Big night at Villa Park as quadruple-chasing Liverpool come to town having lost ground to City over the weekend. I’m assuming the draw to Spurs will have them desperate to put some pressure back on the blue Mancs, so it’s anyone’s guess how it play out. Some say we’re onto a hiding, others are more ‘optimistic’. Which may be another word for delusional.

As always, I’d think we might take a lesson from Conte and set up to frustrate and counter. Jurgen wasn’t very happy about it, but it was effective, and I’m not sure why he thinks teams should open up for him. Tactics are all about taking away your opponent’s advantages and playing to yours. So I’m wondering if we might see the ‘3-5-2’ Gerrard employed at Turf Moor. Think Chambers did reasonably well, and having a game there under his belt can’t hurt.

I’d also assume that Philippe Coutinho will be starting instead of Buendia. Having him rested probably played into Gerrard’s thinking at the weekend. And now that it looks a permanent move is all but done, he should be in a more settled state of mind and looking to impress against his former side. I’m sure Gerrard will want a result, as well, even if anything but all three points would seem to doom the scouse’s title hopes.

In terms of interesting stats, Liverpool haven’t dropped a point to a team sitting outside the top 10 at kick-off, and have outscored them 52-4. At the same time, no Premier League side has ever won every game against such teams. (Thank you AVFC Official.) So, does history point to something for Villa? We can hope.

Obviously the match only impacts Villa in terms of final placings, so pride and position (and maybe places) are the only things to play for. Given they’re under no pressure and Liverpool will be under all sorts of self-imposed pressure compounded by City’s relentless efficiency in the league, you never know. I don’t think Liverpool will come in thinking the title has already slipped from their grasp, though they know it will be a tall order. City do have two potentially difficult games away to Wolves and West Ham followed by their probably inevitable victory over us at home on the last day. They could drop a couple points if not more along the way. We’ve seen them choke before, but for some reason the league suits them.

So, we’ll want to see a good performance. If we’re not going to get anything out of it, make Liverpool work for it. Give Klopp a scare for 70 or 80 minutes. Show some progress against the top sides.

If Villa can stay organized and disciplined, and get Liverpool frustrated and nervy, there just might be a bit of a surprise.

Comments 242

  1. Have to say that for the first time in a long time (since Nakamba last played), SG put out a team where everyone was played to their best advantage. Chambers was a very quietly understated revelation at CDM and Luiz and SJM looked good doing their thing a bit further upfield. Makes me think that SG is more flexible than I thought his ex-elite player ego would allow him to be. I feel a bit less scared about the next 18 months with him as manager. Don’t care about the theory that signing Coutinho will attract higher level players, I just plain prefer Buendia to him.

    Don’t think we can fight fire with fire tonight. Suggest Liverpool will play like they are the home team and we will have to have an away game mentality. How about playing with 2 CDMs if Nakamba is fit? Not going to try to predict a result but we have to play to our players’ strength and not try to enforce a future hoped for style, identity, plan etc.

  2. PLug, you asked what we think about Watkins to West Ham for £50m. Good strikers are very expensive so the question is whether we could a) find a better one for similar money and b) whether they would fit in to the club. . .and how long that would take.
    My instinct is to stick with Watkins at that price. . . .certainly if the alternative was Suarez

  3. Both goals should have been disallowed too. This is a truly awful refereeing display.
    . . .
    But now I’ll try and ignore the ref and enjoy the football

  4. Well. . . . We started well but it all got a bit desperate as the half went on.
    We seemed to lose confidence in holding the ball and resorted to just booting it upfield


    He’s so bloody bad man. Awful player awful dm

    He’s there 3 seconds and gifts Liverpool a goal.

    Watkins and Ings aren’t good enough

    Need replacing this summer

    Mings to

  6. Fairly routine win for Liverpool. Villa played better than I expected. Seen it all before. Wish we had started Buendia. Wish Chambers had replaced Nakamba. SG making me feel niggly again.

  7. Yeah the ref!

    We played well, gave them a game. But see it time and time again when someone beats a elite club, you have to be perfect. Take your chances and don’t be silly and have luck!

    The two goals were so so bad. Turnover on halfway line….again this season by a stupid pass. Bang punished

  8. Thought Digne was outstanding tonight. Luiz played well until moved into CM, which shouldn’t have happened: no idea why Chambers didn’t come on for Marv. Watkins and Ings both worked very hard and didn’t get the breaks. Overall, considering our squad and the opposition, that was a pretty decent display. No shame in losing 2-1 to this lot!

  9. We did play well and ery easily could have got something from the game. Ings played well but will be thinking he should have scored at least one of the chances that came to him.
    Coutinho showed glimpses of real class in the first half but then faded. Buendia looked so good when he came on. . . . Surely a place has to be found for him in the starting line up?

  10. Let’s hope that Chukwuemeka is getting game time because we’re making progress in contract negotiations. Having said that I was wondering why he was the player to replace nakamba. . . It hadn’t occurred to me that Luiz would be pushed back to DM when Chambers had done so well there before. I guess it was seen as a more attacking option but was a shame for Luiz who’d been looking good in the more advanced role he’s really made for.

  11. r0bb0,

    Yeah, Chuk was an odd one. You see why they need game time, you see why they don’t get it. He wasn’t ‘bad’, they all just tend to shadow and roam around unless it’s the attacking end. They get excited and have ideas up there.

    Elsewhere? Largely passengers for a while.

  12. r0bb0,

    When Emi was cornered down low, then back-heeled upfield along the line past the two boxing him in and completed the pass…That was pure class.

  13. viva,

    “Thought Digne was outstanding tonight. Luiz played well until moved into CM, which shouldn’t have happened: no idea why Chambers didn’t come on for Marv. Watkins and Ings both worked very hard and didn’t get the breaks. Overall, considering our squad and the opposition, that was a pretty decent display. No shame in losing 2-1 to this lot!”

    Agree with everything you say. I’m just sick and tired of coming up one goal short almost every time.

  14. jbd,

    Yeah, hoping a summer helps and a couple incomings, but Buendia has been better than Phil.

    Seemed like Phil was trying too hard tonight. Emi doesn’t seem to have any ego. He just plays the ball first time and moves. That’s what we need more of.

  15. Thought the bindippers were below their usual standard last night. Still one of the 3 best club teams in the world. They are comfortable on the ball, pass and move quickly and Clipperty has spent years and shed loads honing the team into what it is. So, no complaints about the result. They are a better team than us.

    But anyone who thinks it was a fair game needs their head feeling. It was clear from Jon Moss’ decisions ALL going the bindippers way that he was under instructions from above to keep the season alive until the last day. The big money has corrupted this league.

  16. Our players can’t stand up after half time due to the deluge of water they put on the pitch at half time. As the bindippers weren’t slipping all the time is probably down to the footwear.

  17. Good to see Naka back. He was rusty in terms of match fitness and it showed in his passing which was below par. We are still soft in central defence. Emi in goal could be a bit quicker off his line to act as a sweeper when needs must. Dougie much better further forward. I’d have taken off either Ings or SJM for Chuk.

    I was disappointed with Chuk’s contribution. He comes on for a limited period and has not been introduced to the fray in order to jog around the park. Sleeves rolled up, chasing like a demon are minimum expectations we didn’t see.

  18. Despite Villa pedalling up hill for most of the game, Ings missed a gilt edged chance in the first half. The keeper came and gave him a free header into an empty net but he blazed it over.

