Well, here it is. A must-win if ever there was one. Am I confident? No.

I’ll admit to being to resigned to the inevitable. Watford and West Ham have done what we couldn’t: find a kick down the finish.

So, we’ll see what happens, write the post-mortem when it’s time. And maybe that’s after the final whistle today.

But one thing at a time. All I ask for is some fight.

Over to you.


Comments 88

  1. PP- The JT things a weird one other than he kind of knew the players and was a bit of a marquee, don’t forget there was Henry and the coach for manure in line too. I don’t think the owners expected to get up last season so not likely for his prem experience either, although this season it was needed but appears to be of not much value.

    Kelly has been with Smith for years so I cannot see a problem with him and he will go where Smith goes if he does indeed go, I still hope he doesn’t, this season has not been a fair ask of him.

  2. Comparisons with the Brentford situation this season and the new coach ( The Smith chosen understudy) being so much better without Smith is also pretty low and unhelpful. Considering it would be highly unlikely that Smith would of left Brentford other than to come to us he may of been promoted last season with them instead.

    This season he would of had some money to spend and a new stadium for a real tilt at the title with them. We on the other hand could of been right in the s**t with no prem or parachute money and zero jack or McGinn or Mings. Gratitude appears to be in short supply.

    Still a win today is in order and probably a few more but otherwise the journey continues.

  3. MK,

    I understand the loyalty you are showing To Dean Smith. He made a great achievement, but in doing so, he should have made it clear that, in return, he was in charge, and would keep and recruit the players he wanted. Anyone worth their salt, would have done the same. He failed in getting players he wanted, and failed to retain the players that had Premier league experience, and could and probably would have made the difference to Villa.
    The money spent on so many players was a farce, and totally wasted. The recruitment of four good players would have made all the difference.

    How much money have Villa wasted on the goalkeepers position alone. Absolutely crazy management. Once again how much money have we wasted on unknown forwards who have failed to come up to the mark, where one first class midfielder would have made all the difference.

    What a difference Cahill would have made to our defence, alongside MIngs we would have been totally solid at the back. He was well within our means.

    Danny Ings recruited instead of Wesley, a player with all the experience. Rodriguez who ended up at Burnley, not an expensive buy.
    So many opportunities we could have taken, blended with our own youth , we could have been so so much better.

    I cannot feel the same loyalty to total failure, and lack of drive, and now we still have fans coming up with stupid names to replace Smith. We need a manager like Souness, who fully understands the game, and would inspire the players.

    I also disagree with you keep dishing Franks. He is the one who has made Ollie Watkins and Benrahma the players they are today, and nurtured them to where they are.

    I am sure Steve Bruce enjoyed a few glasses of red after Watford managed to get the win, knowing that it would be one of the final nails in Villa’s coffin.

  4. PP- I’m not dissing Franks? The fact is he was appointed as assistant by Smith to take the helm if he left. Watkins and Maupay were both bought under Smith and went straight into the 1st and Benrahma knew Maupay and signed the season Smith left, All three went straight into the 1st, nothing to do with Franks developing them.

    Fair play if he now plays no9 under Franks he was 21 when he arrived and has probably matured, Watkins was at Exeter city before then and Villa looked at him but didn’t buy. In fact he wanted to go to Brentford as he knew they would play him.

    Yes Villa’s recruitment has been poor for to long but I cannot agree that 4-5 players would of been enough, in fact you would of still spent £150m probably more. This season we have had to use all 15 we have bought, one or two injuries to your 5 would of had serious consequence.

    The keepers thing started under Bruce , Heaton was one of Smiths buys and he got injured and its known fact he wanted Benrahma but the money was just to much. So I won’t be overly critical because Money no object was never on the cards and neither was salvaging a bunch of old crocks and adding quality to it. What Quality player in his right mind would of joined with the Squad we came up with (or what was left) ? Big Players big contracts and big wages, precisely what the owners didn’t want and we could not afford.

    Its all Shoulda coulda woulda, it sounds great now but I don’t think it was ever an option once the figures were looked at (FFP) and feelers put out, I’m just thankful we won’t be skint season end. Smith has taken a rogering with a rusty implement without moaning , If we can keep the bulk together and add well then I think we will improve next season going on the Manure game before the non-penalty.

    As far as I’m concerned this is early days in the owners plans and is not the end.

  5. Well, they’re battling. Good to see Mings finally get angry, better fouling and fighting upfield. Luiz everywhere again, looking more assured each game.

  6. It’s been like a balloon slowly filling with water had to break sometime. Glad it was trez and hope samatta gets a screamer.

    On the VAR I think they felt sorry since that decision last week

  7. IanG, I’m glad to be wrong on Trez. Elmo looks really good. Would love to see Samatta get one for his confidence

    Come in Villa, give us hope for a few more days

  8. A tiny ray of hope thanks to a great performance from Trezeguet, who was unlucky not to get his hat trick!!!
    Benteke sent off!!

