With Sawiris and Edens in town to watch, Villa battled against Chelsea, and on another day would’ve had a goal or two for their troubles. Perhaps they wouldn’t have either made or been punished for the two decisive errors. Could’ve had a result. Alas, ’twas not be. But losing to Chelsea was never the marker by which Gerrard’s body of work is going to be judged.

Rather, it’s the underwhelming points haul—worst in the opening 10 games in Villa’s entire Premier League tenure apart from the relegation season—coming from as favorable a run of fixtures as you can hope for in the top flight. It’s the complete lack of any forward progress since Gerrard came in the door. And whether, based on that, there’s any reasonable expectation of imminent improvement. Given the teams below us, relegation probably isn’t top of mind yet, but we’re not exactly making that look an outlandish consideration.

To be fair, Gerrard’s had some bad luck as far as Digne, Carlos, and Kamara go. But one could also argue that apart from Kamara, neither Carlos nor Digne addressed a pressing need.

The Body of Work
In targeting Matt Targett for immediate replacement, Gerrard set a tone that continued by taking the armband off Tyrone Mings and giving it to John McGinn. The tone continues in his post-match comments, inevitably reverting back to pointing fingers. He’s been arrogant, dismissive, defensive. Just doesn’t seem to be part of the club with enough of the requisite “we”. He’s not connecting with the support, never mind applauding them. He seems like a child having a stew because he isn’t getting his way. Seems like a man who expects to be loved however unlovable he is.

But all managers will want to put their stamp on things, and if you’re good, you don’t necessarily have to be likable, though it doesn’t hurt.

As you’ve heard repeatedly from me (I’m either tiresome, consistent, or both), I think the fundamental problem is that Gerrard’s personality traits are echoed in the fact that Gerrard insists on playing a formation that doesn’t suit Villa’s squad. He’s backed off a bit in terms of the fullbacks not bombing forward as much to solidify the defense. Which, I should note, is also partly a function of Young having to play in either Cash’s or Digne’s absence. And it seems lately that Villa are looking to play on the counter a bit more rather than try to be the possession side this squad will never be. Which means we’ve picked up a win and a couple draws. But otherwise, he’s persisted with 4-3-3, and tied himself in knots trying to find the right combinations up top. I guess he’s sort of dropped his “two #10s” idea. Maybe. It’s hard to tell.

In the end, it’s felt like banging our collective heads against a brick wall, and the bricks don’t seem much impressed. Villa sit 16th. No one’s grown. The chances and goals have dried up. Villa have looked all over the shop.

Stubborn or Resolute?
Gerrard has doubled down on Philippe Coutinho who’s contributed SFA after his great start. We know at one time he was a great player, and we saw it here for a flash. But he’s an absolute shadow at the moment, and it seems Gerrard is loath to entertain the notion of starting Buendia in his place, never mind giving him a run of games. Yet Buendia is the only other similar player in the squad. He’s looked brighter, quicker, more incisive, more combative. The more in-form player, the one more likely to make a telling contribution.

I harp on this bit because it goes hand in hand with not changing formation. SG has decided it’s 4-3-3 or bust. It’s Coutinho or bust. It’s his way or bust. Even when his way is getting Villa nowhere. (Yes, he dropped Coutinho against Chelsea and naturally Buendia didn’t get a start. And yes we did have our chances. I wouldn’t expect that to continue, but you never know.)

Because of the 4-3-3, he’s largely had Coutinho wide left, which is only compounding his invisibility and emphasizing his lack of pace and legs. Similarly, Buendia (who also was known largely as a wide player) is generally wide right, though he inevitably drifts inward looking for the ball. Phil, too. In my opinion, both would be better suited to a central role where they can have more influence and provide a creative base. If you want more “from” Buendia, you have to have more “of” Buendia. Bringing him on as an impact sub when we’re chasing or looking for a winner? Sure. But how about learning to play faster with a one-touch player who has an eye for a through-ball, excellent passing weight, and a relentless commitment to putting players in? More Phil? Not at the moment, thanks.

The 4-3-3 also exposes John McGinn. Positionally, less has been asked with the fullbacks staying home more often, which has mitigated his own lack of pace. But he hasn’t justified a place in the side, regardless. Yet, he’s the captain. And the 4-3-3 Gerrard started with also took away Ramsey’s attacking contributions, put more onus on a defensive side he doesn’t yet possess. Again, that’s changed a bit as the fullbacks have dropped back. Which is also fine because fizzing in generally poor crosses searching for a header didn’t seem to be doing all that much.

