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What's wrong at Villa?


turvontour
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I think we'd all agree, that there's something fundementally wrong at this football club despite the wholesale changes that have been made across the last year and im hoping that somebody who understands the club and football a bit better than me can provide a view as to why that may be. Is it poor training, staff, bad atmosphere, pressure through expectation, Lerner's legacy etc. Because we see all these excuses trotted out on here but accountability generally points back to the manager.

What is it that goes on behind the scenes that makes our managers look inept and our exciting new players instantly fall in line with the rest?

If Bruce (the great Championship club promoter) leaves here as a failure, is it truly him thats the problem? How many more failures would there need to be until we cant just blame management?

So so few players leave Villa in a better fotballing position than when they arrive. Out of our last 50 players signed say, how many left Villa as a better player? A handful?  No one would even be slightly surprised if Mccormack went on to get a goal every other game through to the end of the season for Forest. Or if Bacuna left, he suddenly start scoring free kicks regularly or goals from range again. Why is that? If Hourihane and Hogan turn out to be duds, would you be surprised? 

I joked on here before the Brentford game that it doesnt matter whether you have Mccormack or Rhodes up front, the team/club simply doesnt have the belief to win. Both players have scored in wins subsequently and Villa havent. Its depressingly inevitable.

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Well, we've got a team who all for two of the 'consistent' first 11 were all signed this season. The team barely know each other and old man Bruce probably has no idea what the best formation for the players is (hence his seemingly ever-changing 'tactics').

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I think theres been too many changes in the team personal over the past couple of seasons. Yes we struggled under Lambert and Sherwood but since since the sale of Delph and Benteke we've just gone one way. Not sure Bruce is the right man to turn things around though!

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Mr C. Field

i like thoughtful posts even if I don't agree with all of it.  

You had me with at least 97% agreement until you hit Xia and Bruce.  I don't see Bruce as anything like MON.   MON had a system and he found the players to make it work.   Bruce is just finding good individual talents.  Also, it remains to be seen if Xia is over committing funds.  We still don't know his reserve.   

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22 minutes ago, srsmithusa said:

Mr C. Field

i like thoughtful posts even if I don't agree with all of it.  

You had me with at least 97% agreement until you hit Xia and Bruce.  I don't see Bruce as anything like MON.   MON had a system and he found the players to make it work.   Bruce is just finding good individual talents.  Also, it remains to be seen if Xia is over committing funds.  We still don't know his reserve.   

I think when he said MON was short term he was referring to giving players huge wages over numerous years and not thinking of the club long term. There was so many poor players in the squad on huge wages when MON left.

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4 minutes ago, jasoncb said:

I think when he said MON was short term he was referring to giving players huge wages over numerous years and not thinking of the club long term. There was so many poor players in the squad on huge wages when MON left.

I thought so too, and agreed with that assessment, not sure I understand why you are "clarifying" it.  

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1 hour ago, Chicken Field said:

What's wrong with Villa? does Villatalk have a word limit, as there is so much wrong here that it would take days to write. 

I personally believe that our problems started back in the MON days. Lerner was new to the game, decided to not hire any football people to help him run the club and let O'Neill do just as he wanted, sign the players he wanted on the contracts he wanted. Even though O'Neill did a decent job, I feel that with the money he spent, he should have achieved much more. And we can see how long it took for us to get rid of the high earners he had put on long and huge contracts, for instance Warncock, Cuellar, Richard Dunne and so on. Lerner allowed MON to get our wage bill out of control, making us lose an astonishing amount of money every year. A football club and any business cannot be run like that. But, our real problems started after MON. And especially in our manager choices. We went from MON, counter attack, quick wingers little possession to Houllier, slow build up play, a lot of possession to McCleish, the most defensive manager in the world, hoof ball and 11 men behind the ball to a, imo, very unlucky Lambert. During the time between MON and Houllier, we also made some truly discusting signings, that really cost us a lot of money, for instance, N'Zogbia, Bent (Might have saved us that season, but was so expensive and wasted so much of our wage bill for so many seasons), Given , Hutton (who we are still stuck with today), Ireland and Makoun. Which is basically all the signings we made during that period. On to Lambert.