    All in all, we know what we need this summer and then we should make some progress. But we do need ballers. Guys who are comfortable on the ball, quick thinking, accurate with first time passing. Hopefully next season is our breakout one.

  19. There we go again being our own worst enemy in big games
    without the mistakes it could have been a well earned draw
    This shows that certain areas of the pitch require more capable personnel
    We have improved on beating the press but couldn’t do so against elite opposition and I think we need at least one ball playing centre back before we can improve this which is vital to any progression of the current playing style
    Ollie ran his socks off not sure if he is one we should be selling
    the last 2 goals Mane has scored vs villa are 2 of the best headed goals I have witnessed
    Chuck got on again which is a good sign I think he is going to be some player
    Some big moments expected ins and outs this summers its going to be interesting I think we will come back different for next season

  20. nice to see us get some recognition in the press.

    but woke up fuming. the ref and listneing to carra. dear god.

    so bias and the ref corrupt.

    phil skinned van dyke by nutmegging him raced away but slipped. carra no mention of the nut meg but oooh van dyke is in phils mind and made him loose the ball . wtf

  21. yeah again the massive highlight is that number 6! could see it like night and day last night. without the speacialist holding mid everything goes to pot. really is so so critical.

    can throw the sub at sg last night. should of put chambers or tim as 6 instead of luiz. but dont fully blame him for putting luiz there

  22. Great display. Full backs excellent. Luiz definitely a #8. Loved the passion and running. Hopefully we can play like that going forward. I’m not complaining about any player with displays like that. We were very unlucky

  23. villa in for new teenage sensation from hearts.

    hoovering up more talent.

    i wonder chuck getting mins now means he maybe staying!

    would be so good. he really looks like a special talent. can just tell seeing him play.

  24. Well thought we did as good as was expected by SG per his pre game talk plenty of effort and put some graft into it, missed big chances as they did and came up short, almost SG wrote the script in his assessment before the game, we’ll do our best, their a great side etc. Enjoyed the game though mostly apart from some shocking reffing.

    The team and players are beginning to look like a team as I always thought they would at some point but the missing pieces are still obvious. I cannot understand why Beundia is being treated like an apprentice to Phil, the aim is to win games not sign Phil, of the two very talented players Beundia looks fitter and sharper, I can’t see this changing next season sadly, no way will we play with two tens again very often. Maybe Phil will come good who knows.

    Marv looked decent enough barring his usual 2-3 suicide passes.

    The one stand out fact is we are one hell of a counter attacking side And I wish we could of got to see Bailey and Beundia together and fit.

  25. I think it was runtings who wanted to see us develop as a passing side, but I must admit, I’m not averse to us going the counter attacking route, particularly against the best sides. Last night we easily could have got something out of the game, albeit against a Liverpool side looking slightly jaded (and who can blame them).

    Sir Alex Ferguson liked to play attacking football but would often adopt counter attacking tactics and it worked for him and I can’t see why it wouldn’t work for him (or us) just as well today provided we had the players and manager to implement it

  26. Less than a couple a years ago ,we were wondering did drinkwater deserve a start or that super Spaniards we signed from Swansea,now it’s coutinho a 140m signing for barca or emile a 38m for us

  27. James

    I think I’m the only villa fan not hand ringing over emi or Phil or both or where they play!
    I’m just enjoying them! Both ours both will play huge parts both will give us lots of joy.

    Sit back and enjoy

  28. James

    Exactly. In nswe we trust. Look how far we have come very rapidly. It’s utter madness.

    Remember in the champ with doc and Bruce being jealous of literally every club thinking why can’t we be like they etc… Well the miracle has happened to us. Never ever take it for granted. So so easily could be in league 1 right now.

  29. Robbo

    Absolutely nothing wrong with countering….its breath taking done right.

    Only trouble is its our only string to our bow! Utd like you say we’re mad at countering with Ronaldo, Rooney, tevez, park. But they still bossed the game, kept the ball comfy for ages taking the sting out a match. It’s what we need to learn to progress.

    Get a control of a match

  30. H&V,

    “kept the ball comfy for ages taking the sting out a match. It’s what we need to learn to progress.

    Get a control of a match”

    Yeah…that’s where we need possession. Like you say, great pitch-length counters are breathtaking. Nothing wrong with that at all. Football at its best, to my mind.

    But. Slowing things down, taking the sting out, managing a game…That’s what’s missing.

  31. Smith built this side to counter, he particularly used players like jack and mcginn to beat a man or two . We brought in Barkley to do similar while jack pushed up where he caused more problems. We learnt to defend also and win the ball deep by setting traps. The ball was kept by the backs mostly and they are not the best at it but reasonable.

    Potter set about making Brighton hard to beat and good in possession, the only problem they have is they are lousy at chance creation and scoring we were the opposite but struggled without jack to break effectively. Our movement off the ball and passing was always played with very tight margins when breaking ,too tight at times, gambling on being a split second quicker.

    The players we have in the pipeline Ramsey, chum etc can all carry the ball well. Sanson I suspect was bought because he can do similar, same with Bailey, trez, el ghazi and Traore. Beundia is also in that mould.

    The ability to take a few players on made us exciting to watch and on our day hard to stop hence last seasons freak wins like the 7-2. We also targeted different areas to attack than SG does using the width. We now pass the ball to achieve similar aims but are more front on rather than cutting in or looking to pull balls back.

    I don’t know how Phil fits into all this, he’s suited to keeping the ball himself rather than beating two or three and covering 30 yards quickly.

    Maybe SG will get them there with a few quality additions next season or it might take 2-3 seasons to change fully who knows.
    I think would have arrived at a similar place with smith this season maybe better, losing jack was never going to be about replacing him with three players , it was about changing our approach and wether that’s was with Smith or SG didn’t matter.

    Will SG have more pulling power, probably, you then look at Martinez, cash etc and see that it’s possible without the name. Phil will attract players but will they attracted to him or the project?

    I liked Smith because as one of our own this was his job for life and gave security to the project, SG as he has shown with rangers will leave for better and that’s fine when a clubs established. Smith was also a darn sight better at building a club and culture than given credit for .

  32. West Ham want Watkins


    Move Watkins and Luiz on, get 50 million some how for both

    Plus sell Traore, Sanson, Hause, guilbert, trez, Wesley

    We can make some money

  33. We will sign a striker this sum. One of Ings or Watkins will go.

    We all know we need a DM. Marv is a squad player to have, but sign Biusoma.

    Ball playing centre back is key

    Chambers will be rcb next season and we will sign a lrft footed Centre back
    Mings and konsa could go

    Not good enough on the ball

  34. Agree re defence frem .. we need at least one ball playing centre back at all times . such is the modern game as its the only way to beat the press of any good team

  35. whoops
    Must say I don’t really care if SG leaves us for another club in fact it would mean he would have done an amazing job if he is poached by a bigger club than villa
    As we all know most managers get sacked at some point , can’t think of too many managers that could have a job for life . pep and flopp spring to mind but if they under achieve the great work will soon be forgotten , so if SG fulfils what many thing is his calling to manager liverpoo Villa will be in an amazing place that’s for sure

  36. mark

    you know i couldnt put my finger on summin but worked it out.

    Obv love villa i go mad if we win or score a goal. but something hits a bit different at the mo. winning under jack as captain and deano as manager both villa boys was a different feeling. not sure what the word is, more pride or contentment, dont know.

