I’m sure everyone’s still smarting from throwing away the Burnley match. But every time I’ve heard the commentators observe, “Villa have not lost a match in which they’ve taken the lead,” you know it’s going to happen sooner or later. So, that slate’s wiped clean, at least.

Expectations, or maybe hopes, more accurately, have naturally soared with Villa largely in the top half. It’s exciting and a bit surreal. We’re good value for it, but as we’ve seen, there’s a reason they play the games. Surprises every week.

Southampton, as we know, are a side that seem to have our number. But that’s its own kind of record that eventually falls, because statistical reality.

I’m imagining it’s been a reflective few days at Bodymoor. Mings, I’m sure, has been reminded to keep it simple (which, to be fair, he often does). The side will have looked at the defending from set pieces. Smith & Co. will have looked at Traoré’s contribution over 90 minutes. They’ll have had a word about a full 90 minutes with everyone, and maybe some regrets about not making changes earlier. In short, a bit of a reality check.

But we also know that Smith, while adaptable, has a certain insistence on his expectations. And we have to remember it’s far too easy to think we should look a certain way even though the enforced break and some degree of illness have affected the team’s overall fitness. Dean had them very fit before, but it’s always going to take a little bit to get all the way back. It’s been three games now, and even though they’re coming thick and fast, we might be just about there today.

Naturally, Morgan Sanson is going to enter the conversation. And naturally, I’m writing this just before the team sheet comes out. He’ll be on the bench, of course, but his arrival will pose questions to more than one player. Whether he gets any minutes, hard to say. Guess it depends on the match, and how he’s fit in in training.

The short version is that I’m expecting a response tonight. The squad will not be happy, they’ll want to stay top half, and some will be playing for their spot. Whether that’s McGinn or Barkley, we’ll see. My guess is that Luiz is a dead cert for now, at least. Will there be any change in formation to accommodate him? Not betting on it, but you never know. Sanson wasn’t brought in to be backup.

So, we’ll soon see if Villa are due a result against the Saints. I wouldn’t necessarily bet against it. And I’m sure there’ll have been a few words about Ward-Prowse, silly fouls, and Danny Ings.

Over to you.

Comments 128

  1. A lot of tight games again today. West Ham seem to have done some good business, making Benrhama permanent and getting Lingard on loan.

    Think we may have a surprise last minute signing before the window closes with our successfful clear outs. Maybe Josh King from Bournemouth!!

  2. PP, yeah with all the clear out I think we’ll bring in one more.

    Let the Ramsey brothers out on loan, as neither will play unless we have major injuries

  3. What a great combo, Grealish and Barkley!!!

    Traore is doing ok for me, and I am sure he will be involved second half. Luiz has struggled a bit, but we are settling a bit now. Need to be strong to start the second half.

  4. Yeah, sometimes it’s like this. Saints are good, well coached, been pressing very hard.

    So you do have to convert, there might not be as many clear chances as we’re used to seeing.

    Curious whether Trez comes on earlier if we still have a lead around 60mins.

  5. I thought it was a clear cut penalty at the time . . . Really couldn’t understand VaR
    The law says it’s not a penalty if: “ the ball touches a player’s hand/arm immediately from their own head/body/foot or the head/body/foot of another player.”

    I thought that it did look on the side angle as if it deflected up off his leg therefore no penalty.

    They ‘should’ use Var to overturn the referees initial decision only if there’s ‘clear’ evidence that he got it wrong in real time

    The referee gave no penalty and there wasn’t clear evidence that his immediate instinct was wrong so . . . yup feels as if no penalty is the right decision

  6. Not saying I want us to sit back and just hold on, but shoring up our right side a bit won’t hurt anything whatever the score. And if you have a lead, you’re looking less to Traoré to get a goal.

  7. It’s absolutely pathetic not bringing fresh legs on. Get Sanson on earlier

    And our s**t marking from corners nearly cost us again

    Barkley needed to come off so much earlier

    We got lucky tonight

    Smith has to better making subs

    And sign a striker.. Watkins misses to many chances

  8. Never been a great believer in luck levelling itself out over a season but we deserved a bit to go in our favour . . . . and it did tonight

  9. Have to give credit to Emi. Couple very big saves, did well getting bodies in the way, covering the line.

    Winning ugly, indeed. But three points are three points.

