As I write, looks as though this evening’s Chelsea fixture will be played, though we’ve received word this morning that Villa’s visit to Elland Road has been postponed. The Christmas covid wave is wreaking a bit of havoc on teams and fixtures, and probably competitive integrity. The ultimate effect on players, teams, and standings remains to be seen.

For Villa, manager Steven Gerrard is the latest to be forced into isolation, and we have no idea who’s actually available to play. The latest rumors have John McGinn missing out, but I’m also seeing it’s mainly the younger players affected. Guess we’ll know when the team sheet’s out. Naturally, Chelsea appear to have a full-strength squad available.

Without all the caveats, I’d have quite liked our chances given Chelsea’s recent run of form and our performances against Liverpool and City. And maybe we’ll still be in good shape. Given the various tweets sent out by players, a number of regulars appear to be okay.

So…there’s not much that can actually be said about the match right now, though we know what we’ll be looking to see from both sides.

Overall, I probably wish the league had paused. But, that was going to require a lot more postponements. As usual, the deeper squads are probably at an advantage.

More important, I hope Christmas was good to everyone who celebrates, and a nice time of year for everyone.

Over to you.



Comments 214

  1. From Ash Preece at the Mail:

    “Matty Cash, Matt Targett, Danny Ings, Morgan Sanson, Jed Steer, Jacob Ramsey, Trezeguet, Douglas Luiz, Tyrone Mings, Filip Marschall and Ezri Konsa are out on their pre-match walk.

    Carney Chukwuemeka, Axel Tuanzebe, Anwar El Ghazi, Jaden Philogene-Bidace, Keinan Davis, Cameron Archer, Tim Iroegbunam, Ollie Watkins, Bertrand Traore and Viljami Sinisalo are the next group out for a stroll.”

  2. So, basically everyone available except Meatball.

    I was expecting worse news:

    Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Sanson, Ramsey, Luiz, Buendia, Watkins, Ings

  3. We have to change this favourite club for opposition strikers love,really poor 2 nd half maybe it is Cov19 but Everton wolves held out against Chelsea we didn’t, another game with little or no shots on target

  4. Well, not a lot to say about that.

    Mings obviously didn’t do enough on Lukaku. I don’t really like Ings in the three.

    But there were lots of poor passes and decisions to go round.

  5. Ah hard lines.

    Great first half but against the elite you have to be perfect….as soon as we gave that stupid pen away its game over.

    Too flat second half for too long but there just too good for us. Onwards and upwards

  6. JG,

    I think it was timing, playing Chelsea today. They’d gotten everyone back, needed the win to keep up with City. Peno was a shame, changed the game.

    We did look a bit leggy in the 2nd, but yeah, still need a true defensive midfielder, at least, and the cohesion/connection up front still isn’t there.

    Part of it’s speed, we’re not that fast in the middle, part of it’s aggression. Luiz had a 50/50 there near the end that he pulled out of, led to a chance. Might be down to pace, a little, or caution, but things like that add up.

  7. Jc
    Not first time Luis pulled out of a 50 59
    We seem to have players who cannot pass the ball,Watkins first hits a shot when ings free not for first time either,liked the look of sanson today

  8. Players ratings
    Martinez 7 not much he could do about goals,made a couple good saves
    Cash 4 stupid penalty ,poor all over field
    Target 6 could done much better for last goal,but first half very good
    Konsa 7 last goal not much he could do overall becoming main man
    Mings 5 up to goal he was excellent then a mistake and he lost his confidence
    Luis 6for first half ,2 nd was poor not brave enough needs replacing
    Ramsay 6 not good enough yet for matches v good sides
    Sanson 6good first half then tired which is to be expected should been replaced sooner whether there was a lag on stevie TV
    Beundi 4 petulant lazy who ever signed needs sacking if it wasn’t Smith
    Watkins 5 sorry needs to get head up and pass disappeared in 2nd half
    Ings 5 what has he let himself in for,we don’t attempt to play to his strengths
    Slightly late traore looked good it’s a pity he is away African Cup,carney will learn from these mins ,elgazi never learns shooting from stupid positions
    Overall poor obviously missed manager from sidelines plus mcginn and youngsters experience

  9. Didn’t get to see the game but looks fairly samey stuff except we created a shed load of chances in our 1st loss to Chelski and next to bugger all in this one.

    I see the Swansea manager backed his players right to choose whether to be vaccinated or not, Brave man and it needs a few more like him. Latest data says the vaccine in the under 40’s produces way more myocarditis than getting covid does. Not a surprise as it bypasses the 1st line immunity of the body in the mucosa and goes straight to the blood.

  10. Gutted with the result. Thought we might get something from the game. In the first half, we looked dangerous on the breaks but didn’t make the most of them.

    Overall, we were way too passive in my view. Starting the press deep with all men behind the ball is fine, but when the play comes into our half, we have to get into them and compete. Chelsea had all the time in the world. They also know how to get penalties by getting between the defender and ball. Is that 5 penalties now for them in the last 5 games?

  11. Tuchel moaning in the media this morning that “it’s not fair” playing all these games in a short period. Well I don’t think it’s fair compiling a squad worth squillions compared to the others. What an arsehole.

    But he needn’t worry, his outfit ain’t going to finish above Citeh or Bindippers even if circumstances were to his liking.

  12. I’m not quite sure what to think about that performance and result.
    If we take the first half, then we looked great and more than matched Chelsea. Players looked to be full of confidence in themselves and their teammates and we were really enjoyable to watch. If that’s the team we’re going to be, then a season ticket will be good value.
    In the second half, we looked lethargic in comparison and we fell to individual mistakes. Maybe after effects of illness catching up with some of them?
    Chelsea’s switch to sending crosses into a big old fashioned centre forward (albeit a very good one) was more than we could cope with in the second half.
    JG’s scoring looked overall far too harsh to me but I agree that Buendia looked petulant and lazy off the ball. Apart from that, I still like the player though and believe he’ll come good for us. You can often see what he’s ‘trying’ to do and how it will open up defences, but it’s still a whisker away from working just now.
    Mings lost concentration a couple of times, which is something I thought he’d cut from his game, so that was disappointing and he’ll be pissed off with himself.
    Ings and Watkins are both intelligent players and surely can work out how to play ‘with’ each other. . . .can’t they?
    Cash was careless for the penalty but did ok apart from that and I’d be more critical of Targett for ‘not’ taking Lukaku down when he could have done. . . . . every other team in the premiership seems to do that to us week in and week out.
    I didn’t see what JG saw in Traore yesterday, but he didn’t have that long to impress.

