All the superlatives have been used for a historic night. Aston Villa’s 7-2 pasting of Liverpool was the absolute last thing anyone expected, most certainly the defending champions. And me, can’t believe I’m typing that. Villans have two weeks to enjoy a surreal and glorious performance to go second with a game in hand. I’ll be buzzing for every second.

Here’s the breakdown.

The Good
What wasn’t good? Villa could’ve had 11. Take away the deflections and you’ve still got at least eight guilt-edge chances, with four going in. I’d take that any day of the week. Villa were on the front foot from the off, Jack, Ollie and Ross combining like they’d been together for more than less than a week. Super John McGinn bulldogging, passing, scoring, assisting. Ollie’s hat-trick. Jack’s brace and twisting van Dijk into a pretzel before nutmegging him. Trez’s relentless effort and assist. It just goes on and on.

Embarrassing the defending champions, you just can’t say enough.

The Bad
Wasn’t 8, 9, 10, or 11. Can’t have it all, though, can you, and Dean will need something to talk about.

The Ugly
The grass? C’mon, Graeme. And poor, slow Jack only notching three assists and two goals.

Final Verdict
Surreal. Villa played just about as well as they can. They pressed hard, won the midfield battle, were ruthlessly effective going forward. They carved apart Liverpool’s high line time after time, playing the ball quickly and decisively. There was always a willing runner making a good run. You can fault Adrian all you like and rightly so for the first, but it only happened because Villa were up in Liverpool’s grill from the opening whistle. After that, well, it basically looked like Villa could score anytime they had the ball in Liverpool’s half.

Ollie Watkins. Strong, fast, extremely good on the ball, clinical in front of goal, working his socks off, and notching an assist to go along with a hat-trick that could well and truly have been five. I’ll take that over Callum Wilson any day of the week.

Ross Barkley, fantastic debut. He looked completely at home, and his strength, ball control, passing, forward drive, and positional sense were outstanding. Changed our team.

Jack Grealish. What happens when it’s not all on his shoulders? He looked world-class. Tell me England couldn’t use a little more of that.

John McGinn. That’s the player we fell in love with. Combative, relentless, great range of passing—including his assist for Jack, which was sublime.

Trezeguet. Much maligned, yet invaluable. Tireless and committed, he showed Traore the kind of effort required to take his place. A big part of keeping Robertson and Jota from running riot.

Douglas Luiz. Quietly took care of a lot of nasty business.

Emi Martinez. Big, strong, putting confidence in everyone, distributing the ball well, barking orders. An excellent piece of business.

Matty Cash. Three matches on the big stage, and dealt with Robertson and Jota (along with Trez) about as well as you could expect.

Matt Targett. A much better game than his critics might think.

Konsa and Mings? Well, they’re a pretty good pairing, aren’t they. Either one looked better than Gomez, and neither got nutmegged.

In short, the most complete performance we’ve seen in a long, long time. Villa didn’t let up. After the second, they sank back a bit, and Liverpool were rewarded. But once Villa reclaimed their two-goal advantage, which was surprising enough in itself, they just weren’t going to let Liverpool have their way. Fought for everything, knew where their teammates were, played out of trouble, fouled smartly, and lumped it to safety when you should.

Further, the deflected goals were on because Villa kept winning the ball, moving it around, putting themselves in good spots, and taking shots with Liverpool’s defense in disarray.

Dean was ecstatic. They all were. This is Dean Smith football. He’s finally got the players for it to have a chance to work. When it finally did, they simply embarrassed a very strong strong lineup from one of the best teams in the world. Graft, commitment, flair, relentless attacking intent: It was all there. And the players were loving it.

And Dean, of course, was his usual humble self, and he should’ve been pleased to get a “wow” from Klopp. Never too high, never too low. If the players don’t believe now, they never will. Even Marvelous looked aggressive when he came on, having seen from Luiz what it takes.

Yes, it’s one game. But it’s also one for the ages, the kind you’d love to tell your kids you were at. Villa showed what they can do. They showed the money has been well spent. That the whole set-up is getting things right. That Smith’s faith in Watkins, never mind Konsa, were well justified. He’s not stupid, Dean.

Bielsa gets plaudits for coaching Leeds to a defeat against Liverpool, after struggling longer than Smith to get his side out of the Championship. Will Dean get the same credit for engineering their destruction after promotion, a massive rebuild, and a miraculous relegation battle? Doubt it. But when your side has Liverpool concede seven for the first time in 57 years, well, you might just know what you’re doing. And now, you just might have enough of the right players for it to show.

