So Wembley again, Manchester City again. And a resigned attitude from most Villans, who really would be happy just keeping it respectable.

You’d like to think that on any given day, anything is possible. You know, the old “That’s why they play the game.” On paper, Villa have no chance, given our last two beatings at City’s hands. So the result comes down to whether Villa are going to read that sheet of paper and believe it, or decide to write down something else.

If Villa are to make a fist of it, it’s all going to come down to attitude: effort and fight. Will Southampton, and Dean’s reaction get something more out of them? Will there be some pride in play as a result of the 1-6 thrashing? A quest for redemption?

Further, will the results that have seen us drop back into the zone proper have an effect? If so, will it be positive, or will a sense of fatalism have crept into the side?

Lots of questions, no answers, as yet.

Me, I’m not really looking forward to it, though, I can tell you that much. I don’t expect us to pull off a shocker. I don’t think a tactical tweak is going to surprise or confound City. And even if it did, it won’t take them long to adjust.

The only thing that will see Villa salvage any pride today is fight. Same with the season. I’d hope that today Villa can at least get up in their faces from the off, play without fear, and make them earn everything they get. The blueprint is the same for staying in the top flight.

It really comes down to whether the players have it in them. We can talk about Smith, motivation and tactics (again)…But if the players don’t want to give every last ounce for the full 90 minutes, well, none of that matters.

Jack, you know he’ll give it everything. Trez will, too, even if he can be rather ineffective for long stretches. Tyrone. Nyland may well put on a show. The others? For starters, not sure who we’ll see out there, obviously. Is Dean going to put Elmo on Sterling? Will Luiz keep a spot because maybe he might want to impress Pep? Will Hourihane be given a rare start? Will Drinkwater be any further along so he’s not chasing ghosts? Will Ally convert one of what will surely be few clear-cut chances?

I know what most will say in response. So it’s up to them to prove us wrong.

When it comes to tactics, though, and what the players choose to do, here’s what I’d say:

It all starts at the back. And with City’s aggressive high press, Villa can’t afford to dwell and let options close down. Hause, in particular, has really struggled playing it out, long or short. By design, we’d like to bypass him as much as possible. By design, they’ll be looking to force that on us.

The fact everything goes through Jack is is inescapable. So this the phase that matters most. There has to be an outlet who can get free and get it to Jack at 35 or 40 yards out from goal, then give him an option. If we can manage that sequence, we have the chance to get established further up the pitch. That means whoever is playing deeper in midfield, be it Luiz, DD, Nakamba, or Hourihane, we need to get the ball moving upfield centrally. Someone has to be able to take it and turn a man or find a quick link-up. Then we can go left or right, and pull defenders off Jack. If Jack has space, we’d like to find Samatta and put him through.

He’s always going to shade left, Jack. Maybe Dean plays him central to provide the outlet I’m talking about, who knows. Since the team sheet just came out, it looks like maybe he will. Regardless, we know all the focus will be on pressing our backline and shutting Jack down. I’ve seen far too much of Hause getting in a pickle and either panicking, or trying a longer pass that’s almost inevitably cut out. Long aerials also don’t work, because we don’t have a hold-up man. We almost never win the ball in the air upfield.

Clearing our lines, whether it’s Hause or whoever, has been another issue. We have to push up quickly on clearances. We have to stop hesitating and just thump the ball, get reorganized. We also can’t just sink back. We have to come out and aggressively challenge players on the ball as they near the box or play it side to side in that arc waiting for a runner to come free.

Breaking on the counter has to happen quickly, but we can’t be so hung-ho all the time. We get stretched, turn it over, and things are too easy coming back at us without a midfield terrier/enforcer. We have to try and maintain a little possession. And if a clear chance isn’t there to be played into, we have to be willing to pull it back, reestablish our shape, and look to end that phase with a goal kick, corner, or deep thrown-in.

Of course, these are things that hold true in any game. And none of that happens without players willing to commit everything to win it back, close down options, or otherwise break up the rhythm and not get stuck looking like training cones. We can’t just watch them.

And with the team sheet just out, looks like Smith is changing it up, something like a 4-2-3-1, or maybe just a 4-3-3:

Starting XI:
Nyland, Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett, Luiz, Nakamba, Elmohamady, Grealish, El Ghazi, Samatta.