    Good team effort, with MIngs, Douglas Luiz and Reina being outstanding. El Mohammady maybe in the end was better than Hause would have been.

    Anyway, a great result at last, maybe, just maybe we can do the business at Everton.

  9. Just shows you that no matter what you do you can’t take the human out of the player. Even if what the coach is telling them is right until it actually proves itself players will doubt. Anyone thinking I’ve gone nuts just think of your own reaction to a win 🙂

    That Beer tasted f**king good.

  10. Some part of the difference is that McGinn is now becoming stronger with each game, but still a long way off his best, and Jack needs to improve his passing and dead ball kicks a lot. Good to see Hourihane regaining his composure and fight, and some of his ability with a dead ball kick, if Jack lets him get on with it.

    Beer has got some more taste today MK!!

  11. Great performance, especially in 2nd half. If we can beat Everton, who knows!

    JC, agreed, I’d like West Ham to beat Watford. A draw would also be good, but not a Watford win.

    I saw a lot of fight today. Hourihane over El Ghazi was a huge improvement. How much running and tackling did Hourihane do, and you could see the mutual trust with Jack. El Mo at RB, huge.

  12. The Laandan media are screaming VAR again over the shoulder goal. Totally irrelevant. Reina was floored as he came for the ball. A clear free kick to Villa.

  13. I thought that for the first twenty villa were a championship team and the all of a sudden started to win the 50-50,s all over the field.Started with luiz and kings but quickly followed by Hourihane, McGinn , Konsa and even the two full backs. By half time they were playing like a premiership outfit and should have won by more. Villa have suddenly woken up to the fact that they are not a one man team and in fact Jack is becoming more and more irrelevant .I thought they were boys playing a mans game …until today. Roll on Thursday.

  14. The link between valour and success was clearly demonstrated today by villa , hopefully they won’t forget it . Just win more than your share of your battles, and you will win!

  15. Frem, I would agree. West Ham are a good team so I think we’ve a better chance with Watford going down.

    Looking back on today, having a full back in Elmo play in that position gave us so much going forward. I love Konsa, but let’s keep him at CB.

    Playing Jack on the left was huge. He didn’t have to track back as much. Also, Hourihane was my MotM. His tackles were great. He tracked back. He did everything that El Ghazi will not do. Plus Jack and Conor seem to be on the same wavelength. Relationships are important and they seem to like each other.

    I wasn’t a fan of Trez, but he looked a different player after he scored. He ran his socks off, and also defended well.

    As for Douglas Luis. He’s our best player. What quality. What work rate. Easily in the 40M bracket

    Let’s hope SJM can have some big games. Today was more of a team effort.

    I would still prefer Nyland in goal, but I’m not going to be negative

    UTV, come on Everton

  16. I’m a bit worried with Seamus Coleman interview after they lost to Wolves. He had a lot of fighting words for next game. I hope the rest of the Everton squad have already checked out

  17. VillaMD- I’ve no doubt franks is a good coach but I had to laugh when the owner of Brondby was questioning his tactics, just shows you what a fickle game this is. I remember when he changed the team to a three at the back as they had gone from 2 points off 6th after a great start to 20th after Smith left. Who does that sound like? Smith this season maybe?

    I think Smith had two centre halves that were something like 16 and 18, that was what he was dealing with at Brentford because they sell to survive and take the long view. I like Brentfords methods and the coach is lucky to have the quality of Watkins and Benrahma to use both prem quality up front just as Smith used Jack, Tammy and Mcginn last season. Franks has been in coaching/management twice as long as Smith by the way.

  18. This article explains how I see this season better than I could. The promotion was early for where we were but also crucial for the cr*p Xia had dropped us in. Not only does it give us £170m to comply with FFP it potentially put £50m on jacks asking price and maybe £20m on McGinns. Mings? who knows maybe £40m and Luis is defo a £30-40m player potentially.

    So if we stay up its ok and we will struggle on and hopefully progress or we drop now and have a proper rebuild involving the talent we are accruing in the U23’s. Either way we are in a much better position than a year ago.


  19. FFP has been shattered. Man City’s Champions League reinstatement means they got clean away with it. The shards on the floor are all that’s left.

    This is the cue for Compass. If they really want a top side with top income, then it’s quite possible. It needs big bucks and a large sponsorship deal along the lines of Man City.

  20. We beat Everton we will stay up.

    West ham will beat Watford and be safe

    Watford will then lose to man city

    And we will beat West ham on final day

  21. I am in complete accord with him and the influence that Elmo has both in defence, and in helping Trezeguet in the game, which is what I have seen before when they are played together.