It won’t be like this every week. That’s not the way football or the Premier League work. But that’s how it was this week, and Villa have now recorded one-third of last season’s total victories, never mind a mind-blowing performance. Instead of struggling for a draw, or crumbling in the last 15 minutes, Villa just kept coming.

Hats off, Villa. You made us all proud.

Over to you.

Comments 142

  1. Yep. A lot of positives.

    As you say, Mings and Konsa are a fantastic partnership.

    Barkley. That’s the type of player wr have needed to replace Hourihane. He covers ground with the ball. He’s athletic. Quick

    Cash and Trezeguet did struggle a lot defensively. Liverpool were dangerous on there left side.

    Oliie Watkins. A proper poacher. Remember when we hsd Wesley, and he wouldn’t even ever be in the box? Watkins proving Wesley was never good enough.

    All in all great.
    The only concerning thing is left back, and a lack of depth in some areas

    Smith saying apparently we are done, but that might just be a smoke screen.
    We are still one attacker short. We only have 2 strikers, one who doesn’t score. Wingers we are light, as Ghaizi just simply isn’t an option

    Still hoping for someone

  2. Frem you can’t judge players on last season it was a one off situation that we negotiated three other teams didn’t, all part of the journey, no Wesley isn’t Watkins but I reckon he would of got double figures without the injury. I hope he recovers and gets a chance in this team he will love it .

  3. FFFFFUUUUUUCCCCCKKKK. When it’s bad it’s never that bad and when it’s good, it’s never that good. Well bollocks, it was that good and we battered them.

  4. Expectations have just caught fire. Such a shame it wasn’t in front of a rammed VP. The place would have been riotous. Sirens wailing, cannons blazing.

  5. Ian G

    Haha. It was from a BRUM mail reporter who spoke to deano.

    A little worrying as our starting 11 is more than ok but a sudden drop of quality. Bound to have injuries or players need a rest in what will be a hectic season

  6. Great article JC. I also thought Targett was very good yesterday and Trez had his best game. His work rate is excellent. It was interesting to hear Watkins say they trained all week to break Liverpool’s high defensive line. I guess that why Barkley was like a 2nd striker. How much better are our management from last year? Night and Day.

    I don’t care who we sign or who we miss out on. I trust our management.

    Nothing should take away this feeling. Relax and enjoy 2 weeks of bliss

  7. Frem,

    Cash was up against one of the top attacking fullbacks in the world paired up with Jota in his 3rd PL start. Extremely difficult assignment, and Liverpool were committed to playing through him all night. There’s not many who shut down Robertson. Big part of Liverpool’s attacking strength.

    Meant he had far, far more defending than Targett was asked to do. Thought he did pretty well, in the end. He’s got a lot to learn, but never shrank, played out of trouble well, stayed aggressive.

  8. VillaMD,

    Yeah, Smith did change it up a bit with McGinn and Luiz anchoring, Ross getting forward in the #10 spot. Was an excellent tweak, made possible because of Barkley’s qualities. Just not a role Hourihane can play.

    It’s easy for people to blame Smith when the players just aren’t good enough across the board. Smith showed a lot of tactical and personnel flexibility last year, which often went unnoticed. But he did keep the team pulling together to get us back up, and the time spent adjusting during Restart was excellent management.

  9. Doesn’t look like we are signing anyone

    I can’t believe we are going in with only 2 strikers

    Our first 11 is good

    But after that, the drop in quality is huge.

    You’ve got Davis replacing Watkins. Ghaiz replacing Grealish. Marvellous replacing luiz. Hause, Mings. Taylor for Targett. Hourihane for Barkley. Nobody for mcginn, really.

    Traore and Trez on the left.

    We need a winger and striker, to improve back ups to grealish and Watkins

  10. On that tweak, in the end you had an attacking diamond with Jack, Ollie, Trez, and Barkley.

    With McGinn and Luiz combative, winning the ball back, and Barkley’s ability to drop, keep the ball, and find players, it gave us an attacking link-up layer to let Ollie make runs (Trez, too) that got the CBs on their heels, and opened up space for Grealish, who was also occupying attackers.

    Remarkable how well he slotted in after just arriving, how much trust/understanding there was with Jack. It also freed up SJM more.

    So, win the midfield, then get at the back four quickly. Simple, but (obviously) effective approach. Liverpool play into that, the way they stream forward. Their only real joy was getting it wide to Robertson and Jota. Apart from the goals, Salah was largely silent the rest of the game, and Alexander-Arnold didn’t offer much.

