I wouldn’t necessarily have thought there’d be a lot riding on this game a few weeks back. But now it kind of looks like there might be.

From the lineup, looks like Gerrard may be tinkering a bit, getting Bailey and Ramsey further forward with Watkins, and Phil lying a little deeper. I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself and say it could even be a 4-2-3-1, but it could even be a 4-2-3-1. They’ve had time to work on a change, after all.

We’ll soon see. Regardless, what I’d really like to see is points. Three would calm some nerves, one is better than nothing. I’m not even going to type a certain word relating to certain kind of scuffle.

Over to you.

Comments 96

  1. Time to shine Bailey and time to work very hard along with Phil. Away from home got to put the graft in those 2.

    Sg likes baileys pace especially away from home.

    Chambers unlucky not to come in.

    Still very harsh on buendia but him and Phil are just too alike.

    Mcguinn number 6 again?

    First half of Spurs please. Aggressive

  2. Don’t think our defence is good enough for a clean sheet today. We need to score if we are to get anything out of this game.

  3. Well, not much good to say about that. Here I was all excited thinking SG might actually get away from this set-up.

    Phil is wasted wide left. I do not understand him running around trying to press out there and seeing SFA of the ball.

  4. On the positive side, if we are a 45min team, maybe we do find another gear and get something.

    Rodgers will be disappointed to be level, even though they’ve not created any real clear-cut chances.

  5. Good job we had that 2 week break. Good job Leicester have had to play their nuts off in those 2 weeks. Good job we’ve got an easy game next week against useless loser DS!

  6. It was a better second half from us. And at least we’ve ended the losing run. Plus, we restricted them quite well. Other than that, I’m struggling for positives. As JC says, Phil is wasted wide left.

  7. Very limited data set, but Tim has the legs Luiz is lacking, seemed composed and strong enough.

    Buendia really does inject a lot more than Phil. And like I say, I just don’t think you can stick Phil out wide like that, at least not in this setup. Makes no sense, doesn’t see the ball, spends a lot of time running for nothing.

    SG was seemingly quite content to take the point.

  8. John yeah

    You can see why Tim is rated so highly. 5 year deal just signed.

    Hate to go harsh on luiz as all his villa career been played out of position.

    Nice that sg picked Tim over nakamba to come on. One eye on youth

  9. Well it was a point and that’s about it and boy did we need it. Can’t see how beundia gets sat each week and why People think SG will keep Phil an instantly increase the quality around him to his level, just the 4-5 £60+m players needed then 😉

  10. There’s a lot of things I don’t understand, and I’m seeing it said all over.

    Positives: Draw (away, even), point, clean sheet. Ugly, but I’ll certainly take it.

    However, just seeing no progression whatsoever. So yeah, we can all wait for a clear-out, etc., and if we get the players to play the system, fine.

    I’d have thought SG/Beale would adapt in search of results. But SG doesn’t seem like a man under any pressure. I’m just really hoping there’s not a stubbornness on show that will make things harder.

    Probably just me, but I get the feeling he’d do anything but use Smith’s set-up. Was hopeful, thought we’d see Bailey and Ramsey either side, Phil in the middle, Ollie up top. But it was not to be.

  11. Only seen the MOTD highlights, but at least an improved result with a clean sheet. Ollie playing his nuts off with no support. Buendia a definite improvement.
    Have to wait and see if we can beat Norwich, or will it be the gift that keeps on giving, I hope not.
    The Toons continue on their run with their outstanding Brazilians! Plus a confident Matt Targett!

  12. yep Toon doing what we really aught to be. What stands out to me is we are boring, read a while back that the rangers fans were grateful for the clubs improved level and a title but that the flare players were shackled in SG’s set up. Mids like McGinn couldn’t get forward, wingers played inside and WB’s that were not really good at that game. Makes you wonder if the efforts seen 1st half against spurs were down to being a goal down early and a bit desperate.

  13. I reckon yesterday’s point was actually quite important. Had we lost, then 5 in a row would have taken on more significance than it probably should, but more importantly it will have brought back a little confidence for the 4 games out of our last 6 that we ought to be winning. Win those and we probably won’t be top half but we just might match last year’s final placing and we may give the impression of a team on the up to prospective new recruits.

