The going finally gets tough in the cup, which is what you’d expect in a semifinal. The Foxes have torn us apart once already, and now we get two extra rounds with them. With points to play for at the weekend, I hate to see such a challenging cup-tie midweek. Be nice if it were Everton, for example. Or Bolton. But it is what it is.

Talked about it a bit in the previous thread, but to put it over here, my thinking is simply that Villa’s priority is to come out of this with some confidence. Which means playing to keep the game much more under control, and likely being very happy with a draw. Losing a close, hard-fought match is fine, too. We just need to fight and give a good accounting of ourselves. And see if we can’t get something to build on without running ourselves ragged.

I’d imagine the 3-4-3 is probably the way to go since 4-3-3 really didn’t work last time, and three at the back might well provide more cover against Leicester’s quick counters. Down Wesley, not really sure what you do up top. I’ve seen calls for Ghazi in the middle, and I can’t say I know what would be best. However, maybe it should be Jack. He’s not a striker, but he’s every bit as likely to score as either Trez or Anwar. The idea would also be for him to see more of the ball and have more influence than he might playing wide left. And with limited options, I think I’d have to play Luiz and Nakamba in the midfield. But Ghazi’s fast and strong, so maybe he is the right one to take Wes’s spot. Whoever it is, we can’t be trying to lump it. But if we can get something for Ghazi to run onto, he might come up with the goods.

Whoever’s out there in whatever shape, the main thing is to be tight and disciplined. Don’t be sloppy. Play within yourself, keep it simple and not overly ambitious. You want to frustrate them in front of the home crowd, not invite them out to a day at the races. The Burnley victory might not be anything to treasure as a memory, but there’s no point getting a vital win just to go out and be played off the park.

And looks like 3-4-3, and no selection surprises from Smith:

Nyland, Guilbert, Konsa, Mings, Hause, Taylor, Luiz, Nakamba, Trezeguet, Grealish, El Ghazi

Over to you.

Comments 59

  1. Kodjia is either ill, injured, been sold or is so instrumental to Deans master plan for the man city game he is wrapped from head to toe in cotton wool and in bed.

  2. Kodjia gone down with a bug.

    Reina, as MK says is 6months, with a year extension if Villa stay up. LIvingstone raving about how good Sarkic is , and instrumental in their defeat of Celtic, and had 6 clean sheets out of 14.

  3. So far: Decent enough positional discipline playing the system, but still wayward in passing, first touches letting us down, and some headless/needless poor balls coming out. Leicester more aggressive closing players down on the ball.

  4. Aint great but they are competing and winning, we cause ourselves more problems than the opposition. Really think Nylands improved, great positioning.

    You can really see why we need Drinkwater, lets hope he can turn back the clock

  5. The boys doing ok so far, but Nyland and Mings outstanding!!

    Great goal from El Ghazi and Guilbert, but then El Ghazi gives away a stupid foul and collects a yellow that he does not need.

  6. Mk
    No need to spend wages on keeper ,could wait to near end month to see how long steer is out
    As for drinkwater jury is way out on him preferred to see attackers come in an outlet for ball

  7. Taylor needs to f**k off

    We really need a striker that can hold a ball up and better technically gifted wingers

    We can’t retain possession. Trez isn’t good enough

  8. Marvellous and luiz was poor tonight. Remember luiz is 20 and learning like most of them. We haven’t bought finished products. But help has arrived with drink water and I bet whoever plays with him will improve massively too.

  9. All agreed, Luiz,especially, and Nkamba were p*ss poor. Konsa, why was he taking the free kick, should have been Mings, at least, putting it well up the field. Poor discipline, but we live to fight another day. In the end Konsa cost us two goals, missing a header and then giving the ball away at the free kick.
    A better result than any of us had hoped for. Villa fans in great voice and giving great support.

    For the free kick, was it really Tyrone Mings fault????

    Why was he playing Vardy and the Leicester forwards onside, instead of pushing his line up in front of the free kick, so maybe not all Konsa’s fault.

