If nothing else, Bramall Lane will feel a bit more familiar than Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford as Villa seek to get back to winning ways. Not sure it’s going to be any easier to get a result. Still, I’d like to think after the players’ meeting to hash out the Leicester bomb we might see a refocused side with their eyes firmly set on the upcoming run of fixtures and the very vital points available.

We know what we’ll get from Chris Wilder’s men. So job one will be matching their intensity and playing smartly under pressure.

Speaking of Leicester, I was traveling again last week, so I never got the GB&U up…it wasn’t a masterpiece, so I don’t know that anyone missed much there. But it was better than the game, so I did manage to clear a very low bar. Speaking of low bars, Liverpool have done what we needed and kept Watford from getting anything. Let’s hope the rest of the day’s results are equally favorable.

As to the side, we’ve got Engels and Hause at the back, and Guilbert returns. Targett seems to be okay because he’s back in. And those calling for Lansbury will be pleased to see him getting an extremely rare start today. No Hourihane or Jota on the bench.

Starting XI
Heaton, Guilbert, Engels, Hause, Targett, Nakamba, Lansbury, McGinn, Grealish, El Ghazi, Wesley.

Nyland, Konsa, Luiz, Trezeguet, Taylor, Elmohamady, Kodjia

Comments 78

  1. Perhaps the least memorable 45 we’ve played so far. Just can’t find each other.

    On the upside, the back line’s held up well and seemed turned on to Sheffield’s patterns. Hause has been pretty no-nonsense, Engels getting to the ball in the air.

    But we really have to be better in the 2nd.

  2. Well, Luiz for Lansbury (who really didn’t do anything), and looks like Kodjia will actually get on the pitch. Wes at least had one chance. And Jack was going backward for the header that just missed.

    Can’t say we’d deserve it, but we could still get something from this.

  3. We are so poor. Awful at passing. Awful at ball retention. Awful at sustaining any pressure. No link play

    We will go down easily like this

  4. If it continues like this, Frem, yeah, we will go down, and can’t disagree with any of the criticisms. Two very poor performances in a row.

    You have to fight your way into games like this, and there’s just not enough fight. There actually were points to be had.

  5. Frem,

    Thing is though, I’ve seen us be much better. May very well be about confidence at this point given the run, and I think that’s why Smith had them playing defensively to start. It was working well enough, even though we weren’t doing much of anything else.

    But McGinn getting chased down, or Hause not having an outlet, long passes that are telegraphed and easily cut out. Aimlessly heading it instead of taking it down, players being outfought, defenders reacting quicker than the attackers. Players not making themselves available. Just lots of really bad decisions and effort.

    I’m not sure where the finances stand, but will be interesting to see where we are when the window opens and what we can do if we’re still in touch.

  6. The last few games have been below standard. We need to set up much more compact than we do. If only to get our confidence back. We are far too open. It has to change now.

  7. Smith out. Hause was useless in the Championship so why play him again. Same with El Ghazi.

    Norwich drew with Leicester. We’re phukked…we are the worst team, possibly a close call with Watford.

  8. I thought the back 4 were good. McGinn looked better. I cannot understand DS starting Wesley. He does nothing, and his diving is a joke. Kodger has to start the next 3 games. Grealish had an off game. Although McGinn was better, he’s clearly burned out. Nakamba was ok, but Lansbury makes no effort

  9. Think the head needs another wobble
    Smith needs to go now ,clueless team selection mcginn so out of sorts and his man crossed for 1st goal,hause not even on bench starts in front of konsa, 433 not working because our wingers not good enough subs doesn’t even try to change to 442 to give wes support just look at opposition strikers working in pairs

  10. Once again, check out the player ratings in the Mail. The majority scored 4 or 4.5; if there was any sugar-coating possible then the mail would do it.

    The performances stink, simple as

  11. The owners need to act now. If we go down the Mings, Grealish and Heaton will go, probably McGinn. It will be a long way back after relegation with such a useless squad.

  12. I don’t think DS is going anywhere, even if we lose the next 3 games. It may make sense to play 2 strikers, maybe Kodger and Jack or Trez.

    I watched Watford and they looked really good under Pearson. We will have to spend big on a striker to have any chance. We must be the only team without a striker. Even Southampton have a few and they should have scored today.

  13. Only Man U spent more this summer!! It looks like we were too focused on numbers vs quality, or else the foreign players need lots of time to settle. Nakamba looks like the only one we can resell for a profit.

  14. Frem,
    the way we play tells something is seriously wrong. I agree, we dont attack enough and the formation – whatever than is – is not working. Maybe Wesley would be better with Kodjia alongside him….at least he couldnt be any worse. Today, if u were a neutral u would have turned off the game. No shot on goal in thd 1st half is a disgrace. On todays evidence both Watford and Southampton will beat us

  15. Jota is a strange one, especially as we know he’s a DS signing.

    Interesting remark from commentator at start of 2nd half. Last week Sheff U scored in 49min and 56min. Today they got the 1st in the 50th min. They were out 4mins b4 us after half time and ripped into Villa. Our players didn’t know what hit them, it was like they were still thinking about their tea. Wilder is some manager

  16. Didn’t get to see the game but I am not surprised at the result really, I thought we would try and tighten up and it looks like with very few shots by either team and loads of fouls we did. I have read Hause did ok so thats a bonus for the next few games.

    With the best will in the world patches like this were always likely and we just have to stick with it. Creating a force in the prem in One jan window and a massive summer one? Smith would have had to be the most incredible judge of a player ever.

    At the end of the day many teams have been adjudged already as down only to look like they are now not, Watford Southampton and Norwich are about to enter similar runs to the one we have just come out of, win a few now while they don’t and could look different by new year, or not.

