Well, off to St. Mary’s to try our luck against the Saints again today. Last time we met, we thought we’d be putting the run together that would see us safe. Instead, Southampton took it to us, and then went on a run and pulled themselves out of the mire.

So, still sat 17th, Villa need quite obviously need something from this one. It’s taken me a while to get over the Spurs match, but events have conspired to see us still out of the drop zone, if only just. If we tallied up all the little things that have somehow gone against us, errors, late goals, bad bounces, VAR, injuries, what have you, we’d probably find enough points in there to see ourselves in Europe. But, that’s how it went and here we are. And there are obviously still three worse places we could be.

What I take from Spurs is that we can claw out the results we need during the run-in if we can just show a bit more composure and cut down on the mistakes. I said during the match that if we went on to lose, it would come down to us being the authors of our own demise, and so it was. For Villa, as Smith has said, it’s all about doing the things that are within our control. Me, I find it a cruel twist of fate that Engels was out there because Mings had tonsillitis, of all things. I took heart seeing Jack’s arm round his shoulder telling him, earnestly, that “we all make mistakes. Everyone does.” Small comfort, perhaps, and maybe a cliché, but that says something good about the camp and Jack, trying to do what a captain needs to do.

And of course, there’s the question of whether Villa are too gung-ho, and is that why we’re conceding so many. It’s a fair one. I’ve seen us lose when trying to shut up shop, seen us lose when chasing a winner.

Anyway. After Smith’s comments during the week about Drinkwater and why he’s been playing, looks like Marvelous and Luiz heard him and have made their cases during training. I’ve no idea what to expect today…But we simply have to build on Spurs the way we didn’t after besting Leicester. And I have a feeling Samatta might have something to say about the final result.

Starting XI:
Reina, Guilbert, Konsa, Mings, Hause, Targett, Nakamba, Luiz, El Ghazi, Grealish, Samatta.

Substitutes:
Borja, Trezeguet, Hourihane, Drinkwater, Nyland, Elmohamady, Engels.

Over to you.

Comments 160

  1. From the last post:

    IanG- hold your nose while drinking upside down while breathing into a paper bag. Film it though and put it on youtube as I’d like to see it.

  2. Yeah, jbd…Seems like more than one. I’m just sitting here and wondering what Luiz and Nakamba are doing. Neither one is contesting hard enough, or winning balls. Can’t have two like that in the MF.

  3. Kinda gets booked for no contact and Southampton have kicked lumps from jack no justice. We are to powder puff or stopped at every pub on the way to Southampton. Did Shane long score with his b*****ks?

  4. Was a good spot, nice run he had. Shame he was offside. Other than that, he’s just getting bad long balls knocked his way. And then it’s a team taking turns fouling Jack, again.

    But there has to be more fight in midfield.

  5. Sat in amongst another group of home supporters who cannot believe how embarrassing Villa are.

    Konsa, Gilbert are soooo slow. We are second to every tackle and guilty of ball watching.

    If there are 3 teams that finish lower than this shower it will be a miracle.

    Smith and Terry should be dumped at the end of the season

  6. PW,

    Terrible half, yes, but it’s not the coaching staff playing poorly. Smith is quite obviously upset with the effort/performance. Being second, not coming away with it, not ganging up…That’s on the players. I keep going on about Nakamba and Luiz, but they’re just watching the game go by them. Too timid to commit and impose themselves, not anticipating and jumping in.

  7. Luiz and Nakamba. When they do manage to get near the ball their tackles are totally half-hearted.

    I never see Villa given the time and space that they give the opposition. WTF does anybody do in training during the week?

  8. PW,

    Time and space…that’s what I’m getting at. It’s no mystery what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re just not doing it, hence Smith’s comments about why DD was playing. Smith’s not getting what he wants from the pair, is desperate to get DD up to speed as a result.

  9. John – Every way game is the same

    This 5 at the back is s**t.

    We never create anything. We never sustain possession or attacks. Every game

    Smith isnt good enough

  10. Smith might well be out of his depth lads but which villa manager was in his depth in recent memory? The rebuild looks like it’s not been sufficient at this point to me , would I prefer wilder or Nuno for instance , yes I probably would but let’s not kid ourselves that this team is a different manger away from survival.

