Predictably, a week full of discontent from Villans following the Arsenal loss. While the emotions are real, context seems to be sadly lacking.

I’ve read about how much Villa have spent. Read about the number of points taken in 2021. Read all sorts of things that might actually be damning if you don’t take a moment to think about them. Or, once again, how Villa got to this particular moment in the 2021-22 campaign.

I’d run through that history yet again, but it seems a bit pointless.

Likewise, we can and have talked 3-5-2 vs 4-3-3/4-2-3-1, and leave out a lot of context about injuries and how that might affect the choices and system.

And now I read things like “one-man team with Grealish, now one-man team with Bailey.” It really does my head in.

Anyway, that’s the context heading into Sunday’s clash with West Ham, which a fair number of supporters are claiming is Dean Smith’s Waterloo.

So let’s take a quick look at the recent history for tomorrow’s opponent and this season’s early darlings.

West Ham came back up for the 2012-13 season. Since the Hammers returned to the Premier League they’ve finished 10th, 13th, 12th, 7th, 11th, 13th, 10th, 16th.

Right now, they sit 6th, with a record of 5-2-2. After yesterday’s results, Villa sit 15th with a record of 3-1-5: two fewer wins, one less draw.

Meanwhile, last year’s darlings, Leeds, led by the genius Marcelo Bielsa, have one win.

So, make of it what you will. Me, I don’t like seeing Villa lose anymore than anyone else does. But I’m not going to lose my mind over the recent run. 3-5-2 was working well enough. Then it wasn’t. Someone should’ve told the vastly superior manager that is Brendan Rogers he maybe shouldn’t play 3-5-2 against Arsenal. But hey.

What will we see? Well, it looks like 4-2-3-1 has returned, along with a start for Bailey. We’d wondered whether Ings or Watkins would sit, and today it’s Watkins that gets the call, and I’m assuming Danny is ill along with Sanson. And just as big is the news that Tyrone Mings is on the bench.

So we’ll soon find out a little more about what happens when at least one of the two dangerous wide men plays from the start and Buendia plays wide right with Ramsey in the middle.

Do I think a loss today is the end for Smith? No. Do I think it deserves to be? No. But whether it’s fair or not, and whether it’s actually true or not, there seems to be a lot of pressure on Dean from the fans, anyway.

Like everyone else, I’d very much like three points to steady the ship, a draw if that’s what’s there to be had. I don’t want to see another poor performance, though. That’s probably the most important element, because results don’t always reflect performance. What I want to see is a strong performance that gets the deserved result so that we can get back to our football without all the panic.

So, over to you.

Comments 110

  1. H v
    At least young is trying show effort
    If smith is on life support that first half showing not giving reaction from team, something massively wrong in squad players getting mysterious injuries illness time after time

  2. JG,

    Yeah…I mean as much as Mings has an error in him, Hause isn’t necessarily the answer.

    That said, he has shown good strength.

    The ‘aggression’ got a little better, but the danger is going to be the counter, naturally.

    And I hate to say it, but maybe Emi’s travels/situation caught up with him. You’d have thought he’d have gotten to at least one of those.

  3. We’ve played half decent football this half and a fully alert Martinez would have seen us leading at half time.
    It’s so so unusual to be giving Martinez anything but praise but you would wouldn’t have expected him to concede either of those.
    I said it last time he had a midweek long distance flight but you have to wonder if it’s possible to be 100% sharp witted under those circumstances and of all positions the goalkeeper is probably the one which requires most mental alertness of all.
    A touch of jetlag and just a 1% drop in alertness could be the difference between the teams in that first half.

  4. JG,

    With the illnesses, I was seeing covid on Twitter, but nothing to substantiate it. You’d think Ings would be at least be on the bench, so there is something to it, whatever it is. Same with Luiz.

    Maybe there were a couple knocks, but those are some big absences, and no one was planning on having Ash play in the middle.

  5. Biggest problem is too much expected of Martinez. He should have either stayed in Argentina, or not gone. He would normally have saved both of those shots at that distance. He is not on the mark and jet lagged, which puts pressure on the team.
    This was not needed with the team changes. Hause is doing well, and Targett needs help.

  6. JG, you’re right, Young may have been a better choice although you can understand why DS opted to keep Young’s greater flexibility and defending ability on the pitch.

