Ohare in behind him, just a half, I think it might shine a light on the goal drought

  6. Interesting thought, Mark. I was thinking he should be rested, but what you say also makes sense, especially time with O’Hare and limit him to a half.

    I certainly would want to see Green, Davis, RHM, O’Hare, and Doyle-Hayes getting plenty of minutes. You’d have to think Hourihane, Bree, and Bjarnason would play.

    Oh, and from the previous thread, when I wondered who Bruce is talking about with players leaving, it may well be pointed toward McCormack and Amavi. Dense of me.

  7. john c
    upgrades new players but bruce still picks the old relics of premier league football
    another disturbing stat apart from green villa didnt own any player under 26 who featured in 14 players that played

  8. Thanks for the summary, John.
    Good replies from young Mark too.
    I actually enjoyed the first half but obviously our team was profligate.
    Good to see CIA wasn’t satisfied, he will keep the pressure on. Villa needs to win matches.
    If Gabby can consistently score 1 goal a match, he’ll cover many a past transgression.
    Thanks again to yourself and JL for writing. Nice to see Brazil, Droyd and Frem commenting recently.

  9. JC,

    Yes, I can agree with pretty much all of your article.

    Interesting suggestion by Mark about Hogan playing tomorrow and the players he suggests to support him. But that, however, would not (by itself) answer the grind of the Championship.

    Hogan clearly isn’t fitting into Villa’s pattern too well though there were the couple of sparks to hold onto. Also, as we’ve noted that Bruce needs to bring on subs “earlier”, perhaps the subs s/b of the younger generation type. to support Hogan. When the opposition gets tired, bringing on youngsters with imagination could be just the thing to enable Hogan to create havoc. But subs need to make an earlier appearance so that they have time to get into the game.

    My goodness, if we could get a substitution system working to replicate Saturday’s first 30 minutes all through the match it could be wonderful stuff to watch.

  10. Jl- as Jc wrote yesterday hogan has great awAreness able to make decisions quickly in flow, more than all our players bar maybe Elmo and Jt . That’s why ohare matches up, he has it in spades very intelligent in his play scores from edge of the box and in it and has multiple assists and tougher than jack ever will be. If he isn’t the answer I give in 🙂

  11. I think O’Hare is worth a go. If he can combine well with Hogan that’s a big worry lifted. SB should be bold and give it a twirl. If it doesn’t work, ces’t la vie. If it does he’s prevented a coronary or two…or more.

  12. utd chap at work just rang me.

    miserable sod who has nothing good to say. said he was bored so decided to watch a crappy team play sat night!!

    said he was impressed with Lansbury and Hogan and we moved the ball well.

    didn’t watch 2nd half and couldn’t belive we didn’t win it

  13. Mark,

    But would the youngsters be able to match the kind of play we saw Sat in the first 30 minutes?

    They’re lacking experience and would probably take 2 or 3 games before they could settle in. So it’s a bit early to suggest they start i.m.o.

    The question is “when is the right time?” for them to be brought in, and I feel it should be as subs when the old ‘uns get a bit fagged. Not too late in the game, though.

    That way they’ll settle in and if they look particularly good *then* start ’em. When I say “they” I mean 1 or 2. I don’t believe you should play too many youngsters at one throw.

  14. Sorry a bit late to the party with my comments, as has been stated already so in the briefest possible terms for me

    1st half – excellent for the first competitive game, Terry looked head and shoulders above everyone on the park, Gabby took his goal well, some very good interplay at pace but probably the final third needed a bit more accuracy of passing.

    2nd half – and I’ve been saying it on FB since the game finished, Bruce should have seen the swing in the balance of play earlier and made a substitution not only to give Villa a refresh and restore the impetus from the first half but also the time taken to make the sub could have put Hull off their stride and given the initiative back to us. The last 10 minutes were classic dinosaur tactics, throw on some pace and a big man.

    Just recall Man U at their height under Ferguson, no panic, stick to the tactics, they were always confident they’d score, not our lot, the manager either doesn’t trust his players, doesn’t trust his tactics or sees no other option than to lift the ball, which is meat and drink for Championship defenders.

    Overall, it’s the same feeling as last year watching Villa unable to get a stranglehold of a game, tempered by the fact that there are another 45 to come plus the return of Kodija and any other possible arrival.

    Elmohamady, I thought was playing football by numbers, get down the wing and cross, we don’t have the height in the box to make this a worthwhile tactic, he needs to realise this and be more clever by taking on the fullback and changing the angle such as cutbacks

    Whelan, as he is with Ireland accomplished in doing the dirty work, rode his luck challenge wise but kept the back four protected and pushed Villa forward.

    Bacuna, sorry while he contributed nothing beyond wayward passing, it was still a shame to see him boo’d off, just applaud the player coming on and let him think he was being clapped off

    Hogan, what a clever footballer in terms of movement, hopefully his head doesn’t drop and he has the balls to stand for himself and demand better (different) service as there is goals there

    Gabby seems to be symptomatic of when Villa start to lose control of the game, Gabby starts to disappear, granted you can’t influence too much from the wing and need to be an out ball, so an easy substitution decision in order to get control of midfield back and a younger player with pace can make the wing runs from a deeper position. On the up side, he scored, could have had a second but for the keeper’s posterior, let’s hope for more in terms of late runs into the box.

    Roll on Colchester and as per MK’s comment O’Hare as a 10 behind Hogan even for a half would be great to see, it will either eliminate O’Hare or make us realise we have a 10 already there and a player who understands what Hogan likes.

  15. Well, have now watched the match from start to finish and these are the notes I made:

    First few minutes Lansbury should have scored, and then Gabby scored his first with a great ball from Hutton, slightly deflected from Hogan, then a few minutes later should have scored again, but for the outstanding goalkeeper dropping his knee slightly to prevent the ball going through his legs.

    Good ball from Hogan to Lansbury on about 20 minutes, and again, he should have scored…

    Around 26 minutes good chance for Hogan, but great goalkeeping again, prevents him.

    31 minutes Hogan unlucky again with a good chance, which with more sharpness, should have been in the net.

    Hull young defenders now settling in well, especially 34 Aina.

