Interesting week, overall. First, we saw a largely different set of players take on Colchester midweek, and they just about did enough to go through to the second round of the Caribbean Caribou Cup. I’d never heard of Carabao until this week, so I guess the sponsorship was money well spent.

New boy Onomah impressed, O’Hare did as well, Hourihane made no real impression, Jed Steer guessed right on a penalty and made a couple smart saves, and Hogan survived an offside shout to open his competitive account this season. Samba didn’t exactly impress at the back, and Chester was his usual classy self.

There’s undoubtedly a lot more to say, but color me rather underwhelmed by the 2-1 win. The conditions were atrocious, of course, but I’m really getting tired of saying things like “Wigan will be a good test.” Colchester was a good test. And it was raining on them, too. I honestly shudder to think what any iteration of our current squad would look like playing an in-form top-six Premier League side. We’d certainly come off much worse than Colchester did.

On the outgoings front, I wish Leandro Bacuna well, although I really hope he doesn’t suddenly blossom at Reading. Or maybe I do. It would be rather instructive if he flourished somewhere else. But I’d have preferred he’d gone to Turkey instead of joining another club looking for promotion.

And of course I wish Jordan Amavi well. Kid was a class act. For me, it’s a shame those two didn’t work out for us. Just like it’s a shame when anyone else we sign falls short.

Which brings us to Cardiff. First away game of the regular season, cagey manager in Warnock. We need to do something more to get us our 1.8 points per game. I’m guessing we’ll have fewer chances than we did against Hull, so we’re going to need to convert a higher percentage.

I’ve seen it proposed that Lansbury play alongside Whelan to make way for Onomah. I get it. Except for the fact that Lansbury is probably better employed further up the pitch. Doesn’t mean Onomah hasn’t earned a shot in the first team, but I’m hoping that if Lansbury is played deeper it doesn’t end up with us getting overrun in the middle.

I’ve no idea what will happen today. Recent form suggests a draw at best. And while I tabbed last week’s opener with Hull a “virtual mist win,” we have to start winning away, and have to start building up points. No pressure.

Over to you.

Comments 44

  1. Hi JC- yes these weekly tests are great aren’t they, I hope our bunch have been revising not playing on their X-Boxes. I do hope we beat Wigan though as we are sure to get a prem team and I would like to see the reality of where we are not this ever moving we are getting better, which form the last two games is clearly yes and no. Yes we seem able to attack but no we haven’t really improved at defending as a team, which I find strange.

    I would play O’hare for Lansbury given the chance he’s just a better all round player, but If not I’d keep lansbury up top and Play spurs boy in Bacunas spot as he has the legs and the link play to work in front of wheelan and hopefully with him.

  2. PP: “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.”

    JC, please forgive the switch to the previous side-track! 🙂

    PP, I also left Brum in the 60s and spent 10 years away (in Banbury, London, Leicester and brief spells back to Brum) and then a further 30 years in London (south and north). Been back in Brum 9 years now.

    I found London a lot more interesting, but in terms of quality of living I find Brum quieter and less hurried. In terms of violence I have been fortunate in (so far) avoiding it everywhere and yet without being a rich man to buy separation from the actual world. And (you may be surprised) I even avoided violence when I actually put myself on the front line at Brixton in the mid-1970s while working on a community project there (12 months). I often slept on site and listened to the reggae being pumped out all night in the neighbourhood!

    So I say Brum has a lot going for it. In fact, it could be a place of considerable promise i.m.o.

  3. JC,

    I think today’s encounter will be interesting. We rather do need full points, but if it’s a draw *and* a well-fought performance by Villa I’ll not complain.

    But if it’s a wet performance (not because of any rain!) then I will be complaining.

    It’s interesting that we’ve got off to a marginally better start this season. I still have a nightmare memory of Okore putting through his own goal at Luton, exhibiting just how the players’ confidence was low at that time. At least that situation is being turned around: we have players now who have a far better attitude – but they’ve mostly had the benefit of the new regime.

  4. JC-thanks for the short and sweet leader.
    It would be great if Villa could get a first away win early on. Villa did well at home last year. We know what happened away. Realistically, Villa need to get used to winning ways.
    Being optimistic 1-3 Villa.

  5. H-T

    1-down and this seems to sum up the difference between the 2 sides:

    Cardiff: 6 goal attempts, 4 on target. Villa: 8 goal attempts, 1 on target.

    Hogan’s missed 3 and Lansbury a couple it seems.

