Short from me, as I’ve been away meeting my new granddaughter. I did bring her some kit, but doubt she’ll be watching today.

Me, I can’t wait. Hope I keep feeling like this for a while.

Comments 63

  1. Boy…No idea how we lost that other than to say we really got punished for our errors.

    Real shame as we played some lovely stuff.

    Have a feeling we may be seeing more of Duran sooner rather than later.

  2. I’ve not seen the game so only have the stats and live text commentaries to go on but the impression from those, is that we were the better side, created the majority of chances but somehow contrived to lose.
    There have been a couple of games recently where many have said we were ‘lucky ‘ to win, well on that basis, presumably today we were unlucky to lose.
    I’m sure that’s not how Emery will be looking at it. . . . he’ll be analysing who screwed up and how and showing them how to do better next time.
    A learning opportunity but none the less, frustrating for all of us.

  3. What a strange game football is,4 bad mistakes which Leicester took full advantage, missed chances galore,beundia very unlucky not to score,Luis lazy not getting onside for coutinho goal,who was decent in second half
    A well bubble well and truly burst

  4. So Aston Villa. Just when it looks like we can break upwards, we decide to fall asleep at the back and get our backsides kicked. Ouch. These errors have pissed me off. A reasonably good performance thrown in the skip by slack thinking and poor defensive play.

  5. Don’t wish to suggest which players didn’t perform. But Bailey came up short today and Kamara was off form. And I absolutely HATE piddling around with the ball from Martinez. Not the first time it’s killed us.

  6. Good article from Heroes & Villains

    Fabulous punchline at the end “there’s still a time to be Franco Baresi and a time to be Shaun Teale”

    I’ve always liked my central defenders to be big, raw-boned, physically intimidating aerial superiority stoppers (Allan Evans, Olaf Mellberg and even James Collins) unless they can be Paul McGrath, Paul McGrath or Paul McGrath (wtf is Baresi?). I think Konsa and Mings are Ok but they are trainee ballet dancers compared with the above 4. Leicester defenders were all rough tough no nonsence stoppers and just smeared our light weight forwards out of the game. Excessive use of this playing out from the back is just impractical football snobbery unless you are Paul McGrath, Alan Hansen or Franz Beckenbauer.

    Bit dissappointed that we overlooked the likes of Tarkowski, Nathan Collins and Harry Souttar in pursuit of flashy supposedly classy foreign defenders who must be good because they are foreign.

    Bailey is too lightweight, too flashy and too much of a cry baby for this league. Compare and contrast with Ashley Young Mk1. Flying winger who was cut in half at least 10 times a game but just kept coming back and scored that goal away to Everton in the last minutes of the game. Bailey just doesn’t have that resillience. He won’t be playing fullback in 12 years time.

    Think I’ve had a reasonably satisfying whinge. We are several leagues above the gerrard garbage of the previous 12 months and Emery looks like being a proper manager. Hope he realises that British players can be just as good as the foreign smoothies but with a tougher edge given the right coaching but please, no tikka takka.

  7. Not the worst but Our defenders need to stay switched on and offer an out to the players that the keeper plays the ball to. If not we will always get Shut down by the press, a weakness we have long had.

  8. jbd and JC, thanks for the links. . . I wish I could see as much in a game as others do!

    Having said that, I reckon it could be simplified by just saying that Kamara had a xxxxx mare and lost us the game. Let’s face it, we’ll all forgive him in a flash because he’s been so good in nearly every other game but yesterday was his worst game so far. Martinez didn’t help with that pass to him but it wasn’t just that one slip from Kamara that lost us yesterday.
    I see fans complaining about us playing out from the back but if you’re going to do that you may as well say you want a new manager. Fact is, that’s how Emery likes to play and as one of the articles said, we just need to get better at it. I know some will say we’ll need to get players who are more comfortable with the ball at their feet, but I think our current players are more than capable of doing it, they just need to keep fully focused for 90 minutes (or 100 minutes as it seems to be in these post World Cup days). If any of them prove unable to do so consistently then we just have to be patient until Emery brings in players who are.

  9. and Mark. . . .yes. . . .it’s not all down to the centre backs, they need to have easy outlets available and be ready to pass the ball to them even before they’ve received it. And Martinez needs to be sure that they have their next pass lined up before giving them the ball.

