To be honest, I’ve not given this one any thought as I’m still coming to terms with Saturday. But, it’s a cup tie, and whether or not we can afford to continue on with stronger squads, I’ve no idea. But I suppose you try to win every game you play.

Tonight, Liverpool’s youth. Will we have enough to beat them? You know they’re going to have a go.

So. It’s welcome back, James Chester, a rare start for Kodjia, and a shot at redemption for Lansbury.

Starting XI
Nyland, Elmohamady, Chester, Konsa, Taylor, Luiz, Hourihane, Lansbury, Jota, Trezeguet, Kodjia

Comments 137

  1. One thing I did notice in just the brief moments, is that when we press high, we aren’t committing enough men. And I’ve seen that in the league. We often leave that simple outlet, often the DM, unmarked in the middle, or come off him. The U23s seem to be making it harder for us to play out from the back.

  2. Don’t see how Kodjia could be worse than Wesley. At least he faces the opposition goal and doesn’t run like he’s extracting himself from wet cement.

    The score line flatters Villa and it’s plain to see why we lose most games

  3. Jc- I know what you mean on the pressing it’s half hearted and undermanned for a high press. I think it’s more a set up to win the ball deeper and counter.

    PW- noticed anything good?

  4. MK…as said. Kodjia easily worth a start over lead-boots. Feed Wesley…he and his team mates can’t create space against league opposition.

    Hause, Lansbury, Trezeguet are poor. Taylor is no worse at defending than Targett…wouldn’t lose anything by dropping Targett.

    I didn’t see anything new…the s**t is still s**t, unfortunately. Weren’t able to overrun a group of kids. It could have been embarrassing if Nyland had not made the first half.

  5. 5=0!
    Far more positives than negatives.
    Nice to see Chester getting some playing time to fine tune his fitness, as we may need him.
    Nice to see Wesley score, as that may increase his body confidence for the league matches, & Nyland showed his class.
    We were always going to get some bursts of quality from very talented 16-19 year olds, along with speed.
    I agree with Ian that [especially in the first 15 minutes] that the lads had to get to know each other better in a match context.
    As for Codger, he did his usual of showing some class, then coming off injured it seems.
    I wonder if he will be fit for the bench on Saturday.
    The Liverpool supporters were as as nasty as usual.

    Now looking forward to Southampton, hoping that their testerone has been duly raised

  6. PW- I thought kodjia looked as fit as he has been for a while, worth a punt? Maybe but as you pointed out after I pointed it out we don’t create enough space or play balls trough as we did tonight.

    Trez could of had 3-4 in the end and our keeper did his job. Chester looked rusty and off pace and konsa was the stand out . Good to see Chester play though owe him a debt.

  7. The final scoreline flattered us. But I don’t care, it’s job done. It means a 2 leg semi and probably more TV time which in turn means more income to the bottom line and our FFP exposure.

    It’s good to see Villa give this competition some respect not least for the paying fans who turned out. They got their entertainment. It was never thus under Spud.

    Hey PW, Saints up next……’s hoping you’re smiling in work on Monday morning.

  8. Very disappointed with some of the comments here, as yes, we were playing a very young Liverpool team, but one that was very skilled and talented.

    We were fielding ateam with 10 changes, three of those players, it was their first start this season, Nyland, Kodija and Chester. So the actual spine of the team had not played before!!
    These three were actually the main reason for us winning comfortably last night.

    Everyone played their part, and really worked well together within a fairly short space of time.

    Once we managed to achieve such a good scoreline in the first half, we did slow the game and fully control it. There was no need for anyone to run themselves silly, or to try and destroy a team of gifted young players. The wise thing was to conserve, manage and also remain fit to compete for places on Saturday, and everyone did that.

    Chester did tire in the end and was substituted, and Kodija had done enough to win the game, so it was sensible to give Wesley the chance to enjoy some time up front and score.

    Most of our fans before the game were worrying, and certainly not expecting the result we achieved. Just for once maybe we should be praising our squad players who more than aquitted themselves. Last time this happened, we were all screaming at Bruce to play the same players and get a result….

    Well done to the boys last night. They certainly gave the fans their money’s worth. 1976 was the last time we achieved this scoreline and Ron Saunders was the manager!!

