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Everything posted by KentVillan

  1. Although a left foot / right foot pairing is nice to have, the quality of the players is more important, surely? John Terry was a right-footed LCB. For me our ranking of CBs is: Mings Engels Konsa Hause Chester (and if fit, possibly push him ahead of Hause) I do think Hause's versatility, and our weakness at left back, means he deserves more time on the bench than he's been getting. We all see things differently, but I disagree completely with this one. He's been our best player in several games, and even when he makes mistakes, he usually makes up for it with a goal line clearance or a last ditch tackle. We would be in the relegation zone if we hadn't bought him.
  2. People who bludgeon you into submission by caring more about something than you do, even though they're obviously wrong. I feel like a lot of politics and religion and life works that way.
  3. You can't compare us with Leicester, who won the league a few seasons ago and have been able to cash in on players like Kante, Mahrez, and Maguire, and also have one of the all-time greatest signings in Jamie Vardy. We're about 5 years behind them. The market has inflated loads in the meantime, so we had to pay a premium in summer 2019. I'm pretty sure our £140m spend will look like chicken feed in a few years. I think our only real mistake in the transfer market was to completely rule out a loan signing or an experienced outfield player. A wiser head (like a Cambiasso or a Moutinho) might have brought a bit more of an ability to see out difficult matches. I don't know how much this was Dean Smith's fault, or how much it was a policy that came from Purslow (from listening to interviews, it sounds like Purslow is big on only buying "investments", but DS is on board with the strategy). If we stay up, the strategy will look like genius, as I think if we stay up this year, we're Premier League for the foreseeable future. If we go down, people might ask why we didn't show a bit more pragmatism in our first season back. P.S. This thread is becoming quite unreadable at times. Is it really necessary to spam a whole page with multiple posts? Can't you write it all in one post so others have a chance to contribute?
  4. They've beaten Leicester, Man City, and Spurs and drawn with Liverpool at Old Trafford this season. So not a bad achievement. Anyway, I wasn't suggesting it merited a trophy parade through Birmingham, just that some of the doom and gloom in this thread seems a bit forgetful.
  5. Even if Hause doesn't start ahead of Konsa, he will definitely be on the bench now, so could be our cover at CB and LB? I'm surprised he hasn't been used more at LB this season, since he did he a pretty good job there last year.
  6. I'm amazed how quickly everyone has forgotten that we recently took a point off Man Utd at Old Trafford - and came close to beating them.
  7. You're confusing two separate things here. My point was simply that our six pointers against relegation contenders are more important matches in the grand scheme of things. Norwich would have been better off losing to Man City and beating us. I obviously want us to take some big scalps this year (Man Utd and Arsenal were there for the taking, but we'll have another pop at both of them at Villa Park). But you only beat Liverpool, City and Leicester this season if the luck goes your way. They are just significantly better than the other 17 teams in every department, and while "fight" does narrow the gap, it doesn't eliminate it entirely. That's not the same as saying we shouldn't try to beat them, or that it's impossible to beat them. (Also worth pointing out that Sheffield Utd, who are perceived on here to be an example of what Dean Smith should be doing, haven't taken a single point off the top 3. Barely anyone has.)
  8. Better teams give you less space, which makes your touch look worse. It's easy to look like Zidane against an inferior team. And the top pressing teams like Liverpool can make players with good touches look very amateurish. I don't know why you keep banging this drum about the opposition being irrelevant. It's so obviously wrong, since a football match is contested by two teams. It isn't golf or solitaire or whatever you imagine it to be.
  9. Nothing to do with sentiment. He does it to keep everyone on their toes and fighting for their place. I'm happy for him to keep doing it. MON used to go with the best 11 philosophy, and in the long run it left us with a burnt out starting 11, and loads of expensive signings losing value on the bench who didn't perform when we needed them. Much prefer Smith's approach. (And before you say MON got us to 6th place, he had a much better squad than Smith currently has.)
  10. Yeah, I think we're about to find out that the Konsa + Engels partnership is a downgrade on the Engels + Mings partnership. Surprised people are so relaxed about this Mings injury. It's a bit of a disaster IMO.