  11. Effort comes far too late every game and it’s not enough to compensate for the fact that only Grealish and Mings are good enough for the EPL. The rest belong in lower leagues.

    So who is responsible for assembling this squad?

  12. PW,

    Don’t know exactly how the decisions are made. Would think Suso makes the list, Dean has some say. Someone like DD might’ve been a player Smith targeted given needs/limitations, hard to say.

  13. Admittedly – it wasn’t our day today guys.

    Our away form all season has not been great all season.

    Emotions run high after a bad result – i understand.

    Try and stay positive.

    Support the team.

    Let’s stick together.

    Keep it positive.

    We will get enough points to stay in this division.

  14. FREM. If you were in the dressing room after the game please can you tell the players that i still have confidence in what they are doing and i look forward to seeing them at Wembley next week.

  15. Can’t understand the logic that Smith needs sacking , he got us up with a borrowed team and had to rebuild. Somehow he was suppose to make this happen rebuild without a hitch. Now its looking bad for us he is at fault partly for building a poor team but a new/stroke better manager would somehow get something out of this team that he is not and save us?

    Is Smith the best manager? probably not, is this team prem standard or ever likely to be considering the position we found ourselves in? no.

    Fulham last season had a better team to begin with than we did and attempted similar and did worse, that is how I am judging this, not some fantasy rebuild where we end up top 8. For me thats the reality and I think the owners know that or they would of sacked him.

    onwards to the next game.

    JC- yes I wish the final would feck off.

  16. Frem…what Smith has to be responsible for is that we always start games like 11 strangers, and then have a better spell later, when it’s too late.

    Time after time today the saints centre backs were allowed to make clearing headers with their backs to goal knowing full well that a Villa player would be nowhere near the knock-down… that aimless jogging around is simply not tolerated at good clubs. Managers are sacked for that..

  17. Paul W. I will take a look at the fixture list and let you know for sure. If that provides you with comfort i will happily do that for you.

    Please don’t let fear be your guidance.

    Let’s all stick together and support the players and the manager.

    Negativity feeds a toxic environment and it serves no purpose.

    Are you going to the final next week? I will buy you a beer or coffee or a glass of wine to help soothe your concerns.

    Best R

  18. Mark, I know full well that the team is beyond help this year in terms of new management, but do you not hold Smith/Terry/O’kelly responsible for the abject play during the games. Did Smith not leave Samatta isolated with hoof ball tactics.

    He’s managed Walsall and Brentford. He has no credentials to succeed at this club

  19. Hi Paul

    Can i please buy your ticket?

    Please can you message me so i can buy it from you. My niece who is an Everton fan is so excited for us wants to come and support Villa on our special day.

    If you need a digital hug then please do let me know.

    It is always difficult when we lose.

    Keep the faith my Villa brother.

  20. Hi Paul.

    Thx you.

    Although i would prefer it if you would come to the game.

    Enjoy the special day at Wembley.

    It doesn’t happen often.

    Support your team.

    Demonstrate your passion.

    I would like to take you into my arms and reassure you that everything is going to be ok.

    Best R

  21. PW- Of course there has to be responsibility laid at someones door just not right now. If I thought it would do any good I’d say so. I’m sure if you threw enough managers and players at it one would get it right (the rebuild) or it might just end up with a different manager and pretty much the same players who knows ? we can only deal with the reality.

    There is talk that DS and JT have had a bust up in the tunnel at Southampton, maybe there is unrest at Villa on tactics etc, can’t see that resulting in what we see in individual players but you never know.

  22. What preparation, or lack of it, takes place from 2-3pm which means Saints came out like terriers? Quicker, better passing, better decision making, clear formation and patterns of play…

    We’re getting worse, not better, which is why the likes of Frem use phrases like ‘lost the dressing room’.

  23. PW, it’s nice to read your comments when you don’t swear. Good job man.

    I think 30 points will be enough. We can still do it. Just need a few good/lucky performances. Look at Burnley, they are the worst team that we’ve played in my view, but they are flying now and playing decent football

    We have nothing to lose. Today was a disaster. When you see Jack having to come back to the edge of our box to collect the ball, well….Southampton must have loved that

  24. I would think that Nyland will play in the final after virtually winning the semi’s on his own it would be harsh to not play him. After that its up to him to take Reina’s place.

