#AVL #avfc

Breathless stuff at Selhurst Park, with Villa twice taking the lead in the first half, and going into the break with a deserved 2-1 lead.

John McGinn and Anwar El Ghazi are the goal scorers for Villa, while good old Christian Benteke pegged one back for Palace.

Comments 116

  1. VillaMD,

    Not sure about changing anything just yet. Think Villa want the three points, and Palace are playing freely, too. Tough pace to walk into straight after the half.

  2. Despite injuries we are looking a better side, despite Traore having a bus ticket and sitting at the back with his feet up we are doing ok, Ramsey not being very influential at 10 and we started to slipped into the stray pass game for bit but recovered.

  3. Think Dean will be happy with the team so far, maybe chuck Carney ( like the pun) on for last 20 minutes, along with Jack, for Ramsey and Traore.
    May even put Davis on for ten minutes towards the end if we are doing well!!!

  4. I know Dean Smith prefers not to use substitutes and it has paid off sometimes but today there had to be some injection of new energy.

  5. The performance from the players didn’t surprise me. We are set one way. Great with space and can look good. Like all season and the record of chucking away points from winning positions is like we know we can’t control a game or keep the ball. But the lack of change whilst seeing us be dominant is madness

  6. H&V,

    If I were to have made a change earlier, I’d have added a midfielder, just plug things up a bit more. Villa were trying to play quick.

  7. Like I said other day watching the kids. Play same way but much better keeping th ball. Loose ball in final third and we are shuttling back constantly. But that will get fixed with a 6 and 10. Eze was superb that second half. Ran the show.

  8. John

    Yeah it doesn’t surprise me and I’m not fuming about that after watching us all season. We can’t control a game and we are no good without any space. That’s why we can’t keep leads. But Christ Deano is so set in his ways, won’t change a damn thing and it cost us today. Screaming at 2-1 to sort it and just watches us predictably go 3-2 down and brings the big men on. Not good enough

  9. jbd,

    It sort of coincided, their goals, but didn’t have anything to do with Jack. In fact, I thought we didn’t get it to him enough. But the traffic had been going the other way for a bit, they got very direct, and we were giving them the space by going forward.

    Elmo didn’t do too badly, but Zaha and Eze were making everything happen for them.

  10. The difference was palace could keep the ball and play in the final third. We will be better when those 3 class players come in. 3 on the same wavelength as jack and Ollie will improve our control of the game so much

  11. H&V, having disagreed with a few of your recent criticisms, I’m with you completely today. Dean Smith was found wanting. . and I hate saying that.

  12. I like that they’re showing faith in Jacob Ramsey, and I thought he did pretty well in the first half, but in a game like today when he was no longer making a significant positive Infuence, surely it’s in the lad’s best interest to take him off and let someone else have a go

  13. r0bb0,

    Don’t disagree about Ramsey. Showed a little first half, wasn’t much help in the second. But this is what giving players minutes is about.

    If Deano missed a trick, it was probably leaving him on too long. Take him off, put in Nakamba, let McGinn play up in the hole.

  14. John I think you need to change the tense of your last comment . . . we ‘had’ been doing well from winning positions, but lately, that statistic has swung against us and when that happens, surely the manager needs to question what he can do to turn things back around?
    Now maybe today we missed Ming’s aggression at the back, maybe Jack wasn’t fit enough to track back vigorously the way he usually would, but the fact is that from feeling we were on top and the better side, we let them dominate.
    Crystal Palace may have upped their game but we allowed them to

  15. Switching Jack for Ramsey was a big mistake at just 2-1. If anything , it should have been bringing Nakamba on, and the two big men at the end was a joke.

    If we had to bring anyone on, bring on a winner, Carney may not have done much, but on the hand he might, having been on fire on Friday. Why take El Ghazi off when he had been amongst it all game.

    This result will have done Dean Smith no good at all. It unfortunately will not have helped Jack much either, except for giving him game time. I really will be surprised if he makes the Euros now, and Declan Rice is another back fit now.

  16. JC, I was wondering if Chukwuemeka for Ramsey would have been worth trying but on reflection, when we were still ahead, Nakamba would have been a better call. . . try and control the game and stifle them and hope for a break

  17. Ramsey may have not looked aas if he was achieving much second half, but he was getting about the pitch and making a nuisance of himself, and once he was off, Palace found more space to operate.