    The results seemed to matter a lot to SG and he was placing a lot of emphasis on our defensive performance. It suggests that he felt that sometime we need to be a little more pragmatic and grind out a result. It was a realisation that DS went through in his first season in the premiership too.

    I still think that this squad is easily good enough for top 8 and have underperformed this season. Maybe yesterday was a sign that Gerrard is prepared to watch and learn and I reckon that’s more important to how next year pans out than which players we recruit this summer.

  14. Mark, whatever the reasons for the first half “efforts” against spurs, we played very well. It shows that there is a good game within this squad and Gerrard is ‘almost’ capable of bringing it out of them. Hopefully a pre-season will make all the difference and we can have reasons to be optimistic for next season.

  15. JC,Robbo- This came out today, a large Scandinavian study on heart inflammation after the Vaccine and covid . They looked at only the most severe cases so it does not take in the overall numbers. As the age group of 12-23 were most effected and Heart related incidents are up in sport, where on the whole the vaccines are mandated to compete it looks highly probably the Vaccine has caused most of the incidents of infield collapses and deaths. Also that its more dangerous for the under 50’s than getting Covid if your healthy.

    “Covid vaccination increases the risk of severe heart inflammation up to 120-fold, The study found that the severe myocarditis risk following Covid infection was negligible, with only around one excess event per 100,000 within 28 days of infection and a confidence interval that included zero.”


  16. We’ve just lost 4 on the bounce. Yesterday we was never going to be barca esq! Working out sg and what he wants, said lots now away from home take that point. Focus on shape and clean sheet. It’s the Rafa Benitez in him.

    But at home complete switch in mentality. Got to be aggressive and front foot. He said same again last night to the Norwich game.

  17. Re toon. Complete chalk and cheese to us and them. Can’t compare.
    1. The getting rid of Bruce effect. We know what that feels like. Toon army are a positive force. Soon as he left atmosphere changed. And a takeover by the richest guys in the world. Tinderbox has been lit everyone’s bouncing. Howe then goes and spends 150 bucks to bring his own spine in. 3 new defenders and massively a CB in dunk. A new class cdm. And his target man st.
    Sg has walked into a fanbase mostly miserable Deano and jacks gone. Couldn’t get different circumstances

  18. Mark
    I love little Phil. The mans a genius.

    But he is starting to cause more headaches than positivity. The fan base is rightly calling for buendia to start. Apparently yesterday he wasn’t fit, only light trained from Thursday. But if we are 2 tens you just can’t play both him and Phil. So one has to rightly drop. But who’s it gong to be?! Or you go 4231 and can then get both in

  19. Mark
    Reviewing are matches under sg we are the complete opposite of boring!

    Which he prob wants us to be! Can’t be casting eyes at West Ham and wolves and complain of boring. It’s exactly what they have done different to the rest of the middle order. Boringly ground out the 1-0 0-0 on a consistent basis.

    It’s what I bet sg wishes we were! Our first point away and our first 0-0 says it all

  20. H&V can’t fault your positivity mate, two plusses for me the point and Tim getting time.

    You say we were never going to get Barca out there yet last game we outplayed Spurs apparently so nah it wasn’t on the cards, so many games we have been like that and got nothing, yesterday we got a point end of.

    Newcastle got no bounce at all from Howe, they looked down and out until recently. Howes buys have worked for him, so SG’s haven’t and he hasn’t used what we have to maximum effect.

  21. Man I don’t feel positive just seeing it as it is! Tim is a proper shining light man. He has everything. The lads massive and can play!

    Yeah at vp sg wants us to be aggressive front font but after a 4 nil hammering and 4 defeats on the bounce any manager worth his salt would go away to foxes looking for the point surly to stop the rot!

    Digne when fit has been decent, giving us more attacking threat which sg wants from fullbacks with 2 assists. Very happy with chambers on a free. When he’s played been more then decent. And Phil has 4 goals and 6 assists.

    Howe being able to buy a spine and use the bounce has been massive. There just rolling on a high. Watched them a lot. Haven’t been amazing just on that roll knicking last min goals etc. Everything’s rosey and going for them.

    Like I say above sg has mentioned it a lot now. Got to grind the draws out and keep those clean sheets. We could easily be 5 points better off.
    But at vp he wants us to be aggressive aka Spurs game.

