The end of a long layoff sees Villa travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham. A fresher Villa will be looking to bounce back after the disappointing loss to Brighton, but the Hammers won’t be a pushover, and Villa are without Ross Barkley’s services.

It’s a shame about Barkley, obviously, since the side were starting to gel. He does have a history of niggles, though, and I’ve done much the same thing myself, picking up a strain early on. We’re hearing 2-3 weeks.

As a response, perhaps, reports from training had Grealish playing the number 10 role, taking balls from deep, playing quickly out to either Traoré or Trez, (don’t get started, Frem), and drilling the link-ups with Ollie. Will we see it? Who knows. But it would solve some problems and keep McGinn and Luiz in their familiar spots.

West Ham come in on the heels of consecutive clean-sheet wins over Fulham and Sheffield United. If Michail Antonio is back to full fitness, it’ll be a test for Luiz and the back line. Jarrod Bowen is one of those players who’ll be odds-on to annoy us, and with Benrahma in on loan, they’ve got a lot going for them. One hopes Jack’s learned a bit about Declan Rice in England training. Noble’s always annoying.

A win would see Villa jump back to fourth, still with that game in hand. A draw would get us to seventh. It’s all a bit tight, and I don’t think Villa would be heartbroken with a point. We’ve yet to draw, and once again, you can see that’s often the difference in the table.

Anyway, I’ll expect a counterattacking game from Villa, bit of an emphasis on keeping things organized at the back and not getting too high a line. Konsa and Mings will need to be really switched on. That said, Smith likes a fast start, so we may see the press early, trying to get that early lead. Regardless, I see us sitting back a bit more after the first 10-20 minutes and waiting for space to open up. If Traoré does start, he’ll need to have a good game. Sort of obvious, but once the threat he possesses finally emerges consistently, it ought to make a difference and give defenders something else to worry about.

However it goes, I’m thinking a win would likely be of the grind-it-out variety, and Dean won’t be wanting to see us go behind. Space closes up. But that’s also where Traoré could really help.

So, we’ll see. Right now, Villa clearly would like to stay in the top half. I’d talked before about the favorable run (about as favorable as you get in the PL), and despite stumbling out of the gate, there are still six ahead, including tonight, where Smith would be liking us to consolidate ourselves.

Over to you.

Comments 258

  1. JC of course we’d all love to maintain our away record and enjoy seeing our team sitting in the Champion’s league places for a few days again but with West Ham gaining confidence from recent good results, a draw would be a decent return.
    Looking on the blogs, West Ham supporters seem to suffer from the same insecurities of many Villa fans and whilst they’re pleased with how things are going, they won’t be surprised if it falls apart at any time.

  2. JC Interesting article about Obama on the last thread. Let’s hope the Biden’s time as VP will have left him with a desire to curb US adventurism. Could it be that one good thing to come from fracking in the US is that it’s reduced the need to try and control Middle Eastern supply lines?

  3. Thanks JC- If Newcastle have to play with half a team then deep joy.

    West Ham play 541 in defence and 343 in attack and are good in the air. Watkins faces 3 CB’s tonight I hope his movement cause them problems with Trez and whomever cutting in between the CB’s. Wet Spam like to counter quickly which might not suit us and we need to be wary. They also don’t play out from the back but launch it and look to win headers, none which suits us, we need to keep it on the deck and use Jack imo.

  4. r0bb0,

    Not that I want to do much politics on here, but I think the US appetite to intervene has diminished considerably. Basically Iraq (thanks George) and Afghanistan have given the country a second Vietnam, it’s gone on forever with nothing gained and lots of chaos unleashed.

    Obama wanted to shift toward the Pacific and China, but using trade (TPP) and alliance as the mechanism for containment. But ISIS, Syria, Taliban, Arab Spring, blah blah, have kept convincing people there’s a need to get involved in some way, and inhibited withdrawals.

    I don’t really think oil ended up being the primary driver in Iraq…I seriously think it had as much to do with Bush wanting to finish the Gulf War and Saddam being “the guy that tried to kill my dad.”

    Between Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Iran there’s always been a lot of competing imperatives to the ‘global’ strategist types. And then bin Laden came along and the US reacted pretty much exactly the way he wanted.

  5. JC- I think the flash point will now be Africa, China heavily involved there and Isis like Islamic armies are taking over in some countries, the gift that keeps on giving.

  6. MK,

    The thing you have to understand with most every vote like that (when there is an actual vote) is that for a very long time the Right has favored a very ‘muscular’ foreign policy, including ‘coming to the aid’ of what are perceived as friendly/strategic regimes. Being largely divorced of consequences at home, apart from that to the soldiers (and not learning the lessons), it’s been a very persistent orientation, and it’s political poison to not support the military-industrial complex in some way. If it hadn’t been for 9/11, I think you’d have seen a lot less ‘adventurism’. The US has been unwilling to commit any consequential amount of troops (there were a few in Syria) elsewhere.

    The Iraq quagmire has posed the same dilemma as Vietnam. No one wants to walk away after so much blood has been spilled, no one wants to admit there are no good options. Obama wanted to de-escalate the Iran issue, as well as get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Hawks worry about the vacuum we’d leave. Even coming to a treaty with Iran put Obama under a lot of pressure from the Right, and that threatens to undermine the real stuff the Left wants to accomplish domestically.

    The “America First” part of Trump’s appeal is based on that overall fatigue, which sees the Right for the first time some 60 years losing interest in conflict. But the funny thing about the US is that the Right will come back and blame the Left for being “weak on terrorism” if a Democrat actually does the walking away.

  7. MK,

    Yeah, it’s an old game…The US played that, too. I’m guessing a real flash-point will be in the Pacific, Taiwan, the islands China’s building up, something over sea lanes, etc.

    I’m fairly sure the US will leave Africa alone as far as China goes, not much interest in the continent (apart from raw materials), and try to return the trade/alliance route to isolate China’s ambitions.

    But yes…any of the terrorist offspring will keep the US’s attention and would be the thing to ‘force’ more military action.

  8. Was anyone any the wiser about man to man or zonal marking of corners after Carragher’s rambling explanation with what went wrong for their goal?

  9. really liking some of our play tonight though not perfect our approach seems better than west ham … only cristism is our inabilty to play out from the back and beat the press

  10. Frem, yes I’d like us to have Benrahma too but he’s cost West Ham up to £30m including add ons and was too expensive for us in the last transfer window.
    He’s the sort of player we’ll hope to be bringing in each transfer window as we steadily improve the squad

  11. Yes Trezeguet should have scored that. He’s lost the confidence he had at the end of last season when his goals kept us in the premiership.
    He’s still getting himself into great goal scoring positions but lacking the confidence to put them away.