I actually like Lambert, he had an impossible job, he spent little money and more importantly, the players he signed were on extremely low wages, most were misses, but there were some hits. Lambert had an impossible job and I think he himself gave up during the last season. We fired him and went with an unproven, unstable, gung-ho, no tactical sense, Sherwood. Sherwood, granted, did a good job keeping us up and also got us to a FA cup final, but we should have fired him after the final, it would have been criticized by the media, but Sherwood was a disaster, we were awful in the last few matches in the season (Just as bad as last season), he had never bought a single player in his life and we allowed him to buy an entire new team. (People can blame Fox and co. as much as they like by interfering, but in the end, their signings were much better than Sherwood's), Sherwood basically bought, Richards, Lescottt and Gestede by himself, absolute joke signings. 

The season was a fiasco, no need to dwell further into it, as EVERYONE in the club was to blame, the players, the managers (though, I do feel Garde would have done well in the right circumstances) and the board room and the owner. 

Now, to this season, we are bought by Xia, I really really like Xia, but feel he is going exactly the same way as Lerner, putting in so much money with no plan whatsoever, which may cost us very dearly in the future, the parachute payments will stop soon. I personally though that RDM was the right choice, but boy was I proven wrong, worst transfer window by any team in the history of English football, people often laugh at Mark Hughes at City, but this was muuuuch worse. We went for players with good statistics, it was obvious no one in the club had ever seen them play before. We bought players without a bigger picture in mind and worse of all, we bought all the players one week before the window closed. I honestly believe that we should try to sue RDM for the money he wasted. (if the player had good statistics and/or had been promoted in the past two seasons, we would try to sign them).

I think Xia was naive, he thought we could buy all the championship stars and fly to the top, but it has been proven time and time again, a club does not work with 11 stars, you can have a few, the rest have to hard workers. Then enter Bruce, my god. 

I was not in favor of Bruce, but I did see and acknowledge that we had little to no other choice. Again, Xia went for the statistics instead of going for someone that fitted our players. He went for the manager with the most impressive resume, who was available, similarly to the summer signings, where we simply went for the top 5 topscorers in the championship from the season before. Football is not that easy. 

My problems with Bruce:

Bruce plays no tactics whatsoever. He believes only in putting the 11 best players out there. He did start well, but most managers do, it's what people call the honeymoon period. Players get excited and want to impress the new managers. We started well result wise, but the performances were dreadful. And they are just getting worse and worse. Bruce, similarly to McCleish, believes the most important thing, is to keep the clean sheet. He does not want to control games, he puts all his faith that our attackers will have individual moments of brilliance, which to be honest, has got him most of his points, Kodija won the game vs QPR on his own, Grealish scored an amazing goal to win one game etc. One moment that made my blood boil was vs Nottingham, it was 1-1, Lichaj had the ball on the right side and we had 8.. EIGHT !!! players in the box defending, Hogan was just outside the box and Kodija was up front on his own. The plan is to win the ball and attack quickly, we even attack so quickly that Bruce decided that we should just hoof the ball, as this is the fastest way to get the ball forward, the problem with hoofing the ball when you have 8 players in the box defending, is that you have NO ONE TO HOOF IT TO. Even if we try to keep possession, we have no one to pass to, as everyone is standing in and around the box, it is so easy for the opposition to pressure us. Also, message to Bruce, when we are having a difficult time scoring, don't play 5 at the back, without wingback, as we wont start scoring when everyone is defending. The midfielders are so deep, that they may as well be defenders. He brought Gabby back, which is a sack-able offense IMO and STOP USING HUTTON (God bless his soul, he does try, but he is the worst football player I have ever seen), I would rather see a youth player playing.

Then on to Bruce's signings. He buys Hourihane and Lansbury, Hourihane is a box to box midfielder, he likes to attack, he likes to roam from his position, but he is not allowed to, he is being asked to play more or less as a defender. Lansbury, amazing passes, but, exactly the same problems as Hourihane, plays in defense and only has one and sometimes two players in front of him, so his passing options are limited. He buys Hogan, a small hard working striker and only hoofs the ball to him, he is never going to win headers. and worst of all, he loan Johnstone, why oh why?, we god rid of an inexperience error prone goalkeeper, just to replace him with the EXACT same player, only, he is a worse shot stopper. And not to forget Amavi, Amavi has been a liability in defense, but one of our more creative attacking players, we switch to what I was hoping was a 352, but turned out to be a 532, this should mean our fullbacks are allowed to roam forward, and makes them less responsible defensively, the perfect role for Amavi, but no, he is dropped. ARRGH.

