Bit of a break for me, since it was a brutal week in the work world, and I didn’t end up considering the Peterborough game a real match. That’s not to discount the F.A. Cup or Peterborough by any means. It just means we didn’t field a team whose sole intent was to go through to the next round.

A number of supporters were upset because the end result was a 1-3 loss to a League One side. And, yes, you can be upset because you’d like to think that on paper, Villa’s “B” side, liberally sprinkled with first team-calibre players, should’ve been good enough. If you were asked to, and did, pay for a ticket, you’d like to think you’re paying to see Villa give it a real go.

However, it was clear that much like Martin O’Neill’s Russia calculation, this wasn’t about going through. Progressing would’ve been nice, but Steve Bruce was playing the long game, and I can’t say I’d disagree with him. Getting Andre Green and John Terry back out after long layoffs gave them necessary minutes to regain match fitness and shake off the rust. Some youngsters got run-outs, Lansbury also got needed minutes, and, well, you get the picture. Keinan Davis got a goal, and that’s good, too.

Basically, if you put out a bunch of players who don’t play together much (with a few of them coming back from injury), and you go against a bunch of players who do play together often you’re probably going to have a side without cohesion in comparison. Especially with a decidedly makeshift back line.

So, file that one where it belongs and give Peterborough credit.

For Villa, this evening’s match against Forest is more important. Given the Cup selections, I don’t think that result really affects any momentum Villa might be carrying from the 5-0 trouncing of Bristol. Maybe it even serves to focus attention in training, since that seemed to be lacking at the weekend, as well.

For their part, Forest have a fine 4-2 cup win over Arsenal to savor and ought to be feeling sort of good about themselves. Especially our old friend Eric Lichaj. It ought to be interesting this evening because Forest basically don’t draw. They win or they lose. Their only two draws of the season have come in the last five matches along with three losses, so maybe they are getting the hang of it. Their record against the current top six isn’t good,  six losses and a draw, and we’re in the top six, so…

I suspect we’ll see an unchanged side from Bristol. John Terry rolling his ankle should mean Tommy Elphick stays on the pitch, and maybe the question is whether Bruce fiddles around up top with Hogan and Davis, given that Hogan apparently did something to his ankle as well. I guess you never know what’s happening at right back, though.

Just please tell me that however well Glenn Whelan is feeling he isn’t going to take Jedinak’s place, or partner with Jedinak, or be doing much of anything besides perhaps being a late tactical substitution if Jedi fails his fitness test. Bruce has said the last two games are perhaps our best performances of the season, and there’s a certain coincidence about who wasn’t in the side that I’m only going to hint at.

I suppose Andre Green could be back in contention already…But with Snodgrass finally scoring and continuing to assist (four goals and five assists in the last 12 matches), seems like he’s staying in, and how do you really sit Albert down? To me that seems to say Green could be brought on to change things up. And that perhaps Adomah might be feeling a little heat. I have to say, wouldn’t mind the prospect of Adomah down the right and Green wide left. But fair play to Snodgrass…I’ve knocked him, and he’s finally made his presence justified beyond bringing effort. If he keeps it up, well, let’s just say we have good options.

Dr. Xia’s Social Media Antics and Final Thoughts
Been an interesting week on Twitter for the good doctor…first, Villa were perhaps the worst-performing asset in the Recon portfolio, which seems a rather negative assessment, then he did some walking back, asking for unified positivity, and indicating that the next 10 games are crucial.

I think he ended up being right having it both ways. I’ve been pretty consistent in my belief that we have underperformed, but also understand the injuries and the long slog. We’ve managed to stay in the playoff spots, which was looking a rather tenuous proposition a few weeks ago, and are just six points off second, which looked to have been way out of reach. If we’ve weathered a bit of a storm and found ourselves coming out stronger on the other side, Villa are in a good spot to make a run at it over the final 20.

