We’ve had Grealish shining for England, McGinn leading Scotland into the Euros, Trezeguet, Luiz, Hourihane, Mings, and Traoré all playing their parts far and wide, and just about two weeks to savor an Arsenal thrashing. Now it’s time to come back down to earth and Blighty to start a run of seven matches that give Villa a chance to really make a case for themselves. It all kicks off with Brighton.

Coming in, you’d have to favor Villa. But that’s exactly the sticking point. There are no easy games in the PL, apart from Liverpool and Arsenal, and after the international travel and exertions, the players have to hit the ground running against a side it might be tempting to overlook.

Now, we know Dean’s take will be different than Bruce’s ’tired and jaded.’ He’ll say they’ve had extra minutes of running under their belts. Which is true. Quite a bit, actually. But even though everyone seems to have come through unscathed, it’s still extra minutes in the legs. On the other hand, strong performances on the international stage can buoy players’ confidence. And more than one of Villa’s internationals should be feeling pretty good about themselves.

So, I’m expecting no changes, except for perhaps tactical tweaks on the 4-2-3-1 that seems to be working well. And that basically means does Ross Barkley play more advanced or tuck in a bit. Might also mean that to conserve energy, Dean opts not to press high and hard. Which means we’ll press high and hard to start, just to see if we can get the upper hand early.

While no one will blame us if we end up being a bit tired and jaded, consider this: Brighton, West Ham, Newcastle, Wolves, Burnley, West Brom, and Palace. Which, we know there are some tough games in there. But after, it’s Chelsea, United, Spurs, and Everton. In other words, make hay.

And naturally, expectations seem to have  gone out the window this season. We could end up losing to the Hammers, Wolves and Palace, then go embarrass Chelsea, Spurs and United.

But, you know what I mean. Villa are flying high, and you don’t get a stretch of winnable games like that very often in the PL. Dean & Co. will be looking at this run and thinking there’s no reason they can’t add 21 points to the season’s tally and make a serious bid of finishing top half. We know that’s not how it usually works.

Anyway. It’s Brighton at home, for what that’s worth anymore, and continuing winning ways, well…There’s no downside to that. The Seagulls are coming in at 0-3-2 and have six points on the board at 16th. They’ll desperately be wanting a result. Regardless, if you’re going to do the business, this is the kind of match you’ll be aiming to win.

Here’s to hoping we’ve got something in the tank.

Over to you.

Comments 203

  1. Well we can’t lose 3 home games in a row. That is simply unacceptable, especially against 3 sides we should be beating. I expect a win.

    I think Smith might rest grealish and mcginn on the bench you know John.

    Unfortunately our sqaud depth is so bad we have no options to replace them with any quality

    So that needs sorting in January. We need another winger and centre mid in January definitely. Quality ones

    Our sqaud depth is… Well there isn’t any. We have 11/12 players good enough. That’s it.. Hourihane, marvelous, gahzi l, Taylor, Elmo, Davis etc coming in aren’t good enough

  2. Smith talking up Brighton saying how good they are. Well, we should be to. We should be dominating possession today with our midfield. Should be

    Engles and Guilbert apparently injured. Bollox. I swear Engles has had this thigh strain for 8 months now. He’s frozen them out

  3. See the 5 sub rule coming back to, that’s a joke. Only favours the big squads.

    Smith doesn’t have confidence in one player off our bench to bring on let alone 5

  4. I don’t know why but I just have a feeling today we are going to struggle to get going. Feel like it could be a bit lethargic and slow

  5. In fine form already, Frem.

    Hause and Engles? Thought I saw where Hause had a knock. Who knows. But I don’t think Dean’s really the bomb-squad type. If he’s got a preferred CB pairing, and figures Elmo can deputize, then he frees up a spot on the bench. Could be nothing more than that.

    We do know that neither Hause nor Engels are going to displace Mings or Konsa at this point, so they’re backups, regardless.

  6. Christ Frem have you been saving that up? 🙂

    Smith is big on the right attitude and atmosphere around the club, if those two were frozen out they wouldn’t be here.

    Brighton play like atop 6 team but get results like the bottom 3.

  7. Could indeed be sluggish, Frem. But Ollie and Ross should be fresh, and Jack’s at that age where he can run all day and should be buzzing from the England appearances. Luiz’s travel will always be a worry, just messes with a body. Traoré got 90mins in, which is good, and Trez can run all day, too. So, we’ll see. It could be a mental hurdle as much as a physical one today.

  8. Oh brilliant Barkley done his hamstring so out for weeks

    This is why we needed better depth because Hourihane will make us slower, less mobile, slower. Brilliant

  9. We are ragged at the back, leaving gaps everywhere. This is what happens when Trezeguet misses sitters and we then concede first…just for those of you who can’t see why Trezeguet is a problem

  10. Ha Ha Ha trez is a problem priceless, probably his best all round game for Villa and and most shots on goal in the team , but get this because his shot doesn’t go in it throws the whole team into disarray Oh my aching sides. Mings, Traore, McGinn, Jack and Watkins can have efforts and it does nothing, but if Trez shoots it means the opposition will score, made my day that 🙂

  11. They could’ve, PW. Same for us, really. We’ll see if we play such a high line in the 2nd. We’ve really been trying to take it to them, that’s how we’re getting caught out at the back.