    After 62 minutes Hull score an excellent and well deserved goal with a great cross to the far side of the box where young Jarred Bowen is unmarked and able to pick his spot…..Oh why oh why cant Villa do the same…..(This is how Gabby got his…..) but nine times out of ten we put in crosses with no big men to meet them……

    77 minutes a very poor Lansbury free kick….what happened to the free kicks that Bacuna used to be good at when he first came…

    Onamah comes on for Hogan….looks ok, but is it the right change..??
    I would have preferred to see Bjarnasson brought on for Whelan who was not particularly having a good game.

    Green then completely fails with the best chance, trying to head when maybe he could have just chested it into the net.

    Most of our set pieces, the forwards are too bunched, making it easy to defend, instead of stretching the defence, and rarely is there anyone on the overlap for the ball that travels too far.

    Onamah looks ok, but needs game time, but Terry looked really exasperated coming off the pitch, but Hutton deserved his MOM, and Johnstone also had a really good game, but perhaps Amavi would have added more over Taylor in this match.

    Samba coming on was not the best idea with two minutes to go, if he was going to use him, he should have been on a lot sooner when we were pressurising towards the end.

  16. dor
    watch rte soccer tonight see the goal macnamee scored for derry v shamrock rovers ,10 for him for season his mate mceneff has 9 as well in league only imagine that 2 midfielders scoring double figures

  17. will do JG

    JL

    Re Bruce’s admittance, do you think that he’s correct in suggesting he should have brought Samba on sooner or should he actually have got the midfield back in control of the game and not look to panic for the last four minutes.

  18. Darren,

    I don’t know that I would have brought Samba on at all, to be frank, but I don’t think it was a bad idea. Probably about 5 or 10 minutes too late though.

    Yes, the midfield needed to be revitalised earlier (much earlier), as you suggest.

  19. this will test the squad and some old legs

    “Villa now face a hectic fixture pile-up with three away games in six days starting at Colchester United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.”

  20. MK,

    I am in agreement with Dublin, as Gabby is definitely looking sharper, and but for a great reaction from Mcgregor, would have scored two goals on Saturday.
    Now with Terry as captain, it may also provide more inspiration to him, but it is also up to Bruce, as to how he plays him.

    I feel disappointed over Bacuna as well, as he may have been poor at times, but again he did not play in a natural position, but did get through a lot of work, which means that the mistakes are more noticed……if you don’t do much you do not get noticed…!!

    However, now it is apparent that he is not happy with his situation at Villa, and wants away, so that he can show what he is capable of, and perhaps where fans do not boo at the slightest excuse.

    Three matches in six days, and all away. At the end of them, we should have a much clearer idea of what Bruce is liable to achieve this season. Some more clinical play and sharper shooting and it could all look very different by the time we play Norwich at Villa Park..!!

  21. PP- I though Gabby played ok but 20-25? not for me, the first attempt he did well to make the run then switched feet to his left in the box when he had the entire right side to aim at or Hogan to pass to, sounds harsh I know but the shot was saved then hits the keep in the groin and it looked form the positioning that it could easily hit the side netting.

    Hutton played well overall but even the cross for the goal was into the side or Behind Hogan, there was no way it was for gabby and until Hogan flicked it out it was heading toward the defender in the middle tussling with Lansbury, the touch put three Hull players out of the picture, as he flicks it Hogan instantly looks across then runs to congratulate Gabby who was to busy running about to Thank him 🙂

    I know it sounds like I am having a go but very early on in that match I thought Hull looked very Poor, now I know why, three débutantes in defence and 2 were 20-21. The next few games are against much sterner sides, Cardiff particularly are a tough side. I don’t think we will get an easier start than that Hull Match and we may suddenly see why that first 30 looked so good, lets hope not, I want us up and Bruce gone.

  22. Mark: ” I thought Gabby played ok but 20-25? not for me”

    You didn’t think that Gabby had anything in his tank to score at all a week ago! 😀

    20-25 might be an exaggeration, certainly as Codger will claim chief scoring rights, but 10 to 15 is certainly ‘on’.

  23. JL- I sincerely Hope so along with similar from Hogan and Kodjia 😉 but judging on the way we play he is going to have to conjure up a lot himself and for me he’s not sharp enough up top to do that, we will see, If he gets open goals every game like that one then he could get 40+ 🙂

  24. Mark,

    A goal is a goal no matter how it comes, and how many chances have we seen like that go begging in recent years? Not to mention Green’s late in the game…

  25. Not many Jl generally as we don’t generate a lot of clear cut open goal chances which we could of at least twice more on Saturday if gabby and Lansbury had the awareness to look up and see hogan in space. You will see hogan raise his arms after each one as it must really p*ss him off and you even see Lansbury acknowledge hogan post scuffed shot.

  26. .. and (particularly) Hogan’s miss from Elmo’s pass.

    Sorry – for a specialist striker that is the one other first half chance – as well as Green’s – that should have been home. The other chances (including Hogan’s other) were 50-50.

  27. Well I suggest you go and look at it hogan judges the flight of the ball from Ellis position and it takes a deflection meaning he had to adjust to the new flight of the ball which looped up and it would be spinning more than from a normal cross. He then tried to steer it to the LH side of goal while off balance as RH was covered no easy task but I don’t expect you’ll see it like that 😉

  28. My mindest is about going up..thats why I’m annoyed….can we afford to drop 2 points at home like that if we want to go up?

    Now we have our weakness coming up….away games.

    they have been targeted for improvement straight away by the doc….genuinely belive if they don’t pick up asap bruce is a goner.

  29. Mark: I’m sure you’re in love with Hogan! He can do no wrong? 😀

    Archie: Well, I thought he played a pretty good game, generally in the mix and playing the odd very good pass – especially that one that put Gabby through for his first attempt on goal. No, despite Bacuna’s energy, I think he would be the one to stand down. Once he gets towards the penalty area he seems lost…

  30. Lansbury does contribute just not in a Bruce side, you may have noticed we’ve signed a number of players who played well before joining us.

    The problem is Bruce buys good players that don’t fit the various systems he has tried. Just imagine having a manager with a defined system who bought players that could slot into those positions where the existing player could be improved upon.