Substitutes:
Reina, Taylor, Hourihane, Trezeguet, Lansbury, Konsa, Davis.

So…I don’t really care whether we win or lose. Of course I’d like to win, and all the questions about whether it’s better to win a cup and go down, or lose and stay up are silly. Staying up is the only thing that matters, and it’s not either/or.

Point is, if Villa can show the effort and application to make the game competitive, it’s a blueprint for the run-in. We’ve said it before, and keep turning the corner to false dawns. But if Dean’s done anything this week, it has to be pounding that into their heads. No good beating Leicester when you can’t apply the same effort and lessons learned the following week.

I’ll be on the edge of my seat, sneaking peeks through my fingers, hoping or a miracle. What I really want to see is fight.

Over to you.

Comments 115

  1. Luiz and Nakamba starting to push out a bit more, it helps. 45mins of maximum effort, bit of luck…City got theirs on that corner call. Course you could say maybe we did, too, with Stones falling down.

  2. jbd…

    It’s what’s so maddening about some of the players. The inconsistency. When Ghazi gets benched, he often comes back like that and does something.

  3. I think it’s just fight, MK. Luiz and Nakamba have to stop them playing with so much space around the box, and we can’t keep over-committing out wide, leaving that easy cut-back.

  4. Shame, that. Good effort (patchy in places), but kept it close and didn’t quit. Or get hammered.

    Unlucky for Engels. Wish Ghazi had buried the early chance. And yeah, you wouldn’t have thought it at the time, but that corner made a difference.

  5. Well it’s over,what have learned,we still cant defend,give soft goals away ,moan about the officials,but if smith cant get them to defend in next 2 matches we need a change of voice in charge nice guys usually dont win

  6. Hey there, JG.

    Don’t think you’ll be seeing any changes in management. He got a response today, it’s down to the players to exert themselves and I saw more fight.

  7. That’s stings – truly. A tough outcome to the game today. Although it was enjoyable until we lost.

    To all of the doubters and the negative Dudes on this site who take delight in saying we are down and we are rubbish etc etc

    We are not down by a long shot.

    We are still Magnificent and we are still beautiful and we are still Aston Villa and we stay up.

    Love this club so much

  8. Absolutely gutted.

    We won’t have a better chance to win a trophy for many more years. Unless you have a s**t load of money. We do but we are probably going to ger relegated so can’t spend it

    PS, Trezeguet is the worst football player I’ve ever seen

  9. all well & good. pride in loss blah blah blah. but anyone remember that last time we actually won a game that matters. no point reveling in courageous loss ffs

  10. sad but true though. unlike many of my fellow villans, i’m not heartened by the great endeavor of not losing a final
    by a bucketload of goals. we still lost , along with so many losses in the prem recently. i’m not encouraged one bit

  11. JC
    Never took you for happy Clapper brigade, smith seen an improvement well I suppose previous 2 matches with city this season they averaged 24 shots on goal per game yesterday only got 22

  12. What’s the most worrying thing now, is you can’t tell me these players are going to be right up for a dog fight now now they have just lost a cup final

    That’s all they would have been thinking about since we made it. They don’t want tk play Southampton away, they wanted Wembley

    Our players don’t have the fight to stay up. A lot of them won’t care if we drop

  13. Hi JG,
    I am neither happy about what we see, or a “clapper”
    But the problem with a habitual negative view is that it unfortunately tends to become wish fulfilling & part of the problem.
    It is entirely understandable to anyone with eyes to see our situation, but with it can become an emotional projection & potentially a driving force that fuels the rot, as can the opposite prozac approach.

    One positive thing is that they rediscovered a will to compete & got back a little pride, especially after the shambles in the last game, as you have to help make luck, so there is always a potential for optimism if not the actuality.
    We’ve had a left back defensive problem for years through different regimes, & still no nearer solving it.
    I will watch the highlights, but the flavour from the radio commentary was palpable.
    Whether we get lucky or not remains to be seen, although we don’t seem to have much likelihood of that currently considering how we’ve performed since Xmas.
    But for those who made the journey, especially with low expectations, you have my respect for that.