  12. Mark l.. He can’t hit a barn door. His finishing is embarrassing

    No goals this season. 1 assist

    Smith talks about Jack’s numbersx but what about trezeguets? Dire

  13. Mark l. Watkins and Jack score goals so they can shoot. They’ve scored more goals with less shots than Trezeguet

    Trezeguet had more shots this season. Scored none

  14. Not had a chance to watch Brighton they have some good players, Lamptey a real pain in the arse but really should have put at least one away. McGinn does one thing good then gives the ball away to make up for it, Mings at last went out to lamptey after he beat Targett for the 6th time, should be his 1st instinct. Maupay tapped Targett as he does and then got him booked horrible little Scrote. Shame about Barkley but Traore hasn’t looked to out of place, its just taken Jacks playmate away.

  15. funny how we have had the most problems with the 3 managers in the lge that play progressive possesion based football ..we have not been bad today will be unlucky not to get anything

  16. Unbelievable. Takes two minutes to send Lamptey off. We waste the rest on the penalty, and end up with 2 minutes added time.

    And March did make contact with Trez. Clear as day.

  17. And Trezeguet isn’t good enough. His finishing is the worst I’ve ever seen. Ghaiz came on and did well. Put good crosses in.

    Losing to Brighton at home is very very worrying

    January we need to sign better sqaud players. Hourihane came on and was well, pointless. No striker on tbe bench

    Barkley will probably be out till January.

    So that makes us much worse

  18. Dean Smith has got out done by 3 managers better than him in our last home games.

    We should have a better manager than the likes of Leeds and Southampton, but we don’t

    We need a top manager. Why wouldn’t the club want one?

  19. Yeah the ball brushes the Brightons players shin as his foot hacks at Trez’s shin so he can’t get to the ball, why would that not be a pen, if he hasn’t fouled him out right he has certainly stopped him progressing past him, puzzling decision.

    Still Trez looked the liveliest player we had, all the big hitters looked either jaded or got injured.

    Runtings – Do you think its the style of football or that when we don’t put the umpteen chances we make away we can get punished? today we had 15 shots 4 on target (3 by Trez) they had 7 shots 3 on target and scored two. They did defend well though.

  20. That was a clear penalty.

    It has to be a clear and obvious error for VAR to question a referees decision.

    It was a foul

    VAR is ridiculous.


    Losing Barkley was the problem.

    And players playing too much International football over the last 10 days.

    We are better when we counter attack

    Smith needs to address this

  21. Frem- you might want to ask why Watkins didn’t have a single shot and why all those better than Trez players couldn’t muster a shot on target apart from Mings looping effort? Our best players playing three internationals didn’t help.

  22. 9 goals conceded at home in last 3 games at home tells you everything.

    3 years and we still haven’t got good wingers.

    January we need to spend again.

    We can’t go through a season with Hourihane coming of the bench. He was pointless. No striker. No good enough players on that bench today.

    We need another 3i n January at least, Striker. Centre mid. Winger

  23. Mark. Watkins needs service. Hesa striker against 3 centre backs

    Trezeguet missed 2 open nets in a second.

    Then skyed a good chance at the end

    His technique has a professional attack football player is shocking.. His scoring record says it all.

    Ghaizi should play next game after he came on

  24. Introducing 5 subs as an answer to having ‘three’ international games and because the top clubs with big squads play in Europe. About as good an idea as Var so far.

  25. If Watkins or Grealish got trezeguet chances they score. But they are marked because they are good

    No opposition team will fear trezeguet. Let him have space and chances. He won’t score

  26. Potter is a good manager. Brighton play really nice football

    I still don’t know what smith wants. We move the ball so slowly. We don’t counter or retain. I don’t know what we are

  27. Frem- open nets? are you kidding me, the six yard box was full, there was one chance he should of done better with and that was the one when his shot was blocked on the line and came back to him, he clearly tried to put it into the top corner as the goal was rammed with players, it happens.

  28. Well it was a good game for the neutrals.
    Before last season started, Dean Smith said that he wanted to play attacking football but soon found out that we didn’t quite have the necessary quality. It was only towards the end of the season that we really got to grips with the more conservative style of play that ‘just’ brought us enough points.
    He seems to have started this season in the same way, but the extra quality has paid more dividends for us so that we reached the 15 point mark having played half the number of games that it took last year.
    Today’s loss is frustrating because we again had far more chances than the opposition, as we have had in most (all?) games so far this season. Some days this more cavalier style of football works and some days it just doesn’t come off.
    I’m guessing that we’d all prefer to have this excitement rather than the more prosaic Steve Bruce approach but that will mean that there will be days like this!

  29. Mark. Come on. Christ

    He should have buried both those chances. First one he just passed straight to the player on the line, right down the middle l. Go for the corner

    He just isn’t good

    And January we need to get an upgrade on him anf ghazi

  30. I see that Eeyore is suffering particularly badly with his Trezeguet tourettes today. I think that the kind, and sympathetic thing to do is to just ignore it, see past it and try and listen to the rest of what he says.

  31. Actually, unlike Whiting, you make some reasonable points and also avoid personal insults, which at least is something. Just wish you could ease off on the anti-Trez tirade – it gets really tiresome reading the same old comments over and over. Frankly, PW should be kicked off this boards for what he said to MK – totally out of order.