    Overall, having just played Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City in our last 5 games and still sitting in the top half of the table. . . . .well I’ll take that.

  13. Didn’t go to the game yesterday, deciding to be an armchair viewer instead. Like most, didn’t see a lot wrong with the first half, apart from Cash’s moment of madness, and the fact that he still cannot put in a decent cross for the forwards to get on.
    Second half fell apart once Lukaku came on, because Mings and Konsa have become lazy in their defending, and don’t work well enough with Martinez to defend against the big centre forward play.
    Like most, I thought Sanson probably had his best game yesterday, and there will be more to come from him.
    Most of the others were fairly average, and Ollie seems to be struggling with his game, and perhaps he is being asked to do too much, especially with defensive covering.
    The experience of Young and McGinn was definitely missing yesterday, and I am seeing disappointment in Martinez, as he makes some great saves, but has poor communication with the defence around him, and certainly lacks confidence in his distribution these days. Perhaps that was part of his difficulty at Arsenal. Ramsdale, Sam Johnstone , Pickford and Smeichel are far better distributors of the ball, and that makes a huge difference to top teams.
    I am surprised that no one else seems to see this failing in him, or does everyone blame the players around him instead.
    Carney, poor lad almost cost us a goal, not long after coming on. Traore was ok, and El Ghazi did not have any time to really get into the game. I felt very sorry for Stevie Gerrard, as I am sure his presence in the dressing room at half time would have made a difference to the team.
    Being on a video link will not really have the same effect.

  14. Gary McAllister has confirmed that Gerrard did not have a video link to talk to the players before the game, or at half time, and trusted his coaches instead. He only had a phone link to the coaches.

    I forgot to mention Buendia, who had a poor game, whereas Douglas Luiz had a good one, which his stats prove. Mainly the problems lay with the defence in not protecting their area well enough, and bringing the ball out, the midfield did their job, but the attack failed to work intelligently in the final third.

  15. Robbie
    Give us your ratings
    Traore had a stone wall penalty not given because the linesman flagged for a very tight offside ,if it had been the other way pen would have been given then var would looked at all there lines and then given it to

  16. Pp first goal it was cash misplaced pass that set Chelsea on the attack,of which beundi made half hearted attempts to close Chelsea down and then actually stopped running back,2nd goal also came from a cross from cash side not closed down

  17. Said for a while Luiz isn’t good enough. As a DM he’s absolutely pathetic. Bottles Tackles and doesn’t track runners


    Sanson was fantastic.

    We need two new full backs, cash and Targett aren’t good enough at any aspect of the game, especially going forward.

    Second half we were way to narrow and Chelsea nullified it. We should have got Traore on earlier for width.

    Buendia and Ings a waste of money. Ings looks use. No pace. Always gets beat to the ball

    Few issues. Our full backs, and Ings and Watkins.

    Watkins will never be clinical enough at this level

    Ings isn’t quick enough to play in his own

    Striker in January?

  18. Watching Norwich in possession now is just like watching us under Smith the last 12 months

    Absolutely clueless in possession. No movement. No patterns.

    First half yesterday we were fantastic on the ball

    January we need some additions in the fullback area anda DM

    I can see Gomez replacing Mings

  19. I see we’ve now lost 7 games this year where we’ve scored first. No team has done worse.
    On the plus side, it shows we have it in us to more than match almost any team in the league.
    On the downside, we seem to be just as prone as ever to it.
    Are we not fit enough?
    Do we not have sufficient strength in depth?
    Do we make substitutions too late?
    Do players lack the mental strength to concentrate for a whole game?
    or. . . . . . is it just one of those chance things and we’ve been a bit unlucky?

  20. r0bb0,

    Overall, I think it just comes down to the players. We’re good, but just not quite where we need to be. And I don’t think anyone expected us to much better at this point. Being almost good enough to get results in these games is what makes it a bit frustrating.

    Biggest difference for me yesterday is that Chelsea are very good defensively. Someone always seemed to be in the right spot, and they’re aggressively tight. It’s not just shape, but also a slightly higher level of intelligence/athleticism and the opponent being under pressure at each point in the move.

    We’re positionally fine, but more passive off the ball. Most of the time that’s not really putting us in danger, but it’s not getting us the ball back, either. Early on, pressing high, we did make them more uncomfortable, and then towards the end we had the customary push, but it didn’t yield anything.

    Sanson showed he does have a bit of aggression, but I think if I were doing the shopping I’d still be looking for a couple players who are faster and more aggressive going after and winning the ball, denying space and time.

    I have to give it some thought, but it seems that the downside of the narrow, lower block SG has us playing is that we don’t have much forward when an attack is stopped. But, it’s still not much different than with Smith’s approach (or anyone’s, really): There are 2-3 key passes, and receptions, that have to happen to break out at speed and get into space, and if someone is aggressive in choking those off and we don’t pull it off, it breaks down. And some of that is decision making.

    I’ve no idea how it looks when we maybe, someday, have more pace with Traoré and Bailey fit either side up top. They’re both good on the ball, can beat a man, and force defenders to be more cautious. Ings and Buendia aren’t lightning quick, obviously.

  21. Didn’t really get to the question about blowing leads, though, did I?

    Right now, I just don’t think we’re creating enough, simple as. We can’t/don’t stay on the front foot. Is it fitness? Could be. But there’s also the shape and a lack of speed and ball-winning.

    I think there’s something to the depth question, as we don’t have many ways to change things, yet. Like I say, Bailey and Traoré provide something different, but it’s just not been available.

    I was actually thinking Archer would’ve posed some different questions. We could’ve gone 4-4-2, with Chuk giving us more pace and athleticism in the middle, and Archer much more able to stretch the defense.

    But SG hasn’t yet shown much more willingness to change shape than Smith, and is relying on the same players.

    To Frem’s point, the narrowness can make it difficult to break out and keep the gas on. It asks an awful lot of Targett and Cash, as well as McGinn and Ramsey.