Bruce, if you are going to play counter attacking hoof ball, then don't buy small strikers and don't buy technical midfielders, ask Pulis if you can borrow some of his hard tackling midfielders and a target man, so that we have someone to aim our hoofs to.

But, it is not all Bruce's fault that we are playing so badly at the moment, the balance of the team is ridiculous, before this window we had Hutton on the right, defensive right back with no technical ability and we had the complete opposite on the left in Amavi, an attacking fullback that is useless defensively. We haven't had a left winger for about 5 years and no good right wingers in the same time and we have only poachers up top, who feed of crosses. There is no balance in the team whatsoever.

The biggest problem with Lerner and now Xia, is that they do not have a bigger picture in mind. Every time we fire a manager, we have to start all over again. We need to implement a playing style, that even the managers have to adopt to. We need our club to be better than our managers. When the team has a style, we can buy players and hire managers that fit that style, meaning that if we lose a manager or a player, then we know exactly what we need to get, to replace them.  Also, we need to start playing more attacking football, use the strengths that we have, possession football and good performances bread confidence into players. having 20% possession each game and still lose, breaks all the confidence that the players have. 

I also believe that, we need to think like a championship club, we cannot buy all the stars. we need to buy championship players. The parachute payment will stop, and we are royally F%cked when it does, as we AGAIN, have so many players on such big contracts that no one is going to want to buy from us. I honestly believe, that if we are not promoted next season, we will be in serious financial troubles.

So my advice would be, start implementing a playing style, only buy players that fit that playing style, only hire managers that fit that playing style. Bruce has no playing style, hence I want him gone, if he gets another few seasons, then we will end straight back here, with just the same problems as before. Bruce is a S¤ite MON copy. Who thinks only short term. We need to, for the first time in 60 years, think long term.

I could go on for days, but I am just getting more and more p¤ssed as I am writing, I need to stop. Rant over

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21 minutes ago, srsmithusa said:

I thought so too, and agreed with that assessment, not sure I understand why you are "clarifying" it.  

You said "I don't see Bruce as anything like MON", what else was he referring to in similarities of each other?

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2 minutes ago, jasoncb said:

You said "I don't see Bruce as anything like MON", what else was he referring to in similarities of each other?

This is how I thought I explained that in my view they are very different situations.  I think his assessment of MON was right.  I'm just not at all convinced that the same assessment applies to Bruce.  "MON had a system and he found the players to make it work.   Bruce is just finding good individual talents.  Also, it remains to be seen if Xia is over committing funds.  We still don't know his reserve."  

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the only problem at Aston Villa is the choice of manager, the last 10 have been bad decisions and under the Xia ownership we have paid good money on players so no excuse that they havent been backed

we are a laughing stock though

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1. We overpay in wages.

2. There has been too much change over the past 3 seasons and we need a period of relative stability. 

3. We expect success too quickly. This leads to managers making expensive and/or short term deals rather than investing in the medium to long term. 

4. We now have the awful reputation with players and managers that we are a poisoned chalice for your long term career. The only reason to play for or manage Villa is for the cash. 

5. We are a club that is perceived by all to be in deep trouble and on the way down. That's going to impact on the players we can attract, the sponsors we can attract, the money we earn and the desire of good players to stay. 

 

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9 hours ago, Chicken Field said:

What's wrong with Villa? does Villatalk have a word limit, as there is so much wrong here that it would take days to write. 

I personally believe that our problems started back in the MON days. Lerner was new to the game, decided to not hire any football people to help him run the club and let O'Neill do just as he wanted, sign the players he wanted on the contracts he wanted. Even though O'Neill did a decent job, I feel that with the money he spent, he should have achieved much more. And we can see how long it took for us to get rid of the high earners he had put on long and huge contracts, for instance Warncock, Cuellar, Richard Dunne and so on. Lerner allowed MON to get our wage bill out of control, making us lose an astonishing amount of money every year. A football club and any business cannot be run like that. But, our real problems started after MON. And especially in our manager choices. We went from MON, counter attack, quick wingers little possession to Houllier, slow build up play, a lot of possession to McCleish, the most defensive manager in the world, hoof ball and 11 men behind the ball to a, imo, very unlucky Lambert. During the time between MON and Houllier, we also made some truly discusting signings, that really cost us a lot of money, for instance, N'Zogbia, Bent (Might have saved us that season, but was so expensive and wasted so much of our wage bill for so many seasons), Given , Hutton (who we are still stuck with today), Ireland and Makoun. Which is basically all the signings we made during that period. On to Lambert.