  10. Smith has to bring fresh legs on 15/20 to go

    There eas absolutely no point in Barkley last 15 Get Sanson on to press Southampton. Get Ghaiz on for fresh legs down the righti

    It was so obvious luiz and mcginn needed some help. Cash to

    It’s bizarre from Smith l.. It cost us against Burnley and we got so lucky tonight

  11. Maybe Smith just doesn’t rate the bench or is to trying to prove a point he wants more money to improve the sqaud. But he needs to stop this

    Snd the marking from corners.. Luiz marking the 6ft 5 centre back who nearly headed one in

  12. Frem,

    It’s been Smith’s way the whole time. I really think he is wanting to get Barkley fully fit, leaving him out there.

    We were very nearly undone, obviously, but I firmly believe he leaves them out there so they have the experience of playing through everything, as well as the minutes. I say it all the time, but.

  13. John. But it’s way to risky trying that at only 1-0. Barkley absolutely needed to come off for Marvelous or Santon to help luiz and mcginn. Traoré to needed to come off snd probably Watkins

    But he just sat and watched Barkley walk around doing nothing to help the midfield

  14. Frem, I’m with you on the substitutions. It’s hard to understand why we didn’t see some fresh legs come on tonight.
    It’s how Dean Smith likes to manage games and it’s hard to argue with the outcome so far this season.

  15. Hey Frem,
    There is a striker amongst the Villa 25 that no one has noticed. Anwar! He has scored some decent goals-4 games in a row and all goals different from each other.gets into the right place, and he’s a big man (196 lbs) and quick on his feet. Defences are going to have trouble pushing him around. So what do you think?

  16. Frem, I don’t believe an extra striker would have made a difference tonight. Like you, I’d have preferred to see Traore and Barkley replaced with 20 minutes to go
    We won
    So tonight, dean smith got it right. . . . the “8th in the table half way through the season” says so

  17. It doesn’t give Davis, Ghazi or Santon and marvelous much faith though does it that Smith would rather what them out on the pitch struggling instead of bringing them on to help and freshen things up

    It feels like MON. He jas his 11 and he will run them into the ground

    He needs to sort the subs out. It’s cost us before, nearly tonight and it will again

  18. I like Watkins but we absolutely need someone else in. Davis isn’t going to score goals but a great battering ram. Watkins hold up play needs a lot f work and he needs to be alot more clinical. He should have scored first half to. He missed a sitter with his head second half. I know he was off but of he wasn’t it’s an awful miss that would have cost us

    Ings wasn’t off side

  19. I hate VAR subjective offside, but Watkins had 2 var goals disallowed that were as close as Ings goal. Ideally all 3 goals would have counted.

    Brilliant header by Barkley. Mings looked better. Would have liked to see some subs come on, but we won so great job DS sad players

  20. In the last game, Burnley defenders and goalkeeper received loads of praise for tough last ditch defending so we really should give Martinez and our defenders kids of praise for keeping us in the game tonight. . . . superb performances from them.
    More clean sheets than the whole of last season in half the games!

  21. In my view I would start Jacob Ramsey at #10 in the next game ahead of Barkley. If DS doesn’t feel the same, let him go out on loan to a Championship team that plays football, even Wayne Rooney at Derby

  22. VillaMD,

    Don’t think you’re going to see Ramsey start. Looking at the second half of the season, Smith’s going to want Barkley firing on all cylinders. He’s getting there, slowly. Don’t think Ramsey would’ve scored that goal, either.

    There’s also the issue of evaluating Barkley, whether or not he’s made available.

    With Sanson coming in, may well see Ramsey go out. He’s good, but he’s got a lot to learn. And the only way for that to happen is for him to play.

  23. I’ve said it before . . . . I wish var only overturned decisions where the on pitch officials ‘obviously’ got it wrong.
    As it happened I think the linesman flagged Ings offside so even if he’d had his shirtsleeve pulled up and the blue line had been behind the red line var wouldn’t then have overturned it, because the assistant ref wouldn’t have ‘obviously’ got it wrong.