  32. As far as the game today goes, obviously very disappointing result. I thought several players looked a bit leggy, especially Mings and McGinn, and I guess that’s the international break for you. Taking Luiz off made sense after all his distance travelling, although Traore looked far from ready for a first team spot. I’m with MK on Trez – apart from the first-half ‘2nd chance’ shot over the top which he should have scored, his other chances weren’t easy and at least he’s in there taking them on. 100% effort as usual. And I thought Oliver was right to deny the pen, though it pains me to admit it.
    One thing worth bearing in mind though, as we’ve lost 3 home games on the bounce, is that almost everyone this season has won more away from home: it must be the ’empty stadium’ syndrome?

  33. 3 defeats out of 4,all at home to sides we should be taking points off,who is to blame for me Smith mcginn has been awful in each and every one yet played 90 mins in all of them,centre midfield is main point in team and we got overrun in each of them,saying that only 1 goal conceded should martinez been fit to do anything about not to mention countless chances we missed some real sitters,then we have to look at bench remembering Smith has spent a quarter of a billion, Taylor Elmo what is point of either,Conor couldn’t get on for ireland during the week even with 14 players absent surely some young lads would have some energy ,drive effort from bench ,then strikers none on the bench with only option Davies, brighton picked up lampay for 3 m why can’t we find players like that

  34. Mark i have no real problem with how we played today and we were unlucky and also wasteful .. i like the way dean has progressed the team from the very start

    My prefference in styles of play re football in general is the way brighton and southampton currently play … the stats will tell you that they should be getting results in most games but they dont prehaps have as much quality as a lot of other sides

  35. JG- I’m sure we will pick up some bargains in time (the youth), right now we needed some level of guaranteed ability. We can’t exactly buy 11 top prem players so its mid price stuff for us to build a base, We did get McGinn for £2.5m he’s worth a mint know, saying its 1/4 of a billion doesn’t make it sound more by the way 🙂

  36. Runtings- yeah maybe bud, but today of all days when Jack was gassed we lost Barkley, wasn’t sure what our shape was after that, was entertaining but we lack height if we are going to rain crosses in, not enough players in the box to help Watkins, I hope Wes recovers soon. Its a worry how open we are on the break though.

  37. Ok, I’ve had a few drinks now which may be dangerous, but will make the next few comments completely honest.
    I think that Frem makes some really valid points:
    1) Our bench is not as strong as we’d like: this isn’t doubtlessly true and we’d probably all accept it.. . . . The point is though Frem that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s tough . . . but we have to be patient. Our first 11, on their day, can now compete with anyone but it’s going to take a couple more years at least before we can bring on real quality from the benches
    2) Trezeguet is not as good as Jack or Barkley: I think most of us would agree with that. I doubt that any of us feel that he’s anywhere near as bad as Frem makes out but could we improve on him at some point? . . . probably.
    Ok . . . . just the two points for now, but Frem . . . it really is painful when you keep saying the same things again and again

    Finally . . . I think we can all agree that PW is a rather sad, attention seeker: should he be banned from the site for that. . . . probably not.

  38. Trouble now with Barkley injury we are back to a pretty average side. That’s the problem with this team, we have only been 1 injury away from the main 11 to being pretty fucked

    There was a moment in the game hourihane was ahead of the center back, got the through ball to him, and the centre back still got there first. Slowest moving football ever

    That’s what we have to replace Barkley with now. We wjll struggle

    Recruitment needed more in the summer

  39. robbo. Probably? Seriously?

    Not probably about it. He’s a very very very poor player

    2 assists in 50 games. That’s criminal. His finishing, as shown today, is criminal

  40. And the first goal we conceded today. How did Welback end up ahead of of our center backs in our own half

    It’s criminal defensively, again

  41. Frem
    He isn’t a “very very poor player”
    He just isn’t
    You’re wrong
    You’re just wrong

    But . . . . nothing I, or anyone else says will change your mind

    All I can say is please just accept that other people have a different opinion from you and you won’t change our view and we won’t change yours . . . . so let’s just discuss other points where a discussion is worthwhile.

  42. I’d be interested to see JC’s view on Frem’s incessant repetitions, not to mention PW’s foul comments. Everyone else gets along perfectly well without insults or threats, even when we may disagree with someone’s opinion.

  43. Hey Guys. Today’s game was Villa’s to win. Unfortunately BHA came to Villa Park full of vim and vigor. Villa on the other hand only had vim. Over the last two weeks 8 players on the Villa team had international duty which gave some of them five games in that two week stretch. Arsenal and BHA included. Include the travel aspect for some who travelled to Africa and South America and very good players were turned into cart horses. Villa players were tired and tried to keep up to a rested BHA side who play good football but are shy of goals. Their position on the table is deceiving to their talent.
    Lose Barkley at two minutes and Villa were fucked with the tactics they started with. Villa kept pressing and got caught flat footed more than once. Players who, when in good shape would have run down the opposition on a fast break didn’t have the legs. Passes went awry due to exhaustion. Players a half step off the pace. Sure, Villa had plenty of chances but that was due to no energy to finish the play. They didn’t play the game they needed to play to what they had on tap.
    Perhaps Smith wanted a quick goal and then fall back and save themselves by defending. Instead a game more to liking of Sung Mung Il happened—run them into the ground. If there was a game that needed good use of the bench this was it. But no, McGinn, Grealish, Trezuguet, et al were played ragged. Actually McGinn plays shit every time he comes back from Scotland.
    This was a game that ol’ Brucie would have played kitty bar the door and try to nick a goal. You certainly don’t set up a fast tempo when the red light has come on on the fuel gauge half way through the national anthem.
    I like Smith a lot but i think he really blew this one.