    Likewise, not pressing high as much…Again, maybe it’s fitness. When we did early, we had a lot more moments. As we sank back, not so much.

  22. It’s a tough balancing act as we all know sg first thought is keeping shape and not being open. Will take a while for the attacking bit to kick in but it’s against Chelsea! And the 4 games we have win we’ve won by 2 goals. Not much to read into apart from Chelsea are just a lot better.

    Thought again the first half was very good, look a a good team. Some lovely footy. Luis was fantastic and sanson looks promising. He has very good pace too

  23. JG, I’m not having a go mate. . . . . anyone who follows this forum knows that I tend to look for the positives and you tend to look for the negatives . . . . not saying your approach is always wrong and mine always right, they’re just different.
    But, as you’ve asked me for my scores, below are mine, following on from yours. Having said yours are too harsh, my scores aren’t actually that much (if at all) different in most cases . . . . we probably differ more on the accompanying comments though:
    Martinez 7 not much he could do about goals,made a couple good saves. . . . . “Agreed although he has misjudged a couple of through balls and been left in no man’s land a couple of times recently”
    Cash 4 stupid penalty ,poor all over field . . . . “6 from me. He made a silly mistake for the penalty but did ok apart from that”
    Target 6 could done much better for last goal,but first half very good. . . . .”Agreed”
    Konsa 7 last goal not much he could do overall becoming main man . . . . “Agreed although Mings is more of a leader and we need some of those to give us a bit more intensity from start . . . .right through to the end of games!”
    Mings 5 up to goal he was excellent then a mistake and he lost his confidence . . . . “Agreed, because he switched off and just didn’t attack the ball that led to the second goal. I hope yesterday was a blip and he doesn’t fall into old habits of being a bit too blasé at times”
    Luis 6 for first half ,2nd was poor not brave enough needs replacing. . . . . “I’d give a 7 as I thought he looked class in the first half but I agree he wasn’t so influential in the second half, but who was? Cant agree on the need for him to be replaced”
    Ramsay 6 not good enough yet for matches v good sides. . . . .”Agree on the score but I thought he looked perfectly at home, particularly in the first half.”
    Sanson 6good first half then tired which is to be expected should been replaced sooner whether there was a lag on stevie TV. . . . . ” Agree on the score. He didn’t do too much special but the fact that he just got on with his job and didn’t stand out for making mistakes is probably as much as we’d hope for at this stage. As you say, he seemed to tire and was more than ready to be replaced. . . after effects of illness?”
    Beundi 4 petulant lazy who ever signed needs sacking if it wasn’t Smith. . . . “I’d give him a 6. Yes, he did make mistakes but what I liked was that the mistakes usually arose from him trying to be a bit too clever at times. It would have taken very little for those bits of bravery to come off and lead to goals and we’re going to need someone like that to open up tight defences. The petulance pisses me off too and he has to cut it out.”
    Watkins 5 sorry needs to get head up and pass disappeared in 2nd half. “6 from me. The front players aren’t clicking yet and it often seems to be because they are trying to make names for themselves rather than for the team. a bit of selfishness doesn’t go amiss in strikers but we need more cohesion up front and it’s just not there yet.”
    Ings 5 what has he let himself in for,we don’t attempt to play to his strengths. . . . . “reluctantly agree on the score. We know he ‘can’ be the difference in tight games but it’s not working for him at the moment.
    Slightly late traore looked good it’s a pity he is away African Cup,. . . . “he tried but seemed rusty to mean had little impact”
    carney will learn from these mins . . . . . “agreed. Forget the mistake and move on”
    ,elgazi never learns shooting from stupid positions. . . .”agreed, but, every now and then he scores from those stupid positions and we could have done with one of those yesterday.
    Overall poor obviously missed manager from sidelines plus mcginn and youngsters experience

  24. Robbo
    Not much difference in scores
    Me I don’t look at players anymore and just because they where my teams jersey are they gods,like wise stats don’t take to much heed to them especially on matches I watched
    Cash as I mentioned earlier first goal totally his fault and its not the first or second stupid penalty he has gave away,another in mings mode of habitual mistake
    Beundi stats back up what I seen,was it 17 times gave ball away,seen it today his stats where brutal
    Watkins go back to stevie g first match he ended scoring a screamer but we had a player waiting for a pass for tap in ,common theme with Watkins
    As for our pen appeal you never mentioned it
    You had a great post earlier which includes us losing 7 matches this calender year in which we scored first,
    I hope stevie buys players that have a different mentality to what we have,plus they are slightly taller and stronger

  25. rObBb0, On the subject of losing 7 games from winning positions, we all know I think, that the first goal in this division is a big thing and should ensure something is taken from the game. That we top this particular stat is one of the gripes I had with Deano. He didn’t seem tactically aware to secure the points, whether it be substitutions, change of shape or plain game management. It was a 2 goal advantage against Wolves that I believe cost him his job. There was also Burnley where we had the lead twice.

    Coming back to yesterday’s game, the opposition were quicker, more accurate, more mobile and ahead on speed of thought. This is the gap that SG needs to bridge. It won’t happen overnight.

  26. As much as I like to read the ratings report, especially when Villa win, it’s not an accurate view of the players. Mistakes made by the players is totally due to the talent the opposition have nothing to do with the level of talent any one Villa player has. Take Norwich, Villa is the more talented team. Chelsea not so much. You can run with the big dogs only for so long. Eventually the talent wins regardless of the effort put forth by the lesser team. Confidence wanes which leads to a breakdown in intensity, communication, and desire and before you know it you’re on the back foot for large parts of the game. Add a bulldozer with skill who can brush aside Villa’s biggest player and you get despondency. You can train, drill, and hone these players into the best they can be and it won’t be enough.
    It’s something to behold when a team worth over $250 mill are only a mid table team. The answer is money. Having an academy player move up to the first team is like finding a 50 pound note in an unused jacket pocket.
    Villa are also a young team. It takes years to reach your potential and most teams with ambition aren’t willing to wait for that. For that matter neither are the players. Jack for instance. I looked at the 100 best players in world football. 30 years of age seems to be the average bar a few. Lewandowski is #1 and 34 years old. Ibrahimovic is 40 and still around 50th best. You could say the best are past their best years. Hahaha.
    Villa are buying up and comers with a thought of getting a hidden gem. The big teams are buying the finished article. That’s a big difference.

