The international break felt like a lifetime, but they always do. Sadly, that wasn’t enough to see Bailey fully fit, and of course Traoré picked up a quad injury himself with Burkina Faso. So, it’s 3-5-2 again for visiting Wolves, which will probably send some into a frenzy.

However, with Wolves generally playing some variation of 5-4-1/3-4-3, it can be made to match up a bit, and perhaps gives Villa the edge in midfield and minimizing Joao Moutinho’s influence. As always, the midfield three will have a lot to do, and Emi Buendia gets another look in the center today, alongside John McGinn and Douglas Luiz. Emi Martinez, as expected, is between the sticks.

Luiz, McGinn, and Villa’s back three of Konsa, Tuanzebe, and Mings will find themselves busy with Hee Chan, and Adama Traoré.

But of course Villa actually have a bench now, and it’s good to see Morgan Sanson back on it. Maybe a little surprising to see Ramsey there instead of Buendia, and some will complain about Hause not starting. But in the main, there are ways to change things up, and if Buendia has a rough outing, I think we’ll see Ramsey sooner than later. Cameron Archer makes the squad once again, as does Philogene-Bidace. So, you could see Ramsey come in, Buendia go wide, and one of the wingers come on. Ings would likely be the one to make way. Or, Smith could go to some version of 4-3-3 if we’re chasing.

Wolves, having lost their first three, and winning three of four since, are a bit rejuvenated and finding their stride. Villa will be looking to play better than they did in the winnable fixture against Spurs that in all honesty they threw away. Naturally, everyone will be looking at the Watkins-Ings pairing and hoping it starts to yield more chances and goals. Ings in particular hasn’t been seeing enough of the ball, and that’s got to be rectified as he’s been getting himself in the right spots.

An interesting match-up. Maybe one of these days we’ll see a fully fit squad for selection, but as it stands, this isn’t bad. Just not as explosive as we know it could be.

Over to you.



Comments 251

  1. Not a bad half. Looked really good going forward at times, some better understandings developing.

    Both keepers with a good save, could be 1-1, but think Villa shaded it.

  2. Well, H&V, it can be an argument against subs.

    Didn’t disagree with Ramsey for Buendia at the time, but Jacob seemed well off it, and such a stupid foul. Nakamba didn’t do much wrong, and I suppose Luiz probably had given all he had, but we just didn’t clear our lines, seemed to get nervy, and it was really uncharacteristic.

    Heard a stat after SJM scored, that Villa had lost 5 of 7 when he’s scored. Turned into 6 of 8.

  3. Man we just go full circle again and talk about 0 control of the game. We’re either half decent countering but get 2 up we just concede the ball and invite pressure.

    Complete bottle job from everyone today.

    Get 3 at the back in the bin. 1-1 against Spurs and let them score straight away now this. Pointless 3 CB if your still shit at defending. Doesn’t look like Watkins and Ings is working either. Watkins certainly doesn’t seem to like it. Big calls for Deano coming up when Bailey and bert back

  4. More horrific tactics and football from Smith. It’s painful to watch

    The owners were there. Boos filled VP at full time

    If we have ambition then show it.

    Its championship quality football

  5. Need to listen to that. He doesn’t shy away from the truth.

    And I think once a full side is available (if it ever is), we will see different things.

    Sanson could probably have made a difference, and yeah, if Bailey and Traoré are on at the same time, there’s a lot to deal with.

  6. Taking Buendia off was shocking

    As soon as he went off we couldn’t keep the ball.

    Our ball retention is absolutely disgusting. It’s poorly coached hoof ball

    Appointment a top manager

  7. Steven Gerrard.

    Why not.

    There honestly isn’t a worse manager than Dean Smith tactically.

    He can’t coach a team to pass. He can’t coach a team about set plays. He can’t coach a team to create.

    He doesn’t change line ups. He doesn’t make changes in games when needed.

    He’s so predictable and stubborn

  8. Frem,

    Buendia asked to come off. Luiz just flew 5k miles back, and so many had been calling for Marvelous to start over him. Cash left with dead leg.

    Ramsey was invisible, and I can’t argue with Smith saying we lost the second phases of play from the set pieces.

    Ball retention was very good until we went up 2-0, and there were some very good passages of play. But, looks to have been a mental collapse, inability to clear our lines, players trying to be a bit too ambitious when breaking out.

  9. I’m glad the owners were there today to witness a poor performance and a disgusting collapse and boos after the game.

    They won’t accept this crap much more especially after Newcastle take over

  10. And Buenida sprinted and won the ball back minutes before he came off, twice so he wasn’t tierd.

    I think Smith is blagging that one, just like the injury updates he gives us

    We aren’t getting European football in a million years under Smith

    We won’t even finsih top half under Smith management ability

  11. The day after, and I’m still sore. Stunned by events, but I and plenty of others saw it coming. We just raised the white flag and stopped playing. Why we persist in trying to pass out from the back when we don’t have players capable of doing it accurately and at speed, I don’t know.

    Once Buendia departed, the fear set in. Podence was then given the freedom of VP to rip us apart when he came on. Don’t know why Ramsey wasn’t detailed to man mark him and stick to him like superglue.

    True, the winner was as cruel as it was lucky. But giving away free kicks around the edge of the area at the death is a crime. It was total panic.

  12. Back to back losses then. And it’s the Arse up next. Right now, I’d say we are achieving less than the sum of the parts.

    Thought SJM had a good game.

  13. We have a 33% win ratio in 2021. That’s awfull.

    Smith left Brentford, spent 300 million, and years later Brentford are 5 places above us.

    This Smith love in has to stop. We have simply out grown him. If we want European football he simply needs replacing.

    Yesterday why drop Hause? Why not take Watkins off earlier who was having an awful game? 10 minutes left why not take a striker off?

    Wolves were all over us last 15 minutes and Smith did nothing. Like every time his in game management is by far the worst in the league. Why didn’t we put Konsa right back when cash went on and go 4 at the back and cover the wings? Smith was absolutely shambolic.

    As someone on twitter asked, would any other Premier league side take Smith as there manager?

    Absolutely not

  14. Smith has his favourites and Watkins is one. He won’t be dropped even though his displays have been horrific. Ings and Watkins don’t want to play together and they can’t.

    Spurs should have beat us 5-0 yet Newcastle are 1 up

  15. Moyes at West ham. Look what he’s done there with less time and money and a bunch of players no better than ours.

    We need to stop being sentimental to Smtih just because he got us promoted

  16. Dean Smith does seem too much of a nice guy to be a top 6 manager. I can’t see him lasting the season.

    Even at 2-0 up yesterday with 10 mins left, I didn’t feel confident. Mings with his casual attitude chewing gum always has a mistake and with 3 CB’s we’re inviting trouble. Hopefully DS didn’t give Tuanzebe a guaranteed # of games as we’re just developing a Man Ure player.

    Arsenal and West Ham next. Could be 4 defeats in a row for DS

  17. Frem, I have to agree on subbing one of the strikers. When Wolves got on top in the last 15 minutes, fresh legs were needed in the middle. Buendia signalled he wanted to come off and Ramsey came on. The obvious move was to remove a striker at the same time and bring on Sanson to shore things up.

  18. I blame the fans…..

    Fancy singing 2-0 on your big day out!!

    You almost knew that it would bring inspiration to the Wolves…

    Then Luiz had been outstanding, so keep him going…or bring on Nkamba for him, if really necessary, but to then take of Buendia and destroy the whole rhythm of the midfield was suicide.
    Just keep the ball, slow the game and see it out, and certainly don’t give Traore and Podence the freedom of the pitch.
    If we could re-sign Traore for £50million or less, to me, it is a no brainer! What a player!
    A very enjoyable day at Villa Park for 77 minutes, unfortunately, the game lasts for 90 minutes plus, and Villa have retreated into bad old habits.

  19. Have to say, not sure I follow the logic.

    Buendia was gassed. Asked to come out. He’d had probably his best game so far. Ramsey had been starting ahead of him. He comes in. Does nothing but drift and give away the foul that won the game.

    Luiz on intl duty. Just got back. Nakamba, who many had called for over Luiz comes in.

    Cash, dead leg, comes out. Young comes in.

    Like I said above, if it were me, I might have made a double swap, taking off Ings and Luiz, putting in Sanson and Nakamba. We’d have ended up a man down with Cash apparently needing to go off.

    Point is, we’d dominated the game for 70 mins, were up 2-0. The changes were basically enforced. I think about the only think you might blame Smith for was not taking Ings or Ollie off.

    But like I say, if he had, we’d have ended up a man down after 79 mins. People complaining that Smith doesn’t make changes are now complaining that he made changes he had to make.

    It sucks. Gutting. But think of the 10-min blitz that saw a level game with Everton look like a rout. These things can happen.

    I surely hated seeing it, but I don’t think it’s a cause for meltdown.

  20. Smith doesn’t blame the subs, nor does Mings. They both point to a loss of composure, and failing to deal with set pieces after winning the first ball.

    Mings had some dodgy clearances. McGinn, who otherwise had a great game, got caught dithering and trying to dribble out. Tuanzebe didn’t have the best day. He played because he’s more mobile than Hause and Smith thought Jimenez would start.

    The second goal was crap, could’ve gone anywhere. The winner, a massive deflection off a free kick we should never have been facing.

    Even Lage says we didn’t deserve to lose. Might just be him being polite, but it’s also true.

  21. So, take it in stride. Villa’s subs didn’t deliver. But we will play well against Arsenal.

    And we’re getting closer to having what could be three players who will make a huge difference in results coming back into contention.

  22. JC,
    The point being missed is, Luiz did not ask to come off, had not shown signs of tiring, but was a decision made by Smith, and if he had waited, he could have met the request from Buendia to be replaced, but if Luiz had stayed, would he have asked to come off???
    All a bit poor with ten minutes to go, and should have been better planned and prepared.

  23. I don’t know

    But one thing for sure Edens would not have sat there pleased with what he saw, even at HT is was a boring game.

    We have 10 points after 8 games. That’s crap.

    Our next run of games won’t see us get many more points either.

    The owners will soon be considering a replacement that’s for sure l, especially if we are still bottom half of the table after the next 6 games, which we will be

  24. Edens would have sat there thinking this is the crap that gets served up after we’ve given him 300 plus million?

    He would not have been pleased

  25. Also this 5 at the back crap needs to stop.

    It’s hard work. It’s hard to watch.