    You keep mentioning Benrahma and Watkins as if they were already the complete player, whereas the truth is that is the tireless work that Franks has put in with these players, is making them what they are. He has spent hours working with videos of Man City, and especially sterling showing how he operates in the box, how near post chances are created.

    None of this has the slightest bit to do with Dean Smith. Franks has been amazing at bringing his players on, coupled with the other coaches at Brentford, including the guy who deals specifically with set pieces, another reason Brentford are so good!!

  22. PP- It does make me laugh, when Smith turned up at Villa there were reports of the extensive watching of videos and one on ones with players , Wheelan improved and was fitter etc. Brentford even had a kicking coach I’ve seen the videos, they are a very progressive team. Smith took over after a failed foreign manager who took over from Warbuton who would not play the way the owner wanted.

    The Coach is just another piece in the puzzle to them that can be replaced. Smith chose Franks to be an assistant from a list of candidates, I read about it at the time he arrived here.

    Franks worked along side Smith and the other coaches and his main job was smooth transition of players to the 1st team. He might be the second coming of Christ I don’t know. Smith is implementing elements of what Brentford do and they will probably go to a B team if he has his way. Is Smith the greatest Coach ever? of course not, is he useless? no,

    Benrahma had injuries and still scored 9 in 14 games in his 1st season at Brentford, missed pre-season entirely this year and yet made the team by end of August, thats an exceptional player. Watkins was playing mens 1st team at 16-17 so also exceptional, neither would look out of place for a top club, Franks may have polished them but they were and are very good players like Jack.

    What I am fed up with is using Brentford as a stick to beat Smith with and how he had no effect at the club, that frankly cannot be. Benrahma is an exceptional player as is Watkins who have both matured like Jack, of course franks has had some effect and so he should. Reality is Brentford sunk like a stone when he became manager and he had to save them from relegation, were 20th down from 7th and eventually made 11th so even Franks needs time. Add to that the team he left at Brondby that had two consecutive 4th place finishes then finished 2nd and then 1st next two seasons under another manager, sound familiar?

  23. PP- Also Franks was assistant from 2016, where was this magic effect during the years before becoming manager? after all Smith was doing nothing.

  24. PP- I had a look for a laugh and Brentfords start this season was worse than the one that got Bruce Sacked, Bruce had 15 points and Franks had 12 after 11 games. Ironically he could match Smiths ten game winning streak at Villa if they win the next three. Benrahma and Watkins have 17 and 24 goals respectively that is some going. Benrhama linked to Chelski so we will see if he goes what that does to them.

  25. MK,

    I don’t really see your argument. I am not saying that Franks has become God, but that he has, which cannot be denied improved Brentford under his leadership with the team of coaches that he has at his disposal.
    Smith improved a Villa team last season on his arrival, but has failed to improve Villa this season. He has had some very poor luck with injuries, but at the end of the day he is responsible for plays, and the tactics that they use.

    I am like many, very disappointed with his tactics, his team selection, and hvae the feeling that he has been totally out of his depth in the Premiership.
    I do not understand your comments about Grealish, as I feel he has gone backwards this season, whereas he should have been maturing into a much more aware player, able to move and distribute the ball with good effect, but all he has become is a kid who can dribble a ball to win a free kick, which has not helped the team at all, in fact quite the reverse.

    The fact that he is the top scorer stands out like a sore thumb, that there is something wrong with Villa’s play and use of strikers.

    Dean Smith is not the worst, but he certainly has done nothing this season to show that he has the ability to manage a Premiership team. This season is what it is, and Villa will in all probability be relegated.
    Next season could become a real struggle, as it will be difficult to recruit players, unless there are major changes to show that Villa is a club that will enhance a players career. A small few have improved their career, but most have suffered heavy damage to their future signing for Villa.

  26. Deano has got no choice for the next game. He must pick an attacking team and try and get some goals. Can’t worry now about the defence. Mings, Konsa, Targett and Elmo it must be. Don’t know what has happened to Gilbert, but he is definitely a better right side of midfield sub than El Gassy.

    It’s hammer time.

  27. PP- I think it likely if Smith had stayed at Brentford they would of either gone up last season or this. Also whatever coaching quality Franks has the management at Brentford didn’t see it and get rid of Smith did they? you seem to think Smith cannot develop players or hasn’t or was being kept in a job by franks coaching, thats just to simplistic and not really provable.

    Jack Grealish is a natural player and would be if he never saw a coach or talked to one, just like Benrahma and watkins. Neither manager would have much of a side without them. We have no idea what Jack has taken from Smith or even if he listens. I agree he may not help others in the team develop but can you imagine him not getting a game? If he hasn’t improved why are teams talking about buying him? you would expect his form to drop in better company if he’s not progressed.