    It’s almost like rocket science, if you were Bruce.

  31. Dor- yes the players he inherited were not right for his system and a lot of the players bought appear no to be, maybe round and co wanted players that could be sold or used in a more expansive system if we went up?

  32. Jl- I truly mean what I am saying about those chances being more difficult than gabbys. A more experienced player might of put greens chance away and at the time a slight nudge from the defender I thought may have put him ahead of the ball that was curling in to the back post from behind him at that point.

    If you want to see what I mean about gabbys first chance switching to his left and going for the near post have a look at hogans goal in Germany from memory which was similar .The only player I have seen good at that was Henry who did that a lot .

  33. has anyone missed as many one on ones as gabby,cant think of anymyself
    we dont need anymore players just some one fit to use them straight and simple 442 at home and 451 away
    johnson
    bree terry chester taylor/amavi
    elmo/adoamh whelan houriane green
    hogan lansby
    kodja in for lansby when fit
    are good enough with right coach

  34. I thought Lansbury had a good game. First time I’d really seen him in advanced role, and it suits him better. He is capable of playing a nice through ball and playing it quickly. He can only get better the more he’s played like that.

    To DOR’s point, Gabby’s “influence” is a pretty good indicator. He may be a player only suited to a half if he’s putting in a shift. You either try and start fast with him, or you bring him on to change things up.

    The upside to the bloated squad is that Bruce does have options. You could always start Green down the left, bring Gabby on later, or vice versa. Maybe Gabby can get himself to a full 90s worth of running (he was covering a lot of ground in the 1st, moreso as a ‘winger’ than he would’ve been asked to as a forward), maybe not. Regardless, he’s still not a long-term answer and shouldn’t be considered an automatic starter, at least not for long.

    Green, O’Hare, Bjarnason all will bring as much or more energy for longer periods of time.

  35. JC: “he’s still not a long-term answer and shouldn’t be considered an automatic starter, at least not for long.”

    It would be difficult to keep him out if he’s doing the job! Last week everyone doubted his worth and then put in a storming first-half. Perhaps he might get better? 😉

  36. Mark,

    You can manufacture all the situations that you want, but I’m afraid I don’t see that much in Hogan.

    Give me a Gabby in Sat’s first-half form any time, I’m afraid. Again, we just see things differently. Ah well, so long as we make progress playing-wise…

  37. Jl- you could try looking at all the chances without thinking about who they fell to ? That’s what I am doing, gabby took his goal well his first chance he swapped feet a mistake from that position regardless of who took the shot.

    Manufacture? Bit of an iinsult mate 🙂

    Gabby gets an easy chance and takes it the other chances were more difficult to finish bar greens maybe. No manufacturing required

  38. Mark,

    Well maybe the word “manufacture” is not quite the right word, so apologies for misusing it.

    As for “looking at chances”, I’m not really on about that so much as the kind of player Hogan is. He has some interesting aspects to his play but I just don’t find him dynamic enough for Villa. But that’s just my view, you have your own! 🙂

  39. JL- that ok mate perhaps you were being Churlish? 🙂 The reason I suggest taking name of the player away from the chance and looking at it dispassionately You stated that Hogan should of scored when I pointed out Elmo’s cross was deflected thats all.

    All I can say is Gabby reacts not anticipates, thats the difference for me, if he had that in his locker or understood Hogan better he would score a lot more, maybe with time together they will.

    I was always taught to shoot at the far post when angling in from the side and it makes sense, I think Hogan is far quicker thinker than any forward we have and I can see how aware he is of defenders and his own players, if they were half as aware I don’t think you would saying he’s not Dynamic enough. Anyhow his dynamic quick thinking and reactions enabled Gabby too notch who took his chance well, and if you look he took it with his right foot this time 😉

  40. No I don’t think Bruce has anything to do with a villa way, if he has I think I’ll pack in now 😉

    This is why, its all in the wording “trying” ? you don’t try you just implement a way of playing (if you know what that is going to be of course?) and Kieth says “working on” not has a blueprint. Brucie is doing it his way or in other words he’s remit is get us up.

    “Aston Villa are trying to implement “the Villa way” style of play from the Under-12s right up to the first team.

    Chief executive Keith Wyness revealed that director of football Steve Round is working on a blueprint to develop a philosophy for the club’s teams.”

  41. watched youth match last night in which the manager of one teams was there,league of ireland, he had youth teams playing his way out from the back every one knew what to do,so noo point in round trying to dream up style if he is going to let bruce manage first team unless that is round way put on a 6 foot 5 inch centre half to try and get a winner at the expense of midfielders strikers

  42. One would expect Villa to beat a tier 4 side easily, but who knows with Villa there days, and who ever knows how a domestic cup match will turn out?
    JL’s love child, aka, Gabby is being rested. That indicates he will be playing in the weekend.
    Hopefully, SB plays lots of young players, which, I know I’m not alone in believing, would suit Hogan up front, especially O’ Hare. It is an opportunity not to be wasted.
    Enjoy the game. It’s at 6:30 am here, a civiliized time for a change.

  43. Great article MK, a very balanced view on how the game was played out, we can but hope it is by design as opposed to the formation finding its natural balance, probably means we need a natural left winger with intelligence to cover midfield and Hourihane in place of Bacuna to allow either Hourihane or Lansbury to provide the link play into Hogan and give Whelan an opportunity to focus on what he is good at instead of covering the gaps left by Bacuna.

    Despite it being an ideal opportunity to play more kids, I’d like a variation of the same team to continue tonight, with Green and Hourihane instead of Gabby and Bacuna, if we are 3 up then give the likes of O’Hare a run out for Lansbury as an example.

  44. Mark,

    I was going fine reading that article (the link you provided) – until about 3 paras in!

    It partly shows the fallacy in relying on stats to come to the conclusion that Bacuna is similar in performance to Elmo! In practice, I see two different players – one who shows signs of first-team worth and the other who doesn’t.

    And about Gabby and Hogan he states some similar things to you … which (as you know) I don’t see that way.

    Anyway, I agree with the point about Green bringing in a worry for Hull that they then had to be concerned about two wings instead of just one, and the general view of the writer’s last para.