  37. While I think the thinking that SG will only get a good/bigger job if successful is at 1st glance a no brainer and good for Villa. In reality it may be very different. How many managers did Liverpool get through in search of a prem title? how many managers in prem history can be called greats? Wenger, SAF, Pep, Mourinho, now Klopp maybe? The truth is there are many good to average managers that get along at Prem level and still get jobs even though they landed their former employers in debt and relegated. Look at Everton since moyes left, fat franks in charge, what did he do?

    So yeah Steve gets his players maybe makes Europe or gets to a final maybe two, maybe even wins one before Klipperty gets a dream job with Colgate. The team is now set in his style of play not the clubs style of play and has a much bigger wage bill and aging team. He buggers off, Phil crys and others start looking at the door.

    And would SG turn down England?

  38. Anyway welcome Phil I hope you play some amazing stuff for us you will certainly sell some shirts and attract fans worldwide, and for the reported sum its a no Brainer.

  39. Phiiiiiiiiil!

    17 mill and he’s taken over 70% wage cut

    I don’t believe my villa eyes.

    Biggest signing in our history?

    Talk about statement. Those summer targets could get a little easier

  40. I am puzzled why the club would choose Australia as a destination for pre-season?
    This is a very pivotal season for SG and Villa. Likelihood is much money will be spent and hopefully made and many players will come and go. As we saw last season the money was there but getting the players you wanted in early did not happen. In fact getting the players we did want didn’t happen at all with Smith Rowe and JWP turning us down. That pesky midfield has proven the hardest to recruit for at the standard we require with the likes of Phillips being out of reach. With Villa proving to be more buoyant and sort of on the up than the likes of Leeds that should be less of a problem now.

    Now back to my point, Mid July we have to be off to the land of Kangaroos and you can only imagine the mess if we haven’t got our targets on that plane. With the world cup being in November that should help with pre-season unlike last summer of lockdowns and Euro’s making a mockery of any cohesion. If we are to have a season of stellar improvement then a great start is needed with all on board and singing the same hymn. Phil’s a good start but then so was Beundia and getting Sanson in Jan apparently. Plus those pesky never quite fit players that need a real pre-season.

    You can only presume that Villa have their targets set and have made inquiries now and the money made available? I don’t want anything to get in the way of a good pre-season for SG because this will be the season that we see if he’s all talk and no trousers. We’ve had the its not his team line and we’ve had the look how he’s saved us line and the look how much better we are line then not better. For me he didn’t show enough nous to take the points we could have over implementing his “style” (which turns out is any formation under the sun). You could argue that he had to assess the Squad, I say he is only here because a certain Mr Smith did a much better job of using the prior managers players to achieve there and then. I don’t believe he was brought in as a trouble shooter on the basis of “show us how to be a top club Steve” the owners wanted results, or so I’m told.

  41. phil and buendia cost half of jack 🙂

    i cant stress enough in the right words how huge the signing of phil is. where do you even start. the guys taken a 70% pay cut for us…in this day and age! cult hero allready.

    kudos to nswe sg and purslow getting that done. what a club!

  42. very good point raised, last night cash and ramsey get the player of season awards.

    the mark of a good manager improving players…..since sg walked in the door those 2 have progressed insanely.

  43. mark

    no worries re pre season. happens every season.

    sg stated allready he wont be having much of a break…there on it.

    good piece in the brum mail about our transfer business.

  44. H&G- mate its that level of WTF that really gets my goat, Cash and Ramsey have only improved since SG racked up? both were extremely young and new to the prem, they now both have time under there belt and in Ramsey’s case put on some muscle in the summer making him a better player from the off at the age of what 20 ? Now Cash at Forest had 3 goals 5 assists the season before he joined us, 6 goals 1 assist the season before, 2 goals 3 assists before that. So allowing for a season of bedding in he was bound to get back to those numbers no?

    Now 3 and 3 are nothing much and one was scored under Smith but he’s produced nothing for 8 games possibly because he has to sit more when Digne (2 assists in 26 games) plays. I would not say his defending has improved much though.

    now Targett remember him? 1st season shocking, second player of the season, Smiths a genius 🙂

  45. H&V no it doesn’t happen every season mate, 20/21 season was a good one and it showed, last one not, that’s why Managers say we need a pre-season to bed ideas, can’t do that if they are not here or on another continent.

  46. Phil on Joining

    “I am really happy and really excited about the future,” said Coutinho. “I have to say thank you to Christian, the gaffer and the staff, my teammates who made me feel very welcome since day one, and also the supporters. They are incredible. For sure I am really happy to have signed here and I’m looking forward to the future.

    “I have enjoyed it so much. I believe so much in this squad that we can achieve really good things next year and I’m really excited to be at Totingham.”

    oh alright I added the last bit 😉

  47. I do wonder whether Beundia may have been in with a shout on the player of the season stakes if he played regularly since Jan? When your RB gets the player of the season for 3 goals and 3 assists you have to have a look at the rest of the team, I think some say Emi was next in line and In comparison to his 1st season he’s been a passenger in many matches.

  48. H&V Its not news mate but what Steve wants Steve gets are you saying? I knew he was the messiah but bloody hell what’s next water to wine? 🙂

    Why does he want them before the Ozzie thing, erm uhm let me think. Not every prem team is attempting major surgery and being as far away as we can possibly get from home seems an extra burden, not to mention not conducive to getting fit.

    For me I think it unlikely that he will be buying to many that are not starters for him, only Chambers has not been 1st choice. Add CB, DM, two defo starters then a back up LB? leaving 3 players to play where exactly?

  49. Who comes in next after Couts? We will soon know. I’m guessing it will be a DM. Things should move swiftly after the season closes for both incoming and outgoing personnel.

    The pre season trip to Oz will be a financial decision I reckon. We wouldn’t be going if there wasn’t good income to be gained.

  50. Palace on Sunday and I think Patrick Vieira gets my Manager of the Year vote. Hodgson baled out due to an aging team that needed rebuilding, they was most peoples pre season relegation favourites, Zaha wanted out and there wasn’t much money to play with.

    Vieira picked up the baton and I think he’s done a great job. I hope he loses on Sunday mind, I want to be singing Sweet Carline at the end.

  51. Don’t worry everybody. That font of fact called Newsnow Aston Villa are telling us that all are dearest wishes are going be fact.

  52. H&V. . . . .you know I said you bring the worst out in me?

    Holding Ramsey and Cash’s good performances up as evidence that SG is great at developing players really doesn’t cut it. Have you seen the criticism of other players on here? Ok. . . .much of it is overstated in my view but how many other players have really shone and don’t you think that some have been disappointing this season. Presumably that’s because SG is rubbish at developing players?

    I know you’re seeing things through a half full glass but such selective picking out of points without acknowledging the bigger picture isn’t really helpful. . . .oh and tempts me into responding. . .dammit.

    I know I’ve said it before (or something similar) but SG is still on probation and if we’re being honest with ourselves we don’t yet know if he’s good or bad at developing players. we don’t know if he’s good or bad at motivating players, we don’t know if he’s good or bad at selecting a squad, a team to play on the day or managing the tactics during a football match.

    This season, results under him have been disappointing (and slightly better results got Dean Smith the sack) but there are signs that things are improving. We all want him to succeed. On match days we’ll all be nervously excited hoping for the best, but it really is too soon to know if he’s going to take us to the next level or not. I actually think he’s going to do well for us, but that opinion is based on my inherent optimism rather than the facts.

  53. jbd656- I have no doubt in my mind we are about to spend a shedload, could be wrong after all we got Chambers for nothing and Phil for £17m, its the 29 year old Digne at £27m that made me wince. I hope he and Lange etc can get some quality on Frees like Kamara but then every man and his dog will be in there. I think that NSWE will chuck the lot at him or why bother, just hope next season I am not joining the he’s spent £200m brigade and we look average.