  17. yeah it is what it is. Right now we look like a newly formed team in one window who are young and inexeperienced. Trouble is now confidence is shot and it all falls apart.

    What has annoyed me most is we are so passive its a joke. We don’t pressure or close people down. We will dip in form but the hard work, fight and effort has to be a given if we want to stay up.

  18. I work with a Sheff Utd fan who went on Saturday. He said that Villa are the worst team to play them by a very big margin.

    The team is in serious decline now and the next win is hard to see

  19. interesting to see if we will have a quiet window as its been suggested. We all know we need a striker but for me a midfielder is needed too. Someone who is more composing. Ours are a bit too flaky

  20. In particular, he couldn’t believe how awful Targett is. So, is it the case then that the only fullback available in the summer was a very poor one who we needed to pay £15m for.

    When will Villa’s recruitment improve? The bloke who scored twice against us was a free transfer

  21. Targett gets a lot of hate but I rate him! Its easy to be down after a defeat but stepping back from it all our fixtures have been insanely hard all on the bounce. Difficult for anyone let alone a new young team.

    And we are still out the bottom 3! Hope!

  22. I’m not hating Targett, I’m just passing on the view of supporters from other clubs.

    The bloke cannot defend. He is always caught too narrow and ball-watching. Many goals conceded come down his flank

  23. I agree on Targett, I think its partly why Mings has struggled lately, he is good going forward though. Amazed we let Clarke go who’s now at Leicester.

    Considering Dean Smith has never had to buy relatively expensive players I think our transfers have a fair bit of jesus’s fingerprints on them if I was to take a guess. Then again what would have been said if we had plucked 12 players from the lower leagues for £20m? whether they are good bad or indifferent you can’t take away the basic lack of time invested in this team to play in the prem, Sheffield have a togetherness we can’t match and neither can many of the Prem teams they have played so far.

  24. In an ideal world we could rebuild in the championship away from the spotlight and get promoted this season! Its a shame how its fallen.

    Had to rebuild a squad in 1 window! and try and stay in the prem! Its a hard task. what we need is stability though as a club.

  25. Newcastle and Wolves haven’t gone back down.

    Villa can not afford to trial a whole team of players with potential, unless they want to get relegated.

    The blend of recruitment failed to acquire any experience. It’s okay to have a medium term strategy based around a young team, but all good teams have a minimum amount of experience in the division.

    Too many expensive cr*p players like the 3 I mentioned above. How well are Fulham and Huddersfield doing this season?

    If we go down then we stay down for a long time.

    Smith, O’Kelly (whoever the f**k he is) and Terry out! They are all way out of their depth

  26. Norwich held Leicester and Chelsea have been beaten twice since we played them. The story of “oh, but we’ve had a bad run is nonsense”. 17 games gone so we’re nearly halfway through and it’s the same for everyone.

    Even if we win 2 of the next 3 games then the same teams that have whipped us are waiting again

  27. PW- lol having bad day mate? how can playing 7 of the top 8 teams be an excuse? previous to that we have beaten teams in the lower half and teams in the lower half have had a much easier run and we are still not in the bottom 3.

    Southampton last six had 4 of the bottom 6 plus Newcastle and the hapless arsenal got 7 points by beating 2 of the bottom 3 .

    Watford just 4 of the bottom 10 and have now played leics and Liverpool losing both and drew at home with Palace, they hardly got a point.

    Norwich as you point out drew with Leicester but played 4 of the bottom 10 including Southampton and watford plus arsenal and lost to sheff utd, barely picking up a point.

    Can you honestly say with a straight face say that if we had say 4 top teams and 3 lower ones recently we would not have fared better? basing it on Norwich getting one draw at Leicester that is a bit rich.

  28. This might cheer a few up or maybe not

    ” Smith confirmed discussions regarding possible signings are underway with sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch, the boss reiterated the winter window will be relatively quiet at Villa Park.

    “There certainly won’t be a raft of players, it’ll be fine-tuning if anything,” Smith confirmed. “We made 12 signings in the summer and I’ve seen enough of them to see they’re progressing as a team and getting better.”

  29. Mark, everyone has more or less played everyone else so why does the order matter? We’re going to play them all again in the second half, so what’s your point.? The league doesn’t award bonus points for the order of fixtures.
    Your missing the point that we get absolutely mullered by the better teams. We have beaten Everton, Norwich, Brighton (lucky they went down to 10 men) and Newcastle. In the other games Villa have been poor in the majority of games.
    There is no goal threat and a leaking defence.

  30. Well that’s that!
    There’s a match tonight, which may be illuminating depending on who DS plays.
    I’d like to see Vassillev & Ramsey on the bench, & to get some game time.

  31. Why not punt 80m on Zaha. Would he leave London though? Surely the Villa owners know that they need to bring in quality up top. Tell him the attack will revolve around him, plus Grealish and McGinn

    We spent on Kodja, Hogan, and Wesley close to 55m

    That’s the quality that we need, a Zaha

  32. PW- my points simple, we are unlikely to beat the best teams most of the time so playing 7 of them on the trot sets up a confidence crisis that a more mixed fixture list could avoid. On a physical level losing lowers testosterone and recovery so a tough run of losses has a real effect on your ability to play at the required level. I imagine the mood in the camp is pretty low.

  33. Team to play Liverpool: Nyland, Elmohamady, Chester, Konsa, Taylor, Lansbury, Luiz, Hourihane, Jota, Kodjia, Trezeguet.

    Subs: Kalinic, Guilbert, Hause, McGinn, Grealish, El Ghazi, Wesley.

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