  27. I agree with Ashley Preece, that Villa came out flat second half without the Gerrad halftime team talk,and when we conceded the second, we should have taken Ings off then, if not at halftime, brought on Traore, El Ghazi or even Davis, which would then have caused Chelsea more problems, given us a new bite, and we could have got at least a draw out of the game. Ings only recorded 22 touches throughout, the worst of any Villa player.
    It is a pity Gerrard did not have a video link to speak to the player at halftime.
    The press is suggesting that Chukwemka may be given an ultimatum this window, or he may be available for around £60million!

  28. Wise words Ian. Quality is comparative. Good players can be made to look poor by excellent ones and vice versa. We’re also prone to judge a player’s whole match performance on their one or two memorable moments, be it a great save, a clumsy challenge in the penalty box or a goal.
    As you say, quality also changes over time and we are all too prone to hailing the new wonderkid only to be disappointed when they don’t match up to the hype, or abuse a new player before they’ve had time to fully develop or adapt to their new team or country.

  29. JG, Good point about Young. We see the ‘top’ teams forever in the referee’s face, pointing out his mistakes and by contrast we often seem timid and accepting. Ashley Young is confident and experienced enough to ‘advise’ referees of their misdemeanours. Is this one of the reasons that the ‘top’ teams get away with more?

  30. JC, yes, Archer is one that a lot of us would like to see more of although I’m still hopeful that we can find ways of using Ings. Remember that scissor kick goal against Newcastle? Remember that wonderful cross field pass that led to a goal? (I can’t remember who that was against).

    You’d imagine that Gerrard will feel some pressure to try and utilise Ings bearing in mind his signing on fee and knowing what he has in his locker. Sometimes though, it’s as if two jigsaws have been mixed together and try as you will the pieces just won’t all fit together.

  31. JC, That Chelsea defence did seem pretty impenetrable although it did seem a few times that we didn’t take on first time shots when we could have done.
    Chelsea were defending very high at times and it seemed that a perfectly weighted pass and well timed run just might have been able to open them up but we weren’t able to find both of those at the same time. This is where I feel that Buendia can come good in time as he has the footballing intelligence to make the passes but he needs that extra bit of confidence that makes the difference between the ball getting through or catching a defender’s leg.
    It does need the understanding to build between him and one or more of our attackers too and that just hasn’t developed yet.

  32. Yep the coaching team didn’t react quick enough after half time. Changes should have been made earlier

    Davis should be used more off the bench. He’s quick and powerful

    Hopefully Watford win today leaving Newcastle in the shit even more

  33. Seeing as we have no match for a few days how about everyone picking there favourite team they watched

  34. Be interesting to see what sg does with Ings. Has been burdened with an expensive new player. Against Chelsea it was only the second time Ings and Watkins has started together so suggests it’s all new. But at the min have to say we look better with Watkins up top. But it’s Ings. He is guaranteed goals. And I see no reason Watkins can’t be more then decent left inside. He’s played more on the wings then up top in his career so I’m more then willing to see if we can get a tune until the summer.

  35. Smith doing at Norwich what i expected Smith would do.

    He just isn’t very good. Tactically he’s hopeless. Possession wise his teams are clueless

  36. I’d go for Wijnaldum. Experience, great engine and experience and just turned 31.

    Will be interesting to see who SG goes for and what areas he focuses on. Can’t see it being a striker unless we can offload Ings to Toon

  37. He just has to many daft errors in his game, Mings. To often cost us goals

    Hause has to play against Brentford and won’t put a foot wrong.

    He’s been faultless when ever he’s played last 18 months

  38. Watching Brighton v Chelsea,why are our players not as comfortable on the ball,bissouma is everything we are not in midfield, strong tall hard working good with the ball
    Yes they are losing but Chelsea are run ragged at this point 70 mins in,

  39. Tuchel was rabid last night at not getting his obligatory match day penalty. My advice to him is suck it up.

    His rantings about Mike Dean and VAR however strikes a chord with me, and I’m sure most Villa fans.

  40. Potter would be a great shout in a few years when Stephen goes home , his style of play is second to none

    Mings decided not to challenge Lukaku for his headed goal you would normally see Ty put his body on the line in that situation maybe playing against the monster that is Romelu intimidated him a bit

    Gomez links wont go away so there may be changes in the back 4 on the way

    Villa have a long way to go I thought the Chelsea game showed the slight lack of quickness of thought and play from our boys , if they played a bit quicker Chelski would be under a lot more pressure
    About going to the next level I think we will end up seeing a few leave if we are to get there , though I love the fact that all players brought apart from Young are worth more than when we brought them in … good hands

  41. How good is Thiago Silva btw masterclass defending no tackle’s just blocks and interceptions I don’t recall any of our players getting a ball past him

  42. Runtings,

    Yeah, Mings didn’t want to physically challenge Rom. As Frem wrote, Hause is the only player we have that would love that physical challenge.

    What really scared me with Chelsea game and our narrow play was all the space in our full back areas. I’ve never seen so much green with no Villa defenders or midfielders.

    It was interesting at times in 2nd half when Ramsey played LB and Targett in front for large parts. So if Targett was forward and play broke down he stayed in midfield.

    Would like to see Carney, Bidace and Archer go on loan so they can play 90mins every week

  43. PP…..JT with the Chelsea youths. Hmmm. He had a better position at VP. Wonder why he really left. Maybe tired of the travelling?

    Trez better not come back injured or bring Covid back with him.

  44. Tuanzebe was always a strange signing.

    He wasn’t going to play much and he’s to good to not be starting. Off to Italy apparently.

    Hause is good enough to cover Mings and Konsa. Those two aren’t going anywhere. We will probably sign a young unknown centre back as back up

  45. Personally i think if Hause doesn’t let us down against Brentford he deserves to carry on until he makes mistakes like Mings. That’s Liverpool and Chelsea he’s cost us now

    Davis going to forest on loan apparently. Will be fantastic for him.