  7. Mcginn having another stinker
    Bailey hasn’t played much in weeks so an easy decision beundi was getting into game,smith reminds me of a Sunday league manager keeping his mates on

  8. JG agreed that McGinn is not having a great game
    Don’t agree with your comment about Smith keeping his mates on. . . . he kept Young on who has struggled to get picked at all lately

  9. H&V. Do we ‘know’ there’s disharmony in the camp?
    There are always going to be players who feel they should be playing more but I’ve only seen fan rumours of disharmony.

  10. Agreed, Marv did well.

    But one of those days when it rains it pours. Good fight and spirit, Ollie came so close.

    Chasing like that, though, I liked the idea. Lose 2-1, 4-1, didn’t really matter.

  11. Yeah, disharmony…I didn’t see a lack of commitment or belief trying to get a point.

    I think for some, it’s frustrating. Frustrating for everyone, actually. It’s just not been easy, lots to overcome, and it’s been hard for the side to settle.

  12. Really still can’t believe we still have same midfield that nearly got us relegated with all money spent
    Mcginn hAs been awful and his discipline is shocking 4 bookings already this season,
    Smiths subs are getting worse elgastly getting on when you need players up for a fight determined to work hard something he is allergic to,Freddy sent out on loan,sansom not getting on

  13. Southampton up next. I can’t see us winning. DS not able to motivate the players. Same with Shakespeare.

    Nakamba tried. Wish everyone would show that effort. Cash got a goal a few months ago and now has useless shots every time from 30+ yards. What a waste. SJM seems must play 8 with Nakamba and Luiz behind him. He’s a liability otherwise. Shocking to take Buendia off.

  14. Hi John.I can’t comment on the performance,as I didn’t watch it,the result and the circumstances surrounding it though,dismal,atrocious spring to mind.
    Amidst the DS out hysteria I must say that the owners and Purslow must be shaking there heads………”why have we spent bundles of $$$$ to create a 5 star academy and none of the graduates play in the first team”?
    I know all managers go to a bunker mentality when they face 4 losses on the bounce,they go with tried and tested,but……if Chuk or Archer or the younger Ramsey can’t get on ahed of McGinn,AEG,or Young,then in my humble opinion something is profoundly wrong with “The Pathway”.

  15. Every now and then a game happens where I feel cheated. This was one of them. Piss poor refereeing, even poorer VAR decisions used to benefit Laandan clubs, and a score line that lies.

    Watkins shoved in the back in the area. The VAR check was over in 3 seconds, if there was even one. Konsa denies “a goal scoring opportunity” so has to go after a forensic VAR check that didn’t even pick up that the guy he obstructed was offside and was also at the corner of the area and nearer the corner flag than the goal. McGinn gets pushed to the floor by that shit Bowen and gets booked for it. Bowen couldn’t stop laughing. Sour grapes? Nah, just another display of cheating.

  16. JG,

    Obviously can’t really speak for Dean, but I think ollie stays on basically because he can just keep running at the same level for 90.

    Ings, 29, don’t run him into the ground, keep him fresh, etc.

    Just a guess.

  17. Hi, B6…great to see you.

    Again, just a guess, but I’m thinking money, contracts, etc., part of it’s about harmony.

    I think the other bit would be that this year is for them to prep to really challenge for next year.

    I think we’d have seen more of them had results been better, and game situations more favorable for their confidence.

    However. Seeing Mings benched, it could be that we see Chuk sooner rather than later.

    Archer a victim of the money spent on Watkins and Ings…who, tbf, do have résumés. Also probably no one really saw it coming from him. Barry was who everyone had eyes on.

    Today, Ramsey going off messed with the plan, and then Konsa’s red totally blew anything out of the water. Though we did look better playing 10 there until our aggression cost us (Targett should probably not have challenged like that in that situation).

  18. Plug,

    Understand your frustration. Like I said, when it rains it pours. Very little has gone right in terms of breaks for us.

    Losing was defo on the cards today, but I didn’t see us going behind on two rather rather fortunate seeing-eye goals from range.

  19. 7 wins in 29 games.

    33 points from a possible 103.

    ROK and Terry walking out.

    The club doing zero planning to replace Grealish snf signed 3 players, when we can’t play 2 together let alone 3.

