All sorts of things one could write, but I’ve run out of time, as per. But top of my head, Tyrone Mings’ absence is a potentially devastating bit of news on the day.

I didn’t really have a read on the game during the week…Yeah, it’s City away, so there’s the obvious. But I was wondering more about whether this City side was truly sputtering, what results elsewhere would mean, and whether they’d be like a cornered animal.

May not matter much, now. Emery knows Pep well, but still hasn’t beaten him, and having Chambers and Konsa at the back is not my #1 answer for “How do Villa stop Haaland,” even if his form has cooled a bit of late. You can look at Mahrez and others as every bit as dangerous, but today the big man may be the center of attention.

Now, I’m expecting Villa to have a decent game plan, so we’ll see how it plays out. But any plan is only as good as its execution, and I’m not at all confident about that central pairing. Maybe we’ll see a lot more long ball today, maybe we’ll see Duran sooner rather than later. Maybe we’ll see Jack play a blinder and put the dagger through our hearts. We’ll soon find out.

Over to you.

Comments 101

  1. You sneaked in a new page while I was scribling on the previous page,

    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!

  2. He’d at least be on the bench, I’d imagine, jbd. Not like we have a lot of cover, and I don’t think Emery would want to be starting Chambers today to make some kind of point.

  3. Where Bailey is so frustrating. That’s the kind of error Leicester punished us for. Instead, poor touch and it’s over.

    We need more than that from a skill player.

  4. Sorry to say that Ramsey seems to be doing less than Bailey. Think cash and Moreno could do no worse than those two today. Is Duran on the subs bench?

  5. Booo sack Unai. 😉

    jack has actually fucked us over there with a dive only solace is I have Halland and Maghrez in my Fantasy team.

    Think Unai might have to rethink the it’s a learning curve shtick and be a bit more pragmatic or he’ll trash some player’s confidence

  6. No Dhuran on the bench, or much else. Grealish has probably lost himself a few more Villa fans, but this team of individuals doesn’t show any bite or fight for the future.
    If this is the standard for the Arsenal game, we are looking at another home thrashing.

  7. Also, not saying Ramsey’s done much, but when Bailey gets a chance like that, he has to do better if Villa are to have any chance of getting anything.

    He’s supposed to be a threat, but he just manages to fluff his lines and basically do the defender’s work.

  8. Ah well, liked the look of Duran he is very mobile and has good awareness, Bailey will be under pressure from that performance. Phil starting to look a bit more like it .

  9. What a contrast with the subs on. You would think you are watching a different team. How do you not realise you have not named all yours subs????
    Duran looks like the real deal and what a shot for his first chance. We may have a player that makes a difference. Couthino also looking like he may be coming back to form.
    Unai needs to sort out his best eleven this week.
    Definitely the second half we saw a different Villa. There is hope for next week.

  10. PP,

    Always difficult to evaluate games like this. Was it because City got a bit complacent, couldn’t get back into top gear? Was it Villa just being braver? Was it the subs?

    Right before we conceded the second I was thinking, “Okay…however it’s happened, couple really good saves and it’s only 1-0. We could get something from this.”

    Then of course we have an error, down 0-2, then quickly to 0-3 right before the half.

    But that second goal is the one that bothers me, because that’s where it went out of reach.

  11. Thought Doug and Kamara needed to be a bit braver. You just have to get right up in there and contest those balls into the middle. City are always going to have their chances.

    Dunno if playing off was by design, just keep it in front, but as we pushed harder and quicker, we had a few passages in their half, got to get more players involved, forced more errors/regained the ball.

    A very familiar Villa story.

    But Duran’s shot was a nice thing to see. Bigger and stronger than Bailey, probably nearly as fast, and didn’t overcomplicate things. I’d just go ahead and start him.

  12. Here’s my post from yesterday:

    Suggested line-up for the Man. City game – any thoughts?
    Young Konsa Mings Moreno
    Cash Kamara Luiz Buendia
    Duran Watkins

    On today’s 2nd half performance, I think that would have been a better eleven, even given we had to have Chambers in Mings’ place! I certainly thought Bailey, Ramsey and Digne were largely a waste of space today. Very much like the look of Duran: must start against Arsenal.

  13. Thought we were way too passive in the first half. Didn’t get into them. But again, defensive errors lost it. Other lifers above have identified who played well and who didn’t. I agree with those comments.

  14. Expected the result, can’t say I didn’t. But the 3 subs did make an instant impact. Well done Unai. New boy Duran did well, liked his contribution.

