#AVL #avfc

It’s Friday, there’s football, and still no Jack Grealish. Does it matter against Newcastle? Who knows. But the barcodes are starting to get nervy, Steve Bruce is in the cross-hairs again, and Villa aren’t the same without their best player. However, they should be getting at least a little bit used to not having him.

Given there’s not been anything brilliant from Villa in Jack’s absence, Dean does have a bit of a selection headache, and not the kind he wants. Various permutations have yielded various results, the only real positive coming against Leeds, strangely enough. But that game showed the value of going ahead, which I’d think Villa will try to do again.

They almost pulled it off against Wolves, but the woodwork kept Villa off the board in a first half they owned, and Emi kept Wolves off the board in a second half they owned. I feel for Ollie, as it’s now 7 or 8 chances, depending on who you ask, that have caromed off some part of the frame, the most of any player in the PL. It’s kept his numbers down, cost Villa some amount of points, and sort of defies the odds. But, there you go.

I’ve no idea whether it will be Sanson or Ramsey, Luiz or Nakamba, Ghazi or Trez or Traoré. Or whatever combination of those. I suppose Ross Barkley might also be in the frame, but he seems to be rapidly disappearing from view. Jack’s absence has obviously been his chance to shine, and for whatever reason, he’s done just the opposite. Which makes me feel for him, too, if only because he’s a good player and seemingly a good guy who just can’t pull it together, at the moment. We saw what he can bring on his day, but it’s been a while, now.

0-0, 1-0, 1-1, 0-1: They’re all on the cards. Given that Villa haven’t slipped that badly in the table despite the patchy form and Jack’s absence, there’s still something to play for. And a number of players are definitely playing for their jobs as the season run-in and summer window approach. You’d like to think we’ll manage to get closer to 90 minutes of what we saw for 45 last time out. Matty Cash might well be back in, and that can’t hurt anything.

And as an aside, it’s been nice to see big Wes out on the training ground. Been a long, hard road back for him, and I’m sure he’d love to get some minutes in sometime before the end of the season. Which will naturally prompt all sorts of 4-4-2 vs 4-2-3-1 debates.

Anyway, I’ll have to catch a replay as I’ll be on the road. So I’ll look to you all to fill in the blanks when I get to check back in. God knows Lifers will do a better job recapping the match than anything else I can read.

Over to you.


Comments 169

  1. Newcastle will probably be stubborn tonight. Surely this is a good chance to pick three points against a side that will be without most of their attacking players like Wilson and Almiron.
    I would like Dean Smith to start Ramsey, Sanson and Luiz. Not sure this will happen. Give Kienan Davis more minutes even if its from the bench. He is doing the lad a disservice by continuously giving him less than 10 minutes.
    I think Steve Bruce will be out to revenge and with his side in the relegation zone, they could still pull a rabbit out of the hat. 2-1 for Newcastle.

  2. id start barkley. Im sure in the back of brain he seems to be decent against the toon.

    A game we should be winning but we lost to 10 men blades!

    interesting to see the line up. wont be anything major I guess. same old

  3. I think its up in the air selection wise, not many nailed their positions beyond the backs and keeper. Traore one goal and an assist in 9 now, ollie has 4 goals and ElGhazi 1. Mids haven’t scored since Barkleys last one and Conors at Swansea.

  4. Jack Grealish was a the most talked about player , as well as being interviewed on Match of the Day Extra. Been a long time since any Villa player got that sort of attention!

    Here we go, time to grab a beer!!!

  5. I have a feeling Trez will score tonight. I’m not having my feeling of dread that I have on games we have lost. Must be my old bones.

  6. Worst period of play from us for a while.
    We’re showing little composure or skill and Jacob Ramsey just isn’t giving enough atm

  7. McGinn is looking back to his old self and there are glimpses from Luiz but it’s all very inconsistent.
    Ollie Watkins with a lot of poor first touches so the ball isn’t sticking when it gets up to him

  8. My criticism of Ramsey is that he’s looking a bit ball shy so we don’t have the outlets that we should have and play is breaking down

  9. Robbo Trez looks our best chance and he has barely seen the ball in the last 25 except for defending. I think Luis distribution and the movement in front of him are adding to Ramseys problems, its like we have three players in midfield trying to hit that special pass rather than keeping it simple.

  10. Wasn’t happy with the way put Traore out, and Clark applauding. The Toons are determined to win this, and happy to rough Villa up.

    Still ineffective in the final third. How many times is Luiz going to cross out to the wing when it would be easier to shoot and score. We have to put more low balls into the box and shoot when the opportunity arises. We are too slow in our buil2d up play.

    Mings is getting the run round from Joe Linton, and needs to be careful. I see Barkley coming on sometime in the second half for Ramsey.
    Trez seems to be settling back in well and teaming up well with Elmo. Need to be careful of Gayle, who loves to score against Villa.

  11. Shame we lost Traore, as Dean is now limited with subs, and cannot afford more than one change now, in case we get another injury. So he has to choose between Sanson and Barkley, possibly using Davis in the last 15 minutes.

    I don’t think he will risk Cash tonight.

  12. r0bb0,
    I think Clark doesn’t feel any love towards Villa, as he moved on during the bad old days, when many of our young Lions were shipped out.

  13. Hope you’ve not jinxed us with that comment about Gayle PP ( I’d said the same to the wife earlier so I’ll share the blame)

  14. The biggest disappointment here is our lack of game management at the end
    We had chances to slow the game down and see the game out but we just didn’t show the composure that was needed

  15. Right at the very end we switched off . . . . nobody ran hard to stop the final cross coming in. It’s was McGinn who finally went to challenge but without any real conviction. He deserves to be cut some slack though because he was one player who gave his all throughout the game

  16. Poor game management. Do not trust Sanson, as he so easily could be a liability.
    Why the f**k did McGinn not close down the cross???? I blame him for that last minute cross.
    Should have scored at least two in the end .

    Bruce really needs to get a grip of some players.

  17. Martinez must be fuming after he did so much to keep us in the game in the end.
    Barkley still not reaching the levels he needs to.

    We really cannot keep giving points away. Something needs to change. It really cannot be all down to Jack all the time. There is a lack of leadership in the midfield. We are really struggling so much.

    I would have expected McGinn to be more influential in the midfield.

  18. We have to start looking at where we are going to get our next win from. On this form we are not looking like beating anyone. Certainly not without Jack Grealish, and that should not be how we are.

  19. James are you suggesting we look at Thomas Frank?

    Is the pupil an improvement? Brentford back in second place after a 1-0 away win, wit Swansea breathing down their necks with a game in hand……

    I felt Dean’s anger tonight when he was interviewed. He cannot believe that his players didn’t do better, knowing they could have moved above the Champions. what an incentive to win the game.
    Maybe Elmo with an older an wiser head should be captain and organise the team, as he does for Egypt.

