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  1. Thought it would be good for Austin to have his own thread (I couldn’t find an existing one) given the positive impact of the set pieces against Newcastle. Also it’s been reported (Sky Sports and The Times) that he’s joining up with the Scotland national team. Not sure how this will work with his role at Villa.
  2. After seeing how we have played so far this season, if everyone was fit this is what I would play: (roles ala-FM): Heaton Konsa (BPD) Engels (BPD) Mings (BPD) Guilbert (WB) Luiz (DLP) Targett (WB) Grealish (AP) McGinn (BBM) Wesley (DLF) Davis (AF) In jan we defo need a new DM and a new striker. Yours?
  3. Genie

    Time Wasting

    I was curious what the general consensus was on here with regards to Villa’s extreme time wasting in recent times. For me there’s game management, you obviously don’t rush to take your set pieces, and you don’t sprint off when being subbed but Villa seem to be going down the road of taking the piss which personally I’m not a fan of. Martinez pushing things to the extreme with exceptionally long goal kicks, fake injuries and fake spats all the run down the clock. Lots of yellow cards today too which will come back and bite us at some point, plus the ref added 8 minutes so it suggests there isn’t a huge amount of benefit. What the VT view on it? Should we be going to these lengths to disrupt the flow of league games? Or should we be a bit more classy and play the game out (with caveats as mentioned above)?
  4. I don’t know about you, but I feel this is a problem area for us at the moment and one that seems to have developed more as the season has gone on. I thought Luiz and McGinn started the season pretty well but both have tailed off in my opinion. One thing I’ve noticed in the last few matches is how easily teams are playing through us. I watched Barkley closely against West Ham and Arsenal and he literally jogs around, not tracking men and marking space. Could this be the reason it looks so unbalanced at the moment? Is Ross under instruction not to track back. I can’t quite put my finger on it but that area of the pitch seems a problem for us and I’m not sure who our best three are to start matches. Persoanlly, I’d like us to go with Luiz, McGinn and Sanson/Ramsey next match as I don’t think Barkley is up to it nor do I think he deserves a start. He seems to make us worse as a unit in there. Don’t really want to turn this into a Barkley criticism thread but interested to see what everyone thinks. We have a thread for Summer speculation but I’d put a big, strong defensive midfielder at the very top of the list. UTV.
  5. I havent been overly impressed with our set pieces for a while now, but the last few matches they've been really poor. We also dont seem to have a designated set piece taker, whether that's for corners, direct free kicks, free kicks from wings etc. At home to West Ham we had 3 different corner takers in the space of 10 minutes, from the same side; Traore, Grealish, McGinn. I cant see that the constant changing of taker benefits us. Would it not be better to stick with someone rather than have 3 or 4 players hit the front man once each game? Targett took that one to Konsa against Sheff U. I wonder has he taken many since? We had a free kick on the halfway line against Brighton, and Mings, Luiz and Konsa did that thing where they all slowly wander around it leaving it for each other. In the end, Konsa reluctantly had to take it and drilled it chest height to their full back and Sanson brought him down for a booking. Within about 5 seconds of us taking a free kick we had given away one to the other team and picked up a yellow. Felt like it was rushed as someone finally took responsibility. Just an aside on no one wanting to take that free kick, it feels like we are slowing play down a lot in general recently, maybe still feeling the effects of Covid? Why getting the set pieces right is increasingly important is that, to me atleast, we seem to be going down at slight contact in a lot of instances to win free kicks when we could instead retain possession in decent areas. The free kicks then arent coming to much, in the main.
  6. Would like to get other peoples opinions on our strikeforce, the options and the Summer window. I don’t think anyone can argue that both Ings and Watkins are having poor seasons whereas both Davis and Archer are having very good seasons in the Championship. So, moving into next season, we’re going to have Ings, Watkins, Davis and Archer on our books. What are the club going to do? I actually think we’ll probably go out and buy a top quality striker - I don’t know who that is - because Gerrard is visibly frustrated with both Ings and Watkins (in my opinion) and then we’re left with 5. That’s where it gets tricky. Personally, I’d try to shift both Watkins and Ings in the Summer for a combined fee of around £50-60m, and spend that on a top striker. I’d then bring Davis and Archer back to deputise. It sounds mad selling both our current ‘starting’ strikers but it just isn’t clicking up there at all.