  44. Deano needs to realize that one size doesn’t fit all. We are way too open at the back playing cavalier attacking. Players wrecked from international duty was completely predictable. Scotland ran SJM into the ground.

    Yesterday needed a more compact approach to save the legs. I think our side is much better than BHA yet we perished.

  45. I have to agree Ian, when you look at the stats it reads

    Aston Villa 2.18 – 1.36 Brighton

    Expected goals


    Pretty much both of Brightons chances were low probability , one on ones are not scored that often, they missed two more to show that. We kept our high probability chance ratio high as we did against all teams this season, the difference was very likely tiredness.

    Brighton had no internationals we had,

    Aaron Ramsey, Carney Chukwuemeka, Conor Hourihane, Douglas Luiz ,Emiliano Martinez, Jack Grealish ,Jacob Ramsey, Jaden Philogene-Bidace ,John McGinn, Kaine Kesler, Louie Barry, Marvelous Nakamba ,Trezeguet ,Tyrone Mings ,Viljami Sinisalo and Traore.
    (might of missed someone?)

    The question is how should Smith have responded to losing Barkley and how he initially set up. As you can see there were no fresh options on the bench either.

    Myself I would of gone for Nakamba, and let McGinn push up in Barkleys role as he was causing his own problems but we have no idea who was least effected by their international games and trips.

    They would of had their readiness checked as a matter of routine, if their heart rate was up over normal etc, my guess is it was a toss up between a bunch that were fitter to begin with and played vs those that hadn’t had much match time and played, either way it brings its recovery problems, Traore played but had to be subbed as he was out on his feet.

    At the end of the day we missed good chances and that meant we had to run all day. Smith was instructing them all game to keep the ball so was trying to give them rests, they just don’t do that well and kept pushing but didn’t finish.

  46. Actually thought Trez’s work rate was exceptional. But his shooting is awful. It could have been 5 – 5 at the end.

    The penalty fiasco summed the day up. Trez gets his legs chopped from under him just below the knee caps. Clear penalty. Ah but wait. March gets a faint touch on the ball with the outside of his boot a split moment before he fells our man. So that’s fine then. Doesn’t matter that the tackle didn’t clear the ball or remove it from danger. The danger was taken out via a hatchet job. I’m sure it would not have been overturned had it happened at the other end.

  47. Looking at the 2020/2021 season sqaud photo

    Puts home how many poor players we have.

    January needs sorting out. We can’t have that bench through the season. We needed Davis on, snd shock he’s injured. We need a left back to. Targett is a huge problem

  48. Plug – I thought it hit his shin pad not his boot which went straight to trez’s shin.

    I thought Trez’s shooting wasn’t that bad just a matter of a packed goal mouth, Iwill have to watch the replays, maybe he could pick his spot better but he doesn’t half put some leather behind it, sods law that it hits someone in those circumstances, with better luck or deviation of a few inches he could be on 7-8 this season. You can see the frustration in him. His stats at other clubs were as good as Jacks last season and better on the goal front.

    He worked his nuts off and his link up play was decent, more than once he wriggled out of our half with the ball and started attacks, call me nuts but I think if Smith wants to stick with his plan without Barkley then move Trez there and play El Ghazi or Traore at RW.

    For me the more Trez has got involved in the game the better he has become, linked up with Cash really well too, at least he can cross from the right unlike Traore (which surprised me) whose all left foot.

  49. West Ham and Newcastle next. Should be 6 points. Not 1 or 2. We can’t accept shit like we did last season. Yesterday we were pre lock down Villa. Naive. Not smart.

    We’ve spent to much money to lose to Brighton at home, and not beat west ham and Newcastle. Or else things need looking at.. Other clubs we are bigger than have a better manager than us. We have to catch up at some point

  50. The fact Hourihane didn’t come on for Barkley shows where he is at. He can’t replace Barkley in any way shape or form

    Robbo. 50 games. 2 assists. I’m pretty sure hesa very very poor player

    Prove otherwise.

    He missed two open nets yes

    He’s frankly absolutely shit

  51. January, we need to find a centre back who’s really going to compete with Mings and Konsa. Hause and Engles won’t.. Not good enough, especially Hause

    But Mings gets complacent alot, like yesterday. Hw needs competition

    Ghaizu should start over trezeguet next game. His finishing has been disgraceful so far.. Drop him

  52. Frem you have trez derangement syndrome. Look at the scores for our players in the mail trez jack and Tralee all get 6 the highest score, mcginn who’s shooting was woeful 4.5 Luis equally inept 5 mings who was out of position for welbecks 1st and couldn’t deal with maupays movement 4.5 how come your not nailing them? Trez missed a sitter with his left foot which is not his strongest and still gets 6 . Traore can’t use his right at all and constantly stops attacks by passing back when he should of drove at the defence and crossed.