  11. Frem,

    I think Rashica is all about wages and us needing to offload some to get down to 25. If he is going to Leicester, fair play, I’m sure they had the salary room and higher profile Rashica was looking for. And his antics may well have convinced Smith & Co that he wasn’t going to be a good fit for the team’s mentality.

    I’ve not seen it as a done deal online yet, but haven’t checked Twitter, etc. I’d be suprised if Bremen let him go for less than the release clause, but who knows. My guess is we’re more interested in back-up striker at this point.

  12. yeah said last night and forever…get Mcguinn in a number 6 role! so happy he is back there.

    one observation someone made was last night had shakespere written all over it from his time at foxes. Counter!

  13. A sensational performance last night.


    Absolutely incredible.

    I am still buzzing.

    We have been waiting for years for a performance of that magnitude.

    Congratulations to Smith and the boys.

    I am not interested in Rashica. He is all about dollars.

    I still believe we will do some business before the Pl/EFL window closes.

    I believe it will be Benrahma

    Or King.

    We shall see.

  14. Big problem with us is we can’t ship out Lansbury, Gahzi, Taylor, kalanic snd Nyland

    Maybe a few championship clubs will take them off our hands ober the next week. Leaving us room for a signing

    Can’t wait till January now that Lange has had time by then to scout because these signings have been smiths

    Most important thing is for Lange to find clubs for the likes of Taylor and lansbury in January

  15. It’s good to see Watkins pace, and movement. He hassles defenders. He backs in. His hold up play is very good to

    I was always surprised people rated Wesley. He did absolutely none of what Watkins does. His movement of the ball was poor. He wasn’t a poacher.

    He may have grabbed 10 goals at a stretch if he stayed fit

    But to think Watkins should have had 5 in one game

  16. We told you about Watkins frem 😉

    I wouldn’t be writing Wesley off either. Only 22 and new to England. Like trez and Luiz I believe they will adapt better when more settled. The difference with trez is astounding. Saw he put Watkins through one on one and delivered the ball when he hit bar.

  17. Thanks JC just had the chance to read and mucho agreeo.

    Frem mate how do you think Watkins would of done with 12 players that had just arrived playing around him and the salvage from last season? Already Luis, Konsa, Trez are starting to show why they were bought you probably would of sold all three on last season before the lockdown. Don’t be surprised if ElGhazi comes in for Jack or Trez and plays well or Davis and Conor, long long way to go.

    Next two games are Leicester and Leeds, I wonder what they are thinking now? I am not worried at all about playing them right now I’m out for revenge.

    On Dean Smith, he is knocking down those records all the time. 10 game run, promotion in the 1st season, best start to a season ever, highest score I think in the prem, 7 games unbeaten in the prem, Beaten Arsenal at Villa park, Made Klopps Liverpool his Bitch 🙂

  18. Great write up John, really enjoyed it but not as much as the game last night :-). We have our starting XI and really looking forward to this season. Those with half s brain knew last season was a transition one and this season will show our intent. I’m not getting carried away mid table is the benchmark but I honestly see us playing in Europa next season. To me every box is ticked, owners, management, coaches and players including academy.

  19. It was a great performance of pace, power, skill and finishing. Truly a night to savour that will live long in the memory.

    Not one bit of it changes the fact that Targett is one of the poorest full backs in the division. Slow, ball watching, too narrow and a goal waiting to happen every time he’s attacked. We can’t afford his mistakes because we won’t score sackfuls against every team

  20. Nyland gone. Good.

    Making room for another forward

    Because it would be criminal of the club to go into the season hoping Watkins plays every minute of every gane

  21. Welbeck and Wilshere are the two biggest sick notes in the PremierLeague. You would end up paying them £200k per week to sit on the treatment table.

    I believe Smith will want Benrahama – he wanted to sign him last year so that would appear to be the most obvious candidate for our next transfer

    There is also – King – Cantwell -who appear to be attractive options.

    The positive start to the season will make us an extremely attractive option to the players who currently reside in the Championship.

  22. crazy really the players that are availbale.