However much credit Bruce does or doesn’t deserve…well, it’s pretty much academic at this point. He has kept a steady head, a team has emerged, and we’re well in it. Given the side is sort of picking itself I have to think it’s as much down to the players, and luck, as it is to him. Main thing is for us to keep trying to play faster and stay on the front foot. If we simply match our opponents’ intensity and don’t choke, we’ve got enough quality to get the job done.

Over to you, and COYVB.

Comments 85

  1. Sums it up nicely in my view, John.

    But where you say “Forest have a fine 4-2 cup win over Arsenal to savor and ought to be feeling sort of good about themselves”, let’s not forget that Bristol City beat Man U and then look what happened at VP! Could be that Forest might think themselves a bit too good…?

  2. One can only hope, JL! I’d think it might be natural to have a letdown after a win like that. Just chatting with a Forest mate, he thinks it’s a 1-1, 2-1 game.

  3. Excellent summary JC,

    Let us hope your wish comes true and Whelan does not progress further than the bench, and Elphick is trusted more than Terry for the moment. Sincerely hope that de Laet is RB with Hutton on the left.
    Jedinak is unfit, I believe, so that leaves Hourihane, Lansbury (poss) , Snodgrass, Jack Grealish and Adomah, as I still think Onomah has not earned his place recently. We then have the potential of Davis and Hogan up front, preferably Hogan on recent games.

  4. Guessing you’re right about Jedi, Paul. I’d go with Lansbury, personally. But Bruce is a bit stubborn that way. Team sheet should be out soon.

    Also agree that Onomah has been too hot and cold to be first choice at the moment. And I am having trouble understanding what De Laet has to do to get more playing time. Wondering if Hutton will be leaving…given our finances, can’t see keeping him with De Laet and Bree on hand, as well as Elmo. He has given great cover on the left, and has been playing well, but we’d have to extend his contract, and that seems unnecessary.

  5. Paul,

    Fair comment, but I was of course looking at the 3p.m. matches.

    But even as far as Cardiff is concerned, that result is certainly not the end of the day so long as Villa win vs. Forest.

    Significantly Bristol lost at home.

  6. Thanks for the writeup JC, not much to argue with there.
    Here’s the team for today, sadly to say whelan is in it. but Terry is fit.Hutton keeps his LB place.

    VILLA: Johnstone; Elmohamady, Chester, Terry, Hutton; Snodgrass, Whelan, Hourihane, Adomah, Grealish; Hogan. Subs: Bunn, Taylor, Elphick, Bjarnason, Lansbury, Onomah, Davis.

  7. Great assist from Snodgrass and a great goal from Hogan.

    Terry should have had a second, unlucky, but otherwise nothing great. Adomah failing with his passes, apart from some nice little triangles with Grealish and Hutton. We have been lucky that Forest are not very decisive around the box or they could easily have equalised by now.

    Let’s hope we are more dominant in the second half.

  8. Whelan is dire, 2 yards off the pace. He cannot keep giving away silly free kicks from edge of box. Grealish back to his best – looks a class above everyone else. Great goal by Hogan. Looks like he’s getting back to his best.

  9. Not a bad win…Forest didn’t help themselves up front, but a solid, professional outing from Villa.

    Grealish really is coming into his own, and Bjarnason was a good choice for Whelan. I’d be okay seeing that continue.

  10. Well,

    another dour three points, but the defence did look reasonably solid, but it would have been nice to see more from the attack. Just wonder just how many fouls Snodgrass and Grealish managed to buy between them….

    Still it is another 3 points Mr Bruce…. so well done..!!

  11. Agreed, Bjarnason did ok today, playing in a position that suits him, and Snodgrass deserved his man of the match, but does show that not a lot were outstanding. JG needs to be careful with his protests….refs are not daft…

  12. Paul,
    It was cagey…at times we seemed certain to get a second. If Terry’s had gone in, think it would’ve looked much different.