  9. Very interesting takes, covering all the bases. Me? In short…

    Necessary minutes for a number of players.
    5-0 scoreline.
    Good to see Wesley score.
    Good to see Chester back and getting a well-deserved reception.
    Nyland played well.
    The Liverpool youngsters are talented.
    We may indeed have been taking easy on them.
    We still had more trouble playing it out from the back than they did. Taking it easy on them, and them giving their all? Could be.
    Thought their football looked as clever as ours, really.

    All in all, a ridiculous fixture, but no one’s fault. The U23s acquitted themselves very well, and probably deserved a goal or two. Which is perhaps slightly troubling. Then again, there’s the question of effort and being sporting.

  10. That article is spot on R0bb0,

    Unfotunately Villa fans started attacking individuals long before social media, and is the part of he crowd, I feel thatthink it is good to attack opposition players wives, and anything else they can get away with. It does not show Villa fans in a good light, much to the displeasure of the many genuine ones who go to support their team, and enjoy seeing good football.

  11. PP and R0bb0,

    I like to read different views. It doesn’t matter if I agree or not, it’s just good to get other perspectives. That’s the whole point of social media. I think the article is way way exaggerated.

    I for one pay good money to watch Villa. If I think Wesley is sh$%&te then I’m entitled to say and write it. WESLEY IS SH$%TE – FACT. On the other hand DS brought us up with an amazing winning spell in the championship so he can do no wrong for me.

    Anyway, up the Villa. I would like nothing better than to see every lad that pulls on our shirt succeed.

    Fingers crossed for Saturday.

  12. Villamd- Wesley appears to s**te to you, now thats a fact 🙂

    Being a well paid prem player and international says he is not as s**te as 99% of footballers on the planet. If he manages to become a not so s**te player in your eyes what would you attribute this miraculous turnaround to?

    I do agree that its your opinion though and you should be free to express it.

  13. MK,

    If Wesley comes good, then I’ll be super happy for being wrong and will make a note to not jump the gun again. I think a striker from the Belgian league can be hit or miss.

  14. Just catching up on the thread. I don’t agree with some of the points that the writer in the Mail makes about Wesley. I can run my heart out and never give up.
    He certainly doesn’t worry centre halves. He gets beaten in the air and pushed off the ball easily, and then sulks.

    What I do agree with is the point about personal abuse. I don’t hate him or any of the players I criticise. I have regularly stated that what we have is a recruitment failure…that’s not Wesley’s fault.

    In the end, all we have is opinions and you can view this season as a do or die ‘must survive exercise’ or an adventure that may end in relegation and ‘who cares if we do’ kind of thing…or somewhere inbetween. You know where I stand and I just want a better goalscorer, winger or whatever than we have. If we don’t change some personnel quickly we will get relegated, and will spend a long time out of this division.

    FWIW, I think Targett is our biggest transfer howler.

  15. Having said all of the above, I’ll be in my seat in Doug Ellis upper hoping that we win. If Wesley scores 2 or 3 then great. The past performances suggest he won’t but I’ll simply take 3 points.

  16. Great writeup Paul Whiting.

    Nobody should hate a player, even opposition. There’s already enough problems in the world. Hopefully we get a result tomorrow. It will be really interesting to see DS lineup. Hopefully Jota has worked his way back into the subs and gets 20mins.

  17. Self affirmation is like having a bad wrist from too much self abuse.
    As for the Villa tomorrow, hope is eternal [almost] & expect us to win.
    I expect us to improve tomorrow as a team, & am behind all the cogs in the team, whatever negativity is drummed up, & reserve the right to criticise.
    I don’t understand equating looking for scapegoats with support, also as the team needs our positive energy.
    Criticism I understand, but it comes & goes, unlike sustained attacks on individual players.
    We all have a right to go & shoot ourselves, but do we really have to do it?

  18. Wise words from all today 🙂

    PW- one point I don’t agree with is that we would get relegated and disappear. Relegated is always a possibility but I think we would make a better fist of the aftermath with these owners and the way we are setting up. By no means does it mean every player would be sold either, our wage bill is supposed to be a healthy £25m . Considering this is the managements 1st iteration of a team its not all bad. It would not take a fortune to mend it if relegated, I agree fixing it in this league will take a few bob or some very astute buys.

    Anyway we haven’t dropped and its all to play for, I’m hoping wesley does a Benteke and takes off second half of the season, kodjia even, maybe even Davis who is back in training comes back with a bionic hip to make a difference who knows? nobody is my guess.