  10. What different people see in same game,player and decisions
    It makes football the most popular game
    For me it was robbery yesterday but then 6 points from Leeds soton Leicester is a great return
    We need to improve massively on goals scored ,has our defence bar digne free kick scored,Luis has managed 1,kamara coutinho none
    Can’t understand players watching someone free and neither marking or even shouting at teammate, digne twice yesterday,

  11. Another frailty in our team conceding in minutes after we scored, or within minutes of conceding that’s twice in few matches even under emery,
    We need men leaders to step up

  12. It would appear that the league has woken up to the fact that Kamara is our rolls royce player and that our past few performances have owed a lot to his subversively and unobtrusively strolling through midfield and running our show – so Leicester marked him out of the game. That should then give more space for players like Buendia – who promptly twice set up Watkins. Kamara is a fab player and will probably start getting the Grealish treatment. Hope he has got the physical and mental toughness to deal with it. Wonder if we can get a hardman midfielder to mind him. Have we got a couple of big lads out on loan (Tim “Ironbrew”). Could Dendonker do a job?

  13. I don’t think that ‘playing out from the back’ is inherently bad…you just have to know what you’re doing and make good decisions. Easily said, but a lot of that is just patterns. They have x players pressing these players/areas, the out-ball is here.

    As MK points out, it’s long been a problem of ours. And that has to change. You want to be able to make teams pay and/or just back off. You have to prove it’s a very high-risk tactic for them. There’s a reason top managers and teams all do it: keep possession (rather than low-percentage long balls), spread them out, have space to exploit with numbers while running at them once you break the pressure.

  14. It almost certainly requires some different personnel. For example, as the thread I linked to points out, Konsa is not a great progressive passer, and often dwells. Takes the extra touch or two, slows things down, passes players into trouble, telegraphs. Can he be coached out of that?

    Doesn’t take away from his purely defensive talents, but that one player can make a lot of things break down going forward. It also puts a lot more pressure on Mings. We may want to favor the left side by design, but for a while now, we’ve had to start a lot of our moves to the left because Mings is more willing/able to take responsibility.

    When Emery’s talking about the right fits, that’s what he’s getting at.


    More good stuff for anyone who couldn’t see the game. This playing out from the back lark is really winding people up. We tried this with John Gregory (and failed miserably) years ago – I didn’t like it ‘cos it was slow boring elitist football snobbery for me. But then I’m a neanderthal and bemoan the passing of the WM formation with proper numbers from 1 to 11 and none of this airy fairy pansy multisubbing. I’ll get my clogs……….

  16. Flipside: Teams pressure and we just have to lump it if we can’t play through them. Keeps coming back. There’s basically just 2-3 key passes that need to happen, and often it’s about working to one side, dragging the pressure and just hitting the switch in acres of space.

    I like quick, counterattacking football, btw. For me, the ideal is a mix. Playing out can be very pacey with the right players in the right places.

  17. Robbo I’m afraid it was all down to the centre backs not dropping back far enough when Kamara was on the edge of the box they were to far up the pitch, made the pressing players job easy. It shut the angles available for a pass down to Kamara rather than making them have to run an extra 5 yards which gives time and options.

  18. Mark, for that goal, you have a point about Kamara not having a ready outlet. You could also say that Martinez should have seen that and not given it to him, but Kamara to my mind tried it on and came unstuck.. . . He made a mistake.
    If it had worked he’d have created plenty of space in front of him but it didn’t.
    We’re maybe seeing things slightly differently. . . . Hey. . . It had to happen one day eh? 🙂

  19. R0bBo, ” Hey. . . It had to happen one day eh? ”

    Except it’s happened on 3 days. It was Kamara yesterday. It was Dendoncker against Stevenage. It was Luiz against Brighton.

    Tired of buying new underwear every time Martinez takes a goal kick.

  20. Plug, I do think that we have to go through some frustrating times still, but what is different, is that it feels that there’s a plan again. It felt that there was when DS brought us up from the Championship and it feels like it again now. We just had an unfortunate and unhelpful Stevie G interlude, courtesy of his mate Purslow who allowed personal feelings to get in the way of rational thought.
    In the ,meantime, there are some good offers on cheap underwear here:

  21. Clearly if we have conceded three times now it’s due to instructions to play that way, it does create attacking chances if you break the press. Unai pushes one FB up and the other is part of the defence that tries to play the ball out.