    Youd have to say benrahma standout choice.

    for me the thought of henry is prob my number 1 pick now at lb. just more leggy and quick than targett which seems our mantra. him and cash mmmmmm

  23. wow increadable masterclass from the villa …… we have shown teams how you destroy klopps system it will be interesting to see if klopp has a plan b if other clubs start doing the same thing

    the jack ross combitions are a joy to behold and two extra real quality players is having a huge impact on this group of players .. Ollie looks the real deal and is making fantstic runs all the time

    Lot more football intelligence on the pitch but also off it for villa now .. i think shakespeare is possibly having a big positive impact

    would touch welbs or wiltsere .. i think the club has moved away from this type of signing … Benrahma brfore close of window would be the iceing on the cake for now

  24. Great result. Trezeguet for me was the best player. Most players played blinders and it was great to see Barkley score. However,he should improve his decision making in the final third. We should have scored more but all in all a great result.

  25. The dust has settled and I’m currently just stoked. On Sunday night I was a few notches above that. Don’t see a relegation battle this season at all. Given our share of injuries turn out average, we can push for a place in Europe. Realistic? If we can dismantle Clipperty’s outfit, we should fear nobody.

    Happy we have a break now. It gives us time to get our heads straight again so the next game doesn’t become a case of “after the Lord Mayor’s show”. We can get a result at Leicester.

  26. Think our trading is over. Can’t see them adding a LB until Taylor’s contract runs out next summer. Can’t see them going for Ben Drahma as we took Traore. And I think they’ll run with Davis and Watkins up top until Wes is fit. This last one is a risk due to injuries but then we could play with a false No 9 if necessary.

  27. Nice to see the expert pundits are on the ball. Move over Shearer, Neville, Carragas, Lawro, Souness, Gobbie Cabbage and company. Our redevelopment is showing a remarkable similarity to Ron Saunders team building. Hope we see more of Ramsey too.

  28. Frem – are you fucking serious? Jack Wilshere was a good player.

    How many games and minuted has he actually played in the last 3 years?

    And why would West Ham who finished 1 position above us show him the door? £100k a week to sit on the bench and go out on the town. I know his uncle – Jack is a jacked-up piss head – an arrogant, above his station waste of talent.

    Get a grip. You are delusional

  29. Coming down now and starting to think about the game and why it went the way it did and what this means, not sure I have any answers but heres a few thoughts and questions.

    Obviously Liverpool not at full strength, might account for an upset? but not a rodgering.

    Barkley was the magic juice to complete the recipe?

    We would of beaten them without Barkley but not given them a spanking?

    The entire team was on heroine.

    Adrianne supports Villa? or his panic spread.

    Dean Smith is a genius and Klopp wants lessons?

    Villa recruited really well this season but didn’t do that bad last season either, laying the foundation.

    Then there are these other questions the game throws up, like:

    Is that our best lineup?

    If we change it will we be like Cinders after 12pm ? How much can we change and who could we drop out without the magic disappearing?

    How important is Martinez?

    Can we now rest (occasionally) rest Jack?

    How much effect does crowd have in football Good and bad? after all we only escaped the drop after the crowd went away, and we have now won 3 on the bounce , should we back Boris to lock us down permanently?

    As JC says over to you 🙂

  30. Heroine Mark ??
    Coke or speed ,maybe even special K , but definitely not Heroine!

    Pat Nevin on “Off the ball’ last night reckons Villa now have one of the most dangerous midfield’s in the PL.

  31. Prox- I was thinking about all the praise Ancelotti has had for fixing Evertons midfield, good to see someones noticed us and Smiths work. Although if we had only beaten the Bindippers 1-0 I don’t think they would, we took the kick to the nuts approach.

    Some interesting games coming up, Everton have Liverpool and we have Leicester then Leeds, be interesting to see how we shape up and how Everton do. We don’t play them until Jan 15th.

    Seems weird looking at the table with us in Second without Arsenal above us and everyone on 0 points.

  32. … wouldn’t say experience exactly but generally Heroin /Opium are used to avoid reality where the others are used to ‘enhance’ it. Stereotype junkies are almost always on H while a disconcerting amount of people around us are on coke and you wouldn’t often notice the difference.

  33. Proxopera

    Our midfield is now AWESOME

    Jack – the most beautiful-skilful-gracious – human being to ever appear in Premier League History – sensational superstar

    -Mcginn-Zidanne- would literally run, bulldoze through brick walls

    Dougie- Brazillian – samba beat – rhythmic – positional – master class

    Barkley – powerful – wonderful – magnificent – best no.10 since Maradonna

    Premier League, You Have Been Warned

    The Mighty Aston Villa is coming for you.