  12. Wr had the chance to win two on the boieand go top. Shock we bottle it

    Another defeat. More awful defending. Its slowly ending back to last season

  13. Well that’s hard to take.
    We were by far the better team but Ollie Watkins and Trezeguet missed our best chances.
    This is nothing like previous seasons though . . . . we are finally looking, not just like a premiership team, but a ‘good’ premiership team.

  14. Yeah, that’s a gutting loss. Two sucker punches, outplay them the rest of the match. Four misses out of six career penalties for Watkins, I heard. Might want to switch that up.

  15. I’m off before another frem deluge. Don’t know if I will bother with this frem site for a while. Thanks for nothing frem – you seriously and bitterly piss me off.

  16. 4 defeats from 5 now….

    If we really want to take advantage of this crazy season we need a change. Why shouldn’t we better our self’s?

    Potch is there. Go pay him

  17. And well. He should be completely dropped for his misses the last two games

    Wd absolutely have to go beat Newcastle on Friday or esle the club should act.

    We want better players so why not better manager

  18. really unlucky tonight and also wasteful again , barkley a big miss to what we currently are
    I feel like i would rather be on the villa path rather than the west ham one even though we lost tonight

    we have a chance to get back on track on Friday i an sure the boys wont be leaving anything out there

    Super Jack

  19. Runtings, yes Barkley does bring something extra but even without him we did more than enough to win that game.
    You’re also right about Jack . . . . he was super

  20. Disappointed with the back four and Martinez with the constant messing and passing across the back, as we could have easily been punished again. We are playing better with more confidence, and hopefully we will improve.
    We should have won this game easily, but we just do not still have that clinical finish in the box. VAR also does not do us any favours.
    The difference between us was the two players we could have signed , but didn’t. How good would we be if we had signed Jarrod Bowen last season when we could have, and this season we could have bought |Benrahma, instead we had Traore and Trezeguet……. Maybe getting a little sympathy with Frem, but not his constant whinging.
    Seen us play a lot worse, and win. This game shows our potential, but also outlines our failings.
    Does Jack also need to cut down on his playing for fouls, as I am always afraid that one time he could end up getting a serious injury, He needs to move the ball faster, which he has been doing when playing for England,
    Wow!! Big row now on Sky over VAR, and how it has robbed Villa tonight.

  21. JC
    Thank you very much for taking the time to message me.

    AVL has been far and away the best Villa blog site since the Turvey inception. I couldn’t possibly stay away from the editorial that you are so generous with your journalistic ability and time in providing.

    I will be all grown up and avoid reading the comments for a while (at least until Villa stop getting robbed!!!)

    Cheers UTV

    Jim Davi

  22. I still believe that VAR is a good thing but why why why don’t they look at sports where it has been used effectively and try and learn some of the absolutely obvious lessons?
    In cricket for example, the rules around applying VAR state that “only clearly incorrect decisions will be reversed”. if this was applied to football, not only would it lead to faster decision making but would also remove the ridiculous pantomime of someone trying to judge exactly where someone’s armpit starts.
    You watch the official at Stockley Park trying to move the lines backwards and forwards and frankly their fine motor skills are not up to moving the lines into exactly the right positions so we’re ‘still’ left arguing whether they’ve got it right or not.

    They MUST be able to see that the way VAR is currently being used is bringing the whole procedure into disrepute . . . . why are they so damn slow to respond to this??

  23. I don’t know what to make of VAR. It’s just so inconsistent. I see it used pretty well in the NFL, but even then, they still miss calls, and there’s stuff that’s reviewable, and stuff that isn’t. All scoring plays are reviewed, though.

    One thing I’d say (and I know Ian would agree) is that offside should only be determined by the feet. Cut all the other crap out. I really don’t understand how having a shoulder ahead, when your feet are level or behind, is offside.

    And if you’re reviewing a scoring play (like tonight), then you have to look at everything…like the mugging. The ref has the opportunity to say, offside, but penalty. You’re just reviewing the whole scoring play/incident.

    I’d rather hairline decisions like tonight (no flag raised) not considered a “clear and obvious” error. If you have to examine it under a microscope, it’s fine to let it stand under that same criteria.

    You’ve got people arguing over shirt pulls and all the rest. It’s so chaotic at times, you have to look at the whole goal movement. But the “It’s a foul anywhere else,” kind of thing…Why? If it’s a foul, it’s a foul. You’ll have lots of penalties until players wise up. And then maybe you have more goals for the lack of fouls.

    Regardless, I’d start with the feet on offside.

  24. I think penalties are a particular pet peeve of mine because I see Mings and Konsa, etc., probably allowing opportunities for trying not to give away a penalty. I see our forwards getting mugged like tonight, and it’s all fine. I really don’t understand it. You can grab, wrestle, and pull as a CB, and somehow it isn’t a foul unless it is. Are we being naive? I guess so.

    Also, if you’re a forward (or anyone really), and the ball’s coming to you and you get knocked over from behind as you’re stationary and receiving the ball, it’s a foul. You’ve established position. Since you can’t come through the back to tackle, you can’t come through the back, period. That’s what Wes was having a hard time adjusting to. You see it called everywhere else except usually on CBs. Yet you breathe on them, and it’s a foul.

    Which brings me to Grealish and “diving.” Does he earn free kicks? Absolutely. Because at least 9 times out of 10, he’s fouled because he goes at the player and knows the player won’t be able to stop him going round without fouling, and knows the defender has already chosen a bad angle or won’t be able to resist. Solution? Back off and let him play. Not his fault he’d run riot. In the meantime, I’ll take any free kick given him because he takes a legitimate knocking regardless, and teams just spread those fouls around.

    You can legislate that, if you like: Third foul by the same player on another player = a yellow. No judgment on accumulation. Or, let’s even say the fourth or fifth foul on any given player, whoever commits it gets a yellow.

    I’ll shut up because I’m worked up now.

  25. Would Villa be happy with a point asks JC? Before the game, yes. But after watching it, no. We should have won as we were by far the better team.

    I deliberately stay off this site when we lose so you don’t have to endure my ranting, and come in the next day when I’ve simmered down.

  26. It’s so tough supporting Villa. So tough. To give the opposition a free goal start once in a season is poor, to do it twice in the same game is unforgivable. There would be hell to pay if it happened to my Sunday morning team. If it’s going to happen anywhere in the 4 divisions, you just know it will be us.

    The long throw in nearly caught them, but no worries, the resulting corner did so. Why isn’t Tyro barking orders, matching up size against size and mark MEN. It’s they that score, not space. But in my book, the first goal was down to Martinez. At 6’5″, he should have easily taken the delivery in his 6 yard box.