    Smith has 15 players to settle into a side and you want to see them all progress? seen it so many times when a player takes a year to settle and thats in a settled side, you are asking an awful lot. Pre-season to disjointed with arrivals to be fully fit and integrated, to many injuries to key players. No player is going to develop in a season like this, they might learn to dig in a bit but we have seen enough talent walk out the door in recent years to know that does not work and they end up looking good elsewhere.

    At the end of the day Franks has coached some of the players since 2016, Smith last summer, there is no comparison to be had.

  28. Plug- Gilbert injured along with Engles. Apparently SJM had another stress fracture discovered before the Covid break so could not train at all, thats why he is just about coming back to something like.

  29. MK,
    You still have the wrong end of the stick. I have not questioned how good, or bad Dean Smith at Brentford. He was doing a good job there, whether or not he would have won promotion, we will never know. The facts are what is important. He did well at Walsall. He did well at Brentford, and he also managed to pull Villa up by the boot straps to win promotion.

    The facts now are about what he has achieved at Villa since promotion. He is part of the management which decided to get rid of players who could have played a part at the beginning of the season while preparing new recruits to fit in, learn the language, get used to the Premier league. There is no convincing argument to say that he got things right, or is getting things right now.

    We won on Sunday because he did not pick the team!!! El Mohammady made a huge difference to the game, and to Trezeguet, but he intended that Hause should be playing! The back four that played on Sunday is our best line-up. Guilbert does have good stats, but Elmo’s are the most telling ones. I agree with Regan Foy and his article on the importance of Elmo.

    Jack is a naturally gifted player, but he is more liable to end up with a serious injury with him concentrating on gaining fouls, rather than moving the ball on, and not slowing down attacks.
    When he starts to use his talent more like Sterling, he will get a lot further. That is the main reason for the interest in him, because other managers believe they can develop his talent along the right lines.

  30. PP- are you sure you were not hinting just a tad that Franks was the real brains at Brentford, looked like it to me 🙂

    On Elmo, yes he came on and we won, he also does not last for to many games in a row as he’s 32.

    There is no way to say we would not of won with Hause playing either, certainly he’s the best header of the ball at both ends for us. Would certainly have made a better job of blocking the shoulder goal that was disallowed than Konsa did and marking benteke imo. I thought Konsa was starting to get up the field at RB and get crosses in last game but Elmo is probably the best crosser on the run we have.

    It won’t be the 1st time a sub influences a game lets face it he had to start Targett when Taylor got injured who was playing well. Apparently Elmo’s been moaning about not playing to Smith. I like him he’s just not going to play every 3-4 days.

    Most fans would not have started Trez either nor Jack up front, At the end of the day s**t happens.

  31. Good debate, PP and MK. Interesting.

    Always hard to know what might’ve happened, but never hurts asking or wondering.

    I think Smith will probably start Elmo again. Had us more balanced, and he does whip in a decent cross on his day.

  32. JC- Definitely more balanced with Elmo but definitely poorer in the air with Konsa , Palace missed chances and Reina kept them out. Elmo will be up against Lucus Digne on Thursday, wasn’t the RB when we beat them at home but came on on the wing. Hopefully the fact we beat them previously gives them the confidence to do it again.

  33. Yeah, MK. Hause is definitely the more physical and better in the air.

    And yes, hope they draw confidence from that. Elmo on the defensive side, bit of a crapshoot. But at least he’s experienced, and he has a tendency to pop up when his pride’s on the line (which I gather being left out was irking him).

  34. blessings lifers

    just on the great Brentford manager debate , I believe a system is only as good as the players within it and if we could have been allowed to spend what was needed to add Benrahma to our squad we would be a lot higher up the table and Brentford a lot lower … I think there is only one midfielder in his class in prem
    Also I agree Elmo is vital to us atm his has popped up with very important goals and assists

  35. One of the most important things that Elmo does is to keep a running communication with Trezeguet, who needs that so much. It is part of the failure this season, just as it was under Sherwood, that a great group of players had been recruited that did not understand each other, and so had difficulty playing as a team, and once more they will all eventually make their way as did Ayew, Veretout, Traore, Idrissa Gana, Amavi and Westwood.
    How little we got for all of them, compared with their later value, and we will probably do the same now. Teams are built slowly and carefully, not thrown together in the hope that they work.
    We need to keep the team together that played on Sunday and play them now until the end of the season, to stand a chance of survival.

  36. I do like that about Elmo a talker is definitely needed, call them leaders etc but what they really have is the ability to see the game and adjust in real time. It’s also obvious with the lack of crowd noise something we don’t do much of.

    I thought Dean Smith looked tired and stressed not his usual self, I think he knows that is more like three finals than a tournament.

    Hey Runtings totally agree on Benrahma

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