  15. I totally disagreed with the refs decisions most of the time. He was a real homer. They got all the 50/50s and some. Grealish did one on us with the penalty, wasn’t expecting him to play that dirty against us. He’s obviously a Manc now. Good riddance.

  16. Bailey should now be a little worried about about his starting place. Taking a pragmatic view of where we’re at, I’d say Unai needs about 5 players in the summer transfer window. We should be able to get some income back from those who will be sold as we will now be discarding some useful players that other teams need.

  17. Maybe Villa’s boo boys got to Grealish, something I never understand about so-called football fans booing a player for no logical reason. It is bound to increase their determination to win!
    Refereeing and VAR decisions have not been good this weekend.
    Surely the law needs to be clearly defined about players challenging the referee. I still think we should adopt the strict laws that exist in rugby, and stop all these ridiculous situations. The captain should be the only player allowed to approach the referee.
    channel 4 programme on The Tory Party and the Russians was enlightening tonight. Would we even have had the Brexit vote under Cameron, and would Putin have risked invading Crimea!
    Boris was obviously aptly named by his Dad…!!
    Just a short aside from Villa !!!

  18. Jesus with all these UFO’s flying about maybe we should start an academy on Mars? I wonder what’s being cooked up for us this time, bound to be something we can be afraid of 😉

    Mings will be back in if fit no way Chambers is a replacement. Good job we got rid of Watkins Isn’t it, not.

  19. Desmond,

    Agreed. Thought Kamara had a quiet day in terms of physicality, but then most everyone did until we tried to get more into them. That’s the big thing that has to change. We just don’t have the tough, really aggressive types with speed and strength who anticipate and just come right up tight and into you.

    SJM tries, he’s combative, but not fast enough. Luiz, well, he prefers not to, but is also short-legged like McGinn. Almost there, but not enough reach.

  20. PP, you’re right, that they will have to clamp down on players abusing referees at some point. . . It’s just gone too far.
    The authorities seem to be so slow to recognise when change is needed and even slower to act.

    They also need to change the law on penalties. We all know that Grealish cheated and put his leg out to kick Ramsey so that he could justify falling over. Everyone could see it happened. The pundits were even joking about it and saying he was ‘clever’ to create the penalty.
    If the ball hits a defender’s arm, the officials have to make the decision about whether the arm was in ‘an unnatural position’. The same has to apply to attackers legs. If they win a penalty by putting their leg into an unnatural position then it should not be a penalty.
    Once you’ve thought about it, it seems obvious that this rule change is needed.

  21. Mark, I’m afraid you’ve not been paying attention. . . . we didn’t manage to offload Watkins after all, so we’re stuck with only the 5th highest ranking forward in the league. If we had any ambition at all we should surely have bought one of the top 3.

  22. As the world’s No 1 fan of VAR……… I would bin it with immediate effect except for the goal line technology which determines whether the ball crosses the goal line. You could say add the offsides to that but I wouldn’t. Let the officials referee the game and when offside goals stand and vice versa at least the fans know immediately and the celebrations can begin.

    I wouldn’t let the officials off though. Any contentious decisions should result in them being hauled before the media to explain. The EPL should then apply disciplinary actions where errors are made.

    Change the laws back to deliberate hand ball for penalties and bin this “unnatural position” crap. Same with tripping an opponent in the area, it must be deliberate to gain a penalty. Orange cards for 15 minutes in the sin bin when players surround the ref (captain excepted) or for simulation.

    Finally, stop the clock each time the ball is out of play and start it again once it’s back in play. Should clean up the sport no end. Oh…..silly me. The mega bucks clubs will never let anything happen that crimps their non-level playing field.

  23. Good points Plug and Robbo. VAR and the refereeing need to be sorted out.

    2 more goals for Archer tonight. This follows on from his goal scoring at Preston last season. Surely we should be keeping him next season and not chasing all these expensive players from overseas. What’s happened to Kaden Young surely better than Bailey.
    Arsenal losing tonight makes our game on Saturday very interesting.

  24. Good afternoon everyone.
    I’ve just read what Ashley Preece has said about Cameron Archer and also Michael Carrick’s comments.
    Archer has played 4 games for Boro has 3 goals and 2 assists.

    As Preece says the thinking behind sending Archer out on loan was short sighted,particularly with sale of Ings.

    I’m becoming jaundiced by the sporting director situation and also unimpressed by the CEO.

    I don’t understand the owners after 3 or so years with the progress made. It’s very average to say the least.

    Did we spend the money from the sale of Grealish wisely? With the purchase of Ings(sold for a loss),Buendia at £35m and Bailey(spent more time injured than not)
    The recruitment has generally well below standard for a long time with some notable exceptions.