  19. Team: Heaton;
    Guilbert, Engels, Hause, Targett; Douglas Luiz, McGinn, Hourihane; El Ghazi, Wesley, Grealish.

    Nyland, Konsa, Nakamba, Trezeguet, Elmohamady, Kodjia.

  20. VillaMD: “ I’m entitled to say and write it. WESLEY IS SH$%TE – FACT”

    Of course you’re as entitled to an opinion as anyone. I’m guessing that your block capitals followed by “FACT” is a p*ss take of people with poor arguments and lack of analytical ability resorting to . . . . block capitals and saying ‘fact’ for comments that are actually opinions?

    I agree with you about Jota too (although my wife disagrees with both of us).

    Looking forward nervously to this afternoon and the next 3 games. It doesn’t sound as if we’ll be seeing many reinforcements in January so we could do with picking up at least 7 points from our next 4 games.

  21. McGinn and a goal down in the first half hour immediately increases the nervousness.
    Having seen how well we’ve played for much of the season I still firmly believe that we are more than capable of competing in this league . . . . . but we need to start proving it with points very soon.
    Two goals down!
    The atmosphere at Villa Park must be grim right now!

  22. The performances are getting worse each week. The defence is a farce. It’s been clear to me for weeks that we are in free fall.

    Smith needs to go. This shower will lose to Watford and Norwich as they are the worst team in the league. Smith is doing nothing about it.

  23. Well, there’s Dean and then there are the players. Right now, I’m seeing players who are hesitating, ball-watching, not anticipating, simply not fighting hard enough to get there first. Down to Dean and players’ lack of belief? Or down to players who are shrinking from the occasion?

  24. PW. You’re right that we’ve not played well for some weeks now and the stats don’t lie in this case . . . . the defending is very poor.
    The mood of the players hasn’t looked right for a few weeks and the manager has to take some responsibility for that but players at this level really ought to be capable of motivating themselves.

  25. Not that Saints didn’t have other opportunities, but on the two goals, Guilbert gets stuck in no-man’s land by coming and then stopping. You commit like that, you have to get to the ball or at least take the foul. On the second, Ghazi does nothing to either put off his man or get to the ball.

  26. Unfortunately with McGinn and Mings out they look leaderless apart from Heaton, jack looks tired. Targett can’t defend. Its the midfield thats not working for me though so I would bring Jack back into it and put Kodjia up top, might even be tempted to take Targett off.

  27. Right now I’d be happy if we finished the game strongly . . . it could give us the little boost we need to take into our next three games.

  28. With Newcastle up to 9th with an average squad that was going nowhere, is it possible that Steve Bruce isn’t the worst manager in the football league after all?
    PS . . . . despite our recent results I still wouldn’t want to swap him for Dean Smith.

  29. Smith has to go,half a season in now and we look shocking, not a scooby notion do we have ,midweek papered an awful lot of cracks,defenders that cant defend, midfield what can they do strikers getting no service,but not putting in a shift

  30. That was extremely difficult to watch.

    The defending was simply dreadful – without Mings we are an absolute calamity

    Losing Mcginn was a blow.

    The Wesley up front situation isn’t working – time for a change

    Target cannot defend

    Hause is out of his depth in the Premier League

    AEG is too inconsistent

    The bottom line is that we are relegation material.

    Our earlier pre-season enthusiasm as abated – wr have run out of steam and our formation has been negated by the opposition

    Jack is trying to over compensate for our deficiencies

  31. Yes miraculously woke up toward the end, looks like without a fit McGinn and Mings at his best we struggle and it all looks disjointed. I hope Jack gives them both barrels because the bloke is the only one other than Heaton, guilbert and trez that gets worked up about losing.

    Robbo- Bruce with a fairly decent inherited team has always done ok, its when he buys endless players like at Villa that it goes haywire, Newcastle while not being spectacular were put together by Rafa and spent all of last season fighting relegation ended up 13th, you could wonder what Villa would look like if he’d got promotion? I do but At the end of the day it takes more than one window when starting from scratch, Thats why I am refraining from being to critical, this is no easy fix for any manager.

    Then again come the January window and with Mings and Mcginn back Smith might make the necessary changes if he’s still here, which I think he will be.

