Villa finally broke down a 10-man side to get an important 2-1 victory, and all three points, over a well-organized, resilient, and sharp-looking Brighton squad last weekend.

Villa’s performance was fairly turgid overall, but despite the how the play looked, it wasn’t like we didn’t create chances. Obviously there’s the Hourihane goal that was disallowed and the two that went in. Hourihane’s point blank shot to the keeper, and AEG’s follow-up miss. McGinn hitting Wesley’s backside when it looked destined to at least challenge the keeper. Davis’ narrow-angle shot that was parried aside. And the uncharacteristic, way off-target shot from McGinn on edge of the box you’d normally expect to at least be on goal. Not a lot of them, but they were all pretty high-quality chances for the players you’d like taking them.

Dean and the team readily admit it wasn’t a great display beyond that. Brighton looked sharper, moved the ball effectively, and remained all too threatening on the counter while playing with 10, in no small part because of quality outlet passes when we turned it over, and the space behind the fullbacks. They were often very free in the middle and between our lines.

While Brighton seemed to be on form, Villa didn’t really seem to be at the races on the day. A lot of players looked leggy. AEG didn’t get up to too much. McGinn was not as much of a presence as usual. Hourihane seemed gassed at around 60 minutes. It really was Jack doing everything he could to drive us forward for a winner. And all week, the talk has deservedly been about him.

In the end, besides seeing Jack almost single-handedly will the team to a win, it was playing for 94 minutes, not giving up, finally finding a breakthrough against 10 men that was the takeaway. The old “finding a way to win when you’re not playing well.”

The other takeaway, which hasn’t been limited to Saturday’s showing, is how open we can be with Guilbert and Targett bombing forward so much. Obviously that sort of attacking commitment from Targett saw us win. But, it’s looked a bit shaky at the back at times. Maybe Brighton and Norwich can’t properly punish us for that, but other teams will.

So, given the above, I’d expect Smith to at least change his instructions a bit for the next couple of games if not his set-up. The obvious trick is to be hard to break down without sacrificing all attacking threat. Which is pretty much what Wolves did. Push them out to the wide areas, deal with crosses, watch the cutbacks, and stop them playing through the middle.

Over the week I’ve seen folks trying to work Luiz in beside Nakamba to help clog things up, with Hourihane being sacrificed. Also seen AEG making way for Trezeguet, which might make sense since he works harder defensively than El Ghazi. No one’s really talked about bringing in Taylor’s experience and more defensive-minded approach. Elmo seems a distant memory—at right back, anyway. And you might well wonder about Davis for Wesley.

Does Luiz make sense? Obviously he’s lost the holding midfielder role to Nakamba, who just seems to put himself about more. Which means is it better to put in more of a holding midfielder without a lot of bite than have Hourihane out there? I’m maybe a little skeptical. Which doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. But when playing a side that can slice you open all day long, regardless of recent form, it might be the case that cohesiveness is more valuable. Might also be the case that Luiz will want to show City they should exercise their buy-back option. And he did just get promoted to the full Brazilian squad. Hard to believe he’s sitting the bench at Villa. But if he were to start, a fresh Hourihane at 60 or 70 minutes, depending on how the game’s going…well, I wouldn’t put it past him to snatch an equalizer or a smash-and-grab win from a set-piece, if nothing else.

I also wonder about Davis for Wesley because I think Davis might well do better holding the ball up and helping exert pressure. Not that I foresee a high-press approach from Villa, but if you do get them pinned back at times, you might get at City’s not-terribly-impressive backline. However, Stones will be back in for them, so they could be more resolute.

McGinn? He might well be the most pivotal figure. He scored against Arsenal and Spurs, and his knack for popping up in the right places could see him with a couple good chances around the edge of the area, especially if he’s leading a more defensive middle three and making late runs. His energy and work-rate are obviously invaluable, and you can expect him to rise to the occasion. It may well be the case we depend on his doggedness in winning the ball back as much as anything else.

Anyway. I can see the value in playing more of a 4-5-1 than a 4-3-3. Which maybe doesn’t mean much in the end, but if there are two players dedicated to policing the channels, it might be the best means of just clogging things up and keeping City from getting up a head of steam.