And, of course, the 4-3-3 was minimizing high pressure, making the front three easy to play around, and confusing the attacking responsibilities. There’s no set combination, no seeming rhyme or reason behind who’s in that line and when. Ings doesn’t have the pace or legs to chase all over the field, same as Phil. Not a knock on Ings, it’s again about the insistence of ramming a square peg into a round hole. Why we bought Ings in the first pace, I’ll never know. (On Sunday, Bailey started to look like what we thought we were getting. If he could stay fit for a month or two?)

All stuff you’ve heard from me ad nauseam, but only because this to me is the root: A system that does not play to the squad’s strengths. Or, a system that emphasizes our weaknesses. And as I’ve said over and over, I think a 4-2-3-1 is more in line not because it’s a magic formation, but because it’s more suited to the players.

This is why I think Gerrard’s in trouble, primarily. He’s tweaked it, yes, and Villa aren’t as exposed. But it’s still doing nothing to establish a consistent attacking identity, and nothing seems to be sticking from training if they’re drilling attacking patterns. Given what Villa have, I’d be playing Ramsey-Buendia-Bailey if we’re being attacking with Ollie up top. If Kamara were healthy, him and either Luiz or Dendoncker in the double pivot. Without Kamara, Luiz and Dendoncker. Or Sanson. (But no one seems to like Sanson.) If you want Ings in there, go 3-5-2, where he can hang higher up. Do something different, in other words.

Secondarily, he put a lot of eggs in the Coutinho basket, likewise allocating other resources to older, expensive players in other positions that weren’t crying out for change. (Targett seems okay at Newcastle, and they’re doing better than we.) Phil, frankly, has been a bust. Gerrard’s been unlucky with Kamara (who is young) and Carlos, and who knows, maybe those two would make up for the other shortcomings. Kamara certainly was finally filling a true need and was looking the business.

In terms of outgoings, I certainly don’t think Ghazi should have stayed. But we did tie our hands by getting rid of Traoré. A mercurial player with injury issues, yes. But also a way to play wide with Bailey left, and have two true wide attackers and pace either side. We spent £15m on Dendoncker, who’s barely had a look. Bednarek is apparently only insurance, which is fine. But the real issue is the balance of wages and the return.

It seems that if Gerrard had his way, there’d be an entirely new starting XI made up of veteran players on high wages. To me, it seems NSWE aren’t terribly excited about that blueprint. It’s short term and unsustainable. But it would probably make Gerrard look better. An expensive new starting XI might make anyone look better.

The Week Ahead
Who knows what the next few days hold. I guess the conventional wisdom is that Gerrard has the Fulham game, at least, which is rather a low bar. I could see us winning and then losing to Brentford. Then what? I basically see us continuing to limp along, which is largely what we’ve been doing since Gerrard arrived. Can we kick on? It’s always possible. But a lot of fans thought Smith had reached his limit for similar/better returns in worse circumstances, and the club have only regressed, in my opinion. If there is a turnaround in the offing, it’s taken a very long time to get there. Past performance doesn’t guarantee future results, but it doesn’t inspire a lot of optimism, either.

Most important, that wasn’t the remit Purslow announced when Smith was sacked. Naturally, I’ve focused on Gerrard here, but serious questions have to be asked of Purslow and Lange, as well, never mind the entire backroom staff. Perhaps Purslow needs to stick to the commercial side (if he’s going to stick at all), and a DOF brought in to keep him away from transfer and managerial decisions.

Purslow, to me, quite clearly engineered Smith’s departure (see Terry, O’Kelly, and his pounce at the first opportunity when Smith was facing severe headwinds after Grealish’s departure), and quite clearly had eyes only for Gerrard. (Not saying Smith was the next Guardiola, or maybe even Potter, but I still think it was harsh.) If Gerrard’s appointment ends in failure, it’s not only down to him, but to the man who hired him. Purslow’s expression during the Chelsea match pretty clearly suggested that NSWE are looking closely over his shoulder and that he isn’t feeling great about what they’re seeing or the timing of their visit. I wouldn’t be feeling good in his shoes, either.