  32. MK. You’re right that Bruce has struggled to ‘build’ a side. That’s something the DS has done very successfully and, I believe, is in the process of doing again at Villa.
    I can’t imagine the owners switching managers right now and nor do I think they should. I’m disappointed in myself for even rising to that particular bait tbh.

  33. Neither McGinn or Mings have looked 100% for a few weeks ( since their respective international successes) and both may benefit from a short break . . . . just wouldn’t have wished it during this particular run of games!

  34. Smith’s post match interview was, as usual, pitiful. He stood there and said…”we were second to all the knock-downs and their strikers just pressed more, and we need to stop conceding cheap goals”. So what is he and his staff doing about the fact that we make the same mistakes every week.

    There is no pattern and no structure to the team’s play, other than occasionally lumping the ball forward to lead-boots. Why no substitution at half-time when the first 45 minutes were a shambles?

    Why was Konsa dropped? He’s no van dijk but Hause is totally incompetent. Engels was destroyed for their first goal by a punt over the top.

    Grealish isnt very interested…his head is somewhere else in January transfer land.

  35. PW. When a team has had a bad run of results, to be honest, there is nothing good that a manager can say. At least he’s not pretending that we were unlucky, he is honest about us not having played well enough.
    You’re right that we’re looking horribly vulnerable at the back but I don’t agree with you at all about Jack being disinterested. He’s just taken himself into the number one position for all midfielders in thevpremiwrahip for goals and assists. . . . a remarkable achievement for a player in a struggling side.

  36. I just had a flashback to the tenure under Remi Garde.

    A manager sticking to footballing principles rather than being totally cognizant and reacting to what is actually happening on the pitch.

    Smith please take note.

    Even Super Jack is now looking like the flawed protagonist- reminiscent of Romeo or Hamlet in a tragic Shakespearean Play.

    We are shipping an alarming amount of goals – we lack shape/discipline- we are to open and our attacking/agility to score goals is negligent.

    We are in the deepest and darkest mire.

  37. PW – truth stings like a bitch – doesn’t it.

    I really like Dean Smith- he is one of our own.

    But i have reached the conclusion that he will take is down. The transfer strategy was flawed in the summer – Smith blew £140M and we have a bang average team. And Christian P is a first class clown.

    Personally i would apoint JT to take over. We need a winning mentality to stay up.
    Dean Smith will stick to his footballing principles and you cannot do that in the Premier League when you have Championship Players.

  38. Pw
    The day I care what a few think is far in the future
    Even last season smith never filled me with confidence we had one great run and that was that we just had better players than most sides tammy jack mcginn mings,but we weren’t fit to get tammy and bar jack the rest haven’t stepped up at all mcginn few flashes early on but nothing since September

  39. Mk
    Fair point but also when after 9 bad results in a row and manager hasn’t really tried anything different it’s ok to moan and question him
    McGinn has so bad yet picked every game explain
    Wes has been isolated yet never tried 442
    Full backs not getting enough help from elgazi yet another of maginn group of undroppable

  40. Well that was a disaster! Mcguinn out for ages too. I’m afraid it’s all too much for this young inexperienced team.

    But smith ain’t immune. Has to change up the formation and have a plan b which I’m very surprised he hasn’t done. And like wilder at blades, a fan in charge the least I’d expect is a team under him giving 100% and fighting. The most worrying thing today is how much the players looked half arsed. Unforgivable anytime let alone a huge 6 pointer!

  41. James

    One of the things I bought into when smith was hired was meant to be a up and coming modern type coach. Front foot footy, pressure and tactics. I’ve not really seen it. Even in the championship you could argue that too. We was horrendous until jack came back from injury. I’d love to see us try 352

  42. Putting on nakamba for mcguinn also showing maybe smith has lost his way a bit? should of been trez and jack back in middle. Last game at blades smith also said he got it wrong and went defensive

  43. Hero
    Why keep smith if we go down,yes he got us promoted but more down to quality of players not Smith’s tactics or coaching ,purslow not coming out of this smelling to good either new contract few weeks ago

  44. Smith has never changed tactics or formation. 433 does not work with those players we have.

    Wesley has issues but he needs to play with someone else up front in a 442.

    Smith is stubborn. Walsall and Brentford….

  45. Smith is moaning that El Ghazi is marking their centre half for the corner. Well who’s fault is that? Who’s job is it to organise the defence at set pieces? El Ghazi is a Smith favourite and yet Trezeguet is better than him. All the opposition attacks come down our right because he (el Ghazi) never tracks back to help the full-back.