So, an intriguing fixture. Back in the big show, and here come two of Europe’s best. Villa have played a couple of quality sides already, and we’ll all be hoping they’ve learned from what they did right, and where they let things slip away. We know Villa don’t *want* to play for draws. But I’m hoping they’ll be smart about how they go about things. Having lost to Norwich and Wolves, City will be much more on alert and perhaps looking to prove a point.

But they’re certainly not invincible, and while many are predicting a 3- or 4-1 home win…well, you never know.

Over to you.

Comments 97

  1. Here’s the team:
    Heaton, Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett, Nakamba, Douglad Luiz, McGinn, Grealish, Trezeguet, Wesley.

    Subs: Steer, Taylor, Konsa, Hourihane, Lansbury, El Ghazi, Davis

  2. So to answer your question JC, no we can’t win there. Not yet anyway. A minus 3 damage to our goal diff……I’ll take. I was chuffed at HT but the team were asleep for the kick off and we can’t switch off against this side.

    I’ll take it on the chin. SJM hit a post and we might have registered a goal. You just knew when VAR got involved for their goal that it would defo be allowed. Never in doubt. Don’t think we’d get the same call.

    PW, enjoy work on Monday morning. Shipping 9 at home should keep those Saints fans quiet.

  3. Funny one, that. Had to be out, so just finished watching the recording.

    Could’ve been better, could’ve been worse.

    Think you’ve it right, Plug. Switched off there to start the second, something you obviously can’t do.

    Funny for me was that the nice chances you thought they’d create they missed, the others were a bit underwhelming.

    Still a bit naive…but Dean must be thinking about starting Davis against Liverpool.

  4. Congratulations to Douglas Luiz on his selection for the Brazil senior squad. His beauties in the top bins have not gone unnoticed.

  5. Deano might not be quite so compact against the bindippers as we’re at home. He may revert to a more attacking set up. But before that we have Wolves midweek so there’s plenty happening.

  6. JC, he will put Davis in against Wolves. It’s a chance to give the squad guys a game and I think it will be a competitive game. One we can win.

  7. Biggest take away for me is the frustration that Grealish simply cannot hide when we are outclassed. His discipline goes.

    As for McGinn, we’ll he’s simply in a class above the rest of the team. I cant see either of them being here next season.

  8. Paul W, having read your posts over the past few months ,I’m curious… are you sure you’re supporting the right team ? The normal highs and lows of supporting a team like Villa seem to be causing you , and Frem , undue anguish so maybe you should switch to a team that wins most of the time like Barca/Real or Celtic/Rangers. Looking to replace the entire front three in The third month of their return to the premiership is knocking on the door of Mr. Hysterical.
    Critical analysis is fine but chill out man , and try to feed on the many reasons for positivity about your club at the moment.

  9. Well I didn’t expect a win. Man City is not only a much better team but their recent history gets into the heads of most of their opposition and that messes with any game plan.
    I think the wolves game will be a much better yardstick to use on Villa.

    Hello Proxopera. A goalie mask—nice

  10. Villa drive me mad. The 2nd half was a joke

    I love Smith but we need to be more brave in games like this. His subs to, so annoying. Davis should have come on much earlier

    Trezeguet looks useless, ghazi is to most the time. January we need a couple of wingers in

    And Wes. Such a big guy but gets battered. I don’t think he will cut it. Time for Davis to start on Wednesday and against Liverpool

  11. Me still not convinced by smith as a pl manager but when I can see a villa side minus guzan Hutton lescott gabby etc no mcleish Lambert keane or spud on the bench its worthwhile being a villa fan,yes wes gets stick well think back to savo time at villa turned out to be one of the best in Europe

  12. this is like an extended int break for me. Man city and Liverpool back to back…there just too good. It staggers me people loose there s**t losing….your talking 2 of the best teams in the world right now!

    Is what it is….just look out for the bottom teams losing too. results were ok for us.

  13. Yes…I think worrying about these two games is rather pointless. They are two of, if not *the* two top teams in the world at the moment.

