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Everything posted by GeordieVillan

  1. At some stage we will need Bailey, Buendia, Traore and probably El Ghazi to play more than a bit part role from the bench. But while we play this 3-5-2, if we can get Watkins and / or Ings scoring regularly, we might have a chance of a really special season.
  2. Seems to me like, whether we wanted to or not, we sold our best player in order to build a squad that would help us to not fall apart when one or two key players are injured, but also to allow us to use different systems depending on the opposition. This is one of the games where we should consider playing 3 centre backs, in fact if we don’t do it today, I can’t imagine many other opposition teams we would use it against. We also finally have 2 proper strikers so if we do use a 3-5-2 / 5-3-2 we know we will probably still have a threat at the other end. I would be playing the following - Steer Cash / Tuanzebe / Konsa / Mings / Young Luiz / McGinn / Ramsey Watkins / Ings You could easily have Targett in for Young, but he’s a specialist wing back and I think we should start him for his experience. This gives us the 3 in midfield with plenty of energy, width from the wing backs and 2 genuine goal scorers up front. We then have options from the bench in wide areas if we need to open the game up and chase something later on. That’s what I would do, but I suspect we will see some sort of 4-3-3 as usual, and we will try shoehorn Watkins and Ings into it somehow, and it won’t quite work.
  3. Is anyone else looking at the league table and thinking we could still do something? Maybe not the title, but top 6 or even top 4? Just a few things that jump out right now - we are 4 points ahead of Wolves with 4 games in hand! - we are 2 points ahead of Arsenal with 3 games in hand... - we are 9 points ahead of Brighton in 16th place with 4 games in hand, which makes me feel pretty safe... - we are 6 points off 4th place with at least 2 games in hand on all those teams above us, which to me says we are in mix. Now games in hand don’t mean points, but I would say mid-table with on average 3 games in hand on the rest of league is a pretty decent position! Hopefully the COVID hasn’t broken our stride...if we are lucky it might have been a bit of mid-season break for the players and they come back refreshed...
  4. This is potentially a great signing, one that fans of other clubs, and maybe a few of us, will be really surprised by. He’s certainly not a player on the way down, which makes him very different to some of the other loan signings we’ve made in the past. If anything, he is approaching his peak, he’s a regular in the England squad and has work to do to make sure he makes the squad for the Euros. As others have said, straightaway it could free up more space for Jack to do his thing, not to mention the threat that Barkley brings himself. I do think this means that Conor will be first reserve initially, but I don’t think there is any guarantee things will remain that way. This signing means that if McGinn has a dip in form like last year, he will be able to take a break with Conor stepping in. It just gives us a lot more options, Barkley and Jack both playing narrower as no10s behind the striker for example, with Luiz, McGinn and Conor in midfield. We are definitely going in the right direction. Would it be greedy to ask for another striker still? Even if just a back up...
  5. He’s got some big decisions to make now, as whether by luck or design, we still have a decent chance of staying up, but something has to change. He’s clearly picking Konsa at the moment because he feels it makes us more solid at the back and gives an extra aerial presence when attacking and defending. We have generally looked more solid since the restart, but he really called Konsa our post-match yesterday, which I thought was strange. Regardless, the approach at the moment seems to be that one point is better than no points, so we are being very pragmatic rather than being gung-ho and going for wins. It’s not easy to watch, but it might be effective. Its also clear that the wide men aren’t offering much of an attacking outlet at the minute, and that when we switched to 2 up front with Jack at the tip of a diamond at the end of the game yesterday, we controlled the game and looked more dangerous, even if it was just from winning set pieces. If it were up to me, this is how I would play against Wolves, as it means we can get Jack, McGinn and Hourihane all into central positions, and still have Luiz as the holding midfielder. It also gives us 2 outlets up front and might stop them being isolated. Konsa is then the issue as playing a diamond would rely on fullbacks providing width, so it may be a choice between Konsa and Elmo, perhaps Konsa starting and Elmo coming on later if we need a goal. I think he will stick with 4-3-3 though, as he probably feels we are more solid at the moment. If fans were offered being level on points with West Ham and Bournemouth and one point behind Watford at this stage of the restart, most would have taken it. Hopefully Watford lose tonight. Goal difference might still be a problem, but if we can keep defending as we are, it will only take one heavy-ish defeat for the other teams around us and all of sudden it might swing in our favour.