    PW- I think the phrase “seen it all before ” sums it up for me mate, I can’t affect whats happening by getting angry, relegation was always a very big possibility. Can’t see any of the bottom three picking points up this weekend and Bournemouth and Newcastle lost.

    Teams fall out etc but I must admit I’m fed up with the modern day overreaction to the merest hint that things are not perfect or that someones fallible, thats life.

  25. RichardS…I’ve sent you a PM re: ticket for the final.

    I only just saw your message about the season ticket. It would be nice if the system alerted your email address that new messages have been posted.

  26. Reina is not the keeper he was, hence only playing 7 games before coming to Villa, and like many players at his time, can have the odd big game, but week in week out, maybe not.

    Dean Smith has to take the blame for the way the team are set up, and the tactics, and who is chosen to appear, although he is not accountable for their desire on the pitch. However, we must consider that teams like Sheff Utd have the same players turning out each week, and maybe the constant meddling is not helping.

    Villa once again fail to follow into the box, and score the opportunities that are second nature to the likes of Ings, Long. and most natural scorers.

    Do not see a future in the Premiership now, but we must stay behind the boys until the very bitter end, let us hope there can be some inspiration on Sunday.

  27. It was a rough outing…

    The comments have been so good and covered so much territory that I’ve felt post-match thoughts were superfluous. But, I’ll try and write something up, even though you’ll likely have covered it all in the meantime.

  28. An extremely tough game yesterday. The performance wasn’t up to Premier League standard and we lacked fight. It was exactly the same situation against Bournemouth and Watford.

    Let’s all try and be constructive in our assessment of the performance and the players.

    It’s easy to be overly critical and start Chants to sack the manager. We don’t need this toxicity. Negativity will see us implode.

    Smith was extremely critical and disappointed by the performance and rightly so. He should also look at himself – unfortunately he is under pressure and needs our support.
    Perception precedes action – he should take this time to make his judgment of the players and the tactical structure of this team – especially in the away games.

    We certainly miss Super John McGinn- the good news is he will be back soon. And so will Davies. I am super pumped about this.

    It is clear the only way to stay in this division is by gaining the points from our home games. Supporting the team and providing our positive environment at Villa Park will help us achieve the points.

    From a constructive perspective
    I would like to see Jack play in a central to advanced central position – he can control the game from the middle and dictate the play. You could see his frustration yesterday – he clearly didn’t have his best game but he feels he is getting isolated on the left.

    Smith needs to find a way to be streetwise in these away games – we cannot keep conceding early goals. We are giving ourselves a mountain to climb in every game

    Let’s saviour our final at Wembley this weekend- all Villa Brothers let’s stand together and enjoy the occasion.

    I still remain confident that we will stay in this division.

    Super John and Super Jack will see us over the line.

    Keep the faith.

  29. I think that yesterday was a combination of being off the boil and Southamptons style being a bad match for us. They handled jack better than any team in the division I have witnessed so far. I know spurs are not at their best but we have looked better against them twice than against saints. So much so the saints look like a top 6 side when we play them. Whether it’s our tactics or the players not stacking up and losing their individual battles all over the pitch I don’t know but I suspect the latter.

    Not so if Nyland would of made a difference as we barely made any chances, in both games this season Southampton created shed loads. At least we don’t have to play them again. The points will have to come from those we have previously beaten or come close, because like Bournemouth and Man City some teams appear to have beaten us before we start.

  30. Frem. Your pessimistic attitude saddens me immensely. Please take a step forward towards optimism. Try and say something constructive.

    Dean Smith got us promoted.

    It wasn’t Smith who chose and purchased all of the players that we signed.

    It wasn’t Smith’s fault we have experienced long term injuries to Mings – McGinn – Heaton and Wesley

    Dean Smith has taken us to a Cup Final

    Try supporting Smith.

    Instant gratification and the lack of patience are a sickness in modern society.w

    Be kind. Be understanding. Be patient. Express gratitude. Welcome the law of attraction.

    Support your team, the managers and the players

    Express love.

    And good things will happen.