    Passing apart from accuracy is about angles , for a long time we have been poor at this. We based our game on beating a man and the king ball to the wings. We now play the odd long ball over the top and go for quick transitions from defence out and it works a lot of the time but if it breaks down at the wrong point your very open.

    Kamarra backed himself to beat his man as he often dies as Konsa and Mings were to flat with a risk of them getting shut down, yes Martinez could of seen this but then Olsen did the same. Its instructions that we will either get better at or we will find someone who can I’d bet.

  22. Agreed Mark. . . . this is the way we’re going to play so for the players, it’s adapt or die.
    Kamara came unstuck in part because Leicester were closing down in packs so he didn’t have a chance to recover the ball. As you say, if his trickery had worked then there would have been gaps for him to exploit.

  23. Now City have been found guilty of ‘numerous’ financial breaches it’s going to be interesting to see how severely they’re punished.
    Their owners can afford fines and if it’s points this season, that will become Pep’s excuse for not winning the league.
    If it’s a lot of points, might it keep them out of Europe next season?
    That would be a blow to them and give them an extra incentive to win it ‘this’ year. . . . If any extra incentive is needed!
    As they flouted rules regularly, and over a long time, it would seem fairer that they are severely restricted in future player purchases over several seasons.
    Their squad is more than strong enough to manage for a couple of seasons at least but would Pep want to carry on?

  24. Once is unlucky. Twice is guilty as charged. Three times is a hanging offence. There is no excuse when it happens from a goal kick because the keeper has time to assess availability in front of him.

    A back pass is much more dangerous and you often see players racing towards the corner flag to provide an out ball. Time is very limited and the real danger ball from the keeper is straight forward in front of goal. Yet we’ve been done three times by it.

    As Mark says, we are not good at accurate one touch passing needed for this kind of play. The players involved need to learn fast otherwise Unai will find players that can do it.

  25. Not holding my breath with regards to Citeh. I’m expecting it to go the same way as UEFA’s attempt to punish them, only to have it overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Big money talks extremely loudly.

    Massive sums of money are injected into a few clubs from sovereign wealth funds under the guise of “sponsorship”. It tilts the playing field directly in their favour. So the same clubs win everything every year to the exclusion of all others.

    Governing bodies need to change the rules in favour of everyone else. Unfortunately, they won’t. But they will continue to bring in things like VAR which can be manipulated to help the money clubs.

  26. City? Punishment could take a while. They’ll have a right to appeal to a separate commission (but not CAS), as I understand.

    But you’d like to think an investigation that long would yield some pretty incontrovertible evidence.

  27. Playing out from the back?

    The key takeaway from the comments is that if these players can’t do it, he’ll find ones who can. Though, tbf, you see lots of dodgy moments everywhere if a really aggressive and effective press is on.

    MK’s right that a lot depends on the CBs. It is about angles (the fundamental of all passing), it is about understanding the press you’re facing and knowing where your outlet pattern is. And the outlets have to be in those spots. Players also have to hit those passes quickly, control, and look to make the next pass. It can all close down very quickly.

    So there’s coaching and prep, yes, but a lot is down to players making good quick decisions based on that. Hesitation kills, as does lack of awareness (ie, someone else joining in, realizing you need to make a different choice).

  28. JC and Mark, I think we all agree that if we’re playing out from the back, the centre backs need to make themselves available as outlets . . . . As Mings and Konsa did when Martinez chose to pass the ball to Kamara. On this occasion, Kamara could have chosen to pass to either of his centre backs but decided not to and on this occasion came unstuck.
    I guess if the ball went out to the centre backs ‘every’ time then we’d be too predictable? Do players sometimes ‘need’ to take risks

  29. r0bb0,

    That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. If he turns and beats his man, lots of space. But the idea there is to either pass it back to Emi, or probably send it over to Konsa straight away on stronger foot.

    Not sure why Emi made the decision, of course, but it seemed deliberate, the positioning of all three (DM and CBs).

    At any rate, it happens, and everyone will have learned.

    Players do need to take risks…It’s situational, though. Maybe Luiz was supposed to be closer to help with options and numbers. I’m sure Bouba thought he’d turn his man. But that close to goal, it’s always safety first.