  27. It’s 4 defeats in the last 5 now as pointed out above. That’s relegation form. If the coaching staff aren’t worried, they should be. There is so much to be worked on. Newcastle may not be able to send a team on Friday.

  28. Trez had a stinker. Barn doors and banjo’s come to mind. As for VAR, it doesn’t benefit the likes of Villa. It is there for the Manchester and London clubs. Rather than settling any arguments, Stockley Park is causing ever more of them.

    Start by using nothing other than feet to determine where a player is standing. Then if we are talking millimetres, then the attacker gets it.

    And why wasn’t the penalty retaken for encroachment in the area by defenders before the kick was taken? Had it been the other end, it would have.

  29. Still not finished. When Ollie was looking to take the penalty, Ben Drama was telling the keeper where Ollie would be putting it. I saw it, why didn’t the players.

    Ollie should have been immediately pulled and any of Jack, SJM or Hourihane would have been capable of taking it. I just don’t see any mental agility from us at all.

    Rant over, I’m off to work.

  30. People finally realising on twitter that Trezeguet is actually a problem and his finishing is costing us points. And just generally that he isn’t very good

    Traore comes on and is always much more involved.

    Hourihane was a ghost last night. He just isn’t good enough. He certainly won’t be in in Friday night. Shown why Smith hasn’t been playing him

  31. plug

    agree with all.

    Don’t give a stuff about var im fuming with our concentration. soooo naïve. conceding those 2 goals when we did is school boy stuff. deserve everything we got. 3 looses on the trot at home. 5 defeats in 6 and conceding goals for fun. Make no mistake we are sliding to the bottom 6. Friday is a 6 pointer.

  32. frem

    agree with your posts but do need to chill a bit man! hourihan was just watching the game go past him. cant play Friday. and mcguinn as number 10 just annoys me. waste.

    Im beyond furious with it all. its the hope that kills you!

  33. Wow

    Well i know we lost last night but i am shocked by the doom and gloom via some posts .. thought we played some very good football at times away to one of the current form sides

    ok we made mistakes and missed good chances but the progress ,attitude of team is excellent , west ham i am sure are counting there blessings .. its not the end of the world and we have a team well worth supporting 2 years into a total revamp of a before failing football club

    gutted with the loss delighted with the direction and progress of the villa myself

  34. It’s a shame on Grealish. Scores two great goals against Southampton and last night, but they ended up meaning nothing

    He must look are sometimes and wonder why he’s playing with some players.

    January we need additions.. It’s already clear our sqaud is so so poor. Mings needs competition. He gets lazy. We need a left back. Centre mid. Two wingers and strikers

  35. runtings

    we have lost 4 out of 5. Improvement from last season would be turning those defeats into draws to keep that scoreboard ticking over. We can win the odd game which is our saviour but to push for mid table safety and no relegation worries we are going to have to stop losing so many games.

  36. Runnings
    I agree with hero es and villas
    Same mistakes as last season,same excuses we played well and lost,some will say Smith needs more time,for what Conor will never cut in top league,mcginn starting to look the same you can’t play at this level with no midfield

  37. I think we’ll see recruitment in midfield. Barkley was a step forward, Conor only out there because of the injury.

    McGinn? He offered a fair bit more as the game wore on, but another who could be upgraded, I think.

    I know it’s the same old song, but it has to be done in steps, function of money. Supporters can identify the players, yes. Staff will be seeing more than us. Would Smith think they’re the best options? No. He sees every week a player he’d probably rather have. But that’s what he’s got for this half of the season and into next summer, and he can’t go round slating everyone. Has to stay positive and work with it.

    He’s had no reservations at all in going out, getting a player, slotting him straight in over the incumbent. The only exception in this last class has been Traoré.

  38. JG,

    Don’t disagree. But I can’t take penalties or officiate, which, those two things, along with not being switched on at the start of either half, led to a defeat versus a draw.

    They did just enough, I’d argue we did more, but that was one where the rub of the green just wasn’t with us on the night.

  39. I’d like to ask a question, what exactly is it people expect from us this season? has the good start and big wins got people dreaming of more than mid table this season?

    If people are slating us despite obvious improvement (clean sheets, goals scored, chances created) I don’t know what to say. This is what a young side in transition looks like, is it perfect of course not and likely never will be, is it exciting in my eyes very.

    I get that when people get a taste they want more but considering where we were this is incredible. I mean look at the years since Mon walked out, they have been pretty tragic with little consistency and progression (until Smith) yet this team is expected to never lose.

    I would not mind but in all the games we have lost we created better chances than the eventual winners and only the fact we didn’t take them stopped us from picking up points. Two things we need to sort are marking at set pieces and taking chances.

    The 1st one is likely the personal on the pitch. Last season we played 3 CB’s with Konsa at RB that helped with that, so we have a height issue. The other is other is chances just not going in for us and players not seeing others in better positions.

    The much maligned Trez has had as much as 10 chances in the last 3 games, mostly blocked and two he likely should do better with and thats effecting his confidence now. But if we are going to be critical then Watkins has missed a fair few too, even Jack who accounts for 30% of the time we have the ball. and last night took one off of Trez’s toe.

    None of this is surprising though or any one players fault, neither is it the managers, what more could he of done? push their legs for them? I’m fucked if I want us to stop attacking and go full Spud it will get us nowhere even if it pushed us up a few places unless thats the ultimate aim to bore teams into submission.

  40. Runtings. . .couldn’t agree more with your last comment. I read some comments on here and imagine the person posting looking out of his window and ranting at the rain in the belief that if he shouts at it long enough and hard enough it’ll stop raining. . . . .and it’ll all be down to him. . .anyone ‘not’ ranting at the rain just doesn’t have enough ambition!

  41. Really unhappy at the Newcastle game being postponed. We are already a game behind many of the clubs and it would have been good to get a win under our belts on Friday. It doesn’t seem right that we have to suffer for the lack of covid care at Newcastle.

  42. That’s a very good post Mark, which makes a lot of valid points. Your point about the exceptional start to the season colouring fans expectations is surely true and recent results seem to be blinding some to the undoubted progress that we ‘are’ making.

  43. Take a look at these, give your self a slap, and think.

    Villa V Brighton XG 2.35 v 1.35 score 1-2

    Villa V Southampton XG 2.67 v 0.8 score 3-4

    West Ham V Villa XG 0.65 v 2.89 Score 2-1

  44. Makes me wonder if there is and XG type score for defending , blocks or saves that never should of happened, I’d like to see some for officiating 🙂

  45. Mk
    When have matches been played as xg going to score or xg not going to score,
    When you put mcginn marking one of opposition better players and you concede for the umpteen time,put Conor out to play when it’s clear he has no bottle, something wrong with management,ramsay should have got on last night Ron atkinson didn’t care what age fenton was started him on final,I mean Taylor on the bench Elmo el gazi coming on ,use some kids be brave smith

  46. r0BbO……Yep, we have definitely improved over last season. The consensus amongst the media wallahs is that our recruitment over the summer has been right up there. Not that I take any notice of them, but improvement is there for all to see.