    Sanson throwing a bottle at Smith

    Buendia walking straight down the tunnel last night

    Mings having to pull Watkins and Ings apart last night

    A team that genuinely can’t sting 3 passes together.

    It’s absolutely shambolic and he will be sacked when Southampton beat us

  20. 18/19 – 3 wins in 16 games

    19/20 – 3 wins in 21 games

    20/21 – 2 wins in 15 games

    Smith doesn’t get any better. We have shambolic spells every season

    Nuno has been sacked

    Hopefully makes sacking Smith easier now for our board

  21. Tottenham have nearly striked a TOTAL AGREEMENT with Antonio Conte.

    And we keep Dean Smith. Pathetic

    Our board have either lost all interest or just don’t get football.

    We need to go and show some ambition

  22. Good to see so many comments which are not just Smith out.
    The biggest problem yesterday was under estimating the condition of Emi Martinez! The guy had flown out to Argentina to be with his sick father, but he is expected to fly back with little, or no rest, and then turn out for Villa.
    West Ham and Moyes will have taken that into account, which is why they were successful with their long range shots for the first two goals, which Emi would normally have saved.
    The injury to Ramsey was cruel, and you could see the pain in Dean’s face, but he would at that stage been better replaced by El Ghazi, who works well with Targett, and makes a difference to the left side, instead he brought Young on, who does not have the speed. El Ghazi came on too late, but did make some great recoveries. We have won more games with El Gahzi in the side whatever anyone says.
    I don’t think that if VAR had looked so long at the karate chop from Hause for so long, that Konsa would have got a red card, it was as if , VAR were determined that someone had to go.
    Funny how the danger to Villa, is often the player they should have had on their books.
    Last year we would have loved to have Lingard, and Frem, I know like me, thought we should have signed Bowen from Hull when we had the chance.
    Yesterday just turned out to be a shambles in the end, but when we went down to ten men, the team really seemed to come together and played well for as long as they could, but the third goal took the heart out of them.
    Dean is still making some bad calls, but he is not getting any luck, and the cards are stacked against him. We have no Trezeguet, Traore or Grealish, and the replacements are taking too much time to bed in.
    You look at Palace, West Ham, and Brighton, they are all doing well because they build slowly with the same players week in , week out, gently bedding the odd new player.
    It isn’t quite time for Smith to go, but I do feel that if we lose to Soton on Friday, there will be changes, and expect to see John Terry back in charge until the end of the season at least.

  23. I did miss yesterday’s game, and watched it at home on the tv. The last time I did that, we lost 5-1 to Manchester City, so maybe , I have to take some of the blame.
    Unfortunately, I find it hard to stand at matches, and Villa and other clubs have decided to let the fans break the law by allowing everyone to stand i an all-seater stadium. Their excuse is that they can’t steward it.
    This is totally untrue, where I normally sit, Just a few new season ticket holders stand constantly, making everyone else behind them have to stand. There is no stewarding, and I understand some young fans want to stand, but please be aware that when you have been watching Villa for 50 years, you are sometimes not able to stand.
    Many clubs are putting crush bars in now to assist safe standing, but Villa have not put a single one in pace yet.
    Villa are well aware of the problem, but just do not wish to do anything at this stage, until there is an accident and they get fined.

  24. I think it may be time to start the debate about Deano’s departure. Compass haven’t poured £325 million quid into a squad for a relegation fight. If he doesn’t get the dreaded call from Purslow, then we can assume they don’t have any replacements lined up.

    Not how we wanted it to end, but nothing lasts forever (except Fergie and Wenger) and if a suitable coach isn’t available at this time, then stick with Deano a while longer rather than appoint a lash up job.

    The more Deano states his charges are buying into his philosophy, the more I’m inclined to think they likely don’t. Long throw ins as a weapon…..I mean…’s agricultural. Fannying around with goal kicks inviting danger…..I mean……it’s a wind up.

  25. plug

    its a mess. they look lost. our version of playing out the back every god damn time is keeper to fb to cb who hoofs it long down the channel!

    like you say the long throw ins! weve turned into prime stoke city

  26. My objective for yesterdays game was to analyse what style of play deano is bringing

    Seems Jack really was papering over the cracks as we are for sure a long ball lets play percentages anti football side
    We will not succeed with our current manager of that I now have no doubt

  27. Aston Villa are currently 3rd bottom for shots in the PL, and 2nd bottom for open play xG. We’ve also conceded 12 goals in our last 4 games.