  20. Where do you start! The movement, the passing. Championship at best. The goal we conceded and the min beforehand when we broke 3 on one and was offside was footy I wouldn’t tolerate at school boy level. Players, staff need a long word with themselves. It’s so bad at the min

  21. Deanos not as deflated as me! Awful game management and subs. Poor starting 11 pick. Just everything poor! Couldn’t believe what I was seeing at times. Normally conceding a last min goal kills me for days. But feel nothing but numb, didn’t deserve to win and feels like villa before lockdown.

  22. James

    I wouldn’t dare to be saying smith out now! But come next season after more money being spent you simply will have to see more consistency and style of play. The fact we can’t string 4 passes together with ease is highly alarming. The owners I’d imagine would want that at least after money spent and ambitions.

  23. Going to sleep on it, but not sure it will look any better in the morning. Substitutions were not good, and we need to have a better game plan once again.

    Dean will definitely need better results over the next six games if he is going to continue as our manger for the coming season. I am sure he will be working hard on it, and Jack will also do his best to bring home the bacon, but improvements must come.

  24. And why the hell is mcguinn undroppable. Has been useless for weeks. Luiz I thought looked so much better. So classy at times. Need berge in that mid priority. 2 new wingers and a striker. Big summer again. Really big season for us next. Feel it could be pivotal

  25. Blimey looks like we don’t need Frem after all, Deep breath, we have only lost two in the last 7 games, yes we are not playing great going forwards and yes we are finding our way without one of the worlds greatest talents, but, having watched Maureen fumble about with Spurs last season it won’t take 5 minutes to make this still raw side a world beater, they are though a very good side and with a few more additions this summer watch out.

  26. Robbo

    Well for starters I wouldn’t of picked that 11. Or kept 433. It’s been obvs 433 without jack not working.

    But seeing as that was the side and 433 I’d of put Davies on for Berty and put Ollie out wide. And nakamba for mcguinn putting luiz as an 8 as he was playing well and only one passing the bloody thing calmly

  27. Pathetic again……Smithball is Championship at best…..his only gameplan is Jack….and here,s a line you,ve never read before “tactically out though by Steve Bruce”….i am sure we will start next season with a new top class manager cos otherwise we will be next seasons Sheff Utd…..we have been outplayed by everyone since the new year which is nowhere near good enough…..i,m sorry but Smith has sadly taken us as far as he can, no more room for sentiment time to move onto next level

  28. Haha mark someone has to do frems work!

    But seriously it’s been horrific for a while now and Bruce balls toon looked liked barca at times against us. The passing and moving and being calm in possession is my major gripe. Infuriates me

  29. El ghazi bless him. Touch and shoot and smash the ball at the defender from a yard and repeat! Beat the bloody man!

    Konsa though. Dear lord he is insanely good. Covered mings a lot too as he was on one of his mad ones today.

  30. No not doing Frems work……Deano has become a busted flush…..i want the best for Villa and that means bye bye Deano…..he is paid to coach the team and therefore if they are not performing and are in actual fact going backwards then clearly he is not the right man…..i have said before his record without Jack in the team is awful ….so surely shouldn,t a good coach be able to overcome the loss of one player albeit a very good one…..i don,t expect us to win every game but i do expect us to perform to a decent level…..something we haven.t done for ages

  31. Tough day again.

    May be worth giving a couple of the youth lads some game time to see what they can do. Jamie Rednapp said his friend is raving about Philogene-Bidace. Give him 30mins. He’s 19 years, should be good enough now.

    Chukwuemeka and Barry are only 17 years. Give them a runout for experience

  32. Villa md

    14 points from the last 16 games is bad. It’s been bad when grealish was playing too. My frustration is try something new. Deano is very unflexible and predictable. All for the youth having a go. The no brainer for me was Kessler in at rb for Elmo who has no future here and can’t impact games now. Shame

  33. In this bad run we’ve seen Watkins struggle and become isolated. Bloody change it up and help him! In a 433 with trez and el ghazi it’s obv it’s just not good enough. Wesley last season was isolated with no service and same now. As soon as jack was out we needed to experiment.

  34. Heroes, I agree with some of your opinions but not others. I’m surprised you’re so critical of McGinn. He was one of the few players who was making himself available and keeping the ball moving throughout the game. Far too often yesterday, players were stuck with the ball without an obvious outlet so we very rarely saw the quick passes within triangles that we were enjoying earlier in the season.
    Yes McGinn should have moved faster to close down that final killer cross but look at it another way, why was that McGinn’s responsibility? At least he (after a whole game’s running around), ended up as the one player who ‘did’ try to block the cross.

  35. Heroes, one of my pet hates is fans blaming poor results on a formation. I remember on another blog when there was a campaign for O’Neill to switch to 451 from 442 as if that would suddenly make us champions.
    It’s an easy thing to point to as we can all see what formation is being played and can therefore blame it, but ultimately, its down to players ‘within’ a formation and how they execute it.

  36. H&V. I agree that Watkins often appears isolated at the moment but he has been used as an outlet throughout the season. He has been superb at receiving the ball, shielding it and passing it on to an advancing midfielder, moving us from defence to attack.
    The difference yesterday was that his close control abandoned him. His first touches were unusually poor so the second ball was falling to a Newcastle player and the pressure then returned.
    There were plenty of occasions yesterday when we had several players moving forward together and really should have done more with it but the understanding between the players just didn’t seem to be there and the attacks fell apart far too often.

  37. H&V. Like you, I’d have liked to see Nakamba on the pitch, and he would probably have been the player who would have shut down that final Newcastle attack. I could understand why Smith brought on Barkley instead though. We needed some creativity to break open their defence and of all the players on the bench, Barkley was the one who has most innate ability to do something skillful and surprising. Unfortunately his head (or body) just aren’t quite there at the moment, but despite that he played one superb cross field ball to Watkins in their area which so nearly led to a goal.
    I really ‘want’ to see Davies succeed and it’s possible that he needs more game time in order to do so, but let’s be honest, right now you wouldn’t count on him being the player to make the difference for us in a tight game.

  38. In summary H&V, I don’t think that the problem is Dean Smith’s inflexibility or predictability.
    It’s an easy accusation to make but a really hard one to prove. It seems to me that the players just aren’t performing to the same levels within whatever tactics have been laid out for them.
    Now that ‘might’ be because DS is setting the wrong tactics for the players at hand; it could be tiredness; it could just be that the early season enthusiasm has fizzled out (and we know what absolutely tiny margins differentiate success from failure); it could be that we have no obvious leader in the midfield and attack in Jack’s absence; it could be that we’ve seen too many changes compared with the complete stability we had in the squad earlier in the season; or it could just be that Jack is ‘that’ good!
    If we point to one thing as being THE thing that is letting us down (e.g. Dean Smith’s inflexibility) then odds are we’re wrong and what is certain is that we can’t ‘know’ that we are right.