  22. Which is why I’m on board with sg. Everything he says I’m agreeing with or been saying for years! 2 years now I’ve been banging on about drawing games which we never do. He says he wants more leadership and stature , Again exactly what I want!

  23. Mark, I’ve seen you inviting comment on covid but I reckon it’s best we don’t start again. It’s all too easy to knock opinions backwards and forwards but to misquote Bill Shankley, maybe we should stick to talking about football, which is much more important than matters of life and death anyway!

  24. Interesting comments, but some a little bit far from the truth. I have watched the Toon games too, and the players have been busting a gut for Eddie Howe! You only have to see the celebration from Almiron when he scored yesterday, and the relief. Have always like the guy, full of running, and when he and St.Maxima are on form together they can be outstanding, but now they have Joe LInton and Bruno Guimaraes, as well. One of the main differences is, that under Eddie Howe, they are playing with more freedom, not shackled in tactics.
    It was good to the Burnley players yesterday saying that they are professionals, and are allowed to go out and use their skills with more freedom. This is the sad thing with many teams that the players are so shackled by coaches that they cannot go and play their natural game, and I am sure that is why United may be struggling, and others.
    I am sure with a little more freedom and natural ability, Villa could be doing so much better.
    I would also love to see Tim, Carney and Jacob given their chance to shine.
    Phil can be an amazing player at times, but more often recently, he has been a luxury Villa can’t afford.

  25. Why am I not surprised about the negative comments re SG can’t do right for doing wrong however we be better than our opponents at there ground and they are a very good aside themselves if anyone was going to win that it was us SG out deano back in

  26. MK,
    Just started reading a book called “Lost Connections” by Johann Hari, which is very enlightening on depression and anxiety, but it is a real insight into the the drug companies, and how they publish their results, for example Prozac was tested on 245 patients, but the drug company only published the results for 27 people that it actually worked on. Then they discovered by using the freedom of information act, they could assess the whole of the 245 findings which give a very different picture.
    Only in the early chapters, but after 30 years research into his subject, there is a lot more in this book!

  27. Iroegbunam won all four of his duels and made six ball recoveries yesterday against Leicester City.

    15 minutes he was on

    Said before, Luiz is absolutely shambolic as a DM and we should look to sell this summer

    Sign Biosouma to play with Ingoram

    Can’t wait for the summer

    Crap like Watkins, Luiz will be replaced

    Can see Bailey, Traore, ings, Watkins all going as well as Luiz, sanson

    Can’t wait

  28. The most desperate positions that need overhauling is up front and dm

    We need to ship out Watkins and Ings and sign a top striker

    Ship out Luiz and marvelous and sign a top DM or two.

    I’d like to think sanson will get a pre season he’s better than mcginn.

    One of konsa or Mings will be sold as well to get a centre back in

  29. A point at Leicester is usually a good return but not this season,another game in which we only played for 1 half,can Gérard not get a game out of this squad Smith certainly did,our performances and results have us in bottom 4/5 with 14 matches played I think and q5 points collected, really stackable form,going back to this run of games what has Gérard really tried ,very little for me same 8/ 9 players playing every match,a quote from sky yesterday mcginn all time in world to pick a pass hit straight to Leicester player de ja vu every game for him ,konsa at fault for goals wolves at fault for more v spurs
    Our youth why is chrisnee not getting a go ,young good pro but we need to look to future,Tim came on yesterday got rave reviews we all know what our midfield is lacking,someone over 6foot,Bailey got stick yesterday it was only his second start he is going to be rusty ,Watkins won’t pass to ings goes unnoticed
    Not impressed with Gérard or his staff,mcallaister one best deadball takers Luis is one of our worst
    His signings don’t fill me with confidence Chambers can’t get back in team,is digne much better than target not 25m plus massive wages he is not

  30. Heroes
    So far digne is like the rest French players we sign a disaster,he has had to many clubs for my liking,I am not a fan of target but it wasn’t position we needed filling as urgent in January,

  31. When he’s played he’s been very good! Needed as well as sg likes his fullbacks to have assists.

    His broken shoulder sucks though. So frustrating.

    Hopefully he can’t stay fit next season!