    It’s absolutely appalling

    Has been for 12 months

  28. The bookies now have Dean as the evens favourite to be the next manager to be sacked. Not looking good for the club.
    I am not sure what is wrong within the club, but something is definitely not quite right. I thought that at long last Villa were becoming a much more stable club, but it seems not, maybe just too m any changes have happened without any solid foundations being laid.
    It smells a little of the Americans once again failing to understand that English “soccer” just is not anything like American sports.

  29. far this season:
    – Key Passes 69 (19th in league)
    – Pass completion 75% (15th)
    – Shot creating actions 151 (19th)
    – Pressures 1180 (19th)
    – Pressures success 27% (18th)
    – Tackles 122 (20th)
    – Errors leading to a shot 2 (13th)
    – Aerial duels won 46% (18th)

    We are disgusting and have been since January

  30. Maybe we’ve had rose tinted glasses on for too long. The recruitment is turning into a nightmare. What was the plan. Where are they coming into play and how are we going to play? 2 years ago we were on par with West Ham in a relegation battle. They’ve left us for dust

  31. I’m here looking at Wolves. He’s been there 5 mins and has stamped his identity on them all ready.

    Like you say runtings I have no idea what Deano is trying to do with us. It’s just a mess

  32. Where are you MK?
    Not seen you since Spurs game. Looking for your take on the present situation…
    Quite a few others also seem to have fallen silent.
    Nice to get a balanced point of view from everyone.

  33. H&D,
    Good to see Wolves performing, and Everton looking like Villa, with Coleman falling out with his defence. Wolves have Traore sitting on the bench….and they are 2-0 up!!
    Benitez looking lost , and struggling to turn it round, but Delph about to come on!
    Just how many players have gone through the Villa ranks since 2016?

  34. Paulo Fonseca

    Dean Smith is gone.

    Friday is his last game

    Thank God

    A manager coming in who plays football and good with young players

  35. Wr need to go get Paulo Fonseca before Everton or Newcastle do. Go get him now.. Rafa willbe sacked soon.

    I want a manager who plays football and Fonesca does. He’s managed in a few leagues which is good.


  36. Heroes How good was the football from Wolves last night … there fans must be buzzing fab patterns of play already and the thing is our squad is a lot better than there’s and there lies the power of proper footballing drills with a bunch of players . under such a system of play we would become a quality side very quickly

  37. We are 19th is distance covered, onky spurs below

    Another shambolic stat

    Isn’t it obvious there is something seriously wrong in the Villa camp?

    He needs to get sacked

  38. runtings

    yeah we have enough ballers to play some good controlled footy.

    allthough i really do think our midfield is not great! a real problem area that should of been fixed.
    lets hope sanson can do the job

  39. I think you have made your point Frem…….
    It is just droning on…
    Let some others put their point of view, while we still have some contributors, or this site will continue on a downward trend, just like Villa.
    Where are the positives?
    We made a poor start against Watford, and then managed to pick ourselves up, and yes we are now going through a very bad patch, and it is not good that there seem to be fallouts at Villa Park.
    We really need to get through Friday night with a good result, just like Ole did at Spurs. Dean needs to have total support to get through it.
    He did succeed in winning the play offs. He did succeed in keeping us up, and last season we finished a respectable 11th. Maybe this season is his Fergie season, where he is one result away from the sack, but he pulls it round, and goes on to achieve great things in the future!!

  40. Before every game against Shakhtar, I have the same feeling.

    “The first time we face them in the group stage, my [scouting] team went to see them and they came back saying, ‘Wow.’ They were really impressed. In Barcelona all the time it was, ‘Shakhtar, Ukraine, who cares which players play, nobody knows them.’

    “I can assure you it was one of the best teams in terms of playing football. It was so tough for me. For Barcelona, Bayern, we had good results but it was tough. I have a lot of respect for them”

    Pep on Fonesca.