    If we look at organisation, discipline, formations, tactics then someone other than Smith can surely get more out of this team.

  46. Also have a read of the BBC Sport report by Steve Sutcliffe.

    He talks about the season being characterised by defeats from winning positions and abject performances. He also talks about shambolic defending and huge weaknesses in the air.

    He must be a Villa hater to write all of those comments

  47. Ghazi is awful. Shouldn’t play again.

    With these tactics and players, we are going down

    I’m surprised and worried how clueless Smith seems. Same old predictable cr*p every game. Change formation

    January – Need wingers and strikes

  48. Who knows Frem. We’re sleep walking back to the Championship and I’d rather go down with a huge fight, which is why I want Smith sacked.

    Going to VP will be a challenge for me in the New Year now so I’m looking to sell my season ticket (over the halfway line in Doug Ellis) so message me if you’re interested in a deal that’s less than 50% of the full season

  49. John Clark – can you share your astute observations and give us a narrative on the current predicament at Aston Villa. It feels like the wheels have come off and we look like we are destined to head back to the Championship.

  50. We are to open with 433 as well. We have poor attacking players so we can’t retain the ball and we are s**t defensively.

    Smith has done us over not changing formation

    We were better when kodj came on. Go 442 or 4312

    I think 4312 would suit us. No wingers

    And where is Jota? He’s our best winger

  51. Holy cr*p, panic button well and truly pressed, what exactly has Smith got to change things with? considering the detail he goes through after each game does anyone actually think he has not noticed things going wrong? He is however still stuck with the same players.

    So far I have not heard him describe a match in terms that do not match what I have seen given he is not trying to throw the players to the wolves.

    I’d like to see a list of supporters from this site that thought this season would be a stroll? honestly I have no problem with criticising but where are the solutions other than get someone else to fix it it?

    As for he’s not a prem manager? well half of them have been sacked so far, its not a very forgiving job is it? add to that our circumstance of no f**king team prior to this season .

    Paint it however you like your not going to get perfect.

  52. RichardS,

    Well, I’m no footballing genius, but in short, what I see is a team that’s afraid, or, more politely, lacking in confidence. They’re not doing what’s necessary to compete, so for me, formation, etc., doesn’t really figure into things as much as one might think. Quite frankly, I think they’re a bit shell-shocked.

    As far as changing things round, Deano has tinkered with 4-2-3-1, getting Jack upfield, moving Jack into the middle, and going 4-4-2 at the ends of games, as he did today. Should he have done that earlier? Perhaps.

    The real issue is that there aren’t that many options. Lansbury will change nothing. If you lose McGinn, you’re obviously going to put in Nakamba, who had a decent-enough performance apart from his assist for them. The team is just not deep, and you’ve lost two of your best players, one of whom was carrying a knock and underperforming already. Hause is playing because he’s left-footed, and Engels plays to the right. Konsa also plays to the right. Targett’s playing because he gets involved upfield, and provides far better service and interplay than Taylor.

    So…I always said I’d be quite happy to finish 17th. And that still holds true. I’ll write more later, but that’s the gist of it.

    And MK does talk a lot of sense. Maybe we’re both wrong, but I generally see things in much the same light. It was always going to be a big ask. We’ve played very well at times, but this last stretch has really messed with us. I value all opinions, and everyone on here makes good observations. That’s why I’ve always enjoyed it, and we certainly don’t all agree. But I think the ‘panic’ is down to the fact that we started with confidence, and a few games have taken that from us.

    If there’s any encouragement, when we were desperate in the nothing-to-lose stage today, we did play harder and with less fear, and looked like getting a second. If we had? Well, not saying there was enough time, but it was at least less fearful football.

  53. JG- Hard to put a finger on why we have conceded so many that way, its not like Hause or Engels are poor in the air. On the other hand I am struggling to remember a headed goal from the defence, there are usually a few.

  54. I don’t think we have players to scrap either. Target, Wesley, hourihane, Luiz are bottle jobs.

    We need Chester

    Most worrying thing is Smith doesn’t seem to annoyed. Said we started well

  55. I’ve been quite positive about the way things have been going at Villa. A young team that can only get better and expectations of a greater points haul in the second half of the season.

