Needless to say, Villa’s 0-2 setback triggered a sort of meltdown. What’s the problem? For one, Villa aren’t playing to their strengths.
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.
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.
Yes, some are fretting, but here’s a sober look about Villa’s summer business and season prospects.
Have Villa done enough to replace Grealish and keep the five-year plan? Short answer, “Yes, probably.” With more business, it could easily be “Yes, no question.” Either way, a lot of it hinges on how Danny Ings changes the way Villa play.