  6. by heck it is dead on here,i suppose losing is not helping ,are you watching john l ,going by reports hutton at fault again along with getting roasted by cardiff winger

  7. JG,

    Hutton’s had a rough time of it so far. He just doesn’t close down enough. I think it’s because he knows he’s easily turned (which he was for the cross on the goal), and wants to keep his man in front of him. But when he does that, he leaves room for the player to look up and get a cross in.

    On the goal, he got turned inside out and Taylor was beaten to the header at the far post.

  8. And Onomah has again looked the best player for Villa. Kid’s got talent, can’t get a look in at Spurs. Makes me wonder about this side playing at the next level.

  9. Whelan’s also had a decent half.

    Biggest thing I’m seeing so far is that crosses are being cut out (bracketing our forwards), and long passes into the channels are either leading players away from goal or getting intercepted.

    We haven’t looked terrible, just not quick or accurate enough.

    For their part, Cardiff are looking to break quickly, getting plenty of room to play it in on the right, and are having time to regain their shape when we’re trying to play through.

  10. Oh dear,dress it up any way you like with stats etc.,this is a thrashing.We can only play one way…….get it wide,but we don’t have a centre forward.We seem incapable of playing through the middle or in and around the opponent’s box.Gabby seems untouchable and is the first name on the teamsheet.We are very,very predictable and easy to defend against.

  11. Mark: “I am not liking the sound of this: ‘Villa set themselves up from the start to defend in numbers and threaten on the break, keeping their deep shape organised and committed. The approach allowed the visitors the lion’s share of possession and handed them the challenge of breaking down their opponents’”

    Well, well … this would appear to have been exactly how Cardiff set themselves up! And look at the result!

    Villa had around 60% possession for most of the game (and at times 65%), yet couldn’t get through.

    Cardiff achieved 15 goal attempts, 12 on target. Villa: 10 goal attempts (2 in s-h), 1 on target.

    Johnstone was overworked!

    Oh, we won on corners, 7-4.

    Cardiff have been trained in (1) containment and (2) how to shoot.

    Perhaps Warnock should have come to VP!

  12. It would appear nothing has changed at the club in terms of tactics and mindset.It’s either go one up ,defend,panic concede.Go one down panic,concede more.Today was very reminiscent of the season we came down,no guts,no organisation,a soft touch.As I wrote earlier we set up as if we have a big no.9 up front,we don’t yet all we do is get the ball widE and cross to nobody in particular.I would advise anyone to avoid the lowlights if you haven’t seen the game.Just cast your mind back to Lambert at his worst with Luna,Ireland,Clark,N’Zogbia Westwood on the pitch,it was a very similar performance to those days.Awful.

  13. A very disappointing result. I didn’t see the game but listenbed to the commentary on the radio. No competitive edge and no idea.
    I was supportive of Steve Bruce but he seems unable to get this very experienced and individually talented squad to play with any purpose.
    I would say defeat at Reading and poor performance against Norwich and he’ll be gone, and I think its very possible.
    The question then is who do you bring in?
    Am I being a bit premature, you tell me. We should be doing so much better.

  14. I don’t like scapegoating anyone but today confirmed to me in capital letters what an awful footballer Gabby is.I just don’t “get” his contribution or inclusion.He wasn’t rhe reason we lost,there were several equally as bad.

  15. Archie
    No, you’re not being premature. I think bad results at Reading and Norwich will see the sacking of SB.
    I just listened to the commentary on the radio too. Sounds like Hutton was targeted and couldn’t handle the pace coming at him. Where has Landsbury gone? a shadow of the player he was at Notts Forest.

  16. Not a good day at the races. So glad I was busy gardening, and not trying to follow the Villa.

    After seeing all the comments on here, I doubt that Bruce will last until Monday morning….meanwhile David Wagner and Huddersfield Town win 3-0 away to Crystal Palace and Sean Dyche and Burnley win 3-2 at Chelsea, and the list goes on of the possible managers that Villa could have had in charge….

    We are already 5 points adrift of the leaders, and the season has hardly started, and the team bus even broke down..!!!

  17. In the meantime , Bruce has managed to destroy last season’s team and sell off any player that he could raise money on….

    Now we have his team… Steamer would have said…..”Welcome to 1st division football!”

  18. Bruce said:

    “We were wide open which is not like us. Of course we had two really good chances at 0-0 and didn’t take them. Overall we were well beaten and we have to accept that.”