  34. Mark,
    My two boys are villans and having persevered through the tough times have now developed serious credibility among their peers for their commitment to a club with which they have no real connection with apart from me. I’m delighted for them , and it’s a great moment to have shared with them .
    They both wore their Villa shirts to PE today with a nonchalant swagger!

  35. MK,

    I think it’s hit and miss signing players at 16 years. It’s not just talent, but maturity, family and a bit of luck. Look at RHM and Luke Moore

    Hopefully Ramsey is part of DS plans. I think he’s ideal sub for Barkley.

    Watching our demolishing of Liverpool again. Just through 1st half. It’s nice to watch when relaxed and knowing result. Few comments on 1st half:

    Targett was great, best defender on the pitch. Would be good if Mings supported him a bit more or played closer to him.

    Trez played really well. Not sure how he has so much energy. He was even over on the left wing at times, looking for the ball from Jack. I think he’ll get better if he stops making cross field runs.

    Barkley taking over corners and free-kicks. Two goals from Barkley set piece in 1st half. One corner and watch his sublime dink for Watkins hatrick

  36. Prox- excellent two lives ruined but two men made.

    Villamd- I think the selection process and those selecting have improved 10x , of course you can’t get a hit every time but these lads are a step above to start with. I suppose if you look at jack whose been here since a kid the whole youth set up was worth it just for him. Now I think it’s becoming professional at last.

  37. Now there’s a question, where would villa be if we didn’t have jack ever?

    Another question is why are only scoring odd numbers in the league? And why did we miss five out ? Next ups 9 🙂

  38. Mark

    Good questions

    I think now on reflection everything happened that youd want from playing a elite team. We was 100% on it and they had a bad day at the office and the injuries helped us.

    Goalkeepers – worth there weight in gold and we are finding that out with Martinez. As soon as Adrian made that mistake early doors it set the tone and damaged that back 4. you can see the confidence drain from them. McGuinn as number 6! hooooray, he harassed that mid into submission and our sheer will to win and energy destroyed them. 52million keita was battered!

  39. Do you know what, fed up with international football.
    Why don’t we forget qualifying for the top teams let the rest fight it out and have the odd friendly. This two week break and 3 matches is insane and all about money. For me the shine of internationals has gone.

    Whats worse is the more successful your team is the more of your players are exposed to extra games they don’t need. We could end up with 5 England players potentially which is great for their price but shite for anything else.

  40. My observations from our demolition of the bindippers was just how good Jack was when players show movement. Some of his can openers were sublime. Just the right weight and direction all in a split second. Barkley will be doing cart wheels with this kind of supply.

    H & V, I’m not bothered about possession. We only had 30% last weekend but breaking at pace is lethal with the right players. Beats square passing along the back line. We now have the players to raid at pace from defence. We now have a team that can be very dangerous. Bring on Leicester, but it’s the Leeds game I’m really drooling about. Can’t wait for an opportunity to knock over Bielsa.

  41. Plug- I get the feeling a move to Manure or city or anyone would not have produced the same display from Jack. For one he would be unlikely to be Captain, two I don’t think other teams realise how good he is and that building a team around him is a good idea. In essence he would be a bolt on not the hub.

    Anyway anybody still want him back in Midfield? only way I could see that is 442 with him on the left.

  42. H&V – What did Liverpool control in that match?

    Anyway we are 3rd in the form table over the last six before the Liverpool game and second this after 4 games, which is obvious 🙂

  43. Plug if we beat Leeds what will the media muppets say? christ that would upset the basket, they might have to say something about how good we are and not how poor the opposition played.

  44. IanG- I am not surprised with the PCR test, They must be among the most tested people on the planet, if only it worked for a live virus and not just fragments 🙂

  45. Mark
    I wouldn’t want to interrupt your musings, even though Pepe Reina springs to mind, but I was thinking of the 2 week doss they have to have, which would keep them from playing for us, & we have 8 first teamers out there.

  46. Iang- I agree mate, amazed how easily we have rolled over. Evidence coming in that says herd immunity approach costs less lives. Who’d of thought that nature knows best. I like the approach of if you have plainly got something wrong double down should be adopted in every area, hang on it already is .

  47. Imagine if Watkins is out even for 3 or 4 games. We would be in trouble. Davis is a good sib to bring on but he won’t get us goals over a period of even starting 3 games which could be the difference to us getting points or not

  48. Everything has gone very quiet everywhere, so I am getting the impression, apart from a few leavers, that our business in the transfer market is done. Unless of course there is a last minute surprise next week.
    this team is now good enough to be at least mid table, and settle Villa back into a regular Premiership side for the foreseeable future. Next season should then see further strengthening and improving, ready to challenge in Europe, which is exactly what our owners planned.