    But as to all that about Hogan linking up with Elmo and showing good movement is all a bit academic for me. The writer (as you do) chooses to find more fault in Gabby than Hogan – but that’s maybe because I’m the only soldier in step! 😀 Hogan doesn’t look (to me) the answer to Villa’s needs there. When Codger comes back I’d like to see Codger and Gabby as being the primary two up top.

    But the article backs up (in his view) my +ve stance – that it should all settle: we have the players.

  45. JL- At the very least it backs up that I am not making this stuff up, I can see why you favour gabby and see him as more dynamic but as we are supposed to have been using (grealish) a No 10? that leans more to Hogan being the no9 hence gabby on the wing, so it appears that not only that writer and few on this blog but Bruce also that see’s it that way, no bad thing IMO 😉

    As for when Kodger comes back? if bruce has said we are building around a Grealish type then we won’t see two forwards.

    By dynamic do you mean relys on speed? 🙂

    The Bacuna bit is more about where he shows up, which is out wide even when playing central, if you look at the diagram it shows this.

    Dor- I agree mate but through gritted teeth because its unlikely O’Hare will be fast tracked I think it would benefit Lansbury who looked leggy to get game time and form an understanding, if we are well up by the half I would also give RHM a run for hogan. Hourihane is made to play that Box to box that Bacuna was asked to do or Lyden the forgotten man. I see it more like Wheelan and Jedi when he returns with Wheelan advancing? if I know Bruce at all, we did sort of play 4231 with similar results to RDM but wrestling the game back which is an improvement. could of been done sooner and better but at least we did.

    Iana- I would think Gabby Is cream crackered, I cannot see him doing whole pitch sprints for 46 games nor should he have to. Gabbys body type to me suggests he has to be careful of Hamstring tears, and flat out sprints are always good for them.

  46. Mark: “At the very least it backs up that I am not making this stuff up”

    I didn’t say that nor did I mean to infer it. We just disagree! 🙂

    As for when Kodger comes back? if bruce has said we are building around a Grealish type then we won’t see two forwards.

    He’s also said that he prefers 4-4-2. Which can be modified easily to 4-3-1-2 to accommodate Grealish. I suspect that’s what he really meant, going by his preferences.

    By dynamic do you mean relys on speed?

    No – not just. He has a general ability to upset defenders too. Did you note that when on one occasion he back-tracked a defender to retrieve the ball he accelerated so fast that he virtually caught up with him in 4 strides. For one that has supposed to have lost his pace I thought that impressive.

    Not the world’s greatest, but more straight-forward and willing to impose himself than Hogan to my mind.

    The Bacuna bit is more about where he shows up

    Yes, Mark, I understood that … but I don’t think we needed fancy diagrams to realise that! 😉

  47. JL- just re-read the bit about Bacuna it only suggests he is similar to Elmo ( lets face it we have played him at RB and RW mostly) not his better or even peer, he is typically as you say about gabby a dynamic player rather than an aware thinker like Elmo, football intelligence is lacking. We now have:
    JT, chester, wheelan, Elmo, Hogan, Lansbury, Taylor (can’t speak for Hourihane haven’t seen enough in his preferred position) Theres are at fair few in the Reserves, O’hare, Doyle-Hayes, Suliman, Lyden, Abdo, Mckirdy to name a few that posses this trait IMO which bodes well if used properly.

  48. JL- While Gabbys speed is impressive and his willingness it can be counter productive as the only reason he has to make those tiring sprints is he is not always where he should be, If he was more aware he could drop back or even more obvious Bacuna cover him and Visa versa but they both tried to play in the same space (see useless diagram 🙂 )

  49. JL- Gabby in his youth wasn’t just fast, he was the fastest in football wasn’t he? I remember him leaving players ten yards behind now its 1-2 yards but he doesn’t have the quick thinking always to position himself without getting caught,

    To illustrate when he switches feet in the box for his first chance it was because he looks down at the ball, drop your head and it changes your stride and speed and he ends up going wide and shooting with his left. If he had just continued cutting across goal I suspect he would of either seen Hogan, gone past the keeper or been fouled by the pursuing defender.

  50. Anyone good at fantasy football? my brother who knows nothing about football wants me to pick him one, I however know sod all about Fantasy football and sadly since the Prem has gone through three transfer windows the players in it 🙂 any help will be greatly appreciated, its for his works £20 in winner takes all.

  51. mark

    you need players who will keep clean sheets. assist and score!

    Go for wing backs as your defence…in the modern game they play as wingers so will assist as well as getting clean sheets.

    in mid go for players who assist….take corners and free kicks etc

    strikers – goals!

    some cheap players who could be good are pickford in goal for toffees, tripier as rb for spurs, the new livepool winger salah.

  52. Good morning each,
    With regard to the opinions on SB on this site;
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4772610/Rafa-Benitez-admits-s-preparing-relegation-battle.html
    In the article Benitez states a good manager (sic) can only be as good as the tools at his disposal. Obviously suggesting he needs more quality in his side, fair comment have to agree.
    He also states, provided the players at the club are better than everyone else’s, a less competent manager will achieve a level of success, (top two in the championship?)
    So based on that assumption/theory can our club achieve this season. My view is, we have the squad to win this league, and SB can do it. but the Premier league…..possibly, maybe
    Any thoughts on that and Raffa’s observation on players ability and manager competence.
    Archie

  53. Mark,

    There you go again! A full-blown analysis (on Gabby)! 😉

    I don’t follow football for all that; the basis of football for me is its entertainment value (individual ability as well as fine football). Gabby keeps interested – Hogan doesn’t. Not to say Hogan may not have his virtues, but he’s just not my kind of player. If he had more height then he would be more my player I think. He reminds me (play and size-wise) of Derek Pace a bit (of the 1950s); not a bad player but short of something. And I’m not trying to be funny in my use of ‘short’! 😉

  54. JL- So for days we have been discussing the merits of gabby and Hogan and I have given you my reasons in depth and now it turns out its not about what Gabby can do for the team its about how much he entertains you 🙂 you could of saved me a lot of typing if you had just said that in the first place 😉

  55. Archie- I think we have the players and as Bruce has spent a few bob you have to say he has been allowed to get champs quality at least and has a few more above that level. I don’t have much confidence in him personally as the Russian guy sussed him out turned the game on its had if we are that transparent plenty of better teams will to, as usual Bruce reacts to slowly so you could assume he is not seeing the oppositions changes and how they effect us quickly enough. I think a better manager with this squad would be top two easily, prem I don’t think we are anywhere near that quality.