    That’s the level we need

  41. All of a sudden Newcastle are taking us over getting Emery. Just like that, they will finsih above us if we retain Smith

    Spurs were someone we thought we could compete with, now with Conte no chance

    We’ve gone from wanting European football to being left behind

    We have to act

  42. H and V

    He’s a much better manager than Smith

    He has a philosophy. He wants to pass the ball. He good at developing young players. Pep said his teams are hard to play against and play great football

    Smith is out his depth

    We are falling apart

  43. PP – “He did succeed in winning the play offs. He did succeed in keeping us up, and last season we finished a respectable 11th. Maybe this season is his Fergie season, where he is one result away from the sack, but he pulls it round, and goes on to achieve great things in the future!!”

    I agree, Dean deserves a little more time (though probably Compass may give him that). Expectations this year were sky high and the fact we are bottom 6 instead is obviously disheartening. It’s easy to say DS is out of his depth ( a manager who beat Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, United, Leicester, etc) and the next savior is round the corner. Are we going to get a top manager, no. Are we going to take a risk on a promising manager which may backfire, possibly. It could easily get much worse.

    Again, not defending Smith and the team against their faults, we have been horrible on the press and possession the whole season. But I saw the fight after Konsa was sent off and there is a team there. Unpopular opinion – we are 11 games in, all the players aren’t fit or bedded in, Emi has been travelling around the world and we will come good.

  44. Carney Chukwuemeka is no closer to signing a new Aston Villa contract.

    Well done Dean Smith.

    That’s what we get when you put Ashley Young on out of position over Carny

    ROK and Terry saw how useless Smith would be without Grealish and walked.

  45. We had Luiz, Sanson and Ramsey all out for West ham.

    We had the most talented young player in the country on the bench

    He puts Ashley Young on out of position


  46. frem

    yeah man the young sub was mental.

    something certainly seems off to me. since kelly, terry walked. then you had the press leaks to buying esr and prowse which was never going to happen. uncertain times!

    got to get a win friday night

  47. If we lose on Friday and DS goes I’d like to see Lampard come in. See what he can do with the young players. All the promise with our youth at the start of the season and things have gone backwards as far as breaking into first team. At best we’ll finish mid table this year so might as well freshen up the management and have fresh eyes on the squad

  48. H&V,

    Yeah, funny that Emeri rejected Toon 🙂

    Good to see Sanson and Bidace are fit for Friday. On Carney, he still has 18months so no panic. I think he knows he’ll play more games at Villa than Bayern or PSG!

  49. Think Deano sounded just about the way he always does, like it or not.

    Whether his references to Soton’s troubles last year or Liverpool losing four straight were about the pressure more than simple facts…well, everyone will take something from that. But they are fair points, in context.

    Also good to hear that Ramsey’s sprain isn’t as bad as feared, and that Sanson and Bidace are in training.

  50. This is the type of game i think we could win. Forget the shambles of last week. With Ings unavailable it is the perfect game to start Cameron Archer. We revert to 3-5-2 for this one.
    Martinez, Cash, Targett, Mings, Hause, Tuanzebe, Chukwuemeka, Nakamba, McGinn, Archer and Watkins.

  51. John, Its good to hear Sanson and Bidace back in training. I had not read through the comments. They need minutes to five them match sharpness and confidence.

  52. H&V

    Yeah, you’re not wrong there (midfield). I’m really hoping Sanson can give it a go. He was aggressive and all-action against Chelsea (which is obviously how he re-injured himself), but his displeasure about not getting on is probably exactly the kind of fire we need if he can just get through it unscathed.

    About the only criticism I have in terms of personnel used (outside of the formation debate) is McGinn being undroppable. I know he’s loved, and gives it everything, but he’s so up and down, even within matches, that I think there’s maybe a real case for Sanson.

    But in what’s being billed as a must-win, there’s something to be said for cohesion and familiarity. If Mings can be dropped, anyone can.

  53. H&V,
    Konsa is suspended, so he will not be in the squad.

    Sanson when we were looking at him, was seen as back-up or replacement of Jack, which is why we bought him , as soon as he became available, and especially for the price, which is why he is getting frustrated at not being given his chance to fit in the midfield, alongside McGinn.

  54. the more you look at the midfield i think jesus christ we are in trouble. bar luiz there all runners. and not that great either!

    We love super john but hes no where near good enough for top half. sanson luiz and give chuck a go. not getting that number 6 in is going to bite smith right in the ass

Leave a Reply