    JG is putting on a masterclass drawing fouls. Agreed he needs to protest a bit less, but the way he shields the ball, anticipates contact and challenges…very smart player.

  13. Hi all, solid unspectacular win and we have discovered a DM, liked Thor there as having been saying for months needs someone quicker than Wheelan. I think Elphick will be gone this window if we get the Manure player in. Barnsley next then a test at sheff utd and we will likely have a new CF just as Our CF Hogan starts to score.

    catch you later have a good night.

  14. VillaMD,

    More like professional foul manufacturers! 😀

    They both working on drawing a defender into what appears to be a foul … in other words it’s cheating. Sorry to say that but such ‘play’ does not exist in my dictionary of good football. It may exist in others dictionaries. I am not an advocate of win at all costs.


    Forest exemplified why it’s not wise to throw so many youth into the fray. They needed one or two wise heads.

    Villa are lucky they had such opposition. Their youth played right into the hands of experience. Villa really should be looking more into creativity … but I guess that’s why the argument about Bruce exists. His football is just based on good organisation, using players that know that game inside out. It is just a grind but it usually seems to be paying off points-wise.

  15. 🙂

    Why is drawing a foul cheating? If you can pull a player into a foul then good on you. Look at what happened to benteke a few years back. You have to keep your head on and not get sucked in.

  16. I don’t think Jack’s cheating by any means. Opponents know he’s dangerous and slippery. They come up into him, get turned and grab, or stick out a leg too late. They know he’ll beat them, Jack knows he’ll beat them, and he anticipates their reaction will be too slow.

    If they don’t want to give away fouls, they need to give him more space. If they give him more space, he’ll do more damage. So they get drawn into fouling him.

    You feel a player coming up on you. Turn one way, you do what the defender wants and go away from goal or the pass. Turn the other way, the defender has just done what you want instead.

  17. JL,

    Good comments. I am with you, as it is one thing to draw a foul, it is another, to fall into, or onto the defender, or just purely fall or dive, and VAR will hopefully stamp a lot of this out.

  18. 3️⃣ Games, 7️⃣ Goals, 0️⃣ Conceded, 9️⃣ Points… in the league of course

    Only 7 goals scored though? Rubbish – Bruce out!!
    Boring game, lucky we won, only because they didnt score that we won, blah blah blah ……


  19. Nice leader, JC. There are many good points there.
    I thought Grealish really got stuck in. I think Villa still needs to be more cohesive. That said, a win away against Forest is a biggy. Well done Villa.

  20. “poo sandwiches…” Maybe Ian just watched the latest Star Wars movie and was inspired by what they did to Luke Skywalker’s character.
    It was good to see JG getting back. I thought Adomah and Snodgrass were a handful. And another goal for Hogan’s confidence.

  21. What a win that is. One of our best this season for me. Absouloutly shows how far we of come under bruce whether you like him or not….because before bruce thats a game we loose. Away to forest on tv under the lights, new manager and fresh from beating arsenal.

    This villa side now put in proper professional solid displays. Totaly in control last night, no dramas, no basic mistakes, no switching off.

  22. The one thing wyness and the dr highlighted in the summer was our away form has to improve this season to challenge. They all talked about it and said they worked on it in the summer. Thats impressive to me and to get it fixed too! Like it.

  23. Snoddy seems to of not been appreciated much but i have no idea why! He is a Winger who creates and scores!!! Absoulte quality left peg and can produce something out of nothing. Has been superb for us.

    I love his passion too, looks like he cares and is always talking.

    And i thought that last night watching the game. Pre bruce and years gone by we have had such a quiet team, now i see terry obv, chester, snoddy, conor always talking on the pitch and keeping everyone on there toes.

  24. I thought adomah was poor last night. But grealish wow.

    Turning into the player i prayed. He looks so fit. The extra show pony stuff has stopped, his work rate and tracking back is superb now. Looks a different player.