  24. VillaMD yes I’d go with that too. Leave the assistant referee out of it and give a goal unless it’s a ‘clear offside’
    How would we define ‘clear’ though.

  25. The offside rule does need changing. Ings was not off side. Like Watkins wasn’t against West Ham or West brom

    We need to get European football this season. We need to keep Grealish and we won’t unless we are in Europe next season.

    West Ham 5th. Itsa huge game to beat them and close the gap on 4th/5th/6th. Its a team we should be finishing above and we are owed a win from our display against them

  26. Phew good result , we went from our worst defensive display to possibly our best
    Feels good to win against a good footballing side without player at our best
    Fair play to mings he had a very good game after having a few shaky ones

    imo its no pain no gain when it comes to developing players and a team and also allowing players to get into form or rhythm .. I didn’t feel it was a game for throwing players on as it was so tight and someone coming into the game may not slot into the speed of the game immediately

    Another couple huge games vs teams around us coming up … Jack player of the season so far

  27. Unfortunately we won’t see Ramsey what so ever now. A great talent l.. It’s annoying because we will still see Trezeguet play more than someone who actually has ability.

    We haven’t been very good at developing youngsters for ages now and I hope we don’t just leave Ramsey to rot in the u23s or on loan and forget about him

    He’s good enough to be playing

  28. We have to remember we are 2 years into a complete revamp of a failing football club

    The squad we have and are building are no were near the finished article with only Ross who is on loan in his peak years .. all the others will , have and are getting better

    We are not always going to play well or get it right but we will learn from the failures
    If we make Europe which would be unexpected that will allow fringe and younger players a lot more game time next season as would good cup runs

  29. Frem,
    I notice you took the time to have a cut at Trez again. When Mings had a go recently at Aston Villa trolls making life difficult for El Ghazi , he was talking about you and your ilk. I also noticed the amount of disingenuous negative comments about Smith despite an away win in an historically difficult ground for Villa. I have no idea what you’re like in the real world but on here you come across as a bitter & twisted little man with no real grasp of football though you’ve probably been watching it all your life .
    It’s the greatest time ever to be a villain and far better villains than you have lived their whole life and died without having the privilege we are enjoying now.
    I disagree with some of the comments on this site but quite frankly I resent having to share my football club with people like you .

    “Davis is’nt going to score goals but a great battering ram”. !!! ……the prosecution rests.

  30. Prox,

    I think it’s fair to write that any player that makes the Villa team is decent. We’re no longer carrying poor players and the whole squad has improved.

    I’ve complained about Mings recently, but thought he was very good yesterday. A couple of times he hoofed the ball out vs trying to control it and potentially lose it. He also won a lot of ball and I thought looked better than Konsa.

    It’s a pity we’re out of the FA Cup, as it would be great to see some of the squad players

  31. Runtings,

    Yep it’s hard to believe our club setup, owners, and the beautiful football we play. To your point, the fact that we’ve transformed in such a short time is unreal, it’s like winning the lottery

  32. One last comment as I don’t want to spam

    We signed Sanson this week. In the past I would be worried, will he settle, can he adjust to England, will he be strong enough, .,.,Now, I’m fully confident he will fit in. How can that be!

  33. Dean Smith’s first year, he manages to win promotion by the skin of his teeth, second year, he manages to keep us in the Premier league by the skin of his teeth.
    This is his third year in charge and he is potentially challenging for Europe, and no other manager in the Premier league has ever managed that.
    We are building a new culture, based on the principles that were once at Villa many years ago.
    It is great to see the steady development of the squad now, and I don’t really want to see Villa throwing cash here there and everywhere, because it rarely works.

    Burnley just ran out of steam against a revitalised Chelsea team, after they gave everything against us. Let us hope that our lads will be fully recovered, and that we may have some fresh blood too, against West Ham Utd.

  34. Good to hear from you Prox!!

    I think that Frem is struggling with lockdown, and cant let out his feelings at the games like he would like to, and is probably missing the banter with his mates at the match.
    Frem has been here a long time, and his comments in the past were a lot less frustrated, and we just need to let him feel that there is an outlet here, but I do know just how much he loves his Villa, being a supporter home and away before lockdown!