I actually like Lambert, he had an impossible job, he spent little money and more importantly, the players he signed were on extremely low wages, most were misses, but there were some hits. Lambert had an impossible job and I think he himself gave up during the last season. We fired him and went with an unproven, unstable, gung-ho, no tactical sense, Sherwood. Sherwood, granted, did a good job keeping us up and also got us to a FA cup final, but we should have fired him after the final, it would have been criticized by the media, but Sherwood was a disaster, we were awful in the last few matches in the season (Just as bad as last season), he had never bought a single player in his life and we allowed him to buy an entire new team. (People can blame Fox and co. as much as they like by interfering, but in the end, their signings were much better than Sherwood's), Sherwood basically bought, Richards, Lescottt and Gestede by himself, absolute joke signings. 

The season was a fiasco, no need to dwell further into it, as EVERYONE in the club was to blame, the players, the managers (though, I do feel Garde would have done well in the right circumstances) and the board room and the owner. 

Now, to this season, we are bought by Xia, I really really like Xia, but feel he is going exactly the same way as Lerner, putting in so much money with no plan whatsoever, which may cost us very dearly in the future, the parachute payments will stop soon. I personally though that RDM was the right choice, but boy was I proven wrong, worst transfer window by any team in the history of English football, people often laugh at Mark Hughes at City, but this was muuuuch worse. We went for players with good statistics, it was obvious no one in the club had ever seen them play before. We bought players without a bigger picture in mind and worse of all, we bought all the players one week before the window closed. I honestly believe that we should try to sue RDM for the money he wasted. (if the player had good statistics and/or had been promoted in the past two seasons, we would try to sign them).

I think Xia was naive, he thought we could buy all the championship stars and fly to the top, but it has been proven time and time again, a club does not work with 11 stars, you can have a few, the rest have to hard workers. Then enter Bruce, my god. 

I was not in favor of Bruce, but I did see and acknowledge that we had little to no other choice. Again, Xia went for the statistics instead of going for someone that fitted our players. He went for the manager with the most impressive resume, who was available, similarly to the summer signings, where we simply went for the top 5 topscorers in the championship from the season before. Football is not that easy. 

My problems with Bruce:

Bruce plays no tactics whatsoever. He believes only in putting the 11 best players out there. He did start well, but most managers do, it's what people call the honeymoon period. Players get excited and want to impress the new managers. We started well result wise, but the performances were dreadful. And they are just getting worse and worse. Bruce, similarly to McCleish, believes the most important thing, is to keep the clean sheet. He does not want to control games, he puts all his faith that our attackers will have individual moments of brilliance, which to be honest, has got him most of his points, Kodija won the game vs QPR on his own, Grealish scored an amazing goal to win one game etc. One moment that made my blood boil was vs Nottingham, it was 1-1, Lichaj had the ball on the right side and we had 8.. EIGHT !!! players in the box defending, Hogan was just outside the box and Kodija was up front on his own. The plan is to win the ball and attack quickly, we even attack so quickly that Bruce decided that we should just hoof the ball, as this is the fastest way to get the ball forward, the problem with hoofing the ball when you have 8 players in the box defending, is that you have NO ONE TO HOOF IT TO. Even if we try to keep possession, we have no one to pass to, as everyone is standing in and around the box, it is so easy for the opposition to pressure us. Also, message to Bruce, when we are having a difficult time scoring, don't play 5 at the back, without wingback, as we wont start scoring when everyone is defending. The midfielders are so deep, that they may as well be defenders. He brought Gabby back, which is a sack-able offense IMO and STOP USING HUTTON (God bless his soul, he does try, but he is the worst football player I have ever seen), I would rather see a youth player playing.

Then on to Bruce's signings. He buys Hourihane and Lansbury, Hourihane is a box to box midfielder, he likes to attack, he likes to roam from his position, but he is not allowed to, he is being asked to play more or less as a defender. Lansbury, amazing passes, but, exactly the same problems as Hourihane, plays in defense and only has one and sometimes two players in front of him, so his passing options are limited. He buys Hogan, a small hard working striker and only hoofs the ball to him, he is never going to win headers. and worst of all, he loan Johnstone, why oh why?, we god rid of an inexperience error prone goalkeeper, just to replace him with the EXACT same player, only, he is a worse shot stopper. And not to forget Amavi, Amavi has been a liability in defense, but one of our more creative attacking players, we switch to what I was hoping was a 352, but turned out to be a 532, this should mean our fullbacks are allowed to roam forward, and makes them less responsible defensively, the perfect role for Amavi, but no, he is dropped. ARRGH.