    Anyone doubting bruce when he said he wanted to build around jack can surly see it now? We have tweeked formation too now he is back . Gone 4141 to get him in. Suits us too. I liked whelean at the start but not now. If we are playing with just the 1 cbm now then we need legs…..looked so much better when birkir came on. Probably why we are after that utd lad.

  25. Ian: “Why is drawing a foul cheating? If you can pull a player into a foul then good on you.”

    Yes, I know it’s part of the game these days, but it’s a more recent phenomenon. You didn’t see that 30 years ago and even more recently.

    I’m of the William McGregor school.

  26. John,

    I’m not so much saying that Jack is teaching but that there’s cheating of this type in the game now which players are clearly encouraged to do.

    Young used to roll over very easily … and so does Jack.

    Not as bad as some others, but sadly it’s part of the game now.

    More symptoms of the demise of integrity in general.

  27. JL
    No, the old professional players used to head-butt, punch and kick. Surely if players of yesteryear were more gentlemanly, why need all the rules? I do agree, though, players tend to fall over easier these days.
    You and William McGregor? Would have had you with Lord Yoda:)

  28. It was another skinny win and again I’ll take it. The chase is on. Feel sorry for Elphick, Bree, O’Hare and Hepburn-Murphy who were all stood down from the squad that battered Bristol City to make way for returning players. How often is it said that after the Lord Mayor’s show comes the let down. That was certainly the case with Forest yesterday.

    Thought the game first half was like a training ground match. Second half was better which I put down to Bjarnason replacing Whelan. Younger legs, more mobility and more pace. So SB is going to sell him this month???? Good to see Hogan being fed balls that shows he can be lethal. Not balls where he needs a ladder or crystal ball.

    Good to see OV chirping. I sincerely hope he is still chirping loudly come May as it can only mean promotion.

  29. Fouling goes both ways, defenders get away with holding, pushing, little digs all the time. Ohare tries to stay on his feet in the penalty area when he shouldn’t, could of had several pens recently. The fouls against Adomah on the edge of the area was blatant but missed and jack has been kicked all season so go for it because it stops the ball coming straight back at you. If your not going to maintain some possession then you need to get up the pitch and waist time if we are going to play Grinding football as JL rightly puts it, otherwise its as we have seen all season the ball keeps coming back at us.

    Andrew- I can see a massive recent difference since Agnew has turned up, before that you never knew what to expect, we are pressing high up the pitch as best we can, Hogan worked his socks off the only continued problem is Whelan who doesn’t turn the ball round quick enough or make incisive enough passes, thats why I called for Doyle hayes who is a young master at that, little did we know that Thor may be the answer as Bruce has never identified him as a possibility until the cup game or did Agnew? when He and Bruce were at Hull they had Huddlestone in that role who’s now doing the same for Rowett at Derby.

    The whole build the team around Grealish thing may be true but I don’t think it would be as successful if he had not got that freak injury. That six months of strength training has turned jack into the player we wanted to see, no longer floppy jack he gets stuck in, a mark of the confidence extra strength gives you, a bit like Gabby did years ago but that took over his game and mentality to much.

    JL I think your right , most fans see our team and believe there is way more in it than grinding out matches and that has cost us second place so far imo. When we have played the top teams they have had the run of the park and hurt us because unlike forest they have decent forwards and give a good team enough chances they should score, but as we saw yesterday they and several of the weaker teams have failed to convert against us as much as we have failed to put games to bed.

    I think Bruce is stubborn and lacks flexibility in his thinking, I don’t hate him he is what he is but at this moment as things appear I’d like to shake Agnews hand.

  30. MK – Give me Thor playing in Whelan’s place any day of the week. It ought to be a straight fight between him and Jedi for the holding midfield position.

    Also agree that Agnew’s fingerprint can be clearly seen on the team.