    The width is provided by cash and Targett who just don’t have the quality to deliver in the final 3rd often, hence why they are fullbacks

    The average heat map of the players position was so so narrow. Absolutely zero width and no threat to any team when cash and Targett get the ball.

    We defend well with a back 4, it’s a lot simpler to defend in. The players aren’t use to 5 at the back

    I’ve never ever ever seen the point of playing 3 centre backs. They are the worst football players on the pitch, so why play 3 and limit your attacking quality?

    442, plays a diamond, play Watkins wider and Buenida slightly wider and go 4231 or 43 and the front 3 narrow

    Just stop this horrible 5 at the back

  26. frem agree

    injuries has played a part i guess using 352 but you just know its not wanting to drop either watkins or ings. have to make the call. even playing ollie left of the 3 is fine.

    still absoulty fuming. to chuck 3 precious points away like that is unforgiveable. we may not win again for a while. you do not want to be putting yourself under undue prssure. results like that one can effect a season. its a must to bounce back against arsenal.

  27. Another thing I don’t get is the Smith myth.

    When he was at Brentford they did play good football

    I’m yet to see that yet at Villa. Even in the championship I didn’t think we played good football.

    Certainly since we’ve been promoted, our 3rd season now, we are still absolutely clueless in possession and very very direct

    We literally hoof it down the channel every 2 minutes and get know where. Teams clock onto it now

    I don’t see a manager who is coaching a good football team. Our ability on the ball in painful to watch. We look absolutely lost and clueless and have done since promotion really. Our ability has gone down even more since January whee the quality of football has become horrific

  28. I watch us and Newcastle and see no difference in style

    Only difference is smkth has had a lot of money and couldn’t even get us above Leeds last season

  29. Look at Brighton and how they are in possession.

    Potter took over a very defensive coach in Hughton, and changed there style to possession over night.

    Smith really hasn’t done much with what he has had given to him.

    Potter will unfortunately take over at Newcastle or go to a tip 6 side.

    He’s the coach we should be going for

  30. I’ve never known Dean Smith to make a change in a game that made us win.

    I’ve never known him to change a system in a game when it’s obviously needed

    The only subs he makes are always like for like and change nothing.

    He never brings a player on totl change the formation and the game

    He’s just an bang average manager unfortunately who would not get another job in this league

  31. On Luiz, I don’t think he’d have necessarily asked to come out…It would have been observational, or something they’d decided ahead of time. I was a bit surprised he started in the first place.

    But he did, and played very well.

  32. Don’t think it was a boring game at all, and Villa were certainly playing well in the first half, and really up until it unraveled. They were doing the things people criticize the team for not doing, playing it around, pushing up, being patient, winning battles and getting the ball back.

  33. With Wes, you have to consider that he’s a longtime sports owner. He’s seen up-and-down performances from his team for years.

    He sees reliable shooters going through bad streaks. He sees turnovers, normally solid players having bad games. He sees other teams more up for it on a given day, outfighting and out-hustling. He knows you can make subs that blow up in your face.

    He understands that in a playoff series, you can lose three and win four, and sometimes get thumped in at least one of those losses. You go through to the next round, but that’s still three losses to a supposedly inferior team, and you’ll have more losses en route to the prize.

    Different structure, of course. Wes will be looking at progression and table. He’ll also understand about Bailey, Traoré, and Sanson. International breaks. The disruptions to the summer, Jack’s departure. Covid from last year. They’ll have discussed bringing in Ings and why.

    In short, yeah, he won’t have enjoyed it anymore than we did. But I’m guessing he’s taking a much more pragmatic view. An owner/investor is going to be less emotional about a single performance than the supporters. He knows it’s a long campaign, and will have pretty logical views on what is down to Smith, what’s beyond his control.

  34. Must agree with Frem as much as I don’t realty want to but some basic things I have been hoping to see just are not there .
    We don’t have a style or identify of play at the level of Brentford Brighton ect but far more resources
    Our form is looking even more erratic than last season and I now get why jack felt it wasn’t worth hanging about as we will not get to fighting for honours via a 5 year plan at out current rate of development
    There are a number of clubs with money who will be looking for managers to take those clubs to the next level 8n the near future we could end up being one of them
    Arsenal game is big because 3 losses in a row surely will put the club in a position were they will have to look seriously at were there 5 year plan actually is at the moment

  35. Good game between Arsenal and Crystal Palace, showing the good and the not so good of both sides.
    Palace failing at the final hurdle like Villa, and Arsenal not giving up until the final whistle. Palace looking a very confident side, and moving the ball well.

    A chance to see the players Villa didn’t recruit in the end, Michael Olise ,Odsonne Edouard, both for the princely sum of £23million, not a bad bit of business, and Conor Gallagher, a great loan deal from Chelsea.
    A very different Villa will have to turn up on Friday, if we are to get anything out of the game!

  36. John-it’s not just the one game

    We have a 33% win ratio in 2021

    We were have had a poor start to the season also. 10 points after 10 games and a lot of poor displays and not many good ones. Everton we got lucky in 10 minutes otherwise it was a dire game and performance.

    It certainly wasn’t a good passing game by us. It was just along the back 5. It was nothing adventures or exciting or unique. It was basic football with a lot of long balls

    We played well against United

    That’s about it

    As runtings says, ws have absolutely no identity.

  37. Well that shouldn’t have happened should it! No team should lose in that way and the manager and players have to take a good look at themselves. If we’d won it would have been a decent start to the season, but as it stands, we’re behind where we should really be.

    Do I therefore think we need a new manager. . . .absolutely not.

    If I was a Leeds fan I’d be more concerned, despite what Bielsa has done for them. They do have a style of play but everyone knows it and it seems that this season perhaps it is being felt wanting. None of us except Bielsa to change though.

    Dean Smith is different. He has shown that he IS prepared to learn and adapt and I have no doubt at all that he is spending far more time analysing what went wrong than any of us are. He will learn from that and only if it happens a second and third time would I say that ‘now’ we have a real problem.

  38. Does anyone know if our set piece coach is responsible for organising both attacking and defensive set pieces?

    He rightly took praise for our improvement in attacking set pieces, but if he’s responsible for the defensive ones too, then surely he’s the one who should be fielding some criticism now?

  39. Frem,

    You’ll know my thoughts on the discontinuity/injuries. I think it has an impact on a team developing a new identity. Or evolving it.

    Me, I don’t think it’s true we have no identity. When I watch (and as I’ve said many times, I’ve basically watched every single match over the last 6-7 years), I know what Smith’s Villa are going to do, what they’re trying to do. That predictability, those patterns, they equal an identity.

    It might not be one that everyone likes. And, atm, it is in transition for all the reasons I bang on about. Buendia in the middle clearly plays differently than Ramsey, for example.

    That said, I don’t think we’ll see 3-5-2 every week once Bailey and Traoré are fully match fit. And we may well see continued shuffling in the middle when Sanson gets right. In the short term, could be that Bailey and Traoré come on later as they work for match fitness and slot into those wingback spots.

    Each of these players will offer different solutions. And once they’re integrated, I think you’ll see continued evolution in the basic structure and style of play.

  40. When talking about identity, I think it’s worth remembering virtually all sides are playing some version of 3-4 basic set-ups. They each have strengths and weaknesses that are well known and charted out.

    They each look better or worse depending on individual performances. They each get expressed differently based on the individual players. And I think this is where most everyone gets the sense of “identity.” From that standpoint, for Villa, it’s about certain players like Buendia coming to the fore and imposing their style and traits.

    I think Villa, under Smith, will remain a team that likes to simply strike quickly and take advantage of space in the least complicated moves necessary.

    But, first half against Wolves, we saw a more patient side.

    When we’re talking “passing” or “possession-based” sides, the other ways we think about identity, it’s probably more easily observable. You can pass it around a lot to find your openings in a more condensed patch, or you can try to play into space.

    I think the issue is that Villa aren’t really meant to be a tiki taka kind of team. The idea is more the way Germany play. Or did, anyway.

  41. Premier League 14 August 2021 22 May 2021 p 8 w 3
    d 1 L4 gf12 ga12 +0 win ratio 37.50

    If you look at the stats for 2021 it doesn’t change much
    regardless of what we think of styles the stats should be better at this stage

    We seem to be developing a style rather than have one imposed on the players

  42. Newcastle already showing the ambition by sacking Bruce.

    They will overtake us next season if we don’t show something and get a top manager in

  43. Newcastle will fast track now. They won’t take a slow approach like us.

    Brentford are showing Smith up a bit. First season up, no money and they look fantastic and are above us.

    Brighton also showing us up a bit. Potter has done a fantastic job, with no money. He took over a very defensive side and now they play some of the best football.

    Our approach has simply been to slow and steady, and it’s showing up a bit now.

    I think our owners might want things to speed up with Newcastle, Brighton and Brentford showing promise.

    We can’t accept another bang average mid table finish

  44. When El Ghazi has been responsible for so many winning goals, has he lost favour with Smith?
    Surely he would have been a more experienced and dangerous player for Villa to use as a sub on Saturday, rather than Ramsey?
    SMITH DOES seem to cast aside players who have been doing well< as he did the same with
    Hause, playing Tuanzebe in his place.
    I am sure they both felt a little miffed seeing things go wrong, and not having the opportunity to be part of it.
    Smith really needs to get his team selection spot on for the Arsenal game, or we are just going to start slipping further away. We are already down to thirteenth, and Palace are not going to remain below us with Viera as manager.

  45. PP,

    I think Ghazi has more to do with formation, and that’s down to Ings and available players. He doesn’t have a role in a 3-5-2. Ramsey was a like-for-like sub, and many had been starting to wonder what place Buendia had since Jacob started the season so brightly. Jacob came on and did…well, less than not much. Given the set-up had worked so well up til the last 15, I didn’t expect Smith to change it at the end, and certainly not the whole formation to give Ghazi a shot. We all know his shortcomings off the ball.

    I remember Frem saying quite often that Ghazi and Trez were the two worst starting wingers in the PL.

    Right or wrong, Smith said he went with Tuanzebe because he thought Jimenez would start. Which means Dean thinks Tuanzebe is the more agile player. Don’t think I’d disagree with that. And it may well be the case that Villa will sign Tuanzebe and let Hause go if he doesn’t want to be 3rd/4th choice.