  7. You are manager of Villa and you will only play 1 striker up front for the upcoming season. You can’t change your starting striker for each match. Who do you select out of Watkins or Ings? Archer and Davis have left Villa on loan.
  8. Every game that passes it's the same story. Watkins poor, McGinn off the pace, Mings at fault again, etc, etc... Yet these same players, and others, have performed to levels high enough to be selected for national teams. They achieved this whilst playing for us. Another case in point is Martinez. Players perform well when those around them are playing well too. It's an old adage that it's easier to give regular 8/10 performances with "better" players around you. When Gerrard first came in we needed to stabilise and stop conceding. We had a strong playing tactic. Keep it tight through the middle, force attacks out wide and work hard. This was clear. The players understood, bought into it and, on the whole, performed. The last 5 games or so this has changed. Our "style" seems uncertain at best, undefined at worst. I don't believe this is the fault of the players. To that end I think criticism of the players is very unfair. To my eyes there's no plan at the moment. I'm not sure the players know what's expected of them. The last few games it's been evident that defenders don't know what their out-ball is. Nobody in midfield seems to show to receive a pass. Back under Smith there was lots of interplay with the defenders and midfield, notably with Luiz. This seems to have dissolved and the punt forward appears to be in vogue now. Not good! Biggest concern for me is the performance level of Martinez has fallen off a cliff. What's happened? Have the previous training methods been upended, is he being asked not to challenge for crosses??? It's baffling that a player so good is playing so poorly after only a few weeks of transition. I get that he wasn't great in the last few Smith games but recently he's looked a different player... Anyway, back to the point (if there is one). These aren't bad players are they?
  9. I once started a thread on VillaTalk called ‘The Midfield Three’ so I thought I’d do one for ‘The Front Three’. Last season it was very much Grealish, Watkins and one other. Now it feels like a real problem area for us. Ings and Watkins have zero chemistry when on the field together, Buendia has been very poor since arriving and Bailey is constantly injured. We then have El Ghazi, Trezeguet, Traore and the youngsters. Who are our best front three? Right now, I genuinely couldn’t tell you.
  10. I don't have an Athletic sub to post the article but hopefully somebody else does
  11. I thought I'd start a topic on this as there seems to be a lot of chat recently about this area of the pitch and how we've struggled with it. Let's take Grealish out of the equation a minute because I think it's fair to say that whilst he's brilliant on the left, he was probably only moved there in the first place to mask our deficiencies out wide. He's also a world class player so he'd be brilliant in any position. I class our 'genuine' wingers as El Ghazi, Trezeguet and Traore. For me, none of them are good enough to start in this division. I''d argue that they're not good enough for any team in this division, let alone one with aspirations to break into the top 6. @Tomaszk put it brilliantly when he said that you could drop Trezeguet into a league 2 side and he'd fit right in quality wise. It's an area of great concern for the team at the minute because we seem devoid of creativity or any real quality in the final third. Our wingers are supposed to bring this to the side and they're not good enough to do it. Let me ask you this, would we be any worse off starting Cash and Targett as our wide players with Elmo and Taylor behind them? Of the three, Traore is probably the best but he should be a squad player at best next season and I feel our priority in the summer needs to be to bring in two quality wingers. If it costs the club 80m for these two players, then so be it. We really need to move both Trezeguet and El Ghazi on in the summer and whilst we won't get big money, they should still command a fee which should go towards their replacements. We haven't signed a decent wide player in ages and it's infuriating. UTV
  12. With 3/5 of our Centre-backs seemingly in and out of the treatment room what are the options going into next season? Who would you replace? Would you give Vlaar a new deal? Do we have any youngsters that are waiting in the wings like Donacien? Okore and Clark seem to have formed an excellent partnership which I think will flourish given time so for me we need an experienced back up centre half or two who aren't injury concerns and another young up and comer.