  11. Mings is one of those (a bit like Sergio Ramos) who is halfway between a centre back and a full back. He would look great as an LCB in a back 3, where he has a bit of extra cover inside, and more freedom to roam. But although he did it earlier in his career, I can't see him as a full back in a back 4 anymore. Just a bit too big and lumbering to keep overlapping and chasing back for 90 mins.
  12. I think compactness comes from the way the players move within a system, rather than from the formation itself. You can play a very compact 4-4-2 for example, even though it is known for being a shape which exposes the gaps between the defence and midfield. So if we're looking stretched and easy to play through, it's probably not a 4-3-3 thing, but almost certainly because too many players are being dragged out of position in attack (and therefore exposed if we lose the ball), or they aren't moving properly as a unit off the ball, or we're just giving possession away too cheaply. The obvious explanation in Smithball is that he loves to get both full backs overlapping and 2 of his midfield three involved in the attack, so we end up with something like looks like a 2-1-4-3. It looks great when we're the better team, but it's possibly a bit naive against a team who can hit you quickly on the break with quality. It also gives a bit too much responsibility to Nakamba, who is new to the league, and still a bit of an unknown quantity. The problem is that what failed for Smith vs Leicester, worked pretty well for him vs Man Utd. Maybe this is just a price we have to accept of his style - we will occasionally get destroyed on the break by a team like Leicester (and remember, a lot of our recent problems have been on set pieces, where formation and open play tactics are largely irrelevant).
  13. Being compact off the ball is the Tactics 101 basics of football. I'd respectfully suggest that Smith and Terry already know this. The issue is more likely to be in the execution.
  14. You can make 4-3-3 deeper or narrower or whatever you want, you can put more defensively minded players in the midfield, you can tell the full backs to stay home, you can play centre backs at full back. Jose Mourinho used to park the bus with 4-3-3. In reality, 4-3-3, 4-1-4-1, 4-2-3-1, 4-5-1 are all variants of the same thing, and Smith uses all of them. We could try a back 3 (and that's easy to say in hindsight when you've seen Vardy and Iheanacho exploit the lack of a spare man at the back) but I can't think of loads of clubs who have turned around a season by switching to a back 3 (Conte's Chelsea is the obvious one, but that was a system he knew inside out, not a roll of the dice). I really think the Leicester game was a classic case of superior player quality making their manager look like a tactical genius. Yes, Rodgers came up with a clever system that exploited Smith's attacking overlaps - Ndidi/Praet/Riccardo suffocated Grealish & Targett and then released their strikers down the exposed flank, but the success of the tactic was down to Riccardo and Ndidi being class in their individual battles all afternoon. Try the same tactic with inferior players, and Grealish dances through you, leaving you with an overload elsewhere on the pitch. Let's see what happens over the next few games, and during the January transfer window. If we pick up points and add an attacking option in January, then this loss to Leicester will be forgotten, and we should easily be able to kick on over the second half of the season.
  15. I think a lot of fans on here just don't appreciate how much a good / bad run of fixtures can affect results. Here are a few clubs from the 2018/19 season, who finished mid-table, had the same manager throughout the season, but had some really bad runs of "form" which were mostly fixture list related: West Ham - lost opening 4 matches of season (including games vs. Liverpool and Arsenal), leaving them in 20th place. Ended up in 10th. Bournemouth - matchday 11 onwards they lost 17 out of 28 games. But they had an easy start to the season where they banked a lot of points. Their only big scalps all season were Chelsea and Spurs (at home). Burnley - were in 18th place on Boxing Day after losing 13 out of 19 games. They turned their season around with 3 wins against West Ham, Huddersfield and Fulham. Was that because Burnley suddenly "found form" or because Huddersfield and Fulham were crap? The fact is that unless you're fighting for Champions League football, you will go through these runs of form. It's almost a statistical certainty. It does not mean you're going to get relegated. All of those teams avoided trouble because they had a good run of results when the fixture list was kinder to them. They did it without sacking their manager. There were other factors at play, of course - injuries, tactics, etc. - but the point stands. This season isn't going to be much fun at times. A lot of the criticism being levelled at Smith and the players is fair, but try and keep it all in perspective. He doesn't have a particularly expensive or experienced squad, he's had only 3 months to work with most of them, and he's just had a brutal run of fixtures.