In short, depending on who’s available and willing (the Poch speculation is now going into overdrive), I’d have zero problems with NSWE cutting Gerrard loose. And Gerrard couldn’t have any complaints.

Over to you.

Comments 55

  1. Nice on JC

    For me unfortunately I am in the SG out camp

    He has had nearly a year and has not improved on Deano’s win ratio
    Deano had the patience o0f the villa fans as one of our own SG does not have that luxury, but he would get it a pool which is his footballing home

    My main reason for saying out is the same as it was for deano I want a footballing philosophy at villa that involves proper transitional play thought the pitch

    I don’t like percentages football, whip in a cross hoping is not the one

    Also if you can’t get a tune out of the likes of courts and Emi B there is something drastically wrong

    We play well enough yesterday but as you could see from the lack of fans staying to the end the fans are not entertained by this side

  2. Super write up John and lots of discussion points.
    The owners must of course be discussing Gerrard’s future but having got it wrong once you would imagine that this time they will want to be confident that they have a suitable successor lined up first.
    The latest word on the street is rhat Pochettino isn’t that interested in coming to Villa, but will any of the other talked about possibilities be any more excited by the prospect?
    If not, would we be better off seeing if Gerrard can indeed turn things round?

  3. Excellent write up JC, a bit from most posters included which is impressive
    For me Gérard is like many great players no humility, no accepting everyone is not at his level playing wise definitely not his man management skills,aloof and surrounded himself by yesmen,last time mc allaistair was here it ended bad too
    I want Gérard out ASAP
    and please god football insider is right tonight

  4. Great script JC. We are at a crossroads and you’ve covered the issues. Who might come in? We’ll have to wait and see.

    I’m mindful that Levy eventually paid what it took to get Conte and his entourage installed after refusing to do just that earlier and instead hired the cheap option in Nuno. It’s such a critical appointment, we simply have to get it right. Even then, there are no guarantees and it comes with an element of risk. In Poch’s case, the risk is lower. In Gerrard’s case, the risk was substantial and Purslow exposed us to it.

    Will those identified come to AVFC? You bet they will if the money is right. This is one salary that can’t be penny pinched.

  5. r0bb0,

    It is a tricky moment. They certainly don’t want to be in this position again already, and may indeed be having trust issues with Purslow. Might well be wondering not only about targeting Gerrard, but, in retrospect, whether they actually let Smith go too soon. I doubt either of NSWE is one to dwell on the past, though.

    Change for change’s sake isn’t really a pathway to success. So, yes. Who’s out there, who will come?

    I just wish that for once Villa could find someone like Frank or Potter, just like I wish we could unearth more gems in our player scouting. Smith probably wasn’t far off from that, tbh. He could’ve benefited from better recruitment.

    Cash, Targett, Konsa, Watkins, Buendia…Those are all very much Smith picks, and fit the budget, wage structure, and supposed focus on young potential with experience in the English game. Sanson, Traoré, Bailey? Ings, even? Not so much.

    Anyway, we’ve missed out on a number of players fitting that criteria who have gone on to be impressive.

    I wonder how differently the Grealish summer could’ve gone. Seems more like Purslow and Lange driving Ings and Bailey, and it seemed a bit made up on the fly.

    I digress, however.

  6. JG,

    Have to say, the collective wisdom on here is very good. And from what I can gather, there are a lot of Villans disappointed not to have woken up to a club announcement today.

  7. Plug,

    Always the trick…see some saying that if Villa sack SG, it’ll seem like Villa’s a manager’s graveyard. Not as bad as Watford, but.

    If we are actively looking for a replacement, they do have to get it right. Can’t just be a name. Has to be someone they can expect to come in and work with what’s here. Change the dressing room, get the best out of players, make changes on the pitch. Someone not afraid to sit Coutinho, McGinn, etc., someone who has shown they can develop, build confidence. Be a good man manager. Someone who’s shown they have a philosophy and can plot out how they’d get from A to B.

    That’s the track record they should be wanting. Track record most anyone should be wanting, I suppose.

  8. Thanks JC as always not far from my own thoughts.

    I’d like to say something about the opinion that Smith can’t build a team that plays possession based football. That cannot be true because his Brentford side could both keep the ball when needed or sit and hit on the break. This was done with a bit of a revolving door with his best players which could account for the mid table finishes. Brentford were building a ground and the spend on players in Smiths time there was negative that changed once he left. His side was very respected for its cup games against prem sides too I remember.