  31. Frem…fully agree regarding Lost opportunity to sack Smith. A new manager might not have made a difference but Smith was never going to guide us home. Allardyce would never have sent a team out with so little fight as Villa have now. People scoff at the idea that this team is as bad as Remi Garde’s but it is. For 25 minutes yesterday, and on too many occasions away from home, they looked like a pub team.

    Let’s run through the remaining fixtures:
    Leicester 0 pts
    Chelsea 0 pts
    Newcastle 0-1 pt
    Arsenal 0 pts
    Utd 0-1 pt
    Palace 0-1 pts
    Everton 0 pts
    Liverpool 0 pts
    Sheff Utd 0-1 pts
    Wolves 0 pts
    West Ham 0-3 pts

    Villa are getting worse by the game and have shipped more goals and shots against than anyone else. If you can’t keep clean sheets in this division then you go.

  32. Frem- Being honest? we could get to the end of the season and go down and say Smith should of gone. It won’t mean that is the correct decision for where we are, thats just your hope that a change would get something out of a bunch of players constantly harangued for being not good enough.

    As I recall what we needed was a goal scorer and we got one yet? As Conor has said we need to stick together. Changing manager can work but when over half the league do it then its still only three that drop so swapping managers can’t work for all.

    For example West Ham had a lift for maybe one two games then back to normal, Moyes has been unable to stop them conceding. They have a team built over 3-4 years as well. Watford are still bottom three despite looking likely to survive. Like us they all display patchy form then cr*p again.

    At the end of the day this is not a normal promotion season situation and never could be, We had no foundation. You might throw 20 different managers and backroom staff at this seasons rebuild and the result would likely be similar. At this moment we haven’t gone down.

    Will Smith survive this season? no idea but the management have stuck with him. The unpalatable truth may be that FFP has a lot to do with many decisions at Villa this season including the cost of a top end manager over scratching around for replacement players in Jan. Ok staying up fixes a lot of money worries or maybe breaking the rules moves the problems to next season with embargoes and points deductions.

    This season has been a calculated risk based around FFP constrictions and you only get one go at it. Nobody throws nearly £300m at a club if they are not here long term, they would never get that money back so I am sitting tight and hoping we can pull through as there is little choice.

  33. RichardS…just looking at your post to Frem.

    When Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal et al have a run of terrible games or have rank bad players it’s not accepted by the supporters or the management. I doubt when their centre half costs them 3 points they sit round the fire and feel the love and understanding. But that’s why they are great clubs and we are s**t. Their darkest hours are far better than the trash dished up in B6.

    Smith…he makes the decision, evidenced by the fact that Nyland is fit, to send out a 37 year old dwarf in goal who, instead of putting his foot through clearances, thinks it’s a better idea to chip the ball 30 yards out to the swarming opposition. So, as poor as our defence is, they haven’t got a chance with a twat of a keeper like Reina behind them. Smith changes formation far too late in a game. Why did he play 352 yesterday against Saints…granted he couldn’t legislate for how s**t Guilbert is, ably supported in the clueless stakes by Konsa

  34. Smith…was Elmo on the bench yesterday? I’m not Elmo’s biggest fan but he has never done as badly at right back as Guilbert did yesterday…Smith never takes a bold step and intervenes

  35. PW- The team that dropped never got out of the bottom three and stayed at the bottom from the 7th game, won 3 games all season and collected 17 points and scored 27 goals, They also had more experienced prem players.

    Compare that to 25 points, won 7, scored 34 with 11 games left and in a Final with zero experience of the league. How is that worse.

  36. Paul W – I am sending you my positive vibes.

    You are comparing us to Liverpool- Manchester UTD and Arsenal. They have spent uber millions on players and been in the PL since it’s inception.

    We have just been promoted this year.

    Reina is 6ft 2 – i don’t understand the animosity towards him

    Paul – have a big digital hug from me. We will get the points we need. Stay positive.

  37. It does make me laugh when the answer is now to go 433 and play Elmo, what next? Taylor to bring some stability?

    Smith has so far been battered for playing those players early season and 433, now being battered for sticking with 343 that brought some success and Guilbert etc who fans insisted was better than Elmo.

    Appears to me that we are only ever one loss from melt down amongst the fans, some say he changes to much others that he doesn’t change things quickly enough. I conclude he has no chance whatsoever of pleasing anyone at this rate.

