Gerrard’s Villa Honeymoon Comes to a Familiar End

Lots of frustration and anger after Sunday’s stinker, and fingers are pointing everywhere, which will happen. Most are singling out the players, and some have gone a bit further, logically, saying the performance at St. Jame’s Park would’ve gotten Smith sacked.

I was more hopeful of a glorious charge, didn’t want to be back here so quickly. Perhaps a shake-up will help in the short term. Whatever, if it gets us results, I’m all for it. If Gerrard is indeed ruthless, there will be lots of changes come summer. But one hopes that solves the problems, rather than this being a failure of system and evidence of obstinacy.

Have Sawiris and Edens Changed Villa’s Remit?

Villa have gotten in one player this window we’d never have expected, another quality signing in Digne, perhaps another big surprise, a CB prospect in Kerr Smith, a reasonable #2 in Robin Olsen, and it’s anything but a normal January.

Everyone is rightly asking what all this means. There’s SG being backed versus Dean (ie, the Grealish money + what we’d have considered our expected summer spending outside that windfall); NSWE’s short- and long-term ambitions; and Villa’s previous recruitment/development strategy. Sure I’m leaving something out.

Villa’s January Business So Far, and the Damn United Again

Villa’s January business says NSWE, Steven Gerrard, or both, are looking for immediate impact, it seems. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they make a noticeable impact. You can’t have an entire team of projects, after all. Perhaps Phil and Lucas offer enough experience and nous to help the team’s mindset, never mind the set-up.

Whether this illustrates a demand for European places this year, can’t say. Whether this is meant to pre-empt sides like Newcastle? Can’t say. Whether this is part of the promises made to Gerrard to convince him to come, can’t say. Could very well be all of the above.

A Depressing Familiarity in Villa’s Brentford Failure

I didn’t enjoy Sunday at all. But I wasn’t necessarily surprised. The team is reverting to norm. You can have all the expectations you like, but some are more reasonable than others. The squad is the squad, and despite pressure from above to achieve more now, Villa are still mid-table quality. You can tweak the system a bit, set different standards, emphasize different things, but you’re still working with the same clay.