    I can see us looking at another striker. Ings doesn’t suit us what so ever and Watkins isn’t clinical enough. Strikes the ball well in about every 10th shot

  46. Yes Frem,
    Ashley Preece is saying the same about Hause, and I agree, that he should keep his place, if he performs well. He also points out that Dean did have his favourites, whereas Stevie plays players purely on merit.
    Don’t really think there will be many transfers happening, and certainly not Grealish for £50million, but stranger things happen.
    The main transfer dealings will happen in the summer. Good luck to Davis going to Forest, having his medical today.
    Think Archer i

  47. Yes Frem,
    Ashley Preece is saying the same about Hause, and I agree, that he should keep his place, if he performs well. He also points out that Dean did have his favourites, whereas Stevie plays players purely on merit.
    Don’t really think there will be many transfers happening, and certainly not Grealish for £50million, but stranger things happen.
    The main transfer dealings will happen in the summer. Good luck to Davis going to Forest, having his medical today.
    Archer is too important to the first team to go out on loan. We need him.
    Think Archer i

  48. Sg saying targets lined up and we should be excited if we get them in.

    It’s what I’m really waiting to see under sg, he is apparently good eye for a player. Rangers loved him for it. He always thinks himself as a manager then a coach too, think he’ll have more then a hand in the market

  49. You know what frem, been thinking about Watkins. Now I totally love him and he will get you double figures I reckon but….he just needs to be more assertive in his finishing. Want to see him really strike the ball cleaner. He don’t have hit them scruffy most the time. But he is good as a pen box poacher

  50. Tuanzebe off.

    It was a strange loan tbh.

    Gomez incoming?

    H and V. Absolutely. I think we will sign a striker in the summer.

    Ings doesn’t have to pace to be on his own. Watkins isn’t clinical enough

  51. I enjoyed reading this spouts from Ramsey:
    “The gaffer was a legend in the game, for any youngster coming through the club, especially midfielders, there’s no one better to learn from.”
    Surely a clear pointer to other aspiring Villa midfielders coming through the ranks?

  52. Davis off confirmed. Not sure we have handled his career the best. I really do rate the lad. Axel off to Napoli.

    A CB and cdm pretty much confirmed then. Prob a lb would you think but anyone else?

    Trez and troure going afcon,

  53. We will definitely sign a left back and DM

    Targett just isn’t quick enough or dynamic enough in this system. He will be replaced

  54. Match day at last, seems like an age since we played
    Don’t get all the clamour to replace target ,how many goals or pens have been his fault compared to Saint cash

  55. JG, I’m with you totally on the Targett front. I haven’t seen that much criticism of him tbh although I don;’t think he has been quite as effective as last season. The full back s have probably had to work hardest at adapting to the change in system and Targett in particular needs to find a new partner to work with down that side.

  56. I also like Targett and feel Cash is the weaker of the two. Cash can’t cross the ball or shoot. I’d much prefer to recall Guilbert.

    Looks like Tuanzebe has signed for Napoli. Not disappointed, as he’s injury prone and didn’t think he looked the same player. Hause vs Toney should be a great battle. Hope Sanson starts as well as Buendia. I think this game will suit Buendia

  57. No Watkins. I have a sneaky feeling he could be off to Arsenal.

    Sanson not starting is a joke though he was fantastic

    Time for Ings to sce

    Our bench is poor.

    Need a few additions. Maybe another forward player coming

  58. What a goal

    Fantastic from Buendia. Lovely finish ings

    Traore just oozes class doesn’t he. Just so good on the ball.

    How people thought Trezeguet was ever anywhere as good as him I’ll never know

  59. The football we play compared to under Smith is a massive massive improvement

    We actually look like we have a pattern snd we are calm on the ball

  60. If we can keep this going for a whole 90 minutes I’ll be completely converted. We’re loading with confidence and style. Buendia has been starting to show why we bought him in the last few games but he’s needed someone up front on the same wavelength. . . . Maybe that’s Ings?
    Would love to see Traore come good but I guess it’s not surprising that it’s not clicking for him yet as he’s played so little football.

  61. Could be r0bb0…was a good illustration of what happens when you suck tight, like Targett did, and get skinned.

    I’m not a critic of his, has his pros and cons, but there was that and then a couple poor passes that saw counters launched.

  62. Targett was very poor today. So many sloppy passes. Luiz not good enough. Ramsey needs a break.

    Trez pretending to get slapped was a disgrace all right, especially with the position that he was in.

    Two very poor teams today. Both deserved to lose. Worst 2nd half I’ve seen from Villa in years

  63. I’m going to say it again…It really comes down to the players.

    They lose the initiative. Play off, lose their heads a bit, and there aren’t enough strong players on the ball.

    Once Brentford started getting up into us and really contesting every ball, it started falling to them enough to stop us doing anything.

  64. Martinez 7 couldn’t fault him for goals
    Cash 4 never got forward
    Target 4 never got forward
    Hause 3 2 goals serious questions over
    Konsa 5 missed mings
    Luis 4 never pushed us on
    Mcginn4 stupid booking totally anonymous second half
    Ramsay 4 early booking meant couldn’t tackle for Brentford 1st
    Beundi 4 a great pass for ings ,that’s it misplaced pass all over the place too lightweight
    Ings 5 great finish ,we didn’t create near enough for him
    Traore 5 tried to create but no support from midfield or fullbacks
    Subs not long enough to mark
    Manager 4 didn’t make subs early enough and putting on trez when other options there really poor decision
    Yes we were decent in first half but Brentford where awful,only 1 shot on target till 80th minute not good enough,Gérard should have used piacenza or archer in 2nd half

  65. I also don’t really care for the narrow three up front. There’s not much pressure from it, and it’s easily bypassed.

    You’re asking a lot from a not particularly fast or combative second line. They don’t get out wide quickly or decisively enough, and that switch is always on.

    So yeah, if you’re going to bring in new players to suit the system, okay. But I’m not sure January is the window where you really get everything you need.

  66. There was 5 players in the box when Trezeguet decided to dive. Absolute prick. He’s getting absolutely slaughtered on twitter. Hopefully never see him again

  67. JG,

    Agree about Archer. He adds a different element.

    Trez? Probably about rewarding his rehab a bit, but also the energy, combativeness, etc., more so than quality. Traoré was really doing SFA by that point.