  31. plug- Bruce is trying to raise funds and I think several players like Lansbury, thor and Elphick may go
    I just hope that what he brings in doesn’t make things worse. As we have seen recently he doesn’t seem to get the best out of or give chances to players once he’s made his mind up about them no matter how they prove themselves, Elphick didn’t deserve to be dropped but I bet he wanted JT’s aerial power because jedinak was out even though Forest are no threat in the air at all worth calling. How did Onamah even make the bench on recent form?

  32. plug- the lad he wants from Leicester is basically Hernandez, If he comes then hogan will be out again, I only hope he comes in a scores from the off if he arrives.

  33. Trinity: “No, the old professional players used to head-butt, punch and kick. Surely if players of yesteryear were more gentlemanly, why need all the rules? I do agree, though, players tend to fall over easier these days. You and William McGregor? Would have had you with Lord Yoda:)”

    No, Trinity, that was not the case with the Villa. They were always noted for their fair play. That’s part of what made their reputation, not just style of play and number of trophies.

    Never heard of the great Villan Howard Spencer, the most gentlemanly player of his time? He played the game fair and square, including shoulder charging, but did not succumb to the silly business.

    William McGregor was one of theose adminsitrators at Villa who insisted on fair play, as did Fred Rinder. If you didn’t, then you were out. The great Frank Moss, for goodness sake, was sold by Villa when he was sent off for the first time in his career!

    Please read my Villa Chronicles! 🙂

  34. I wasn’t able to watch the game yesterday as I’d been told we were going to watch ‘Darkest hour’ while the match was on.
    Really pleased to hear that Bjarnason stepped up. I was critical of him and Bruce after his FA cup outing as he seemed out of his depth in the role of central defensive enforcer.
    Reminds me of when I was critical of Johnson last season and then he improved. Snodgras came in for heaps of criticism on here and now, just a few weeks later, consecutive MOM performances.
    Hutton was a figure of hate but has also really shown his worth. Jack was a ‘show pony’ in the eyes of many fans but now we’re starting to see the player we’d hoped for.
    It’s fun debating who should play where and when, but thank goodness we’re not the ones picking the actual team.

  35. Plug: “Good to see OV chirping. I sincerely hope he is still chirping loudly come May as it can only mean promotion.”

    I am of the same view and have been saying it for some time.

    We may be seeing grinding football (with the odd exception), but it is likely to bring success in the end. We’re only 5 points off the second automatic promotion place and there’s still 19 games to go. A potential 57 points.

    We just need to beat Derby and Cardiff at VP and that should do it! 😀

  36. MK: “JL I think your right , most fans see our team and believe there is way more in it than grinding out matches and that has cost us second place so far imo. … I think Bruce is stubborn and lacks flexibility in his thinking,

    Whether he does or not, I believe his way will win in the end, though I don’t think is is the only way.

    This is a long, long season and I think that when we see the top clubs at VP (Wolves, Derby, Cardiff) they will not find it so easy at this stage in the proceedings. Let’s face it, even a promotion side will lose some games in the season.

    We have only lost 3 in 15 matches since the Wolves game and at that rate we’ll only lose 4 more. In fact I think we’ll only lose 2 or perhaps 3 more: So my prediction is (for the remainder of the season): P19 W10 D6 L3 = 36 points plus 47 we have = 83.

    In fact if you just multiply by the av points per game so far (1.74) times 19 you get 33 points for the remainder of the season. But I think our recent form is better than that and my 36 is a little on the conservative side.

  37. Elphick didn’t deserve to get another game after his very poor display against Millwall (was nervous every time the ball went near him) but then like a true professional he stepped up in the next two games when he was needed.
    The manager watches the players in training and lives and dies by how they then perform on the day.
    Us armchair managers on the other hand have the luxury of just watching and then knowledgeably criticising every little perceived mistake by managers and players.. . . . we know best of course

  38. JL – 80 or 83 points tally come the end of season is unlikely to achieve P2. Think we need a few more or it will be the play off lottery.

