So here we are, Dean Smith, Swansea, and back to football with absolutely no idea what to expect as Swansea come to visit. We’ve read and talked about virtually everything possible over the international break, and now it’s simply time to sit back and watch.

Talking with a Forest mate of mine last night, and I was going on about Smith, he was just finding out Forest’s owner just went to jail or something, and then we just kept drinking. Which is why your faithful correspondent does not have anything clever to say at the moment. Other than a word of caution that adding a little St. Germain to rye whiskey is an excellent, but deadly cocktail. And when you host the women’s book club that has nothing at all to do with books, you really should leave the house instead of getting caught up in “our book club can outdrink your book club.”

Personal problems.

At Villa Park, meanwhile, here’s who we’ll see start in claret and blue:

Hutton, Tuanzebe, Chester, Taylor
Elmohamady, Bjarnason, McGinn, Adomah
Grealish, Abraham

So, as I suspected, not a radical departure to start out. It’ll be a full and, one hopes, rocking house this afternoon. All we need is a win and who knows what might happen next.

COYVB, and over to you.

Comments 75

  1. Haggis thanks for the match info.
    Am in wales & all I’ve got to follow is the beeb & Bham mail internet internet match txts, as the swansea end is in welsh ffs.
    Sounds like there is a change already, the atmosphere looks amazing.

  2. MK,

    Looked good first half, rather ragged in the second. Could well be 4-4 or something like that apart from players missing their chances and keepers making good saves.

  3. Guilty of writing some stupid posts myself but 1 earlier today takes the biscuit, that if de matteo had got much longer Bruce job would have been looking for promotion from league 1 ha ha ha

  4. Phew thank Gawd for that should do them good.

    JC- yes not used to pressing I presume I thought they’d fade, good Nyland made a few saves and got a clean sheet.

    No Mcginn for tues but hourihane will have to play

  5. Tuanzebe looked fine, Ian. Back line was getting well up the pitch. Hutton was Hutton.

    McGinn had a very good game. Bolasie and Kodjia failed to make any real impact. Bjarnason did well, Nyland made a couple-three excellent saves.

    Basically looked like Villa, but less cautious. Made the early pressure count, could’ve run away with it, then could’ve lost it.

  6. 13th place 3 points off 6th 7 off top two with all to play for, and you’d hope its gonna get better once he knows his players strengths etc , game on.

  7. Yeah, I think he’ll rotate through some players, see what’s what.

    Forgot to mention Abraham…Had another two chances he should’ve buried, but headed one straight into the ground, put the other straight into the keeper. His energy and pressure up front were impressive though, and the goal was very well taken. Good ball in from Elmo.

  8. JC- I am annoyed about Bolasie, a needless loan for big money when the defence was so weak. I think him and Kodjia will not feature much once we get rolling. Neither seem very coachable if you like. Wonder if Smith has started eyeing the u23’s yet? 🙂

  9. Whoever said it could have been 4-4 got it about right. Also agree about Nyland being man of the match, which bearing in mind his continued kicks to touch is a bit of a surprise.
    There were some differences today:
    Hunting down the opposition in packs and winning the ball many times (McGinn in particular)
    More attempted through balls (although quite a few going astray)
    More low crosses driven into the box rather than lobbed across for headers
    Like for like substitutions
    Generally a bit more energy about the team, particularly in the first half (not sure if that’s coaching or just taken up in the atmosphere)
    Oh . . . and a full Villa Park. . . . . 41,000 in the championship is pretty impressive

  10. JC’s call for Bjarnason looked right today. . . him and McGinn provided the midfield energy to give some protection to our defence. Tuanzebe is starting to look the part though, so provided him and Chester can stay fit we may just be ok there.
    Taylor had his best game for us for a while too.

  11. Mark. . . I thought they did start to tire in the second half which is part of the reason that Swansea were able to get on top. Having said that, we still created plenty of chances in the second half.

  12. I was very impressed with today and not giving a very good side like Swansea a second won it for me. I joked when we scored about if Bruce was here we would just sit back. Joking aside IMHO if Bruce was in charge we would of lost it. As said before the best defensive is offensive. Hats off to the whole team. Would of loved to have seen Hogan on instead of Kodjia as John said neither him or Bolisa impressed.

  13. So – very happy with a win as I always will be with the Villa, no matter how it is earned.

    But – 1 striker at home …………… Bruce would have been hammered for that.