  14. Ian g
    Fair enough point but what also is the point sticking with smith,we were told bruce needed time to build his side that worked well,lambert was hard done by he needed more money why to pay senderous joe Cole gabby etc
    If something is not working as it is now no point dressing it up,we are bottom in every stat going and certainly didn’t improve on any yesterday

  15. Frem
    Any chance of waiting for a new manager til nearer the end of the season? Or is this kamikaze approach the new normal?

  16. JG
    My previous post seems to answer you.
    The reality as it happens will drive events re: Smith, not our frustration.
    While there is a chink of light I’ll keep my powder dry until I see the whites of their eyes.

  17. IanG

    What I can make out in snippets from Purslow and fans meetings is we are very much ahead of plan being promoted this soon. It sounds the owners are very much youth based. Number 1 seems recruitment of youth and getting the best youngsters coming through.

  18. JG,

    No happy clapper. It’s just that it is what it is, we’ve got who we’ve got, Smith’s not going to be sacked (at this point, anyway), and they’ll either fight and scrape the points to survive or they won’t.

  19. Ian- Why wait? It will be to late.

    We are only 5 points of 20th. We have a great chance of ending bottom

    Smith doesn’t know what he wants. We will now yo back to 433 most likely after yesterday, I hope so because 5 at the back is horrible

    Engles and mings are good. Hause certainly isn’t. Championship player. Konsa is OK

  20. Korean Villan,

    Good to see you.

    Not getting humiliated is an underwhelming objective, agreed. But sometimes that’s just the reality. The gulf in class is almost laughable (would that we could bring De Bruyne off the bench). The only equalizer in these kinds of mismatch is effort, relentless pressure, physicality. (Or, for them just not to show up, like Liverpool at the weekend.)

    We don’t have that kind of side. For all that, we were still within a whisker of coming back from 0-2 down and sending it to extra time. I can applaud that, if nothing else.

  21. Frem…

    Everyone was calling for Smith to change the 4-3-3. He did. It seemed to work. When the 3-4-3 went flat, everyone was screaming for him to change that. He did. He’s gone 4-4-2 chasing a point, throws on attack-minded players.

    He’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. Is either “stubborn and out of his depth” or “doesn’t know what he wants.” We praise other managers for changing things, then berate Smith for doing it.

    It’s changed a bit in the last week, but when you look at the win column, Villa surprisingly haven’t done that badly. It’s the lack of draws that are killing us. The kind we’ve had in hand and failed to hold on to, like Spurs.

    About the only thing Smith hasn’t done is park the bus week after week looking for draws or 1-0s. And we were told that wasn’t going to be the approach during the summer. Purslow, everyone else, said, “We’re going to play to win.”

  22. It seems clear to me that a four year contract for Smith and finding him some money in Jan that he’s not going anywhere. I also think that If we drop then the youth are going to be used. I also think we have a bunch that are showing a bit more than just promise. Barry, Ohare, Ramsey, Vassilev and quite a few more.

    Its been stated that if they are not pushing into the U23’s by age 16-18 they won’t be here, in fact they are expected by 20-22 be in the 1st or not here. We are not going to wait forever at last.

    I think Smith may not be at the level he needs to be but in honesty neither are the team even if he was. If they do manage to stay up it will be through talent because they have not learnt graft and physicality yet, although they did give City a few bruises second half. What Smith is dealing with each week is like a hand of cards with one ace and no trump cards or trump cards that turn up on occasion. Try setting out a strategy like Pepe did yesterday under those conditions. McGinn might just be another ace for Smith and Davis if fit a trump card, something to make change, at present its fairly futile trying be tactical, its just where the build is.

    The whole positive negative thing is moot really as well as neither side actually expects much from them nor rates them highly, One side wants apportion it to the manager as under Bruce which was for a good reason but this time I don’t think there is a good reason, the team will save itself or it won’t.

    As JC said it is what it is, Drop big Sam in there and I think it would be just as bad/good, The only reason Smith probably hasn’t contemplated parking the bus is we haven’t got one to park, hence few draws. The DM’s have not come up to scratch so far and the FB’s are just as poor. The only hope is if the Front half and Jack are really on song and they press and attack.

    I don’t blindly think we are fantastic, I just think the solution is time, that I am afraid leaves it in the lap of the gods.