  6. I honestly think that collectively as supporters we all just need to calm down a bit. Obviously after the Arsenal game and yesterday the immediate reaction is like a punch to the gut, but we have to have perspective. Its very early, and we have had our ridiculous expectations realigned. There was always a chance that we might do a Wolves, and we all hoped that would be the case, and even the club’s leadership made sounds about us not just being there to make up the numbers. Equally there was a chance we would do a Fulham, but I don’t think that will happen either based on what we have seen so far. We have shown we can be competitive against established Premier League teams. We have had good spells in every game we have played, and look like we have goals in us now from all over the pitch. We have been unlucky at times, and naive at times. There is room for improvements on and off the pitch, but what else could we realistically have expected. As things stand, it looks like we are going to be fighting to survive and we may be in the mix down there until very late in the season, maybe even the last day. That should not be a surprise to anyone. But we are playing our football our way, which we as fans enjoy watching, and while the results havnt been there, it’s at least been easier on the eye than our most recent experiences in the premier league. We also have a load of new players who are still settling. Wes is the biggest concern, but to be fair to the guy, the only alternative to him is Davis, and he’s hardly a thoroughbred at this level (although I do think we should give him a chance in the next game). The other concern is Taylor, so hopefully Targett can stay fit, as he could be key. I don’t think we need to panic unless we start to get cut adrift by the time we get 15-20 games in. As it is, there is very little between the teams at the bottom of the table, and I regardless of points, I would only really be concerned at this stage if I was a Watford or Newcastle fan, as they for me have looked poor apart from the odd positive here and there.
  7. I think he’s gone for a familiar back 4 after watching what has happened to Norwich and West Ham. I don’t blame him. The last thing we want is a heavy defeat here by playing too open with our attacking fullbacks. This is only one game, having our confidence destroyed would really set us back. He’s also gone for partnerships that know eachother on the wings and midfield. If we don’t concede early, I think we will make a game of it.
  8. It might be sensible to keep 3 of last season’s back 4 in the starting line up. If we went with most people’s (including my own) choice of team, only Mings would have remained and the rest would have all been new to the team. I suspect the new fullbacks will be phased in over the next 5-10 games. He’s also gone for a familiar midfield and pace and power up front. I suspect maybe Jota might be one to bring on later to change the game, but he might struggle with the strength and aggression on Spurs from the start. Aside from anything else - he’s giving all the lads from last season a chance. If they don’t step up then he can justifiably change things.
  9. I think universally Villa fans wanted Derby rather than Leeds. I’ve seen quite a bit of Derby this year, and that is the best they have played - aggressive without going over the top, and courageous and confident on the ball. We are confident because we have beaten them twice this season, however Leeds did the same and look what happened tonight. This is very much a 50/50 game for me. Both teams are capable of blitzing eachother.
  10. OT - but strongly family links to the Midlands, Villa Park was the first ground I went to watch a match in the flesh, and one match watching Tony Daley was enough for me to make up my mind! Also OT, but regarding loyalty of Newcastle fans, this is overplayed quite alot, there was some difficult times at Newcastle before Kevin Keegan arrived, and much of my generation (born between the late 70s and late 80s) didn't support Newcastle when they first got into football. Most of my friends in Newcastle growing up were Liverpool, Everton or Man Utd fans (before Man Utd's success in the 90s). Some of those stayed loyal, but quite alot switched allegiances back to Newcastle when they became successful during the Keegan years...
  11. Very interesting reading some of the comments on here, from what seems like a bunch of decent people trying to navigate a minefield without appearing to be offensive or a snowflake...I had a few thoughts - 1) I wonder why someone has decided to video this? Are they doing so because they think its a brilliant chant? Or because they think it might be racist/offensive and they are wanting to highlight it either because they are proud of those doing the singing or or to try shame them? 2) I'd love to ask those involved if they would happily start singing this song in the stadium with a full house? If not, then I think that shows they know they shouldn't be singing it and it causes offence. If yes, then I would say its a serious misjudgement of the current climate. 3) What will Tammy think of all this if/when he sees it. This is a guy that we are all desperate to stay at Villa, but imagine if something like this became a factor in his decision to stay with us or not. How would those involved feel then? Even more than that, its not impossible that others players in the squad could be offended by it. I'm a person of colour (British Asian), but I identify myself as a Geordie because I've been born and raised in Newcastle. I can personally say that if this was an Asian player and there was a song which revolved around the player being called "brown", then I would definitely be uncomfortable, regardless of the motives of those singing the song.