    What is forgotten in his time at Villa is where we were when he came vs new owners wishes and that early promotion. We started with an old side full of loans and Jack. Whether people like it or not he made the best of Jack and the loans. If we had stayed down the rebuild would very likely have been a lot different and would have included more youth players I would think. As it was we had few players to build around bar Jack and McGinn. That start and need for an instant team is why we are what we are now. All in all it was going ok if taken in the context of where we came from and how. If Jack had stayed and Smith had got JWP and Smith Rowe to add to Beundia? Trickle in the likes of Kessler, Archer etc and the plan would have come together sooner than later.

    Smiths remit was to bring through those expensive youth buys we had been busy collecting while progressing us up the table which he did. He also increased several players worth to the point they became internationals.

    He literally had the rug pulled because jack had to little help, that help was due to come in last season until he left and that left a gulf to fill. SG came in and added his Jack, and decided we were poor at the back instead of sorting the engine room out, if his players were fit I think we would be seeing those long balls from the backs and Kammara out to the FB’s but little would of changed. We might have conceded even less but we don’t concede that many anyhow.

    The way Smith had to play was all about timing Jack and necessity, the way SG is trying to play is all about what he thinks it should be with no nod to where the team has come from. His entire philosophy is built around players improving by having examples around them like Phil etc, he doesn’t see that it just might piss people off.

  9. Oh and SG getting the job was a lot to do with the idea Smith couldn’t attract the likes of SWP etc, more than likely those players knew that Jack was off.

  10. MK,

    Thanks for the excellent summary. I was just about to digress again to go there.

    I do think it’s important because if you’re judging Smith, and his body of work, you have to take everything into consideration. He did everything asked of him under very challenging circumstances. We saw Fulham and now Forest struggle to bring in so many players having come up.

    He was always working with a patchwork assembly out of necessity, and we never saw the PL-money side he would’ve built with or without Jack.

    I also think the football, league position, wages, fees, and what players tell each other about the setup and feel has as much to do with recruitment as anything. Had Smith stayed, and we’d gotten up to 8-10, he’d have been able to get the player upgrades he wanted for the next push.

    Villa’s start with Grealish and Barkley amassed enough points to see us through Grealish’s absences, Barkley’s disappearance, and still finish 11th. That should’ve bought him enough faith. All the rest of the context was about huge challenges with injuries, recruitment, and not having Jack. Was always going to take time and he didn’t get it. But he accomplished more for Villa than SG has.

  11. Canadian pete has used a great word ,apathy ,the owners must be concerned to see fans streaming out the ground with minutes to play,the amount of season tickets that r up for sale weekly,only a few full houses the weeks before match is played

  12. JG I think the hierarchy had a little to much belief in their own football Knowledge and didn’t see how well Smith had actually done all considered, they saw the glitter of SG and thought what could go wrong? I think they still can’t believe it.

  13. Good comments and pieces MK and JC on the life under Smith v life under Gerrard, underlining the total lack of man management skills that shows through in Gerrard.
    In addition, Smith actually was involved in coaching the players, but Gerrard is not.
    In reference to your final comment MK regarding the hierarchy and football knowledge, I have said many times that Americans just have no real understanding of the development in natural skills in the world of soccer, and that they cannot be taught on a presentation board. Athleticism, speed and tactics do play a much more important part in the modern game, but they do not replace individual skills.

  14. PP, JG

    Not sure it’s necessarily NSWE not understanding. They’re not fools, and Sawiris is Egyptian anyway. Edens understands how players develop, how teams are built. The ‘hierarchy’ is different in the US of course (through school, university, then professional), but players excel and fail at all levels, etc., and it’s constant evaluation/projection/weeding out. Edens had a relatively unheralded coach leading the Bucks to the title, and he’s seen lots of deals work, lots of deals not work. Watched legendary coaches with dynasties, teams rise and fall.

    My suspicion, and it’s only that, is that Purslow wanted the move and convinced them.

    Now…maybe NSWE always saw Deano as a temporary appointment, don’t know. But they’ve perhaps handed over a lot of responsibility and trust to Purslow and that’s why he looked so ill during the Chelsea match.

    Or maybe he’d just had a bad curry.

  15. And even though supporters complain, it’s not like Liverpool or Arsenal have unduly suffered from American involvement. United? Well, they’re just money-grubbing assholes, the Glazers. But I think they’ve got the manager right.