  18. r0bb0,

    It’s tough for Jack…He was moving more, but it’s a lot to ask, and he is going to be rusty. But if he’s over the injury, you have to give him minutes.

    Like you say, I’d have replaced Ramsey with Nakamba, then Traoré with Grealish.

    But I’d probably have made that defensive switch sooner.

  19. Usually when we’ve lost this season, although gutted, I’ve been able to see the positives and accept that things are overall moving in the right direction. . . . . .I’m struggling to do that today, despite the fact that we’re safe in mid table and it doesn’t really matter. . . . . for some reason it feels as if it DOES matter.
    Maybe it’s because we’ve got used to finishing seasons well and taking us on a roll into the next season whereas this year it all just seems to be fizzling out to a disappointing close.

  20. JC. . . .I was just picking up on your suggestion about bringing Nakamba on. . . . .it hadn’t been in my mind 🙂
    Could it be that the players are getting a little tired and jaded towards the end of the season so Dean Smith’s tactic of sticking with the players on the pitch has become less effective as the season has worn on and he really does need to reassess his use of substitutes?

  21. tbf, Palace were on the front foot from off the second. Not really blaming anyone, just thought there was some poor game management decisions. They basically did to us what we like to do, and there’s more speed and strength in their midfield. You lose those 50-50s, or see a move break down, and we had a lot bodies up front. Zaha is going to control and drive on long balls, but then it’s the others joining that cause problems.

    And not saying Palace didn’t deserve some luck, but the third was soft, it just bounced that way.

  22. PP, I would hope that there’s still time for Jack at the Euros. We’ve seen him chatting with and embracing Southgate (even before hugs were legal again) so hopefully he just needs to show that he’s fully fit and back to his old self in the last two games.

  23. r0bb0,

    Could be a little tired and jaded. Me, I think Palace should be doing better overall, and they’re not a side we match up well against, physically. Cash is probably a loss today in terms of pace.

    I think leaving Ramsey on maybe longer than he should’ve been was about seeing him in that situation. Can he dig in and find that extra gear/bite?

    And it also points a bit to McGinn and pace/size in there as well. There’s not a lot of options for beefing up the midfield in any considerable way.

  24. I mean, there’s that damned if you do/don’t thing going on. We say Barkley can’t play anymore, that leaves Ramsey filling the hole, and I’ve just not really seen a lot of progression. Doesn’t embarrass himself, but doesn’t run a game.

    I’d have imagined Carney would’ve been overwhelmed coming into that. No way to know, but such a big step up, and certainly when the side were getting overrun.

  25. Switch of formation is what most teams do. 3412 or summin. Is hard as at the mo we don’t have the players to control a match. Jacks fitness is what it is but we was well worked out before his injury. Deny this villa team space and we are done. Luiz is our only reg player with a pass completion of over 85 %

  26. Robbo

    I want Deano to succeed as the next man. I love him! But again, massive summer and season for him coming up. We have had huge windows of a chance of improvement last few seasons but now mid table closing on the top 8 is small small margins. Have to be near perfect to improve. I don’t see us near the top 8 whatever we do in the summer

  27. Absolutely no gripe with today’s result. We got exactly what we deserved. Zero.

    When they put us under the pump straight after half time, it was clear to me that we needed a change. Barclay and Nakamba for Ramsey and Traore as a matter of urgency with Jack for El Gassy later on.

    But no. Do nothing in this league and you get punished. It was completely unsurprising what then followed.

  28. we lose with what is a very depleted side with a recovering Jack, a goal deflected off Elmo’s arse, another scored with a shoulder and the worlds coming to an end, you have to laugh or you’d cry. Not our best game but then we all know what we need. Eze took the game by the trouser seat and zaha is a tough player to bottle up.

  29. We had massive problems clearing our lines. How many times did the ball, in the process of being cleared, end up dropping in our penalty area? I lost count.

    So it’s a bottom half finish after all. A season that promised to sparkle fizzled out like a damp squib.

  30. No Plug I am not, no mings, Cash, Trez, Jack, Ross that is half of the best side we can put out if all firing no? and please don’t say Jack played.

  31. Dean Smith

    “But, in the second half, they counter-pressed us a lot better and we never played with the same intensity and quality on the ball and that enabled Crystal Palace to get a foothold in the game.”

    Teams know our soft spot…

    so seeing as they know our short falls that will be worked on and improved on by next season you would think, we have to beat the high press better.