  39. Plug: “80 or 83 points tally come the end of season is unlikely to achieve P2.”

    You’re right … Villa need 90+ to get auto promotion.

    But I did say I was being conservative, and the conservative side of me says we’ll easily make the play-offs.

    However, I’ve got that feeling there’ll be an extra push which may (or may not!) get us auto-promotion.

  40. JL- I sincerely hope you are right but as I said a few months ago we needed to be beating the teams in the top 6-10 not relying on the bottom dwellers for points as it gives us the greatest chance to bypass them and get automatic. We could crawl into the play offs beating the lower teams or win a few more 6 pointers at this stage and book auto.

    Up until recently we looked very unlikely to do that, relying on the top teams to lose to the rest enough for us to creep by is out of our hands, where I believe its been in our hands all along with a little more belief from Bruce in our ability. Losing to Derby means we are 5 points behind them beating them would have us now in 2nd on 50, whereas beating sheff utd and Millwall instead of drawing recently at home would still have us in 3rd. lots of teams lower down are now gaining momentum Fulham being one and I would not stake my house on us beating Millwall away on the last game to gain auto so winning is a must however gained but I think we have made hard work of it.

    Robbo- I think it is easy to criticise players in a makeshift side JT looked slower than slow in the cup and the organisation wasn’t there. Much easier to look good if all around are doing their Job and we have started to do that. Totally reasonable to think Elphick will look better in a more organised side as have many others including Snodgrass and Grealish lately. We have let go a lot of players that could not be as bad as they were made to look imo.

    Yes the manager watches the players in training and we don’t but the reality is different managers see different things in players and are able to make better decisions because of their foresight. So for me just because people are not in football management doesn’t mean they can’t see something in a player the manager cannot or that they may see it sooner. Could be half a dozen Brian cloughs in the stands at Villa for all we know that never got into football management at all. We all get blinkered and maybe Agnews fresh eyes have made a difference so fair play to Bruce for recognising that he would freshen things up as he put it.

  41. MK: “JL- I sincerely hope you are right but as I said a few months ago we needed to be beating the teams in the top 6-10 “

    Yes, but we’ve played very few of the top-10 at VP so far and one of ’em we beat 5-0! 😀 … and we beat Boro (away) a couple of games ago. And we also beat Preston away. So current form is good, no?

    All the VP games against Wolves, Derby, Cardiff and Leeds have still to be played at VP so really we can’t say we’re not beating the top 10 as we’ve not played many of ’em at VP yet!. The top 3 have beaten us on their grounds, but the tables can easily be reversed down here.

  42. Yes JL that’s why I said “up until recently “ as we had beaten 1 maybe 2 of the top 10 at the time and none of the top 6 when I suggested we needed to improve against the other promotion hopefuls, and not rely on getting 80 points from the poorer sides 😉

  43. MK,

    No Mark … we beat Preston (away) several games ago. And also we had a big injury problem spell which obviously affected results before this month.

    And we had only played the other top teams away from home apart from the match vs Sheffield in our injury-hit spell.

    Let’s face it, you just refuse to take a positive view! The fact is we are in a very good position with a long way to go. I say we have a very good chance of getting automatic promotion, and even if it’s just the play-offs we’ll have a very good chance of getting through going by our current form.

    That’s my last word … I don’t think there’s any need to take a view other than a positive one.

  44. Being positive is great for the positiveiteer, but doesn’t alter the fact that we’re behind the 8 ball.
    I & probably all fans have an inbuilt optimism, that isn’t necessarily warranted by results & what we see.
    Knowing this is the reason why we need a sense of humour.
    Obviously the most effective pan faced dark dry humour comes from Birmingham, & gets taken for real often enough.
    For instance, does OV’s view of only positiveness being acceptable emanate from fear rather than optimism, with the optimism being tightly held so as not to lose it.
    If that were the case, it would not be optimism but a disguised form of the negative.
    The same logic applies to those who have to have a ‘balanced view’, as there is no such thing, only a capacity to view negativity without blindly buying into the fixed nature of such positions.