    That said, where American and petro-state involvement is bad for the game are things like the Super League, closed shop, guaranteed revenue, no relegation.

  16. I don’t know what’s worse, the Dean Smith love in or the Trez love in? The guy who got what 2 goals and 1 assist in 3 years.

    Dean Smith is already wanted out by Norwich fans.

    1 point from last 12. This is a club that walk the championship every time they are in it.

    He’s tactically so limited. Don’t forget we wouldn’t have been promoted if Jack Grealish didn’t come back for last 10 days.

    I’ll always like Smith forgetting us promoted, but he is an extremely limited manager

  17. I was happy with Gerrard but he’s just as tactically useless as Smith was

    I mean I didn’t go the game on Sunday because I’ve fell so disconnected from this club at the moment. It’s actually the 2nd game I’ve missed this season and I’ve probably only missed 5 home games last 10 years before this season

    That’s how fed up i am with Gerrard and shite like Ollie Watkins.

    I’d take a defeat tomorrow if it means Gerrard sacked and potch coming

  18. Frem you have the vision of a bat, Watkins under smiths non tactics 1st season 14 goals 5 assists, second season out for 1st two game injured 11 goals 2 assists with mostly smiths team, this season 1 goal with SG’s style and revamped squad, erm?

    And the best comments are the “we wouldn’t have done xyz if this hadn’t happened”, there is absolutely no way of knowing, none, nadda, zilch. Don’t Forget you say ? how can I remember something you have decided is true in your head despite the alternative never happening? Lets take Salah’s goals and assists out of the Liverpool side and see how many league titles they would have? If your going to criticise a manager don’t do it for making the best use of what he had at the time.

  19. What really gets up my nose is that we didn’t just lose Grealish, we 1st had Barkley out for 9 games after which he never recovered.

    Trez- 1st season 6 goals 1 assist, scored the goal that took us to a final, scored three in 4 games that kept us in the league that season, of course it was all Jack. Second season 2 goals two assists and he had been out for two months before getting an acl injury so yeah not a great season for him.

    32 goals from the mids and front three and 23 assists from a thrown together side, the backs got 7 goals and 9 assists.

    We have 7 effing goals and 4 assists from 11 games and nobody has more than 1. Smiths thrown together no tactics team got 16 goals in the 1st 11 games.

    No comparison between Smiths starting point and Gerrards, you can’t just wish for goals you have to play for them.

  20. What do I think of Smith as a manager? he outwitted some of the best in the prem on his day, he’s more concerned about attack than defence but that’s a trait the better managers share and you’ll never see many very defensive managers win anything. I thought he was the best for us due to his coaching of youth, attacking ways and his knowledge of the club and attachment. He was a chance to build a solid foundation before pushing on if he didn’t succeed himself. We got greedy and wanted to walk before we could run.

    We have rich owners but not a great income, many other teams have better incomes. Teams that have built through academy’s have done it over long periods and paid their dues. We have tried to do both at once and it really is still early days despite all the Europe in 5 years rhetoric. There’s something missing in the puzzle at present on the footballing side compared to the likes of Brighton and Brentford, likely its not accepting where the club actually is at this point vs where we think it should be on its history. On the money side we are ok but have likely missed the boat as we did when City got rich, this time its Newcastle. Jack meant exposure in the media and not just his ability on the pitch. You have to ask why he isn’t nailed on in the City side if he was the only reason we did ok after all he beat Liverpool 7-2 on his own 🙂

  21. Well said MK.
    I second everything you have just said. It really wears a little thin to read Frem’s sad remarks that show little thought, more that of a five-year-old who was refused another ice cream.
    We, and other clubs will always have good and bad patches that we have to get through, as do the players, but do not ignore what they have achieved.
    There is the odd occasion when I can agree with Frem, but most of the time it is just verbal garbage that we don’t need.
    Perhaps Frem is one of those that had dreams, but never quite made it, and the frustrations come out in his comments!
    It would be marvellous if for once he could bring some positiveness to the table.
    We have a good club with a ton of talent on the books, mainly out on loan, but plenty in the squads too. We just need a steady ship, taking time to make sure we allow more freedom on the pitch, and the opportunity to properly gel.
    Maybe it will happen under Gerrad in the coming days, but if not, I am sure the board will find ways to make it happen.