  16. I think he's an excellent all-round footballer - good touch, positioning, range of passing, calm under pressure, senses danger. But he often gives the impression he is playing in fourth gear. That isn't a problem when we're on top, but it can be a problem when the game gets scrappy and we need someone to really put their weight into a 50-50.
  17. Nobody's suggesting for a moment that that's what DS is doing or should be doing. A week ago we picked up a well-fought point away at Old Trafford. But our season will be largely defined by the six pointers against our relegation rivals.
  18. Guilbert is a better player than Elmo, but I think we want DS to rotate the squad, and Elmo is probably one of our better backup players. After the Chelsea game, you could argue he deserved to start again. It was a marginal call really. Is it Hourihane plays at home we all agreed, or Hourihane plays against weaker opposition? My sense is that Hourihane has been earmarked for the weaker teams who give us a bit more time and space (and more set piece opportunities). I think Conor would have really struggled today against Leicester - they were so compact and they were pressing and hustling at a pace none of our players (including Jack) could really handle. If your account is correct, that is a huge **** up. But the story Smith told was that Mings wasn't sure if it was cramp or a pull, so was given a chance to run it off. Can anyone clarify? I'm 100% in agreement with @terrytini on the Smith situation. We have to give him time, especially as he has achieved roughly what we hoped he would achieve at the start of the season. And he has reliably delivered in the "must win" games.
  19. I think we have it all wrong with parenthood. We seem to give the most praise and admiration to the people doing the easiest bit (unprotected sex, squeeze a baby out, keep it alive). Save the praise for when that kid has reached adulthood and we can judge the outcome! I'm much more in awe of the parent who has had to deal with a teenager's mental health problem, or their child's divorce or whatever. That's the heavy end of parenting where you really prove your worth. Cleaning up a diarrhoea explosion in a nappy is nothing compared with that.
  20. I also suspect this. He's reached a point in his career where he's missed so much game time through injury, that he's probably happy to play at 85% fitness or whatever. Painkilling injections, strapping, blocking it out of his mind, etc. Cast your mind back to the Everton game, where he looked like he was going to limp off in the warm up, and then somehow made it through the match with a superb performance. I wouldn't be surprised if he's been carrying an injury ever since, and being called up to the England squad has stopped him from getting recovery time in. On top of that, he knows Euro 2020 is probably his only opportunity to start for England in an international tournament, so he's desperate to prove his fitness through the season. I hope he hasn't made a big mistake here. Those thinking this is a big opportunity for the Engels-Konsa partnership to develop are mistaken in my view. An in-form Mings is just a much better all-round defender and leader, and the idea he was only doing that for us in the Championship is nonsense. He's been class for us in several very tough games this season (hence getting the England call up in the first place).
  21. I thought Rodgers prepared Leicester very well for the Grealish-Targett attacking threat. Ndidi and Riccardo were superb. Was a very depressing game to watch. Lots of yellow cards which we didn't need, a couple of injuries to key players, and a lot of very bad performances that will dent player confidence. Probably the worst matchday of the season so far for me.
  22. It was just a gentle toe up the arse I think. Ndidin't he enjoy it!
  23. Yes he missed a sitter, but he was our most dangerous attacking threat throughout. I would like to see him tried as striker at some point. I know it's not his natural position, but we need another option up there, and he seems the best candidate.
  24. The Sheffield Utd comparison is very lazy. I mentioned this before somewhere, but Sheffield Utd's squad is much more settled - they regularly start about 7 or 8 of the players who started for them in the Championship last season. All teams take time to gel. 16 games is nothing really. I know we all want quick results, but this is basically the second team Smith has had to build at Villa, and that first team he built took 22 matches to hit their stride. Fans who are turning on Smith already are a bit of an embarrassment to the club IMO.
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