  49. H&V And what good did it do them? There will be times when we have the ball and when we don’t. Personally I think when we have it to much we pass it around the back four and Keeper to little end. What we are not so good at is moving the ball around the last third quickly to stretch teams that sit in. We do appear to be good at counter attacking now.

  50. This chaps article makes some good points, for one Villa controlled the flow of the match.

    For another we have to many players that need attention and marking to double up on any single player. Thats Important because those players like ElGhazi and Davis that were less effective last season will have more space to work in and might come up a level, just like Trez has appeared to.

    He also mentions the other team Villa re busy building that should bear fruit in the future when these lot decline, at present every players is on an upward curve.

  51. good article Mark an outline of the club strategy in action .. this really could be the start of something big and its too early to really tell but this team looks like it will be able to compete with all comers this season

    at 1000-1 title and 800-1 top 4 I am truly hoping so 🙂

    the new players combined with the high level and effectiveness of our tactics makes for a potent mix that may just cause a lot more shocks this season


  52. Yeah, the whole time of possession thing is pretty useless.

    It can indicate that one team is on the ropes.

    In Villa’s case, it indicates that we’re playing on the break if it’s there, and aren’t going to waste a lot of energy chasing the ball when the opponent is probing but not really penetrating. We’re engaging to win it back more at the edge of our defensive third.

    When we’re pressing higher up, we obviously contest the ball higher up.

    So, a side like Liverpool, well, they were arrogant, thought their very high line wouldn’t be caught out, and were made to pay both on long counters, and when we won the ball higher up.

    To Mark’s point, we’ve seen it’s much tougher for us to penetrate packed-in sides. The only teams that can really do it are the super skillful ones that excel at the very quick, short passing and interweaving required. And even then, you can watch City, Pool, whoever, spend 60-80mins crafting that chance and taking it.

    I’d much rather look at chances, shots, shots on goal, and saves to get something statistically meaningful.

  53. Valid tactical points jc mk
    in terms of breaking down packed defences the dynamic in the team has changed enough for us now to have players that can combine one touch passes to breach such defences jack , ross, sjm doug, toure

    these players all have the intelligence and skill level to breach a tight defence … how good does jack look with more quality around him … it will by Real and Barca sniffing by the end of this season

  54. JC- I don’t know whether we will develop further and learn to move it quicker with the new players but possibly Traore rather than Trez in those situations with Jack and Barkley running at the defence might be our method. Plus Cash and Targett overlapping.

    Actually during the last 13 games we have become adept at set piece goals too so we have the tools to win those games.

    The next two games will test another aspect of our game because Leicester are a very good counter attack side and Leeds are an all out attack in your face team, like Liverpool on steroids for pressing.

    Considering that leeds and Belsa were praised to high heaven for losing to liverpool and Drawing with City what must Belsa think about us?

  55. Runtings- I think that playing with better players at Villa rather than being inserted into another team has brought out the best in Jack. Southgate has said Jack has to learn to play in the England side and them with him and I think thats pretty accurate. Hopefully now they will be more trusting after dethroning Liverpool.

  56. They’re very interesting games, MK.

    I’ve been wondering about Leeds. We could have another 5-5.

    Leicester: Two sides being cagey? Will will we bite, open up, and try to take it to them?

  57. JC- we handled Liverpool better than Belsa who seems to have the same game plan every game, Shouldn’t be to hard to guess what to do for Smith its whether you can stop them that counts. They don’t have a jack though.

    As for Leicester Maybe Shakespeare will have something up his sleeve, at least Martinez is good at coming out in potential one on ones if Vardy gets put through. I don’t think Vardy is scoring goals from open play though, pens are 4 out of 5 of his goals. West Ham had 30% possession when they beat them 3-0.

  58. Be nice if england included jack in this game . Action down the left zero. Jack anchored to the wing he’d never do that for us .

    And just as I type jack goes over to the right and puts it on calvins head for 1-0 🙂

  59. I think smith can do Southgate a favour and supply him with half the defence and along with jack Watkins and and Barkley most of the attack .

    It was painful to watch how good jack was vs the rest .

  60. Jack looked perfectly at home at international level. He was a class above the others. If Beaky thinks otherwise, it’ll cost him his job.

  61. Exactly Plug.

    Jack is SENSATIONAL – a truly world-class footballer.

    He would walk into the footballing playing giants team including Spain – Brasil – Germany – for sure.