  23. Mark
    Yes money, money, money.
    Well he’s got better pidgin than me.

    Sturridge has just been banned for rest of the season for betting.
    All the clubs would have known this was coming,

  24. Been a thinking, Last season Wolves come up with cardiff and Fulham, Wolves have a quality side with a quality manager but little to no prem experience, Cardiff have an experienced manager, a hard working side but not much quality, Fulham have a half decent side more or less dropped for a new side. We all know how that went.

    This season we have Wilder a very good manager with a well put together experienced side over 3-4 seasons. Norwich have a good manager and a Very young side and little experience, Villa have a good manager and a side put together at the last minute with little experience.

    What stands out to me is experience of the prem is not needed by the manager, a good side with some quality and nous is most definitely needed, definitely with more than 0 seasons under their belt together.

  25. John- We haven’t played games to win. Alot of games have been a disgrace of a set up

    The amount of games we’ve had no or one short on target and can’t string 3 passes together is depressing. Southampton and Bournemouth being the latest. No way we played to win them. 5 at the back and 1 up front. That’s not playing to win. The football has been pretty dire

  26. OK every body, take a step back and breath. We wasn’t supposed to come up last year but we did. We couldn’t having got promoted keep with all the journey men signed by Deano’s predecessors.
    What could Compass do? Invest in new players, yes, but on a FFP budget based on as I understand one year of Prem and two years of Championship income. Our whole team was assembled for less than the bench players city had on Sunday. If we can scrape by this year and stay up, then they have already stated they will start on upgrades to the squad. I to be frank I am disappointed in some of the fans comments on here and elsewhere. Remember Ron Saunders, we started with an EFL Cup (Milk Cup) final loss against Spurs and the mighty Pat Jennings. A year or two later he took us back to beat Norwich, and then the next one was Everton. If Deano manages to do anything close to that over the next couple of years I’ll be chuffed. At 64 I’ve seen us win every thing except the FA Cup, I would like to see us do that before the Devil shouts “come on down”.
    If we can put up some fight like we did Sunday I can see that happening, and every one asking about youth, we have a really young squad lads, don’t be fooled. The young will improve with experience, journey men just continue to get slower and slower.

  27. Back from Wembley now, after having an enjoyable time meeting more Villa fans and talking about our beloved club over a few pints of Stella Artois, and being entertained by a bunch of citeh fans in good voice with a much bigger repertoire of songs than our boys who also sang up! Nice to have good banter amongst the fans, which is what it should be. Sad to see fans causing problems not far from me in the ground.

    Why we have to go two down before we really show any real fight, I am not sure, but in the end the team did us proud, and were unlucky not to get an equaliser.

    I don’t think Dean will risk McGinn against Leicester, unless as a substitute off the bench. Just too soon.

    I sympathise with the varied views on Dean Smith, but think he will now survive at least for another few matches, unless results really go against us.

    I still think that just wanting to produce young and hungry is not the way for a whole team. A team needs balance, and none of our top teams have been outstanding with just young and hungry. You need maturity and experience as part of the whole.

    Just look at the age of top scorers, like Vardy and Grabban, 33years and 32 years respectively, and yet they have no real transfer value, strange almost. Vardy would sell for less than £20million, and Grabban for around £5million. Grabban just scored his 17 of the season.

    Dean Smith admitting that the back is not working, and will revert to a back four. Now it is on to a run of 11 Cup finals, culminating at West Ham.

  28. Frem,
    I am sure if we lose a couple more, the board will have to make a statement giving their support to Dean, or present a decision over his position.

  29. Gutted with the result. Almost had extra time on the table. Gutted. But we were up against the world’s best coach and a world class team. The battle for Wembley is lost, the battle of EPL is about to begin.

    Show the fight on display at Wembley for the remaining matches and the fans will pull us through. No time for feeling sorry about the loss, we need points. Go get them Villa.

  30. Frem,

    The ‘playing to win’ is about formation, who’s on the pitch, etc. It’s been an attacking setup throughout, and Villa generally don’t just play one at the top and pack everyone else in. We do try to go over the top to counter, but we’ve been looking to keep the front three as far upfield as possible.

    Doesn’t mean it always works or looks good or that we don’t get pushed back, but that’s what I’m getting at.