  32. I’ve always liked Digne and it is a real shame that he’s had such bad luck. We’ve not seen the best of him in a Villa shirt but is that down to him or the way he’s being asked to play?
    When Targett had Jack in front of him, the two used to interplay and overlap beautifully but he did look a bit lost when Jack left and hadn’t yet managed to forge a new relationship with anyone else. I was pleased when Digne came, but in retrospect we’d have been better off keeping the money in our pockets and coaching Targett to link up with someone skilful on the left wing. . . . . can you think of anyone that might have fit the bill?

  33. robbo

    yeah i have nothing against targett. i like him a great deal. always been one of his supporters when everyone was having a go at him.

    but he is just a steady eddy type. dependable and average.

    digne is a class act.

    sounds like the digne deal had a very small window to get done else we wouldnt of got him. think we were happy to wait until the summer much like for the bissouma deal or a cdm but was a case of now or never!

  34. Robbo take it as a compliment mate , there are not many I can talk to about such matters and although you and JC seem to both back the mainstream stuff that’s fine its a perspective. Its an emotive subject I get that but thankfully the likes of the BMJ and wall street Journal are beginning to ask awkward questions of the FDA, like why a fourth Jab when its next to useless? A recent WSJ article asked the important question: ‘Who is actually getting serious about measuring the extent of adverse events, rather than continuing to urge uncritical acceptance of a largely ineffective vaccine?’ Even the lancet is excepting the adverse effects.

    Me? at the moment both my mother and a best friend have had cancer show up following the booster, There are many others I know, can’t all be lack of testing either my friend had a complete check up last year. I’ve noticed many doctors have flagged this up and its likely due to immune suppressing effects of the Vaccines for 4-6 weeks and longer, Doctors are reporting super charged cancers cropping up. Leaves me wondering how I went from knowing the odd person with Cancer to a lot. The irony for me is all the people I know who had the booster later got covid or became ill in someway, I haven’t.

    If I keep my mouth shut because its for the best mate then Personally I can’t live with that. I can understand others may not want to talk about it although I find it really strange but hey maybe its the world we live in now.

  35. PP- I have no doubt that money is behind much of health services these days, its not really a health promoting set up and likely never was, same goes for big food etc.

  36. Myself I think that Smith should of had this season, its turned into nothing anyway. Martinez said they were expecting 7-8th and that’s why DS got the shove I think, certainly bugger all to do with style because to change that you have to retrain and buy players. This team for me was never going to get top end without Jack particularly with how injuries etc worked out. So all in all SG has failed to push us up there which I think was the aim, no way was it to do a 180 in style, maybe In Purslows head he replaced Jacks celebrity and put the team back in the lime light.

    I do think that with the big push on the youth sides and the addition of a few more high quality players as others move on we would of seen a very good side soon, its a shame the plug was pulled for me because personally I find our football a bit boring under SG. Will he succeed? could do, we are not that far off anyway, would depend on what Success looks like for the owners. 5 year plan was to be competing for the European places, that’s doable.

  37. Here’s a question is Courtinho worth buying? He will command a huge wage and on this seasons showing turns up 1 in 3? 1 in 4 games? and does something good. Is that worth it to Villa? is that better than say Beundia who works his arse off? or is it about the pull to other players Villa want? Right now I am not seeing enough to be paying out millions for him and for players that will make him better. Jack didn’t seem to need players to make him better and that’s what I am used to seeing so would rather not waste the money. Has he got a song yet I’ve not heard one?

  38. Mark

    You took the words out my mouth.

    I’m very much not as convinced as I was about signing Phil. Maybe if we was a proper top 8 team wanting to kick on but we have too much unbalance in the squad as it is. I don’t see 2 tens with Phil and buendia working sooo?!

    But it’s Phil and were villa! He would help attract players and when he’s at it he’s insanely good.

  39. There’s a thought to that with the type of talent sg wants to get through the door then it would give Phil a platform to be more consistent. Players on his level.

    I saw against foxes he made a great run across his man for Watkins to shoot instead of crossing….the look of anguish on his face!

    Tbf that was a good game by Watkins, pressed so well

  40. Tbf like Martinez says

    We sit here expecting them to hit the ground running straught away. Sg, Phil, digne, etc only been here 5 month!