  54. I suspect that most of the East will still be shut for business over Convid, hence so many clubs turning up at the penal colony that has appeared to have regained its marbles. Its about world audience and not money offered for going to the outback, there’s more people in wales I think. We will parade Steve and Phil up front like a pair of film stars With Purslow flashing his pearly whites in tow, its a bit like the queen on royal visits.

  55. With just over a week to end of a poor season our attention turns to comings and goings,how many will go in each direction
    For me it’s all about quality not quantity

  56. Absolutely agree with the quality over quantity comment JG.
    We have the basis of a decent side which everyone seems to agree was capable to top 8 this season. You’d hope we’re aiming for top 6 next season and with a full pre-season and SG Knowing the players better it still feels to me as if the introduction of 3 quality players from outside along with the steady introduction of academy players should see us challenging for that.
    If we go for much more change than that then I hope we don’t hear that it’ll take time for them the team to bed in because of all the changes.

  57. H&V, where did you see that SG wants 6 players in. . . .do you think the info was from a reliable site.

    If so. . . . .do you think it’s a good thing? As I’ve said, it feels like too much change to me.

  58. All sounds great, just add three quality players. The players described that most fans want are a ball playing defender that can also defend against all comers, a centre forward that can hold the ball up and is clinical and a tall DM that can distribute the ball well. I’ve identified them for the club, Van Dijk, Harry Kane, Declan Rice, go get them Lange.

    The whole concept of adding players wholesale is fraught with problems, we have seen 12 +loans come in and we have seen 3 plus loans come in and both caused considerable upheaval especially when the 3 were supposed to replace Jack. There is a considerable amount of luck involved in players blending in, some fit straight away, most take half a season to a season, some never fit in. Then there is the player that turns up and is suddenly a sick bed devotee. Mostly it takes time or it can just click as it did start of last season. We added 8 in all last season and moved loads out although many were not fit at season start.

    What I’m saying is it could go either way whatever you add, 3 quality players poorly chosen to compliment the team could be as bad as 12 in that have never met.

  59. It was good to see Steven Gerrard saying that Ollie Watkins is “going nowhere”, presumably recognising that we’d struggle to find anyone as good if we were to sell him.
    I’d love to think that Marv will continue to show the improvement that we all saw before he was injured but clearly that is a position where we most need improvement/back up.
    I used to feel happy with the Mings/Konsa partnership with Hause as back up but it seems that Hause will be off. Chambers can step in effectively but it does seem that we need one more player in this position. Beyond those two positions it becomes less clear for me. Does it just come down to finding a gem somewhere who will strengthen us rather than searching to fill any particular gaps?

  60. I hope that it’s our turn to find a Kanye bisomu mahrez type of player a bargain buy
    If we can get a centre half plus a defensive midfielder it might improve mings mcginn Watkins Luis to an extent we r not looking to replace them

  61. Always makes me laugh when I see Watkins battered for not scoring with every shot, He’s a very good player that has become a dad this year and had a new partnership/partnerships to adapt to along with several different formations and styles, still our top scorer, enough said. Is he a natural goal scorer? I’d say as much as Ings is on recent performances but he’s not a Defoe. Archer for me is a more accomplished finisher than either but whether he has the all round game yet? I don’t know. Very few top end CF in the game these days with team play being the norm.

    So if we are 3 quality players away from a top 6-8 side then Smith must have done an amazing job in 3 seasons no?

  62. Mark, I think everyone on here is in agreement that Dean Smith did an amazing job for us in 3 seasons. The question is whether he was the right person to take us on to the next level. I know that you and I think he probably would have done but there are at least as many who think he’d reached his peak and it was time for someone new.
    The one thing we can all agree on is that we’ll never know now.
    Hopefully, the other thing we can all agree on is that Steven Gerrard needs the opportunity to show that he has what it takes to move us into the top 6 and maybe even top 4.
    I don’t think any of us want to see the club revert to changing managers every season.

  63. No Robbo no manager roundabouts please.

    Funny thing , I was talking to some chaps in the local watching the cup yesterday and when I said I was villa they all said SG would be the next England manager.

    Funny old game last weeks super tactics against Liverpool don’t work for Palace, Phil doing his invisible man impression, hope starts enjoying his football second half eh.

  64. As for Smith reaching his potential? Nowhere near for me. Granted SG has more dazzle and pull you would think we will see after all Phil’s his mate. Ironically I think DS might of got the best from Phil. All considered I think we have brought in SG because smith couldn’t do it without Jack only to find SG needs Phil and umpteen players with a winning mentality to instruct the others. I wait with baited breath .

  65. FT – Twinkle toed tiny tots – 1 – big bastard bruisers – 1
    Credit to Luiz for completely changing his mindset to resume disciplined role back at DM – again!
    Buendia did far more in his short cameo than PC.
    Slightly wimpy performance by Villa. Think they (including SG) failed a physical test today.

  66. That’s probably one game I won’t be arsed to watch. You just know that if the UAE wobble, the ref will get them over the line.

  67. Not a lot of joy out there on the interwebs many thinking SG is inflexible in his tictacs pursuing the Gerrard way 🙂 all makes me laugh, games are won and lost and I’d wager the tictacs are not very often the decisive thing, many times its how the players match up vs each other and for the majority of the games you only have so many to pick from to change that. We don’t do so well against big tall sides.

    Phil I think ended up creating his own circle in the pitch and yet again Beundia comes on and looks far more dynamic and effective, hope I am not saying this for the entire of the 22-23 season .

  68. The aim never ever was to be in Europe in 5 years, it was for a start thought we came up early so with that considered the wording was we hope to be in the group regularly vying for Europe in 5 years, not actually in Europe constantly from what will be season 4 or five of a huge rebuild.

    So no our players are not all the best nor are they the worst, so either the manager improves players and uses them to their best purpose or he carries on making them play his way until he either leaves or he buys players that suit his style, This is what we are witnessing under SG. If he cannot improve them as individuals then what’s left is spending a lot to get better in, the ceiling from where we are is in touching distance, as in next step up from Watkins is a Harry Kane unless you pull a blinder with the next Harry Kane being found for less, there are not many Harry Kanes. SG’s ideas seem based around elite players as a prerequisite on the whole, could be wrong we will see.

  69. Our inability to pass the ball to a teammate is our first downfall, then when you have a team of midgets setpieces are awfully hard to defend and as with first one we tend to concede corners free kicks by bucket load

  70. At least when ramsay came on Phil had someone to pass the ball to,our midfield and attack of the ball movement is brutal,we had a local league cup final few weeks ago it went to pens,one of the players was using a tracker he covered over 14k over match including extra time wonder how much our players manage

  71. As a reminder, we took about 21 points from the top teams last season, this season 3 from a poor manure side I think. That’s a pretty big drop off with plucky losses being the norm and put up as evidence we are not far away, only for us to play like we did today. Now maybe the lack of fans etc swayed things last season but no team, especially the top sides will just roll over because their fans are not there surely?

  72. Last one for the night, For several windows we have tried to get some better mids in like Phillips and SWP and for me if I was SG I’d be putting some heavy money down in that area as £ for £ our midfield has had the least expenditure due to Jack , McGinn and Conor being already here I would think.

  73. Huge problem for us is our midfield and strikers.

    Our midfield are just so slow and weak.

    Palace walked through is, Eze especially

    Luiz isn’t good at anything.. Marvelous isn’t good enough. Mcginn is average at best.