  13. nick76


    Subs is something that dominates the Dean Smith thread. Obviously an important part of Deans job in influencing a game from timing, balance and the right player to bring on or take off. It seems though to be taking a complete dominance of the Dean Smith thread in a negative fashion when we are having one of our best times in recent decades and I think the vast majority of fans are delighted with Smith. So creating this thread to bring that discussion here and the Dean Smith thread can focus more on other parts of Dean Smith discussion.
  14. I think one of the most disappointing things about the game yesterday was our set pieces. Time after time we tried to play a short ball and work it into the box rather than crossing it in. It’s fine doing this once in a while but other times a good cross into the box works wonders. I’m not sure it’s even orders from the manager. Smith made a point of saying that he thinks goals from cbs are vital and in Mings and Engels we have two attacking defenders who can score. I think at times Jack and McGinn try to rush things as they see an opening or a chance. Yesterday there was even one corner taken before the cbs had even got into the box.
  15. maqroll


    Where are the goals going to come from? Would playing a 4-4-2 with Davis and Wesley up top be something Smith considers? Also, if Matt Targett likes to bound forward from the back, I say get him in the side and bench Taylor. We need more attacking impetus. Hourihane needs to play and Luiz is more of a goal theat than Nakamba. Maybe the side for the Arsenal game could look like this: Heaton Guilbert Engels Mings Targett McGinn Hourihane Luiz El Ghazi Davis Wesley
  16. There's been quite a lot of discussion about our current tactics, especially surrounding the fact that we've just started to trial a 3-5-2 formation. Personally I think it's a terrible idea for our current set of players and I feel we're wasting time trying to use it in pre-season, I can't help but feel within a game or two we will be abandoning it and trying something different. With the current set of players we have, and assuming everyone is fit, what formation would you play? I'd go for a 4-3-3 with the following. Steer Elmo - Sulliman - Chester Hutton Thor Hourihane - Grealish Green Albert Davis When out of possesion i'd keep the formation really rigid like the above, however when it possession I'd give Grealish license to roam forward and get the wingers bombing forward whilst staying close to the touchline to open up space across the pitch. Davis has the ability to bring other into play even though he doesn't score much, I feel it's the most balanced side.
  17. allani


    I am sure that this should probably go in an existing thread but I couldn't work out which was best because it covers a few different topics. A non-Villa friend asked me how I felt after today's match and this was my response. ********************** In 2015/2016 when Villa were relegated from the Premier League we scored 27 goals in 38 matches. The season before we managed 31 in 38, The season before was 39. In 2012/13 we went on a bit of a spree and managed 47 (1.23 goals per game). The season before was 37 again (so that was 5 seasons at an average of less than 1 goal per game). Despite Top 10 finishes in 08/09 (6th), 09/10 (6th) and 10/11 (9th) we were still only scoring around 50 goals a season. In 2016/17 we scored 47 in 46 matches in the Championship. Last season we somehow managed to end up as the third top scorers in the division despite playing (for long spells) pretty dull football - especially away from home where Bruce's "safety first" approach really shone through. Indeed you probably need to go back to 2007/08 when we finished 6th in the Premier League and scored 71 goals in 38 games (only Man Utd and Arsenal scored more than us that season) to the last time when Villa played decent football that was fun to watch. In our last 4 matches we have scored 15 goals (3-0, 4-2, 5-5, 3-0) and it is suddenly fun to be a Villa fan again. Yeah but it is only Championship football I hear you cry. True. But those matches have been against the teams who are 3rd (away), 5th (home), 7th (away) and 9th (home), all are in decent form themselves and will probably all be in the hunt for promotion. Dean Smith is an absolute breath of fresh air. He wants to try and win every match. He wants us to attack the opposition and try to be creative. We haven't seen this for more than 10 seasons. To be honest I almost don't care what happens in terms of the final table - playing like we are is exciting, fun, entertaining... We will probably get turned over a few times, we will probably concede too many goals, we'll probably drop stupid points here and there - but I don't really care. Football is fun. Thank you Dean Smith. I hope that results keep going our way. I hope the board backs you with a couple of defenders in January and a keeper who can catch a cross. I hope we get promoted and I hope that we try and play the same way in the Premier League. I hope this sets the tone of the approach that this club will take under your management and beyond. Realistically we are light years behind the guys at the top but if we play attractive, entertaining, attacking football with the ethos of trying to win matches rather than not to lose them then I will be a happy fan.