    There’s going to be a hard time getting the right buying in the summer.

  25. Des, most Lifers have reservations about the CEO and Sporting Director for the reason you’ve stated. Some Lifers also thought the Grealish money wasn’t spent wisely, me being one of them.

    I’m assuming Archer’s loan period was permitted by Unai so I’ll trust him on that one. It’s also becoming apparent that Unai now has greater control over the sales/purchases than any of the previous incumbents. With this in mind, I’m hopeful that next season will be the breakout year although as always, there’s the caveat of not all purchases working out for the better.

  26. I was very disappointed when Archer was loaned out, as I thought he was ready to play his part in the squad, especially with the sale of Ings. Maybe Unai expected to get his man before the close of business, but he failed.
    Seeing other clubs bringing in young players at 18/19 years old, and in the main succeeding in bringing on their development, I feel for many of Villa’s young guns who have not been given the same opportunity, and this has been going on for years, not just in recent times. There just seems to be a lack of trust within the management set-up.
    If we were bringing in exceptional quality players it might be different, but we are just bringing in foreign players who are not much further forward in their development, but perhaps look good playing in lesser continental leagues.

  27. Have already said so much about refereeing and VAR needing to be run in a transparent way, using outside people for dealing with the technical side of VAR, and a balance between referee, professional player, and the fans to look at questionable decisions.
    Game should match rugby controlled by the clock, and yellow cards to be backed by a sin bin, then we might get back to the real game when everyone played for £10 per week, plus bonuses!!

  28. Anyone seen that another two MEP’s are being dragged into Qatargate? money money money eh. Funny enough none of it gets mentioned in the UK much as the EU can do no wrong 🙂 So I do not hold out much hope for City’s down fall, or at least not in any meaningful way, that would just give an excuse for the Super league to take off.

    I agree on Archer, how many goals does the lad have to score at different clubs to see he’s worth a punt?

  29. Nice one Tyro. The official site says Mings has signed a new contract without stipulating it’s length. Unai must therefore wish to keep him as part of the squad. Good news for those like me who rate him.

  30. The most wonderful thing about that was just how much it clearly meant to Coutinho

    Emery has said what a humble guy he is for someone who has done so much. Coutinho is reported to hVe said that he wants to fight for his place. . . based on that reaction I absolutely believe it

  31. Yep fair play to courtinho he’s upped his game on all fronts , big difference from the woe is me impression he gave for so long , I hope it’s a huge corner turned for him.

  32. This team is so mentally weak, cave in to often. Buendia a passenger again, Ramsey totally devoid of any confidence am I the only one who’s starting to get nervous of where this season is going?

  33. Just watching the replay of the Jorginho goal and you could very easily have justified it being disallowed. The two offside Arsenal players were certainly in line with the shot so I’d be interested to hear the logic of why it wasn’t disallowed.
    If I was going to argue it from an Arsenal perspective I’d say thatvit wasn’t a ‘clear and obvious mistake by the referee so it was right for it to stand.
    If he’d disallowed it there’s no way it would have been overturned by VAR for the same reason. The trouble with that argument is that offsides are left for the linesman to judge and they don’t flag immediately so the referee will always give the goal

  34. Replay, we should have got something out of the Leicester game but the other two have been against the two title challengers and other than the first half against City we’ve competed well.
    If we get no points from our ‘next’ 3 games then yes, we should start to worry that we might not finish in the top half but let’s see how those 3 games go first

  35. Sorry, lads…out of town for a little birthday getaway, didn’t get all my ducks sorted. Also couldn’t watch the match.

    But I’d say 2-2 to injury time was was pretty decent. Shame it fell apart, like it always seems to do, but that’s a very good side that had to win.

  36. Gutted we lost. Gutted we shipped 4 at home again. It’s torture. Think we played OK, better than earlier in the season but we are too open and in this league, that spells a shredding.

    Mings headed clearance could have gone anywhere. Out towards the corner flag, out for a corner. But it went straight to Saka. Bailey’s shot comes back off the bar. Their effort does the same but bounces in of the keeper. We’re out of luck at the moment.

  37. We do need to tighten up. Limit the space for the opposition. And stop chucking it away in overtime.

    On the plus side, Ollie scored a nice goal. He’s on form at present. Couts goal was also well worked and taken. We do have a cutting edge but it comes at a price.

    On the minus side, if you are going to see a goal shipped because the keeper has gone up for a corner you can bet your house it’ll be Villa.

  38. Disappointed we didn’t get anything today. Especially as they’d had their cup final just 3 days earlier. A weekend down the drain.