  39. oh, and finally H&V . . . .I am nervous about our last 11 games too. There are a lot of tough ones in there and based on last night’s performance you wouldn’t count on us getting too much out of them.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if the team did what they have for the last two seasons though and give us all a very pleasant surprise on the final run in.

  40. Gutted we threw 2 points away like confetti. But a win would not have hidden the performance. It was abysmal. Our passing game is non existent. It has disappeared. We can’t string 3 or 4 passes together and exert any form of control. I hope we are not looking at next season’s Sheff Utd.

  41. PP. Do you think that Liverpool should sack Klopp if their results don’t improve over the next 6 games? Their squad is far deeper, better and more expensive than ours and but for the last minute goal we’d have been ahead of them today.

  42. Plenty of excellent and reasoned comments on here. Deano is going to come under pressure. The recent points haul is relegation standard. The Wai Ayes only possessed honest endeavour and we couldn’t best them. Poor.

    El Gassy really should have buried his chance at 0-1. FFS.

  43. ROBbo,

    Using Klopp as a comparison is unreasonable. His entire central defence and midfield are missing. And they are well placed in the latter stages of the Champions League.

    It’s accepted by most people that we’ve spent very well since promotion. But with the thick end of 250 million spent, last night’s effort was unacceptable. It think the sum of our parts did not appear and eyes will naturally fall on the coaching staff.

  44. Another indifferent performance
    for me it shows were we are having done very well in the first half of the season we do not have the quality or depth yet to sustain it for a whole season

    once again the defence was the classiest thing about us
    konsa developing into an amazing player while mings makes poor decisions along with brilliant last ditch blocks

    I agree with deano’s assessment that we lost a lot when troure had to go off .. the other attackers worked hard but seemed rushed … Newcastle played better football in the main so we know how much room there is for improvement when that happens .. through there play has improved in recent games and bruce is trying to get the to play on the front foot

    glad to hear deano talk about working on attacking fazes of play if the can get the attack to the level of our defence we will be some side

  45. Plug “The recent points haul is relegation standard.”

    Over the last 6 games our points haul places us 13th.
    Over the past 10 games our points haul places us 13th.

    Our recent points haul is disappointing because our expectations have risen so high because of the unexpectedly good performance from the management and players this season.

    I feel the disappointment of recent results just as keenly as anyone, but there is a lot of unjustifiable over-reacting going on.

    I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t question Dean Smith’s player selection, tactics, game management etc, but I see no justification for questioning his position right now.

    You’re right that Klopp has lost a lot of players but tell me. . . .which squad would you rather have at Villa now?

    You say we’ve spent a lot of money and yes we have but we’ve had to replace virtually a whole squad, we have the youngest team in the premiership, it’s a cliche, but we’re a team in transition and we’re improving season on season. . . under Dean Smith.

    We have a manager who has over-achieved and at the first sign that we’ve stopped over-achieving fans are calling for his head . . .really . . . really??

    Witton Road is like the Appian way after Spartacus’ rebellion, lined with the crosses of ex Villa managers. In the 6 years prior to Dean Smith we’d got rid of 8 of them. . . .and that’s not counting the temporary stand in ones.

    Let’s try and keep calm heads, deal in facts not emotion, look to the long term rather than short, avoid knee jerk reactions . . . . .and lastly. . . .show a bit of loyalty.

  46. runtings, your comment sums it up. We don’t yet have the quality to maintain the early season standards for a whole season. We have a young squad who will improve and our owners have (apparently) put more money aside to improve our quality yet again this summer.
    You can bet that a whole load of work is going on behind the scenes to identify realistic targets for us for this summer and happily we have a management team who aren’t going to jump into buying players just to appease fans who demand instant success.
    Standing back from the post match emotions, I remain really happy with the way my club is being run right now.

  47. runtings, your comment about our attackers appearing rushed is an interesting one. That’s exactly where Jack makes such a difference. He has that extra time on the ball and i bet that rubs off on the players round him.

  48. robbo

    Agree no doubt that fatigue and loss of form/ intensity a part. But for me flexibility and adaption is key. Not really going into the loss of jack as it was the same since Christmas with him playing. No doubt we have been worked out and teams adapting to stop us since our surprising high energy start. We have to now adapt against the teams adapting to us!

  49. Robbo re mcguinn

    He is doing my head in. Doesn’t score. Doesn’t assist doesn’t assist the assist. Isn’t a great protector of th back 4. Seeing as our mid is strong for options very lucky not to be rotated imo

  50. Also I’m not calling for Deanos head. I love the man. I love the set up and it’s our best season in over a decade. We have a young team who fight and care for the shirt and we are safe with 11 to go. But as easy as it is to praise the first half of the season and rightly so we are pretty much now playing badly for as long as we played well at the start. And after watching Deanos Brentford and being in his 3rd season I’m surprised and disappointed our style of play and identity is no where to be scene.

  51. Way back when when we beat Fulham 3 zip. I thought they played the better footy! Not surprised to see them do well. We have them soon at vp. All I’ll say is I’d bet even though there in a relegation battle they’d stand out more as a team playing better footy and passing and moving better.

  52. H&V Genuinely surprised to hear your intense frustration with McGinn. When I have such strong feelings about a player I try and sense check them with player ratings from various sites. There was one player who frustrated me last night and his rating weren’t up to much so I’ll stick with my original impressions on that one.
    As for John Mcginn, his ratings for last night’s game seem to have been average or slightly above average compared with the rest of the team. Here’s one comment: “Hopefully his next 100 appearances are as successful as his last and he could see himself going down with a ‘cult hero’ status.”
    Taking a look at our previous game against Wolves and his ratings and reviews were generally good.
    I’m not saying you’re wrong as we all see slightly different things but let’s just say that I saw his performance differently from you.
    He may not have recently hit the heights that he has in the past but I reckon that he’s improving and getting back to being the player that we all fell in love with before.
    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one

  53. H&V, I agree with you about Fulham. They’re playing with a real sense of purpose at the moment and seem more likely to survive than go down. Parker is showing signs of becoming a decent manager. . . .it’ll be a tough game

  54. H&V. I like your comment: “what’s to hurt us trying. . . . .”

    We’re safe now so it does feel like a time to experiment and bring a few more players into the fold. Maybe that’s what he’s doing with Jacob Ramsey having seen enough in training to believe he has an exciting future with the club.
    I suspect that he (and the players) will show a stubborn streak and want to fight for a European place until it’s mathematically impossible though, so perhaps the experimentation will remain limited.

  55. r0bBo, Our points haul over the last 6 games is 6. That’s 38 over a season. Last season that would have got us 17th place. Sure, we are just on a poor run and every team has one in different measure.

    My real concern is the goals drought. But I have other concerns like the poor passing we are currently witnessing. Shifting a ball from A to B whilst moving into space is basic. I’m not seeing it.