  18. I only saw highlights on YouTube of last night’s match v Norwich City as I watched the CL with my Dad and Grandad instead but I noticed we conceded from yet another set piece. They seem to have been a problem for a long time, call it a lack of desire or whatever it may be, we just seem to be incapable of defending set pieces. For me, these are the basics of football, either man marking or zonally, we seem to have no organisation or leadership qualities when defending set pieces. I am interested to know other poster’s views on this, as it seems to have been a problem for a long time at this football club. In this division particularly, set pieces are so important, we’re too nice and pretty for me, particularly in midfield
  19. What is our best eleven with the new recruits? I'm finding it hard to pick and also to work out our best formation. It is nice to have options though! Seems to be pretty good competition in each area. 4-3-3? ---------Johnstone---------- Bree Terry Chester Taylor -------Jedinak-- Whelan------ -----------Lansbury-------- Green -----------------Elmohamady --------------Kodjia 3-5-2? ------------Johnstone--------- -----Chester---Terry---Samba----- Bree----------------------------------Taylor -------Hourihane---Lansbury----- -----------McCormack--------- ------Kodjia-------Hogan------- 4-4-2? ---------Johnstone---------- Bree Terry Chester Taylor Green Jedinak Whelan Elmo ------Kodjia----Hogan---
  20. Seeing as there seems to be a lot of discussion in player threads, thought it would be interesting to see what everyone's starting XI will be for the game against Hull. I'd go with a 4-2-3-1 (based on players being fit) -----------------------------Kodjia------------------------------- Grealish---------------Hourihane---------------------Green -------------------Lansbury-------Jedinak--------------------- Taylor--------------Terry-------Chester-----------------Bree --------------------------Johnstone------------------------------ Difficult isn't it...
  21. I'm a little bit excited about our squad. Think we have the strongest squad and team we have had since MON's first season. Gollini Bacuna - Elphick - Chester - Amavi Jedinak Tshibola - Westwood Grealish - McCormack Gestede Add to that: Bunn, Baker, Okore, Veretout, Gardner, Green, Traore, Cissokho, Hepburn-Murphy. Of course: Lescott, Hutton, Richards, Kozak, Steer, Bennett Possibly: Bamford, Diawara. That's not a bad core for a squad, is it?
  22. Just a little notice before we begin, no Lambert/Lerner hating please! After Bayern lost their game against Wolfburg and drew against Shalke, a lot of the German media suggest that one of Bayern's problems this year is the midfield partnership of Shwainsteiger & Alonso. As we all know, a few months back Paul Lambert had a little trip to germany to discuss football with Guardiola, and since then we have noticed a Bayern/Barca caricature of football being performed by the Claret and Blue; a lot of passing, keeping possetion and playing from the back. Shwainsteiger has only come into play recently after the injury earlier in the season, and since then Bayern hasn't clicked the way the used to (another example being their loss to Man City). It seems to me that as much as I love Sanchez and Westwood, we should learn from other peoples mistakes and never play with two holding midfielders. Adding to that, Cleverley is almost non existant and Delph has not impressed this season so far. We are playing our midfield way too deep, which of course has improved our defence (since there is no space to crack open a 6/7 person defense) but has limited us going forward. To add to my argument, Benteke, our shining star has become a little bit like... Lewandowski. Amazing player, but something just went missing all of a sudden. In my opinion, it's the deep lying midfield which does not supply him as much as they did at Borussia. Cleverley is not a bad player, neither is Delph, Sanchez, or any other of our CM. It's just the football that we are trying to play is limiting them What are your thoughts on this? Have we fallen into the trap of trying to imitate the best in the game and forgetting that even Guardiola can make mistakes?