    For me, I agree with many of the comments about the match, as that was what I saw also.
    Yes we do seem to have toughened up & become harder to beat, & it’s good to see Hogan scoring as without that we wouldn’t be in this position in the table, but we are still vulnerable to injuries.
    Also Jack has obviously strengthened which has turbo charged his whole game.
    Lastly as I said before about the signs of Agnew, you can definitely see it even more now, which is positive & soothes the irritation I feel about listening to the Bruce kiddie show when he meets the press.

  45. JL- The PNE game came against a team shorn of its defence and on a poor run after a great start to the season as I remember, they started the match without their first choice back four and lost two more during the game, they had to play an exceedingly young and inexperienced back line against us so no surprise we were able to win that one.We had lost 1 in 11 which was against wolves but all against struggling teams at the time and they hadn’t won in 5.

    That was the reality at the time nothing to do with me not being positive? I positively think we should have done better this season but we haven’t and I am positive we can still make 2nd if you
    think thats being negative then so be it.

    Iang – I agree mate smacks of the fear that if we are not being positive all will fall apart, and Bruces pressers just seem to deflect from him not the team, hey ho mate

  46. IanG: “all fans have an inbuilt optimism, that isn’t necessarily warranted by results & what we see”

    Absolutely. But surely we’re seeing that we’re amassing results and form that should be building enthusiasm! 🙂 The style is still not showing a swagger, but the teamwork and points are going the right way.

  47. IanG – I have not always been ‘only positive’ …. in the past I have joined in with others in stating that things are not good enough both with the club per se and also with individual players. BUT – my perceived positive stance emanates from our league position, our number of wins, our improved defence – which no-one can argue with. Can they? What can be argued is the manner of our play but to be quite honest, I don’t give a tinkers cuss how we play so long as we get results and get out of this division. Then we can talk about new players, whether the manager stays or not, which players need to leave etc etc.

    MK – you said ” I would not stake my house on us beating Millwall away on the last game to gain auto so winning is a must however gained but I think we have made hard work of it.”
    Why are you worrying about a game about 4 months hence?! We may be in the auto promotion place by then or in the play-offs or mid-table. Why would you be thinking of staking your house on winning a game so far in advance? Which might not even be necessary.
    More important is winning the next game ……………. and the next one ………. and the next one…….So one step at a time maybe?


  48. OV, IanG,
    You’ve pretty much summed it up how people feel about the club and I definitely fall into that category. The best part about the site is that someone comes along and puts down what’s in your mind when you can’t articulate it.
    As far as the transfer season goes, does anyone think we need reinforcements? Mark said Bruce is stubborn. Maybe, just maybe Agnew is pushing for players who aren’t on Bruce’s go to list and now Bruce sees a player he couldn’t see before. There’s tons of talent here. Try and keep them happy.
    On a side note, spring must be near as bald eagles are all flirty in the tree at the front of the yard.

  49. OV- Totally agree we need to win each match as it comes but to get second we have to beat those around us is all I am saying, beating just the rest isn’t good enough and the prevailing thought seems to be we will beat those below us and that will be good enough. As it is if we beat Derby and win every one of our games it won’t matter if derby do the same. all unlikely I know but its fine margins now if we are to make 2nd, those below us are unlikely to catch us if we slip up against them so wins against those around us take on more relevance to final position.

    Maybe you should also cut me some slack and worry less about what I say?

  50. MK – “Maybe you should also cut me some slack and worry less about what I say?”

    I certainly don’t ‘worry’ about what you say, but i do wonder about why you say it as it is completely irrelevant to today, this week and even the next month. So why bother saying it at this juncture.
    Sorry if I hurt your sensitive feelings.