    And reading between the lines of the text I followed I did get the impression that Villa don’t know how to shoot.

    But that’s not all it is. I expect to see 2 or 3 changes for Tuesday.

  19. Well I have had a great afternoon by not watching or listening to Villa, feel sorry for those who did by that scoreline. I don’t think its premature to say we are all mouth and trousers. I’ve had my doubts watching us this summer but hoped it would improve, its got worse, I hope they don’t have another chat about the away form .

    Its like the story of the kings new clothes. Bruce should of gone last season while we had the chance now he has to turn this around pronto or he’s toast, I hope they have managerial targets sorted.

    JL- Yes we should of got Warnock last season, he’s better at being Bruce than Bruce especially when he is trying to be something he’s not. If Rounds “villa way” is parking the bus then god help this club. Warnock has a great eye for a player, spent £3 mil net and minus last season and Cardiff haven’t looked back.

    Andrew- just looked at the prem table Huddersfield top who’d of thought 🙂

  20. pp
    i mentioned it earlier 8 bruces players started,we have turned january signings from worth 30m to worthless,john terry got roasted by an youngster only 44more matches to go,i really dont know where we can go from here dads army is not performing ,not be fit to give them away,no money in kitty to buy any new ones not that i would let bruce spend one more penny

  21. JL- Bruce can say whatever he likes he did most of last season “this is unacceptable” “we need to be Better” yadder yadder. Wolves who have spent big don’t seem to be having any trouble, already beaten two of the top teams.

    Its embarrassing , the whole we haven’t conceded with JT playing? friendlies mean nothing but they sure as hell can indicate what your sides like, bang average. the whole taking the Champs lightly? we have done it again, arrogance.

  22. It allways baffles me how clubs like Cardiff,Ipswich,Reading and many others,have a tiny net spend, are under the cosh financially,yet consistently punch above their weight,are competitive and hand out thrashings to us time and time again.Whereas we,the Villa allways believe the answer to everything is to spend.
    Bruce has no excuses,not 1.He has been given funds,trimmed or trimming the squad,brought in his own men and we look an utter shambles once again.Please Doc do not give that man another penny.Looks like our growing injury list is being pushed as a smokescreen for our ineptitude.
    Come on today was woeful.If we had lost 3-2 in a thriller hit the woodwork a few times and their GK was superb,then fair enough,but today we really scrapped the bottom of the barrel,it was almost as bad as anything in the last 6 years.

  23. mark k
    seen 2 of goals one of them jt just stopped running ,cardif player went past chester and crossed over hapless hutton for his man to have simple nod in, other goal cardif player went to hutton and put ball past with ease,all reports read on blogs facebook hutton and gaby slammed and johnson and hogan praised johnson for his saves hogan for his workrate

  24. b6 tobrasil
    agree completely we have replaced baker yes injury prone mistake prone for terry who is just here for big pay day,who couldnt care less about villa

  25. I meant to include Brentford and Huddersfield in my list of well run clubs with a tiny net spend.Brentford play superb footie on the deck,that’s where Hogan flourished neat through balls which find his angled runs.He is not a fekkin 6 foot 5 inch centre forward from the 1970s,Bruce,the footie world has moved on and I think you must too,if the next 2 fixtures end up as defeats.

  26. Just watched glimpses of Middlesboro, which equals Gary Monk + Some fella Rudy Gestede ( who was man of the match) scored a goal, and they now have 3 points…….May have been lucky, but something Villa are not.

    Money has run out…..
    Excuses have run out…..
    Ideas have run out……

    Maybe we should now tempt ‘Arry from the Bluenoses……

    Do I really want to move back to Brum to watch this farce….

  27. I thought we would lose today, simply because including Hull we haven’t played anyone with the players up top to trouble us this pre-season. Its brought a false sense of security along with the JT’s here everything will be all right mania, and not can we make automatic promotion but we want to win it. I really hope this is a blip and not the final product.

  28. Great posts PP and Mark.Terry,for years,has had good,very good and perhaps great midfields in front of him and superb full backs either side of him.Thats not to be derogatory toward him,he was an excellent defender,but now he has players and a team of lesser ability around him he must feel a bit exposed.
    The most frustrating aspect for me is that we don’t compete,we are soundly beaten,we never start on the front foot,we always seem to be reactive not proactive,there doesn’t seem to be a plan or pattern of play.FFS if you want to set up negative,fair enough,but if you are going to be cr*p,at least be hard to beat,well organised cr*p

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