    Doesn’t mean we don’t try, doesn’t mean they can’t be beaten. But generally speaking, hardly anyone beats them. When they lose, it’s every bit as much because they’ve had an off day, a key injury or two, or some such.

    We also have to remember that the simple truth is this: None of these Villa players really has any meaningful experience playing against sides full of this much world-class quality. You talk about learning curves. Sterling, Silva, Gundogan just working the left side mercilessly with serious understanding and confidence…never mind the rest of the pitch. Next year, or even the return fixtures? We might be much more adept.

    Add to the fact that one goal was an obvious, unforced error on our part, and the second was another VAR fail.

    Not saying City didn’t create better chances on their own that they should’ve buried, but that’s when they lose: They miss a couple they would usually convert (even if they don’t create many); the opposition don’t shoot themselves in the foot; they themselves get caught out or switch off (the off-day); the opposition rides its luck and the couple-three high-quality chances they will probably get (most everyone gets a chance or two a game) are converted.

    How does the game go if Mings takes care of the long ball and VAR overrules the second? We’ll never know, but it might’ve played out a bit differently. City were looking frustrated at the end of the 1st half. A longer spell without conceding in the 2nd could well have seen Villa grow in confidence, City start to sulk and not find the next gear.

  14. Hello folks, watched the game next to a manc fan in a pub in Bridlington. Wasn’t alone there was a bloke with a Villa shirt on with a Yorkshire accent too. Pub was pact for the main game Leeds v Sheff weds so I had to watch it without the sound on 🙂

    Thought they stuck to it then shot themselves in the foot with avoidable errors and has been said wonder VAR. I think targett got off light as they targeted Guilbert but either way I don’t think it would of mattered they knew are FB’s are not all that defending, DeBruynes delivery’s are superb and he doesn’t have to get near the FB to do it.

    As for Jack Pepe rates him and as usual he tried really hard but without the supporting cast you can only do so much. Talking of which McGinn may be class but just has not turned up for me for two games now although against this lot if you can’t hunt as a team your stuffed. Its our biggest flaw at present. City were having nothing of McGinn sticking his bum into them and robbed him a fair few times. I did wonder how the change in balance from Playing Luis not conor would go and for me didn’t really work as well but hard to tell in this company.

    I would definitely give Davis a run and Wes a wake up call if nothing else. Liverpools style may suit us more or might be a hell of a lot worse.

    As JC has sort of said these games will not define the season so I can’t get to down with the game.

  15. Our match is not on the tv, as Sky is showing the mancs v Chelsea. & the pool v the arses.
    So the people’s cup is now been Murdoch’d.
    We’re on the radio in the uk

  16. Hi Mark,
    I’ve seen Conor Playing for Ireland and he’s just not the complete midfielder. He doesn’t have the required defensive aggression and he drifts around games if his team is not in the ascendancy. He is a great passer and sublime striker of the ball but you just can’t put him in the trenches.

  17. Yeah, I’d like to see Davis have a good outing…which, like a lot of what I say, sounds obvious.

    I think Wes has the goal-scoring tools. It’s the rest of his of his game he’s having trouble with, and he’s getting frustrated.

    I think Dean will do a good job managing him, and I’m sure he’s looking to grow his confidence by giving him the run he needs, which is the only way he’ll adjust (if he’s able).

    Right now, though, Davis has a much better understanding of the league, his role, and has a different body type that allows him to hold up, press, and fight for/retain the ball more effectively.

    However, Davis has not shown a real knack in front of goal. Maybe that comes with more minutes. So, you replace potential goals from Wes with someone who should help create for others, at least, and also stiffen up the middle.

    As with Kodjia, it’s often the case that we’re sort of playing with 10 when Wes is on the pitch, atm. I think he really does care and wants to improve, it’s just a big step up for him, and he’s getting frustrated by the physicality CBs are able to throw at him.

  18. Prox,

    “He doesn’t have the required defensive aggression and he drifts around games if his team is not in the ascendancy. He is a great passer and sublime striker of the ball but you just can’t put him in the trenches.”