    Deano has a 250 million squad. It has nothing to do with the fact we needed a complete rebuild. You mention that Compass are apparently ready to spend again. They have said we must be sustainable so don’t bank on it. I think when they’ve laid out that kind of luker, they won’t be expecting 17th place. Let’s hope we are about to witness an upturn in form again. We need to with the games we’ve got coming up.

  56. I can’t understand the panic, can’t understand the references to money spent either, the champs spent £300m over the last three seasons to add to a good team, we built a squad for £250m. Theirs is worth a billion.

    We lack the final ball at the present and the coolness to finish, that will get better. Jacks a blessing and a curse but would not swap him for anyone. If the young team we have lack product then putting more youngsters in that also lack a final product won’t help. The only one I’d try is Barry but he’s injured.

    The reality is we are not in a relegation spot with 11 to go, we have only lost 2 in the last 7 games and should have more wins while not being at our best attacking wise, last season that would very likely have been lost 6 out of 7.

  57. r0bb0,

    I suggested that Dean needs to get results from the next six games, which are crucial, if Villa are to finish the season on a reasonably high note, otherwise I am sure that the board would be considering his position, if he only manages a haul of 3/4 points. t doesn’t mean I think he should be sacked. The only safe manager in the Premiership at the moment, is Pep, perhaps Rogers , Ancelotti and Moyes, but such is this world of football, you are only as good as your last six results.
    I am sure Dean is safe, having achieved more than expected in the early season, and I did also point out that I shared his frustration on the performance.
    However, Villa is now built on systems where anyone in the structure can be replaced without changing the system.
    This means that it is possible to change a coach, manager or DOF without needing a complete revamp.
    The board could decide to add to the management team, adding someone like Lampard as another assistant manager, responsible for the midfield and attack, with Terry in charge of defence, and Dean Smith as overall team manager.

  58. Robbo

    Yeah I love that about footy, opinions are so varied. I love little John mcguinn but not doing it for me at all right now. Is very much a tornado type of player running about. Hope he has enough technical quality for this level. But what are we playing now, gone back to 433? Not a fan at all. At least get back to 4231

  59. Seeing as we can’t pass for shit and more often than not mings is launching it I’d really like to see a 4312.
    Cash konsa mings targett
    Sanso luiz mcguinn
    Davies Watkins
    I’ve given up completely with el ghazi and Trez! If jack and traores are out we need to bin 433.

  60. Plug: “Deano has a 250 million squad. It has nothing to do with the fact we needed a complete rebuild.”
    I have to disagree with that comment.
    We had a squad with too many old players, misfits and loan players. That put us in a completely different position from squads that were built steadily. In some ways we were hampered by gaining promotion a year earlier than expected because we had to try and build a full premiership ready squad in one go.
    Last season 17 clubs had a higher wage bill than us, with 11 of them more than double our wages and 4 of them more than 10x our wage bill.
    It’s those sort of facts that confirm to me that we’re part of a slow but sure rebuild and I hope that our fans have the patience to stick with this and support the players and management through it.

  61. H & V. . . .agreed about Barkley . . . . .tracking back is just not him so we can’t afford to include him as part of our defensive set up. He does seem to be a luxury player, but. . . . . . sometimes you need one or two of those in order to unlock a stubborn defence.

  62. H&V. . .so Jack is out, you’ve given up on El Ghazi and Trez, have no faith in McGinn and have serious doubts about Barkley. . . . .well at least it simplifies the team selection process!

  63. Don’t see many goal scorers there H&V, considering Jack, Traore and El Ghazi have score, or provided the assists for the recent goals. Nakamba has been a good luck charm, as we have won most games with him in the side. Sanson is ok, but takes too many risks, and is a certainty for a yellow , as he doesn’t seem to realise that Premier league refs are a lot stricter.

    I would prefer to see:
    Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Nakamba, Traore, McGinn, Luiz, El Ghazi, Watkins. as a 4-1-4-1 formation

  64. Paul

    We don’t seem to score goals now mate! Just think the way we are playing long balls and Watkins being isolated and ran into the ground it would suit all round. It’s a lovely situation to have sanson in now to adjust and hit the ground running next season

  65. Dear God we are three quarters of the way through the season and Dean says we have to work on attacking fazes of our game….surely they should have been doing this since the season started…..all I can say is thank God for J.T and his work with the defence…..if Steve Bruce had been in charge of Villa and had the string of abysmal performances we have had since the turn of the year the poor guy would be arse deep in vegetables….the pressure is starting to mount on Deano and it not going to end well.

  66. Replay- totally out of context mate of what is occurring at present since the covid break, if you can judge this season a failure there is no hope for you.

    For one the defensive stuff was done by smith end of last season by reviewing vids on zoom with players and he also brought in the players that are now considered really good. Where was JT’s influence prior to the lockdown? Of course he has some effect thats his Job taking them through he numbers on the pitches at BMH , the attacking side is covered by the other coaches then? oh no thats Smiths fault .

    I doubt very much they send Jack off to play on his own while they work on a plan without him and generally patterns of play are worked on Pre-season.

  67. MK,

    Dean is struggling to find solutions at the moment. In his post match interview on Villa TV , he referred to the team failing to do on the pitch what was planned before the match, and after half time, and that some players are lacking confidence. Not good at this stage of the season, and I felt for him.
    Perhaps changing the training routine to suit the players was not a good move. I do not see that players staying up until after midnight playing video games is the right thing to be doing, and then training from midday, instead of 10.00am in the morning. They say the best rest in sleep is in the hours between 9pm and midnight.

    Maybe, as Jenny Truman said a long tie ago , there is the need for a mind coach at the club to help build the psychological attitude of the players before matches, and to assist their overall mental development.
    I am sure that Dean is feeling the pressure and finding it difficult to put his finger on exactly what is going wrong, apart from the absence of Jack.
    This is the weirdest season ever for players, playing behind closed doors with no fans, especially for teams normally driven on by the crowd noise at home, which is why so many teams are losing their home games.
    I also think that VAR has also changed the game, now players know that it is virtually impossible to get away with the many little digs, nudges, etc. knowing that they can be pulled up and sent off if the camera catches something untoward.

  68. PP- I’m sure he does feel some pressure but he does try and stay cool, he even preaches that to the players, don’t get to up or down during a game. We had a sports shrink in 2018 no idea now.

    Looking at bright screens until 2 am is definitely not a good idea but I would be surprised if its really the truth all week, it would seriously mess with your circadian rhythms and hormones. Players will be doing other stuff prior to outside training and after like the gym and recovery work.

    Newcastle were not that bad until Covid hit them in December, you can see a similar pattern to ours. Good old Brucie is using it for an excuse so must be true.


  69. Watched the Andy Gray podcast with AV Claret and Blue which is over an hour long, but well worth the watch and very informative. Answers a lot of questions about Ron Saunders, etc.
    It was good to be reminded of the fact that Andy is the only other player besides Ronaldo and Gareth Bale to win both the PFA player of the year, and the PFA young player of the year, in the same year.
    He brought back many good memories of the 70’s, as well as his time as assistant manager to Ron Atkinson.