  32. Plug

    The worry is our relegation form and Deanos reluctance for change. It was a great first 15 games. Which we took everyone by surprise until they just denied us and jack space. Haven’t been able to adjust or have the players to do anything different.

    Mark. Like you say Deanos seen this and can see it being addressed.

  33. Right relegation form. Right now we have 48 points add Fulham and WBA together they would be 6 points ahead of us. Add Sheffield and Fulham together and we have more points, give us 35 points and we would still be safe, we got that last season and we are ahead in 2021 5 wins 5 draws on last seasons results, we only got 9 wins and 8 draws all season.

    So please stop the hand wringing about relegation that was a moot point ages ago.

  34. I’m detecting a trend since the start of the year. Games played = 22. Points gained = 23. Over a season that would give us 39 points. If this trend is carried over into next season, Deano will be duck soup. Stats won’t save him.

    The glass half full guys will say these comments are very negative. I agree. We are only 11th in the table due to scintillating early season form. Once teams countered our strengths, we have not been able to respond in like.

  35. Plug- so you are telling me that our downturn in form since the covid episode is actually just teams working us out? Let’s not forget we lost to Leeds and Southampton during the good patch badly too but then got back to winning. The only difference between then and now is wins are draws but even then we have 20 points to show for bad form. There is not a cats chance in hell we will start next season like this if we have a full compliment of players plus upgrades we will be fine.

  36. Mark, I only report what I see. We’ve had more than a few games now where leads have turned into losses. I don’t recall many, if any, going the other way.

    The game today turned on Hodgson’s adjustment at half time to a high press. We didn’t have the answers. Killed us at a stroke.

    I’d rather have our squad than the Eagles squad any day. Yet they rolled us over. It’s not unreasonable to question why. A debate worth having.

  37. Despite my irritation/frustration with today’s performance from both players and manager I’m still optimistic for the future. As Mark pointed out, we were considerably depleted today but despite that, we should have beaten a solid mid table team.
    Some new external recruits
    More promotions from the youth set up
    Plus development of existing players ( bearing in mind we are the youngest side in the premiership)
    And . . . Dean Smith also growing with experience. . .
    The future should be exciting

  38. But we are where we are as expected due to money spent. Next season we should be able to up our wages. Talk of signing some exciting players. Our young squad with more experience, and hopefully adapt the way we play.

  39. Plug

    Of course there’s a debate. I love Deano and want him to succeed but he’s not perfect and only time will tell if he can take us where the owners want to go. It’s simply Unknown. But as a fanbase it seems there’s staunch Deano fans and he can’t do no wrong that provokes a debate. I think everyone recognises next season is the one to truly judge.

  40. Plug, like you, I’m frustrated that we weren’t able to adjust to their second half changes. It ‘s not good enough that today was the first time in 3 years that Palace have managed to come from behind to win and you’re right that questions should be asked

    Their squad shouldn’t be underestimated though. With players like Zaha, Eze, and Benteke, they really do have the ‘potential to hurt any team

  41. Plug as smith has said beating the press is our weakness it’s been noted. Without mings and cash it becomes even harder. Sheffield? You mean that really old squad of campaigners at their peak last season? Or the ineffectiveness of Sheffield’s recruitment? Or the loss of jack and covid? There is bugger all to compare the two sides other than results. The reasons why are poles apart. If it truly is tic-tacs it’s fixable.

    Sick of hearing about fans of Deano not wanting to debate, it’s simply that the team we have is young and the 5 year plan in its infancy. There truly is no way of knowing what is players weaknesses and the managers. Dean has had stick for playing Barkley but yesterday fans were calling for him to come on, you couldn’t make it up.

    Due to injury , covid loss of jack and Ross yeah we have dropped points. Well here’s the news, we used to do that with jack , we eventually learnt not to , unfortunately with half the team that knows how sidelined there is another learning curve going on. It’s not a long term trend it’s a product of circumstance.