    Think you’ve finally cracked wanting elghazi over trez 🙂

  53. Frem
    Elgazi who wouldn’t get hurt after lockdown trying to get a ball,
    Trez has missed f w chances but at least he puts in a shift
    Yesterday all our problems came from our centre midfield , mcginn has been awful ,Marv should have come on yesterday

  54. JG- I wouldn’t mind but last game ElGhazi played he looked lively and missed a whole raft of chances about 5 in all, it was tough luck or poor finishing but his defensive contribution was zero. That said El Ghazi could easily play in Barkleys 10 position as could Trez at a pinch, their not Barkley but it could work for them. Jack ended up CM but was to knackered by then and made it worse.

  55. Well villa don’t do things simply! Beat the teams we expect to loose too and loose to the ones we should be getting points off! Massively frustrating to follow up a great win at arsenal and loose at home to Brighton. 3 defeats at vp on the bounce is really not good. Smith has to stop this crazy high line at home. We are getting caught out every time.

  56. Pray to god Barkley ain’t out for months. I thought we played well first half and never deserved to loose. But it was my biggest fear, the internationals. We were dead on our feet. Deano tried to play it down but Luiz mcguinn jack all started 3 games. Ridiculous.

  57. Noticed something yesterday,when we had set piece Bright sent lampay up the field an outlet for a quick attack,Smith brings everyone back even elgazi and Conor who won’t put their feet where others put their heads,along with that mcginn was picking up one of brighton centre halves utter madness from Smith,the owners seriously have to be looking at Smith yes he has done brilliant for us ,but has he hit his ceiling

  58. Trezuguet’ s chances all came with the goal mouth cluttered with players from both teams. He had the option of shooting high and going over or low and into a dozen or so legs. He did the right thing—put it on the net. Take your chance of a deflection or a Villa player being able to put it in. BHA players were practically playing on the goal line. A low percentage chance for Villa to score.
    James, perhaps you are right about Smith hitting his limits. It’s not the first time we have seen him refuse to change tactics as his options change or the game goes a different way. I wonder, like Frem says, the bench is too light to make those changes. Still the players on the pitch should be able to change tactics if Smith wanted them to.
    Is Traore really a one footed footballer or is his right leg the one that was injured? If he can only use his left he won’t be long in a Villa shirt.

  59. Blimey JG, If winning 5 out of 8 games at season start and thrashing some of the top sides is his ceiling I’ll take it. I can’t understand the thinking at this stage of the teams development, average age of 25 is very young and its only 8 games in together?? at this rate we could end up with 60 plus points or tail off.

    I agree that the team can be naive as they are young but we have conceded less goals than all of the top 6 bar Leicester who have conceded 9, liverpool have shipped 16, man city have conceded 11 and scored 10, we have scored 19! 3 less than Chelsea who have conceded 12, how good does his ceiling have to be? I think he has a way to go yet so its looking quite rosy.

  60. Mk
    Everyone is entitled to opinions,me Smith has spent a fortune and we only have 11/12 players he trusts,like I wrote before where are his bargain buys to fill up the squad, brighton got lampay from chelsea last January,Smith got drunkwater,or jota
    You can’t be impressed with smith same mistakes as

  61. This time last year,hung ho football choice of subs,defensive set play work,keeping mcginn on field ,can’t say we are a work in progress when we spent amount of money Smith has

  62. The cost of players is a moot point. Every time some flash in the pan goes for over 100 mil he pulls up the cost of every other player on the planet. So over the last few years large sums have been spent on dross only because you have no choice. Just like the real estate market.

  63. JG- you certainly are entitled to an opinion mate it just seems to miss out the clubs circumstance when Smith turned up and where we are now 2 years on. What manager gets to his ceiling in two years while building a team?

    I fully understand that in an alternative universe another manager came in instead of Smith and took us up as champions spending only £5m then next season he overhauled the squad for £50m and won Villas 1st prem title and the Fa Cup. In another a manager came in and we went down into the 1st div and in another we are still struggling in the champs.

    Fortunately we can only deal with Reality, that reality is Smith got us up were others didn’t , went on a ten game winning streak, beat the top Champs teams more often than not. Then had to build a whole new team just to stay in the prem while getting to a final. Ah but its all because of Jack! fans say, yep and Liverpool won the title because of Salah.

    This season fans are moaning as we have only won 5 out of 8 thrashing the champs and arsenal. We have also conceded less goals than any top 6 side bar Leicester and had 4 clean sheets and scored 2 less than spurs who are top, could of gone top twice ourselves.

    Meanwhile at the bottom of the table is Wilder who’s a very good manager and knows a bargain, they have scored 4 goals and conceded 9 ! why hasn’t he built on last season by finding more gems? he’s had 4 years at Sheffield and spent nearly £60m this season £65 last and they had a team.

    Sorry mate but the whole he’s spent £250m and he hasn’t found a super star for a button and a packet of crisps is just another stick to beat him with that totally disregards what he ‘has’ done for us. Since he has turned up with the help of the owners we have only gone one way, up.

    Look around at the millions spent elsewhere over multiple seasons and the great managers in this league yet here we are holding our own.