  31. James Gill. You ask why it’s a good thing that Dean smith stays. Here are a few thoughts:
    1) Dean Smith is a good manager and a good fit for Villa.
    2) Of our last dozen managers over the past decade, which do you think were better than Dean Smith?
    3)The football has been the most entertaining for a very long time
    4) what would we achieve by changing manager now. Yes we ‘may’ get new manager bounce, but statistically it’s more likely that we wouldn’t
    5) there aren’t many good managers available at this time of the season so we’d just be looking for a stopgap manager
    6) ‘if’ we get relegated then he’s shown he’s capable of getting us promoted
    7) this time last season we ( including you) thought that our chances of promotion had gone . . . Dean Smith and the team proved us ( including you) wrong
    8) there’s still every chance of us staying up and it seems to me that having a united club will help us do that

  32. I’d add to Robbo’s comment, we don’t know what Smiths remit was . If it’s stay up by any means then we won’t know if he’s failed until we drop or don’t. If it’s prepare this squad for the future again we don’t know. His remit was not get us up now last season that was a surprise. So giving him a 4 year contract among uncertainty says to me they are sticking. Could be wrong but that’s the way I see it.

  33. robbo

    took the words out of my mouth! I thought it at the start and I still think it…its come too soon for us as a club. lets not have short memories it wasn’t long ago we had nothing…no structure, no identity Christ we only had 2 scouts at the club. We now have people in place and a plan. Behind the scenes and the work at the academy and youth are superb. and we have a manager who likes good attacking footy, youth and good record in the champ and experience now in the prem….and he is one of us.

  34. Paul W -that article is a joke – scandalous
    Jonathan Liew can go f**k himself for writing that.

    I was at Wembley on Sunday -it was a tremendous occasion and I felt incredibly proud to be a Villa Fan.

    I love this club – truly.

    Dean Smith is a good man – gracious and honorable

    Staying up is going to be challenging – but we will find a way to do it.

    When John comes back with Jack we will start firing.

    And Samatta looks ace. He can score

    Start Believing Guys. Stop Living in Fear.

    Get down to Villa Park and support the boys in Claret and Blue.

    Just like we did at Wembley.

  35. RichardS
    The writer was obviously a Londoner with opinions about everything, but no knowledge about anything.
    Seems fitting that PW hangs in that direction.

  36. Ian. That article is a disgrace
    Exactly- no knowledge- utter douche bag.

    I am actually feeling positive and pumped about the remaining games

    Davis and Samatta up front.
    We have goals in the team

    Go back to a flat back 4 with an emphasis on attack.

    John McGinn is like having an extra man in the middle

    Hopefully he is fit and ready to go

  37. Have now read the article put up by PW from the Guardian, and although some may not like it, it is a very good summary of Villa and where we have been for many years. Too many years to remember.
    Yes we have some good times for a short period, but nothing anywhere near to match the Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United years of being at the top for years.
    Our great days ended before most fans were born. It is great that we have new owners who intend to build for the future, but that is exactly the situation, and we will not be at Champions league level on a regular basis for some years to come.

    We all love our club and its illustrious history, have great memories of games and players, but not of winning the Premiership or Division 1 four and five times on the trot. Sometimes we need to accept the truth and face up to where we are.

    We have the makings of a good team, we have a good manager and the chance of becoming a regular Premiership side once more, if we can survive the rest of this season.

  38. I suppose at this point in time the article is fairly correct. It did not mention that the team City beat had been put together for about 8 months though. He could of mentioned that when Pepe turned up at city he won nothing in his 1st season, Smith at least got promoted.

    Could also of mentioned the rise of Spurs and Leicester and the fact those other perennial winners Manure, the gooners and Chelski are not having it all their own way. Or that a team that has never won the prem is about to and they are much more successful than city.

    We will see what fate holds for us, FFP might be binned or changed or actually enforced properly.

  39. Lads ir was the spiel about what a big team is, that I was talking about, along with his London centric attitude that money equals a big club.
    That could be the reality soon enough, all across the board, but for now we are definitely a big club, but without the stability of being allowed to spend the owners own money, as we did in the old first division, & so are vulnerable to financial pressure, with it’s dangers.
    FFP is a scam manoeuvre to manipulate the game for wealth creation elsewhere, & FIFA has already become an international corporation with the inherent power games & ruthlessness.
    Also, I hope the future is not orange.

