It’s been a lovely international break, basking in the glow of a fine performance against Norwich and watching Super John McGinn bag three for Scotland and Tyrone Mings earn his first England cap. It’s been so lovely that I even wore my 1982 Champions of Europe track jacket out last night, much to the missus’ amusement and embarrassment. Sometimes you’d like things to just stay put for a while. And I wouldn’t mind seeing the club pay tribute to that kit. It’s aged rather well.

But time waits for no man or club, and it’s back to the grind today as Brighton come calling and Villa look to build on the 5-1 thrashing of the Canaries.

The Seagulls are one point better than us so far this year, and both sides are coming off what arguably have to be their best outings of the season, Brighton having dispatched Spurs 3-0 before the break. It’s sometimes amazing how different things can be depending on when you play someone.

Anyway, Dean Smith will leave it unchanged today, and you can hardly argue. Getting Hourihane on the pitch and Jack further up it has worked well so far. And you know Conor will be champing at the bit to show Mick he’s missed a trick. Jota’s unavailable because he’s apparently been nursing a hernia or two for a while, and Dr. Tony is in hiding somewhere.

Anyway. With a couple tough fixtures against City and Liverpool to follow, it’s rather obvious Villa would like all three points today. I wouldn’t mind them, either.

Starting XI:
Heaton, Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett, Nakamba, Hourihane, McGinn, Grealish, El Ghazi, Wesley


Comments 41

  1. Bha did play well and Villa did look a bit tired. But a win is a win is a win and I’m happy for that. Grealish is one slick player. I think also Villa are still looking for that sixth sense with their play. IT comes in patches. The international week takes a half step away from the players who play for their countries And I think it opens them up to injury. Did Brighton have many internationals?
    And on cue the sun came out and a good weekend is to follow.

  2. Yes a mixed bag, Targett pops up with the goal but defends like a post and Jack was superb in front of Southgate who absolutely must be thinking about him now.

    In the end its three points and we have dropped enough of them lately when it was easier to win.

  3. I was shocked at how easily Brighton played around us when they had 11 men. We were like statues. Wesley is dreadful, but he wasn’t alone today. He isn’t improving at the required rate.

  4. For the life of me I couldn’t see anything wrong in Connor’s goal, beginning to hate VAR the way it keeps going against us. I would love to see Davis get some more game time, i really like the look of this kid, and Wesley doesn’t do it for me yet, but then having said that could see steal one at City now. Still not sure about that left back spot, boy wouldn’t i like to see a rejuvenated Charlie Aitken in there lol. I think we need to spend there in January, I know everyone wants another CF but LB is our weakest position presently for me, not so much when we are attacking but the pair of them are so suspect when defending, might as well have a traffic cone there some times, at least the wingers would have go round that not through it. Little harsh I know after a win, but you can’t help feeling were are gonna blow it. Missed there damn goal, the phone rang local politicians again after my vote this coming Monday. By all accounts it shouldn’t have been a free kick to them, can any one fill me in please!!

    Cheers lads and moved up a spot or two for today at least, be nice if we are still above Man U after tomorrow that’s for sure.

  5. Re Left Back, yep Targett is not a good defender, as pointed out to me by many Saints fans. He looks really slow when running.

    Today was one those special Villa performances where everyone was awful except Grealish…I left on 90 mins and missed the goal

  6. Yep PW, have to agree. Not one of our better performances. But 3 points I’ll take every time.

    Correct JC, two birds killed not quite with one stone though.

  7. Canadian- supposedly wes fouled the Keeper, very lame decision.

    PW- I think Wes has been asked to stay central and occupy the CB’s more as part of this tweak of putting Jack out left. Not his natural game from what I have seen. Also when we play with attacking fullbacks that front 3 plus the advanced Mids have to press high and today they couldn’t press a flower. Hence the walking past statues with Our CB’s and Nakamba left to fend for themselves. Also I was amazed how lifeless mcginn was, Jack pulled us through on sheer willpower and no little skill.

    can’t see us playing that way or as badly next game

  8. Over the years, the beaks in charge of the game have tried various rule changes to enhance the scoring chances and hence more goals.

    I’m afraid VAR is having the opposite effect. Goals are being ruled out everywhere. Wolves had 2 knocked off, and we’ve had another one wiped out for minimal contact. It’s become forensic and the game will die if it isn’t cured and used correctly.

    The refs acting like they are the centre stage are being upstaged by the faceless t**ts in front of a TV screen.

  9. It won’t be long before Bruce plays six at the back. 29% possession.
    Too many games have gone by where Villa have been the better team and lost or tied in the last minutes of play. It’s about time they pulled one out. You have to be quality to get lucky. There really isn’t any player I feel unsure off. As soon as a better player arrives the old one becomes s**te and the fans ride him.

    Ibrahimovic is on the move December 31. I can see him back in the Prem in January. He scored 30 in 31 this year. He’s 38, he’s prolific, and opposing players are frightened of him. And he’d be a free as his contract is over.

  10. A vital victory yesterday, especially when you look at the up-coming fixture list.

    We let Brighton have too much possession yesterday and Brighton’s movement off the ball was better than ours. We need to address this especially with the games against Liverpool and Man City. It will be interesting to see if Dean Smith changes the tactics against the top teams in the division.

    Grealish was sublime yesterday and Heaton looks assured in Goal. There was too many players below par yesterday. Our left back conundrum continues. Target scored a great goal but his defending wasn’t great. What has happened to Hause? Wesley/ AEG had off games and the midfield look tired.