  30. So one of the possibilities is that Man City will be stripped of all trophies gained, in part, by cheating. . . . so we may be awarded another league cup trophy.
    It won’t replace the shitty feeling of walking away from Wembley after a loss but it would send the strongest signal that cheating doesn’t pay. . . . and Pep (if he is true to his word) would have to resign

  31. Robbo your missing the point, Mings and Konsa needed to be further back if the opposition is on the edge of the area not in front of the 6 yard area. If Martinez played it to either there was only a hoof on for them both. Kamara can do three things, play to the CB’s, back to the keeper or turn and pass between the press. Pep has said they need players in as they are getting caught at the back in the same way as pointed out. Imagine if the press closed in and the CB’s played it across to the keeper, or tried to play a diagonal ball to Kamara, both very dodgy tactics that school kids are told to avoid, even back to Martinez by Kamara is dodgy, seen plenty end in the net under pressure. So he did the only real thing he could and it didn’t come off. Its a gamble by both teams that can pay off in a big way.

  32. As for city getting more than a slap on the wrist? If your watching the world we live in today with your eyes open you’d see people of money and power don’t get held to account and they don’t do sportsmanship. If Huge excess deaths across the world don’t warrant investigation anymore ( the very reason we shit our pants when Covid arrived) and with a nothing to see here attitude across the board apart from a few brave souls then I think there is no point complaining about a rich persons toy, we deserve what we get.

  33. Mark, I don’t ‘think’ I’m missing any points, but we may be seeing things differently. Both full backs ‘had’ come back to provide easy outlets for both Konsa and Mings so if Kamara had passed to them they did have an alternative to hoofing the ball. Konsa and Ming’s positioning, did however keep them close enough to be able to try and intervene should the ball be lost. As it happened, Kamara lost the ball and Mings was able to get back on the goal line. . . . but it wasn’t enough.
    It’s an interesting discussion because it has made me go back and watch the highlights a few times and to be honest I wouldn’t have noticed all that detail but for your questioning.

    I don’t know if the centre backs and full backs were in the exact positions that Emery had asked them to take up, but if they ‘were’ in the correct places, I can at least see a logic to it. That’s not to say that there isn’t a better way, such as your suggestion that they lie a bit deeper, but the interesting point is that there are an infinite number of variables in football and each manager will see things a little bit differently and coach his players accordingly.

    Here are some comments from the first 4 articles I looked at online:

    “Terrible mistake from Kamara trying to play in his own box. Dispossessed by Dewsbury-Hall and then Maddison has an easy finish. Very silly play.” Greg Evans

    “At fault for two of Leicester’s goals in the first half as the Frenchman, usually immaculate in possession, was pickpocketed in dangerous areas with Maddison and Tete the big beneficiaries. A rare off-day from the midfielder.” Ashley Preece

    “Then came THAT moment as Emi Martinez trusted Boubacar Kamara (I mean, why wouldn’t he?) to start Villa’s move forwards. The Frenchman skipped past Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall but, at the last second, the Leicester man got a big toe in which allowed James Maddison to eventually equalise.”Sports-rock

    “People will look at it as a mistake but it’s the way to build. Other teams will build and it will create goals. It’s just one of the things you take as a coach and, from our side, it was very good on the pressing” Brendan Rodgers.

    I reckon the most interesting of those is the last one by Brendan Rodgers. Of course he’s looking to take some credit for 2 of their goals, but with Kamara having played so well recently you can understand why an opposing manager might target him with two pressing forwards and on this occasion it paid off. Maybe Emery will need adjust his tactics a bit from now on, or at least coach Martinez and our defenders to recognise the different tactics of opposing coaches and adapt how they play accordingly.

    I was quick to criticise Kamara for the mistakes and I still think that’s justified, at least to some extent, because he didn’t manage to beat the Leicester players when he did have alternatives, but perhaps this was the first time that he’s been targeted quite as directly as he was on Saturday?

    It’ll give us a few more nuances to look out for in future games eh?

  34. I understand Unai wanting to play from the back and I’m happy with that. I think the area in front of the 6 yard box was tight with Leicester players and due to that Kamara wasn’t exactly expecting martinez to give him the ball. Catching him a bit off guard. This, to me, put him behind the eight ball by a 1/2 second and he got pounced upon.
    Playing from the back isn’t ingrained as much as we would like at the moment.