    But it doesn’t silence criticism when it’s due. And I think some was due last night. Watching Fulham the game before, their defence held great concentration throughout. They repelled all boarders. No doubt they had a crap XG but still won. Like Brighton, Southampton and West ‘Aaamm as Mark points out. Sure I don’t want a return to Spud’s dour set ups, but if anything happens to Jack…..

  47. Mark….I would say that expectations of the Villa faithful have soared. When you stuff the Bin Dippers and the Arse, it’s going to happen.

    Expectations of Lifers is middle of the road at the moment I reckon. Mid table, say 9th to 12th next May. We chucked away a lot of points last season that almost dropped us. The lost points this season may cost us a European place.

  48. Plug,

    I would say that talk of a European place…a bit premature. Not that the squad couldn’t conceivably achieve it, but it’s a long season. Lifers are right to think mid-table at the end of the day.

    The real premature part of it is that even with a January addition or two and the summer, we won’t have a squad deep enough for Europe and the league. Could destroy us.

    So I say let’s enjoy beating the Arse and Scousers (resoundingly), and look to that when anticipating future returns. Along with the fact that even when we lose, we’ve been playing better than the results might indicate. It’s not going to be an overnight thing. And probably best that it isn’t. I’d say we’re a a summer away from being able to seriously contend at the top end with real intent.

  49. Thing is we could get European football, because its one of those mad seasons

    Unfortunately we’ve shown already our sqaud is so weak

    When Hourihane ia the replacement for Barkley your fucked. When Neil Taylor is on the bench but no striker is. When Trezeguet starts every week you know your sqaud needs work. We have 10 really good players, but after that it’s nothing

  50. Also what is our issue with not being able to draw a game?

    Why can’t we draw games?

    We didn’t last season and haven’t this season. That’s why i think we are in another relegation fight

    We drew level against two average sides in Brighton and west ham. We should have gone on to at least drew, if not won

    But ended up losing both. Its a problem.

    We need to grind out a result or else we will struggle again

  51. Plug – criticism when it’s due is right, I don’t think we have reached that point , winning the league and European cup didn’t happen over night though neither will the rebirth of this our club but it’s a good start.

  52. Frem we could get European football and then as you point out every day we haven’t got the squad, 3-4 players in the summer will push us on but not to that level.. seen to many teams get Europe and fade.

  53. I guess I’m asking for patience for the club , manager and players, the other way has got us nowhere the former brought us glory, this time though I feel it won’t be fleeting .

  54. Plug, I certainly wasn’t suggesting we should not be critical. It’s the first step to making improvements. It’s the unintelligent, repetitive criticism for the sake of it, that adds nothing to the conversation that spoils the blog.

  55. For example, I think it would be perfectly right to criticise Jack for his theatrical dive to get a player booked on Monday. That clip has now been repeated thousands of times on social media and will be trotted out every time someone with a grudge wants to ‘prove their point’
    Now I’m sure he can take it in his stride as he’s coped with far worse in his time, but I still wish he hadn’t done it.

  56. Plug, it’s already been said, but as has been said by JC and Mark, European football next season could be a bit too soon.
    DS and the team gained us promotion to the Premier League a year earlier than expected and the scale of change required to stay there last year was almost too much. Gaining European football a year before expected may apply similar strains.
    Your 9th to 12th sounds good to me!

  57. There has been comment about us not having achieved any draws yet.
    This takes me back to life under Steve Bruce where the criticism (from the same person who today wants more draws by the way) was that we were not turning draws into wins.
    The inference here is that if we had drawn level with West Ham on Monday, we should then have ‘gone for a draw’
    No . . . Dean Smith would have wanted us to go for the win! This would have left us open to a breakaway West Ham goal and a loss, but (as was pointed out many times during the Steve Bruce days) two draws are worth 2 points but a win and a draw are worth 3 . . . which would you really prefer us to go for?

  58. Robbo.

    But it’s not like we play real attacking football is it snd that’s why we went behind again after equalising

    West ham got there second straight after half time. We weren’t exactly pushing loads forward. It was just awful defending.

    Brighton scored on 56 minutes when we had bodies behind the ball

    So we aren’t losing because we are attacking and desperate for the win. Its just poor, weak defending again. Its a team like last season that cabt get a result

    We’ve lost to Leeds, West ham l, Brighton and Southampton

    That’s just awful and relegation form. If that ead Bruce he’d get slaughtered but for some reason Smith can’t be criticised and people hate it when someone says we should be looking for a better manager

  59. At some point we need to appoint a better manager than Dean Smith if we want to achieve anything good in Europe and compete in the league.

    We have elite owners.

  60. And to add to some very good sensible comments on here that are not depressing The Villa completly outplayed west ham which carrys a lot more power going forward than annoyingly missing out on the points on the day

  61. Frem- of course we play ‘real’ attacking football (whatever that means) we create far more chance than other teams and far more quality ones, if they’d been buried you would have nothing to bleat about.

    I said before the game West Ham are strong in the air, we are not, we were when we had Konsa, Mings and especially Hause playing in a back four. Now we have Cash and he has to play to take the team forward.

    You appear to be under the illusion that every game has to be a positive result for the team to advance, that we will never make mistakes and that we will score every chance we get. Also that every player has to be at the same level for the team to work.

    In reality we have played 9 effing games together and lost just 4, that could just as easily be 1 or even 0 if chances were taken but the world ain’t perfect.

    In your world we would be top of the effing league by about 6 points, Spurs, Liverpool and Leicester have all been together for years and have won 6 Chelsea have won five drawn 4 they have all lost one game except Leicester who have lost four and drawn ‘NONE’ , two have lost a game to us, the others we ain’t played yet.

    So I’d like to know why Rodgers who is proper manager according to you hasn’t drawn any? and why couldn’t the best team in England beat us? in fact got thrashed.

    As for you can’t criticise Smith? you do every week/day/minute. Your reasoning is that he should go because ‘we can do better’. So basically what you and others are saying is if we had Poch with Smiths team we would be top of the league even though Poch couldn’t achieve that with his own team in 5-6 seasons. That tells me something, that we have quite a good side being built, and that we are doing ok all things considered.