  42. Left it overnight , before making any further comment on yesterday’s game.
    I have listened to what Dean has had to say about what he thinks went wrong, but none of what he has said backs up MK’s comments about injuries to players, or Jack being unfit, nor does he comment on the fact that he may have got things wrong by taking off fit players, replacing them with two players with virtually no match experience, and one just recovering from injury.
    What Dean does do, is actually blame the players for their failings.
    Dean has a job as manager to get results, first and foremost. That is what he is paid for, and in other comments he made, he referred to Kortney Hause having a great first half, and then tiring in the second half, surely if he realized that, he should have considered replacing him with the experience of Taylor, and keeping the defence up to the mark, and then perhaps Nakamba to replace Ramsey. He could and should have ensured the win for Villa.
    His priority seemed to be more about getting minutes for jack, rather than being concerned about the team’s performance.
    I am sure there will be lots of reflections this morning among Dean and his team. What is it that they want to achieve in the remaining two games of the season.
    Interesting this weekend how many young players were given opportunities, and they took them, but Dean, just like Bruce before him, is not keen on trusting Villa youngsters.
    I hope that we do not end the season on a very poor note.
    The managers job is not an easy one, but he has to take responsibility for his decisions.
    He has come a long way with Villa, and everyone is grateful for what he has achieved, let us hope that he can continue, and that he will improve and show the way to a whole new era for the club.

  43. Measured words PP. Shows why this is the best Villa blog by miles. This time next week we’ll be reflecting on the season overall with plenty of suggestions where we need to beef up the squad.

  44. Paul

    Yeah I saw sheff utd had a 17 year old score there winner! Foxes have no qualms playing there young lb. Maybe ours aren’t good enough or physically ready? Said it when cash was out last time, stick kesslar in. 0 to play for.

  45. next season will be the one where deano will start to be judged. To improve on 11th will be very tough and will need faultless recruitment and to be coached into keeping the ball and controlling games. But the owners aren’t playing and will want to keep improving. Everything i’ve heard from deano says he knows this and we know in the summer we will be spending. Its going to b exciting!

  46. we have signed a 15 year old called pierre from Bristol rovers. record 6 figure fee for rovers academy.

    It really cant be understated the investment in our youth, academy and scouting in a short space of time. Its insane

  47. My only concern with all the concentration on youth and athleticism, coupled with stats, is football is un like any other sport, where players may not reach their peak until well into their twenties, and Villa will reject players that may be the difference between being a good side and being a great side.

    Seeing players sliding on over watered pitches, and the increase in soft fouls, players going down for virtually no reason, is football losing some of its magic, and do we almost coach out the skills of the natural talents that young players have.
    So great to see players like Defoe, and many others, still showing their skills in the last years of their careers.

  48. Paul even over VAR the first thing id change is the soft fouls given all the time. It makes the game stop start and annoys me immensley.

    I did think though other day that footy at youth level is miles behind 1st team. but thinking about it its 0 contact now which should help bridge the gap massively. they just need the physic

  49. Kyrie Pierre signed from Bristol for a six figure sum. Their most expensive academy sale before that , was £200,000 for Scott Sinclair, another name familiar with Villa!

  50. My take on Dean’s postmatch comments:

    Palace upped their intensity, and we didn’t cope or really match it. Comes down to a couple things.

    We’ve not had a set of great players on the ball in a while. I think that’s one thing to be addressed. However, it’s also about passing outlets and decision-making. For example, if Luiz or McGinn gets ball facing goal in the center, do they turn and drive and make a good pass to someone not under pressure? And then what about the following pass? Do players try something too ambitious, or miss something boring and safe?

    The second is that we’re a bit less athletic in the middle. Ollie’s fine, Jack’s fine. The back five are fine. But, it’s that central three and the wide forwards. Thinking size and pace here, winning the 50-50s, not getting dispossessed, holding off challenges, and the like.

    So, yeah, you think “make changes,” and as we’ve discussed, probably the obvious one Sunday was replacing Ramsey with Nakamba and leaving SJM further forward. But there are no ball-winning bruisers to bring in, no pace and size counterparts to Eze and Zaha.

  51. So I think part of what we saw play out Sunday is auditions in advance of the summer. How do players respond? Can they? My guess is that Dean’s putting the onus on the starting XI, however makeshift, to prove they have a reason to stay.

  52. PP- since when has Smith ever come out and talked about injuries? he stopped the players on Fantasy league because people were finding out that way who was injured, he was hardly going to say we missed Mings and Cash and piss on Hauses and Elmo’s chips anyway. He said we had enough Quality to play out on the field but we clearly didn’t. That might also be why he didn’t put Nakamba on , he certainly can’t beat a press or pass well. Also Jack barely left his birth up front on the left and consequently didn’t see the ball for long periods. He was not likely to say Jacks nowhere near fit or he might as well phone Southgate and tell him to forget it.

    Biggest problem was Jack did not have the desired effect and El Ghazi disappeared up his own Chuff out on the right giving Elmo no hope.