  38. PW- I make it 17 points from the 6 of the bottom 7 clubs at this point with 6 points to play for. 5 games against the next tier up 7th to 13th that we have taken 7 points from and then we have the top 6 with one draw to show, most of those games have been away.

    Its not obvious where points will come from for sure but we have to target home games then the likes of Newcastle, Everton away plus we have shown we can beat Leicester. None of it easy and there are no guarantee’s which in truth there never were this season.

  39. Mark
    You couldn’t write the script for this season, & still can’t, so who knows, & so far so good is all we’ve had so far.
    I’ve let go of the final & look forward to the league.

  40. Norwich and Watford battered by 2 teams that will batter us even harder. We’ve been made to look mugs twice by Saints who really aren’t that good.

    West Ham will finish above us

  41. Mark, you react to every adverse comment about players like someone is criticising your wife or child. Let’s go over my point about Elmohamady again…Guilbert is having an utter shocker and is responsible for most of their attacking threat. The press reports I’ve read agree with me on that. Instead of stemming the tide and swapping him, Smith just lets it continue. That is a poor manager.

    Do I think Elmohamady is a good first choice right back in the EPL…no, of course not. However, tactical and player changes were required that Smith did not make. Drinkwater should only ever play if the toilet cleaner is injured, yet Smith started him against Tottenham

  42. Hi fellas

    I do agree that reverting to 4 at the back is the right way to go now mings is back and we managed to get forwards a lot more when we changed
    We struggled with the shape last few games so hopefully deano has recognised this and we go for it , we may as well play on the front foot and take our chances which is how I know smith likes to play anyway

  43. After a match like yesterday, it’s impossible not to look at the players. And we have to remember there are limited options.

    We’ve seen players struggle with consistency. They’ve looked great sometimes, and pretty poor at others. In particular I’m thinking about Luiz, Nakamba, and Guilbert. Though the same could be said of Trez and Ghazi.

    As we know, the trick is who’s better? I think Smith’s been pretty consistent in his selections, tbh. Don’t really see the ‘chopping and changing’. Guilbert and Targett have been constants. Either Luiz or Nakamba has featured, mixed with Conor or DD, lately. Smith’s settled on Ghazi as a starter, and Wes was a constant like McGinn, until injuries. I think he’s tried to go with form, and reward performances.

    But with so much inconsistency in battle and fight, there’s not much else you could change yesterday that Smith didn’t. I’m sure he wanted to keep attacking and midfield options open with his subs. Seems to me the game was lost more in midfield than anywhere else.

  44. PW- whereas you react like the players have raped your wife and sold your kids into slavery.

    As JC pointed out smith had to keep his options open with subs . Forced into an early change with el ghazi going off did not help and he could easily of made 7 changes we were that bad.

    Having the same opinion as pundits doesn’t automatically make you right either. Saying something should of happened isn’t the same as it happening and being proved correct. As it was Southampton scored a second because the keeper went up for a corner not because a lack of Elmo.

  45. Were the players thinking about Wembley next week and not wanting to get injured? Can’t think of any other reason why they tackled and ran like rag dolls.

    Or is there a more sinister reason behind the scenes?

    Don’t know, but we cannot take another performance like that. We’ve had a few like it. Watford away, Wolves away, Sheff U away. I hope the team and coaching staff have held a clear the air meeting to determine what went wrong and how to handle the run in.

  46. oh god that was terrible. how can we go from a nice team perfromce against spurs to that! Here we are again talking about doing the basics….fighting and winning second balls! very worrying how the team can put a shift like that in. Deano rightly called them out after ‘too many training ground players’ might not of gone down well! we shall see what reaction it gets. Not sure he can really make many changes for the final which he wants to do. elmo, nyland, engels, hourihan in?

  47. I was all for change to back 3 because we had to do something as we were getting battered each game…but its still the same! I reckon it may be better to go 352 instead of 343. The mid is the issue. we need to flood it. Get jack and mcguinn back in the centre

  48. Mark, you should go on the Villa official Facebook page. You could spend a lifetime writing to them to explain how wrong they are in their view that the manager and team are atrocious

  49. Plug,

    Interesting question, that. Might well be the case for some. Maybe they’re thinking about being embarrassed. No idea.