    Summer we need 2 or 3 players coming into that midfield.

    Luiz has to go.. Marvelous to. Mcginn shouldn’t be starting every week.

    We need taller more athletic powerful players. Kamara and Biusoma.

    Strikers. Watkins and Ings are so poor. They can’t finish

    They need 6 changes a game between them to score 1 goal. We should be looking to sell both

  74. Gutted we got the lead but couldn’t hold it. Couts got frustrated with the lack of movement around him. What’s he supposed to do if everyone is static? What do folks expect of him? Not only were we static but we also struggled with simple ball control. Movement and ball control improved once Buendia and Ramsey came on by which time Couts was knackered.

  75. Konsa does not have a left foot. When a clearance is required using his left peg, he uses his right and the ball goes anywhere but to safety.

  76. Frem

    Of the top 23 goal scorers in the prem only 7 are CF’s, of the 7 Watkins has the best shot accuracy including Kane so you would assume they are either lucky or shoot more I know where my money is. Watkins conversion rate is 22%, better than Kanes at 17% 1% less than Salah or Ronaldo, of the CF’s Vardy has the best at 33% only Son betters him at 34%. So what I suggest is we create more chances for him eh.

    If Chambers truly is better than Konsa and mings why does SG play the other two over him? you would have to think he’d be justified, he signed him, yet?

  77. Zaha is a shithouse. Thought he might have a heart attack at one point. The crowd baited him, so did Tyro and SJM.

    Naka is still not match fit. And as 656 says, the big Palace boys bullied us.

  78. Nice to see the class of 82 there parading the old Division 1 champions trophy and the European cup. Less the few who have gone.

  79. Plug having been told he inspires the others and they are watching him hawk like what I expect is a whole lot more than I am seeing plus he is not as direct as Beundia, fair enough movement and passing were poor but he is heads above the others we are told, I’m seeing some nice touches but without these fabled better mids turning up? So far I don’t see him having a rapport with any of our players particularly in the way Beundia does when he comes on, except maybe with Beundia, unfortunately he is very lightweight in a team like ours which lets the likes of Eze and Zaha stroll through.

  80. Did see most of the game, though a bit distracted. I guess it was alright, draw seemed fair enough.

    But agree with the comments on the midfield, by and large.

  81. It was an impressive sight. The claret and white flags appended to each seat representing the colours worn at Rotterdam waving all around the ground. Well done the owners (who were in attendance). Just needed HRH there too and one of those missed chances to go in for a perfect day.

  82. Based o what happened during the palace game it seems clear to me now that young Jacob is actually our best midfielder considering the transformation in our play when he came on
    Seems we have more work to do in that area of the pitch

    shopping list for me 2 centre back 3 midfielder with 3 leaving and 2 attacking players
    Think its going to be a very busy window which it needs to be if we realistically want to challenge for a euro spot

  83. runtings, if you’re talking about a Champion’s league spot then you ‘may’ be right that we’ll need to see up to 7 changes before we can really challenge consistently at that level. For European football though we’re currently only 12 points off West Ham with a game in hand. You have to believe that the extra 9 points should have been possible this season even with our current squad so 7 changes looks excessive and could actually set us back at the start of next season.
    If you don’t think this group of players could have gained those 9 extra points then why on earth did we get rid of Dean Smith if the problem lies with the squad?
    If we need to change 7 players then that’s a real indictment of our recruitment team and if I was the owner, there’s no way I’d trust those people with finding a new set of duds to replace the ones they found before.

  84. If you want to see the difference that a really good manager ‘can’ make, then you only have to look at Newcastle. They’ve achieved 7th place in the 26 games since Eddie Howe came on board and have actually been in and around the Champion’s league places for the last 20 games (sitting between 3rd and 5th over that period).
    If we don’t think we can achieve even 7th with the introduction of 3 more quality players then I would seriously question whether Steven Gerrard is the right manager for us.

    Just going back to Eddie Howe, he really ought to be given manager of the season. Bearing in mind the quality and cost of Pep’s squad, they should have done much better than they have and it’ll be a travesty if he gets manager of the season just because they win the league. You could make a good case for Klopp, but I’d still stick with Eddie Howe.

  85. Totally agree with you, r0bb0, yet the word on the grapevine is that Newcastle are looking to replace Howe with Mourinho. Must be mad!

  86. I would seriously question our recruitment department, in both playing and managing side
    Gerard apart from been able to attract coutinho what has he brought to rhe club,I gave out about Smith having no gameplan/style but also I don’t see anything now apart a narrow midfield with gung ho full backs with no defensive midfielder, his poor choices in players and subs
    How long does it take to implement a style,surely 25 games is long enough

  87. Having watched our midfield v Palace, have to agree entire lot need to be replaced, ramsay head and shoulders above the rest,to slow ,weak ,small

  88. JG, You want to replace our entire midfield because they’re too slow, weak and small? You’d prefer we were Burnley?

    I thought I’d take a look just at John McGinn’s stats and see how they compared with one of the midfielders I most admire in the Premier league, N’Golo Kante. I was quite surprised.

    John McGinn has more shots per game, more goals per game, more assists per game and a better shot accuracy. Your point though seems to be more about our midfielders inability to compete in the centre of the park and this was the surprising bit.
    Although their tackle success rate is almost identical, John McGinn’s wins 67% of aerial battles against Kate’s 61%
    His success rate in 50:50’s is over 30% better than Kante’s
    He wins a higher percentage of duels and the only stat where he seems to come out worse is number of passes per game where he only makes 33 to Kante’s 53. I guess that’s a reflection of Chelsea having much more possession than we do.

    If we were looking to replace McGinn, what sort of player would we go for and how confident would we be of bringing in someone who proved to be a perfect fit and hit the ground running?

    Oh. . . .I had a quick look at Kalvin Phillips as he seems to be the sort of player we’re looking for. His stats are generally worse too. Considerably worse in some key areas.

  89. If our midfield struggled to compete last weekend, is it down to the qualities of the players or is there something else going on which is making them appear ineffective?

  90. viva, I saw that suggestion too and assumed it was just click bait because surely. . . . . . .!

    If Newcastle swap Howe for Mourinho then it’s a sign that they will be even worse than Man City in trying to buy their way to glory and will quickly turn into the hate team for everyone.

  91. The problem sticking with the same team is that everyone else will improve there’s
    We slung a team together after relegation I wouldn’t expect most of those players will also take you to the next level
    Newcastle fixed there main issues with a number of players they will go again and try for any European spot next season
    I know some are reluctant to change existing players but I am pretty sure the manager and board know we need more next level players at centre back midfield and upfront
    Looks like we might be trying to pull off some big signing early Nunez linked would be increasable though unlikely you never know if someone had said at the beginning of the season we would have courts and Digne I would have split my sides laughing

  92. runtings, Newcastle were indeed busy in January, bringing in 5 players although Trippier has been out injured for much of the time since.
    Eddie Howe has therefore totally transformed their results with effectively just 4 extra players, one of whom was of course deemed surplus to requirements by Villa.

    Against this background, seven new recruits really does look like several steps too far to me and I do think that the first priority should be to task SG with getting the most out of our existing players.