    But let’s take the positives out of the game and move forward. We kept going until the end of the game. Back to back victories is an accomplishment in this division.

    We need to invest in new players in January – a new centre forward is vital

    VAR is an absolute joke and is killing the game.

  11. Good comments on the state of play yesterday, and have to endorse Canadian Villa on Targett and Charlie Aitken, and like IanG, would like to be rejuvenated at the same time. Jack was magnificient at leading the way yesterday, and McGinn can be forgiven for having less presence. After all he had scored a hattrick for Scotland, and he had probably been celebrating his birthday.

    Yesterday proved the importance of not just playing to the last minute, but playing to the last second, before the whistle!!! So glad that I stayed to the final whistleand saw the goal. Then waited for VAR to disallow it….Oh yes,…we can celebrate now…!!!

    VAR is killing the joy of celebration for the fans and players alike. This is not because we should not have VAR, but because we have not learned to use it and appreciate it’s value like rigby has.

    We should have the same rules as rugby regarding respect for referees, hearing why the ref has made a decision, players and managers respecting the ref, and surely a ten minute sin bin for yellow cards would stop a lot of professional fouls.

    I am sure Villa are finally on their way and learning to win ugly.

    Certainly think that Davis should now get his opportunity in front of Wesley, but hopefully El Ghazi will not have such a bad game for a while.

  12. Jesus some of the comments! Paul when Deano signed Maupay for Brentford there fans were saying the same thing as you and wes! The one thing you have to accept with smith is he will buy youth and want to coach them better. So there not the finished article and will have lots of bad moments. Maupay came good in the end at Brentford and wes has 4 goals in 9 games. More then maupay! Is every signing we make going to be good, no impossible but wes will get better and improve in time. Bout time we win a game not playing well. Have drawn or lost games this season where we played well enough to win. League is like that.

  13. Obviously I like the sin bin. Hockey has it and it is part of the game and is planned for.
    Var can be a good thing but give the managers a chance to challenge a play before it is used. An infraction if they are wrong. Only 2 or 3 challenges per game. This Would create some hesitancy on its use. For example the call on Hourihane’s goal yesterday would have been allowed as no one would have guessed that an infraction on the goalkeeper occurred. Even the ref wasn’t sure and that’s why Var came into play. When the tiniest infractions occur in a contact sport the flow of the game shouldn’t be stopped. Maybe at the end of the game all the theatrical falling down should be tallied and dealt with then with fines or yellows for a future game.

  14. Hi IanG
    I can remember everyone going mad because the ref missed it. There is a happy medium though, it’s just going to take time.

  15. It will be interesting to view a with Var and without table at the season end. You can’t account for everything but moments change matches and clubs fortunes.

    Its well known peoples recall of what they have just seen can be vastly different so you would assume VAR would get rid of that. Unfortunately it just moves the interpretation of the law to a bloke by a tele who may or may not see it differently to the other officials. That and Slow motion can make everything look worse than real time or better 🙂

    I agree with Richard S our movement is just not there yet, we have several individuals with great ability to keep the ball but not as a cohesive unit. Jota is the only player and maybe Marv that reads things well and moves before prompted. Jack see’s things quicker too and plays to where he knows they should be at times.

  16. VAR is broken and was implemented before they had thought through the practicalities. In its present format it won’t last until Xmas never mind the season end. I expect the big TV sponsors like Sky Gambling and BeIN Sports have already made representations to the PL about the destructive events now happening. The TV sponsors want as many goals as possible and VAR has introduced a negative spanner in the works that is writing them off by the score.

    90+4 minutes…..the winner…..and everyone’s crapping themselves about a half inch offside, touching the keeper or having an attacker impeding a defender whilst waiting for certification. I say bin it.

  17. Yeah, VAR has been a bit of a disaster, and I don’t like what it’s doing to the game.

    Beyond Villa, I’m even getting tired of the really tight offsides being called. A shoulder leaning over the line, a half-a-boot…It’s a bit ridiculous. Make it a whole leg at least.

    Then there’s all the really egregious stuff. If it’s not fixing a lot more than it’s screwing up, there’s no way to justify it.

  18. 2 wins in a row,last gasp winner,first win after been behind since 2014 in pl, 1st win after international break in how long,1st score 2 goals in at least 4 games running in how long,me am usually looking at down side but fcuk it we are winning scoring goals what’s it not like being a villa fan ,fcuk var

  19. H&V,

    Wes is a young developing player, as is Davis, but Davis is further along the line, and every time he has come on as a sub he has shown more potential, and therefore Dean should be rotating them more, so that they become more challenging for the striker role.

  20. Tough call on wes and Davis, Wes is the better finisher and we are up against the champs but on the other hand Davis works his nuts off and can hold the ball up better and dribble, both provide an outlet as we are likely to be under some pressure.

  21. It’s a free swing at them on Sat. We must be realistic and accept that if we avoid a destruction of our goal difference, it will be a result. The development stages of each team are wide.

    But if the free swing lands on their jaw……you never know…’s 11 v 11 after all.

  22. So far so good after 25% of the season. I can definitely see 6 teams finishing below us. All we need to do is stay focused and keep giving 110%. We are generating goals , albeit at both ends but it beats Spuds 0-0’s and defensive anti entertainment garbage.

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