  12. I'm honestly not sure who should start tonight out of Whelan and Hourihane. If I was Hourihane, I would feel mighty aggrieved if I'm not in the starting 11 after I came on and changed the game on Saturday. Even aside from Whelan's error, he and McGinn were both below par. But just because he will feel aggrieved, that doesn't mean he should start! As an aside, regarding Whelan's error, what really struck me is the way that he just stops after Gayle runs on to the ball, he's literally not moving. I don't know if he is in shock or if he is confused, but its very strange. You would imagine his immediate reaction would be to chase back as quick as possible, but it looked like his reaction (even before the ball is in the net) is to think "oh well, I've cocked up there". What if Steer and made a save and the ball had rebounded back out, Whelan was literally standing still. Bizarre, but maybe just a bad moment for him in a big game. I thought I was imagining all this, and then Max Rushden on Football Weekly said something along the lines of "Glenn Whelan made an error and then realised he is 70 years old". That sums it up for me, he looked like an old man. If I was West Brom I would be looking at that and be trying to be someone full of energy and speed around Whelan and put him under pressure for the first 10-20 minutes. This is one of the situations where its nice not to be the manager, as whatever team is picked, if the result isn't right, it seems like 50% of the fan base are going to blame Dean Smith for who he picks as DM tonight.
  13. Video interview on Sky Sports this morning showing him saying he still thinks he has the ability to play for Chelsea and his aim is to go back there in the Summer. He’s just waiting for his chance and then he needs to grab it with both hands. While this should come as no surprise, a few things we learn from this - 1) regardless of whether we get promoted, he isn’t planning on being here next year, and therefore we would need to plan accordingly. 2) he’s weakened the bargaining position of any team wanting to buy him, as he’s made clear that he wants to stay and fight for his place at Chelsea 3) I think it’s quite a silly interview to give in the grand scheme of things. He would have been better off saying that he always wanted to play in the top flight with Chelsea and he’s waiting for his chance, but he’s enjoyed his loan experiences elsewhere, and he’s just focussed on helping Villa go up in the Summer for now. By saying what he has, he’s risking putting in a poor performance and the fans accusing him of not caring as he’s going back to Chelsea in the summer anyway, something which hasn’t happened so far. He actually generated quite a bit of good will by staying quiet in January. 4) fans need their expectations to be realistic about what the intentions are of the loan players - Tammy and Mings being the two most important I think.
  14. FWIW, I thought Grealish wasn’t at his best today, he was caught in possession more than I ever recall seeing before. And if this was an off day for him, it was still very very comfortable for the lads. Just like the previous 3 games, we restricted the opposition to very little, while managing to create some clear cut chances ourselves. What has been positive about the last 2 games especially, is that we have been playing against teams that would try to sit in with men behind the ball and try to frustrate us, but we have still been able to play our game. I don’t think anyone would have believed this was possible with this run of 4 fixtures on paper. Boro will be looking over their shoulders, not just at us but also at Preston and Sheff Wed. Even West Brom will be thinking they can be caught the way things are going. Up next, We have a game that we should go in to confident of winning, Bristol City go to Sheff Utd and Boro play Norwich, and then they play eachother, so points will be dropped, and soon enough we might be in playoff positions, without them having games in hand. What an incredible league. I don’t know if we will keep this going, but it’s nice to be in contention at least.
  15. Great result. We played pretty well attacking wise, and defensively we limited Forest to very little in terms of chances. Results also went our way, although as I said earlier - we aren’t the only ones with momentum - Sheff Wed and Preston will feel they are making a good run at the playoffs as well, and they both have very winnable games on Saturday. Its wide open now, Saturday becomes the new biggest game of the season for us. Win that and it bring Boro back into the mix a bit, and all of a sudden there are 2 spots up for grabs. We basically need to win every game between now and Leeds, I don’t think we want to be under pressure in the last 2. Good to be back in contention at least!
  16. If we don’t go up, and if we lose Grealish in the summer, and if Lansbury can get fit, I think we will be a big player for us next season in the midfield with Hourihane and McGinn. He really needs to stay fit though.