  93. Robbo
    Mcginn has had 3 years now and I don’t get him ,what is he really good at,I don’t want Burnley midfield I want men that can run ,pass,tackle ,compete nothing that I see in marv Luis and mcginn
    Read somewhere coutinho had won more tackles attempted more presses than Luis and marv combined v palace

  94. As for mcginns stats has he managed to score more than3/4 a season his passing in matches I watch is brutal,he doesn’t seem to get about the park ,it is Luis is playing the holding role most games

  95. Rantings
    I whole heartily agree about improving side by buying more players,digne is looking much better than target now he has had a few games

  96. Runtings, you’re right that we threw together a squad after promotion but of the squad that saw us promoted we only have McGinn, Luiz, Nakamba, Konsa and Mings turning out for us now. I believe that they are all good enough to play for a team aiming for European football.albeit, possibly not Champion’s league.

  97. I’ve just read an article that suggests that Gerrard want’s to move Buendia on because he’s ‘inconsistent’.
    I tell you now I will be completely ****ed off if that is the case!

    Whenever he’s been given a chance recently he’s done well. The only inconsistency is in Gerrard’s use of him.

    Anyway. . . . . it will surely be a bit of media nonsense so I’ll try not to get too worked up because it’s so unlikely to be true

  98. Conor blows his big moment missing his penalty,just noticed sander berge is still with Sheffield utd ,what was 40m transfer fees where quoted a couple seasons ago

  99. To give the mids are poo argument some context.

    When we came up it was the only area that had any quality to it really. McGinn was proclaimed a great attacking player for us and Scotland, Man utd were hovering , Jack flitted between there and the wing, Conor was a decent enough option with a good Goals and assists record particularly from free kicks.

    We then added Luis and Marv to bolster the defensive part and as deep lying playmakers both have done the defensive part well at different times with Luis being the better passer. In fact we were worried that Pep would swoop in and take him away for £30m.

    So in the Scheme of things it was an area that didn’t seem to need a great deal spent as yet compared to elsewhere. Jack was very important to this and he allowed the likes of McGinn to have freedom. He then moved out Left to maximise his threat as he was constantly chopped down, a trait that was used well with Connors ability and with him Jack and Targett combining on the left to good effect.

    Back end of the 1st season we took a defensive stance which enabled the DM’s to look fairly decent probably Luis’s best spell. This has been noticeable even today under SG, when we look to attack constantly as we did under Smith the DM’s look dodgy, not really a surprise. We also tried to use McGinn there and still do negating his best traits, Conor was never a defensive player although he always tried. Luis seems to have evolved into an 8 over time no surprise he is only 24 now.

    Where we had Problems was the wingers and defence that were inconsistent and didn’t track back in the system we used or cocked up, only the God man Trez did this well, all however over the last two season contributed Goals and assists last season and tightened up. This season I think wingers scored 2. So this season we bought up top which we were going to do Jack or no Jack. We did try to improve the middle but failed in our targets, we did have Sanson but like several others he was either injured or looked over.

    So considering what we started from vs the likes of Wolves, Leeds, Brentford etc we have not done badly to be where we are, Far from the midfield being overlooked and being at fault for our every problem ( that’s the consensus now) it was a necessity. We were never going to put together a top 6 chasing side in this league in three seasons and have had our fair share of Injuries and covid probs too. Add the emphasis on improving players rather than buying plus the amount of talent bubbling up in the U23’s it was a matter of patience under Smith.

    That has changed now, maybe its Newcastle and the resurgence of others that have prompted the owners to accelerate things I don’t know. For me it was a build aimed at colliding with the U23’s maturing and the whole club evolving together. The money spent so far is not a great deal, its never been a £400m squad having another £400m spent on it over 3 seasons, its now a £400m squad not £800m.

    It will continue to evolve I just hope that in these rather dark times we don’t spend like loons and end up worse off.

  100. Mark, I don’t disagree with your diagnostics. I would only add that the standard of competition in the Prem continues to increase due to the money pouring into it. Treading water whilst waiting for the kids to come good is fraught with danger. Continual improvement is a necessity and recruitment needs to be smart. What was Fergie’s mantra? Change the players before they change you.

    I’ve always thought the midfield is the engine room. Get that right and pressure is eased on the defence and attacking becomes more dangerous.

    Whichever way this season is viewed, six home league wins will get us nowhere. And the full houses that turn up don’t go away elated often enough. I’m not saying that we should be impregnable at home, but more home victories are needed and a powerhouse midfield is our best starting point for obtaining such.

  101. Plug – I agree if immediate improvement is wanted then a couple of top class mids are needed, thats been the case for 3 years but we have other than Sanson resisted Buying just anyone in favour of buying elsewhere. Take a look at Arsenal and Manure, a lot of home grown talent there, even Chelski and Liverpool have them. Our problem was starting position ie quality of existing squad.

    Canadian pete has some good insights and points to make, Thankfully he agrees that Phil was off the boil, beginning to think I’d lost it, also he cautions against the possibility of building around Phil, Beundia is a different sort of player that I can see would of suited Smiths style with wingers etc. He won’t be able to slot into Phils place easily if he’s injured. And if we go all out on SG’s style and he does well with a team based on Phil and his players then takes another job? might not land in the good place we think.

    He’s right that the likes of Klopp/pep find very good players for their system, its why they are the best. We have had to muddle through and begin again almost post Jack, hence why the owners/purslow pulled the trigger I suspect other than some glitz for the club. We have seen it a lot recently where a manager does well at a club only for the next few (sometimes dozens) to fail despite the club being Liverpool, Man utd etc, gone are the days of players coming through the ranks to continue a clubs style as managers.

  102. Oh and footballing IQ definitely exists and players that have filled in the gaps because they had to can,? they look much better in other positions that suit their attributes. Having some Footballing IQ can give some flexibility but this is the top level and physical traits matter. So there will be many in this squad that will improve once moved.

  103. Dreams coming true,Steven mclaughlin whom I watched playing in our local Sunday league as a16 year old scores tonight to send Mansfield to Wembley,also seen him play at our national stadium for derry in league of Ireland version of fa Cup,

  104. Off to the game tonight

    But to be honest I don’t care what happens

    I want Leeds go down so I wouldn’t be bothered if we lose

    I think Burnley will win

    It means more to them tonight

  105. I want to see Sanson start tonight.

    Fed up of watching Douglas Luiz play football

    People were saying he’s a world beater because he played ok against Liverpool. His first ok performance all season…

    Then he goes and plays his usual terrible self against Palace. He was absolutely useless

    Give Ingoram and sanson a go.

    Give them minutes.

    We know Marv and Luiz aren’t good enough

  106. Can there really be a clause in Grealish’s contract that gives us £15m if City win the league? Surely not. On Sunday, it’ll feel like match fixing if true. On the other hand we can all say afterwards that we’d have certainly beaten City. . . .but for the £15m incentive not to!

  107. Something I did enjoy reading today was Gerrard’s fulsome praise of Ollie Watkins. He’s clearly going nowhere which is good news.

  108. Like Frem, I’ll be inside VP tonight. Unlike Frem, I am bothered about the result. Like Frem, I despise Leeds. Unlike Frem, I’d be happy to see Burnley drop.

    Ideally, both Leeds and Burnley relegations would be nice, but there will only be one of them this season. And if we are hoping to land Phillips, it needs to be Leeds.

    RObbO…..match fixing Citeh result?……..match fixing Burnley result?…..

  109. Father brown thank you ,what a program,how good were Tony Morley Gary Shaw and sid,sad even all the rest,amazing only withe made England squad for World Cup
    Ron Saunders what a man ,manager
    Shape of pitches,training regime,
    Sign of the times too half empty stadiums
    Oo for some of them days again

  110. I would say SG needs to start fixing the team 1st 😉

    Need both FB’s to perform tonight as they are in my Fantasy side, We are supposed to have enquired about Tarkowski so either them or Leeds don’t care but as I want a Clean sheet Burnley can do one. Saying that Everton are determined to fcuk up.