  35. Hi Paul,
    I understand and appreciate your sentiments however I feel opinions can be expressed with frustration but without disrespect. Bullies /Trolls need a taste of their own medicine sometimes to give them perspective.
    Having said that ,I will accept the bonafides of your comments and take them on board.

  36. VillaMD,
    You’re not spamming. You’re making separate valid observations/opinions and that’s the point of this virtual townhall that JC provides for us.
    I believe that every player that has pulled on a Villa shirt under Dean Smith has strived to excel within their own skill set. Even the much maligned Neil Taylor had a spell during the great escape last year which contributed to villas success. As fans , it’s fair to criticise lack of effort but not lack of ability which is relative to club position.

  37. Cheers Prox,

    As JC says, Frem is a good lad, and I know, has some frustrations. He would love to go Canada, or similar, to use his skills as an electrician, but lockdown has scuppered that for a while.

  38. Thks Prox.

    PP, I enjoy Frem’ comments as he shows passion.

    However, as multiple people stated, we know his opinion on Trez. It doesn’t matter if people agree/disagree, we don’t need to read the same spiel over and over. He’s not going to change his view, fine.

    I rate Trez really highly. His energy and workrate is second to none, and the boy has skill. I still vividly remember his goal against Arsenal after lockdown that was key in keeping us up. I don’t remember a lot, but for some reason that winning goal is imprinted in my head.

    Here is the quality:

  39. Oh dude. Still stoked from last night. We were fortunate but I’ll take it. After West Ham and Burnley it’s about time our luck changed.

    PP….Deano’s first half year yielded promotion by the skin of our teeth. His first full year yielded the great escape by the skin of our teeth. This year….Europe by the skin of our teeth?

  40. Some Lifers have commented on Deano’s substitutions. This is an area I’m in agreement with. We have a few grenades on our bench now. Why not use them? Why is Deano reluctant?

    Throwing on 2 attackers at the death against Burnley was a move straight out of Spud’s manual. It rarely works. Bolster the midfield as it’s there where the leg work tires players.

    Against the Saints, we got away with it. But it has to be said that the back line was better.

  41. VillaMD,

    Says video not available. I am a Trezeguet fan too. I hope that he can fight his way back into the team, as he has the heart of a lion.
    Impressed with Leeds and their tenacity today, and also Bamford’s unselfishness, making sure that Leeds got the points, by passing to Harrison! Bamford has really worked hard to be where he is, and Bielsa has had the belief in him. Was surprised that he has 11 Premiership goals already this season.
    Wonder how much Southgate will look at Ollie Watkins and Bamford with their performances , and consider them for England. There are so many good young English players coming to the fore this season.

  42. Plug,

    I think Deano worries where games are very tight, that any change could go the wrong way, and coming off the bench, they need to adjust to the pace of the game. It can be very much a catch 22 situation. When 11 players are really holding it together, don’t take risks, unless someone is flagging.

  43. I must admit we are very privileged to be witnessing our current spell. I avoid this site when we lose and the same now goes for when we win. Like jbd656 and Proxy. I’m sick of the constant anti Villa slating by a certain person. At least his slagging off of Target and El Gazi has subsided but Tez and Deano still getting unjustified abuse. Blue noses slag villa off less. This was to me the best site for years that showed an intelligent view on villa related topics but it gets harder and harder to keep reading the team, manager and all things villa related are so 5h1t.

  44. Don’t forget trez’s 2 against Palace and the winner against Leicester to take us to the final. Lots more to come from him. I was surprised Traore wasn’t hooked as he was not doing a fat lot, if DS was worried about changing it I cannot see how putting someone on that would help Cash at a minimum would of hurt, weird one. I hope trez starts against Spam.

  45. Plug,
    I often wonder why Smith is not inclined to use subs more . It would definitely seem intuitive to do so but I have learned to quiet the noise in my head by rationalising that Dean Smith clearly knows what he’s doing based on any worthwhile analysis of his record at Villa. He knows all the background data on his players and the opposition.He also has people like Shakespeare and Terry to help him make decisions and my feeling is that he’s open to counter opinion.