    Pep gives his players a year to bed in! And that’s city!

  41. Mark
    Smith was toast. It was a mess. He was completely lost and the players stopped running for him, which is the beginning of the end.
    300 mill spent, turned into a poor mans pulis with cash launching throw ins anywhere in oppo half. Now that was boring. A shame but he had to go

  42. Mark not liking Dean Smith is like not liking yourself he is villa through and through and so am I for my sins … I just think he brought the club as far as he could that’s all .. obviously this view is being met with strong opposition on AVL and all the hate seems to be directed towards SG who according to what I am reading here has done nothing good for the club and should be challenging for Europe following the Jan window as he brought a few class players in .. We drew away to Leicester and I wasnt surprised with the negative reaction on here and I think frems last post are closer to what is needed to take the next steps forwards

  43. on Courts I would say buy … ok he has dipped but there is no doubting his ability , Jack is playing in a much much better team and has not produced as much on the pitch as Courts has in less games … Jack will come good Courts will get better ….. the spine of the team is set to change and hopefully we will get a bonified goal scorer that can match up with the best finishers in the lge , once the structure of the team is right the components within it will be able to function and express themselves much better

  44. Spot on Runts. I too think Deano had reached a ceiling. Absolutely fine for keeping us in the division but we needed something more to make the next step. We may see similar actions regarding Howe at the Wai Ayes in due course.

    I’m with you on Couts too. Buy him if possible. But not for playing wide left. Position him on the tip of the diamond. Going forward, my thoughts are we need a big aggressive CB, a big aggressive DM, a dynamo in MF (plus Couts) and a lethal striker. Job done. Simple eh?

  45. our away record under sg is pretty decent.

    since sg arrived only pool, arsenal, city, chelsea and spurs have a better xga whi belive in such things.

    its clear in his little time here hes trying to get us tighter and harder to play against.

    our home form has to improve big time. has been terrible. starting with norwich on sat please, get to 40 points and we can relax a lot more!

  46. runtings

    there is absoulute no chance the villa team challenges for europe. 0 control over a game to be consistent enough.

    smith just had to fix that midfield in the summer and get us more physical and better on the ball.

    hopefully fixed this summer!

  47. Like Mark, I felt Dean Smith was sacked a bit too soon. I would have liked him to have been given at least a couple more games to see if things picked up against some of the easier opposition but you can see why the management wanted to give the new manager the best possible start with some easier fixtures.
    I thought it’d be interesting to see how both managers have fared against the same opposition. If I’ve got it right, we’ve now faced all of the teams under SG that we faced under DS. Against those teams faced by both managers, under DS we gained 10 points (which got him sacked) and under SG we’ve gained 4. Under DS we scored 14 goals and conceded 19 whereas under SG we’ve scored 7 and conceded 18. It’s fair to say that SG was new to the squad but then again how many times do we hear about new manager bounce (which is a bit of a myth by the way if you look at the stats). It’s also fair to say however (as Mark has pointed out) that DS didn’t really have a pre-season because of all the disruptions (Jack leaving in particular) and the late additions to the squad which he didn’t gain much benefit from due to illnesses and injuries. SG has also had the benefit of the addition of three quality players.
    Seven of DS’s 10 games were against teams now in the top 10 so the odds were a bit stacked against him although I don’t think any of us could have known that at the time.
    There are loads of other variables which you ‘could’ take into account and despite these numbers I still think that SG deserves financial and fan support for next season. He’s still a new young manager learning his trade and has the benefit of being able to attract quality players. He’s also new to the premiership and if we make allowances for players needing to adapt then managers should be given that time too.

  48. It’s always going to be tougher for a new manager if they’re following one who had enjoyed strong fan support. Dean Smith was more loved than most and rightly so, considering the huge progress he’d delivered. The same applies to Marsch following Bielsa at Leeds. He too has a tough act to follow and will need to switch himself off from fan criticism and comparisons with his predecessor..

  49. roBb0……..it’s all stats, stats and damned lies!!

    Under DS this season we got 10 points from 11 games, 14 goals for, 20 goals against. Goal difference was -6.

    Under SG for the same teams we got 7 points from 11 games, 11 goals for, 18 goals against. Goal difference was -7.