    And SG doesn’t seem to want to change the system, regardless of circumstance.

  68. Dunno that Trez was going to find anyone once he’d committed to taking on the second man. Was trying to make something happen. And no, we don’t like seeing that.

    But I can’t really see slaughtering Trez when the rest of the side had lost the game. Show me Traoré getting down in that position.

  69. This narrow system is OK at times but sometimes in games you need wingers running at fully backs

    Target, cash and Luiz need replacing

  70. Started well, scored a great goal, looking threatening and confident, then gradually disintegrate.
    Ramsey silly foul for a yellow card, then almost collects a second, should have been replaced at half time.
    Defence poor, especially moving the ball on, and midfield no better. Very poor game for McGinnn.

    New manager bounce over, and not seeing much different from the old Villa, once they concede.
    Going to be some serious changes if we are to improve, and I am sure Gerrard will be very unhappy.

    Not impressed with Trezeguet and his theatrics, or McGinn collecting an unnecessary yellow card. Hardly showing himself to be a responsible captain.

  71. Frem,

    So SG maybe not quite a tactical genius…? I’m not being a jerk, I just don’t see the massive transformation some others are. 4-2-3-1 is obviously what Smith would’ve played, though he also leaned toward forcing play wide.

    Right now I just saw and am hearing the same things going round as when Smith was in charge.

    Players not good enough, crumbling. Why not switch formation. Leaving subs too late. Why this one instead of that one.

    Of course, he’s been unlucky, too, with injuries. But when I look at the summer recruitment, I’m still left shaking my head a little and wondering who was making the decisions.

    Beefing up in the middle with speed and size was something we were virtually all calling for.

  72. Really like Stevens system of play but we don’t have the right players to make it fully effective
    Big reality check today time to cash in on certain players and upgrade to better quality , only Ings and Emi B looked like what is needed today so very few in that team should be comfortable if the owner are serious about fulfilling there ambitions

  73. And while they’re dangerous players in space, neither Traoré nor Bailey is robust.

    A lot of other sides have bigger bodies out wide who are also fast, and can defend better. Don’t think you can ask Targett and Cash to both be at each end of the pitch without more help from the ‘wingers’.

    Brentford were very well organized, and had players out on our wide men very quickly.

    So I get what SG is trying to do, but it feels a bit like he’s forcing a system onto the wrong set of players instead of adapting to what he has.

    Maybe he’s looking to make a case for the transfers he wants by not changing.

  74. His theatrics were a shame. . .and embarrassing and all the more unfortunate for it having been preceded by a flash of skill and imagination to break into the box that we were lacking today.

  75. There’s no going back, obvs, but Grealish making runs created a lot more space for everyone else.

    Buendia has the creativity, but not the ball-carrying speed, and that’s not what he does anyway.

    The short, narrow stuff works unless opponents get comfortable really coming up and challenging. We don’t switch all that well or quickly, get congested.

    Buendia’s through balls looked like the way we were going to score, but the emphasis was on crowding him out.

    Wingers like Traoré…I assume they were bought with the idea of fast play into space. They’re not really all that effective once the side is sucked up. We get all in a line and it’s difficult to create good chances.

  76. Congratulations to Uncle Albert for scoring against the Blue Noses, and Andy Weimann for his hat trick for Bristol City to beat Millwall!

    Michael Olise, one of the recruits, many of us would have liked to have seen at Villa, outstanding for Crystal Palace.

  77. I’ve said (and only part jokingly) in the past that we need a fouls coach. If Konsa had gone down when manhandled in the box in the first half then we ‘should’ have had a penalty. Trez may have been able to buy a penalty if he’d known more about the dark arts. I hate even suggesting it, but this is one area where some other teams have a real advantage. You watch Mo Salah and he knows exactly how to move his leg to ‘cheat’ a penalty. I’m not sure who in our current side would be able to do that.

  78. John the first half the football we played was good. It was better than anything Smith planned up. We were comfortable and had good movements off the ball

    Unfortunately for us wd have players like target and Luiz who are just weak. Luiz is a shocking dm. No better than Westwood

  79. PP,

    Olise, Toney, Eze, etc. These are the kinds of frames you’re looking for.

    When we’re quicker in transition, there is space for the lighter types to really run into the channels, but I think the 4-2-3-1 does a slightly better job at getting in between the lines.

    Also, one of the things I feel like I’m seeing is that we get hesitant to play that progressive pass quickly.

  80. From
    Absolutely no point knocking the ball about like we did in first half if we don’t create chances which we didn’t
    The players are not good enough,our buying has to be looked at why are we constantly buying midgets, Brentford throw ins or corners we have Luis marking a lad nearly foot taller stupid then you look round and we have no one taller

  81. Frem,

    I’ve seen some very quick, fluid attacking football from Smith, too. At times we looked unstoppable and everyone was very excited.

    If a side is going to let you play, it does look good. Once Brentford got stuck in, we were at a loss…and you could say it was the same with Smith.

    But I think you and I both agree that a lot of it comes down to the players…physicality, touch, quality, speed of thought, decision-making.

  82. We are very slow in forward play and decisions take way too long for prem standards
    this is down to players but also coaching because if this demanded of you in training it will become second nature

  83. Traore getting stick,I like him scored some great goal and assists last season,think Gérard should took him off on the hour mark,his problem was non existing midfield or fullbacks

  84. And it’s been the same for a long time, predating SG and Smith…Teams that aggressively deny us space and time, we generally don’t have the breadth of quality to make them pay.

    We’re close, and have been, but just not quite enough.

  85. we have spent 350 mil and with all due respect the bust stop in Hounslow have just come up but they get the better of us again … not good enough changes needed

  86. runtings,

    We do get slow, and I’m sure SG is drilling it. And I’d have thought Smith & Co would’ve been, too.

    There’s either not the confidence or quality to speed it up.

    Was watching Brentford play out, and it was much more assured. They can’t really have more quality, but they are more athletic, and were decisive about it.

    Again, drilling, but also us failing to come and shut down the way you see teams often shut us down quickly when we’re looking to play out down the line then back into the middle.

  87. So, I agree, not good enough, but as I’ve said a lot, the £350m spend is a bit deceiving, given £130m was spent in duress replacing an entire side, and then the £100m was meant to replace Jack.