  70. Replay

    Attacking wise I think it’s simple. Don’t play 433 with trez and el ghazi. Didn’t work last season with wes isolated and doesn’t work now. Know it’s unfortunate with jack injured and Toure went off injured but again try something different. In fact I don’t like 433 at all

  71. No issue with 433 with jack and troure. But stop doing it with trez and elgazi. Doesn’t work for us.

    Our best play this season though has been 4231. Don’t know why the change

  72. Oh the irony, we closed the gap on West ham, Spurs and Everton and it could of been two points more bar a last minute equaliser. Job well done by Smith then.

  73. mark yep 1 point gained on the top!

    But maybe we didn’t want arsenal winning. And the reality is we need to find our form back quick.

    But with spurs and everton to play twice we are in it to win it!

  74. Re our lack of cohesion in our attacking fazes .it doesn’t matter the formation so much if the personnel are capable of playing through the lines

    Again Arteta is a perfect example of how quickly you can coach a team to play good attacking possession football in a short space of time // he did have to bomb out a lot of players and i would see he has stripped it back to a young base to build on and he is taking them places for sure

    We have had a really good season based on were we are coming from but going forwards i have hoping that we will get our style of play to a much better and more consistent level as it seems like we are one of the worst in the prem at looking after the ball despite being at the top end defensively

  75. Runtings- Arteta has done ok at Arsenal but then Arsenal having been a passing side since the Wenger days more or less so their academy you would think are taught that way. Hasn’t always done them any favours but hasn’t hurt them either. With Arteta trying to create Pep team two there we will see what happens.

    I doubt if he had turned up at Villa after Bruce he would of been quite so able to turn it around with the quality of players, likewise if he took over Burnley say. Teams like Saints and Brighton have always coached that style to one degree or another so its horses for courses. Can the likes of McGinn become cultured Players? I think it will take some doing.

  76. runtings

    been thinking the same about arteta. Going under the radar but doing a very good job. Saka, smith rowe etc being given opportunity too.

    biggest thing is the way he has fixed there defence on the quite.

    and all look comfy on the ball,passing and moving.

    what id do to see villa string 10 passes together with control!

    I watched our counter attacks again at 1 up. I mean dear god!

  77. I think when Dean Smith turned up at Villa and the two biggest assets were Jack and John McGinn both Ball Carriers he worked with that. Jack I don’t think will ever be a player that would be happy to just pass and move. Nearly all our players can run with the ball something I have mentioned before, so from that to tica taca?

  78. Mark for sure Mikel has come via a different route but he has made big decisions getting rid of half the squad last window allowing the squad to breath and having a nice base of young players playing through the lines for fun ,, so credit to him for that
    Deano doesn’t come with a philosophy as such but has over achieved at Walsall, Brentford and Villa so far and I have heard him say he is learning at this level
    The international break is a great opportunity for our main weakness to be worked and improved on as we have got to start loving the ball instead of treating it like a hot potato …. and our passing and movement needs to be much better
    I do feel sorry for ollie at times as he makes runs between centre backs or defenders but we don’t even think about attempting that sort of pass which I find very frustrating to see

    Nothing to stop Deano improving this side though

  79. I hope he does Runtings but we need a few more that have close control and a sharp brain I think.

    Funny enough the only player I have seen that played a slide rule pass through for Watkins was Trez against Sheffield, it was a beautifully weight ball but Ollie ended up passing instead of taking it on.

  80. My other observation is we took on Shakespeare who is a bit of a play on the break coach and thats what we have done a fair bit. I don’t know if he is the kind of coach we need to play keep ball? I may be doing him a disservice and it might be that Smith saw the need for this season I don’t know.

  81. my top 3 targets for the summer


    all get able. right age and gives us a new dimension as a team. Sarr has raw pace which we don’t really have. Berge a 6’5 power house in the centre. And Buendia a little magician who creates for fun when jack has an off day!

  82. Dream on H&V..!!

    Purslow paid Chelsea £11milion to loan Barkley from Chelsea , and is now working on spending around £35million to make the deal permanent, if the latest info is to believed, and we are alos looking for the next Jack Grealish. Apparently , Dean is not so keen , and wants to see if Barkley can regain his early form.
    Purslow carries more weight than Dean, and has the full backing of the board, again according to Football Insider.
    I do hope that they have it wrong, as Purslow should not be making the decisions on players, without Dean’s full agreement.

    I am amazed at some of the money we have spent, if we paid £11million for Barkley, £15million for Sanson, and £15milion for Traore, surely a total of £41 million could have been better spent on Callum Wilson, Eze and Benrahma, or a lot of much better potential players.
    Sanson and Traore may well turn out to be good buys, but they still have a way to go yet, as does Barkley.
    Perhaps they will all come to the for against Spurs and prove me wrong, but we have a lot of improving to do if we are going to win on Sunday.

  83. £11million is the fee we paid Chelsea for a non =returnable loan, nothing to do with his wages, which may be still being paid Chelsea.
    This was kept quiet at the time probably, when we could have signed a permanent player for that price, but not with Ross’s experience. Jack probably was an influence at the time as well.

  84. That is the original one that I saw MK, but there are others saying similar thigs.
    Difficult to know the full facts, but I have the feeling that Smith is not as keen on Barkley as Purslow is.
    It seems Purslow has the greater power.

  85. Congratulations Ollie on being called up to the England squad. Fully deserved 110%. Jack misses out due to injury but Tyro in there.

  86. Yes Plug,
    Congratulations to ollie on getting his very first England call up.
    Meanwhile jack is side lined while he continues on the road to recovery, ensure he is 100% fit for the future.
    Lot of rumour and gossip about him again, but I do feel that he well could be off to Manchester City in the summer, following in the footsteps of Barry, Milner and Delph, in order to further his career.

    Meanwhile , as i said a while ago, Sanson has been bought in ahead of time, as a replacement, and we also looking for another player of a similar stamp on the continent. We will wait and see, as on the one hand it will be sad to see Jack go, but I cannot really see us hanging on to him.
    Purslow will see it as a huge statement if he can get around the £100million mark for Jack, and buy in some quality players, although I hope that Barkley is not one of them at the moment.

  87. PP- your turning into the blogs version of a Sun reporter 🙂

    Jack knows we are Building, I doubt he would be off next season unless that changes. Disappointed if we don’t get Europe but I think he will make the Euro’s.

    Purslow vs Smith, can’t see it, Can’t see the owner being sucked in by Purslows whims either. We have an entire department for recruitment and as far as I know Purslow is not a scout, Maybe he met Rosses mom while working for liverpool 🙂

  88. MK,
    I bring up discussion points based on the information that is available, surely that is one of the main points of the blog.
    It is sad really that we seemed to have lost the fun of discussing what is happening, what our hopes are, as well as discussing what has happened.
    The site is gradually becoming just a matchday rant with little else.