    Bottom line is that I’m an amateur tactician and he’s not . I completely trust his judgement at this stage of his learning curve.

  46. Cheers John. You’ve done a great job of this site. In general it’s great to read by some great people people it just grates hearing the same old negativity time and time again.

  47. Cheers villaMD. I have tried to ignore but it is constant. I was one of those who stood up for I’m when he was bombarded on TVB. We are only half way through the season and on 4 points less than what we done the whole of last season. We have s lot to be grateful for so why can’t we just enjoy the ride. There is a lot of 5h1t going on without turning on our team.

  48. On subs,

    I’m hearing everyone, and there’s valid points on all sides.

    Me, I wondered if Trez might not come on around 60-65mins if we were still leading. I thought, though, that Traoré is still showing progress defensively. He’s pretty lightweight, isn’t going to really move anyone off the ball, tends not to fair well in 50-50s. But his positioning and work-rate were better. Funnily, it was his intervention/touch that set Southampton up for Ings’ disallowed goal. I’d thought he’d made a great play, was going to clear, but it ran off him. I’m wondering if for him, like Barkley, it’s a case of getting that full game’s conditioning in him at PL levels.

    Anyway, to PP’s point, there’s not disrupting the cohesion. And that goes to me believing Smith wants the same unit to have 90 in them, and learn how to play through all phases. It’s easier for a manager to make changes when you’re chasing, I think. But, yes, Villa could definitely have brought on fresh legs just for ball-winning and marking.

    But that’s a move we rarely see Smith make, so it’s got to be philosophical. It might’ve cost us yesterday, and probably has in the past. But I’m pretty sure he’s going to stick to it, and on balance, I think it has a lot to do with our improved cohesiveness, one-touch passing, etc.

  49. Haggis,

    Have to agree, not a lot wrong with Villa, atm. Having a helluva lot more fun than last year, and it’s refreshing to sit down without dread, know we’ll make chances and play some lovely stuff.

    So, yeah. Enjoy it.

  50. I get the impression that DS was up close and personal when Ron Saunders was winning a 42 game league with 14 players. Today is much more athletic ballerina in style compared with yesteryear’s relative applied brutal thuggery. Still 14 players got through 42 games and won the league. Don’t think DS would dream of betting against RS.

  51. jbd,

    Yeah…Deano has high expectations. His, “I’ve never had a player asking to come off because they were tired,” was a statement with more than interpretation. It’s not a lot different than Bielsa, really.

    He uses matches like training, in many ways. Fight your way through the full 90 if you want to keep your place.

    It’s risky at times, but it’s a way to get them to find their grit. Before the quarantine, the starting XI was finding extra gears in the closing 15mins of games.

  52. I’ve been in Frem’s camp on substitutions, wishing that we could see fresh legs, as others tire later on in the game. It also gives players a chance to take a breather whilst the substitution takes place, and keeps other players involved and reduces the chance of the benched players becoming rusty
    However. . .
    This link suggests that we’ve been finishing games pretty well and as Dean Smith will have far more player performance stats than we ever will I guess we have to defer to his greater knowledge.

    That doesn’t mean that he’ll never get it wrong . . . . I still felt that we’d have benefitted from swapping Trez for Traore against Burnley. . . . but the case ‘fir’ more/earlier substitutions isn’t proven.

  53. cant argue about subs in that game. We won!

    Like prox ays, ultimately trust deano and the staff. They monitor there fitness etc and know a lot more than us. Think deano said on subs he didn’t want to upset the balance of the team, fair enough he was right!

  54. You have to enjoy our best season in a decade. No worrying about other results, entertaining footy, youngest team in the prem. Grealish being world class. whats there to stress about! We have had enough of that!

    Enjoy it as there will be downers. Look at saints, 1 win in 9. Wolves struggling. It will deffo happen to us at one point so enjoy it now!

  55. appreciation post to Matt Targett. What a superb player he is turning into. easily my fav villa left back. Defend and attack, Constant every week, no fuss or drama.

    HIs ball over the top for grealish was quality. You watch jack spin and run as soon as targett gets it. He knows targett delievers, Didn’t even have to break stride. Wonderfull goal

  56. Heroes, I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride. Actually wanted Brighton to win last night as it tripped up a team around us.