  22. Mark, you’ve hit the nail on the head with your last couple comments. I might have thought it but I wouldn’t have put it down that clearly.
    I’ve been going back and forth regarding Gerrard. I haven’t seen one game when he was at Rangers so I don’t know if his style is just a continuation. The talk in the English rags is 50/50 as to whether he should stay or go.
    There is a chance Villa could end up in the top ten just as easily the bottom. Right now to get away from the bottom 3 is paramount. Even at this point of the season the difference between the middle ten teams is negligible. A bit of run is needed. If it’s under Gerrard fine but I would still be wary.
    I don’t think I want Pochittino. My biggest problem is still being a bit miffed at Smith being let go. I have no idea who would be best. Perhaps there’s an English manager who would fit.

  23. Villa are one of the few clubs that may well be prepared to pay Pochettino around £10 million-a-year with £100 million to immediately start spending on transfers.




    PAY IT

    Why won’t we just go and do it?

  24. Are we on about the same Dean Smith who’s close to being sacked at a club who dominates the championship every year?

    Are we on about the same Dean Smith who Brentford got promoted the season after he left?

    Are we on about the Dean Smith who won one game in 11 in the championship without Jack Grealish?

    He’s an OK manager, at best

  25. Mark and Paul, you’re right that it’s sadly impossible to have a sensible discussion with Frem. I get more sensible feedback from our 17 year old blind, incontinent Jack Russel who does at least respond positively when you say “dinner time”.
    As an example from today, in response to your comment about Watkins, he says that Ollie’s 14 and 11 goal tally over the two seasons is “bang average mate. It’s absolutely bang average”. Now it’s possible that they didn’t cover averages in Frem’s school so he doesn’t actually know what the word means, but over those two seasons, as far as I can see, only 6 players scored more and the top 3 of those were Salah, Kane and Son. Now it would be fair to point out that Ollie is not competing with the very best in the division, but that wouldn’t be negative enough would it, so the silly ‘bang average’ comments come out. At some point in the future, we’d love to be able to recruit or develop players of that calibre (Jack is the closest we’ve come), but they are rare beasts indeed and we’re some way off where we’d need to be to buy in a ready made player like that.
    The trouble is, I’ve pointed this out to Frem before but it’s like trying to teach a goldfish (to continue with the pet analogies). . . . . you tell him something, but he only needs to swim round the bowl once and he’s forgotten.

  26. So, onto the next Frem comment, much of which is in capital letters, as that clearly makes it more thoughtful, analytical and worthy of consideration.

    Frem’s track record on managers is not a good one. He was really keen on us bringing in Gerrard and wetting himself with anticipation of us bringing in Thierry Henri. If I was him I’d be a bit embarrassed and put my hands up to having got it very badly wrong twice and hopefully people would accept that we all knock around all sorts of ideas and all get things wrong from time to time on a forum like this.

    Where many of us would agree with Frem is that Pochettino would almost certainly be a better manager for us than Gerrard, but sadly that doesn’t mean that he’ll come to us. Indeed, the latest suggestions are that he isn’t keen because he doesn’t think that our players would fit with his style of play and that certainly has a ring of truth to it.

    If that’s the case, then I’d rather we attracted someone by the prospect of building something great at Villa rather than by the prospect of him (or her) building their bank balance.

  27. Frem how do you want this standing or lying down?

    Salah 23 goals from 139 shots goal every 6 shots, Kane 18 goals from 133 shots goal every 7.4 shots, Son 23 goals from 83 shots a goal every 3.6 shots, Watkins 11 goals from 77 shots a goal every 7 shots, Vardy 15 goals from 53 shots goal every 3.6.

    Now what does that tell you? Players for top clubs take more shots and get more chances to shoot and what it doesn’t say is they may take more pens. salah 5 pens, Kane 4 pens,

    As Watkins pretty much has the least chances created for him of these few top players and took one pen and missed one last season.

    Make of it what you will but he is just as good as Salah and Kane more or less at converting chances who are um average compared to Son and Vardy.

  28. JC, you made an interesting comment about NSEW possibly always seeing Dean Smith as a temporary appointment to take us to the point where a higher profile manager may be attracted to the project. The Eddie Howe appointment at Newcastle feels a bit similar.