  17. We are in the territory of every game being the biggest game of the season, especially if we have won the previous game to keep ourselves in the hunt. We might feel as though we are timing are run of good form just right, but the same could be said for Preston, Sheff Wed and Forest, who are all actually in better form than us really. Its not too late for us, but I feel like we can probably only drop points in 2 games between now and the end of the season, which means we need to win 8.
  18. Fair play to all the Villa players for stepping in and trying to protect Jack. Also, someone like Hourihane who is always accused of being soft and a bottler, his immediate instinct was to run straight over and dive in. Just makes you think what perceptions we have of these guys and what they are like in reality.
  19. I think we should have walked off. How can the game continue if the players aren’t safe. Some things are more important than football, 3 points or a derby match. The guy could have seriously hurt Grealish. To be fair, how can the Birmingham players feel safe either. Crazy to witness that.
  20. Good day so far! Let’s not now blow it. 3 points from 4th, 6 points from 3rd, 10 points from 2nd. If you could ask only one more thing, it would be a Derby winner....we need Norwich and/or Leeds to get pulled back into the chasing pack...
  21. It’s amazing what difference a win makes. We have 2 games in the next few days, if we can manage to win both of those, then you just would think there is a decent chance we will be in 6th place, or at least level on points with 6th. Then let’s ignore Leeds for now and focus on Norwich....they play Derby next, it’s possible that they might draw or lose, and then Brentford, who knows, maybe another draw or defeat. We then might be just 6-9 points behind 2nd place. If we can then get it back to 6 points by the end of January, well who knows. Point being - things can change quickly, but we need to win our bloody games first!
  22. Massive game today. We are in “save our season” territory I think. This fixture also marks the beginning of the run of so called “easier games”. If we can put together a run of 4 or 5 wins on the bounce now, maybe even more than that, things might look very different by the end of January. Lose today and you’ve got to think that confidence will be shot, and for me it will feel quite a bit like Bruce’s first season where we got to January and we were hoping for a big impact from the January signings to turn the season around.
  23. I think this is a very complex issue and people need to be careful of knee-jerk reactions. As someone who has played football at a decent level (by no means professional) for around 25 years, the landscape of what is acceptable has changed massively. Certain things have always been unacceptable eg. Sexually abusing kids, and while those things have been going on they have been brushed under the carpet or covered up, and are only now being investigated and criminal charges are rightly being brought against the perpetrators. But for other things, what was acceptable 20, 30 or even 40 years ago just wouldn’t wash these days, and again rightly so. I’m talking more broadly here about racism and homophobic comments for example - are we going back decades to bring people to task for those comments, in most cases no, because there is an acknowledgment and acceptance that society has changed and if people change with it then they can largely continue with their lives. But it is a good thing that people are held to higher standards nowadays. Specifically on this case and K-Mac, regardless of whether your view is that he has produced a load of good players or not enough, I personally don’t think it is fair to judge his behaviour and interactions 20 years ago against today’s standards for bullying, as there simply wasn’t the same level of awareness of mental health issues then as there is now. What previously may have been considered a weakness or lack of character in a sportsman may now rightly be classed as a mental health issue, and those coaching would adjust their behaviour with those individuals accordingly. So in terms of Farrelly and the way he feels he was treated 20 years ago, while ignorance isn’t an excuse K-Mac and others, I think people should think about the scale of abuses of power in general historically across the board and place these claims in that context. What would concern me is that there was an allegation in the last couple of years against K-Mac for bullying or something similar, and that would suggest that perhaps he hasn’t moved with the times and realised what is acceptable nowadays and what is not, and that is partly his fault, but ultimately partly the fault of the club for not putting steps in place to identify where management may be abusing their positions and also where players are vulnerable. That is my personal opinion, and by no means am I saying this is fact, or am I demeaning whatever mental issues Farrelly and other players have faced because of how they were treated.
  24. Strangely my favourite bit was when he said something along the lines of “I’ve made mistakes as a manager, and I will make more mistakes in future, and the reason for that is that I take decisions, and you can’t take decisions without making some mistakes”. We need this. A manager that isn’t afraid of making mistakes, that will make decisions and try to attack games, and not play it safe. And to back it up he actually has a consistent style of play, which is what separates him from Lambert and Sherwood in recent years. I hope we as fans give him time.
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