    Our performance at Man Ure just a few games ago was excellent but since then we haven’t seen anything to suggest that we’ll survive. I’m now expecting the drop. We will do exceptionally well to get out of this mire. I don’t believe our players are good enough to play 4-3-3 in this division. Personally, I’d go 4-5-1 and El Gassy should not be part of the middle 5 for the reasons stated by other Lifers.

  56. Mk
    We have no leaders especially when mings is out
    Heaton is a great shot stopper but doesn’t command his area,never liked zonal marking prefer old way men on posts big men marking there big men ,something smith said yesterday puzzled me mcginn was supposed to mark one of their centre half,mcginn is 5f 7/8 not near big enough for that job

  57. Mark suggested in the previous post that our wage bill was about 24 million. Don’t know about the accuracy of that but if it is below 35 million we should be able to keep most players next season. Jack will go for sure if we drop but Deano will be starting from a better position than he inherited.

    It’s time to show some fight Villa.

  58. I have seen comparisons drawn with the team that took us down, IE to many untested players and that is at least true. However I don’t see any of the disharmony that existed and was amplified by the manager at the time. One things for sure going for another manager hardly made a difference and we all know were that went.

    If we had a team that had been together for a good while and had just gone stale then a change at the top could work as it does sometimes. The only way I think that could happen in my mind is to go for a really big name that the players would be in awe of. That would mean paying him a lot and would also rely on him believing we have enough to stay up.

    I’m not convinced its a job for a big Sam type, as we lack that type of player. That brings me to the players that got away in the summer, I think there are enough of them about that we missed out on for various reasons (mainly steep prices and the amount of players needed) to have given this team a lot more steel about it.

    The Wage bill reported shocks me a little and gladdens me too. If it truly is £25m they went a long way to lower that from the crazy heights it hit in the champs, Lansbury and Conor are two of our highest paid still as is Kodjia and . Heaton is our highest wage on £42 grand a week.

  59. Mark, according to that article, the 25 million is well short. Look at the players listed at the bottom with no salary against them at all. Trez, Luiz Nakamba and the others listed without a salary are not on peanuts.

  60. The Norwich game is no immense. And with confidence low this has become the nightmare at Christmas for our players.

    Losing Mings ans McGinn has taken away the spine of our team.

    The run we are on is relegation form. Our early season enthusiasm and energy has abated.

    Smith has to make tactical changes. Teams have worked us out. We have been killed on the counter attack by teams with pace and vigour.

    The Wesley experiment, unfortunately is not working. The responsibility for this should lie with Suso. Dean wanted Neil M and we ended up with Wesley for a similar fee. Unfortunately we do not have a suitable replacement at hand.

    Jack needs to be deployed in a different role. The pass the ball to Jack approach isn’t working. He slows down the play and he has nobody running off him. This allows the opposition to drop back in numbers and nullify the attack.

    Jack back in midfield against Norwich.

    AEG and Trez are too inconsistent.

    Target cannot defend.

    Engels lacks pace.

    Luiz is easy on the eye but he is not tenacious

    Marvellous isn’t

    Jimmy is not dangerous.

    We have a huge challenge and we need 6 points from the next two games.

    Dean Smith will not enjoy his Christmas dinner however he will sleep in heavenly peace knowing he has a 4 year deal.

  61. Frem

    Poch ?! Hahaha.

    I’m afraid I wouldn’t be holding out any hope for the Norwich match. They have been very good last 2. We are pretty much rock bottom and with mings and super John out ( our spine) I see a 2-0 Norwich win. Make no mistake we are down. It’s us Watford Norwich or saints. Yesterday was massive and they outclassed us. They have Ings we have wes.

  62. We need an eye on next season and plan. Get Bowen and benrahama in Jan or summer. Keep as many as possible. Jack deffo off and you’d think mcguinn too. Another year and hopefully this lot are better for the experience. Pace and physicality must be added though. We need Leeds west brom and Fulham to go up and hopefully we can do a burnley and smash it and come up champs easy

  63. I’d go all out for Bowen benrahama and Morelos in Jan. Get them settled in. I really wish smith would try a 352 or a 343 like wolves and blades. Would suit us and give us more structure. Teams have worked us out and smith ain’t responding tactically. Rodgers the other week switched to 2 up top and said it was because he saw us leave space. saints did yesterday. Far too open and too much space. We’ve been figured out!