  46. Frem,

    Newcastle have to stay up first. Then you saw yesterday’s news about the PL clubs rejecting sponsorship shenanigans from Saudia Arabia.

    So, yeah, Newcastle have a petro-state’s money behind them, but they’ll still be under the same spending constraints as Villa, etc. My read is that the other owners aren’t happy about another state-sponsored team in the league and will keep them within FFP, unlike City. That means a slower climb.

  47. Brighton: How long have they played “pretty” football only to be just above the relegation scrap each year? They’ve had a good start. Villa did, too, last year.

    Leeds also stormed the league last year, Bielsa was a genius, and they have one win so far. Brighton won’t finish 4th, and Brentford won’t finish 9th.

  48. With Villa and progress, this is basically the first year that Smith has had a mid-table Premier League quality team at his disposal. Except he hasn’t had that side at his disposal, yet, and is still working to replace a £100m player that was everything to Villa. That’s been hampered by injuries and the extra international headaches of players going to red countries.

    I’m not saying he hasn’t gotten the odd thing wrong in a game or two, but you have to admit, based on what little we’ve seen, that Villa will likely be a very different team with Bailey and Traoré on the flanks.

  49. runtings,

    I think you can only “impose” so much at a given time. With all the caveats I’ve noted, we also have to remember that Villa did not have all these players in early or fit and firing. Buendia was the only early arrival, and we’re asking him to take on a different role than he’s generally played so far. Obviously, his minutes have been limited due to rather odd circumstances.

    Like almost everyone, I’m not sure what the Ings signing really meant: was 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 destined? Were we always going to rotate him and Watkins?

    So yeah, I think there’s a bit of feeling out going on, but it’s also been true that 3-5-2 gets the most of our currently available talent on the pitch. When Bailey, Traoré and Sanson have 70-90mins in them, I think we’ll see some different things happening.

    Hasn’t been an ideal set of circumstances from summer to now. Buendia’s best is yet to come, never mind the others we’ve barely seen. Once everyone’s fit, we’ll get a much better idea of what Villa will be this year.

    But I don’t think we’ll finish 13th, and I don’t think we’ll be caught up in any relegation worries.

  50. JC the system of play I was hoping for is philosophy based like the teams you mentioned in Brighton Leeds who do not have the investment to take things to a dominant level however Citeh , Chelski and Liverpool do on the other hand Ollie at man u doesn’t and depends purely on individual brilliance or most often just having much better players than the opposition

    I do not see anything to suggest deano and Ollie are too much different but all the managers at the 5 other clubs comes with philosophy first will add Frank at Brentford to that list .. imo this is a vital ingredient to long term success and after being very patient to see how we go with deano I have come to my own assessment that there is no way the board will not reach there objectives with him at the helm
    Love deano and don’t want to appear disrespectful but also I have to put my realist goggles on rather than the villa ones

  51. runtings,

    Most probably a make-or-break year for Deano, depending on his luck. Me, I don’t think Rodgers or Moyes have anything on him, tbh. Tuchel and Pep have so much talent at their disposal…I mean, Kante alone will make almost any system work.

    I know it gets tedious from me, but I think it’s really hard to judge his “philosophy” given what he inherited in the Championship, the makeshift squad that had to be thrown together, and then the inklings we saw when Barkley actually contributed and Jack was healthy. There’ve just been so many caveats and lack of continuity beyond his control.

    This is really the first year he’s had any options to choose from, any kind of quality in depth, and much of that quality has largely been unavailable eight games in.

    Anyway, we’ll see it play out. If he has any luck and a healthy squad but fails to hit internal targets, I’m pretty sure Compass won’t hesitate to pull the plug.

  52. Before the season started, I tipped Villa to finish fifth – and I’m sticking to that. Man. City, Liverpool and Chelsea I accept as being out of reach, but not any of the others. I feel maybe one out of West Ham, Man.U, Spurs or Leicester might pip us in the end, but we’re only 8 games in, 30 still to go and, had we hung onto the 3 points against Wolves, we’d be just two points off fourth place. That’s how close it is, that’s how quickly things can change, that’s why Villa (and Deano) are still right in the mix! Come on guys, show some faith, eh?

  53. If United lose again tonight the pressure really will begin to tell at United.
    They have big ego players who won’t be able to contemplate that they are in any way responsible and they’ll start to turn against the manager.

    So there’ll be a choice . . . . where would a top manager prefer to go. . . . United or Newcastle?

  54. Looks like a good assessment to me JC,
    We’ve shown some really positive signs this season despite all the disruptions to the squad.
    Let’s hope DS is indeed able to start selecting from full squad soon.

  55. Oh well. . . . my half-time expectation of a Uited loss was off target wasn’t it. I mean. . . . what sort of team throws away a 2-0 lead like that eh?

  56. JC the funny thing is we are more than capable of beating Arsenal on Friday are squad is good enough even with a few players out , consistency of performance is what we struggle with
    Jack must of sat watching the back end of last season th
    inking we are miles off it for realistically challenging for honours , he now has to fit into a structure of play and can only express himself once he has taken care of the basics , he was just given freedom to do what ever at villa which to me screams lack of footballing structure

  57. Looking around it seems most people want this 532 ditched.

    It hasn’t worked and its time to go back to 4 at the back.

    Bailey and Traore back which is great

    Time to ditch this rubbish 5 at the back

  58. Dean Smith stated there was no collapse on Saturday and there was a ‘randomness’ about their goals


    Absolutely horrific management if he thinks that’s the case

    This man is not the right man to take us on

    11 wins in 33.

    Will be 11 in 34 after tomorrow

    The board need to act

  59. Frem, Deano says that Bailey and Traore need to build fitness levels. This tells me they will be on the bench and we’ll start with 3-5-2 again (or 5 at the back as you say).

    I’ve got my ticket for the game and will be in full voice. COYVB.

  60. come on villa

    year 3 of the prem and i am looking at turning those defeats into draws which just aint happening if we want to improve.

    so far to me it looks like staying the hell out the bottom 6.

    but just praying to see deano pick from a fully fit team

  61. Plug

    Yes it will be 532 as Smith is probably the most stubborn manager around and refuses to change things.

    He won’t want to admit it hadn’t worked and will play it again tomorrow.

    It’s a horrible formation. Hard to watch. It’s so narrow. Has no pace. Has no dynamic. Has no excitement.

    Go 442, 4231 or 433

    Get the wingers on the pitch. Actually excite us for once

  62. I can’t help noting that over the years, I’ve heard many calls for 3-5-2 or even 4-4-2. Less so 4-4-2, but.

    If Smith plays 3-5-2 again, I just ask folks to consider a couple things:

    1. In order to add tactical variation, you have to actually try out different systems. Given the available players atm, I don’t think it has to be ‘stubbornness’ for Smith to stick with this until others are fit.

    2. In order to get a different system to work, you have to give it some runs

    3. If Deano were to go 4-3-3/4-2–3-1 with the personnel available last week, you’re looking at Buendia wider right (but not a true winger), with Ghazi on the other side. Me, I’d probably not be hanging my hopes on Ghazi and a non-winger wide player. The system is much more suited to Bailey and Traoré. And then the hard decisions to sit either Ollie or Ings come into play.

    4. I don’t think 3-5-2 necessarily equals narrow. Cash and Targett have been up adding width up top, and Ings and Ollie aren’t rooted to the penalty spot. Yes, you have more players in the center of the park, but Villa prefer to defend narrowly anyway (that would be a Smith philosophy) and force play outside. Lower quality chances, and more ‘hopeful’ crosses that ordinarily Mings and Konsa clear with regularity. Never mind Emi being fearless and decisive in coming for the ball.

    5. The thing that has to be worked out are the patterns involving Ings, Ollie, Buendia, etc. Cash got a little pumped up by the goal he scored, and I know he’s a converted RB. But I thought he was a little too goal-focused against Wolves and Spurs. Needs to settle down and look for the square and cutback passes. Don’t mind him adding goals by any means, but they should be working for the higher quality chances to the forwards, and also McGinn and Buendia. Buendia-Ings could be a very productive partnership.

  63. runtings,

    Not sure what Jack would’ve been thinking. We know he was hoping to be off, regardless, that he was more focused on England, and also knew reinforcements would be coming. I think in all honesty he was probably most concerned about healing, and the fact he wasn’t getting to put himself in the shop window down the stretch.

    Could be wrong, but don’t think it was down to Jack thinking Villa had no room to grow. More so that he’s of an age where he doesn’t want to wait, just wanted to be straight into the CL now, while his stock was soaring, and the rest of England were starting to fall in love with him.

  64. JC, that’s an interesting posting on formations. I’ve not been seeing much chatter about formations recently but if results don’t go our way over the next few weeks I’m sure people will start calling for a change from whatever formation we are currently using. There won’t be any rationale behind it, just an emotional need to have something or someone to blame.
    I remember when Martin O’Neill was ‘only’ achieving 6th for 3 seasons in a row and there was a load of chatter for us to shift from 442. That was basically a call for us to change manager as, like Bielsa, he seemed to only know the one way to play.
    Dean Smith has shown that he is prepared to try various formations and you can guarantee that if he changes and we don’t win, people will be calling for some formation stability.

  65. JC, yes, it does seem that Jack had been keen to move on for a couple of years at least and but for Levy being unable to find his wallet, he’d have been a Spurs player some time ago. It would have been nice if he’d showed loyalty and stayed to help Villa achieve CL football in the next two years but I do think that would have held back some other players as he would have continued to be the focal point of too much of our play. Runtings, I’m not sure it shows “lack of structure” in our play, more that Jack was allowed to disrupt structure, as his footballing vision and undoubted skills were able to unlock defences irrespective of any structure around him.
    I think he’d have thrived more in a team like Spurs where he was still allowed plenty of individual freedom whereas he seems like just a (smaller) cog in the machine at City.