  89. Bit of a break…needed that.

    Barkley? Can’t see Purslow forcing a player on Deano, especially at that price.

    Jack? I believe he’s here for another season at least.

    Rest of season? No reason we can’t have a nice finish with a healthy squad. Lots of teams struggling with consistency.

    Arteta vs. Smith? Last I saw, we’re sitting above Arsenal on goal difference, game in hand, one fewer loss. And right behind The Special One.

    This is what confuses me the most: These two teams have been in place for ages in the PL. Neither one can get over the hump. Spurs play one way, Arsenal another. For all the money and talent (and some tight-fistedness), Arsenal have underachieved for at least a decade now. And people are complaining that we’re mixing in that company after 27 played?

    All of a sudden it became Europe Or Bust. Which is ludicrous. Yes, we’ve been in touching distance, could still happen. But it’s a long, grueling season, never mind the Covid business at Villa Park. Any number of teams flirt with 5th through 14th over the course of it, rising up the table and falling down. Injuries, luck (Ollie and the woodwork), now VAR (see also under Luck).

    Further, while people have been saying it’s a crazy year, all up for grabs, it isn’t really, is it? City, United, Leicester, Chelsea, West Ham, Liverpool, Everton, Spurs, Villa, Arsenal.

    Liverpool have faltered, but that seemed a bit inevitable for a number of reasons. City regained their mojo. Ole steadied the ship at United. Leicester have been competitive like this for a while now. Chelsea? Well, should Lampard have ever really been the manager? And it’s not like they’re short on talent or money. Everton, an 8-12th kind of club, inevitable they’d be in the mix somewhere. West Ham are the only real surprise, along with us, in the top half, and I wouldn’t bet against them losing hold of 5th or 6th.

    Then there’s the summer. We’ve seen the weaker spots, lack of production and assists, etc. We’re solid at the back. Don’t need a huge number of signings, so we can go for quality. Should be quite a good squad to watch. Leicester built on countering brilliantly. Over time, they’ve added extra dimensions. This is what Villa will do: Play to their current strengths, then add to them. I’ve no reason to believe Shakespeare, for example, is incapable of watching other sides and seeing less than we do, never mind Smith.

  90. PP,

    I do hope it’s not becoming a matchday rant…And I find the rants a bit much, as you’ll see from the comment above. And certain steps have been taken to limit that.

    But I agree: all topics welcome and open for debate.

  91. On Jack, I don’t think the transfer money is an issue given how minted Compass are. If they weren’t, you could hardly refuse £100m for anyone.

    But they don’t really need it, I don’t think it would really add up to more than £25m/year, unless they insisted on the whole amount at once, which would surely scupper any deal.

    So, it’ll come down to Jack. How much he wants to stay and give Villa the chance to get in the PL places, how the business shapes up in making that possible. He’s made the England side without being in a top four club, and I don’t imagine that he wants to be a cog.

  92. Orsic, Orsic, Orsic……… no99….. What a player!! A hat trick which destroyed Tottenham. Amazing goals, especially the first and the last.
    He is the next player Villa should be signing, if we have any serious intentions, and that was his second European hat trick! A really great young footballer with skill and determination. What a combination he could make up front with Ollie.

    Jose and his boys will be struggling now when they come to us, so if we cannot take advantage, then we are not going to do anything special this season. We really need to look on this match as a defining point to this season. Win this one, and we can really crack on and establish ourselves.

  93. PP just watched the highlights and Kane could of had a hattrick too but Orsic’s was special, I think we will see some very good players come in this summer with Lange in full flow. Copenhagen looked at South America and then Eastern European clubs for Bargains.

    Spurs need that top four finish now not going to be a walk over. Talk of there being unrest in their dressing room over non-selection, when you have a lot of good players that think they should be playing above those who are rather than getting behind them its not good.

  94. JC- I guess people are always looking at the neighbours with their spangilly new car and wishing they were them. For me the league is becoming much more competitive and the whole top 4 thing more fluid which is good. Unless you are City with the worlds best manager though relative consistency will always be tough to find as a wannabee.

    I was going to liken Villa to the Tortoise from the Tortoise and Hare fable but I then realised the time scale since the new owners brought Smith in and where we are.

  95. JC,
    Compass are not short of money, nor are they foolish. You maximise your assets when the time is right, and this summer will be that time. Jack also knows that Villa will not be challenging for the title next season, but as a City player, he could make the difference to them not only winning the Premiership, but to winning the Champions League.
    Jack has achieved his dream of playing with Villa in the Premier League and becoming an England player. The only way of achieving his remaining goals, is with City, out of all the Premier league clubs.
    Tottenham and Arsenal are both in transition , with new managers and players, as are other clubs. City are the only club that are really settled, with Brendan Rogers starting to do the same at Leicester, while Moyes should not be a surprise at West Ham, as the most experienced Premier League manager, with years under his belt at Everton, keeping them in the top half of the table on very little money.

  96. JC I feel compelled to reply to your Smith vs Arteta comment since it was me that made comment re Arteta

    My comment is purely about style of play and I am sure most people can see that there is a clear difference and I know which style of play I prefer

    Pointing out what we need to improve on is not a dig at my own club more a football debate re the best ways to progress and bring a club forwards

    Spurs game is going to be very interesting as both clubs are kind of at a crossroads in terms of regaining some early season form for the final push
    One thing for sure is that villa are a club on the up

  97. I will put my money on Jack staying at villa long term I reckon he will do a gabby and stay forever .. He has everything he needs at villa , top wages , ambitious board and its his footballing home

  98. runtings,

    Have to disagree over Jack. He is nothing like Gabby, Gabby was all about Gabby, and he knew he would struggle away from his roots, and he expected to be a huge Villa legend that everyone would adore, making him more important than the club, and he has now really fallen down as a hero.
    Jack on the other hand has no problem leaving his hometown and mixing with others. He is very close friends with many other England players, and knows what he wants from life. He is not Roy of the Rovers, but a very ambitious Jack Grealish, knowing exactly what he wants, and has had plenty of advice on how to get it.
    He is at his prime age now for advancement. Another year at Villa will not help him achieve what he wants, and he knows that Pep has been the difference to both Sterling and de Bruyne, and he wants that guidance to achieve his goals.
    His fee will buy Villa at least four top players, along with whatever Compass want to spend on top of whatever we achieve for him.

  99. I cant see jack going this summer. He is obsessed with playing for eng and his mind will be on that only this summer. No distractions.

    I don’t think anyone can afford him anyhow

  100. PP I hear ya and its all guess work only Jack will really know however I take largely into account who the owners of Aston villa are and there track record with there other sports franchise and on that basis Jack is going nowhere and will achieve all of his goals as captain of Aston Villa

  101. runtings,

    As football fans, the idea of Jack being a Villa hero is great, but Compass is not a charity, it is a business which intends to be very successful and develop. The development market it sees, is in young players and maximising their development, hence the building of the new academy.