    He is made for modern-day international football.

    He is the new George Best

  62. Looks like we can watch every game for £15 a pop, bit steep I think considering Skys £20 for the sports and BT is £30 if you don’t have their broadband. I’d be happy to pay £20-30 to watch all our games a month and sod the rest of the sport bar the international rugby and theres the pub for that, or was.

  63. Super Jack, its a crime that last night wasnt his 50th cap last night any other country would have recoginized that they have a player of a generation many moons ago …. as for Southgate the less said the better

    Mark the bit I like the most from your podcast link is the new Villa song …for those who didnt read the link

    Every week we follow the boys in claret and blue .. we even beat the champions seven bleeping two … the Villa boys from Aston were never gonna stop … we smashed the bleeping scoucers .. in front of Jurgen Klopp ..allez allez allez

  64. Was watching a compilation of Pirlo and the similarities to Jack are striking. Same balance , flowing movement, control,awareness .
    Looks like we’ve got a Brummie Pirlo.

  65. Luiz is some player. Absolutely flying for Brazil. He will be at man city next summer. They will buy him back

    Still very worried about our attacking options and depth. Only having 2 strikers plus el Ghaizi as one of they winger options isn’t good enough

    We need to go and buy King, or Sarr. We don’t have enough in the sqaud

  66. But we pay for sky and bt sport already?

    So why do we have to pay on top of what we already pay to buy something they should already be covering?

  67. Frem, reports suggesting we are trying to offload El Gassy, Lansbury and Guilbert to make room for King’s salary.

    Very good, but not Guilbert please.

  68. Runtings- I think the Brummies musical and lyrical Skills will find some cracking chants for this seasons players if we ever get back into the stadiums.

    Prox- I said awhile ago that Jacks ultimate position could be a deep lying playmaker , I agree he is very Pirlo like.

    Frem- from the horses mouth, Jack doesn’t care where he plays as long as he does.

  69. Prox- This explains Villa’s problem with Jack, nobody we had truly knew where to run for him, now smith has given him multiple targets, so should England.

    “Pirlo is the pass master, a pivotal player who despite his lack of pace utilises his brain, experience and skill to exploit holes that open up during the game. His deep lying role, called a ‘regista’ in Italy, provides players to protect him, allows him time to assess options, and gives him a position he can create difficult angles from. Given time and space he will destroy teams

    Rather than an aimless ball hit into the channels, Pirlo hits perfectly weighted through balls aimed into space for an attacker or attacking midfielder to run on to. For the person executing the pass it needs vision, the ability to see gaps and at the same time players who are prepared to exploit them. There’s no point playing a ball into space if no one can gather it.”

  70. 2 in charge for Smith.

    He made me fall in love again.

    The years under Bruce were soul sucking. The 11 games under RDM were painful. The last 3 or 4 seasons in the Premier league were sleep walking to relegation

    So thanks Dean Smith

  71. I think the 10 game winning run were the best moments as a supporter
    I was luckily enough to be at every home game in that run and also the away games at Rotherham and Sheffield Wednesday away

    We went 1 down in both games and ended up winning both l. I remember thinking in those games we have a new Villa

  72. Frem- nice to have you onboard at last 🙂 I’m sure there will be more downs this season at some point but thats life and football. In the odd season the downs don’t seem to come and you do well, sometimes very well, I hope you experience that very soon.

  73. If you think about Dean Smiths actions/decisions since he arrived and whats happened it would make a good book. Bruce had his part to play but that was pretty chaotic in my eyes but he did some good stuff for us too.

    Dean came in to a team that should of been doing better and he made it do better, he took the parts Bruce had assembled added a few bits and improved existing parts and made it work in a way Bruce never would have.

    The highlights for me, better football, 1st 20+ goal striker for a long time , 10 game unbeaten run to qualify, thrashed some top teams on the way, beat WBA on pens, Beat Derby in the final (again) made Jack the Captain and used him to his full effect (lets face it plenty of managers have had Jack and not done so, so Jack was not the only reason we came up) assembled a team in no time at all and stayed up despite the odds ( the more the pressure mounts the better Smith gets)

    And finally oversaw a great window for us and our best start in the league ever, oh and rogered the champs.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  74. Mark. Ye. Hopefully this is a season off fee downs. It will happen sometime, so why not now. But what ever, even with our owners you’d think over the next few years good things will happen.

