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Aston Villa Review: Episode 166 - Villa take a point from derby

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This week's Aston Villa Review focuses squarely on Sunday's Second City Derby, in which Aston Villa battled manfully but had to overcome a sub-par performance to hold on to a draw against Birmingham City. Our misfit hosts came on strong in the second half to level a game that Villa led at the break thanks to Gary Gardner's header.

Chris and Steve pick apart the whys and wherefores of the match, talk a lot about shape and systems, and ask which Villa players came out of the fray with the most credit. We also briefly look ahead to the next game in the Football League Championship, which brings Blackburn Rovers to Villa Park next Saturday afternoon.

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    • The pacing has been laughable this entire 7th season, so I wasn't surprised when it was laughable again. I don't have any complaints though. The thing isn't even being written by Martin anymore, and they can't keep churning these out forever. They're giving us a lot of bang for the buck at this point, more than making up for all those boring subplots like Arya's and Bran's. I'm really disappointed that they're waiting 2 years until the last season though. As good as it is, they run the risk of a lot of people tuning it out and spending their money elsewhere.
    • If we go for it and attack teams and lose/draw I think more fans in the main will at least appreciate the intent to try and finish teams off. Too many times we've acted like Villa in the last few years of the Prem and trying to cling on to a slender lead. That's partly confidence of the players but it's down to the manager to stop that sort of thing. For a team expected to go for automatic promotion, it isn't good enough. The last 2 games are positive and hopefully a catalyst both for the team and the manager. I couldn't give a rats arse how certain players got their chance, so long as we use the results and confidence from them to push on. I was starting to join the Bruce out crew but will happily be proven wrong. I just hope others can do so too. If we play positively and don't win, with the likes of Hourihane and Lansbury playing closer to the opposition box than our own then that's a positive sign, not just a poor result to jump on. The same folk will also moan about scraping a win with a cautious approach. That sort of mentality will mean you're never happy as it'll never be constant flowing attacking and winning football but so long as it becomes more often than not than I hope the feeling around the club will change for the better. The last 2 games could be a great springboard in setting up the direction of the season. Bristol City will be tough but they should be more scared of us and I hope Bruce sets us up to go at them. That's all I expect, as the result of a game doesn't always tell the story.  
    • I'm starting to think everybody is a little bonkers, and it's the people who know they're bonkers but feel like they need to be embarrassed by it who end up with mental health issues. Pressure makes things crack, and sadly for a lot of people I think they put far too much pressure on themselves.
    • I've defended Hutton a decent amount but Bree and RdL are the way forward, Hutton did play better last session than some will give him credit for but he's struggling more and more in his defensive duties. His legs can't match his enthusiasm. I think most fans would settle for a slightly less gung-ho right back in exchange for not getting cross after cross coming in from our right hand side. I think he did earn his place last season and obviously triggered a new deal but it doesn't mean we have to play him when the competition for his place are putting in a performance. He could easily find a starting place at another Championship club at RB but we have little need for him now. I won't slate him like many have but I do think we should concentrate on RdL and Bree. 
    • He's a really good player but how many of his goals and assists are from set-pieces? Hourihane can and will provide on that front. His delivery is upper Prem class from set-pieces, like Snodgrass.  It's a long old season and the likes of Green, Adomah and Elmo will blow hot and cold so it'd be great in terms of depth and quality but at the same time it adds to the confusion of getting a somewhat settled side. I'm not against it at all but at the same time, it just creates more questions. I don't know why I'm not jumping for joy as before his move to West Ham he was on fire and was no doubt in countless fantasy teams in a league above where we're playing.  I suspect Snodgrass, Hourihane and Onomah would terrify the opposition though, provided we continue with allowing forward thinking mids the freedom to play as such.  It kinda feels like an Arsenal situation where there are so many talented players around the midfield area that they never quite excell because of the chopping and changing.  In conclusion, I don't bloody know! 
    • Sunderland also interested according to SKY tonight. 
    • Left out of Australia's squad for qualifiers at the end of August & start of September. No chance if him getting injured on international duty in the short term then.
    • One of the dynamics of Bruce being willing to give the kids a chance to stake a claim is there is now genuine competition for every position on the pitch. While there may be a few automatic starters none of them can be complacent, and know that if they don't give 100 percent they may struggle to keep their spot. 
    • All good . But these kids are in a work situation . Many living in digs away from family for support.   So to be treated like a worthless piece of s##t on a daily basis in front of coaches and players would be very hard to take . And if you talk up and buck the system it could make it worse .  Glad to see this family has come forward . If they need any backup just give me a bell