    But I’ll still call things as I see them. Deano can definitely deploy the subs more effectively in tight games. That said, out and out attacking football is what fans want and it’s what we get. Happy days.

    Leeds are the other team with all out attack but Bielsa deploys his subs much more effectively. Before Lifers scream who is higher in the table, Bielsa has a team from the second tier.

  57. Plug,

    No reason for you not to. I don’t disagree that subs might very well help see things out, especially Trez, who you know will work his socks off. I really thought Deano would bring him on Saturday.

    The fact that Smith’s decisions fly in the face of so many expectations is what I’m basing my “theories” on.

  58. Plug, don’t necessarily agree about Bielsa. Bielsa started building his team while he was in the championship, but he was not building a championship side. He had the opportunity to build for the future, which is why they have been so good in the Premiership.

    With regard to substitutions, you only have to see Jack’s face the other day when he was substituted, and I have seen it in other players in other games. In some ways, for a manager, it can be a no win situation, make the subs and lose, then you are wrong, don’t make the subs and lose, then again you are wrong. However, make the substitution and win, then you are a master tactician.
    Remember, there have been games when Dean has got it right and El Ghazi has come on and scored the winner.
    Is Fremon another yellow????

    I think football should change for the better, and when you get a yellow card, like rugby, you get 10 minutes in the sin bin, and it would stop a lot of professional fouls, protecting players like Jack. Offside should only count if the player is in front of the defender, not level, as it used to be.
    Players also should not be able to remonstrate with the referee, again rugby shows us up. The referee should also be clearly heard by everyone, and then there is no queries.
    Finally we should use the clock like rugby, and there again would be no questionable added minutes by officials.
    Football needs to be above board and have clear rules.

  59. PP, every one of those suggestions on how to run a game would be a mega improvement on the schitt that fans currently have to withstand. But there’s a reason for the schitt. It keeps the opportunities to tweak matters in the favour of the top guns at the expense of the others.

    And therein lies the rub. Rather than make huge improvements for the benefit of the sport, they prefer secrecy. Can you imagine listening in on the ref? A player goes down injured and he says “time off”. When a player takes the restart, he says “time on”. It’s so sensible, just like the clock in just about every other sport. So transparent.

    My other pet hate is the corner obstructions taking place when one team is trying to kill the clock. Make protecting the ball in the corners during the last 10 minutes an obstruction offence with a free kick to the other team. I’ve often thought, how can it not be obstruction?

  60. Mark. We want to beat west ham. So why play someone who doesnt get assist or score goals?

    Traore gets assists anr goals.. Gahzi scored as many goals in 5 games this season than Trezeguet has in 50

    Absolutely no point in Trezeguet. I want us to sign Nathan Miles as a better sqaud player than Gahzi and Trezeguet but we aren’t

  61. We sre Watkins getting injured away from our season being destroyed

    Imagine if we are close to Europe last few games and he gets injured andnwe f**k it up.

    We have one striker

  62. what do we need in the summer?

    GK Martinez Heaton Steer
    RB Gulbert Cash
    LB Targett
    CB Konsa mings house engles
    mid nakamba luiz mcguinn sanson ramsey
    wings el ghazi grealish trez troare
    st Watkins wes davis

  63. left barkley out as we don’t know whats happening. Him and Luiz could cause us to spend a fair bit. a new number 10 wouldn’t be cheap. I think luiz will stay though.

    A lb will be needed and do we keep guilbert or promote Kessler? Youd think engels is off so a cb needed. Id like a lw/st type and sell el ghazi.

    Will be a busy summer!

  64. What a window we have moved out the fringes of the squad and got sanson in and the biggest surprise is trez’s twin brother arriving on a loan with option to buy , his mom has been given a job in the canteen to help him settle.

  65. Frem, I can imagine the management looking at a potential extra striker if we are aiming to push for a European place next year ‘and’ Wesley or Davies are not stepping up to the level we’ll need.
    For this year though we have plenty of scoring options so I really wouldn’t fret about it.