    The days of long time service at clubs has virtually disappeared, and teams need to continuously evolve to stay successful.

  102. The way I see Jacks position is if he goes to a club like City he will not play every game very likely. Jack wants to play and loves to play, I am not sure that a team like City would give him the pitch time nor the amount of ball he see’s at Villa.

    Marez was a very big player for Leicester but he is bit part for city, you have to accept that with Peps rotation and management style. You could even see Jack becoming less Jack like which is a shame as his strength is his dribbling.

    Also I have no idea of cities togetherness as a squad, Jack is a fun loving lad and City and pep may just be a bit stuffy for him regardless of what he would learn.

    PP- I’d like to know how We want to buy Barkley as a sign that Villa mean business whilst letting the second best player behind Debruyne go to the team we want to emulate? the two seem to be in opposition particularly as the story goes that Ross is here to please Jack. If Jack went I don’t think Barkley would sign anyway.

  103. Runtings- I would like us to retain the ball better too but I was in conversation with a mates wife who goes to wolves every home game. She said apart from the horrendous injuries they have had the decision by Nuno to change the style of football to a passing game in hope of cracking the top has produced a very poor season. If not for the keeper some of their games would of been cricket scores she said.

    I’m with JC in that the Leicester style with Vardy helped them gain traction in the league (similar for Wolves) and they do seem to be evolving year on year in the way they play. We seem to have bought players to play in a similar way but I would bet this summer will see us fill the blank parts in of our game a little. For me playing easy on the eye football does not guarantee results in this league it seems the way you’d think it would but hopefully we will progress.

  104. PP our owners have similar quality to Jack in there other sports franchise a player that all the so called big guns desperately wanted to sign but instead he signed an increasable contract with our owners and the club is winning things which was just a pipe dream before they took over #
    They are very serious about making villa again 🙂 I think Jack will be fully aware of what kind of board we have and I maintainer that Jack isn’t going anywhere

    Mark wolves do not play the kind of footy I tend to gravitate towards but they would have a lot more points if they didn’t lose there beast of a striker imo ….
    I don’t think we have to go fully down the pep route but again our football still needs to improve greatly and we have to be one of the worst at ball retention in the league .. Mark you can probably pull up the stats knowing you to let me know if I am correct in this as I am just going by eye

  105. Runtings its not great around 49% , However by no means the worst either. West Ham’s are 41% Everton 48% Wolves 47.8% spurs 50% Leeds 60% Brighton 51.5% Southampton 52% Arsenal 52.4% for comparison.

    I suspect that it depends where you have that possession that counts 🙂

    Wolves were a counter side last season and had possession stats of 48.7% so they have gone backwards while trying to be more possession based. No Doubt selling Jota and losing Their no9 has defo not helped but Nuno has always played counter attack often to my recollection. Nuno has spoken about trying to play possession based football.

  106. haha Mark I knew you would come up with the stat facts and thanks

    It is interesting as we seem a lot worse at possession than the teams mentioned but the stats suggest there isn’t a great deal in it but as you have said it depends were … we do pop it around our defence a fare bit usually without beating the press
    Hopefully by this time next season we will have got the balance right
    As I said before if our attacking becomes as good as our defence currently is we will be one of the very best in Europe

  107. PP Details of the other Jack of NSEW

    Who is the most valuable player in the NBA?
    Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second successive season. He becomes only the third player, after Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, to earn the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year award in the same season.

  108. Give me fast, breaking from defence, attacking football every time. Can’t stand endless passes for passing sake. Footie that gets bums up off their seats is what I want. Sitting there watching passing across the pitch and back is not entertainment.

    Just add some slick interchange passing in triangles that beats the attacking press and slick passes that release players in behind. Not much to ask is it? But players need to be comfortable with the ball, demand possession and have abundant passing skills without fear of a pass failing.

  109. Plug- like minimal risk football 🙂

    Just saw this

    Just announced the England under 19 squad (KaineKeslerHayd and Jaden Philogene-Bidace) and the England under 18 squad ( Aaron Ramsey, Carney Chukwuemeka and Louie Barry)

  110. runtings,

    No dig by any means, just pointing out relative degrees of success between the two managers/styles this season.

    I’m sort of with Plug on the style. The way we were playing early, that was fantastic to watch…swashbuckling comes to mind.

    I always think of it like basketball: there’s the half-court offense (City, etc), camped out, passing it around, looking for openings, and then fast-break. Neither is frowned upon, they’re just different.

    I think it feels satisfying/dominating to ping it around, but as a *style*, not sure it’s any more effective than 2-4 quick slicing passes. I guess they’re sort of forced into it, teams like City, because there’s so much individual talent that they’ll take you apart if you give them time and space. So they get a steady diet of having to break teams down, which they can also do, of course.

    No right or wrong answer or preference…besides results. And of course no one really likes lump-ball, but I like to think of us at our best as more of a fast-break team than what “counterattacking” seems to imply.

  111. I think it’s also easy to forget that early on it wasn’t like we were just sitting back. We were pressing, winning the ball higher up the pitch, creating lots of early opportunities, getting straight at goal, then playing with leads, which played into our strengths further.

  112. On Style, yeah City play pepes way because they can with the players they can afford, as did, Bayern for while and Barca for years with him.

    Barca took it from Cruyff initially and Pep is a bit of a football history Buff and took bits from different era’s to add to the total football. Didn’t suit Bayern as much, although he still won plenty, seems to suit the South American/ Spanish style of player which is a pointer that you need players versed in keeping the ball and skills from the start. So either buy high Quality or coach it like Barca did.

    I’m struggling to think of European teams outside Barca and Ajax but thats probably my lack of Knowledge. Arsenal have had a go for a while although Wenger had some very British traits in his sides too.

    Whether Potter can make Brighton effective remains to be seen but it will be some accomplishment over history if he does. The likes of Cruyff and Pep are very bright people, I think Smith is too but at Villa he has targets and pressure not just a remit to play a certain way beyond it not being horrendous stuff. I do think Villa are finding their feet style wise though as they continue to develop behind the scenes. What the ultimate style will be I don’t know but I doubt it will be Burnley’s.

    We have a very British team though, is that roadblock?

  113. Thanks for the info runtigs on the Bucks. I have done a little bit of investigation, which shows they are at a very different stage to Villa, in that they are a lot farther along the road.
    As far as I can see, only Wes Edens is involved in the Bucks with a capital venture group on a fairly limited basis now, having sold off a lot of his stock to family and friends, but I am sure JC could enlighten us more, and also their is a large investment from the local council in their ground.