    Also Charlton are sniffing around Michael Beale for manager.

  111. Brilliant BT documentary on the villa last night JC
    What struck me more than anything was just how good Ron Saunders was our very own Shankly but unfortunately Doug clashed with him and missed the opportunity to become one of the best clubs in the world consistently
    great stories great players incredible manager

  112. Do not Tey and that was accidental
    It really wasn’t. . .and clearly wasn’t
    Why isn’t he sent off
    That’s diagraceful

  113. And now Ramsey mugged.
    Fucking hell
    Burnley need to be relegated. They are not fit to play in the Premier league
    But the referees shouldn’t be allowing this

  114. I suppose the only positive from tonight is that we’ll be saved from having to watch either Leeds or Burnley in the Premier league next season.

  115. Thank God that’s over.

    Watkins and Luiz are just horrific. Sell sell sell.

    Can’t wait for the summer.. Gerrard made 3 signings, all good.

    More on the summer.

    Defenssive mid and striker we need more than anything.

  116. Gerrard is not the way to go. My prediction four us to finish 13th this term almost came through. Man City will ensure we stick to 14th.
    Carney should have had more game time, though i think his ego could also have contributed to minimal minutes.
    The squad is not bad. Just needs better coaching, of which Gerrard, am afraid, is not the solution.

  117. Weird what people see. I thought that we looked more fluid with Beundia playing and he has us on the front foot more than Phil does. Ok he was hyped up but not a surprise if he thinks he’s got to do twice as much to get noticed, and he is still young. Digne has come good last few games and looks class but I have to ask why it’s taken so long and will he keep it up long term I hope so.

    Pope is the only keeper I’d swap Martinez for, he was amazing as was emi and mings block.

    All in all it’s a damn shame we have had so many injuries and particularly to Bailey and Traore this season. I think among the squad we started the season with alone plus kids we have a decent team emerging.

  118. My feelings on Gerrard are he’s not the worst we’ve had and with his own players we might see something emerge. Equally though I get the feeling that we could be throwing the baby out with the bath water. Saunders took what 8 years?

  119. Burnley started wasting time after 10 minutes. How only 1 minute overtime was played in the first half had be beat. Should have been at least 6 minutes. They’re an awful team.

    The penalty was an attackers tackle in his own area. Stupid. But he made up for it. Pope played a blinder.

  120. Thought the pace of the game hurried young Chuk too much. I guess the only way he’ll get there is by more exposure to this level of competition.

    We had so much possession and territory but we have to remember the opposition is down the bottom for a reason. Emi spent the first half leaning against his post eating a sandwich.

    Digne was class. So was Couts when he came on. If these are the standard of players that SG is targeting then better days lie ahead.

  121. Another game in a long line over the last 16 months that shows the work that needs to be done to actually fight for any euro places
    Its well documented that a fare few think that we have a squad capable of reaching Europe , this clearly is not the case
    To reach our goal there will be a massive overhaul as many in the press are suggesting
    Positives , amazing block by Mings stops us from losing our final home game …. quality performance from SJM though his finishing gave the keeper a chance , if he works on slotting it into the corners he will score a hat full playing like that

    Looking forwards to a much improved team next season with players with lots of end product

  122. Finishing is not the only problem and that’s if it is one, its the type of chance we create that makes it so hard. We very rarely create High XG chances, under Smith we targeted creating chances in areas that were hard to miss from, its what Brentford work to.

    So where as the likes of Son can finish low XG chances and make it look easy most of the prem can’t consistently. When looking at Strikers you might be tempted by a player with 20 goals in a season, 10 might be absolute once in a blue moon deflected 1/8 of a chance goals. What you need is a striker when presented with a good chance rarely misses, then you need to create good chances.

    SG was saying we don’t finish enough of our chances, well Burnley had an XG score of 1.63 vs our 1, the run and finish by Emi was great but 9 times out of ten the pass misses him or he misses/slices etc, if he could convert those 50% of the time he’d be on Sons level.

    The biggest problem we have is SG’s approach mostly consists of heading straight down the middle or a cross from out wide. We used to work the ball into the area and cut back or pass to the edge as players ran in. Now we try to thread it through with many passes without taking players on. The last time I can remember Phil doing something was when he got in behind and pulled the ball back for an easy goal, we need more of that.

    Most of the balls in from wide as they were under Smith do not a lot unless played across the six yard box where Watkins does well. Ings used to be closer to Sons level and would of had at least two last night yet couldn’t finish his dinner lately which doesn’t help mind.

    So SG needs to look at his methods of attack rather than bemoan players not being Son, or buy son, somehow I think that’s his preferred method.

    That said he has just said Davis is not for sale?

  123. Runtings- quite a few teams reach Europe and have stressful next season playing on all fronts (Burnley did it 🙂 ) , you don’t have to be that great to get Europe in a good season, you have to be much better to do it consistently or to be challenging for those places every season, which is the owners aim at present, as stated by them when talking about the 5 year plan.

    So no this team is not consistent enough yet but with better game management and some tweaks they would not have been far off this season, last seasons 55 points would have us fighting for 7th, last season that got 11th. There are a whole lot of teams from us in 14th with 45 points to wet spam in 7th with 56 points, that is not a big gap, its very small margins.

    So yes the team could and should of done much better, that period where we lost to some easier teams in a row was on SG playing his high FB’s and tens schtick for instance. A more pragmatic approach and a less phil centric one might of been the difference.

  124. One thing for sure is there are is very few to no easy games in the prem with even the standard of promoted teams getting better
    Some good points re tactics but I would add it’s about quality players klopp and pep have lethal and dependable players everywhere so while tactics are very important the better quality the players the more games you are going to win

  125. Runtings – Absolutely, trouble is we are not Liverpool, city, Barca. Madrid etc not even Spurs, Arsenal , Chelski or man utd………yet. So despite getting Phil because of SG we are up against a lot of competition for those top players. We have no Europe for them etc, won’t be paying top top wages either we don’t earn enough.

    SG has said he’s looking at the free player market because there are bargains to be had like Tarkowski at 29 is about to leave on a free. Also takes no time at all to complete those deals but they won’t be spring chickens and some might surprise. I could easily see at least 3 players coming in along those lines. Maybe two biggish buys and a loan or two. Add in the likes of Archer and others who will be in pre-season the squad will change drastically and was always going to. The keeping players forever is a bit of a myth that was never on the cards, the amount that have been and gone under Smith is testament to that, the only reason its not more is we had next to nobody on promotion.

  126. What’s clear is he wants older players as long as they are not wrecks, he wants people who like himself looked after their bodies and health but are unlikely to get picked up by the top clubs, they already have their quota and tend to buy upcoming younger players or the odd Van Dijk. We Bypassed the oldies other than Elmo and Taylor, which makes our survival and progression so far quite a decent one. This season other than Mings we had to get Young and Ings in to have some nous in the squad.

  127. I see the we would be 8th if the season was from when SG took over is doing the rounds. You have to wonder about some peoples brains. The Mail even says it was smiths part that ruined it. Fuck me I’d like to have seen the season if SG had come in and we’d lost Jack at the death, who exactly would he have bought? for a start he’d have to evaluate the squad etc and very likely have had to go with the clubs proposals. He’d then have to deal with his new players being injured or unfit due to a very poor pre-season and cancelled games etc.

