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.

Welcome, Steven Gerrard: What Are We Going To Get?

We’ve all gone out and heard about a narrow 4-3-3. Forcing attacking play wide. Wide forwards tucked in and driving the channels, fullbacks overlapping for width. Wide midfielders tasked with pressing fullbacks, and a back line that supports attacking play. A ‘solid’ defense. Now, apart from the nominal distribution of players, I’m not seeing a huge difference in philosophy from the way Smith wanted Villa play. Perhaps the biggest difference will be that Gerrard can put a rocket up them and has no loyalties.

Chelsea 5–4 Villa (pens): Far From Ugly.

In the end, an excellent performance and Villa were perhaps unlucky not to win in regular time. For all the changes, absences, and youth, the team seemed to know what they were doing, and the mentality was really good. I expected more timidity and hesitation. It wasn’t there, or if it was, not for long. The set-up looks good.