  64. Hero
    Mings stayed on v Leicester, as for your wishlist sorry all like summer signings untried at this level,we needed another 6 last summer just to get a squad,target looks worst summer buys but what back up do we have run backwards taylor,our centre mid is also light conor and lainsbury not up to this level too much to ask luis and marvellous to hit ground running likewise with wes and trez
    Why have we still no youth coming through

  65. Plug- As I said I’d be surprised at £25m but even if you add £10m to that its still massively reduced, you can take Kodjia and Chester off it by the summer.

  66. McGinn out for 3 months!

    Good news is Davis is back training. I thought Kodjia was very good when he came on. Hopefully it’s Davis up top and Kodger running off him for the next few games.

    We’re due a bit of luck when we play bad, but grind out a result. We’re not a poor squad when we were deservedly were beating the best club team in the world in the 80th+ min.

  67. Watford winning

    We are f**ked, aren’t we?

    The board will be thinking about making a change soon.

    Everton done it. Watford done it. The will both survive

  68. JG- Mings had no experience of a muscle tear and thought it was cramp, are you telling me that Smith would know this from the dugout? his medical staff are there with Mings and he chooses to stay on. I don’t think any manager wants to take a CB off so early and so Mings word was the deciding factor.

  69. Frem- Depends on what they see as the priority, the club staying in the prem at all cost or the club developing and being self sustaining as the owners laid out. Are we likely to find a manager that can get something out of this team above what Smith can? will he be able to access and make the right buys in Jan? I mean I have seen plenty of people calling for Terry to be manager?? Apparently our defensive coach that can’t get us defending. Sometimes the truth hurts and we are just not quite good enough or its a confidence problem after the recent run, or they coaches are not good enough, I don’t think we have had long enough to tell, a good Jan window might fix it, I don’t think for one moment they are not looking to add players.

    I think putting a new team together and putting them in this league to learn is like trying to learn to tightrope walk while someone throws things at you.

  70. Mark

    Exactly it is what it is I’m afraid. We need stability as a club. Let dean build.

    But dean needs to learn too and learn quick. We are going backwards and not learning any of our mistakes. We was meant to believe we are young and only going to get better!

  71. H&V – Funny you should say about attacking FB’s wasn’t that long ago the problem was Elmo and Taylor and Smith wasn’t being true to his ethos by being cautious at the back.

  72. Mk
    Souness called as a hamstring which you cant run off which I agree,as for mcginn he needed to be dropped for bad form along with injury so I feel smith medical team have not done their jobs properly
    As for elmo and taylor cripes pool youngsters hAve taylor still spinning
    More worrying which I have mentioned before is our defensive work especially at set pieces basic training ground work
    I like smith but just feel he is not the right fit as for purslow another slime ball like fox

  73. Mark

    The actual full backs aren’t he problem. Massive up grade. But it’s the system leaving us exposed with just 2 cbs! Foxes and saints seen it and stuck 2 up top. Playing with the two 8’s 1 cdm….we just ain’t good enough. Need to be disciplined and have a shape. Doesn’t mean you still can’t attack.

  74. Like I said yesterday the most alarming thing was lack of desire and fight. Going into a six pointer at vp with villa fans as captain and manager the least you’d expect is full throttle 110 %.

  75. Where dso I start?

    What can I say that has not already been said.

    I enjoyedthe cup game where we showed some promise in being able to move the ball and stick it in the net. It is not rocket science.

    Yesterday, there was no effort, no plan, no desire tow in the ball. passes went astray, players were too easily knocked off the ball. There was no desire to defend, especially set pieces. Villa are top of the Premiership….for conceding goals from corners, and losing leads from winning positions and many other things.

    Is it the failure of the manager, his coaches, or do we just have sub standard players for the Premier league, sadly it seems to be a combination of things, and there is no easy way forward.

    Just watching the desire that now abounds in other teams around us, where are the points going to come from if we are a total failure at scoring goals from the numerous opportunities we have had at set pieces.

    I for the life of me, fail to see any positives at the moment, or changes that could be made to improve what has become atotally mediocre side with no desire. It is getting so close with the fans, that the boos were starting to sound at half time.

    Dean Smith really needs to have 11 payers on the pitch on Boxing Day that are willing to die for their shirt and put in a real shift. Anything less and Norwich will destroy us, and get their revenge for our 5-1 drubbing of them earlier in the season.