    Even better is the next season would we be happy with 8th? is that an 8th closer to 6-7th? or one closer to 15th? Having had most of this season and landing in 14th despite bringing 3 players to save us from relegation (his words), we could of got relegated up until two games ago, it does make my shit itch 🙂

  128. Runtings, when you say that our squad is not capable of qualifying for Europe I assume you mean Champion’s league, and I agree.

    I am usually quite wary about careful of stating opinions as facts, but I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the current squad is capable of qualifying for Europe under the right manager.

    As Mark pointed out, the gaps are so close that we only needed to win three more games to have qualified this year (or converting 5 draws into wins) and I’m sure all of us could name think of plenty of games that could or should have gone our way this season

  129. Runtings, when you say that our squad is not capable of qualifying for Europe I assume you mean Champion’s league, and I agree.

    I am usually quite wary about careful of stating opinions as facts, but I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the current squad is capable of qualifying for Europe under the right manager.

    As Mark pointed out, the gaps are so close that we only needed to win three more games to have qualified this year (or converting 5 draws into wins) and I’m sure all of us could name think of plenty of games that could or should have gone our way this season

  130. I’m sure every team in the division can point to a few games where they should have gained an extra 10 points and hence been in a completely different outlook.

    Bottom line for me…..after 37 games, the table does not lie.

  131. Don’t misunderstand me guys. The discussions about which manager gets the best out of the relevant strengths of the competing squads is quite valid. Some do better than others.

    Looking beyond that discussion, I don’t think our current squad is capable of making the Champions League and several areas need upgrading. Lifers have identified those areas and the current incumbent needs time to address this situation.

  132. Plug, you’re right, the table doesn’t lie. It shows what the club’s manager has managed to deliver from the resources at his disposal.
    Agreed that our current manager needs to be given time to try and improve the squad and learn how to get the most out of it

  133. Plug I agree but I also think it will be a long time if ever that we qualify for the champs, something extraordinary will have to happen for us to have the money and pull for that. Of course we have to start somewhere as we are way behind in world support and in Size of stadium and its all about income/turnover. Those that do make the Champs fairly regularly are filling their coffers further. So for us to get there it will have to be us having an out of this world season and others not.

    This is where becoming very good at producing players helps us or should if we do it right. I cannot see a scenario where we out earn the top 6 without that.

  134. Robbo I know it looks like I’m picking at SG but he had far more choice and better players/resources to use than Smith did, even sent many that Smith had to rely on out on loan. It does also land at the top echelons doors too, the machinery behind the manager if you will.

  135. r0bb0 its just an opinion that I am offering which is our current side was never going to make Euro lge champs lge wasn’t in my thoughts
    personally I am puzzled as to what folks are seeing that believe the squad is good enough to finish 7th which is Europe these days
    regardless of any of out opinions the owners clearly are looking to progress this club in the right way and I definitely prefer to look forward to what is to come rather than holding on the the past which in itself isn’t laden in glory

  136. Mark, I actually think it’s very fair to question managerial decisions and it probably goes with the territory as long as it’s positioned as opinion and is not personally derogatory or insulting. You’ve always done that. Like you, I find it too soon to judge whether SG will do the business for us. Results under him have not been good except, generally against the bottom teams but as someone pointed out, we’ve rarely looked outclassed (tomorrow will be a big test of that!). I would say we’ve been more consistent than under DS but if SG’s to be a success, we need to consistently raise the level a notch or two and hopefully with the introduction of just a little more quality, plus a full pre-season then we can do that.

  137. Mark, That article shows that Gerrard appreciates what Ollie Watkins brings to the side. With SG being keen to keep Keinan Davies, and presumably with Archer being closely looked at it seems that we shouldn’t expect too much focus on the striker position this summer. I guess that’s in part due to recognition of just how difficult it would be to find someone better than what we already have.

  138. runtings, I think you’ve said that it was time for Dean Smith to go so presumably you think he should have won at least 2 more games at the start of the season? If not, why get rid of him?
    Just those two games alone would have put us within 2 wins of 7th place and surely you believe that with a full pre-season and knowing the players, Steven Gerrard can win more games than he has this season. To be honest, if he’s not able to do better in his second season then you have to question why he’s here. SG has achieved fewer points against the teams that DS played so again, you have to think he can do better this season or why is he here?

  139. runtings, one other assumption I’m making is that we’d have a reasonable injuries record. Of course, a series of injuries to key players could throw all calculations out the window. There’s also the question of how we’d cope once we were in Europe and we’d almost certainly need a bit more depth than we currently have.

  140. Robbo I didn’t like the style of football from deano and felt we couldn’t progress with the style of play or the type of players we were bri5in
    We lerin a lot of goals and lost 5 in a row and everyone had injuries COVID ect and that will continue for all clubs
    We have let in less goals our transition playis improving but we are still making tooamy mistakes andarwnot great in front of goal this part fore is a playing staff issue and I feel it’s right to have Steven in place as it’s pretty clear he is attracting a better class of player

  141. Runtings, I get all that. I don’t mind counter attacking football but I can see why you’re happier with the way we’re developing now.
    When you say we’re not great in front of goal, that could be either down to the strikers or the quality of service to them. As Mark (I think) was saying earlier, the service to Watkins is not ideal and it certainly.
    seems that Gerrard is happy with Ollie so presumably he thinks the guys behind him need to sharpen up too.
    As you say, SG does seem to be able to attract good players so I guess we’re going to see 1 or 2 new midfielders over the summer.

  142. Not expecting anything at Citeh today. It’s 14th place and time to take stock of matters. After the final whistle, interest moves to the comings and goings during the window.

  143. At the bottom, I’d be happy to see Leeds through the trap door. If that doesn’t happen, Burnley are a good alternative.

  144. Robbo- last season even when we had the problems after xmas we didn’t lose more than 2 games in a row. The start of this season was fraught with problems, new staff, injuries, more covid yadda yadda. No surprise that without any options on the wing Smith couldn’t play his style regardless, SG doesn’t use them so not an issue to him.

    Losing Jack was always going to cause problems particularly if the pre-season didn’t include half the players through the euros and injury/covid restrictions. Most of pre-season was played with the youth teams making up the numbers. It always was going to be a late bloomer and the run of teams faced did not help. The losing streaks were much more like the 1st season up and we have only got 10 points more than that season.

  145. Runtings- Don’t agree about the everyone had injuries and covid that is to simplistic, like saying everyone starts equal its not true.

    Previous season Villa and Newcastle both had a month without training/playing together mid season and it derailed both teams. Also lost our best players last season with injuries to jack and Barkley among many others, that’s like Salah missing half a season. And this season was a depleted squad to start with long term injuries plus Beundia having a hip injury and Bailey injured for Barbados and isolating with no pre-season, Ings signed really late. Most of the top sides have settled teams with deeper squads but take Son and Kane out of Spurs?

  146. Last game of a season ,sooner forgot the better,
    Hoping for an exciting close season with a partner for mings,couple de ent midfielders preferably over 6foot tall and with muscles and a striker who can score ,ings has 2 excellent chances v spurs pool Palace and lastly Burnley with no goals and only 2 points for us how many million have then misses cost
    With 5 subs allowed next season traore and Bailey should be excellent squad players

  147. I bet that if SG gets 6 players in and then has problems with injuries, blending them in, them taking a season to settle etc it will be pointed out if the season doesn’t start well as valid reasons to why.

  148. JG- if they both get over their injuries at last and have good pre-season then they are like two new signings with the benefit of being settled you’d hope.

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