  39. The marking for Zinchenko’s goal was non-existent. Three losses on the spin. We need a win next week. The Everton game takes on huge importance.

  40. What is it with month of February, we lose more matches than normal
    Players are so weak mentally and physically, we definitely need a change in buying,lange reign has been shambolic
    Refs how did arsenal 3rd goal stand not 1 but 2 offside players not good enough again by ref and var

  41. Yep James, the 3rd goal had 2 offside players in front of keeper obstructing his view. The lino was right there for the corner. Lacking the balls to flag in front the away support.

    We are not mentally strong enough. The opposition also looked fitter. Don’t know how Odegaard missed his open goal after Konsa screwed up. As Ollie said after the game about losing from winning positions, it’s happened too often.

    Still smarting a day later.

  42. Yesterday may have been an entertaining game for the neutrals, but for Villa fans, once more it was disappointment, and a feeling that once again we had thrown away a winning position.
    Good to see us make good use of our chances, an improvement in the form of Couthino, and the fact that we managed to hold our leads for a little longer.
    However, it was criminal to throw away everything in the final eight minutes was just total suicide.
    I am also sorry to say that my faith in Martinez since the World Cup, has gradually drained away.
    He is creating problems, not solving them. His constant holding on to the ball for too long, and not looking for an out, is giving the opposition all the time in the world to regroup after a failed attack, rather than exposing them. Picking up yellow cards for time wasting is not helping either, and then his crazy attempt to try and score an equaliser, as if it was a cup match was just suicide.
    We failed to put any pressure on Arsenal by keeping a man forward which allowed Ramsdale to be stood on the halfway line almost. Surely we should have been trying to exploit that!
    Certainly, Unai is not happy and I certainly do not blame him.

  43. PP,

    Agree with everything you wrote. It’s a shame, but Martinez seems a liability. The WC has gone to his head. His time wasting is sooo frustrating. Zinchenko’s Goal – he should have saved it. Look at the saves De Gea made today.

    On positive- Buendia is fantastic. His step over for Coutinho goal – wow! Phil is much better. Ollie has improved, hold up play much better. Duran looks like a real find. Love his raw qualities. He’s even dishing out instructions. What a leader he’ll be

  44. PP and Villa MD. Totally agree with your comments reference Martinez. Post the World Cup he’s become very ordinary. He needs to take a very good look in the mirror. Hoping Emery has given him a thorough review of his glaring errors,most of them in the schoolboy category.

    We’re now showing how sub standard our defence really is. I agree with JG that the shambolic recruitment by Lange and his predecessor has stalled the owners 5 year plan. NSWE take a very serious look at the day to day management of this club. Villa can claim to be a big club,but at the moment they’re anything but. I’ve been a supporter since 1957. They’ve had moments of glory–League Champions followed by winning the old European Cup, but not much else. Admittedly a good season or 2 with John Gregory and Martin O’Neill.
    Plug’s comment about Villa’s fitness is worrying and he’s not the first to mention it. I agree with his point about lack of mental strength. We’ve had only 4 draws–we seem incapable of holding a winning position. We compound this by losing more often than not.

    Emery has a real task in the summer to recruit effectively. I’m confident that he will.

  45. Good points Desmond M. I think the owners are making us a big club again, let’s see in the summer.

    I like high press football, but surely we need to stop playing out from the back. I’m shaking every time we do it. Maybe Carlos will be able to do it, but at the moment I prefer to punt to Watkins and Duran. I’d start Duran ahead of Bailey going forward. I’d even give Traore a run out over Bailey.

    Summer outs: Martinez (great if we get 30m), Digne and Cash as Unai doesn’t fancy either, Deondoncker, Bailey, SJM, and Chambers.

    Wonder what happened to Kadan Young?

  46. watching the game back on match of the Day and you realise, especially in the second half, is how much Villa stand off players and do not fight to cut out crosses, win the ball back and harass the opposition, which is the difference between us and the teams that are winning at moment.
    The really successful ones are doubling up on the opposition, so if the first player doesn’t get the ball, the second one does!

  47. it’s hard not to become a bit negative after losing 3 in a row but I do think we have to be careful as passionate fans not to go a bit too far.

    I am more confident than I’ve been all season that we already have a top 8 squad so let’s not go too over the top about recruiting errors. Yes there have been some for sure (the main one being the appointment of Gerrard) but remember where we’ve come from to take us to a top 8 squad in a comparatively short space of time, ‘without’ the huge spending of a team like City.

    Ask me in 4 games time whether I still feel the same!

  48. I see Martin O’Neill has been a bit critical of Emery for calling out Martinez over his decision to go up for the corner where we then conceded.