  62. As for if Bruce had done XYZ he would be slaughtered? its bollocks, he was slaughtered because he played god awful negative football and the side he was building was a one hit wonder with a massive accumulation of players worth nothing in resale. Which is why Smith is having to build from ground zero. Bruces results with Newcastle against the top sides is generally piss poor, has spent £100m on Newcastle who had a base to begin with and?

  63. Frem, Mark has already answered your point better than I shall but as you did ask me the question I will still say what came into my mind.
    Before last weekend Villa had created more chances per minute played than any other team in the league. By that criterion we were more attacking than any other team. I think Bielsa’s Leeds were second.
    Your comment is just another way of being critical of Aston Villa but as usual, with absolutely no analytical thought or factual back up.
    We’ve not converted enough chances. Some of that is down to good goalkeeping, some down to players not being sufficiently clinical (Ollie missed a header and a penalty) and of course VAR has had a part to play too.
    Maybe I’ve not understood your point, or been too dismissive, so go on. . . . .define “real attacking football”. I’ll be happy with a paragraph defining “real attacking football” from a training textbook if you’re not able to define it yourself.

  64. Frem, while you’re at it, can you please also define your criteria for a ‘better manager’.

    Wilder (who you praised last season)
    Bielsa (who took longer to gain promotion than Dean Smith)
    Pochetino, Mourinho,?

    Those managers all have very different styles. . . . . which one would you like and what specifically do you think they’d do better?

  65. The draw thing isn’t about being negative or having to play not to win. Its a sign of a bit of steel and having a mentality about you. Learn to pick those points up.

    Overall this is as positive as its been for a decade. I love the team, owners, manager and we have jack. and I cant wait to watch us play. Just incase im coming across as negative!

    We play some good stuff at times and try to attack. But we do need to add that bit of steel. Make those chances count, defend for your lives a bit more. Am sure we will grow into it.

  66. very true heroes

    its a growing process we live learn and improve on our short comings and long term continue to improve a squad that has come on leaps and bpunds in 2 years and still have a long way to go . thats something to be more excited than depressed about for me
    Frem i am a bit supprised that you cant currently enjoy being a villan I remember the match that we planned to meet up at away to palace one of albrightons last games for us he came off the bench and was the best villa player …albi left on a free the clubs was rotten to the core and it was embrassing supporting villa so much so that my mates coulnt find it in themselves to rinse me about my sy-e club anymore

    chin up fella

  67. frem

    mate jan transfer window soon. I know its a hard window but could may well add to it. saw something deano said about now having 7 or 8 proper players but wants 13 or 14. so deffo wants more to improve. If we could pull off a winger and cm would be awesome

  68. Some lively debate going on here.

    Back to VAR which is my pet hate. They spend ages working on geometry and physics in proving a goal should be ruled out for offside. By 2 millimetres. Well…..offside is offside they say.

    Just as important is encroachment into the penalty area by defenders and attackers. I don’t see them getting the geometry and physics laws operational for this football law. Why?

    It’s time to bin VAR. Keep the goal line technology for when the ball is over the line. Everything else is jobs for the boys.

  69. Every now and then I have a look at what other fans are saying about their teams, rarely is it much better than Frems viewpoint to be honest, I don’t think many fans are 100% happy ever, not even when they are winning everything, its part of British and maybe football culture, we are just weird on this site 🙂

    Today I thought I would look at Poch as he is the flavour of the week to dislodge Smith. I pretty much know how good he is etc so I put into Google “Pochettino’s weaknesses ”

    Well I was absolutely howling when this popped up, apparently at Spurs Poch’s Subs never score! also the fans think it might be cause the bench is not good enough, I reckon JG will appreciate this one 🙂

    Wish it was all up in full but you’ll get the Gist

  70. Oh and this one

    “The only real criticism that can be made here is that those changes, while effective, often don’t come early enough.

    With a more heavyweight bench behind him now and perhaps a slight upturn in end-of-game luck it’s hard to see this being a narrative that sticks with Pochettino for very long.”

  71. Fuck me its brutal out there 🙂

    “Pochettino, though, has an atrocious record away from home against the ‘big six’ teams.

    Since he took over in 2014, he has won just three of 27 matches against Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

    Of those 27 games, he also only drew nine and lost a staggering 15.

    From a total of 81 points on offer, he has only taken 18.”

  72. Last one I promise, this is when They kept conceding particularly from headers, it was down to their mentality said Poch.

    “It’s not a tactical question, because we can defend zonal or individual [man-to-man],” Pochettino said. “But there is another game, and that is to have the mentality that means that if you mark in your zone, then you are going to win. If I mark this guy then he is not going to touch the ball. That is about having something inside, being strong. When the ball is in the middle, between you and me, it’s about who is strong, you or me? Anticipating the action, about who is stronger, who is going to win, that is the thing that’s so difficult to manager. Not only for us, but for every coaching staff.”

  73. What that little exercise has taught me is there are many similarities between Smiths and poch’s approach, many similarities between where we are and where Spurs were. It also suggests that Bringing Poch in would not be for short term gain and would start the whole process over again. If it takes him two years to get into a players head I can just imagine Frems comments 🙂

  74. runtings,

    “And to add to some very good sensible comments on here that are not depressing The Villa completly outplayed west ham which carrys a lot more power going forward than annoyingly missing out on the points on the day.”

    Here, here.

    (Been busy…I need to catch up again)

  75. All I can say is a bunch of good, sensible comments, backed up with sound reasoning.

    I agree, I think most clubs’ supporters are never truly satisfied, especially the ones who have something to say.

    It always seems like I’m a happy clapper, but I’ve not been in the past. Do I wish Cash would’ve been able to put off what’s-his-name on the opener? Sure. I saw Konsa out there after, lesson learned. Do I wish we’d been more alert to start the second? Absolutely.

    But as others have said, that doesn’t take away from the fact that for the other 93-95 minutes we were the better team.

    When you keep creating opportunities like we have, they’ll start going in again. Just keep creating the opportunities.

  76. JC- You wouldn’t mind but the only reason Watkin has an arm up in the air to be “offside” was the player holding him back making him use it to gain forward motion. There are so many reasons to just give the goal or a pen its criminal.

  77. MK,

    Completely…I’m outraged. You see it back, how is that not a foul? Unreal. We did more than enough for a draw or a win. That peno goes in, I could’ve easily seen us getting a third. Spam’s changes had a momentary effect (and a telling one, in the end), but Villa were back all over them not long after.

    In the end, we kept fighting and had done enough for the draw only to get robbed at the death.

    Two sucker punches, our fault, yes, but of course they both go in…Result clearly didn’t reflect the game, nor that officiating travesty.