  35. Mark, I get what you say about people with money and power not being held to account and fear it may well apply again this time, if only because of the money that Man City will throw at defending lawyers. You’d hope that after a 4 year enquiry, the Premier league are very confident of their case and will be able to make it stick but like you, I’ll be sceptical till I see it happen.
    ‘If’ the PL manage to make the charges stick ‘then’ it will become very interesting as you’d imagine they’ll want to make all their efforts worthwhile and show that the rules need to be taken seriously by ‘all’ clubs in future.

  36. Ian, you’re surely right about playing out from the back not yet being ‘ingrained’. Let’s hope all our defenders are willing and able to learn and improve. At the moment I reckon Plug, Mark and JG are at least sceptics

  37. Playing out is interesting because it does vary based on what the opponent may come up with.

    If Villa are heavy going down the left because Mings is more comfortable being ‘progressive’ and having the ball than Konsa, well…You’ll see presses skewed to that. Moreno, Buendia, and Kamara all have to get into spots where they can receive and work off each other.

    Often, the way forward is a big switch.

    Likewise, there are times when the 6 is the right outlet, times when it’s not.

    Leicester were much more aggressive coming up and closing than we were. But that’s long been true of us. ‘Passive’ first half, go behind, much more aggressive in the second (with nothing to lose) when chasing the game.

    Deano’s teams were best when Villa were aggressive from the whistle, looking for fast starts and early goals.

    It also really helps to have at least one dribbler, like Jack. If he’s doubled, someone else is free. If he receives and carries, he’s either free or gets fouled.

    If you’re looking for longer outlet passes, we need CBs capable of a higher percentage.

    Big thing, it all has to happen quickly.

  38. My guess is that Emery is evaluating who can adapt, whether they even have the necessary vision, skill, and decision-making capability. This is why I really like Buendia. May not be the answer to every question, but he has good vision, can play one-time (at a high success rate), or buy that little bit of time to find someone.

    At the back, will be curious to see Carlos, whether he makes a difference.

    But Konsa and Mings may not be up to it. They both have great defensive qualities, but as players required to start attacks, they may need to be replaced.

  39. I see the “European Super Greed” has reared its head again. A22, formed to find a way of making it happen, have kicked off again with Bernd Reichart the CEO spouting more shit.

    His statement in a German newspaper is full of garbage painting “the solution” to the problem of clubs who are bankrupt in money and actions. Greedy bastards. It supports the entire football pyramid he lies. Fuck the fans, fuck the pyramid and fuck anyone who’s against it which is just about everybody.

    Just the opposite is required. The big money needs controlling, rules changed to level the playing field so that different clubs are able to win the trophies. Sorry about the language. Rant over, promise.

  40. Playing out from the back may well change in the coming weeks, as Emi has now made it clear that his ambitions lie beyond Villa, and he wants to be the no1 keeper in the Champions League, and having risky moments as part of Villa’s defence is not the way forward!
    I was at the game against Leicester and had some amazing moments there, as we showed what we can do with Ollie almost scoring a hat trick, and Buendia hitting the woodwork twice.
    Unfortunately, the attempts to play out from the back did not work so well, with Kamara coming deeper for the ball, rather than Luiz, or Buendia.
    Emi seems also to have difficulty communicating with players, when he is looking for an out ball. They are not making themselves available to receive, and he does not seem to try and get their attention.
    Years ago, you would hear players clearly calling to one another, but now it doesn’t seem to happen. Verbal communication seems to have been lost.

  41. PP, so Emi wants to be a Champions League No 1 keeper eh? To Achieve that, he needs to win the competition which he thinks is a tall order for AVFC.

    He therefore needs to be in a Champions League winning team. Owing to the sport’s sovereign wealth funds calling the shots, only 5 clubs have won the Champions League in the last 12 years and he would need to be No. 1 in one of those first.

    Of the 5, three are either in dire financial straits or have UEFA investigations breathing down their necks meaning winning the cup again for them is not a given. But if he thinks he’s good enough, and one of them wants him, the sale value for Villa will be massive.

  42. I don’t think Emi said exactly what we read. It’s a pseudo journalist flogging a dead horse. Of course any footballer wants to be on a winning Champions team. Every footballer also knows all the stars have to line up for it to happen too. If you want Champions league go play for one of the filler teams that make up the rest of the league. The perennial winners as Plug says aren’t going to pick you out of sympathy.

  43. Well I’m here waiting for the game. The Mings haters will be glad. Conspiracy theorists on the Harry Johnson blog reckon Mings is paying some sort of price for something or other. YEAH YEAH!

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