    But whatever it is, it’s vexing. Guilbert may have had a poor game, but at least he generally puts the effort in. What I don’t understand is the variability of effort in midfield. We’ve seen them do better. How is it not understood that’s what’s required week-in, week-out, and not just in the second half or final 20mins?

    Based on Dean’s comments, this is why he’s trying get DD up to speed…whether or not he can do what’s required, dunno. But at least he knows what it is.

  50. PW- What do you think your saying thats not obvious to all? very easy to criticise and that is pretty much all you ever do.

    We know the team are not great we watch them every week.

    This season is a unlike any we have seen, it was very likely that it would always be this way, therefore the standard get rid of the manager, and the players are s**t does not apply in the normal way to any reasonable person.

    Give the Samaritans a ring as they are saving far to many people lately I’m sure you can stop that.

  51. haha pw yeah i’m treating the final as a nice day out. be good to see jack and deano lead us out at Wembley in a cup final as for the game…well its man city so impossible. hope we just make a game of it unlike the last fa cup final against arsenal. If west ham get hammered tonight so our goal difference is better then they have to beat saints sat to go above us. if we can get to the final still out bottom 3 with a game in hand ill enjoy the day

  52. Change of subject, I mentioned a while back that one of my best mates was being treated for anxiety and found it hard to breath. He’s been put on some very strong Psych meds. Saw him yesterday and he said a doctor that he used to personal train told him he was dying (he’s wasting away) and to get a second opinion.

    Well he did and they sent him straight to hospital for a scan, turns out he’s had Pneumonia for a year and a half, I am absolutely livid, the lads a personal trainer and they have f**ked him over big time.

  53. West Ham playing well

    People around the net seem to think we will suddenly out of know where improve. We haven’t got better since day one against Spurs.

    There aren’t 3 worse sides than us. Tactically, and technically, we are aren’t up to standard

  54. King, all you ever do is jump all over people that tell the truth about the performances. Apart from Frem, everyone that calls it as it is has left the forum…wonder why that is…

  55. If you don’t like the opinions them ignore them, or do you like seeking conflict with individuals. There are plenty of people on here who’s opinions I don’t agree with and vice-versus but only you take time out to poke at everyone you disagree with

  56. A very nerve racking night being a Liverpool for the first time, but thank goodness, they came through in the end!!!

    Five players may be up for the drop for Wembley, but I think there may have been up to ten players not wanting to be picked for a thrashing on Sunday…….LOL..!!!!

    We live to fight another day, and avoid the relegation place for a little while longer..!!

  57. …..fan….

    Please stop attacking each other. There are few enough people here now. I am quite happy wiyh Frem and others criticising. That is the point of the blog…. to give a point of view..

  58. Frem

    It’s hard to disagree mate. Especially seeing our def stats there on mnf. Bottom on each stat defensively will send us down prob. West Ham I think will stay up and really should never be down there with there players and money spent. They have bad fixtures now but last 4 or 5 ain’t bad at all. I think it’s Bournemouth and Watford hopefully!!

  59. Indeed, everyone. All views welcome. It’s quite alright to ignore the ones we don’t like. It’s fine to agree to disagree. Fine to debate respectfully.

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t come away with a rosy view of many players this weekend, either. I’ve selected my two standout worst performers. But a lot of them were poor, including Reina.

  60. And as I always say (and would really like it if someone took me up on it again besides Ian):

    Please feel free to submit a leader anytime. Just send it along to me. If you’re worried how it will read, I’ll tidy it up. Part of what I do for a living.

    There’s no blog orthodoxy on here. I say what I think, doesn’t make me right. Only claim to fame I have is paying for servers and putting fresh pages up.

    For what it’s worth, there is a lot of good commentary from those who post. Why I haven’t been doing a lot of post-match. It’s really been covered, and you know my take from the comments.

  61. l’ve got a feeling West Ham are going to be there, especially with us playing them the last game of the season.
    We’ve got a slightly easier run in after the Leicester game.
    We need McGinn back asap

  62. JC,

    I think you are partially right. If we had held on for the draw against Spurs, and I still blame Reina for that, when he could have held the ball for long enough, instead of pumping it up field to be lost, and then Engels making his disastrous mistake that let in Son.
    His poor decision making against Southampton again cost us, along with everyone else’s poor performances. Just a point from that game, coupled with one from the Spurs game, would have given us that boost, and provide a base for going forward.