    And I will say (god, do I dare), that Trez, well…I understand the criticism of his performance and dont’ disagree. I’m all too well aware of his limitations (and contributions). But. Seeing the guy with blood streaming down his face and trying to stay on the pitch? Reminded me of days of yore.

  78. JC- one thought and it could be construed as a criticism of Smiths subs as such was watkins on pens when his record is poor, missed something like 4 out of 6. On the pitch we had at the time of the pen Hourihane our best striker of a dead ball, give it him then take him off.

  79. MK,

    Yeah, that’s apparently his record, which obviously isn’t good. Probably kills them in training, then gets thinking too much in games.

    I’ve wondered why Grealish doesn’t take them, seems he seems mentally tough and has a great shot on him. Maybe Smith doesn’t want to damage his confidence, or Jack does too much running, too involved in the build-up, usually.

    I could see Conor fluffing it, as well, tbh. I think free kicks are different, lower odds, less pressure. Maybe Trez? 😉

  80. JC team Politics I suspect, jack doing everything and all that. Conor was Barnsleys pen taker 6 out of 9 for them and took the 1st one in the semi against WBA.

  81. I’ll defend Poch! Massive fan. for 2 years spurs were the best team in the land! How they didn’t win the title is madness. All without spending loads.

    Turned them into regular top contenders and champ league final whilst playing good attacking footy.

    Theres 0 chance he’d come to villa but id have him in a heart beat!

    And then theres his work at Espanyol and saints!

    Its insane man utd haven’t moved for him.

  82. I also think that poch is a top class young manager he did wonders at spurs with a chairman that prehaps could have got some trophies in if they had backed him a little more .. missed out on signing Jack on the cheap that would have been a huge signing

    loved his style of play
    I am also guessing this whole debate is due to the deano out poch in calls

    I wouldnt swap deano for anyone at this present time as much as i admire a few others managers

    14th to promotion .. promotion to stay up and stay up to 3 points off champs le spot with what many woul still call a half bake squad

    Deano is our man until proven otherwise

  83. Haha, H&V.

    Yeah, there’s a record to defend. I think the whole thing just shows how hard it is to overcome the massive cash/income advantage at the top. Which is why Liverpool and United are conniving to cement their advantage. Lots of up-and-comers, and some bad buys and injuries can see you quickly slipping given the purchasing power more clubs have now.

    Obviously the current advantage basically equals quality in depth, and a lot of high-priced assets that can be resold to keep things turning over for new deals.

    I don’t know how much Levy is to blame at Spurs, in the end. Would be easy to say he should’ve spent more. But they did accumulate a lot of good talent. Maybe just not enough to get over the top and cement themselves.

    So would Poch do a job for us? Yeah, he’s a good manager, no doubt.

    But I think managers only take you so far. I’d say the money and recruitment are most important, and then of course you factor in the manager’s role in putting in a system, identifying players, and deciding whether they’re good fits for the system and the dressing room.

    I’m not quite sure how much difference he’d make to this Villa, right now, given there aren’t a lot of pieces to move around.

  84. runtings,

    Agreed. Deano’s no fool. He might not have an impressive string of jobs before Villa, but he knows what he’s doing. This Villa is very dangerous with everyone fit. Give him more quality and depth, and he’ll have us right up there, I think.

  85. Yep JC…..Team development is reaching the point where a few of the jigsaw pieces don’t fit and need trading for ones that do. It was most of them not so long ago.

    Jack being reported as valued at 100m by Villa. I reckon that’s maybe still a touch light. He didn’t cost the club anything. We watch the young guns with interest to see if another gem is amongst them.

    Does anybody agree that it might be worth putting Guilbert in at RB and moving Cash up to RW?

  86. The Scottish Prem have awarded 3-0 wins to the teams whose games have been postponed due to Covid breaches by their opponents. A 3-0 home win award against Newcastle please.

  87. I Like Poch and the way he plays don’t get me wrong but he is heavily into the psychological side of things with a fair smattering of woo with his universal energy beliefs. Thats all fine and might be true but would the players buy into it? I can only wish I was a fly on the wall when he sat them all down and told them about that. Imagine interviewing a prospective buy and dropping ” do you believe in Universal energy” into the convo.

    He said it takes about two years to get inside a players head for fuck sake. I’d say most of what he does/did Smith is now doing but without the woo.

  88. Plug,

    “Yep JC…..Team development is reaching the point where a few of the jigsaw pieces don’t fit and need trading for ones that do. It was most of them not so long ago.”

    Yep. Remember square pegs and round holes? Not so much, now.

  89. I think Villa played the sportsmanship card with the barcodes…agreeing to postpone, no penalty, league seems to agree.

    Wouldn’t have minded a free three. But, fair play.

  90. I would think COVID tests (although erratic and flawed ) are logged by someone other than the club so that there is less room for game dodging. So yeah good on us and you jus know it could easily be us .

  91. Talk about attention spans…A little while ago someone (maybe PP) mentioned that I’d gotten my old avatar back.

    I didn’t think anything of it, just realized it had switched back, but I didn’t do it. Not that anyone cares, but that illustrates my lack of technical (and perhaps observational) genius.

    And I see others have suddenly disappeared.

    Carry on.

  92. JC- don’t worry only just realised mine had gone.

    Gabby is now saying Traore upsets the balance of the team and Smith was right to play Conor. Hinting that Smith is furious with Lange ( I doubt it) for buying him. Blimey Gabbys worse than Stan the man.

  93. JC- Just tried to upload a picture and got this

    Upload Failed! Error was: Unable to create directory 1357/avatars/1357. Is its parent directory writable by the server?

  94. JC….As a mere mortal, the box to upload an avatar does not work. If appears to allow the uploading but then states “uploading failed” and suggests the directory on whichever server the software is operating from may be short of permission to write to. Generally, you need full read, write, file and execute permissions to the folder directory containing the software. It should then work as planned.

    No idea why mine disappeared but being a grey default takes some of the fun out of it. Mark’s pigeon with fag in beak for instance. Blimey, if you got the facility working we could have some real fun!! Just make sure Frem’s doesn’t go down please!!

  95. Plug,

    Had to read that a couple times, but makes perfect sense.

    I’ve no idea, really. The template is old now, and I’m wondering if some of the functions are just breaking as it becomes more dated.

    Hosting company has been the same throughout, but maybe they have moved something around. I’ll drop them a line. Matt was always the techie, and every time I try and pay someone to help, they run away from WordPress screaming ‘no.’

    If anyone here can help, I’ll happily grant access and reimburse at market rates.

  96. Down to 11th now. And will get lower by Sunday night.

    Would have gone 4th if we beat wet Spam.

