Short one from me as I’m traveling (and will consequently have to watch on my phone).

As mentioned, we’ll be playing against a potentially tired United side supplemented as usual by a fresher officiating crew. You really have to beat them twice over to take points.

But we’ve done it once, so why not twice? Or is that four times?

Anyway, as has also been mentioned, Brighton’s demolition of Wolves does illustrate that Europe won’t be at all easy. Let’s hope their games in hand prove a burden.

But for any of that to matter, we likely need to take at least something today. A win would be fabulous, a draw might well do. The big thing is maintaining momentum and belief. At this point, it’s all about belief and desire.

And if we are to lose, the nature of the defeat will be meaningful. If we are screwed by favoritism, it might just fire the players up for the remaining four games. If we somehow get routed, that clearly could just deflate the balloon. If…

You know where I’m going. Spin it any way you like, let’s just go make some magic

Over to you.



Comments 34

  1. We do, JG. They’re defo onto them quick, especially Buendia and McGinn. I’d like to see Emi more central in a little more space.

    We’ll see how Emery adjusts. This is where Dendoncker is a weakness for me as he doesn’t offer much going forward, so there’s no double threat from the pivot. Means you can pay more attention to Luiz.

  2. I’d almost like SJM to drop back in there, but we’re limited with wide options, and I don’t think Bert is going to contribute much in a game like this.

  3. United blocking runs off the ball all game has been ignored plus various fouls but they have been the better side. That said how we haven’t put the ball in the net from some of these goal line scrambles is amazing.

  4. An honourable close defeat. Shame ratso f had to be the goal scorer. The mancers had one Casemiro too much for us. I like Buendia but he just wasn’t at it today.

  5. Bummer. Not our day today. I’m concerned that our goals seem to have dried up.

    Despise Fernandes with a vengeance. But the bottom line remains that Unai was the signing of the season bar none.

  6. Short version, games like today show where we’re lacking a bit. Part is down to injuries (Bouba, Cash, maybe Phil), but also depth and just that edge in quality.

    Need a ball carrier, and at least one wide player, for example. Emi isn’t really suited to be that 2nd up top in this system, but obvs Emery wanted best remaining players on the pitch, and doesn’t trust Bert up there to start.

    Beyond that, other thoughts, but just need a touch more quality in the end.

    But a good scrap, bit unlucky to concede, and finished strong.

  7. JC also think teams have cottoned on and are now pressing right up and looking to beat that high line and putting balls in behind young. Watkins marked tighter same for Moreno and Beundia crowded out when in possession, even mcginn was given some special attention.

  8. Disappointed we drew a blank at OT. But if anyone wants a lift it’s there in the words of Unai afterwards. He says we have to close the gap between ManUre and Villa.

    Yep, there is a gap. Nobody is denying it. But the desire to close it coming from Unai fills me with optimism. You wouldn’t bet against him eh?

  9. According to Ashley Preece’s player ratings,Buendia with a 5. I think the worst rating and if you watch Canadian Pete’s The Holy Trinity show of last week,post Fulham game, Pete says he’s been poor in recent matches.

    He lacks physicality and in my view he’s no Casemiro. I think we need a serious upgrade in that department.

    I’ll be interested in CP’s take.

  10. MK,

    Yes, they are getting right at us, and that’s where that little bit more quality comes in, first touch, one-time pass, you know. Has to happen very consistently. City can just keep doing it, which is why they are what they are, and most everyone will give them space rather than be punished for trying to get close.

    Emery’s high line, like Pool’s. You attack it the same way, trying to get over and between. If you’ve got quality delivery often enough, and great runners receiving, it’ll cause problems.

    With the ball, the pressure is part of why I’d like at least one real dribbler. We know how that worked with Jack, and now it’s happening for him at City while still being in a more defined/constrained role.

    And if we had genuine wide threats, we’d obviously have so many more options and be dangerous more consistently throughout games. Provides different outlets, passing options, ways to make a team pay.

    For me, it’s just a shame that Bailey and Bert haven’t panned out. Sure there’s a market for them, but we need more effective players there.

    And JJ, for his part…I know, still young, but he’ll need to be working on his decision-making. I like that he wants to drive and carry, but he’s got to be working to find that next level of incision.

  11. Desmond,

    Wasn’t a good game for him, no. But I disagree with Mr. Trinity that he’s been poor in recent weeks.

    To MK’s point, teams are marking up really tight understanding he’s the key distributor. I’m seeing him receive/turn with two and sometimes three around him.

    I prefer when he’s been the more withdrawn wide player on the left, drifting inside. But with Bailey hurt and Bert either not having the minutes, trust, or both to play more, he’s back in the advanced wide role and I think it takes him out of things more, as well.

    Bigger picture, with Bouba out, Dendoncker isn’t doing much to get us forward. Had a good game first time in, but it looks to me like players are maybe even hesitant to give it to him. Teams don’t have to pay him much attention. He’s an outlet, which is fine, a body that gets in the way sometimes, but isn’t doing a whole lot else the last two games.

    Also, as much as I admire Ash’s resilience, I’m not convinced by his offensive contributions. Naturally, it’s been a stopgap situation, and I don’t know that Cash is the answer, either. But it’s limiting Villa’s ability to be more expansive, and other players can be more heavily marked.

    Now that I’ve said all that, I’ll go back to saying that in the abstract, there’s not a player in the Villa squad that couldn’t be replaced by someone better. No one in there is the best in the world, or the league, for that matter. Well, Martinez can be in that conversation. But you could find a better player for every other position.

    So, I do agree, very curious where Emery sees his biggest needs this summer.

  12. Just seen a photo of SupaTrez in his claret and blue Trabzonspor shirt. The shirt is almost as cool as Trez. I want that shirt at VP one day.

  13. JG.

    Yes. Brighton did look good. Could’ve been a “Utd look a bit ragged and tired” or “Brighton aim to avenge Cup Defeat.”

    Either way, Brighton looked the better side, and better than Villa. A lot to admire there.

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