    Here’s another stat. This season DS managed to gain an average of 0.91 points/game which put us in 15th place. Since then, SG has managed to gain an average of 1.28 points per game. Despite this improvement, we’re still in 15th position.

    I blame Covid, Boris and Rash Putin for this.

  50. Plug, I did say “if I’ve got it right” so was happy to be checked but having had another look I’m not sure where I’ve got it wrong. I can only find Dean Smith having managed us for 10 Premier league games this season: Brentford, Newcastle, Watford, United, Everton, Chelsea, West Ham, Arsenal Wolves and Spurs. Which one have I missed? . . . starting to worry about myself!!

  51. Either way, SG’s record is worse than Smith’s. It’s not reasonable to compare ‘all’ games played because SG has had an easier set of fixtures than DS. You’re analysis looks spot on apart from that: it’s down to Boris, Covid and Putin. . . . .can I add the unseasonably dry weather too?

  52. I would suggest that its a little unfair to judge SG after a few months in the job and compare is record with a manager that spent a few years building this squad /// the stats don’t tell the whole story but the definitely will from next season the reason deano isn’t with us anymore is because he built a side that are relegation candidates without Jack anyone who thinks that is a good job is way off the mark imo
    Lets see what SG does with the appropriate amount of time to change things if he is as crap as most here are suggesting he won’t last long however don’t hold your breath re him failing at villa

  53. Good back and forth.

    SG: Like most any manager, his success will depend on getting the right players for his system. And we’ve all known the improvement process would be iterative under any manager.

    This presumes his system is a winning one if given the right players. So yeah, like everyone else, I think it’s obviously a big summer ahead.

    Seems to me the comparisons between SG and Deano are fair in the big picture (and the fun of argument), how the club is being run, what the goals and process are. But they’re also water under the bridge.

    And naturally the data set will expand. It’s just always going to be the case that SG has come along at a certain point in Villa’s arc.

  54. Coutinho: Interesting one, isn’t it?

    I’ve wondered about this one from the start. Exciting, yeah. But what are the long-term ramifications?

    I’ve banged on about not liking him ‘wide’ left in this 4-3-3. When he’s involved and on song, it’s been from more central positions. Off the ball, I think he’s being asked to chase too much for too little effect, is more easily isolated in transition, and has fewer outlets.

    I’m sure he trusts SG, but no idea how he feels about the role, no idea what’s been said/promised. I was sceptical about whether he’d want to stay, and obviously there ‘seem’ to be some suitors. But he hasn’t wowed enough to get the really big clubs interested.

    Buendia has more long-term upside, and I think he brings just about as much. He isn’t Coutinho in his prime, but neither is Phil anymore. I’m not sure I’d take Phil and his wages, etc, if it meant Buendia wanted/had to leave.

  55. I am firmly in the camp that believes Gerrard is the wrong for the club.
    The gulf between the SPL and EPL is too great to pluck a manager from that league.
    Gerrard did not achieve much at that league. Forget about having the right players for his system. He should have made the most of the current squad if he was a competent manager. He is out of his depth here.
    I have banged here for a while that we will finish 13th this term under his tutelage. We are firmly on course even with four home league matches remaining.

  56. We have the players to play 4231 but as someone wrote Gérard is not going to do it smiths way
    With the 3 Phil can be central behind either Watkins or ings a d give him less responsibility for tracking back,we have plenty wingers to play either side,Watkins can even play their,it’s so frustrating, even more when you watch champions league semi finals to see how far behind we r ,even our 100m star player can’t get a look in

  57. JV, JG…

    I think it was me wondering whether SG was just refusing to play Smith’s system even though that’s what we have the players for.

    Off the top of my head, I can only speculate that he’s either seeing who can do it, or he’s making a point to the brass about why he needs to break up the band.

    On a slightly more conspiratorial note, if he’d have gotten Villa higher up the table with Smith’s players and formation, well, he’d probably be stuck playing it rather than get his overhaul.

  58. Dean Smith deserves a decent, sorry a super reception tomorrow he earned it alo g with his biggest paycheck in his life going on to match tomorrow we need a win just to put relegation to bed,chrisnee has to start and apart from that can’t see Gérard changing to much

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