    Whelan and Jedi on the bench …………………. Bruce would have been hammered for that.

    Putting on loads of strikers as subs ……………………. Bruce would have been hammered for that.

    Not taking off Thor when he was obviously totally shagged after the Internationals …….. Bruce would have been hammered for that.

    But saying all that – the team worked hard but 2nd half were not really at the races for whatever reason. And sat back. Good to see Grealish taken off as he didn’t really contribute, Bruce may not have done that so kudos to Smith. The keeper had a superb game and kept us in it.
    I feel that Smith kept with more or less the ‘usual’ team today to see how they reacted and played. Maybe we will see changes in the coming games as he gets to know the players better.

    I think we will get better as all the newcomers gel and get a better feel for things. Smiths reaction at the end was superb and showed what it meant to him.
    A big couple of games coming up away from home which we will need to get points from to keep up with the pack ………………… I think we can do it and then push on from there.
    BUT – if I hear RDM mentioned again, I’m going to nuke the whole of Oxford……. 😉


  14. OV

    Getting 3 points after an international break….. Bruce would never have done that.

    Keep a clean sheet with the bare bones of a defence…..Bruce would never have done that.

    Leaving Jedi and Whelan on the bench….. Bruce would never have done that.

    Play an active pressing game….. Bruce would never have done that.

    Batten down the hatches and be there or thereabouts…..Bruce would definitely have said that.

  15. Plug – “Keep a clean sheet with the bare bones of a defence” ……………. virtually the same defence as has been playing all season.
    Jedi and Whelan have been on the bench many times with Bruce.
    Active pressing game sort of ran out of steam 2nd half I think …….

    But as I said, I’m really happy with a win however it is gained…………..


  16. Plug
    Bruce would have got a clean sheet
    There or there abouts
    Funny first time in years most villa fans are happy with manager willing to give him the chance to lead us to promotion, yet 2/3 on most sites still bemoaning the sacking of the most overrated manager in our history

  17. OV – If your threats of never coming back to this site are anything to go by Oxford is safer than houses, not that I live there mind, Switzerland have a great policy on youthanasia hope you take full advantage 😉

  18. Thanks, JC for getting a leader up after attending one of those women’s book club meetings.
    There were so many missed chances in this game. Both goalies were pretty busy, which is a good thing.
    Considering, Villa usually lose after a break, it was a very good win, even though, Villa couldn’t really make the game safe with another goal. Swansea played their part in that. Villa did well, especially since VP would have been like a cauldron for some of the players.

    I agree with OV, the team will gel to become more cohesive with time. I feel the previous manager never really settled on a first team. Injuries had something to do with that.

  19. OV/Iana: “the team will gel to become more cohesive with time.”

    Well of course you could say the same thing if Bruce were still in charge! 😉

    But I won’t say that! 😀

    For the sake of continuity Smith couldn’t take a big plunge with changes in the first match and whether the same names remain in contention week-in week-out remains to be seen once the new regime settles in.

    Smith has clearly tried to exert the players to take more responsibility, though, and that can only be a good thing.

    The fact that Smith has an intimate knowledge of what Villa fans want should produce the right results in terms of points and entertainment, just as the ex-Villan Big Ron did the same nearly 20 years ago.

    I wonder what Brian Little and Smith talk about?

  20. MK – “Switzerland have a great policy on youthanasia hope you take full advantage ” ….. even though your spelling is rubbish, thanks for a thoughtful and pleasant comment. Or should that be a nasty and very unpleasant comment.


  21. MK,

    But you *live* in Banbury area…

    As for OV’s “nuke” comment, you must know that the refined air over there can go to your head! 😉

    Either that or the affect of the CERN gadget is getting through!

  22. Mark
    Now you’ve given your explanation I plead “not guilty”
    I didn’t even know that you live in Oxford.

    I didn’t actually know what OV’s Oxford banter referred to but happen to have family links with Cambridge and have always supported the light blues in the boat race. . . . my comment was as shallow as that.

  23. MK – ” Don’t give it if you can’t take it pal or is bombing folk you disagree with your thing? spelling? is that it?”

    Yep and of course I was really serious about what I said lol. I have nukes ready and waiting obviously. Bit touchy aren’t we MK? Is it because some of the people who you constantly argued with are back on this site?
    You seem to have offended at least 3 people quite easily and unpleasantly. Sorry we are interfering with all your extremely interesting and high in number comments on this blog.