  64. Smith has done amazing in 2 years we need to remember what this squad , club was 2 years ago , it sure wasnt pretty .. deano is taking us forwards but we wont have a perfect sqaud from were we are coming from for a little whie yet its an evolution

  65. What can I add to this conversation?
    Yesterday, I watched Aston villa on a 80″ tv screen in the pub and watched some amazing football from Villa with flicks and tricks, great moves, but at the same time, I saw moments of total naivety, where we allowed ourselves to have ten men in Brighton’s half of the pitch, and no one between Martinez and the centre circle.
    This resulted in Brighton’s first goal, when Villa had been totally in charge of the game. We did then take a more enlightened approach, and could have easily had several opportunities to equalize, but that important clinical moment in a player’s head did not happen.
    Eventually we reached half time, still a goal down, but immediately after the break, it looked as if we may take charge at last, when we got a great equalizer through Konsa.
    Unfortunately, we didn’t learn, and nor did Jack. He showed so much promise for England, moving the ball on quickly and creating chances, but yesterday he was back to the old Jack, trying to do too much and losing out.
    I almost felt sorry for Trezeguet yesterday, with so much effort and work rate, but if he had been a little smarter, he could have achieved so much more. It is all about split second timings, and we need to get better at it.
    We actually failed in the same way that Man City did yesterday, by not being direct enough with passes out to the wing, and making the ball do the work. We allowed Brighton to close us down every time.
    A disappointing result, but Villa will play worse and win. I have no complaints at the moment, as the frustration on Dean Smith’s face throughout the game was clear to see.
    I also think that it was definitely a penalty, and in the past there would have been no question.
    I do agree with Frem that the bench is poor. We should be taking the chance to blood some of our outstanding talent, but think that Smith is more like Bruce, in that he likes to use the tried and tested players.
    We really lack a proper captain and midfielder like Barry, Milner or the the legend that was Dennis Mortimer. Douglas Luiz has a long way to go before he fills the role.

  66. I’ve caught up (had a distanced engagement last night with a dear friend), and I have to say, as usual, a lot of really good comments. Ian, I thought your summary was spot on.

    Just one of those days, in the end. Tired, yes, a bit “naive” or overly aggressive, take your pick. Luck didn’t quite go our way, we don’t have any real game-changers on the bench.

    Disappointing, yes. Hardly tragic.

  67. Bielsa’s Leeds failed to beat a 10 man Arsenal, they have scored 14 goals and shipped 17 this season spending £96m to add to a title winning side that has been under him for nearly 3 seasons now. Yet all you here is how Bielsa’s a genius and his team has a style while Smiths doesn’t thats been together less than a year and for 8 games for half the 1st team. Can Bielsa take Leeds forward?

  68. viva,

    I take a light hand on moderation. Maybe too light, sometimes, but I prefer to err on that side. MK’s got thick skin, and PW does tend to get a bit wound up. All Villans, and disappointing losses, well, they affect people in different ways based on what they’re bringing with them.

    I don’t like insults, no need. Polite disagreement is what virtually everyone seems to manage. But if it continues, I’ll let the consensus rule on decisions. AVL is supposed to be ‘democratic’, and I don’t fancy being judge, jury and executioner without feedback. Which, I’ve seen some up-thread, and it’s not falling on deaf ears.

    On Frem…Well, one thing, I owe Frem a response on his remote working question. Sorry, Frem. My time is very often not my own. I will get back to you.

    Incessant commenting? I just scroll past, occasionally reply. It doesn’t do much good, so I suppose I’d encourage you, Frem, to just not worry so much. We’ve got we’ve got, it’s a fine start to the season, and a funny set of results.

    We’ve all watched Trez, all have our opinions. My take is that he’s there for his work-rate, does an awful lot, plays with all his heart. I’d like to see more goals and assists, but he has scored some important ones in the past, so he does have it in him somewhere. And as someone noted earlier, he and Cash were, at times, doing some lovely work together down the flank.

  69. JC- The problem seems to be with fans expectations for what is a very raw, young, but talented side. The lack of a bench is just a product of what the club has been through for 5-6 years and not a conscious build. When you look at what other managers have achieved since mons departure I can only shake my head in disbelief at the flack Smith gets sometimes, some may be warranted but in the overall context its OTT, but thats football today.

  70. As always, you make a lot of fair points, MK. We will indeed see what Bielsa really brings besides insane amounts of running.

    I did get to watch a bit of Spurs-City. There’s Pep, I don’t know how much money and internationals on the field, and they looked every bit as bereft of ideas or a Plan B as Villa get accused of. They got punished on the counter, de Bruyne was less influential than Jack, and they’re still behind us in the table.

  71. MK,

    “The problem seems to be with fans expectations for what is a very raw, young, but talented side. The lack of a bench is just a product of what the club has been through for 5-6 years and not a conscious build.”

    Absolutely. To be honest, I can’t understand why this isn’t just accepted for what it is. We’ve all seen and watched it over the last few years, and the whole thing is pretty self-evident.

  72. Personally I’m not bothered by PW’s foibles and insults I’m sure he actually thinks I’m a bellend, feeling is mutual , I just think if you sink that low you have lost the argument anyway 🙂

  73. Who should step in for Barkley?

    Give Ramsey or Louie Barry a chance. We know Hourihane is not good enough and El Ghazi needs to be sold. Do like Klopp and give youth a chance.