    McGinn should be getting fined 3 months wages for his stupidity in making such a reckless challenge which was completely unnecessary, and getting himself seriously injured when he is so needed for Villa’s future.

    The only bright spot was Jack’s goal, but nothing else happened to even come near getting another.

  76. Frem- It doesn’t look good granted but 3 have to drop, if all it takes is a new manager then nobody would keep one for more than 2 months unless they were in the top 6. Most of the managers that have been sacked have at least had a fair run and a few windows, watfords manager was their old manager anyway and lasted two months.

  77. Most annoying thing for me, and surprising thing is that Smith is so tactically rigid. Even last season nothing changed. It was 433 and that’s it

    It isn’t working. Let’s just go 442 or 4312.

    We are so easy to play against. Teams know how we will play. Teams know our wingers are absolutely useless and let us go wide

  78. Frem- Formations are not really tactics they are just how many defenders,mids and forwards you put on the field in different ratios, very rarely will you see the players stood in a 433 pattern. Tactics are more about how you defend or attack, where you place emphasis, set traps etc.

    Trouble I see is we have bought players for a 433 and are thin on the ground.

  79. MK,

    I don’t see how buying players for a system abdicates the players from attitude, effort and desire.

    To me, as I reflect back on the Lerner years, we have made the same mistakes, maybe because once again, the most influential owner is American, and the believe that soccer is like american college football, buying young athletic guys who will make the grade in a few months, instead of realising that it takes experience to build a team, especially at this level, something the presesnt squad totally lack.

    Yes, the team have had their moments, some have some nice skills, but the ability to see games out and get a result, are just not there. We desperately need to bring in some experience and stamina to this squad, if only to see out this season, or we will be back in the Championship for several years.

  80. PW- stuff I’m sure Smith is aware of mate, lets see what January brings. As JC said confidence is low and 2 of our three most influential players are out and had previously been off form. Its a lot for any team to overcome. Totally agree we lack experience particularly as those with the experience in the squad are not likely to start.

    I’m sure when they sat down in June they were faced with a mountain to climb and weighed up the options. More older players looking for that final payout or young players we can sell off if it goes tits up. There is hope as Smith missed out on a couple of players late on and as they let Hogan and Green go out I am presuming they were a winger and a forward. I think we might get a couple of loans too.

    So i think that they gambled that we would have enough to be still in the race come Jan and I suppose we are.

  81. When you look at the type of player we chased in the Summer and were rebuffed you would have to think we would be fairing better with them.

    Phillips, Tammy, Benrahma and Maupay to name a few would of added skill and grit to the team above what we have now.

  82. Being realistic we are ‘doing a Fulham’ where you get promoted thanks to a 1-off match, not on merit, and there is no nucleus of a team that can survive in the higher division. The world’s wealthiest owners cannot circumvent FFP and so cheap players on cheap wages is the only option.

    I’m sure more will surface in time regarding the reason our recruitment policy was implemented. Realistically, do I think another bloke will help…probably not, given the rank lack of ability, but I’d like to see someone with more energy and fire than Smith have a go

  83. The wages we can pay is a major factor. Someone like Snodgrass would have been ideal this season, but the wages, even if he could be bought, would be too high £70-100k. In that bracket you can put, Long, Ings and many others. It would probably take 3-4 seasons of TV money to get the profit/loss equation to a point where we could compete.

  84. PW- looking at our wages I’d say they are trying not to go overboard in case we don’t stay up. I don’t think for one second that the owners are under any illusions as to the task, ultimately they haven’t bought a team just a club and we are starting the process from scratch.. I think they pretty much knew that from the off.

  85. PW and MK,

    Yeah, wages are a factor. With that, why do we have 4 goalies and a 5th up in Scotland on loan. Nyland was amazing against Liverpool U23’s. I think we could have lost without him. Hopefully we can get something for Kalinic in Jan, or offload him for free. What a waste of 7m.

    I think Keinan Davis is our key player if he can stay fit. Yeah he doesn’t score for a striker, but look at Mcgoldrick at Sheff U. He’s their player of the year to date, yet no goals.

    Also bring back RHM and give him a shot on the wing with his pace

  86. VillaMD yeah lots of stuff to mull over, lets hope they can transfer the energy Smiths seeing on the training ground to the pitch and they can start working for each other. Add some nous and pace in Jan and we may just be surprised.

    Happy Christmas to all Lifers past and Present and maybe even future 🙂

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