    Still I don’t think there is viable tic-tac change to prevent deflections.

    Hause for Taylor? 🙂 Benteke would of been licking his lips.

    I thought Townsend Gave Targett his hardest game this season.

    Mings, boy did we miss his leadership and passing, and huge punts upfield. Kourtney Hause struggled. With a pass accuracy of 62%, 3 fouls, possession lost 12 times, and only a 20% success rate in ground duels, compare that to Jacks passing of 89.2%.

    Another way to describe what happened second half was our effort in every metric dropped off, pressing, passing, tackling pretty much everything.

    Hopefully Jack is ok to start at Spurs but not much time for him to gain Fitness as its Weds night. If he starts I bet Barkley will and that might work for once.

  53. Greetings All,never mind Smith in or out,never mind the now familiar collapse at Palace…..we simply have to get rid of Martinez.Please,he has played over 30 league games and hasn’t scored a single goal.

  54. Wow!!
    You are still living and breathing B6toBrasil…. We need to hear from Steamer 75 now….
    Agree entirely with you. If Alisson Becker can do it then Emily should be able to do the same!!

  55. Hause made some great long passes, and his heading was excellent, plus he can make passes with both feet. Certainly, first half he was excellent, and an improvement on Mings, second half when there was so much pressure on the defence, it was different, but he had little support.
    I am sure with a run of games he would be an outstanding player.

  56. PP,

    I definitely think Hause would get better with a run of games. He and Konsa did well when Mings was out. Can’t say I see him taking over from Mings, though, unless Tyrone were to leave.

    He’ll be an interesting situation. Probably could/should be starting somewhere, but is a very unknown quantity to most every other team.

  57. Yep, B6, he’s so useless he’s been called up by Argentina for their World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Columbia. Congratulations Emi, the clean sheets have not gone unnoticed.

  58. it really is such a massive transfer window. What will they target. jack to 10 or buy a 10? ollie lw or st? but another st.

    the much talked about 3rd window in the prem to add quality.

    then theres the needing the callobire of player to keep jack but also to get good players in whilst jack is here so if and when he does go we are covered!

  59. Hause is a good Passer ? wowsers Must be another hause on the books. Though he has done well coming in before but generally its been with Mings. Very good in the air and possibly our top threat at set pieces. He got totally owned by Benteke for the 1st goal, wasn’t even facing the right way.

    Listened to Smiths presser and he said Ramsey tired second half as youngsters tend to, should get off that X box then.

  60. Fair bloody do s Leeds. Up to 8 th first season back. Great footy and not lost to any of the top 6 at home. It’s damn impressive. They’ve been linked to a few names this summer. Ones to watch, they could do serious bits next season. I thought they’d tire as the season went on tbf but got stronger. I remember dear steamer saying he wanted Biesla way back

  61. yep Leeds have done very well and they seem to have pretty deep squad all considered.

    that begs a question, if Villa have had a poor second half of the season because we have been found out or because Smiths tactically naive then Why haven’t Leeds been found out? they play the same every time.

    And while I’m on that train of thought, Southampton were killing it early season and their manager was getting Plaudits, the rest of their season has been pretty poor and he’s still there, I wonder If Saints fans want him sacked? and what about Potter at Brighton? also liked for his style of play but ultimately crap results, Moyes at Wets Spam have likely blown it but have two good last fixtures, Everton too have shat the bed.

    I think if the bottom 3 had not been so poor with sub 30 points and less the next few up would of been right in the crapper, been a weird season and next season will be a real test.

  62. yeah its going to be very tough next season.

    Palace could be in trouble. they have 14 players out of contract and got to replace roy and kept a steady ship. Wolves could be back stronger after there dip from 2 7th place seasons. jimenez is back. Apart from the elite clubs anyone to me is capable of struggling! prem can be mad

  63. Not so much of a surprise Elmo probably Knackered and No Davis, must be Knackered too. So that another two tired players along with Ramsey 🙂

  64. A thought on Leeds, Bielsa has been known to knacker his players out, as they play such tight System his entire Squad ( and there have been many come and go) must be of a certain type fitness wise. I read about him having a good eye for players being Fit, the story is he wasn’t Fit enough himself as a player. I do wonder if he gets some success whether we will see many Leeds copycats? or will someone suss them out? Ironically he has many players he coached who have become Coaches themselves who all rave about him, funny thing is none of them use his style, Pottechino was one.

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