    Oh and I am certainly not your “pal” …………

  24. I nuked a bowl of cream of tomato soup a couple of hours ago. It was pretty good, though I was told that nuking destroys the nutrition.
    Do people from Wolverhampton and Bromwich regard themselves as Brummies? Or are they Wolfies and Brommies? This talk about Oxonians started this. What is a person from Kidderminster or Cambridge called?

  25. Iana, now you’ve asked a question! Think JL may be best placed to answer maybe?

    But getting back to football now that yesterdays game has been and gone – I still stick with my original comments re the team etc but will be very interested to see what changes are made for both Tuesday and then Friday nights games. Changes that may be enforced because of tiredness (Thor) or because DS has now had longer to see how players perform or because of suspension (McGinn) ………………
    Two big games and crazily with 3 games in the space of under a week. Well done the Championship!
    We’ll do well to get 4 points but let’s hope for six points ……


  26. I like Smiths comments on what he has worked on this week and what he liked from the game, mainly about tightening the team up. It suggests we have seen nothing on the attacking side yet other than the high press, which broke down a little maybe once the subs came on.

    “All we have done this week is work without the ball, out of possession.

    “We’ve not had chance to work with the ball.

    “That’s something we can improve on as the season goes on.

    “I felt that we set some very good traps early on but I felt we were loose later on which allowed Swansea to play.”

    On the most pleasing thing about the win

    “The grit. The players’ desire to keep the ball out of the net.

    “We have been a bit loose in conceding too many goals.

    “But I thought we defended well, at corners as well. They were never a threat to the goal (from corners).

    “The biggest thing I take from the players is how they’ve taken things on board.

    “They look like they want to get better.”

  27. Blimey, I take a nap & look what happens!
    Apart from that you’ll all make Banbury cross, gang violence because your finer feelings have been hurt is an interesting response.
    Serves you right OV for forgetting your sense of humour.

  28. Mark, I haven’t read his post match words but it’s interesting if DS described us as ‘setting some very good traps”. That was one of the most noticeable differences yesterday, with players ‘ganging up’ and surrounding opposition players to deny them outlets and win the ball. McGinn was the most effective proponent and has a clever way of turning his body to both win, and shield the ball.

    Some of the players worked exceptionally hard yesterday and as OV says, it’ll be interesting to see how DS rotates the squad to maintain the intensity with 3 games in a week.

  29. r0bb0
    Yes the rotations should be a good indicator of how training is going as well.
    Traps sending the opposition into channels you control sounds better than ‘there or thereabouts’.

  30. Mark, did DS say that the high press broke down ‘when the suns came on’?
    I thought it had broken down before that and his substitutions were an attempt to lift the energy levels.

    The one player who’s energy didn’t seem to flag at all was McGinn. . . . Duracell should sign him up.

  31. Norwich going to be very very tough. They are on great form. No mcguinn either. If we can get 4 points it will be superb.

    Interesting there was no el sway or brew sat. Wonder if we will rotate

  32. Well, a great trip to the Aston Tavern and Villa Park on Saturday. It was also good to see a sell out crowd and have Villa Park rocking…and then the explosion when El Mohamady’s cross was met by Tammy Abraham’s for Vila’s vital goal!

    Great to seethe whole team playing together and looking for the ball, and will agree that Taylor had his best game for Villa, although he tailed off a little, along with one or two others after about 60 minutes, something Terry pointed out about Villa in our Premiership days. McGinn outstanding again, Bolasie was not on long enough, and has not played enough to be up to the mark, but although Kodija was also not up to the mark, I felt he was getting stuck in more.

    I am sure as the training intensifies, players will improve and Villa can only get better, and they look as if they want to play for Smith.

    Nyland, as everyone else has said had a great game and was a lot more confident which augurs well for the future.

    JC you have my complete sympathy , as I drove from Villa Park to Rhyl after the match to see the Michael Jackson Experience to keep my girls happy, and was in theatre and seated in time for the beginning of the show!! However, there was no way I was going to miss the match..!!!

    Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Oldbury and Dudley all belong to the “Black Country” Iana, and Kidderminster, home of carpets, sits on the edge. They are known as the yam yam’s… opposed to us nasal “Brummies” ….

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