  66. It has become clear that Jack wanted out but I don’t doubt his love for the club must 11 wins in 33 is not the stats of a club \anywhere near challenging for honours you need 22 wins in 33 for that to happen . will deano achieve this I very much doubt it as it been more hope that expectation on that front of late

  67. We lose tonight, the pressure will build on Smith. We will probably lose our next 3 games

    After 10 games with people always say that’s where you will be abouts

    We might be 15/16th after 10 games

    Smith won’t survive that

  68. Smith said after the 1st time playing 532 that is was now an option possibly in some games

    I think people thought he finally actually change formation game to game

    But as usual he just sticks to the same one. It’s now the default formation. It’s already predictable and dull to watch. And he just uses it to death

    We beat these playing 4231 last season

    We won’t beat them tonight

  69. Said at the time Ings signing was a masterpiece for the fans and distracting us from jack but soon said it was a panic signing that didn’t fit. It could well get Deano the sack if he doesn’t get it right and make a big call.

  70. It’s worrying. The Spurs chuck away. Wolves. Now this. New look like novices. Can’t pass. Not anywhere near winning second balls. It’s as bad as it could be. We’re in trouble here. We are so weak. No physicality at all.

  71. 1. Ings and Watkins doesn’t work.
    2. Three centre backs far too negative.
    3. Targett isn’t a wing back.
    4. Buendia isn’t a central mid.


  72. Now the useless twat makes a change at 2-0 and takes Tuanzebe off who was actually our best defender

    I actually hate Smith

    Awful manager

  73. This has to be the end of Smith.

    We’ve been awful all year. Since January we have been terrible.

    We need a next level coach.

    Our board need to be ruthless

  74. If Smith what everyone saw 15 minutes im that the formation needed changing we might have got something

    He waits until we are 2-0 at half time

    Bloke is such a poor manager at this level

  75. Absolutely disgusting management from Smith, again tonight. Not changing things earlier

    10 points from 9 games. Crap.

    11 wins from 34 games. Disgusting.

    We’ve conceded 3 goals in 14 games out of our last 46 played


    Time to act

  76. For God’s sake, Frem – do you never learn? Another red card coming up for you at this rate: 13 consecutive comments, all negative, making the same point repetitively – can you really not do any better than this? Sure, the first half performance stank tonight, but the second half was way, way better. Arsenal’s third goal was a very fortuitous deflection, and Villa could easily have had another goal straight after Ramsey’s. That could have been 2-2. OK, we wouldn’t have deserved that, but it just shows how games can turn on small moments. I’m still confident – as, by the way, is Gary Neville! – that Villa and Smith will get it right shortly.

  77. Thank goodness I was out at a leaving do so missed the game
    Leave Frem alone he is talking more sense than anyone at the moment
    there is no defensive unless we want to be less than bang average

    top class manager please

  78. Frem is bang on….Smith needs to go now before we are in real trouble….his record in2021 is shocking and tonight was surely the final nail in his coffin….3 years and we have no system,no identity and no tactical nous….hoof ball and long throws may have worked at Walsall but for gods sake not in the prem…..tonight was as bad as watching in the Remi Garde days and with Smith in charge we will be heading for the same outcome….this guy has been given every thing he needs to be successful but just doesn,t have what it takes to be a top manager…..JT ,ROK and JG left this club for a reason and i think we can all start to see why now…..SMITH HAS TO GO AND NOW

  79. Dean Smith: “It’s not about systems. We haven’t had players available. We came away from Old Trafford three games ago & everyone’s thinking it’s a great system. We lose a few games & everyone thinks it’s a terrible system. That’s the world I’m in. We didn’t do the basics right.”

    Comments like this always signal the end is close.

    He’s getting defensive and making comments to try to defend his awful management ability

  80. Vivavilla

    If you think that second half performance was way better than your football standards are unbelievably low.

    Aby performance would have been better than that disgraceful first half display.

    We’ve been horrible in 2021.

    To be honest we had 3 good months of football since we got promoted.

    Apart from that we’ve been extremely dire in the Premier league

  81. I didn’t watch once I saw the 5 at the back system. Not sure what DS and team are playing at. Need to go to back 4 and drop one of the strikers.

  82. It’s not about systems. We haven’t had players available. We came away from Old Trafford three games ago & everyone’s thinking it’s a great system. We lose a few games & everyone thinks it’s a terrible system. That’s the world I’m in. We didn’t do the basics right.”

    Sounding like Bruce before he got sacked.

    Very stubborn.

    Time to go. West ham will beat us. Won’t be long

  83. Certainly not a happy camp at Villa

    Apparently Mings and Sanson all kicked off

    Sanson apparently kicked a water bottle or threw one towards smkth when Ghazi came on

    You can’t blame him.. I think everyone wants to throw a bottle at Smith.

    It is a disgrace how Sanson can’t get minutes over Luiz m, who’s crap.

    Things certainly not good at Villa. Not a happy camp

    It’s time to gooooooo Smith

  84. It was clear after 10 minutes, 3-5-2 was handing the game to the Arse on a plate. Targett hasn’t got the pace to play LW. The answer was clearly 4-5-1 but Deano didn’t move until half time when the damage had been done and even then he left 2 up front.

    Now 3 losses on the bounce and that first half was the worst I’ve seen this season. Also clear that Ollie and Ings ain’t working. Those who defend Deano will come under severe pressure shortly. He’s making too many errors of judgement and we are dropping down the division.

    We have the squad of players to do well. Confused thinking is costing us big time.

  85. Bang on plug.

    Also who decided to pay 38 million for Buendia? I couldn’t believe at the time we did it. He isn’t worth anything near.
    We needed a DM.

    We also signed Ings without realising Watkins and Ings can’t play together.

    The club had a disasters summer really

  86. Watching Chelsea

    We need a manager like Tuchel. A fantastic coach. Tactically absolutely fantastic.

    Smith is a bang average championship manager with no tacticalll ability. He doesn’t change week to week l. He doesn’t change during games. His subs are always useless

    He isn’t good enough

  87. 11 wins in 33 league games in 2021 , and people are telling me we are progressing and give Smith time. Am I missing something here?

    Also we play Norwich next month

    They will get there first win against us

    That will end Smith

  88. Yesterday was bad and if it doesn’t improve in the next 3 games then of course Smith will start to come under pressure. . . . .it’s the name of the game.

    When Frem first came back on here I stayed away for a while but then found that I could just skip his comments and it was all fine.

    After yesterday’s game though it’s hard to skip them. . . .there are just too many.

  89. I hoped that last night Villa may make up for the dreadful loss against Wolves, sadly it was not to be.
    I am so glad that I decided to record the match and spend the evening with my daughter, so at least, I made the right decision. Unfortunately, Dean Smith does not seem able to do so.
    We must have players on the bench, so desperate to get on the pitch to prove themselves, and players on the pitch, not wanting to be there playing this awful 5-3-2 system.

    I will not bother to talk about the game, as enough has already been said, but I am sure El Ghazi must be so frustrated, having scored so many of our goals, and won games for us, but not even getting a start, and he and Watkins have worked well together.
    If there are not serious changes within the next few games Villa will be losing players, El Ghazi will certainly want a move, and players like Watkins, Konsa, McGinn and Cash, will be snapped up by better clubs in the January window.
    Villa have lost their way and their ambition, and it is now back to the drawing board.
    when teams like Brentford, Brighton, Crystal Palace and West Ham United are showing us the way, there are serious problems to deal with.
    Will we be looking to recruit Graham Potter as a possible replacement.
    I agree with Frem about the resignations of JT, and Richard O’kelly, do point to some disagreements as to the way forward.

  90. There is a problem at Villa.

    Something isn’t right.

    Terry and Richard Okelly both leaving. We haven’t really replaced them. They both left for a reason. Something happened.

    We signed Ings who I don’t think Smith really wanted and now is trying to fit him in.

    Last night Sanson rightly threw a bottle at Smith and gave him the finger. Good on him.
    Hause, Mings and mcginn apparently all had an argument

    It’s not a happy camp.

    Smith blaming the players and refusing to blame his shit management and system. Its coming to the end and he knows it

  91. Watford win 5-2 after sacking there manger and will probably finsih above us with Calidio in charge.

    Watch Brighton tonight play man city. Potter is a proper coach and tactician. Spent no money and less time than Smith but Brighton are a class above us


    bellow Brentford

    25% of the season gone

    Don’t anybody tell me Dean Smith is good

  93. Grealish is just amazing

    He’s the reason we got promoted. He’s the reason we stayed up

    Now look at us without him

    Smith is absolutely clueless

    Go and get Graham Potter

  94. Long time no posting
    No much changed same people defending the manager yet any previous ones made same decisions they where slated,
    Another big transfer window and no Midfield master bought just more of same lightweight injury prone player,what is Lange doing by the way
    We have no wingers so smith decides back 3 is way to go even tho we don’t have wingbacks or a midfield capable of simply passing the ball to a teammate
    Then the front 2 poser,Watkins looks and plays like Gabby of same age clueless,can’t finish,can’t pass ,last night 2 ND half Watkins ran with ball into arsenal box and instead of squaring it to ings who was in a good position took a shot at near post where he had no chance of scoring or us getting the rebound,same in united match
    Another thing where are our men when things get tough heads go down hands go up looking to get off
    Sorry for long post
    Frem I feel your pain

  95. Ming’s get a lot of stick,yet mcginn v wolves gave away goal same last night ducked a challenge yet no word about it
    Time for a change me thinks smith has too many favourites that play week in week out bit like end lampard time at Chelsea
    And why has sanson not got minutes in last 2 matches especially last night

  96. One other point I am in the mood
    Who here would change there way of working if it worked
    Smith villa had beaten aresnal 3 times running playing 433 so where in the world did he think he needed to 532, stuff spud Lambert done and where rightly slated for it

  97. Ok calming down. We can still be ok. But some concerns about our recriutment and what they are thinking re our formation. Why sign buendia? Where do they see him playing? I think we are so much better with Watkins up top on his own pressing and working hard. Sets our tone. You’d think 4231 with fitting buendia in but means mcguinn back in the 2. Certainly have to sack off 352 they look lost and target is no wing back. Interesting to see how stubborn Deano will be about it cause managers can loose there way being stubborn and getting there back up. He will die on that hill if he does.

  98. The game next week against West Ham United next week is going to be a defining moment for Dean Smith, his formations, and the team.
    Fail and lose the game, and the tide will finally turn, as we will drop further down the table. The fan base will not cope, and the board will certainly feel that there needs to be change. Alternatively, win the game and show a commitment to improve, and the fans will accept we have just had a bad patch, like every team has.
    Dean is going to really feel the pressure now, and he will have to show that he is up to it, capable of showing the way forward.