    As you know I’m not sure on Smith, still. However, he’s slowly maybe changing me around

    What he and the staff did during lock down was impressive. I don’t know what we did but we just suddenly came out the last 10 games tactically so much better. We have things to improve on going forwards and on the ball, but what was impressive was our ability without the ball. We didn’t concede many chances over 900 minutes off football, let alone goals. And that is what kept is up, knowing we could get away with scoring one goal and getting a win.

    And so far this season, we conceded 2 goals, and scored 11. Against Sheffield we didn’t do much going forward, but we didn’t look like conceding what so ever.
    Fulham was comfortable as well. We let our foot of the gas after we went 3 up, and got a bit sloppy, but again didn’t look like conceding.

    And Liverpool. Well. That was absolutely special. We should have scored 10, we missed some sitters. Salah had 2 chances and scored 2 goals, but apart from that we weren’t really carved open. So against a top team, we not only battered them on the ball, we were very good without it.

    I have my worries about our squad depth snd attacking quality depth, but we look very good.

    I hope we keep these professional displays up through out the season.

    We do now seem to have a sqaud of players who are tactically switched on, and becoming winners

  75. Frem – “Mark. Ye. Hopefully…”
    I agree with much of your post.
    I’ve been thinking about Smith’s tactics, & when he first came they were quite rigid with seemingly not much of a Plan B, with the accompanying problem with substitutes.
    When they worked, it was generally because the particular game suited it rather than by design, .
    In other words that was our somewhat hopeful Plan B with the appropriate results.

    It took time for them to be able to play Smith’s way [& I’m not sure that El Ghazi has clicked with this yet].
    This improved dramatically after the restart, & the football improved tactically, & Smith seemed to trust the players to be able to play his way more freely.

    The players seem to now understand the style they’re playing & many are much more fluid & tactically aware in game, & hopefully this will get even better.
    Smith’s tactics appear much more flexible this season, but you can understand why, as he has better quality players to work with than when he started.
    I’m a little impressed

  76. Latest is about Lansbury being told to find a new club as soon as possible, and pushing for Forest to buy him back. Could be a good solution.
    Also everyone saying that we must buy out the buy back clause in Douglas Luiz’s contract, which could cost £10-£15 million.
    Southgate not being well received in some quarters for trying to put the comparison between Grealish and Gascoine into perspective.

  77. Benrama to West Ham. Will be another Bowen where we regret not signing him. Benrama and bowen probably better than Ghaizi trezeguet and Traore. Real shame.

    We need another forward, big time but it doesn’t look we are in for any

    We will regret it when we get an injury to grealish and Watkins

  78. IanG- We have tried setting traps the whole time Deans been here and he has spoke about it. We rarely shut teams down from the front and usually when we do we look better and play better. Can’t tell you what difference it makes to results but usually from memory they improve. I thought after lockdown we defended well and set traps better but didn’t attack as well, scoring from set pieces mainly.

    The Liverpool game was something else again, high pressing and the rope a dope.

  79. Southgate is clueless.

    7 defensive players

    Absolutely nobody in football thinks Mount is better than Grealish.

    Worry about us still. It’s a shame to see Sarr stil in the championship, snd brooks. Players who are better wingers than Ghaizi and Trezeguet. King and Benrama to West Ham is an absolute shame. Two would improve the very light attacking options we have. I think we will regret watching those 2 at West ham

    Ig grealish or Watkins get injured we have absolutely no quality to replace them

  80. Frem

    Tough one re benrahama. Would love him but we have no room for him! He won’t come knowing jacks there and anyway he is all about London and sounds a bit dodgy with his agent and West Ham owners. They aren’t getting King and benrahama, just the 1.

  81. We have got in a position where it gets a bit tricky with our next signings. On paper and in reality at the mo our starting 11 is quality and picks it’s self. Toure in for trez only real debatable one which will prob happen soon. Going forward the only big main signing will prob be at lb. need some Lange specials to add quAlity and depth to the squad and find good enough players who are happy to be squad players

  82. After that dross I would have to agree with Frem that Southgate needs debeaking.
    Rigid, boring, chaotic, & shot with luck, that’s England.
    And have been for a long time

  83. H&V,

    It does get a bit tricky. You see clubs like United cock things up like kids in a candy store. I wouldn’t want to play there unless they were my boyhood club. Thank god they’re not.

  84. IanG,

    Southgate’s a stubborn ass. He wants his “system” to work, wants the credit, doesn’t want someone coming in being a star and running the show. Jack would upstage him.

    His current preferred side/approach won’t win anything other than by luck.

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