  56. Archie- one anomaly that I will mention is Bruce has bought potentially more effective players for his style for peanuts compared to Jan, Hull recently got rid of some of his players for good money and hull didn’t spend in the champs much. Sunderland where he spent loads went down hill

  57. Mark: “now it turns out its not about what Gabby can do for the team its about how much he entertains you”

    Very funny. If I have to spell out in full every time what I think then I’d be writing a full-scale essay! 😉

    No, it’s not what simply entertains me, but that for me a Gabby on form i.m.o. is a quality that helps to provide his team with the strength to win! In which case I see his qualities definitely being of a significant influence on the team. When in form, I emphasise.

    I shouldn’t have to explain all that, should I?

  58. Mark,

    No “obviously yes” at all. It should go without saying that as a Villa supporter whatever I say is in accord with what I believe to be in the team’s best interests. Whatever you say at the end of the day I accept as being your version: what those interests are is where we seem to differ and nothing I say or what you say will change that. N’est ce pas?

    Derek Pace and Dave Hickson had potential “if played right”. And so many others. It doesn’t mean (for me at least) that the team has to bend itself to fit one player.

  59. Mark, you say that Bruce reacts really slowly and Slutsky sussed us out and turned the game on its head.
    Doesn’t say a lot for Slutsky then as we had the better of 70 minutes of the game.
    In fairness, Bruce could and should have made changes a bit earlier as he’s admitted.
    The change he regrets leaving too late though is the one to bring on Samba, a change which some on here feel he shouldn’t have made at all (I disagree with them for what it’s worth)

  60. Robbo- could of and admitted her should off, so he dithered then. Slutsky ? We are talking about a manager that came into English football this season, with a side that lost its spine and around 16 players in all. £new defenders in 2 who are 20-21, think he had a lot on his plate no?

  61. HT 1-2 Villa
    Thought team played as individuals, keep losing possession. Conditions with rain and wind are terrible, which probably contributed to goalie’s error for Hogan’s goal. Nice pass from O’Hare to Greene. Greene is giving away too much ball, but he isn’t a lone on that count. Adomah has done well. His play forced the Colchester OG.
    Villa’s midfield and defence has been wanting a few times, which has let Colchester back in. They have scored an own goal and a very good goal. Steer saved a penalty and saved the day on another occasion.

  62. James chester…..immaculate. Such a class act. Hourihan didnt grasp his chance…..odoamah class act.

    one man im glad to see back…albert…..assist king.

    Tough game in difficult conditions.

    Colchester well played

  63. Some good some bad from tonight, atrocious weather, a few looked rusty which is understandable, RHM looks quick and lively, O’hare did very well for me, I would have no hesitation starting him behind Hogan with the first team but no chance that will happen. Thor’s not a LB, the spurs lad ran our midfield with little help from Hourihane, he is just not a DM. Would like to have seen a stronger side out to give O’hare and Hogan some proper service, thought Hogan looked a bit tatered. By the end it was a mess of players playing out of position but we saw it out.

    I would like to see some of the youth 1-2 get game time with the first going forward but I guess that will depend on results and how we play in the next few.

  64. awful night for football ,especially for month of august,
    only seen last half hour liked the look of all youth,plus delighted to see delaet back especially when he can play left back taylor was poor enough v hull,love to see hogan with ohara or spurs player behind him

  65. Launch of a legend? 🙂
    Bruce said after the game:

    “I thought he was terrific.

    “You don’t have to be over 6ft to be a good player and he has shown that.

    “He runs forever and covers an enormous distance.

    “He’s also very clever on the ball and he made our first goal.

    “I’m really pleased and so will he.

    “It’s great that we’ve got some of these youngsters coming through now.”

    O’Hare is from Solihull and has been at Villa since he was a little boy.”

    http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/scouting-report-how-aston-villas-13456533

  66. words are important, so many like to see mine as negative what does Bruces Praise of O’hare say?
    When Bruce spoke about O’hare his thoughts went, Height, runs a lot then he is good on the ball and made a goal, Quite revealing that 🙂

  67. Andrew- #Brucehatesyouth

    “They’re the future of the club, because the situation we find ourselves in at the moment we’re not in the position to spend millions of pounds (on players),” Bruce said.

    “It’s vitally important we’ve got something that can give us a hand coming through and thankfully four or five of them they’re going to have a big part to play going forward.”

    #youthwehavenochoice 🙂


  68. The terrible conditions for playing hold me back from any criticism except for one – Hourihane!

    Some sloppy passing from him. What is up?

    Villa’s biggest highlight for me was Jed Steer! He’s making me wonder whether it was necessary to get Johnstone back!

    de Laet late (confusing!) on but looked quality to me.

    Colchester didn’t olay badly, did they? Some good footie at times.

  69. JL/Mark
    Steer played a big part in that win. Without his saves Villa would have lost. Pleased for O’Hare, hope SB is sincere in what he says and O’Hare prospers.
    The conditions were very poor. Hourihane didn’t seem to influence the match at all apart from the sloppy passing. Ball control wasn’t a positive in general for Villa, maybe the weather.

  70. Iana/JL the weather was a great leveler I think, we were weak down the left with Thor struggling and Green playing in a paddling pool and surprisingly Samba wearing cement boots in the first half. Steer did well all through the pre-season for me but neither dominate their Box with Johnson maybe being the better with the ball and steer the better shot stopper.

    The pitch was best down the middle and If Wheelan had been in then I think we would of won comfortable, I wonder if Hourihane needs to be further up field anyway. I think on Saturday I would start the spurs lad for Bacuna and bring O’hara in for Lansbury or at least on the bench for when he tires, otherwise the same line up to start. Although, either Bree or De-laet could start for me no problem, its the left said that needs reinforcement although Bree looked better than Thor there Taylor should improve if whats in front of him does.