  99. There are two more games until another break.

    Smith will be sacked, finally, in the international break i hope.

    West Ham will absolutely batter us on Sunday.. The fans will turn and that will be the end

    We will lose our next 2, going intia break he will be gone

    We will be 16th/17th come 2 weeks and the board will long over due sack Smith

  100. Sad times JC.
    It is reminiscent of the time just before Bruce got hiss cabbage. I really hope that Dean is not heading the same way. Is it a case of the constant pick and mix of teams and formations at Villa, unlike the Brighton’s and West Ham’s that rely on regular players and patterns.
    I look at these teams, where you see players that spend most of their careers with one club, that form the backbone.

  101. I still can’t believe Smith said the system wasn’t the problem. Trying to make himself blameless when he knows hr fucked up again

    OGS will be sacked tomorrow.

    Rafa might be close to the door.

    Smith very close

    We might have a lot of new managers

    My wild card is Gerrard

    Good football. Elite level knowledge. Great coach. Tactically switched on.

    Potter id like to but I absolutely hate the 532 he prefers but at least he plays it well

  102. West Ham are going to smash us at set plays

    And you know what Smtih will do, play 532 to get the 3 centre backs in for extra height

    And the home crowd won’t be happy. Absolutely everyone hates the 532

    The fans will turn on Sunday when West ham take the lead

  103. PP,

    It stings, and I did see the result…Stayed away from any commentary, etc., in what spare time I did have. Much too nice out fly-fishing to ruin it.

    Obviously, we’ll have to see re: Bruce, cabbages, thin ice.

    Like I’ve said, I’ve largely believed the formation so far to be makeshift. And if that’s truly the main issue, I don’t think Deano ever intended to persist once the wide players were healthy. The Ings-Watkins accommodation is the only part that gives me doubt.

    Remember, the biggest knock on Smith has been that he doesn’t change much. While there are in-game tweaks, up to this point, he’s largely relied on some version of a 4-3-3 come rain or shine. Now, he’s given 3-5-2 a run, and perhaps too long of one, but, again, that seems to be largely enforced.

    Clearly not the start anyone wanted, or the performances (by and large). But it can be a long, slow climb getting players back from those kinds of injuries without re-aggravating, and then getting them into training and integrated. A bit different with Traoré, since he has played with us, so he’s obviously familiar with the personnel.

    Excuse? Reason? There’ll be folks on both sides, and surely far more who are upset with Smith. And you know me, I try not to get too worked up.

    Watching American football yesterday, and my team came out abysmally flat against one of the weakest teams around. A prolific offense and down 10-0 at the half. They managed to wake up and turn it around, but it was still dodgy. 42.5-point favorites who eked out a come-from-behind 12-point win.

    The line between coach and players can be a bit blurrier than we’re aware of. And maybe there are players who aren’t happy with the 3-5-2.

  104. I’m also seeing a lot of “Smith throws players under the bus after no show.”

    It can be the manager’s fault. It can be the players’. It can be both. Can’t comment on this match and the first-half effort, obviously, but if they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, and aren’t giving the appropriate effort, it is on them…

    If they’re not giving it their all because they don’t believe in the system, they still need to give it their all, as professionals. Smith’s right about being 2-0 up against Wolves. Spurs, well, when you’re that sloppy, I don’t think you expect to win anything, though a result was on the cards there at a certain point, regardless.

    Wolves’ winner, not great luck for us. Peno to to Arsenal, one that I’ve seen widely criticized, obviously came at a bad time (not like there’s ever a good time, but), and made the hole deeper.

    The one thing I might put down to the 3-5-2 is the poor defending. Could simply be that three is upsetting the cohesion we saw with Mings-Konsa and a back four and leading to more confusion, especially as Konsa and Mings have to get out wide more often. The space behind the ‘wingbacks’ is always a weak point in the system. I don’t think JT leaving has anything much to do with it, as they’d already have learned what he had to teach them, and it all seemed to have been taken on board.

    Of course, the fact that Ollie and Ings don’t seem to be getting closer to creating a fearsome scoring combination is definitely not helping anything.

  105. Another absolute shambles from Smith and Lange, not just the Buendia signing and signing Ings without knowing how to play

    But also not signing a 6ft plus athletic DM

    Did you see White walk through our midfield?

    Luiz is a shambolic premier league DM. He’s absolutely hopeless. He offers absolutely zero to this team. He can’t run, tackle or pass forwards. Him and mcginn are just absolutely hopeless together.

    January who ever our manager is, sign a dm

  106. John.

    It’s not the players not doing what they are supposed to do

    It’s this vial system we are playing

    Smtih said he’d change it around when we first played it. He hasn’t. It doesn’t work against teams like arsenal and Spurs. Ed should have gone 433 against them.

    We got better second half playing 433

    Our back 4 want to play in a back 4. Mings Konsa cash and Targett are good in a back 4 and Smith has fucked around with it

    He’s had an absolute disaster, again.

    And soon it will be the end

  107. Frem,
    I think you have made your point, over and over again, without anything really positive.

    Please let everyone else have an opportunity to air the views. It is not a good time for many fans at the moment, as Villa are not alone with poor results, Man Utd, Spurs, Norwich and Leeds, to mention a few, are suffering too.

  108. JC, I was at the game and can say with some certainty that the players seemed lost in their positions from the first KO. First half, Targett and Cash played as wingers leaving Konsa and Mings to deal with the marauding Arse wingers and just Axel in the middle of defence. If you are going to do that, at least play Bailey down the left. Buendia looked lost.

    I don’t buy into the penalty being unlucky. We were damned lucky we weren’t 3-0 down by then. Once again, marking from a corner was non existant and the opposition scored. Another gripe was our obsession with playing goal kicks out to left and right which invited pressure each time, leaving Emi to hoof the ball in desperation when he got it back. Who trains them to play like this? It’s just….well, crap. Calling it tentative and slow is being complimentary.

    Where were the defenders carrying the ball forward, drawing a man before releasing a forward pass? We had more chance of seeing Lord Lucan. Things improved second half by which time the damage was already done, although the misfiring pair up front wasn’t changed.

    On the way home, the away support were moaning about the formation, the two up front and believe it or not, our fitness levels. It must be said I didn’t hear anyone wanting Deano out although the chorus of objections to what was served up was loud and clear. Things will need to improve quickly because the fans patience is now wafer thin.

  109. Plug,

    On the peno, just going by what I’ve heard. Not that the scoreline was off, but that it was a very weak call.

    Not sure how they’re lost in 3-5-2 having played it now for weeks.

    At a certain point, and you’ve heard me say this time and again, but in the abstract, players have to take responsibility. If you keep getting slaughtered, then adapt. Don’t just say, “it’s the system…I’m not supposed to be there. Or I’m supposed to keep bombing on after I’ve seen move after move launched behind me.”

    So I get “formation.” And I know having three CBs is different than two. But. I really think, apart from luck, most games come down to who wants it more, who’s willing to adapt and fight harder. Not like they don’t know the weaknesses in a 3-5-2.

    If it were me, I’d play to stop the constant danger, first. I might get dressed down, but I’d default to not being overrun and outworked than saying, “it’s the system.” Get back, get stuck in, put in some tough tackles and say, “Not on my watch, mate.”

    So yeah, I can see formation causing issues on paper, but it’s not a complicated game.

  110. Plug. Bang on.

    We have West ham and Southampton next two games. After that it’s international football.

    Our owners will act if we don’t win one of those two.

    We certainly aren’t beating west ham and Southampton are on fire.

    The end is neary

  111. Frem,

    I can’t believe ur so hard on Buendia. To me he looks decent and will improve hugely with games.

    A bit worrying to see Sanson kicking a bottle. Hopefully DS will not see it as a negative

    For me I’m still p$SE’s with our preseason or rather lack of it. Surely we should have blended players or maybe covid had a had.

  112. Most worrying thing is for 12 months now we’ve been very very poor. Since January we have been absolutely horrific.

    This isn’t a short term blip.

    7 wins in 23 games is absolutely disgusting.
    We are below the likes of Brighton and Brentford.

    He needs to go.

    I haven’t been remotely impressed with Buendia.
    I don’t get what he offers. He’s slow, has absolutely no ball travelling ability. Can’t dribble.

    We had Jack Grealish and spent 40 million on a player who can’t do anything he can

    I said when we signed him we’ve spent way to much on him.

  113. Smith apparently only has a few games to save his job and Purslow pushing to get Gerrard

    That’s the news I like to hear. Apparently the club have always wanted a higher profile manager and soon they will have the reason to get one

    Smith is in preservation mode. He’s now more concerned with losing his job than going for 3 points. It’s a disease that afflicts most average managers and coaches whose time nearing an end.

  114. There have been some good results and performances but it’s undeniable that so far this season there have been some real disappointments and poor performances too.

    Every manager knows that ultimately results will determine their perceived success . . . . .actually, I’ll refine that . . . . .results compared against expectation will determine their perceived success.

    Despite some poor spells, over the past three seasons Dean Smith has largely matched or exceeded expectation levels of fans and almost certainly the owners too. The start to this season has fallen short of expectation for many fans because after 3 good seasons, plus investment over the summer, the expectation levels have risen (despite the loss of the best player the club has had since. . . . .?)

    Under these circumstances it’s inevitable that some will be calling for his head.

    As with all topics it seems that those with strong negative views shout the loudest and most frequently, and social media now creates echo chambers where unpopular views can appear to be more popular than they are. Just look at the US election where large swathes of the US electorate, sitting in their Fox News bubble and reinforced by Facebook algorithms, became so convinced that the election was unfair that they were prepared to attempt the overthrow of their government!

    If you look at other clubs, there are strong calls now for Benitez to go, despite the fact that Everton are only 3 points off 4th, but after an excellent start, they are now on a poor run of results. Bielsa has overseen a really poor start to the season and they’re only 3 points off the relegation places, but the Leeds fans are generally still behind him. It’s not because they are more mature than other fans, it’s just that after so many years in the Championship, their levels of expectation have been dulled, so Bielsa can get away with a lot more.

    Looking at Twitter, with the exception of one poster with a big following, the support for Dean Smith remains strong. If we lose our next 3 games then the balance will inevitably shift however we’re not there yet.