    In fairness it wasn’t a daft initial concept and if they’d brought in Potter or Pochettino (or someone else of that ilk) after Dean Smith then it may have turned out well. Unfortunately, heads were turned, presumably by Purslow, in the direction of a totally unproven Steven Gerrard rather than someone who was fully qualified and proven in the Premiership and was likely to take us further and faster than Dean Smith possible would have done.

    A decent strategy, but rubbish execution.

  29. Mark, your goalscoring info is really interesting. I guess that Ollie’s shots per goal ratio is down this year. . . . . or has he not been given 7 goalscoring chances yet?

  30. If anyone judged both that our squad is very poor AND that we could attract a top, experienced manager then they really wouldn’t deserve to be taken seriously. . . .. . . but of course nobody on this site is that childishly ignorant.

  31. Newcastle making the project look easy

    Lange and purslow need sacking to.

    The worrying thing is Everton will sack frank soon and probably get potch before us or tuchel.

    I really really don’t want us to win tomorrow because it means more time for Gerrard

    I’ve never been so out of love of football than I am right now

    Get potch please and a new ceo and scout

  32. In fact what purslow and Lange have wasted with the shite we have bought is criminal really

    The club needs a new turn around top to bottom

    Hopefully the owners sack Gerrard Lange and purslow and kick on

  33. Some good football tonight and some great goals. Adama Traore last night with a great header for Wolves, still would love to see him at Villa, playing with Watkins and Bailey!
    Another great goal from Almiron, my favourite at Newcastle, who had another great game tonight, and never stops running.
    Chukwuemeka had a proper debut for Chelsea tonight, played well and might well have score, but for some amazing Brentford defensive play. Look out he is on his way, and Chelsea making more use of him than Villa would under Gerrard!

  34. Pp
    I think losing chuck should have been wake up call for purslow and owners
    When a young talent didn’t want to stay and learn from one of the best midfielders alarm bells should rang

  35. Still can’t figure out why Gérard is still our manager,even we did somehow get something from these next games does it prove anything
    And watching Brentford tonight we won’t get anywhere with them,it’s all so natural for every other side getting midfielders into opposition box in both halves of match

  36. Come on Fulham

    Want Gerrard gone tomorrow

    Also worrying about how good Newcastle are going to be next season after they’ve had another transfer window

    I think Newcastle just completely destroyed our owners belief in achieving anything

  37. I don’t understand how Newcastle project in 6 months have gone way quicker and better than us?

    Our owners need to get rid of purslow and Lange
    We are already at the stage where we can’t even compete with Newcastle now

  38. I am in almost total agreement with Frem re the current situation and how the club is being run

    The clubs that currently look like they are being run supremely well are Citeh Arsenal ,Newcastle and to some degree Leicester though being a selling club is catch up with the latter

    the likes of Brentford and Palace are also run very well indeed imo

    so there doesn’t seem to be too many clubs that are being run to maximum effect ,

  39. Admissions coming out now about the players match data. Seems we are being out run by the opposition every game. Simply not good enough.

    Of course, every Villa fan already knew that this was the case. We watch it every week. Lack of effort and urgency compared to the other team is as plain as the nose on a face.

  40. Robbo- haven’t seen any shots per goal stats as yet for this season, he has had 8 shots on goal in 8 games which is 13th best in the league Haaland has 20 shots on goal in 1st place. So he is not converting what we has for sure, the other side of that is out teams conversion rate is 7 goals from 137 shots that’s 5.1% conversion rate. We are 3rd from bottom above Wet Spam and Wolves who have had 190/9 and 163/5 shots to goals . City have had 239/33 13.8% and arsenal top with 151/24 15.9%.

    Watkins XG is bar far the highest in our team at 2.3 XG, Bailey 1.1xg, Ings 1.1 xg and Beundia who barely plays has 1.5 xg so you wonder if SG looks at the stats. I’ll add all others are sub .8 xg in fact most are below .5XG. We simply do not create great chances.

  41. Runtings I’d add Brighton to the well run club list, Southampton were but have got worse last few years. I expect you will get years were the players coming through are not as good as the ones just sold and you can regress quite rapidly.

  42. Well craven cottage should suit us tonight,our lazy fcukers won’t have as much ground to cover
    Truss gone can someone give us hope that Gérard is on his bike

  43. Don’think we would get Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchal or Pochettino simply because of he position the position the club is in, to much heavy lifting to do before progression.

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