    Another couple of bad results and we are going to be near bottom 3 again

    And then I wonder what our owners will do

    We should be competing for 6tglh this season and I hope our owners won’t accept being 15th come January

  97. Watching KDB central as a number 10. We need to get Grealish back there. And he will want to be there

    Unfortunately because last season and still this season our wingers are so bad we have to still play Grealish wide.

    January we need to buy two quality wingers and fuck Trez and ghazi off. Absolutely shocking football players and twitter finally realising Trez is absolutely wank

    It’s r8me6to go 4231 and get jack where he wants to play

  98. Frem – have you ever been accused of being boring?

    Every time I come on the site you write the same repetitive rubbish about Trez and wingers — yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn. Get over it.

    I was talking to a friend of mine in the week and he has been working with JT.

    Apparently, we are in for 3/4 quality players in January.

    And one of them is a winger. I believe it is Rashica. Just for Frem

    We shall see.

  99. Interesting comment from Mark about Pochetino and the ‘woo woo. I was surprised to read that and it did make me feel a bit uncomfortable. Of course every manager has to find his own way of getting results and making sure that the players buy into them. I imagine that some players would struggle with it and any team taking him on may be looking at a numbers of players not fitting with the new way of doing things . . . . I somehow can’t see it working with Jack, who strikes me as a pretty down to earth sort of guy.

  100. Frem. Our squad isn’t awful . . . . that’s just silly talk. I assume what you mean is that our squad isn’t deep enough to Mai twin a challenge for the top of the table or something like that?

  101. It looked to me that the shape of that kick from Henderson that led to the United first goal took it out of play and then back in.
    Surely that’s one area where VAR ‘could’ be definitive.
    It shows how fine the lines can be.
    United get a goal that they probably shouldn’t have done and the game turns with 2 more goals
    Our goal against the same team is wrongly disallowed and the penalty that should have been retaken wasn’t and we lost.

  102. RichardS,

    Good to see you.

    I’ve wondered about January. With mounting financial pressure at other clubs, and Villa not going up to the full £100m in the summer window, it’s seemed like we might have decided to wait for some better negotiating terms.

    I know January is typically a seller’s market, but it may well be different this time round. Compass are no dummies, and they’ll know now might be the time to press their advantage a bit.

  103. Frem,

    I’ll implore you: Don’t think for a minute that Deano doesn’t see Trez (or Ghazi or anyone else) less clearly than you or I.

    For the 10,000th time: He’s working with what he’s got. And what he’s got will improve. Relax, breathe, and trust that he knows at least as much as we do about football. He actually, factually could not possibly know less.

  104. John. So why keep playing him? He’s so poor. Play a youngster if we have to

    Surprised at how good Lamapard is doing at Chelsea

    I wonder if Smith had Been there for 2 years that he’d have Chelsea scoring so many and playing so well. I don’t think so. I’d imagine they would be very inconsistent and leak goals l, and don’t have a clear style.

  105. Just for you frem- Leicester were in fourth having played ten games won 6 lost 4 they are now 6th. We have played 9 won 5 lost 4 and we are now 11th, are you worried Leicester will be in a relegation Fight?

  106. Oh my lord, is this the same Lampard smith trounced in the champs and the final? Of course Smith would be doing well at Chelsea look at there effing squad. Did you not read about Poch getting hammered for subs? or the fact spurs fans thought they had a weak bench? what the fuck do you think Smith has? he didn’t exactly walk into a Chelsea class squad did he?

    I don’t know about you not thinking so, you appear to be not thinking at all.

  107. continuing Mark’s theme; Frem, is Bielsa now a poor manager because Leeds are two places below us having played two games more? do you think they’ll be in a relegation fight?
    Actually. . . . .now I ask the question, might they be?
    He certainly has a playing style, but is it possible that it’s not fit for the Premiership and if not, is he capable of adapting, the way Dean Smith did towards the end of the season?
    In previous seasons Leeds have started strongly and then faded towards the end of the season when exhaustion and injuries caught up with them. The Premiership has fewer games so that may not be quite such an issue this year but the quality of opposition is higher so might the extra work-rate required with the Bielsa style still leave them short towards the end, particularly as they haven’t enjoyed their usual fast start to the season?

  108. Genuine question Frem: You clearly wonder why Dean Smith keeps playing Trezeguet despite seeing all the players in training and during games. Does it ever cross your mind to wonder, just for a second, if just maybe he knows more about it than Frem does?
    Or is that just not possible?

  109. Robbo. Hahaha yes. But what we see on 90 minutes he’s absolutely wank. And his stats show that. They are beyond shocking

    Leeds wont be in a relegation fight. They will win enough games, more than us probably because of how they play.

    Don’t forget Leeds players are absolutely bang average championship. We actually have a very good 10/11 players where belisa would do great things with our players. They would suit Belisa l. Athletic players.

    Gerrard doing great things at Rangers. Could be a very good manager

  110. Mark. With Rodgers off course they wont be.

    We are still conceding these stupid goals like we did last season again. I remember his Brentford side could never defend and played OK football but always conceded goals, soft ones. It feels like we are heading back inti6that direction again

    They west ham goals were so poor. Why did we have mcginn marking 6ft4 centre back?

    The Brighton goals were poor, especially the first. Southampton we gave away last ditch fouls because we were panicking then wardprouse did what he did.

  111. Robbo. Benrama came on for 5 minutes against us and got 1 asisit in 5 minutes. Trez has 3 in 51 games. 51.

    Wathing West ham have bowen and Benrama is so depressing l. Two players we should have signed and needed. Imagine those 2 with Grealish number 10?

  112. I think we have West brom Palace and Burnley in 3 orf our next 5

    Has to be 3 wins. With wolves and Chelsea to.

    Of they don’t go well our board have to be ruthless

  113. Trez stat rating 7.2

    luis 6.8, mcginn 7.01 traore 6.25 Barkley 7.11 Jack 7.8

    So when you say his stats show that, which ones are you looking at? frem stats by any chance? not the ones that actually exist for sure.

    So Leicester have just lost to Fulham and Liverpool and are drawing at Sheffield and appear to be leaking goals like a sieve yet they are not in trouble and we are despite almost identical records except we have posted better XG chances than them in every game bar 1.

  114. Brentford have a style of play set by the management that the coach sticks to end of, smith will have learnt from that and franks and many others, thats what he does , at the end of the day he wasn’t pushed out the door was he.

  115. Mark. He should have easily got 2 goals But he didn’t. Because he’s crap

    He’s got 3 assists in 51 matches for us. As a for. That’s an absolutely awful return

    Sheffield and West brom in trouble

    We absolutely have to beat West brom. Criminal of we don’t. We are still in a scrap if we can’t beat Brighton and Southampton at home and beat the likes of Burnley and West brom

  116. Frem- Just looked at Smiths last 12 games with Brentford, won 4 drew 6 lost 2. Then left and took us up.

    So you would sack a manager with a 60% win rate this season, who is overhauling the squad and is about to sign players we have likely been working on for months and let the incoming manager in less than 3 weeks access the team and buy them instead.