    I’ve no doubt that Dean Smith is feeling some pressure now. . . .who wouldn’t. Management can be a lonely place at the best of times but the huge spotlights on Premier league football make it far worse for Premier league managers.

    I don’t think there’s much doubt that most fans are still behind Smith and ‘want’ him to succeed. I’m personally confident that he still can and I’ll be cheering the team, and Dean Smith again this week. . . .and the week after. . . . and the week after that.

  115. I see that some fans are calling for Steven Gerrard.

    Now he’s done well taking Rangers back to the top of Scottish football. . . . . . .I’ll repeat that. . . . .to the top of ‘Scottish’ football, but does that mean he’s the next Messiah?

    Let’s not forget that Alex McLeish won the domestic treble in Scotland with Rangers. He also took them to the last 16 of the Champion’s league. Gerrard’s Rangers have just lost home and away to Malmo in their attempt to qualify for the Champion’s league in case you hadn’t noticed.

    If we were to lose our next three games then I imagine the pressure on Dean Smith would become intolerable but please let’s not suddenly get excited about just anybody simply because they are not Dean Smith.

  116. I have always wanted Deano to succeed which he has done at Villa up to a point but he as at a stage of a 5 year plan which sees us behind were we need to be id we are being serious about be consistent top 6

    Its been said no style of play or identity and now possible lack of harmony which would be a huge step backwards
    Stevie G certainly isn’t going to come with a football identity blueprint for the club he is getting done by small clubs in Europe
    We need someone that plays wit a strong winning style and is a very good man manager there are plenty out there that could fit the mould

  117. runtings,

    Agreed, everyone wants Deano to succeed. We’ll certainly see whether he’s up to it. Up to now, his record with us says he has a decent chance. Is this his biggest test? Maybe. The relegation scrap was no cakewalk.

    I’ve also seen it said that no matter what has or hasn’t been said, Jack leaving had to set back plans for a year. True, as far as Compass go? Who knows.

    Me, I think that once everyone’s in and playing, he can go back to the 4-3-3, and maybe this weekend. Will he? I think the only issue there is the WatkIngs situation, and the supposition I’m seeing that it was a Purslow push, not necessarily a headache Smith wanted. Again, who knows.

  118. Harmony…? That’s a tough one. I’ve not seen the Sanson bottle-kicking (ie, the context), or arguing amongst the back line. I’d like to think for Sanson it’s just being a bit surly in general, anxious to play, and not happy with what he was seeing. If he’s competitive and has a bit of chip on his shoulder, I’m okay with that, and Smith always says players shouldn’t be happy if they aren’t playing.

  119. The other thing I see talked about here and elsewhere has been a win rate.

    To that I’d point out for the sake of argument that if we’re going back to January of last year, for example, I think it’s a bit harsh on Smith given the covid break, the ensuing fixture congestion, and all the games Jack missed. Great start, and all different sorts of wheels came off. At the time, we were all saying that we might well have made Europe, or a good showing, if Jack hadn’t been hurt.

    Then of course the Euros and Copa, more Jack uncertainty/drama, late arrivals, injuries, etc. Not an ideal summer in almost any way.

    Does the manager ultimately take the blame? Absolutely. Is it always fair….?

  120. runtings, I’m sure you’re right that just now we are behind where everyone, including the owners planned, but we are only a quarter of the way through the season and as JC points out, it’s been very disrupted. You could say the same for Leeds, who’ve lost a number of players and similarly for Everton and their results have also suffered of late. Dean Smith still has most of then fans behind him and wanting him to succeed (why wouldn’t you?) but if we don’t show signs of improvement quite soon then it would be negligent of the owners not to look at potential alternatives. I imagine they have a strategy in place for finding potential alternatives and probably already have a target list in place.
    I’m less bothered by our recent results than some others because we’ve shown enough positive signs that it feels that it ‘could’ click for us at any time. If the rumours of discontent in the camp are true then that may be more concerning, depending on who it is and how it’s handled. As jC said, it could even be seen as a positive if properly channeled.

  121. Been awhile since i posted here. I have to say that for the first time i am not happy with Dean Smith. He has to stop playing his favorites as i believe the 3-5-2 is basically to allow Watkins and Ings to play together.
    In my opinion, only Konsa, McGinn, Martinez and Ings are undroppable at the moment. The others have to earn their places on merit. If Dean persists playing them and the formation then like Stan Collymore said on Twitter he could lose his job.

  122. Anyone fancy this line-up v. West Ham on Sunday?

    Cash Konsa Mings Targett
    McGinn Luiz Sanson
    Bailey Archer Ings

    Subs: Steer Tuanzebe Hause Buendia Ramsay Watkins ElGhazi

  123. Archer deserves to start over Watkins on Sunday surely? 10 goals in 5 games. Watkins attitude has stunk all season

    But we all know Smith has his favourites.

    5 sub rule coming inx won’t change anything with smith. He still won’t make subs early or play Archer or Sanson.

  124. Our centre of midfield is still pathetic and probably the weakest in the league behind Norwich. Criminal how the club didn’t think we needed a DM.

    Someone summed up Smith perfectly: He does the absolute bare minimum required with the squad Andy budget he has
    We need someone who will over achieve.

    I think that’s the perfect summary. Smith will never over achieve. He isn’t good enough

    Gerrard will be a wanted man by Purslow after West ham have smashed us

  125. no to Stevie G we need a footballing philosophy finally at the club I think Smith would do better with Rangers
    There is still a lot of faith from a large part of the support for Deano but I don’t think he will deliver what is needed going forwards its only a matter of time unless he revolutionises his style of play over night …. dean in the same boat as Ollie however the press are not talking about Villa as us not being great is expected so no real press pressure like what ollie is getting
    Feels like we are where we were with Bruce a good job done but it needs someone else to kick on from here

  126. Frem,

    Archer is not starting over Wakins, nor should he, and Ollie’s attitude is fine.

    He just wants to score and is probably pushing too hard. That’s the growing pains of going from a lone striker to a pair (to now, anyway). Sitting him for Archer is hardly going to make anything better.

    It’s not Football Manager. That’s how you lose players and the dressing room. There’s a bigger picture, always.

    As for favorites, I think Ollie rewarded Dean’s faith in him quite handsomely last season.

  127. runtings,

    Dean’s not under the same pressure as Ole, no, nor should he be. Comparing United’s talent and how Ole may be mismanaging it is worlds different than the pieces and expectations Smith’s juggling.

    Liverpool play a 4-3-3. Not sure how much more revolutionary that is than what Deano got slated for sticking with over the last two seasons.

  128. Jackvilla,

    I do think changes will come. Read a concise breakdown of the 3-5-2 stretch from Football Insights on Twitter, and it mirrored my read very closely. Good performances against Chelsea, Everton and United. A sloppy one against Spurs, a game we threw away against Wolves, and a bad performance against Arsenal.

    It doesn’t seem like much because Villa still aren’t that deep, but Bailey, Traoré and Sanson can make huge differences in the side and will make a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 worth playing. Then it does get tricky, as Dean’s juggling Ings/Watkins, Ramsey/Buendia or Buendia/Traoré. Sanson will create an additional headache. He made a real case before he overdid it for his latest setback.

    I’ve seen Ghazi slated and praised, but he’s not an answer to any question Villa are asking, and wide right, Cash has the ability to be a wingback, meaning Smith has had the chance to see Buendia more central rather than play wider.

    And me, when so much is riding on them, I’d err on the side of not losing them for months when nursing them back. Sanson…Dunno what to say, maybe he’s pushing his rehab, or just having one of those spells where one injury leads to another.

  129. John,
    Thanks for the brief. Just read Football Insights on Twitter. Dean Smith clearly likes 4-2-3-1. He used it during his time at Brentford and has used it for most of his tenure at Villa Park. So clearly lack of personnel should not be an issue mainly because most of the players here were signed to suit his system.
    We have some personnel to play his current 3-5-2 system. My beef is that he persists with mostly the same side that is letting him down.
    Another thing that i have noticed is that the youngsters are getting even less game time. Archer needs more minutes and is yet to sign and Carney has not signed an extension despite turning 18 last week. Sanson is losing patience due to lack of game time.

  130. One more thing. The youngsters are not signing because they see Deano is simply playing the same underachieving lot. Chukwuemeka will not sign so long as he sees his agemates across the world like Jude Bellingham, Jamal Musiala, Karim Ayedemi and even Harvey Elliot already excelling and they are of similar age.
    Archer should have signed by now but i am sure he is also having his doubts about his pathway to the first team.

  131. JC that’s just re pool playing 433 its not about the shape its about the philosophy something teams like Liverpool have and we don’t
    Everyone knows what they are doing no matter who plays when you have a philosophy, can anyone tell me what villa’ is ?

  132. 4-3-3 is very attacking. But if your personnel is 10% below the skill level of your opponents, then you’ll get shredded. Hence coaches set up 4-5-1 or similar to counteract it.

    I agree with Runts about Stevie G. Not for me. After last night’s results, he’s got Celtic breathing down his neck and may find them too difficult to best.

  133. I guess the kids are less likely to get a look in when the senior guys have recovered from injury and are once again pushing for inclusion. If any of them wish to be selected, they’ll need to convince Deano in training as selections are not automatic. If they are good enough, they will force Deano’s arm, if not, moving elsewhere is not likely to improve their situations. Bellingham was good enough so he was selected. I would love to see our kids make an impression, but the hard work must be completed first.

  134. Remember when Villa threw it away at Turf Moor and lost 3-2? Well, the only team Burnley have beaten at home since then (January) is Rochdale

  135. Yep the youth know Smith won’t play them as long as he is managing

    He has his favourites how ever bad they are playing

    Chuk and archer should have had much more playing time

    Luckily Smith will be gone next week when West ham do us

  136. A lot of good stuff.

    Jackvilla: Yep, Smith prefers the 4-2-3-1 version, and it’s suited us well enough. And I agree, we’ll have the players for it.

    I think 3-5-2 really has only been about two things: The unavailability of true wide attacking threats and Ings-Watkins. Perhaps also picking up Tuanzebe, but to a lesser extent. I think having him and Hause just made the formation more feasible.

    Like everyone else, I want to see Bailey out there from the off. Traoré. Buendia playing to his strengths. And I’ve a sneaking suspicion Sanson could add a lot of bite and guile to midfield.