    Some of the blogs this morning bringing up issues around Jack, as h is unlikely to play on Sunday, still not in training, and Dean not wanting to talk about his injury too much. Questions about whether he is in rehab at the Priory, and could he and Abrahams be two of the England players that have problems. Maybe the reference to him in recent times about being another Gascoine have been double edged. The press has been extremely quiet on all fronts and he has had little mention.
    I just hope that everything is ok, and that it is just rumour going overboard, and that we will be back on course after the break. Congratulations to our youngsters and their England selections.

  114. my view is no matter your style of play if you have players the level pep has worked with all of his career you are going to win a lot of trophies playing eye catching football
    I think the possession based sides create a lot of chances but without the quality of player you are not going to take as many chances at Brighton than you will at citeh

    Agree that ticker tacker is not the be all and end all but as a villain I have also been frustrated for a long time by how poor and wasteful we have and still can be with a football

    blimey PP hope that isn’t true re jack …

  115. PP. I cant find any reputable references to Jack and rehab at all.

    The comparisons with Gascoigne seem to be from last year and again I can’t see any recent media links, even speculative ones.
    We saw Jack in the stands against Wolves.
    He’s not the most active on twitter, but he tweeted just 2 days ago (I don’t think they allow phones in rehab.)

    Dean Smith always seems to play his cards close to his chest when it comes to injuries and you can understand that this can make planning by the opposition more difficult.
    Rumours tend to seep into a vacuum and that is inevitable with a high profile player like Jack which tends to make the rumours even less reliable than usual.

    It all sounds like scurrilous online chit chat to me from people desperate to make up stories and is best ignored..

  116. Some really interesting thoughts from everyone on playing style and also John’s sober ‘Europe or bust’ comments.
    I do struggle with suggestions that if we were only to shift to a particular formation we’d suddenly do so much better as if our management team have never thought of that.
    Ultimately, it comes down to how well suited the players are to the style chosen and whether they play it to their full potential.
    Recently we seem to have a number of players who are struggling to hit their full potential and are falling short of the standards they were hitting early in the season. As others have said, we’re not alone in this and I can’t help feeling that it’s more down to the state of mind of individual players rather than the way they’re being asked to play.

  117. Dean in his pre-match interview , stated that he felt the players had suffered post covid, and added that he felt that it had affected a lot of other Premier league sides. I think he is right, and also the fact that there was no real close season, so there was hardly any break between last season finishing, and this one starting, making it a really long slog this time.

    Just watched the John McGinn interview after his 100th game and really enjoyed it, as he is such a nice down to earth guy.
    Looking at tomorrow and what sort of line-up we will have, especially if Jack is missing again.

    Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Sanson, Barkley, Trezeguet, Watkins.

  118. I see the latest stick to bash Smith is letting Hourihane go to Swansea, While I thought it was more of a goodwill gesture from Smith as he wanted to give Ramsey game time and lets face it if he’d played Conor instead that would of been wrong. Progression sometimes means making big choices to move forward.

    Apparently the hierarchy are not happy with that decision, it does make my shit itch 🙂

  119. Mark, who’d be a football manager eh? Hourihane plays and you’re criticised for holding back the youth, Hourihane is put on loan (saving his wages) and you’re criticised because he does well for his new club. One thing I think you can be fairly sure of is that ‘the hierarchy’ aren’t criticising Smith for the decision, and even if they did have their doubts they wouldn’t let them become public. sounds like more social media bollocks to me.

    Frem was banned from The Villa Blog once before so it’s probably only a matter of time . . . .

  120. Young Aaron Ramsey staking his claim now with two good goals on Friday night for the under 23’s after signing his new contract.
    I back Dean on letting Conor go to Swansea, as he has had a fantastic time there up until his hamstring went on Saturday. It is always difficult when there are so many twists and turns. The poorer results since he went. Jack being injured. However, we may have had great results and Jack could have been on a winning crusade.
    It has been an opportunity to bed Sanson in, as well as letting Jacob Ramsey get some game time, and he has not disappointed.
    Apparently Jack is in charge of his injury and will make his own decision this morning as to whether he wants to play according to Dean.
    “It’s not a long term injury. We’ve been guided by Jack. WHO’S BEEN SUFFERING THE PAIN> We’ll leave it as late as we can”.

  121. It would be lovely to see Jack playing today but I’d also be happy if he sat this one out and came back pully refreshed and fit after the international break. We have some tough games after the break but we’ve seen before how this squad have it in them to pull off some surprises in the final run in and it would be very nice to see a strong finish to the season once again.

  122. Sad to see that Sheffield United work so hard, but lose because of poor finishing once again.
    Nice to hear Thomas Tuchell confirming his team were tired and struggling second half, confirming what Dean Smith had said about teams struggling with fitness this season.
    Finishing is everything in football, no matter how well you play you must be able to finish, something Villa need to address at the moment.

    Watching the end of the first half of the West Ham Utd game, brought up a fascinating point of why they wear claret and blue for their colours. Apparently, William Dove, an international sprinter, accepted a challenge from four Aston Villa players that one of them could beat him in a race in the summer of 1899. Thomas won the race, and the Villa players could not afford to pay the debt, so one of the guys, responsible for washing the villa kit, offered to pay him, by giving him the team’s strip. He accepted this, and the Villa player told the club that the strip had gone missing! Will Dove gave the kit to his son Charlie Dove, who was right half for Thames Ironworks, who became West Ham United, and they retained the colours for their strip.
    Burnley chose our colours in 1910 because we were league champions!!!

    Normally, I would have let our past historian, John Lerwill confirm these facts!

  123. We donated a replica Villa strip to Crystal Palace at the turn of the Century, which is where they became a claret and blue club, and their first club secretary came from Aston Villa.
    Again, Scunthorpe United copied Aston Villa in 1910, after we won our sixth league championship, and still play in the same colours today.
    Trobzonspor, Turkey chose the Villa colours in 1967, in honour of Aston Villa’s heritage, after four Trabzon based clubs formed an alliance and made an agreement to choose opposing colours to their local rivals, Idmmanocagh. they became the first club outside of Istanbul to win the league title in 1976.

    Quite enjoy doing a bit of history!
    Arsenal making a comeback against the Hammers!

  124. I read that Tuchel thinks Tammy needs to get back in the flow. I think that is pretty much what Smith thinks is happening with us. That chance that Traore had where he beat about 4 players in a tight space then put it wide of the post will have played on his mind causing him to second guess himself. Its that kind of thing with Trez, Watkins and others at the moment.

    I remember times when I would walk out on a pitch and know I was going to score, when the chance came I wasn’t thinking where to put it etc I just put it in. Pretty much thats how it went, stop thinking to much and let your body do what its drilled to do.

  125. Where did Villa’s claret and blue come from? I dimly remember reading that the claret came from Hearts and the blue came from Cambridge University (or was it Rangers?)

  126. jbd656,

    Villa’s original colours for the first year were chocolate and sky blue, and then in 1887 they were changed to claret and blue, and the tale is that it was based on Hearts and Rangers colours, which with Mcgregor being a Scot, could well be true.

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