  23. kurtsimonw


    This was the most frustrating thing for me yesterday. A flat 4-4-2, with a forward at left mid, hurt us. Especially as Wednesday played with Abdi wide who was always going to play a bit more centrally, meant we were completely dominated in the middle. The most annoying thing is, he didn't even need to make subs and could've easily just moved the personnel around. a 4-3-3 with Gardner/Westwood/Bacuna and Ayew/McCormack of gestede would've packed the middle a bit more, given better protection to the full backs and meant that Ayew/McCormack could drift around a bit. Hope it's not a sign of things to come, because RdM got it very wrong IMO.
  24. Van Gal tried a "3 @ the back" system with ManU but for whatever reason it didnt come off. Conte has changed the formation @ Chelsea to a 3-4-3 with some astounding success I think the secret behind this (not ignoring the calibre of players available) system is that Chelsea have 1 - "ballplayers" capable of building attacks up from the back 2 - 2 Dominant central Midfielders who can be disciplined under pressure and protect the back 4 but also able to pass and move the ball on up the pitch 3 - The 2 wide MF-ers not only track back but can both tuck in keeping a compact 4 in MF and support the attacks 4 - The 3 forwards are not only class but are not one dimensional players capable of pulling defenders out of position Conte always emphasises the word "work", something Chelsea players have been very cultured into from Vialli to Mourinho and back again. Fitness, work-ethic, positional sense and tactical awareness are absolute in implementing such a system. On paper it all seems very logical and fesible for an organised team to be able to implement a system that has the 3-4 part as the defensive wall with the front 3 prepared to work back and be available to get on the front foot quickly when they dont have possesion. Then the 3 forwards supported by the 2 "wide" MF's - a back 3 being enough for cover for counters pushing up allowing the 2 CM's to be feeders for the creatives. This way of playing obviously requires players with the afore mentioned traits plus good movement, strength, mobility and ability on the ball to get it to work. But it seems possible at that level. I wonder if this Conte system will catch on in the PL. Maybe we can adapt the 3-4-3 formation so that is more like Elphick Chester Baker Adomah Jedi Tish Amavi McCormack Ayew Kodjia Defence - Maybe our lack of passing quality from Elphick/Chester/Baker could be excused at Ch level Midfield - Jedi holding/breaking up play, Tish doing the running Adomah & Amavi with a lot to do - Tracking back/Wide MF'ers/Winger Ayew dropping deep to pick the ball up/Floating across the "off the front-line" taking players on Mc Pressing when not in possesion License to roam in possesion Kodjia - being Kodjia scoring for fun. Maybe we could dominate games more (not stat-wise), condense play to our advantage (more skillfull attacking line of Adomah, Amavi, Ayew, Mc & Kodjia) push teams back and control the pressure. If it worked and got us up we may be a step further going into the PL (By then maybe a few teams will going 3-4-3) We have to upgrade anyway so maybe we would have a basis of Chester, Adomah, Tish, Amavi, Ayew, Grealish & Kodjia (plus Gollini) for our 1st 11 Elphick, Baker, Bacuna, McC as Squad players capable of playing the system We would have to buy anyway to survive in the PL, good buys would make our 1 season back more comfortable 1x GK (Gollini proving himself + a back up/or a proven PL GK) 2x Central defenders (L&R) 2x CM's 2x Wide players 1x CF I have feeling Conte has something going. Bruce is experienced enough to not lose his nerve trying something scaled down if it showed some signs that it could work. Opinions?
  25. Rather than have to flip between player threads I thought I'd start a LB thread where we all can Discuss Amavi, Richardson, Lescott, Kinsella, Clark, N'Zogbia, Baker, Cissohko and possible loan options. regarding the "Emergency loan rule - due to extreme circumstances" the Options of having Richardson and Lescott at LB, isn't that extreme enough? that should surely take us to the front of the queue shouldnt it?
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