    But there are tough calls to be made now the squad looks like getting to fitness. Ings or Watkins? Ramsey or Buendia? Sanson or McGinn? and so on.

    If nothing else, the last three results have given Smith cover within the squad for changing things. Maybe they’ve always talked and known a change was coming…?

    Anyway, managing a squad where you have starters on the bench, that will be new for Dean at Villa, and managing that is his real challenge.

  137. runtings,

    I hope we’re not talking past each other, but here’s my go:

    Character, athleticism, versatility, fitness. An attacking approach that emphasizes quick, fluid movements utilizing speed and as few passes as possible. A defensive approach that favors forcing attackers out wide. Players who can go 90 minutes and play through all phases. Distribution of goal-scoring by design, but also featuring a clear, mobile target that keeps defenders honest. It’s not a hold-up man, per se, though Watkins often does a fair amount of that.

    I suppose you’d also need to throw in Compass’s club philosophy regarding the academy and developing a talent pipeline.

    In play:
    Use the high press and look for fast starts, but you see it come and go throughout the match. This is why Villa aren’t necessarily a countering team. Smith wants to play with a lead. Most everyone does, but Smith clearly looks for early goals. The team/system thrives on space.

    Drop to a passive or zonal press the rest of the time to recover and try to take advantage of the space. I get the traditional derision to counterattacking football, but by definition, all moves after an attack are counterattacks. Villa want to be able to spring one man the length of the pitch, sometimes (which also has to do with stretching the other side). They want the FBs and wide players overlapping, and for the wide forwards to attack the channels, or the FBs to largely put in the crosses.

    Villa generally aren’t a possession-based side. I think Smith would like better decision making so that the side can rest more and control space better—the downside of quick attacking moves is that the ball can come right back at you, and if too many players get forward, you’re exposed. I think some of that’s down to talent and decision-making. If you win the second phase, though, you can recycle and keep pressure on. When Villa are playing well, we see that, like Wolves first half.

    I hear “hoof-ball,” bandied about, but it’s not much different than trying to spring Vardy, or Kane-Son. I’m thinking we see less with two wide forwards who are good on the ball.

    To my mind, Buendia in the middle is simply about creating better final-third cohesion and distribution. But he plays a lot of quick passes that others aren’t picking up on yet, and isn’t the same build/type as a Ramsey. Still getting used to it.

    As far as this side, the players, etc., I do see a fair amount of questionable decision-making and trying to play it too quickly. It’s part system, part players. That can make things look shambolic and disorganized. McGinn can be magic or he can be a turnover machine.

    For Villa, bad decision-making is Traoré trying to beat a third man and getting dispossessed without much cover behind. Or Ghazi. McGinn trying to carry it out instead of just clearing, or going for that long pass. Mings and Konsa not giving it to the six in space to start a move often enough, with Mings then forced (or choosing) to play a long ball.

    I see a lot of teams utilizing the same principles. It’s sort of endemic in the modern game. Where I think Villa are falling short of consistency and something more easily identifiable is still midfield.

    Anyway, very long, but that’s how I see it.

  138. Jackvilla,

    Youth is tricky. I think we’d have seen more of them had the last three games been better situations. But, yeah, they’ll have to displace someone at some point. You have to keep them involved, get them minutes.

    But it’s also about veteran players, veteran contracts and fees, contract lengths, etc. Watkins and Ings is already a situation, never mind adding a third to the mix. Ramsey vs Buendia, Carney and Jaden…?

    Archer just sort of came out of nowhere…Can’t admit to knowing the backstory. Yet I saw something about Keinan being the one to unlock Ings.

    I hear some talking “favorites,” but it’s often a little bit more complicated than that when you consider keeping the dressing room together. I’d hope, as the season progresses, that there is more of a rotational mindset.

    Given the growing discontent, there could well be some damage limitation going on, but also a quest for that cohesion and consistency that creates more favorable situations.

  139. John we are a long ball team

    The stats show we play more direct passes than anyone else, and have fewer touches than anyone else in these attacks.

    We literally get the ball to Mings, left side channel and hoof it up to Watkins. Teams have figured this out as i haven’t seen Watkins get in behind l.

    If teams play a deep line against us Smith is tactically absolutely fucked as that’s his hoof ball tacticsl gone

    I honestly think he’s gone next week if West ham beat us, definitely if Southampton beat us

  140. Also who at the club decided we didn’t need a DM in the summer?
    How could Smith and Lange watch is us last season and think that’s one position we don’t need?

    Luiz is absolutely useless.. I’ve never seen such a shambolic tackler in my life.. I’ve never seen someone so slow and out of position so much. He can’t cover ground. He absolutely zero physical presence in midfield. He’s always off balance when a player dribbles past him

    The back four must hate having him in front

  141. Our midfield is still absolutely invisible, just like last season.

    Ben White, the arsenal centre back, causally strolled in between and past mcginn and Luiz

    Those two aren’t good enough

  142. Wow JC that is some breakdown of Smith ball
    We have done our best work in 433 but for me tat description is more of how we set up rather than a philosophy were everyone knows what they are doing no matter who plays
    I cant imagine what our drills are but they certainly don’t give us any real consistency we have won less than a third of 34 games in the past year .. this is poor for a 350 mil spend
    We don’t do basics and can’t keep the ball its all a bit to hot and miss for how I view the game should be played …. and its not just about ticker tacker there are many ways to skin a cat

    teams currently with philosophy in the prem imo are
    citeh , pool .Chelsea west ham , Brighton , Leicester . Brentford. palace and Southampton

  143. Frem,

    I did say that we try and move the ball forward quickly with as few passes as possible, and stats bear out we are the highest in that regard. But. I don’t think the only ball we play is Mings to Watkins, or we’ve been watching different games.

    Does it happen? Yes. Does it happen too much? Could very well be. But that’s not all I’ve seen. I see Targett get it, and Cash. Sometimes it goes to Luiz, sometimes McGinn.

    According to WhoScored, Villa’s per-game averages are:

    Short passes: 312, or 80%
    Long balls: 56, or 14%
    Crosses: 22, or 6%
    Through balls: 2, or “1%”

    Attack Sides
    Left: 40%
    Middle: 28%
    Right: 33%

    Action Zones
    Own Third: 26%
    Middle Third: 41%
    Opposition Third: 32%

    So, 73% of our game action is in the middle or opposition third.

    I looked for a “long ball” definition for their stats, didn’t see one. But teams with as many or more:

    Brighton: 59
    Leeds: 58
    Crystal Palace: 56
    Leicester: 56
    Wolves: 57
    Norwich: 57
    Brentford: 59
    Watford: 58
    Everton: 57
    Newcastle: 59
    Burnley: 72

    So, more than half the league (11) average as many or more long balls than Villa, including the fabulous Potter’s Brighton.

    And Liverpool average 52pg

  144. I agree Dean is still learning on his job. One area he could do better is to be more proactive during games. He did just that by bringing on Leon Bailey in the Everton game and after 15 minutes we were 3-0 up. Too often he makes sub when we have fallen behind or he rarely makes subs when we are leading, hence leading to dropped points from winning positions.

  145. runtings,

    It’s philosophy as far as how you approach the game. In terms of players executing certain patterns, then I think, yes, the teams you mention are much more consistent. But, apart from City, Pool, Chelsea, and Leicester, none have really excelled. West Ham are onto something, obviously.

    Smith, so far, plays high risk, high reward. Why exactly? Can’t speak for him. I’m guessing it has a lot to do with personnel. I think Dean would be the first to agree that he’d like more consistency.

    And I don’t disagree with anyone who says the midfield three is the issue as far as progressing. Sanson, the one real addition, but unavailable pretty much the whole time.

    Obviously, we were looking to ESR and JWP, got Buendia. Don’t know why others weren’t considered.

  146. Jackvilla,

    Yep, that’s been the biggest criticism.

    Me, I’ve generally thought there just hasn’t been that much to turn to. Nakamba is not as progressive as Luiz. Ghazi and Trez, hit or miss, often miss, but they’ve scored important goals.

    We got a little something bringing on Davis. Traoré can make things happen, and has become a starter. I think Bailey will, too. You can move Buendia right, make room for Ramsey. But Villa are still building up depth.

    He made the changes against Wolves, basically enforced except perhaps Luiz. Everything fell apart shortly thereafter.

  147. Frem,

    I will agree with you on a couple things.

    I’ve said many times I’m not sure McGinn is cut out for what we ask of him at this level. He has some great moments, has plenty of bad ones. There’s also the question of pace and physicality.

    And I also thought we’d add a bigger, but athletic, DM.

    But. Despite these players, we did have a good defensive record last season. I’d imagine the 3-5-2 has a lot to do with that declining.

    As far as not spending the Grealish money, I don’t know that I’d necessarily read that as a concern over Smith spending it. Could have had something to do with FFP, could have had something to do with too much change and/or re-calibrating our goals upon losing Jack, or some combination of those.

  148. A really interesting discussion guys. JC, your description of Smith’s current ‘High risk, High reward’ playing style seems right. If I remember rightly , didn’t we play high risk football in our first season back. When it became clear that it wasn’t quite paying off for us he shifted to a much more pragmatic style which eventually kept us up. . . . just.
    You may be right that he’ll change our current approach soon but we can be sure that he’s at least contemplating it

  149. A big ‘Well done’ to Josh Cavallo, having the courage to be the first top-flight male footballer to come out as gay. The surprising (shocking?) thing is that it’s 2021 and he’s the very first and that it’s actually needed ‘courage’ to come out.
    Let’s hope this breaks the dam and this time next year we won’t even notice if other players sexuality becomes public.

  150. Smith says Sanson is ill Ye ok Dean.

    The amount of people on the official villa twitter feed wanting Smith is out is huge. Majority comments want him gone

    Sunday I think will be the final straw for him. West Ham will beat us.

    Also we’ve gone from a one man team in Grealish, to a one man team in Bailey who hadn’t even started yet.. He’s Smiths new tactic.

    He simply relies on one players brilliance.

    We need a better manager

  151. And the same crap every week about Bailey

    ” we will access the situation to see if he’s ready to start”

    So that’s a no

    It’s going to be the god awful 532


  152. Whilst scrolling down to the end of the messages I scrolled straight past ‘Frem’s forum diarrhoea’ as usual but caught some block capitals saying “IT’S TIME TO GOOOO”.
    I hope I’ve interpreted that correctly and in his frustration he’s calling it a day and leaving the blog?