    Don’t see how Lansbury can be put down, he was not on the pitch long enough, Hourihane coming on for Trezeguet was a non event.

  10. Woah woah woah….going through the posts!!! No Heaton, mcguinn or striker and away to second place foxes!! It was what it was. Backs to the wall second half but got our tactics spot on. 4 weeks ago we lost 4-1 going 433 and high press and attacking. Foxes will murder you like that. They press win the ball back and counter rapid. We learnt. Narrow disciplined and worked hard. But 21 year old konsa shouldn’t of passed to 20 year old luiz….youth. Mistakes will happen

  11. Smith, just said “we were very loose on the ball tonight”. His team are loose on the ball every game. What the f**k are his staff doing to improve it? or did they just recruit penises that he can’t do anything with. f**k off!

  12. Well, that was backs to the wall. Nyland, Mings and Konsa are excellent. The other 3 defenders are ok. We definitely should play with 3 at the back going forward. Luis and Nakamba always have a few mistakes per game. It was embarrassing at times, we couldn’t hold onto any balll in midfield. Now we know why Drinkwater was signed, he can’t be any worse.

    Fair play, the lads did try. It couldn’t have been easy in that downpour and chasing the ball for 80 mins. Man, are we dependent on Jack as an outlet.

  13. It was superb tonight. Last away game beating burnley luiz was very good and the footy esp 1st half was superb.

    Best thing tonight was we have the desire and fight back I was very worried after the Watford game when we chucked it in but the players are on it. Mings nyland rightly applauded but Christ jack put a captains display in. The boys world class.

  14. What a decision smith has re nyland now with reina inbound! With Heaton out and kalinic off we need another. And we need experience. Having reina about the place will do wonders for the youth.

    Also say this every time I see Taylor….like playing with 10 men. Targett in this set up will be class.

  15. Paul Whiting, can you please think about your posts before you vomit them out . You are making this site unbearable. There are many other sites that would welcome your measured , intelligent analysis. I , genuinely, think you need help.

  16. So, I sadly did not get to see the 2nd, which I know wasn’t the preferred half. Hoping I can catch that.

    But for me, the takeaway is finally holding out against a top side to at least gain a draw. And away. That’s no small thing, all I was asking for. Those have turned into losses, as we know. Step forward.

    Shame Konsa’s effort was right on the bar. Beautiful ball in, and I’m curious how we’d have handled being 2 up.

  17. H-and-V, good points.

    I thought Nyland made 4 or 5 good saves tonight. What I like most about him, other than his ability to come out for corners, is he always seems to be in the right positions and make saves look easy. I believe our back 5 is easily mid table quality, probably top 8.

    Good to see the young American lad getting minutes. A point vs Man C would be huge.

    Anyone know where kalinic is going to? I for one would welcome Benteke back. Would prefer to see Jay Rodriquez though

  18. Proxopera – well said! PW seems to just have the two modes: either sour pessimistic moans if Villa have won, or foul-mouthed rants if we haven’t.
    It really would be a breath of fresh air if he staggered off somewhere else !

  19. Yeah not seen hardly anything of nyland but the more I do the more I like. He is a catcher too which is rare nowadays.

    The abuse luiz and nakamba receive is a disgrace, no wonder our fans are known as fickle. Reminds me exactly when most turned on vertout and Gana.

  20. At least i got my wish. El Ghazi dove tailed with Grealish upfront and also got the correct score right!! From a punting point of view i slept a happy man.
    Someone here said that its about time we stopped abusing Luiz and Nakamba. They will be crucial in the relegation battle.

  21. im not el ghazi biggest fan but it was a lovely ball in for the goal.

    He does have a habit of assisting or scoring!

    O hara on loan to Coventry in league one who we hype about being the new grealish is one week older than luiz! Luiz has recently been handed a brazil cap!