  51. Every team in the top ten have the same dilemma-“beat the teams around us”. They are the only games you truly have control over for your destiny. Beating top ten teams is more than the points. It’s a confidence thing, building yours and breaking your opponents.

  52. OV- Hurt them how? I say what I say because its just my thoughts and frustrations as Bruce seems to see things so bloody slowly imo, And its not irrelevant to conversation on here is it as its a blog about peoples thoughts about Aston Villa FC? Is JL’s history lessons irrelevant? the past throws up patterns and clues to improvement or failure, the recent past more so, Its no more irrelevant than believing we will go up while the seasons still on. You can only actually talk about whats happened with any real certainty, yep living in the now is great but its a conversation killer as Feck alls happened in it until its the past unless you can type from the future.

  53. Exactly, Ian…

    In leagues where playoffs are the only route to championships, this is made very clear. You truly know where you stand when you square off against a team you’re expecting to have to go through to get to a championship game.

    Lose, you know you’re short of the mark and why. Win, you feel good, but have to guard against overconfidence because they’ll be coming back at you and learning from the loss.

  54. On the future:

    The past is being written in the present…and the future is being shaped. So everyone’s right about that in one way or another. You do take each game at a time. You do need to win as many as possible. You do have to look toward the goal as you do so to keep the focus week-in week-out. Neither too high nor too low, remember the mission.

    When you look to past games, you say, “What have we learned, and what does it tell us about what will happen in the future?”

    So, maybe it’s more useful to reframe the question as “Does it look like we’ve learned from the previous matches against good opponents?”

  55. Some great comments coming through, coupled with the Brummie “pan-faced dry humour” that IanG refers to.

    We, as Brummies , do demand that managers, players, etc., must earn our praise, and not simply just demand it. Gradually, Bruce and his players are getting there, not really interested about what has gone before elsewhere. What is important is what they achieve at Villa and for Villa. Reputations count for nothing, if you do not produce the goods, and now is the time for Bruce and the team.

    Glad to see Snodgrass now earning the plaudits, along with the others, and Hogan stepping up, making us very close to a complete team.

  56. <b<MK: " its just my thoughts and frustrations "

    I just don’t get it. Villa are lying 4th, within striking distance of auto-promotion, conceding virtually nil goals in each game (of late). Jack the Lad beginning to look as though he might become a star after all … and we have frustrations?!! 😀

    Perhaps you put too much salt in your porridge? 😉

    Or perhaps you need to go and see a few bald eagles?

  57. John: ““Does it look like we’ve learned from the previous matches against good opponents?””

    I don’t think that’s the major issue at all.

    In my view ou should always worry about how we are playing, not the opposition.

    I think the squad has only recently got to know one another properly. All the chopping and changing has not helped. A settled group has now emerged as I see it, but can still improve.

  58. What a fabulous game of football! Hats off to Klupp…and his team….

    Liverpool and Villa on the same number of points….!!!!

    Football can be entertaining.. a privilege to watch..

  59. I visited The Villa blog earliwr and there are quite a few there ‘still’ calling for Bruce to go.
    Any suggestions on the particular form of madness that they are suffering from?

  60. JL,

    Sorry to differ bluntly, but I think it is very much the point. You have to learn from defeats, especially if you get played off the park. What was wrong? Performances, set-up, selections? You know what I mean.

    Now I do agree that you try to focus on yourself and playing to your strengths as you build the side. But it’s not worrying about the opposition to learn from defeats. It’s learning about yourself. And if you didn’t think about the opponents’ strengths, you wouldn’t have much tactical work to do as a manager.

  61. MK – carry on carrying on, talk your talk – I for one will not read another word you write as you generally keep twisting things around, distorting what people say and seem to want everyone to think that you are some sort of Villa guru with knowledge no-one else has.

    Please DO NOT reply to this mail – it is a courtesy mail to let you know how I feel.

    Well said JL 🙂

    old villa

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