    I feel slightly hypocritical here because one of my gripes about Gerrard was that he was openly critical of his players. I do think there are a few differences though. Emery (unlike Gerrard) hasn’t been trying to blame players when we lose and take credit when we win. He hasn’t made a habit of calling out players. Most importantly, he probably felt that Martinez needs to come back down to earth, give his head a bit of a wobble, and remember he’s part of a team.

  49. On emery calling martinez out I have no problem, or emery selling martinez for that matter
    Yes he is a decent keeper but that’s it,remember we have have so many poor Keepers it’s not hard to look good,he reminds me now of David platt after 1990 World Cup heads gone

  50. It’s going to be a busy summer,we need to stop buying lightweights, no guts no glory and too many of ours don’t have the fight in them
    A bigger squad too will put pressure on lads wearing the shirt,take last 3 games everyone making simple mistakes can’t clear the ball,can’t win a tackle in midfield, attackers dispossessed to easy

  51. RObB0, let me enlighten you on Laws 11.2.a and 11.2.b of the football laws relating to offside. Sub-Clauses (a) and (b) of 11.2 state:

    (a) An attacker is onside even though he’s offside and obstructing the keeper’s line of sight when:

    i) The ball has travelled a long way.
    ii) The keeper has got plenty of time to try and see it.
    iii) If it’s felt the keeper made a good dive.
    iv) The keeper has every opportunity to try and save it.
    v) The attacker(s) play for one of the big six clubs.

    (b) An attacker is only offside when in an offside position and obstructing the keeper’s line of sight in the event that:

    i) The ball touches an attacking player(s).
    ii) The ball goes very close to an attacking player(s).
    iii) The attacking player(s) dummy the ball.
    iv) The attacking player(s) do NOT play for one of the big six clubs.

    Bet you didn’t know any of the above eh? Nah, me neither. Gallagher making it up as he goes.

  52. JG your comments well put imo. We lack controlled aggression and awareness, the 2nd goal being a case in point.
    Plug- like your excellent explanation of the offside rule!!!!

    Yes VillaMD what has happened to Kadan Young. I guess like all the other youngsters-faded from view.
    Why didn’t we make a better effort in keeping Chukuemeka. Purslow said at the time of signing him he was the second coming. Sadly being wasted at Chelsea. Poor management again by Purslow???

  53. Plug
    Them rules are a bit like the rules for city goal last year when mings tried to control ball and city play who was yards offside stuck in net, only on big club side

  54. Plug, thanks for the offside clarification, although you probably could have limited it to the ‘plays for the top 6’ point.

    You did leave me questioning which bits, if any, of Gallagher’s explanation were relevant and how the law is ‘actually’ worded.
    The relevant bit is simply:
    “interfering with an opponent by preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision.

    Pretty clearcut . . . we was done.

  55. Desmond. Not sure we could have done much more to keep Chukwuemeka and to be honest, £20m for an unproven 18 year old felt pretty good at the time.
    He wanted to go. . . perhaps even more importantly, by all accounts, his Dad wanted him to go. Yeah yeah yeah, Chelsea are the club he grew up supporting and it had nothing to do with the agents fees and higher salary etc etc.
    He’s played 169 minutes so far and would almost certainly have played a lot more had he stayed with us. He didn’t go for footballing reasons and that’s why we were always going to struggle to keep him. The best we could try and do was squeeze as much as possible out of Chelsea.

    I remember at the time saying that if he went to Dortmund who have a history of genuinely giving chances to young talent and making them better players I would have still been disappointed, but could have absolutely empathised with him. He went for the wrong reasons and it may sound harsh, but it will serve him and his advisors right if it stunts his development and he, and they, end up making less money than they would otherwise have done.

  56. Plug,

    Have you submitted your clarifications to the FA yet? Would make the rules much easier to understand for all the Other 14.

    Course, they already know this, I’m sure.

  57. Carney? Yeah, unless he had guaranteed football at Villa, he was going to go. And even then, he might’ve gone.

    Arguments about his development (or lack thereof) are all fair. I suppose the only way to judge is how players do on loan…If they can’t force their way into a lower-league side, then they just don’t have it.

    When they’re kept around the first-team setup, it’s harder to see. You’d assume managers will play those who have an impact, but trust issues, fear of being blamed when it doesn’t work…who knows.

    I’m also assuming it’s a bit harder for Villa to keep young players at a certain level since the squad rotates much less. Chelsea are a mess atm, so can’t really comment about his lack of minutes. Maybe the salary and association with a big club are enough for him for now, but he clearly hasn’t forced himself into the side there, either.

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