    He is a talent and in 3 years will be very very good. patience

  22. My thoughts are we got the draw at a very hard place to go to and could of won to boot, thats an improvement and without our CF .

    We remain our own worst enemy if we can better that then I think we can get the wins and draws we will need and won’t have to rely on getting them all at home.

    nyland was fantastic and looks much improved and up for it I hope he gets the nod regardless of Reina.
    Konsa lost his cool when he was booked for time wasting and rushed the kick but handled Vardy superbly.

    Targett should improve the attacking side but Taylor is more disciplined, he handled and roughed up Ricardo as well as could be done.

    If the right Drinkwater turns up then we should improve further with him hitting balls to the wings and over the top. If we get one maybe two forwards then who knows eh.

  23. As for our passing, we need to stop trying to pass through the eye of a needle and across our own penalty area from ridiculous angles. What is really required is better movement and reading of the game. Its ok passing in Triangles etc in practice but when that is brought to the game its a different arena. Against teams that have a better grip on pressing etc you have to step up a gear, they are more ruthless and less forgiving than your teammates. If we don’t then we will continue to see the slack passing and interceptions from slow thinking we have seen all season.

  24. I m so happy we have gone 3 at the back. The difference is incredible. So much more organised and better shape. Im actually confident of grinding out some extra points.

    If we can get mcguinn back asap and jack in a more central role along with dd our ball retention will improve

  25. Mark

    Nakamba and luiz have talent. That cant be taught. They are just young players being inconsistent right now which is no shock. Being more urgent and aware and getting used to playing in the midfield in the prem can be coached. Its very harsh really for them to be asked to hit the ground running and produce week in week out together.

    Look at Liverpool when they signed keita and fabinho. Fabinho was given 6 months and keita a year to be slowly introduced.

  26. H&V,

    Must agree that these players need time, and before all the injuries, they probably would have been given that time, but they have ben pressed in because we had no experienced back up that Dean Smith has had available.

    We still have interest in Jarrod Bowen, and now apparently Joe Lolly. What a scoop that would be if we got Bowen for £20million and Lolly for £10million plus Kodija…Let’s get it done..!!!

  27. Deano got the shape and structure right last night. We were up against a better team and will be again in the 2nd leg. I’d go with the same set up at home and hope we can nick a goal.

    So it was a great result. The game showed that if the coaching staff can get the formation correct, we defo have enough to survive this season and build on.

    No time to dwell on last night. It’s Pep next and we’ll no doubt get a masterclass in set up from him. A draw would be huge for us. No silly 4-3-3’s on Sunday please Deano.

  28. A lot has been said about the new players and how they have or haven’t adjusted so far, its tempting to say we should have bought better or more experienced etc but does that stack up in our position? I don’t think so.

    Smith had to get rid of an awful lot in the summer and Take a gamble on who could step up from the rest. The reality was Jack and Mcginn Really and McGinn was an unknown. Conor is Conor and will get goals and assists but we all know the issues in other phases of the game.

    Elmo, Taylor and Chester have games under their belts in the prem but two possibly over the hill one injured.

    Up front we had a disgruntled Hogan a lightweight and injured Kodjia and equally injury prone Youngsters in Davis and Green. None of those scream sorted at you but that is what Smith had as support staff.

    Half a season later Jack is the standout success, McGinn began brightly and burned out and Conor bless him has kept us in the race at times while still being not good enough. Smith is even trying him out as a Winger now. I think I would try him in Taylors position wide left.

    The two stand in FB’s have done as well as their talent would of predicted and its harsh to really judge them when they were hardly likely to improve above what we have seen. Chester surplus at the moment and unable to step up when Mings was out, so next to useless as an asset to date.

    Kodjia, Davis, Lansbury, all have had spells injured and only Davis has had any real spark for me and that was like a flash and he was gone.

    so what I am saying is if this lot were suppose to give the newbies some learning time as PP suggested then I suspect Dean Smith is thinking he really has no choice to play the new lot as his enforced gamble on the others has had its chips.

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