  74. For me Traore is not up to speed with EPL. He needs more games coming on as a sub. I’m believe Ramsey (ideally) or Barry would offer much more energy and fight that any of the players I mentioned above

  75. Watkins is pretty good with his feet and head. Move him into Barkley’s spot and put Kienan up front with his large body and strength. Don’t worry if he isn’t scoring. Most of Villa’s goal come from a variety of positions.

  76. Some great comments from all, I especially liked Paul Pears write-up.

    An interesting idea was made and I hadn’t thought of when Barkley got injured….bring Nakamba on, play Douglas slightly more forward and move SJM to #10. I think that would have been better, but we’re all smarter after the game.

    DS was critical of Traore after the game for not defending…hint-hint Frem

  77. Some interesting comments regarding plans A and B this evening.
    Last season, we started off all gung ho and then became much more pragmatic towards the end of the season . . . that feels like a plan B to me.
    Bielsa is an interesting case in point though. His Plan took longer to achieve promotion from the championship than Smith’s did.
    Will his plan work in the premiership. . . . and if it doesn’t, is he capable of constructing a plan B?

  78. JC – thanks for responding to my post so fully and reasonably.

    I’m sure you’re right about Mark’s thick skin (he says as much himself a bit further on) and your comments re. PW are perfectly fair. It’s just that he never posts when Villa have done well and when he has a grouse, can only express it as obscenities and insults. I’ve been supporting Villa for 63 years now and I guess I come from what you might call a slightly more genteel era, but I’ll do my best to grow a thicker skin!

    Keep up the good work and excellent writing – this site is head-and-shoulders above all the rest.

  79. I’m looking forward to Wesley coming back, another big man. I think for the most part Villa players are a little light in body weight. Remember Richard Dunne? 210 pounds. You weren’t going to shift that very often.

  80. Trezeguet couldn’t finish his dinner,”

    From Gabby twitter.

    Rest my case.

    He’s absolutely crap

    2 assists and 6 goals in 50 games

    Awful. You can’t defend that

  81. One frustration I have with some fans from all clubs, not just Villa, is the sense of entitlement to success that they seem to have. Every loss is treated as a disaster and there always has to be someone to blame.
    One of the joys of sport is the unpredictability and the ups and downs, and for me, a good season is one that shows progression from the year before.
    Over the past 6 years, my business partner and I have been fortunate enough, along with a great team behind us, to take 3 failing businesses and turn them round. Two of them progressed well each year whereas the third (and the largest as it happens) went through a difficult period where we had to put houses on the line etc. . . .and believe me, at my age that wasn’t a decision to be taken lightly.
    The point is. . .there were ups and downs but I’d like to think that because the underlying plans were sound, everything has finally turned out well.
    Each of our personal experiences inevitably colour how we view the world, including the successes and failures of our football clubs. In my case, it’s led me to respect those who are prepared to invest in our club and equally, I resent fans who ‘demand’ ever greater investment and success without seeming to understand that behind it, are people making real commitments and investments in their club.
    Our current owners and management seem to have the sound underlying development plan which we’ve all been hoping for. We’ve seen steady progression since they took over and surely that is worth recognising and supporting?

  82. r0bb0

    I was sick of it months ago. I had a little tease that JC invented frem as a pantomime villain to generate clicks for this site. The sheer nause that frem generates seriously degrades this site and must drive some people away. Long ago I started just scrolling through frem’s posts but there were times when I was doing it so much that I just shut the page down and waited for the next new page notified by “newsnow aston villa”. Frem seems like some pubescent teenie with attention-deficit disorder and Asperger syndrome. He/she just doesn’t seem to realize how much irritation they are causing – or else they are just being malicious. HAD ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  83. I’m still sore and smarting from our latest loss. It’s how it is. Was it Shankly who said, when asked if football was a matter of life or death, replied oh, it’s much more important than that.

    Bottom line, when we win I have a great weekend. When we lose I have a schitt weekend. However, it is small beer compared to rObBo who talks above about putting his house on the line for his business. I do know people who have done that and lost their house. It’s a big risk and worry. My weekend enjoyment is far less important.

  84. So who are the Covid winners and losers? I would suggest Villa are one of the winners. We’ve done much better since the restart without fans than we did with them.

    Whereas Sheff United have had the opposite experience. Home advantage no longer exists without the fans. Which proves that the authorities are talking BS when they say their refs are completely impartial. There have always been “homer” refs swayed by the crowd, but right now they’ve all vanished. Refs are quite happy to overturn penalty decisions against the home team when there is no crowd on their backs. Does this explain our woeful home form and fantastic away form?

  85. Plug
    Sheff utd are nothing new ,a team playing well in championship gets promotion carries on for 1 st season then falls of a cliff,us under graham Taylor perfect examples,ipswich manager name can’t remember got manager of season,forest under frank clark ,what sheff utd have found very hard getting better players for their system ,think cascarino Nigel callaghan for Taylor
    What I don’t get is Smith is untouchable for some,if Bruce named same sub bench on Saturday he would got stick and rightly so,same as 1 st sub,if our youth are not better at18/9 as choice of subthan Taylor elgazi and Conor what is point of them

  86. R0bb0,

    Nice write up. Well said on the owners. How many clubs would like to be in our shoes?