    There’s a lot of truth to that.

  19. John,
    Don’t get me wrong on Conor, he is a great asset to have and he will play his part in what I believe will be a comfortable retention of villas PL status, but he’s not Roy Keane despite looking & sounding like him. I correctly guessed the starting line up on Saturday apart from Trezeguet but I think Luis & Nakamba were the right combination on the day and will also be correct for Liverpool.

  20. Prox- I don’t disagree on Conor but like DeBruyne he seems to come up with the goods regardless of lacking some qualities (although Debruyne’s defensive work has improved a fair bit and he’s obviously of a different level he still can’t head for toffee) . He does seem to complement Jack and McGinn well, whether Luis will usurp him we will see, he has just got his call up to the Brazil squad.

  21. Hmm, DeBruyn ??
    Yeah ,that’s a better comparison than Roy Keane, Mark. I still think he’s an impact sub in this league. A lock picker when villa are in the driving seat.

  22. Mark – Ta mate, I got the second half eventually.
    I did notice that the cup team’s play is more like the first team way than they used to be, but not as far along yet, & they gave far too much of the ball away.
    We really do need someone to replace Taylor as he’s like a one armed crab.
    Good to see McGinn on,

  23. We’re into the next round and it’s the bindippers at home. Doubt we will be up against their first eleven as they have a world club championship to factor in over in the far east.

    Fantastic to see a big gate at VP last night for this competition. Deano takes it seriously and the income is always needed. Wolves played the kids but well done our boys.

  24. Prox- just highlighting that even the best ain’t perfect 🙂

    Thought we kept possession well last night although they didn’t appear to want to come out anyway for most of the match. Shame for Davis hope its not to bad. Kodjia looked very average.

    Kept an eye on Luis, thought he was pretty good going forward and he has an eye for a pass from that deep position. On the defending side thought he was average and likes to pass blind at times, like the goal he gave away against Bournemouth.

    Considering this was Wolves U21’s virtually I can see why Marv is number one. Whether Luis can play his passes further up the field we will see, really cannot see how he’s better defensively than Conor at the moment and thats not great.

    IanG- Great to see McGinn on? his booking was the highlight, really doesn’t look himself to me or he’s believing his own hype.

  25. Well the fire cracker tended to be more of a damp squib, although Villa never really looked like losing it, although it took an outstanding save from Steer to prevent it going to penalties. one or two pleasing moments when Villa put together some nice passing, with Duoglas Luiz being MOTM, although Lansbury did have some reasonable moments. Hourihane was very ordinary, and Taylor had a poor game. Hause held the defence together, along with Elmo, Konsa just about passable.

    Up front Davis showed some nice touches until he was injured, but it took El Ghazi and Elmo to score the necessary goals. Trezeguet got involvbed without achieving much, and needs to up his game. No-one really nocking on the door for a first team place. I thought Kodija did ok, but was a little rusty. Needs some game time.

    Looking like it may be impossible for us to play Liverpool in the quarter final, so we either go through by default, Arsenal replace Liverpool, or they play with a complete reserve side. The only other possibility is that the Premier league fixtures will have to be altered.

  26. Mark
    I did notice that he got caught a lot as if he was playing by rote.
    But he’s still a step above that team.
    I hope you’re wrong about him having gone over to the dark side.

  27. I use DAZN for games on TV. It’s new to Canada this year. It costs me $20 a month CDN and covers all sports. Very clear and good sound. They keep the games for a few days so you won’t miss anything. It’s in the UK and US. First month is free.

  28. I went on Wednesday night, Konsa looked so calm. Looked a real good centre back. Maybe play ahead of Engles who has made a few mistakes.
    Our wingers let us down. They are so poor.

    Today, I fancy us. Ill6be heading of to Villa about 12.
    I wonder if Grealish will play on the wing with Trent going so far forward.

    Wesley has to man up

  29. Today it can’t be as bad as last time pool came to down or can it
    Smith puzzling me is he good enough really can’t say ,
    nearly a quarter of season gone can anybody really say what’s our best 11,
    Today me I would go
    Freddy target
    Mings angel
    Trez marv luis mcginn elgar

  30. Hello, all.

    I’m looking forward to the Liverpool match, was a bit disappointed against Man City but the season is going fairly well.