  71. Selfishly, I’d love for O’Hare to declare for Ireland, he’s eligible, having lost Grealish to the U21s (could have been a first team player for us, but I’m not bitter).

    Would have preferred Hourihane further up the pitch linking through the middle with O’Hare and Hogan as I believe their intelligence of movement would have created opportunities, instead the ball was played wide mostly to Bree/Adomah as it was effective, left side severely limited with Thor as left back and Green didn’t seem to fancy it. (Getting slightly worried that Green could become a flash in the pan, love to see him succeed).

    Surprised by Onomah, for a kid, he kept Villa moving throughout the game, always available, kept possession, very mature performance. If it wasn’t for Steer’s heroics, he was my man of the match.

    Fair play to Colchester, a previous Villa side would have capitulated to their attacks which were very effective but for Steer and the Chester/Samba partnership we would have lost, Samba had some moment for the penalty, real rush of blood to the foot that was because the brain must have been starved for him to do that. Tricky game and tricky conditions that we’ve got through.

    Best of luck to Amavi and Bacuna at their new clubs (subject to medicals and paperwork). For all their faults, they played for the Villa!

  72. I hope we take this cup seriously as it provides the second string vital playing time and opportunity to impress. Also it might after the next round let us test out our team against a Prem side, which would be good to see plus we have done well in this cup regardless of the league we have been in, might be an Omen 😉

  73. Well,

    Took me a while to get Sky Go working properly on my laptop last night, but hey ho, did just in time for kick off, and was then able to watch a good old fashjoned cup tie of yester year where everyone was playing and competing in atrocious conditions.

    I really felt for Steve Bruce and his bravery of playing the team that he did, using so many youngsters, but it paid off.

    I could make clinical comments, but I thought generally they all played well, although Hourihane and Hogan were somewhat disappointing. Green I thought played well, but like all the Villa youngsters that were yellow carded, he had to be careful, the same with Samba. It did seem a bit uneven, when Colchester seemed to escape yellows, until the end.

    Jed Steer was outstanding, and I thought Bjarnason, considering his lack of playing time, did well, and got forward when he could. Chester also had an outstanding game.

    I also thought that for once Bruce had it right, as he threw young attacker after young attacker on, believing that on the night, it was no good trying to sit back and defend a slim lead.

    de Laet, was the only worry, but he managed ok in the end, and now can look forward to being on the bench in the near future.

    I will give Bruce his due this time on a very brave line-up and getting the all important win.

  74. Oops!

    Forgot to mention the amazing O’Hare, who is a youngster I have sung the praises of several times before, and I thought he was outstanding, so Jack could now have a real struggle to find his way back after injury.

  75. If anything O’hare has got more about his game, he is not a dribbler but he battles hard and his decision making is razor sharp and usually correct, he see’s the opportunity for a pass and its gone, we have all said Jack can dilly dally about to much, I am betting though the two would be good together.

  76. Hi Mark,
    I agree the players bought in will, I think be more effective. I think SB is with the club for one reason and thats to get us out of this division, which I think he will do. I suspect once he gets his bonus he’ll ajourn to full time golf and good luck to him if he completes his task with Aston Villa F.C.
    Need to win tonight..convincingly.
    Archie

  77. Good morning Mark,
    I wrote that post about 7.00pm last night but got distracted, smoked salmon with fennal and tagletelli and a glass of Trebbiano, saw the post, just, not sent. Anyway a wins a win and I thought we looked good second half after thier intial flurry. We got the ball down and looked good for half an hour and it seemed to deflate Colchester.
    I think a win is priority Saturday lets hope last night is the start.
    Have a good day, Archie

  78. The overall positive from last night is that Bruce now has some food for thought in terms of line up for Saturday, O’Hare and Onomah are knocking on the door to start league games, de Laet and Bree will be angling to remove Hutton.

    Need a natural left winger with experience to bring Green on and we’d have a very balanced, competitive side.

  79. Only got to see the game in bits and pieces…

    Agreed that O’Hare is making a case for playing time in the first team and that Hourihane was not a factor. He needs, as noted, to be played further forward. I guess we can see why he and Lansbury can’t be in the side together. Onomah was a good pick-up.

    DOR, think you’re right about that winger.

  80. JL,

    As one who has been clearly doubting Gabby’s value, I do see your point about what he can bring. And I have noted the value of it in the past. If he can offer what he did against Hull consistently, then I see an argument for him playing. Questions for me are whether he can do that consistently, and whether he’s going to be a 45- or 90-minute player.

    Maybe he is still playing himself into shape. His greatest value right now seems to be either influencing a fast start, or coming on to change things up. We’re still looking for Plan B. If O’Hare doesn’t start, maybe he should be a part of that plan.

  81. Was very impressed, as everyone else has said, with Onamah. Very skilful with the ball and moved it intelligently. He and O.hare, will I am sure feature more in the future.
    It will be interesting to see the starting line-up on Saturday, especially the mid-field, and whether Bruce will go for the jugular to start with, or whether he keeps it very tight for the first 45mins.
    I see Gabby being involved at some stage, and he will probably start.

    Disappointed that a lot of fans seem to be slating Bjarnason for his performance last night, when he had a difficult job to do, and the worst standing water was in the area of the pitch he was playing.
    I don’t think anyone deserved a slating last night. Maybe some fans just need a target for criticism, as in the past with Bennett, Hutton, Bacuna and now Bjarnason. It certainly does not help the player or the team. Especially when they are played out of position. Nice to see Baker played for City last night and scored..!!

  82. paul

    baker also went off inured! standard!

    Im always amazed chester does not get talked about….absouloute class act. professional, hard working and a fine defender. 7 out of 10 every week.

    o’Hare looked tidy and seems hard working. sure he will make the bench.

    biggest plus for me is albert adomah back….absoulute beast for us for assists, and a threat going forward.

    can he play left I wonder and elmo right?