    Trez and Ghazi were never good enough wide, so they had to be replaced. Needed a playmaker, so they tried Buendia. Ings, still not sure about that.

    I’m just not sure that the recruitment since that first season coming up has shown a real understanding of the PL.

  88. We have improved in style of play under SG defensively but we still majorly lack quality of final 3rd moves my main worry with that is I can’t see were the current coaching is seeking to address that , hoping that will change as SG new to the role but teams with a lot less spend are clearly better coached or more versed in attacking 3rd play .. Brentford today were outclassed up until the final 3rd

  89. Brentford our nemesis once again. We just don’t seem able to better them. They parked the bus and our lot showed just how lightweight the majority of them are. I’m embarrassed by Trez’s antics. And Traore didn’t look interested at all.

    Honeymoon is over. I want to see a team that shows some effort to go with their skills.

  90. Dunno about the coaching, runtings.

    Seems to me the lower-budget sides have done a better job recruiting, at least. They do often fail in the final third, but they seem to have feistier, more physical players who can run through brick walls.

    About what you’d expect, but they end up disrupting, frustrating and creating space and chances. They just don’t usually have the quality to finish them.

    Today Brentford didn’t create much, but got the finishes, and we didn’t create much, either.

    Maybe it was down to FFP, but I thought Villa would spend the normal £100m upgrading in addition to the Grealish money.

    If we could’ve spent it, seems we missed a trick. But, back to the rumors about Dean not being backed, maybe they were always going to withhold until the new man came in.

  91. We had no pace to our game. The passing and movement was too slow and deliberate. It was a magnificent move for our goal. Then we go in half time level, granted to a smart goal, but our defence….

  92. JC the board surely didn’t feel deano was taking us to the next level and didn’t hence SG telling Villains to get excited

    But regardless of the spend the team will always reflect your coaching drills and managers idea of how you play and seek to win or not lose games

    Hoping for quicker forward play going forwards defensively we aint too bad but lack of quality going forward is what is putting us under pressure

  93. Gerrard improved us defensively hen he came in, but it has gone back to where it was under Dean Smith, and I still feel that Emi does not have the confidence he had to start with, and distribution out from the back is atrocious, with Konsa now the worst. He just cannot make a decent pass out from the back. He has no confidence.

  94. This is a great game

    If we want to play a narrow 3 we need pace like pool. That’s why we need Bailey back and probably a new inside left forward with pace

    Trezeguet and Ghaizi will go.

    Buendia is good but just has no pace to threaten anyone

  95. runtings,

    Absolutely the coaching and drilling are vital. And in all fairness, it’s too soon to really judge SG’s coaching.

    I’m just inferring from seeing repeated patterns that we don’t push on without a better squad.

    Which, tbf, was always inherent to having a 5-year plan. Seems to me Purslow wanted someone else going forward, and it’s not my call, but performances so far tell me that for the time being we’re still short-handed.

    I’m hoping the promised excitement does happen.

  96. Gerrard not remotely happy

    We are very slow in terms of we have no pace to trouble full backs or get in behind any defence

    Gerrard will want a left back who can beat a man one on one

  97. Hopefully SG can bring in some leaders. That 2nd half was crying out for a Villa player to start shouting and g-up the team. Get everyone fired up. SJM or Luiz is not that player. Neither is Konsa. We could still be playing and we wouldn’t score. Only a few players showed fight and desire to win. Some tried, but clearly not top 8 players.

  98. Frem,

    I think it was always going to be the case that without Bailey and Traoré both fit and playing from the start that it was going to be tough. Tough for SG, tough for Dean.

    You add in that pace and the ability to really attack space, then, yeah, we should be more dangerous.

    It’s just beginning to feel like this season is one where we’re almost fated to never have a best XI available at the same time, never mind drilling and training.

  99. An idea for what sg needs. Physicality and pace. We’re all so small and tippy tappy.

    Luiz I do like but he ain’t a 6 and as we know we need it! This team changes with a proper 6 and sg fullbacks

  100. Pp
    Konsa has been off his game for a while all right, yet escapes criticism
    As for kick outs Brentford we’re able as most sides pin us back yet Brentford played out threw us as if we weren’t there

  101. Always easy to point to world-class players, but you see the passing in Chelski-Pool.

    Our players are in the same positions, but they too often want the extra touch, etc., and end up telegraphing the pass, allowing sides to close up. Or, they try the same things you see and it doesn’t come off.

    The patterns are generally very similar, it’s just execution, on that end. A lot of it’s quality, of course, which doesn’t hurt confidence.

    Our side can play with confidence, but lose it quickly.

  102. I’ve also had a lot of questions about McGinn. I love him, but.

    We all seem to agree he’s best further up the pitch, but right now, his responsibilities can keep him pretty far away.

    Overall, though, I can’t see anyone who couldn’t be upgraded in the midfield.

    Not saying everyone has to go, probably a question of mix, starting with a true 6 like everyone says.

  103. Another thought on confidence is that you have to trust everyone around you. They have to be doing and executing what you expect.

    Could well be the case that there’s just not enough of that running through the side.

  104. That’s a argument from collymore on Twitter that mcguinn is less effective as luiz is a crap 6 and his doing his work.

    We have no six and it’s very hard to judge. The elite teams miss there 6 if there out and our not as effective. Imo we sign a class 6 who’s physical calm and can pass we will see a better mcguinn Ramsey and a much better villa. Crucial role

  105. Said in the summer for us to kick on need to turn looses into draws for those extra points. But we just can’t do it! Win or bust! Needs fixing pronto

    Highlight Ings goal. What a lovely goal it was. It’s what he does. Hopefully kick him on

  106. In this system its vital to have good attacking full backs and we simply don’t.

    Targett and cash will be replaced. Targett definitely this month

    He has no pace or mobility

    Cash might be saved because he is fairly quick and can drive past a player

    Can’t cross though

    DM is a huge problem. Luiz just isn’t brave enough or athletic enough.

    We need a 6ft plus nasty bugger

  107. Digne is available and apparently Newcastle in for him..

    That’s the quality of left back we need. A fabulous left foot

    They also getting tripper who’s a better right back than cash

    We can’t let Newcastle get them

    They are both perfect for our system

  108. Collymkore calling luiz a dreadful footballer

    Strong words

    He’s certainly a dreadful defensive midfielder. Has no awareness. Can’t run or tackle or track a runners.