    There seems to be a general consensus on here (and other forums, Twitter etc) that we want Dean Smith to succeed and hope that he still can.
    There’s a belief that he will need to make some changes to the starting 11 or set up and now that most of the team are fit he should finally be able to pick the team he really wants. On that score, it’s a shame Emi looks like missing the next game but (focussing things that ‘really’ matter) his father is hopefully now on the mend.
    This weekend’s game will be a real test but it’s the two following games that will be crucial in retaining or losing fan support.
    Let’s hope the players have given themselves a real talking too and come out with the right attitude and give these next 3 games a real go and get ‘all’ supporters back behind them again.

  153. C’mon now robbo, be nice – we are all just guests on frem’s blog. Too many people are butting in on his blog and disturbing his deep thinking chain of thought. That gobby JC is the worst. I’m going back into hibernation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  154. My teams to face West Ham should be 3-4 -3. Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Hause, Mings, Targett, McGinn, Nakamba, Buendia and Bailey either side of Ings. We need Nakamba in midfield, he is not a forward thinking midfielder but at least knows how to protect a back three/ four better than Luiz. West Ham have a strong midfield in Soucek and Rice but with Buendia and Bailey feeding Ings i think we could win with this team.

  155. Aston Villa have taken 39 points from a possible 99 in 2021. Easy to forget they’ve spent £325,000,000 on 23 new players since being promoted

  156. It’s only been about 3 weeks since we were giving a good account of ourselves. I assume the coaching staff are able to get us back to that level.

    West ‘Aaaammm is going to be a tough one. Can’t see us winning, but forever live in hope.

  157. Plug
    We have had a decent performance v utd plus Newcastle a great 15 mins v everton ,why do think smith will turn it around ,all but bailey have played for smith or premier league for last few seasons ( beundi) was championship last season,the players look totally lost at what they are asked to do and worst of all there doesn’t seem to be much fight in them either,there is times that a manager has reached his ceiling and smith is banging his head on it,and frem is correct in saying this is going on for a long period of time,yes we had cov19, international break shortened summers but so has every other side

  158. I wanted us to get Arteta when he was rumoured to leave City.

    He’s going to be a very good manager. Arsenal playing great stuff now

    But we decided to keep championship manager in charge

    I hope tomorrow is the final straw when we lose, again

  159. Some people never learn. Despite watching Villa just 8 days ago buckling under a first half assault from the Arse using 3-5-2, Rodgers has just committed the same crime and finds himself 0-2 down to……a first half assault from the Arse. You can’t say he wasn’t warned.

  160. JG, I thought we did OK at Chelsea (twice) and the 2nd half against the Arse. But…..if Deano doesn’t turn it around soon, he’ll be duck soup.

    Also hope that Sanson is not going to be another apparition like Freddie otherwise questions arise about how he handles French players.

  161. JG, as you say, the worrying aspect of recent games has been the lack of fight from the players. They should be giving it all, so as professionals they are to blame but the manager has to take responsibility too. Up to now, by all accounts he’s created a great team spirit and togetherness but its fair to say that there have been times when some of the intensity of the players has dropped off.
    At the business end of the season and against top teams, the motivation seems to rise and we seem to be able to raise our game. We need to see that over the next 3 games.

  162. Plug
    Didn’t count the cup matches ,and I think smith wasted a chance in it, Watkins could and should have played just back from injury but that’s gone as for the league match v Chelsea we huffed and puffed ,I don’t recall any opposition keeper having to make too many saves,and the new tactic of cash long throw that is criminal in this day and age,lot to beat smith up with at minute,can’t really see a way out apart from the sack before xmas

  163. JG, results will determine Smith’s future, as with all managers. It’s always a balance of results against expectation though, so some managers can withstand runs of poor results whilst others can’t.

    For the last couple of seasons Rodgers has worked wonders at Leicester, but are they finally on the downslope under him? You have to imagine that even if they are, the club would stick with him out of loyalty if nothing else for a while. He, however, may be tempted to move if he sees an exciting opportunity elsewhere.

    Solskjaer has never been a favourite manager within sections of the United fanbase, but whilst he was delivering reasonable results and some progress the owners have stuck with him. With results now slipping it looks as if his days are numbered.

    Farke on the other hand has built up a large bank of loyalty points at Norwich and even the worst ever start to a premiership campaign and Norwich’s worst ever start to a season may not be enough to dislodge him.

    Bielsa similarly has loyalty points banked and even though there are a few murmurings of discontent, his place seems pretty secure.

    Dean Smith remains popular with most of the fanbase and it will probably need a really poor run of form to dislodge him. Losses in our next 3 games might be poor enough to do just that but if we get a couple of wins then it’s amazing how quickly sentiment can shift again.

  164. Palace beating City. Brighton drawing away at Liverpool

    Clubs like that getting results. We are in a relegation scrap with this useless manager.

    We need to go get Potter.

  165. Brighton pushing Liverpool.

    They play great football and spent nothing

    Proper manager.

    Lose tomorrow its goodbye Dean. Finally.

    We’ve been awful for 12 months

  166. Frem,

    Just saw a response to that tweet you quoted via a relevant reply: That’s £14m/player for 23 players in just about 2.5 years. I’ll trust the 23 as I don’t have time to count right now.

    And £100m of that £325m was covered by Grealish. So you’re actually looking at net spend of £225m, atm, or £9.8m/player. Such profligacy. Surely that’s Champions League spending.

  167. “I want to say how good Potter would be for #avfc after what he’s done with a much smaller budget than Smith and the chances his teams create but fear the backlash of the better fans who want to watch 352 hoofball to Targett on the wing.”

  168. Viera flying at Palace.

    Git them playing good football in no time and no money

    Another manager making Smith look absolutely bang average like he is

    Honestly so many managers would be better than Dean Smith

  169. JC – you’re dead right that Frem doesn’t seem to read (and certainly isn’t interested in) anyone else’s comments. Bearing that in mind – and the fact that most of the rest of us now more or less skim over Frem’s posts – there doesn’t seem to be much point in having him post on here any more. Time for a season-long red card?

  170. Don’t see why you would ban someone just because you don’t agree with them
    Nothing Frem has posted on this thread is incorrect imo

    Its easy to breeze past the view of anyone you just know you will not agree with that’s how to negotiate any blog ..Something that I have recently been doing with the Deano will get it right and if it wasn’t for the injures posts
    If we put the interests of the club over the manager we will be seeking a better fit going forwards . .. deano has done well for us up to a point but we won’t finish in top 8 with the football we are playing , there progression has stopped managers wit less resources doing much better .. We could win tomorrow but like Arsenal I suspect that we won’t
    Agree with Frem chuck and te talented kids should also be better integrated there is no doubting our current stack of young talent at the club .
    We should be able to beat West ham at home but again I doubt we will

  171. Runtings – it’s not because I don’t agree with him: it’s the incessant barrage of repetitive posts. Perhaps Frem should rename himself ‘Rantings’…….

  172. Roughly 5 hours we will see what smith is thinking if it’s 5 at the back with axel and target it’s over like the cabbage moment for me it’s 433 pity sansom is missing again but I would go with
    Martinez cash Konsa ming’s target
    Mcginn Marv Ramsay bailey Watkins and Ings ,Watkins to the left bailey to the right of Ings and we have to start well

  173. JG, I think it would be too soon to pass final judgement on DS after today’s game, but lose today and the next 2 after that and I’d join you. We really should be winning 2 of those 3 games and you’d have to question whether he’s lost the ability to sufficiently motivate and organise the players to win games. We know that the squad has the quality and ability to win games like that so results do need to start reflecting that. A lot of the blame has to lie with the players, who haven’t all shown the commitment, concentration and energy throughout games that they should have done, but if they are no longer doing that for the manager then the buck will have to stop with him.

    I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that and still believe that it won’t but time will tell.

  174. runtings, I skip Frem’s posts because I find them too repetitive and predictable not because I necessarily disagree with what he’s saying. Having said that, there is a good chance I’d disagree with what he is saying too.
    He always seems to be negative about Villa players (unless they are not getting game time in which case it’s different) and managers and the grass is always greener elsewhere. He was in favour of Dean Smith (until we got him). He was in favour of Thierry Henri. He was in favour of Hassenhuttle. He’s probably now in favour of us switching to Steven Gerrard, or any other manager who is currently having a good run of form. There’s no analysis behind what he says, he just looks at Villa and sees shit and looks at other teams and sees shiny diamonds.
    He doesn’t engage in meaningful discussions, just incessantly repeats his latest obsessions.
    I’m not calling for him to be banned (although wouldn’t lose sleep if he was), I will just continue to ignore his posts, unless and until someone else on here tells me that he has genuinely changed.
    I’m not holding my breath.
    If anyone feels the same way about my posts then of course they should skip them in the same way.

  175. I’ve just seen an article suggesting that Villa are about to appoint an ex Arsenal data engineer. This won’t get anything like the headlines of a new player appointment, but if they’re good, has the potential to be at least as influential to our future.

    I’ve recently been having discussions with a local University about a new sustainability project and initially thought that the main researcher would provide insights into the project through her environmental knowledge. It turned out that she actually has little biological science knowledge and her background is in data analysis and mathematical modelling. We’ve been providing her with sets of data from various sources and in wildly different formats and she is practising her black arts to bring them all together and provide insights that I couldn’t have previously even dreamed of.

    We’ll probably not hear their name again, but hopefully this new Villa appointment will bring exactly those sort of insights.

  176. Come on villa. We need it and Deano needs it. Has to be 100% flat out from the players today.

    This league is going to be very very tough and tight. We do not want to be sucked into the bottom 6

  177. I like the look of the line up today. I am certain we will not lose here. Mings dropped to the bench is great news. Like i have said before in previous posts, the starting eleven has to be earned.

  178. Dean has to earn his buck now. He has spend 200 million pounds in the last three windows. West Ham are not even closer to half of that amount but look at their team.

  179. Well, lads….more good thoughts (mostly) as always.

    Back to 4-2-3-1, Leon starting, Mings sitting, Ings missing. Interesting day.

    Fresh sheet is up.


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