    Frem – everyone knows your opinion on Trez. Nobody is trying to change your opinion. Can we ask you to stop repeating the same comments on Trez 100’s of times per blog article???? It achieves nothing

  87. Unbelievable
    Gabby says trez couldn’t finish his dinner,be kind hard for trez to finish his dinner,Gabby was on his seat
    How Gabby has nerve to talk about any villa player

  88. JG,

    Yeah, Gabby signed a big fat long term contract and then couldn’t be bothered. I used to love him, but not during his last 4+ years. Wouldn’t take anything he says seriously

  89. Villamd?JG The same Gabby that wound Leeds up and couldn’t hit a cows arse with a banjo once he got fat.

    JG- Smiths not untouchable I just don’t agree with what you are saying. Give him man city with a bench full of stars and see if his subs improve. So far in two years he’s had very little to bring on, and on top of that has to keep players happy as we are thin on the ground. This season we have strengthened the 1st 11, I’m sure Traore was supposed be established by now but for Trez pulling up trees.

    We have put the players that couldn’t quite cut the mustard on the bench and Kids as much as I’d love to see them are not ready, end of the season or next I think is when they will bare fruit.

    Smith is mixing it with the best and has beaten Klopp, Rodgers, wilder and Arteta so far not bad if your honest.

  90. We need to keep prospetive we are actually having a great season so far a few bad performances but not many and with a thin sqaud losing any key players i.e mings jack sjm ross and ollie will weaken us a fair bit at the moment ….. ony a few weeks until jan so there might be an opportunity to shuffle and strengthen a bit

    as it stands though we are in the mix for top 6 with 10 games gone .. not too shabby

  91. Watching the wolves Southampton game and there have been several decisions now that have left me certain that I no longer know what constitutes a foul or handball.
    More importantly though, it’s clear that the referees don’t know either.
    We’ve just seen a Southampton defender get a touch on the ball and then take out the player and it was given as a foul (remember a penalty not given for the same thing this weekend?)
    The ball hit a Wolves defender’s arm in the box and it wasn’t given as a penalty.
    VAR isn’t the problem. . . . lack of clarity of the rules is.

  92. Once again, excellent set of comments and perspective. It’s a real pleasure to turn my attention elsewhere for a little bit, come back, and catch up and learn things.

    And cheers, viva.

  93. Likewise, I don’t really understand many of the calls. Seems like refs don’t have much problem outside the box, then get flustered with anything inside. Whether Trez was ‘dramatic’ or not, he clearly gets his leg kicked, just below the shin pad, I believe, as he’s driving in on goal; would’ve gone down one way or another; and the faint touch on the ball was purely incidental. Would’ve been a foul anywhere else, and it’s not like he was running out of the box.

    I know they’re big calls, but as r0bb0 says, the lack of clarity and consistency is maddening.

  94. Blimey, haven`t been on here for months and I am greeted by non-stop abuse comments towards to team and yep, that old chestnut – sack the manager.
    So in this yo-yo Premiership season so far, I think we have done really well so far with what is still a team that, in part, is learning about each other and the Premiership.
    But to read the comments from Frem amongst others has just told me that I made the right decision to stay away from this page.
    MK – good to see you being the voice of reason and putting some sound comments down. Seriously, good stuff.
    So I will leave you again now, stay safe all, keep the faith and support your team through thick and thin.

  95. Thought I’d share this, its recent study of who, what and why of covid and why some countries got it bad and some got nothing.

    “Main Findings
    This analysis shows that higher Covid-19 mortality rates are mostly found in countries experiencing higher life expectancies and showing a recent slowdown of this progression. Most of these developed and aging societies are latitudinally located over the 25° parallel. They also have higher GDP and chronic diseases levels (e.g., CVD and cancer) associated with major metabolic risk factors (e.g., inactive lifestyle, sedentarity, and obesity). High temperature and UV levels are associated with low death rates such that northern and western countries pay the most severe toll to Covid-19.

    In the PCA, the first axis shows a strong correlation between Covid-19 death rates and countries inside the [25/65°] latitudinal strip, while the third axis reveals two correlations with Covid-19 death rates: one with longitude, a second one with obesity. This suggests that states in the Americas plagued with frequent inactive lifestyle and higher obesity rates than Asian countries experienced a higher death toll.

    This is consistent with the hypothesis of an optimal human development niche, that has aggregated favorable health, demographic, environment, and economic parameters (1). However, though previously positive, they now expose populations to higher vulnerabilities to both infectious (Covid-19) or physical constraints (heat waves). Regarding government’s actions (i.e., containment and stringency index), no association was found with the outcome, suggesting that the other studied factors were more important in the Covid-19 mortality than political measures implemented to fight the virus, except for the economic support index. It may however be important to decipher this positive relation in a plausible chronological order: it does not seem that a higher economic support would induce a higher Covid-19 mortality, but rather that a higher death toll rate provoked a larger societal reaction, including a higher amount of economic measures, when available.”

    In other words it was going to happen in some countries whatever stupid measures we applied while in others that also applied similar measure and got very few deaths would have regardless too.


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