  40. H and V
    Totally agree. That 2016 relegation rabble (not even a team!) had far less than the 1967 side that bombed down to 4th in division 3 in 1971. Can’t believe we aren’t a yoyo side between leagues 1 and 2.

    There are at least 2 contributors (?) on this site who I strongly suspect are pantomime villains invented by John Clark as clickbait material to wind us all up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Be happy if we can do a Burnley (fellow member of “THE 12”. RESPECT) and yoyo between the prem and champs until we build a fully integrated team like Sheff Utd.

  41. PP
    Big team & successful team are not necessarily the same thing for now.
    We may not have enjoyed some of the the shenanigans of that era, but we were always a threat in the top league, & influential at times, & a return to that is the plan.
    The twat who wrote the article seems to be of the “We ain’t got no history” tribe, as well as an elitist in the disrespectful manner he either implied or wrote about most of the premiership clubs.

  42. Pantomime villain,surprising what new posters come up,smith had one promotion with a squad of some real decent players,yet he cant organise a defence to defend corners ,you wouldn’t see it at school boy level one smaller players in freddy marking one of city best targets,this ain’t the 1st this season this happened the match v liverpool when he left kodga marking mane ,quick learner smith

  43. JG I nearly spat my coffee out when I saw that “smith had one promotion with a squad of some real decent players” 🙂

    Surely the fact he sorted out our defence last season to get promoted counts for something? how about spotted, bought and turned a left back into England CB? Brought Jed Steer back from the dead and Binned suso’s keeper? reinvented Wheelan as a twenty year old, made Taylor a fan favourite 🙂

    I think we need to remember that without that promotion we’d be watching that team still minus the good bits.

  44. Mk
    One promotion is the sum of Smith’s years as a manager no matter what way anyone wants to dress it up
    Why cant he get a defence to be able to defend setpieces, that is basic stuff whether a manager or a keyboard manager

  45. JG- well last season he did producing several clean sheets while Bruce with his own team conceded 20 goals in 13 games, 1 clean sheet, smith finished the season with 11 clean sheets. Lets face it we have seen some shocking defending for seasons now and thats with a manager like Bruce who only defends.

    I’ll admit Smith is not a defensive genius he always looks to win by being on the front foot and scoring, he won’t sit on 1-0.

    In reality I don’t think that these players are capable of sitting on 1-0 in this league. You can call his coaching into question all you like but the fact still remains we have a young team newly formed and a huge step up in quality in the teams we face particularly up front.

    Its not just the defence either, its all over the pitch mistakes are made. To be in touch of survival at this point is a massive achievement, we have thrown points away through naivety as well, at least 5-7. At times they have shown they can defend but its very backs to the wall and not sophisticated defending.

    Against City I saw players rush in behind a player and try to get the ball giving the city player an easy route to turn, thats naive and just a product of playing quality teams. Don’t forget the only practice they get is against each other.

    I would say if anything that JT appears to have little to no influence as he is the man drilling the defence and surely must see the problems. Now was JT a wise move by the club? in terms of him knowing the players and league maybe, does he have the ability to put his knowledge over? no idea but using your own standards it appears not.

  46. We are not down yet. There is still a chance that Villa can escape the trap door. There is a huge difference between now and the last time we were in this position. Then it was Lerner, now it is Compass.

    Last season, they planned for both eventualities because they didn’t know the outcome. This season they are doing the same for the same reason. We are in great hands. If we beat the drop, next season will be a further improvement like this season has been.

    Just 21 months ago we were looking at bankruptcy. This fan is grateful. Things must now take longer due to that scandalous FFP mechanism which puts hurdles in the way of wannabies whilst keeping the big guns at the top table. One day, the beaks will realize they’re killing football.

  47. MK,

    A very good article summarising our season, and how it has played out.

    It is good to see the defence of Villa as a big club, as I like many have had belief in its illustrious history, but let us remind ourselves of the truth. The last time we won the league championship prior to 1982, was 1909/10. Prior to us winning the FA Cup in 1957, it was 1920. We have won the Football League Cup five times since its introduction, but in the early years, several of the big clubs did not even contest it.