    Congratulations to the Boks, they dominated the final.

  31. Iana- hello mate long time no see hope alls good, The Boks played their game perfectly and England left their final in the semi final.

    JG- is that Charlton heston in goal and Elgar the composer on the wing? 🙂

    Frem- I thought Konsa played well too surprised PP didn’t rate him, one writer made him MOM but then.

    Today I’d like to see Wes step his game up and McGinn to have more influence, I think they have both been found out and marshalled better particularly SJMG in the last three games, I expect better from them in such a big game.

  32. Team:
    Heaton; Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett; Nakamba, McGinn, Douglas Luiz; El Ghazi, Wesley, Trezeguet.

    Subs: Steer, Konsa, Taylor, Hourihane, Lansbury, Kodjia, Elmohamady.

  33. Gutted, but good performances from nearly all,mcginnis habit of giving away free kicks coming back to hurt us plus our non existent bench codga ducked out of header at front post(why was he on it anyway) houriane not near up to this standard either

  34. Trezeguet, el ghazi and Engels were immense today. El ghazi lost Robbo for the equaliser but barring that I’ve never seen him play so well. We had chances for a second one and showed no composure. Liverpool were sh;te but seem to have the luck of undeserving champions.

  35. To put it in perspective we were expected to get hammered, Liverpool have scored many late goals lately and come from behind and are unbeaten in the league.

    I do agree with JG though that we could of brought on Konsa instead of Kodjia and played without a no9 which is about the same as playing Kodjia but a man less.

  36. JG – between him and trezeguet for me. Trezeguet ran his socks off, was involved every time we went forward. No shame in that performance, a loss was very harsh. 5 bloody minutes of extra time in each half, Fergie time is now Klopp time.

  37. No point writing any comments on here as the response will be “it was Liverpool”. Smith has an unfortunate habit of making substitutions that assist the opposition.

  38. PW- write what you like mate, its a valid point, expecting Kodjia to hold the ball up when we had 24% of the possession is very naive, a more pragmatic Konsa or Lansbury for Wes might of helped. We are pretty thin on options to be fair to Smith on the closing out front, Both DM’s started the match.

  39. You can only play defense for so long. Eventually you lose a step mentally and physically. Exactly the same scenario against arsenal and spurs.
    El Gazi and tresuget were just flying today but it doesn’t matter how good you are re El Gazis footwork, if you don’t have an outlet when things get busy you will eventually lose the ball.
    I’m really starting to like Heston. A couple of saves where he really took charge and a couple where experience put him in the right place.
    The last goal was unfortunate, a great goal for Liverpool but in effect a deflection for Villa. No real chance on that one.
    I think smith leaves his subs until too late in the game. Players coming off are knackered 5 minutes before hand and the flow of the game goes to the opposition in those 5 minutes. Subs come on and are now thrown into the thick of things where the team is sliding quickly onto the back foot. No time to acclimatize and expected to hit the ground at full speed.
    I like kodjia but he’s a dead man walking now. Gun shy about his head injury and at least a step Off his former pace due to two ankle breaks back to back. Who brought him back too soon?

    So far this season the team that has surprised me the most is Newcastle. They have loser written all over but ol’ Steve Bruce seems to be able to pull off wins. Well good for him but I’m glad he’s gone.

  40. The atmosphere at VP was great today and it felt like the impossible might happen for 88 minutes.

    The reality is that we have a striker who offers little to no goal threat. He ran about more today than usual, but that isn’t going to get us goals. The defending from corners was consistently naive and a man on the back post would have kept the score to 1-1.

    I thought AEG was better and Trez gave 110%. With more composure from him and Targett it could have been 2-0. McGinn was quiet. Nakamba is tidy but doesn’t make enough happen for my liking.

    11pts from 11 reflects the fact that we’ll be in the dogfight all season. The Wolves and Newcastle games are now critical to win.