  83. Morning,have I missed anyone?
    Gil…..loan
    VERTOUT……sold
    Baker………sold
    Kojak…..released
    Tish………loan
    Gollini…….still on loan
    Sanchez…..sold
    Cissoko………sold
    Amavi…….sold
    In the departure lounge…Elphick,McCormack.Gary G.Bacuna.
    A very bob in wages saved,a few quid in the bank,and a lot of deadwood shifted who could well block the progress of the youth.There is no quick fix,but we are getting there step by step

  84. PP- I think that thor and samba were poor but he had never played LB before or quite likely in defence. You have to think that with Amavi going Bruce was trying out his options, on that performance I don’t think Thors one. He is more likely to be a wingback but as JT needs that protection too and as we saw with Samba without a solid LB he was exposed.Bruce switched Bree there to have a look too.

    JC- could well be a good plan for when we inevitably come under the cosh Gabby offers an outlet to clear the lines and maybe get those vital 2nd and 3rd goals (presuming we are 1 up 🙂 ) The worrying thing is we are looking at players like Kent from liverpool at LW which would just be competition and not a Mentor for Green, I would rather see him played and gather experience.

    This lad Harvey Knibbs just signed his professional contract plays LW I have not seen him play but highly rated for the U18’s, we are definitely looking though.

    “From the left wing, Harvey Knibbs scored 11 goals and provided two assists in all competitions for the youth side.”

  85. PP: “I don’t think anyone deserved a slating last night.”

    Yep, I pretty well agree with that … except that some of Hourihan’s passing was awful – even in those conditions some passes that should have been straightforward went to the opposition. Other players also had difficulties, but his (for me) stood out more.

  86. Andrew,

    Yes Chester was outstanding as usual, and had to cope with Samba as his partner, and would have much preferred Baker or Terry I am sure.
    MK,
    yes Thor had not played there before for Bruce, and has not really played competitive football for 5/6 months as Bruce pointed out…and really does get my goat over so called fans slating him. He also fought for as many balls as he could and was not afraid to get forward.

    JL,
    I am in agreement with you. Very disappointed in Hourihane. I think he is still finding his feet, and has not played regularly enough with a settled side.

    Although, by contrast, O’Hare and Onamah, fitted in almost immediately, and managed to shine.
    RHM is also going to be pushing Hogan in the near future. There could be a lot of competition for places as these youngsters develop.

  87. There’s been some discussion around the ‘slating’ of players.
    I thought this article summarised how I feel about it very nicely:
    https://7500toholte.sbnation.com/2017/8/10/16123532/the-circumstances-surrounding-the-sale-of-leandro-bacuna-not-a-good-look-for-aston-villa
    When Bacuna was subbed off, there was an ugly bloke in the next block standing up shouting his mouth off in the direction of Bacuna and it was good to see a couple of fans nearby turn on him.
    It’s even easier to be over-critical of players behind the anonymity of a keyboard and it’s a perfect place for inadequate people to try and make themselves feel big.
    It’s perfectly reasonable for fans to point out what they see as shortcomings of players but when critical observations turn to abuse that is wrong and inexcusable every single time and tells us far more about the abuser than the abused.

  88. Well done for picking up that one Robbo.

    I am in agreement with it in general, but have to say that when Bacuna first came to the Villa, he was not a bang average player, in fact he was quite impressive, and had an excellent free kick in him, but unfortunately, his potential was never realised. I am wondering also how much effect the fans have had on several of our players over the last few seasons, when someone has to be made the scapegoat for often paying in what seemed to be a very poor system.
    The improvement in some of our players that have moved on seem to bear this out, and interesting how all the French players could not wait to get away from the toxic atmosphere that developed at Villa Park.

    I have been embarrassed on many occasions in recent times at Villa Park in the Holte End by the booing of players, and for me only shows a poor level of mentality. If you disapprove of a player then don’t sing his name or praise him, or clap him when he leaves the field. Smaller, more successful clubs, including those abroad, cheer their players no matter what, and in the end they get results.

    Villa are not the great team we all love, but one day they will hopefully be team that I saw win 5 league cups, an FA cup and the league, topped off with the European cup and the Super cup.

    Now is the time they need the supporters even more to ever be able to reach those dizzy heights once more….

  89. I think we have picked up the habit of booing in recent seasons with the Lerner situation and all that, I have never bothered booing or leaving the ground early, its pointless, save it for the opposition. Critiquing players/managers is fair game but claiming to hate somebody?

    Andrew- Thanks mate my brother now has a world beating Fantasy football side, stuffed it full of high scoring assisting players. I then had to sneak in a couple of Huddy players I rate to keep the cost down but I think Mooy will set plenty up, also picked up Dominic Solanke ex Chelsea now at Liverpool, scored 4 in the england U20 cup win this summer cheap as chips 🙂

  90. pp
    in all fairness the villa fans have been treated to all the worst traits from players managers board members chairmen [leaving tony out] especially the last 6/7 years,and it easy saying so and so didnt misbehave so dont give them stick,most villa players have been on wages of over 25 thousand a week averaging 1.3m a year now most villa fans i know would be lucky to have 25 thousand a year to live on,never mind the pampering lifestyle they have, and on bacuna collymore slated him after a heavy defeat in premier league he was on 1 st flight out birmingham flashing his life style ,now i am no fan of collymore but likes gabby richards lescott and few other i despise for the way the treated my club , my shirt, my heroes let fans down but still took their millions

  91. JG- given the option at work for a huge pay rise nobody would turn it down its football sky/bt that have ruined the game, people will take the going rate. They should get rid of the middle men and appoint a service to arbitrate between player and club for wages. The players didn’t buy themselves either.

  92. not saying players shouldnt take what offfered ,but gulf between them and us is massive and getting bigger,real poor players now make a wealthy living,while the supporters spend hard earned cash going to watch them and as they paid to get in they entitled to boo if they choose,not saying its right but if you spend say a fith of wages going saturday evening and watch a poor show times its hard to hold back,yet to read anywhere that anyone else in villa world would started bacuna saturday so he was easy touch

  93. JG- I wonder in this pre-season how many players were played to put them in the shop window? I think so many are up for offer Bruce barely knows his squad at this point, its all games by our board to maximise sales and about time, they might be poor but we still paid good money for them.