Bruce, if you are going to play counter attacking hoof ball, then don't buy small strikers and don't buy technical midfielders, ask Pulis if you can borrow some of his hard tackling midfielders and a target man, so that we have someone to aim our hoofs to.

But, it is not all Bruce's fault that we are playing so badly at the moment, the balance of the team is ridiculous, before this window we had Hutton on the right, defensive right back with no technical ability and we had the complete opposite on the left in Amavi, an attacking fullback that is useless defensively. We haven't had a left winger for about 5 years and no good right wingers in the same time and we have only poachers up top, who feed of crosses. There is no balance in the team whatsoever.

The biggest problem with Lerner and now Xia, is that they do not have a bigger picture in mind. Every time we fire a manager, we have to start all over again. We need to implement a playing style, that even the managers have to adopt to. We need our club to be better than our managers. When the team has a style, we can buy players and hire managers that fit that style, meaning that if we lose a manager or a player, then we know exactly what we need to get, to replace them.  Also, we need to start playing more attacking football, use the strengths that we have, possession football and good performances bread confidence into players. having 20% possession each game and still lose, breaks all the confidence that the players have. 

I also believe that, we need to think like a championship club, we cannot buy all the stars. we need to buy championship players. The parachute payment will stop, and we are royally F%cked when it does, as we AGAIN, have so many players on such big contracts that no one is going to want to buy from us. I honestly believe, that if we are not promoted next season, we will be in serious financial troubles.

So my advice would be, start implementing a playing style, only buy players that fit that playing style, only hire managers that fit that playing style. Bruce has no playing style, hence I want him gone, if he gets another few seasons, then we will end straight back here, with just the same problems as before. Bruce is a S¤ite MON copy. Who thinks only short term. We need to, for the first time in 60 years, think long term.

I could go on for days, but I am just getting more and more p¤ssed as I am writing, I need to stop. Rant over

Very well put.  I went to yesterdays match travelling up from South Wales.  On watching the game and doing it intentionally from a neutral view I could see the differences in both teams play and i also reflected back on the games against Brentford, Forest and Wolves.  One thing that stood out was the way that they were all comfortable with the ball and made great efforts to get it back.  As opposed to Villa whose players seemed to have this idea that it was something to be avoided and when they did have it to hoof it (apart from Lansbury).  

The other teams also played as a team and did put the effort in and it would appear that Villa players do not actually put in a shift!  

In regard to Kodja yesterday he did start passing, but his service from the others was so woeful he may as well go back to doing it himself, that also includes Hogan who cut a very forlorn figure yesterday.  He must be wondering just what (at the moment), joining Villa is going to do for his career.

On numerous occasions Villa players got the ball back and then gave it back to the opposition, which was very frustrating.  Taylor, Hutton and Baker being the worst three.  In regard to the formation the 532 yesterday Hutton was so far up the pitch, with Taylor being so far down the pitch highlighted the disjointed nature of the team.  Lansbury is an attacking midfielder, but was playing just in front of the defence, which meant that there was no attacking midfield.  

What should have happened yesterday in particular was Lansbury be up the pitch as say a N10 and the other two being support for both defence and attack.  The wing backs should have been based on the half way line and moved up the pitch in tandem, which stretches the opposition.  The three centre backs should be further up the pitch and not being so deep.  This would mean the play would have nearly all have been in the opposition half and not ours.  I think its called defending from the front.  

There is also something that others have seemingly not picked up on and it is this.  When the opposition have a corner ALL the Villa players are back defending, which meant that when the ball went up the pitch it just came straight back!  This has been going on for a few seasons now and is ridiculous. 

Throw ins also appear to be a problem as when do get a throw in nobody wants the ball.  Whoever takes it is looking for someone to come for it and nobody does.  Its pretty basic football that Villa fail to do.

Suffice to say i left Villa Park feeling very frustrated, freezing cold with the highlight of the day being the chicken balti pie and the extra one i kept to be eaten on the way home.  

 

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