    Brilliant just brilliant.

  117. Frem do you know that in the top 20 players with assists this season so far from 8th to 20th nobody has more than 3, 20th has 2, that goes right down to 45th position, It then goes down to 117th place of players with 1. As we have only played 9 games its hardly criminal.

  118. Frem, I can appreciate that you think that we ought to have a better player than Trezeguet, and given player availability, their willingness to come to Villa, and sufficient cash being made available then I am sure you are right, but to say that he is “cr*p” is just insulting and unintelligent.
    It seems pretty clear for example, that Benrahma was considered by the Villa board but that the price was not right and the £30m that West Ham have paid does look a bit toppy and unlikely to provide the returns that the club is looking for.
    Its been said by others already, but why not try (every now and then at least) to just sit back and enjoy the ride. We’re steadily improving but it will not happen all at once. Every one of us on here can see things that we look forward to seeing improve and we comment on them. What we don’t do is focus exclusively on the negative without appreciating the positive. . . . . where’s the joy in that?
    If you can’t find any joy in following a sports team then what’s the f*cking point? . . . . . especially when the team shows every sign of actually starting to go places!

  119. Frem, You’ve mentioned Pochettino a few times now and I can see the appeal. He did well at Spurs and they played some decent football. I must admit the links that Mark showed did worry me a bit as they showed a sign of his techniques that I must admit made me feel a bit uncomfortable. It is surprising though that he hasn’t yet found a new job and you can’t help wondering if he’s holding out for United. Credit to their board though in sticking with Solskjaer. That is at least one area in which they seem to have held true to the original Manchester United tradition of trying to give their managers time to grow into the job. We all know that Sir Alex Ferguson took a while to get going and was very nearly sacked before he had a chance to develop into the best manager of the modern era.
    Inaction is very difficult to accept when things aren’t going as well as you’d like, but sometimes it’s the very best action you can take and it takes good knowledge and real courage to recognise when it’s appropriate.

  120. Robbo- Although poch would of likely turned the season around he got the boot and likely because the club knew Maurine was available and poch was on a bad run . Poch was undoubtedly a young manager that had achieved a lot in 5 years at Spurs but he won nothing hence the boot befor time in my opinion, if her came here we would likely go back to the drawing board again rather than suddenly become top 6 material, he’s not a short term fix, Neither is Smith.

    “In a statement, the Premier League club said Pochettino and three members of his coaching team “have been relieved of their duties” following “extremely disappointing” recent results.

    Spurs have won just five matches this season and currently lie 14th in the table.

    Announcing Pochettino’s sacking, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said: “We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the board has taken lightly, nor in haste.

    “Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.

    “It falls to the board to make the difficult decisions – this one made more so given the many memorable moments we have had with Mauricio and his coaching staff – but we do so in the club’s best interests.”

  121. Two of Pochs records at Spurs, 1st to win the first 3 games of the season in the prem and a winning streak of 12 games not done since the 60’s. Smith won 4 this season a record and ten game streak not done since the dinosaurs at Villa, funny old game. Tactics Tim had a better win rate than Poch believe it or not but only managed for 22 games.

  122. Mark, for some reason a rift developed between Pochettino and the Spurs board. Levy wasn’t prepared to trust him with further spending and Pochettino seemed to lose heart, with results in his final season suffering.
    As you pointed out once before though, he did struggle against the top teams and maybe that’s what turned Levy against him?

  123. Frem i have a feeling deano will be proving you to be very wrong . you are slating a very good manager … Its a glass half empty prospective which means you are unable to see the good things about your club , hope that changes for you soon and you can start to enjoying being a villa a little

  124. Probably already seen this, but from Mark Halsey on the ‘offside’. (He does miss the larger point about the foul, but.)

    “So, your arm, you can’t be offside but if it hits your armpit you can be offside. That is absolute nonsense. Nonsense. In all of my years watching football I’ve not seen one goal being scored with an armpit. It needs changing. You can’t have that.”

  125. I tried to stay away to avoid Frem’s ridiculous comments towards Trez. He’s still at it.

    Frem – give it a rest please. Blogs are to reflect thoughts and capture emotions, but not the same comments 10 million times over. No 100 billion times over.

    Barkley is a loss vs Wolves. Will be interesting to see what DS does.

    What do I want from this season as a Villa fan? Finish mid-table or higher and blood Chukwuemeka, Ramsey and Louie Barry in the New Uear

  126. VillaMD,

    Sensible aspirations.

    The Barkley decision will be interesting. Traoré’s got to some minutes under his belt if he’s going to contribute, but he shouldn’t be in the middle.

  127. villa md

    exactly, mid table, being more positive and attrative which we have done by getting some good results and not getting into a relegation battle is our only aim. then next summer quality players wont mind coming to us.

  128. tomorrow I don’t care what he does as long as mcguinn does not play number 10! arrggghhh

    getting into the serious part of the season which will let us know what type of season we will have with games coming thick and fast. with 5 defeats in 6 we really need to pick up points next 4 games.

  129. H-and-V,

    Yeah, football is quality except for against Leeds. Villa have proper owners the way they’re building an infrastructure, youth, and quality signings. If we can battle consistently for top 4 in two years time, I would think mission achieved.

    I agree SJM is better playing deeper, winning the ball, and knocking players over with his ass

  130. Need a win or its going to turn into a poor start and we will be finding ourselves 15th/16th.

    Trezeguet can’t start after his dismal displays and awful misses that cost us 2 extra points. He can’t be defended anymore. Traore has to start

    Ramsey for Hourihane to. He did absolutely nothing against West ham to deserve another start. Ramsey will make us more mobile

  131. No Trez today. He is not even on the bench.

    We don’t have any back-up strikers as substitutes. This is shocking for a PL club.

    We need to buy a striker in early January.

    Hopefully, Barkley returns to full fitness for the busy Xmas schedule.

  132. Trezeguet isn’t injured. He’s just shit. His misses against Brighton and west Ham was the final straw.

    Hourihane to just isn’t very good.

    Our bench though is an absolute disgrace

    January we need attacking players. We need a striker and two more wingers

  133. Mark. He’s not. He’s just wank.. He missed two open nets in two games.. He’s been dropped. He’s had one assist all season and 0 goals. Just face it. For a forward player he’s absolutely dire

    Anyway how long unti Matt Targett fakes an injury and goes of like last year

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