    Chris Wilder anyone…

  41. Chris Wilder? I’d take the 4+ seasons his team has had to play together and develop, that said he was one of the managers I would of gladly taken. Like Smith Sheffield is his team though but the man knows how to get the best from little and win leagues/games, has great record in all divisions.

    Its easy to forget we have had only 12 competitive games in one of the most competitive leagues in the world. I’m sure Smith would rather have had a ready built team to add 5-6 quality players to unfortunately that was not the position we were in and no amount of pointing out what we should do will change that, only time will tell if its enough.

    We will be in the market come January to fill the gaps that he would not know he had at start of play, Wesley might come good he might not he’s on the same goals as Maupay 4 . Targett has now had 4ish games and he was brought in to fill our most urgent position so patients is still required.

    Trez is starting to show what he can do along with El ghazi, now the fact Jack was absent made them more direct and less inclined to try to find him every move, they took responsibility and looked the better for it, Full backs are looking better too and Nakamba keeps it simple, that to may be a reaction to the two teams we have just faced being the best in the league. If he had been in from day one who knows how many more points we’d have?

    We have played 6 of the present top ten plus spurs and have been close to beating many of the top teams, We have taken points off of teams in the bottom half mostly, obviously we have room to improve but like most Smith teams they rarely get going early on due to turnover of players, this looks no different from that perspective.

  42. I for one am furious about yesterday. It’s another game we should have held on and won, and didn’t. It’s get a bit worrying now isn’t it that trait?

    We need more depth in January. Our bench is week.

    Hourihane coming on killed us. Poor player. Has no pace or defensive ability.

  43. We were unfortunate yesterday – losing the game in the final moments was heartbreaking. But when you are under pressure for so long against the European Champions you could see it was coming.

    Some brilliant individual performance yesterday – Heaton/Engels/Mings were awesome.
    AEG looked ace, as did Trez (although he needs to work on his fitness)

    Mcginn and Marvelous – warriors in midfield.

    Upfront is becoming a problem. Goals keep you in this division. I am not giving up on Wesley but I do think it is going to take a year for him to get used to the division. He might be better as an impact player.

    In the next game, I would play with Jack in a false striker position. He holds the ball better than anyone and will bring the other two into the game. With AEG and Tez making up the front 3.

    Up the Villa

  44. Frem- Should have held on? are you sure mate? they probably should of come in at 1-1 at half time and we should of gone two up when Targett and Trez were through, unfortunately only did’s count.

    I think it bodes well for the next few matches at least and that we have a better chance if we can take Liverpool so close. Its heartbreaking as RichardS says but we had 24% of the ball.

    On other things RHM scored a hat-trick for Tranmere lest hope he can fulfil his promise and maybe come back in Jan or the summer along with O’hare.

  45. What is it you’re hoping that Wesley will get used to? He can’t run quickly enough, he can’t jump and head the ball and every time the centre half beats him he falls over waving his arms at the referee. You can’t put in what god left out. He must have been signed when Stevie Wonder was the chief scout

  46. Paul – your reference to Stevie Wonder is unwarranted and not necessary.

    I remember when we signed Peter Crouch – he didn’t have great pace and he couldn’t head the ball – however he did have a successful Premier Leagur career.

    Wesley needs a season to settle. We all judge players after a couple of games – he needs time. He has scored 4 goals. I agree he does need to perform better and stop complaining to the referee. He did play great against Everton and well against Norwich.

    I would certainly invest in a new forward in January.

  47. Well, an interesting mix of comments. For me, yesterday was the best 45 minutes that I have seen from Villa in years, where we managed to maintain the pace for the whoe of the first half, and not a team player missing anywhere.

    The worry was would we concede early in the second half, and the answer once again was no, we continued to match Liverpool, and should have scored the winner, as I am sure if we had scored then, Liverpool would have struggled to come back. U am like PW and a few more, that on the day this team was on song, and bringing on any subs, broke the rythm, and caused us to lose a game that I am sure the boys could and would have seen out. Substitutions were just not good, and broke the team work. If anyone was to come on, it should have been Lansbury for Luiz, and that would have been enough.