    Yes we have a huge fan base, a great ground and huge potential, but I do have to be realistic at times and accept what has been achieved by Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United over the last 40 years. I am sure that Newcastle United and Sunderland fans feel the same about being big clubs, but again many, many years ago.

    I have seen many great matches over the years, and some really good teams put together, and seen us win the League Cup several times, but how great would it have been to see us win the Premiership in its first year, or since.

    I have loved my Villa for over 60 years, but I am not blind to the achievements of other clubs.

  48. From wiki. we could of more than doubled our league wins. perhaps we are good at coming second 🙂

    Aston Villa have won honours both domestically and in European cup competitions. Their last senior honour was a League Cup win in 1996.

    European
    European Cup:
    Winners (1): 1982
    European Super Cup:
    Winners (1): 1982–83
    Intertoto Cup:
    Winners (1): 2001
    Domestic
    League
    Football League First Division:[A]
    Winners (7): 1894, 1896, 1897, 1899, 1900, 1910, 1981
    Runners up (9): 1889, 1903, 1908, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1931, 1933, 1990
    Premier League:[A]
    Runners up (1): 1993
    Football League Second Division:[A]
    Winners (2): 1938, 1960
    Runners up (2): 1975, 1988
    Play-Offs (1): 2019
    Football League Third Division:[A]
    Winners (1): 1972
    Cups
    FA Cup*
    Winners (7): 1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920, 1957
    Runners up (4): 1892, 1924, 2000, 2015
    Football League Cup:
    Winners (5): 1961, 1975, 1977, 1994, 1996
    Runners up (4): 1963, 1971, 2010, 2020
    FA Charity Shield
    Winners (1): 1981 (shared)[B]
    Runners up (3): 1910, 1957, 1972
    Sheriff of London Charity Shield:
    Winners (2): 1899, 1901
    Runners up (1): 1900
    Football League War Cup
    Winners (1): 1944

  49. We seem to have 2 matches to be inserted into our run in, including the Sheffield United game.
    There might even be more to come, & it’s giving the rest an unfair advantage, again!
    And that’s without the corona.

  50. Mark
    The average wages page is interesting in that we are quite low down in that table.
    It seems indicative that we will be in good health if the worst happened, especially with relegation clauses lowering it even further.
    It gives me a little confidence that the owners seem to know what they are doing.

  51. MK,

    A good point about nearly, and that has been us in post war years, very much a nearly club. Not quite making it over the line.
    Almost winning the first Premier league, then no real challenge the following year, ending up tenth, and then not making any real challenge until Brian Little became manager, and we then reached the top four once more and an FA cup semi final. Brian resigned and John Gregory managed to keep us in the top six and get us to an FA cup final, and the UEFA cup final.

    Then we have Graham Taylor and David O’Leary who do not make progress, and need Martin O’neill to get us back to a level where Villa want to be, and wins our first piece of silverware in the new millennium, winning the league cup against United, with us runners up in the FA cup final to Chelsea.
    We all know where we have been over the last ten years, and we just hope that we will return to the days of Ron Saunders and Martin O’neill when we were a force to be reckoned with.

  52. IanG,

    I have enjoyed an awful lot of Villa’s good times, as well as a lot of the bad.

    MK,

    Thanks for that on the youth. Good to see mention of Colin Adutayo, the young Netherlands international. I thought he may have gone, as I have not seen mention of him lately, but saw him pay several times last season and he was amazing alongside Ramsey.

    Results today have given us a little more of a breather, now the team has to bring home the bacon from the two games in hand.

  53. Tonight we win boys. And start our Epic rise up the table.

    It is in our hands and i have every confidence we can be the master or our own destiny and stay in this division.

  54. Getting a fresh sheet up now for tonight’s match.

    So if you have something brilliant to say and hate having things change as soon as you get it up, hold off for 15mins or so.

  55. Chances of us winning tonight?

    Slim to none I’d say. We just don’t have enough quality to hurt teams

    I hope Trez and Ghazi aren’t involved. I’d like to see Davis and Sammata and us be brave for once, but we won’t be. Will be 451 or 541.

  56. Frem…

    I’m guessing you’re right (ie, no 4-4-2), but you never know. Nothing to lose, probably, and Davis does get the ball to stick. Could be more of a 4-4-1-1.

    I think Deano’s dilemma is trusting two in the middle.

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