    You say that our season would be “destroyed” if Watkins was injured but you e also been asking for him to be rested.
    You can’t believe in both

  66. Next two games are massive really for our season

    Both home against two teams looking to get 4th/5tg/6th like our self’s.

    If we lose both or draw both we probably will end up mid table

    Win both i think everyone will believe we can get 4th place, at a minimum 5th or 6th

    Two massive games. Let’s not bottle it

  67. Unfortunately West ham win take advantage of our strange corner marking. Southampton didn’t until right at the end when they nearly scored.

    West Ham will exploit it like Burnley did.. Big men far post on mcginn and Luiz

    We have to sort the marking out

  68. Frem. I know it’s a shame to let facts spoil a good story but it was Konsa who was out jumped for the first Burnley goal not Louis or McGinn.

  69. H&V, I suppose it all depends whether we keep Barkley and Luiz that will determine how busy the summer window is
    And also I guess if we happened to upset the odds and qualify for Europe they may feel that it would be worth accelerating the recruitment drive.

  70. Well West Brom ate down

    Arsenal have no keeper against us.. Should win

    Robbo. Luiz is marking Mee. Not Konsa.. Hes only marking a zone, and Burnley knew our center backs can’t get any momentum to head a ball because they are just stood still and mee rus running gull on
    . Hes always going to win a header..

    It was our silly set up that cost us

    And Southampton nearly scored. Newcastle nearly did from itm

    West Ham will exploit it like they did at home. Sochec or what ever his name os will makea run back post and have all the momentum with him with luiz or mcginn make him amd konds and mings helplesss

  71. Plus they will have Rice and two other central defenders who are all big. They out humber us massively in height. That’s where we will concede

  72. If we want European football this season we have to win tomorrow and arsenal.. Lose tomorrow and west ham have pulled clear of us in a place we want to be

  73. Can’t help feeling sorry for Southampton. They’re a well run club with a good manager playing attractive football . . . . but they’re going through a tough patch.
    Two players sent off tonight and a big loss so they’re going to need real strength of character to get themselves back on track

  74. Guys,

    I’d like subs on after 60 mins and rotation as much as anyone. Actually , if I could make a choice I’d start Ramsey with rotation for Barkley/SJM and I don’t care about the rest.

    I think Ramsey is good enough to start. Give him 5 games, I believe he’s quality

  75. R0bb0,

    Yeah, sorry for Southampton but the young lad deserved early sending off. We only got 3 points off them, and only 1 from Burnley. Who was the better team! So maybe we should feel sorry for us…5 points dropped vs Burnley and 2 vs Brighton and Wet Spam

    That would put us 4th with 2 to 3 games in hand on the top 4

  76. Frem, if we moved Konsa right to the back post wouldn’t that leave us unprotected in the centre? Our tallest players can’t be everywhere.
    Would you feel happier if we put Ross Barkley there (188cm) rather than Douglas Luiz (178cm) ?

  77. seems that every team we have played recently has been poor in their next game, as the intensity is so high. Pity we don’t meet teams after they have had a really intense game.

    I would love to see Ramsey start a game, giving him a proper chance to settle in, and then sub him maybe after 60 minutes, bringing on Sanson for the final 30 minutes!
    I have similar worries about West Ham with the likes of Antonio for corners, to head on to others. Bowen puts in some superb dead balls, and now Benrhama is settling in. Jack, Ross and Traore are going to have to be at their best.

    Great interview with Jack Grealish in the Express today. Also a good C&B podcast with Gareth Barry and how he wanted to return to Villa, but Lambert didn’t want him. Not surprised at Lambert, as he was not keen on Villa’s own, preferring to bring in his own people.

  78. Interesting, seeing Dean’s Smith commenting on Benrhama, that the main reason he did not buy him in the end, was because he is a left winger, and he sees Jack Grealish as Villa’s left winger.
    Meantime, for the last five games, David Moyes has played Benrhama in a no 10 role!

    We have also recruited Frederik Leth from FC Copenhagen as Head of football research to assist Lange.

  79. Team:
    Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, El Ghazi, Barkley, Grealish, Watkins.

    Subs: Heaton, Elmo, Ramsey, Engels, Trezeguet, Nkamaba, Davis, Sanson, Traore.

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