    We need to go get the Brighton DM

  109. Sounds like Watkins is leaving to arsenal

    Not surprised or bothered to be honest

    He’s been crap all season and his attitude has been awful this season.

    He isn’t clinical either..

    He would never have scored the Ings chance today for example

    He will be ok for arsenal but certainly better out there

    If we get 45 million then we’ve robbed them

  110. Its mad how much money we have wasted

    We spent a lot on Targett. Way to much.

    And he simply isn’t good enough.

    It’s mad how much money we have wasted over the years

    We need to start buying smarter

  111. Happy new year everyone, its Groundhog day and its only the 3rd of Jan, its the manager, now its the players again. Most of it you could put down to a poor pre-season and the many missing players but as I have been reliably informed you find a way to win with what you have.

    Since SG got here we have tightened up but not to the extent that teams don’t score unlikely goals, Brentford .5 XG to our 1.14 this time. Martinez is good but not the difference maker he was last season, they are going in and there’s not much he can do.

    At present when we miss a few like Oliie and Mings we can’t defend or attack. The attack has been poor under SG so far though despite words about trying to be on the front foot. We were definitely better under Smith going forward but even then not that good with limited options. Funny enough we brought in an expert attacking coach in Aaron Danks under Smith and he has appeared to have zero effect so far under SG either but neither have SG’s coaches. SG has already said he needs a pre-season to imprint his style but so did Smith, neither have had that luxury with all present.

    Maybe Traore and Trez going out to Africa will give them game time in the sun and they will come back up to speed, I thought Traore looked the same old Traore , Trez at least did more in 10 mins than he did in 70. Embarrassing sniper moment apart , he tried to take someone on.

    We will find out if SG’s sterner approach makes any difference he looked pissed off . I agree that drilling the players works and is required but so is the ability to think for yourself in the moment and take responsibility, not just tick boxes.

    Had Hopes the kids would have something solid to progress within as they at least have invention in their locker, Beundia has it but beyond that its McGinn, be it defence or attack we need better decisions to be made. Has an awful feeling of tear it up and start again else.

  112. I think we will improve massively with a left back that can actually get forward and deliver. Targett simply can’t.
    Cash to very poor in the final 3rd

    A tall dm will improve us massively to. Someone who can get around the pitch.

  113. Frem
    So target is the problem,yes he was poor yesterday but not as bad as cash according to stats,stats don’t take into account playing alongside hause who was shocking or behind ramsay
    This 433 is not working our midfield is utter rubbish we never dominate it,even yesterday when we were on top how many times did we get into Brentford box

  114. People critizing traore ,yet praising beundi don’t get it
    Traore first season he scored and assisted quite a few goals how many for beundi ,who I think is another playing in wrong position for me he should be playing as a second striker or in the area behind him but again we don’t have 2 strong or good enough midfielders to play behind him

  115. JG,

    For me, I think Buendia offers the side what we’ve lacked, and that’s a one-touch player who slots in strikers and can keep things ticking over quickly. Sooner or later, they’ll get his positioning right. It would help if we got in a true DM, like you suggest.

    Traoré has a lot of ability and does have goals in him. But he’s got to stop trying to do it all on his own, and is a liability defending. Haven’t pored over the stats, but you could see Cash having a long day with Bert in front of him.

  116. I don’t think Traore will last ten minutes with SG as he’s so one footed and struggles to defend, that said it takes him 7-10 games to get going hopefully he gets some game time in Africa same with Trez because if they are to be sold its a good shop window if not then a reminder why we bought them might be nice.

    Nothing wrong with Beundia just lacking players making runs, cut out the odd bad pass and he’ll be fine.

    Worth reminding ourselves this is still a team that didn’t exist two seasons back, as part of a 5 year plan it was never going to be a 100% hit rate with the budget and size of the task.

    Still leaves me thinking how good was Jack Grealish? also makes me sad that he is now a bit part player.

  117. Jc
    Think Gérard performance yesterday matched our teams poor
    Team why was sanson dropped it was a week since we had played,ramsay looked more worthy of rest
    ,subs traore more or less 1st start of season should have been subbed on the hour mark,ramsay sub was right but should have done it much sooner,not using a third sub was wrong as well
    It was an ideal match to give either archer or pidace run out we were playing a workman like side so why use trez ,only real skill trez has is his workrate not needed yesterday
    Funny all the praise for beundi never seen him work back to help or no word of his 2 passes in first half went out over line under no pressure apart from getting his head up and looking

  118. JG,

    I think Traoré and Trez were given time due to AFCON. Gerrard wanted to see them. And he may well be using these appearances not only for his own assessment, but also to put pressure on the owners and Purslow.

    I’m guessing Ramsey is still being included due to the emphasis on youth. Probably some pressure there. And he does actually try to drive forward. But he’s still working on the 90-minute mindset, and being moved around a little out of necessity.

  119. I agree that Buendia would be worth a try immediately behind the striker. Don’t have a problem with missed passes if he’s trying to play the ball forward. If he’s an AM then missed passes up top should be least damaging.

    I do have a problem with missed passes when playing backwards or across the line in dangerous areas. Personally, I couldn’t give a monkey’s if passing stats are poor due to attempting the killer one. In my book, it’s better than having 100% passing stats for no risk, no reward back passes.

    Still smarting from yesterday’s game. It would make an excellent training video on how to control a match and lose.

  120. MK,

    Agreed, talking sense.

    As far as Grealish, the silverware is almost guaranteed. There’s still time, but it’s looking like he won’t be contributing massively to any honors this season, though, his profile is declining, and he can’t be in a great headspace.

    For us, given the freedom to play and be the star? Invaluable. I’d have liked to see him and Buendia working together, and I think he’d be enjoying his football a helluva lot more.

  121. Plug,

    “Don’t have a problem with missed passes if he’s trying to play the ball forward.”

    Agreed. You see the same things with the big teams and players. You only need a couple or three to come off per game.

    Difference is the rest of the squad and how they recover when losing possession. And also having more than one player with a killer ball on him.

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