    I feel that Dean losing it with team is not good, and he should be building confidence with the players, and I am afraid that things do not appear good at Bodymoor Heath.

    This also seems to be born out from the players that have moved to other clubs on loan, especially Chester and Hogan. It was the same last season with Elphick when he went to Hull City, and I wonder if it is partly the reason that Tuanzebe and Abraham would not even consider extending their time at Villa.

    Of all our loanees, only Mings was keen to stay.

    I am probably the only one, but I wonder how much effort and energy Bjarnason would have given in mid field, in front of the back 3/4, if he had been given the chance, considering how well he had played for Iceland in the summer.

    There are surely some serious issues at the moment.

  63. PP- I think its hard to tell what is going wrong or going on. I haven’t heard anything from my source at Bodymoor about much at all. I think when things are not going well everything looks wrong, As JC said they have no consistency and its mainly in the midfield, I’d agree with that. Other than get McGinn back and hope they bother to turn up what can Smith do?

    He puts a lot of stock in staying calm whether your winning or losing so they must of seriously p*ssed him off.

    Not holding out any hope for the final

  64. Keep the faith my Villa Brothers

    Don’t let your mind participate in the provocation of Sky Sports Propaganda

    The mighty John McGinn will return soon to save us.

    And I am also super pumped to see Keenan back.

    Don’t live in fear.

    We will get the points that we need to stay up.

    And let’s all look forward to the marvellous occasion of the Cup Final on Sunday

    It’s is going to bloody brilliant.

  65. PP…

    I think sometimes you *have* to lose it with the players. Like MK says, Deano’s the model of calm and steady. He was fuming on the touchline almost the entire match. He’d certainly bench some of them for a while if he could. Just doesn’t have the numbers. He’s put his faith in them, they’re letting him down (effort isn’t an option), and he can only shield them for so long. You know the last thing Smith wants is to take us up only to go right back down.

    So I agree with MK, things tend to look worse when it’s not going well.

    I don’t put much stock in players leaving, or some of the comments. Tammy and Axel were always going to return to higher-profile clubs and the chance to shine there, and didn’t necessarily have a lot of say. Elphick? He’d do good things, he’d do bad things. Not sure, did I miss Chester saying something negative?

    Anyway, players want to play, apart from the likes of Micah, they’re never happy when they don’t. If Chester were up to snuff for the PL, you’d think someone would’ve shown interest in him, and I’m sure Villa had to bet on young, developing talent with what money they’ve got.

  66. I’d love Chester and Hogan to have been good would of been handy. But let’s not forget they have both been bashed by our own fans for missing chances and being to slow, making mistakes yards yadda.

    A blues fan I know says hogan looks quick and lively, I have always liked and championed him but it didn’t happen for him here, might need him next season. Chester? I have seen the Stoke manager rave about him and the fans berate him at stoke , damn shame last season crocked him but .

  67. Might be a bit left field but I would like to see Vassilev and Louie Barry on the bench at Wembley. Would like to see how either of then can work with Jack and Sammy, but I must admit Barry is the one that looks the part. Came off the bench and had two assists for the U23’s adding to the others assists and goals recently, only 16 he will be some player.

  68. Alan Hutton has confirmed what I have long suspected, that Dean Smith might be to calm and nice for his own good. Lets hope a few home truths hit home because if a player cannot take deserved criticism from the coach and look to prove him wrong he’s should not be at Villa.

    Asked if he was stunned by the 48-year-old’s comments, Hutton told Football Insider: “Yeah. I’ve never, never once heard him (like that).

    “Even in training, he wouldn’t ever question the players like that. It shows you how frustrated he was. It was a massive game for Villa and to be honest they were poor.

    “It’s a difficult one, he’s come out and questioned the players, whether they had an eye on the final or what kind of went wrong, he was obviously upset with the performance. You understand, it’s an emotional game, emotions were running at a high level.”