    As for the Gulf the supporters are chicken feed to big Clubs, Our takings are £13m at best in the prem, you get £100m for being in it, even sponsorship dwarfs ticket sales, empty seats and booing don’t look good on tele though 🙂

    I await the day gleefully it all goes pop 😉

  94. Robbo/PP
    I remember some brute in the Northend stand threatening to take Gerard Houllier’s head off. The abuse was way OTP. He was removed, which prompted applause. There was a kid next to me that day who spilt all his coke over my leg{-:

  95. JL- I feel for all Lambert faults he wasn’t allowed the money for those players that would of made a difference or Maybe not allowed to sign as a few veterans.Consequently we lost our better players and dropped eventually.

    I am both happy and sad about Bruces conference, happy because he noticed O’hare has the heart of a lion and out ran every player on the pitch, but sad because he made no mention of his real stand-out qualities, also said he hopes we end up like a Neil Warnocks team, tough and resilient, we might as well got Neil Warnock in then 😉

  96. no worrys mark…good luck to your bro in the league!

    I always felt bacuna had more than he offered….strong athletic quick.

    his concentration and professionalism a big question though….stam at reading could well get a tune out of him but his time at villa is done.

    best to part ways for both.

  97. Andrew- We may find out next week about Bacuna, He always tried like Westwood just didn’t have or wasn’t taught that bit extra, or in the wrong team

  98. Mark,

    My memory’s not working…! I’ve just checked the records..

    In fact Gabby made his debut in March 2006 at Everton and scored in a 4-1 defeat. He played the whole match – under O’Leary! (Just!)

    That was the season when Luke Moore scored a hat-trick at Boro to become the first teenager to score a hat-trick in the Prem. If I call rightly, didn’t Moore later also score the Prem’s 1,000 goal?

  99. JG/Mk

    My point has been entirely lost I feel. It was not intended to be a defence of Bacuna, but players in general and the slating of them….Going back to a young Joe Bennett, when the attacks on his f/b page were so bad it had to be taken down and it has continued since through to the present day, with the latest victim being Bjarnason…….

    I am certainly disappointed as a long time fan that this has become almost the norm to some, having done the same to Westwood, who always put his heart into the game.

  100. PP,

    I think your point was very clear and anyone misinterpreting it must be ‘on’ something! 😉

    There used to be what I’d call a ‘sporting’ attitude amongst fans that has mostly been replaced by a ‘win at all costs’ way of thinking. But, after 5 or 6 years of what transpired in the previous regime, I tend to forgive them their spite.

    Also, as JG has said, it’s not cheap to go and watch a match and there has been very little return on that investment over that time. I suppose the players get the brunt of the frustration though they’re victims as much as anyone else really, despite their high wages.

  101. pp
    frustration is my view of villa,bacuna should not have been booed last week,he didnt pick the team and it was abit early to boo bruce[not in my case]the players are easy targets and some probably didnt deserve the stick,others deserved all they got. think you will have noticed burnleys result have dipped alarmingly since westwood signed, under lambert we signed so many poor players[as mark king said cant blame them for payrise etc]but someone had to take brunt of villa fans,wasn t at a match for years but do remember under oleary it was pretty hostile but that was down to ellis

  102. PP- No mate I completely get your point, I think times have change a lot though, on one hand with the advent of political correctness you can’t criticise anyone without looking bad yourself and then there is the press and TV, its almost become a sport these days to ridicule anyone in the limelight in any sphere, be that politics sport etc.

  103. Mark,

    Times have changed, without doubt.

    Listening to BBC WM the other day a retired Detective Inspector (defending the use of tasers) was saying that in 1959 there were 56 murders throughout the UK, but that there had been 5 the previous week-end alone.

    That’s a different edge to what we’re talking about except that the bigger picture indicates that behaviour has considerably worsened each decade over the last 60 years. We’ve been there before though … I believe the 1920s were not that pleasant for most, as the Peaky Blinders story relates.

    But in my conscious lifetime (really 1957 to now, 60 years) I have witnessed a general decline in attitude. Now that’s not anything to do with being PC, that’s just how attitudes have altered generally – certainly amongst the relative have-nots.

    If life continues to develop this way then the end of the next decade would (I’m sure) produce chaos. But I believe it won’t be like that.

  104. JL- As James has said there is a discontent growing, in my youth (late 70’s- 80’s ) fighting was much more common in pubs etc but there was less knife crime,now for some bizarre reason a fights not enough, I hope you are right. The portrayal of violence as glamorous is a problem, we used to have hero’s in films, now?

  105. Mark/JL et al
    Attitudes have taken a dive here too. The popularity of UFC, the glorification of violence is on the rise. Sporting attitudes are on the decline. Violent crime and burglaries have increased. In NZ, methamphetimine (ice) addiction is a major problem, especially among poorer communities. Poverty and homelessness have seen a stark increase over the last 9-10 years.
    I see the mayor of London said something to the effect terrorism is normal in a big global city like London, so Londoners need to get used to it. Is that what he meant? Sounds ridiculous that a mayor would say such a thing. Nobody should get used to and put up with violent crimes in their community.

  106. Some interesting observations.

    Yes life has very definitely changed over the years, with a relative increase in violence in many forms, which have also been affected by many factors.

    Violence has risen with a reduction in opportunities for young people to channel their energies into things that bear fruit such as the many cadet forces, scouting organisations, including ones for girls, as well as the recruitment of young people into the armed forces, apprenticeships and many other fields.

    At the same time violence in the cinema, soaps and now in computer games has escalated to the extent that it is virtually in every home, and has brainwashed people into believing that the virtual world is in fact reality. The days have also disappeared where a group of guys would watch an illegal cine film that had been smuggled in from abroad, is now freely available to anyone from the internet, and then we wonder why there is so much evil happening behind closed doors.

    The world under the surface is becoming a very frightening place, as guns, knives and now acid are part of the criminal world’s tools.

    Respect for one another and good manners are now the exception, rather than the rule. The control of the new gang masters from Russia and many other places have now grown to alarming proportions.

    I often have a longing to return to the city of my birth, but wonder is it the safe place that I left 40 years ago….I fear not.

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