    Sorry if I did not give Konsa enough credit for Wednesday, he was definitely ok.

    I think that yesterday the team worked far better without Jack, but maybe , again he would have made a good impact sub at around 70/75 minutes to help slow the game and see it out.

    I dp agree that our team has had very little time together, and we need to be patient, as Klupp said, his team have been together 4 years, the same as Sheffield Utd.

  48. I’m glad we got Marvelous on a 5 year deal, what a player.

    I was so disappointed after the final 10 minutes yesterday, that I had to take a 24 hour break from football, especially with all the sh%&te about a great Liverpool comeback.

    We’re a decent team, but Wesley is awful. He’s costing us to many points. I’d play a false 9, drop Wesley and bring Jack in for the next game. Have El Ghazi play up top ot Trez.

  49. Perhaps he would do better than Wesley but I don’t think he has the beef to muck around with a strong defender. I still think Wesley needs more time to get up to speed. He was a fair player in Belgium I don’t think he turned to poo over night. Look at our old friend benteke, scores for fun at Villa but can’t fit in at Liverpool and it’s bye bye confidence. Wesley needs to be looked after he is only 22. How was Jack doing at 22?

  50. I was so gutted, I’ve left it until now. Overall, the bindippers attacked us all game. As MK mentions, VAR did us a favour this time. Having got in front, I was expecting a leveller at any time. But by 85 mins on the clock I was on fire. Football is cruel and the winner drained VP.

    Clipperty inherited a good side and has had several years and a fistful of dollars to turn them into European Champs and maybe World Champs soon. Yet we almost nailed them. We would have done had breakout by Trez been buried. So considering where we’ve come from, and the short time that Compass have been steering the ship, I’ll be keeping the faith. We won’t be playing such quality every week.

    I thought the support on the day was second to none. We keep fighting.

  51. well it a horrible one to take on the chin. Heartbreaking and will take a while to get over. Overall we do have to start making vp a fortress if we don’t want a relegation fight. Burnely, west ham and losing sat is points chucked away. Lets hope we do learn quick and get some wins on board.

    The most annoying thing is the goals conceded. didn’t open us up with great play. a corner and a cross. have to deal with it else we get what we deserve.

    Would be so upsetting to see this set up go down. We could be close to being decent. If we stay up the summer transfer window would be immense. fine tuning with some real quality.

  52. Well lads over the games to xmas we have some very winnable ones and some could win ones and about 3 probably won’ts, I think we will have points in the mid 20’s by new year, not the worst.

  53. One big problem I see is lack of English speaking players from midfield up,need someone in refs ear to try and get some decisions, wes got nothing yet pool frontman got easy frees

  54. On the subs, yes it could have been better what can’t? But if you stop and think of the quality of the three players Klopp put on the pitch who were all potential game changers it maybe should make you think about what we were up against. Add to that chasing players around all game that had the ball for 75% of the match? we needed 10 subs not 3. Furthermore liverpools 3 subs would of walked into our starting line up.

  55. H&V.

    I hate this modern way of defending, with no players on the posts at corners, especially. Liverpool’s winning goal would have been easy to clear with someone in the old fulback role.
    You only have to watch Burnley and see that the old way is best. They concede very few.
    Definitely, Wesley had his best game and was a big part of the team on Saturday. So sad that Trezeguet and Hourihane did not manage to score that vital second goal when they had the chance.

    So looking forward to the Wolves game on Sunday now, just hope that if we have substitutions, that Dean gets it right this time!!

  56. The crabby cup date is confirmed at the original date of Tuesday 17th December (7.45pm kick-off).
    From Dec !st to Jan 1st we’ve got 8 games!!
    And the lunatics who run the asylum want more games, outrageous, & thats without being in europe.

  57. PP- maybe he can borrow Liverpools subs, and if we take a leaf from Burnley we might have 1 more point but a -4 goal difference rather than our -2 🙂

    All joking aside we have the best Goal difference of the bottom 8 and we are only 4 behind Manure in 10th. Considering we have shot ourselves in the foot a few times we seem quite good at not conceding, the bottom 3 range from -15 to -17.

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