  69. Hutton played for smith for what 8 months in a lower league so I dont see how he knows anything
    As for smith losing the head at least 3 months to late,more of a sign of a manager out of his depth,

  70. Hogan scores again for Blues, and Stoke continue on their revival, players are doing their talking on the pitch.

    The above comments bear out the fact that Smith has been too nice for his own good. The likes of Wenger, Benitez, Mourinhio, and Ferguson would not have been anywhere near as tolerant of the lack of effort in the games before Dean’s blow up. Managers need to show their steel, and Dean seems to have been lacking.

    Let us hope that he has them fully prepared tomorrow, mentally and physically.

  71. No Ian.

    I can’t see how we stay up. We are technically and tactically worse than West Ham and Bournemouth. Look at Bowen. Better than any winger we have.

    I got slated on twitter for saying we are going down weeks back. People refuse to accept we are an extremely poor side.

    I said two weeks ago Norwich will finish above us on twitter. People shot me down. Now look, its 5 points between us and 20th. We may well finish 20th

    The recruitment in the summer and January of thks club has been dire, more so in January

  72. Frem
    I hope you’re wrong, the cup is something we could have done without as it seems to have ended up as a distraction.
    There are fortunately other factors than logic that come into it on the day, but perilous times.

  73. IanG,
    Being soft on players and then losing your temper, is not good management, no matter who you are, or what you are managing.
    It seems we always look for excuses for poor management performances rather than giving some constructive criticism for what it is.

    Hogan saves a point for the Blues with a second goal, what a bloody useless player……

  74. It’s weird how Hogan couldn’t make it at Villa or Stoke, but is a goal machine at Blues. It shows the system of play is a huge factor for strikers

  75. We are so f**ked

    Teams at the bottom get results, and against the big teams, which we can’t do

    Smith should have been sacked at Christmas. He certainly should be sacked now

  76. The truth is that if you don’t get promoted with a very good squad you will get relegated because of FFP. All FFP actually does is preserve the cartel of the elite clubs because new entrants cannot ever show compliant accounts. It’s now impossible to do what Citeh did, and for that I’m glad they’ve been punished.

    Still doesn’t change the fact that we have a very poor team and shocking management/coaches

  77. Well thats was a s**t sandwich of a couple of days. West ham result not so unpredictable, Thank god Bournemouth didn’t win and who would of thought Watford would pull liverpools pants down.

    However we didn’t play and if we had and by some miracle won then we would be level with Brighton. Think its down to us, Norwich, Bournemouth, and Brighton. The others have always had better quality and we are to inconsistent as players and a team.

    Not entirely unexpected from my point of View with young players and a thrown together team, always a gamble but the owners were brave enough to do it. Could of took the money and gone with the old squad plus a few and regrouped. They have been brilliant in backing the club.

    Three surprises in not keeping Ohare, Green and Hogan in the squad, Chester I can see a case but he wanted to start.

    Biggest disappointments so far , the full backs, followed by the wingers. In a team that is based on that width they have not been good enough, add Luis and Nakamba not really cementing their places and Mcginns absence.

    Seems to me the players have been mostly up for the big teams and flat for the 6 pointers at the bottom, a bit like a bunch of kids getting to play their hero’s but don’t like mixing it with the bullys.

    I can understand Smiths “to many training ground players” comment. They are comfortable playing each other with sod all to lose. Played with many players like that, you might get 5-6 games where they stand out but very dependant on who they face as to if they turn up.

    Is it Smiths Fault? maybe but this season is all about context and you can’t get blood out of a stone.

  78. 19th now. We could finish 20th you know. Norwich have more chance off getting results then we do. The actually are a decent side on the ball, unlike us.

    Heading of to Wembley now. Is there any point in actually going?

  79. And Smith needs to ditch this 5at the back. It’s absolute wank. Vial system.

    We need to play a system with no wingers because we’ll, ours are absolutely s**t

    Go 4312

  80. Frem- I’ve watched fans call for 3 at the back for half a season and hail it a success and now it’s obviously the reason why we are rubbish. Reality is no formation can fix poor application.

    Go and enjoy the game mate it’s a one off and since we have won sod all for years an opportunity.

  81. PW,

    Yeah, FFP does preserve the cartel. And as has been said more than once, promotion was probably a year too early for us.

    But it ain’t over til it’s over.

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