Bristol City 3 – 1 Villa; It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Okay, so I called this one totally wrong.
It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last, I can assure you of that.

And while I’m very downbeat after this result, I really think we need to put things in perspective a little.

It would seem we’re still very fragile, although I’m not quite sure why that should be. We’ve got rid of most of the gutless/disinterested culprits and the rest have been condemned to the kid’s string, so they can’t interfere.

But just as we were romping this game for the first hour, so we collapsed as soon as the opposition scored.
Which is the bit I don’t quite understand.
Why do we still seem to have this “bottling” type of mentality? We saw the same against Luton.

It’s a puzzler and I suspect the biggest hurdle that the manager will have to over-come, if we’re to achieve promotion at the first attempt.

I’ve commented on the goalie previously and I’m not going there again, save to say we should get another one in; one with more experience, it’s as simple as that.
I looked at the stats on the OS and it seems we conceded 3 goals with 3 GK errors?
Until I’ve seen the goals for myself, I don’t know. But Gollini is beginning to look like a big liability, in my opinion. Pull the kid, before his confidence is shot too, I say.
I have to say I wondered why we signed him in the first place, as a young goalie is the last thing you want at a club with such high expectations in the Championship.

Expectations, that are going to be our biggest problem.
Ok, we bottled it today, but we romped this game for the first hour and proved that we can dominate for long periods.
Yes, we didn’t get the result, but I can’t help noticing how quickly some have jumped on the bandwagon of slating everything the club has done since Dr Xia took over.
Indeed, it seems there was a fair few who booed the side off the pitch.
I’d suggest this isn’t the way to go and it will only add to the lack of confidence.
Of course, our travelling support is amongst the best anywhere and they’re entitled to voice their opinions.

But I get the over-riding feeling that if we don’t give the team a chance, we’re only going to drive ourselves into a worsening spiral.

It’s still very early days in what’s going to be a long, tiring season.
And while we still look light in certain areas, particularly attack and midfield, the window isn’t over yet and we may still add.
And we do still have a decent squad, which I’d emphasise again, will come into play.

While today was disappointing, I won’t be making any firm assumptions just yet.

Bristol City – Villa: A preview of sorts and thoughts on things going on

Bristol City away should be a banker and straightaway I think it will be; I’ll say that from the start.

That perhaps seems high-handed on my part, but sorry, Bristol fans, I expect to beat your team, it’s as simple as that. You loaned Nathan Baker, who wasn’t deemed good enough for us at the time, after all?
Except many Villa fans thought he was better than that.

I’ve read that Bristol want to buy/loan him, while many Villa fans don’t even rate him.
So what does that tell us?

Well, to me it demonstrates a gulf in expectations.

While I have the utmost regard for Bristol City, I think this is the sort of game we will have to win if we’re going to show any sign that we’re going to be promoted at the first attempt.

It’s difficult to explain what I mean, but if we really rate the Villa as a class apart from the rest of the Championship along with Newcastle, we have to win this game; it’s as simple as that.

Sadly, I don’t think we’re a class apart at all, although it might come in time.

Which is why I’m hoping that we’ll have enough about us to scrape a 1-0 win.
And that’s my prediction.

Where Villa stand in the top 50 brand index

THE TOP 50 BRAND INDEX
(Download the PDF)

I know many of you might not care about this, but I quite like these sort of listings, as even though we’ve been going through tough times in the last few seasons, we really are seen to be a big club when it comes to world rankings.
Consider last season, where we were ranked the 21st biggest club in the world, for instance.
That’s the WORLD.
Which is pretty impressive, if you consider we’d looked likely relegation candidates for a while.
Of course, much of that ranking came about purely because of our place in the Premier league, but we still came higher than many other Premier league clubs.
The brand loyalty must surely have had a lot to do with that, as we have a very good fan base, but that can only take you so far.

Which is why we’ve now fallen to 41st in the top 50.
That’s to be expected given that we’re not in the Premier league anymore and indeed only Newcastle are ranked higher if we’re looking at English clubs outside the Premier league.
I could debate if Newcastle are actually a bigger club than us, but it’s completely fair to say they get bigger attendances at home, which must equal more income.

But then I look at some of the clubs that have overtaken us and it makes me want to weep.

We look at the top 10 and it includes the usual top 6, of course.
Then there’s Everton at number 13, who are worth the best part of 2.5 times what we are according to the index.
If ever there’s a club that are pretty much on a par with us, I’d suggest it’s them, but regardless, that’s how it is.

Then we go a bit further down and West ham are rated at 14, followed by Leicester City, Southampton, Stoke City,
West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Swansea City.
Really?

Which is the annoying part.
None of these clubs are on a par, in my opinion and except for perhaps Sunderland, none of them have a following as large as ours by a long chalk.

So ultimately, the brand loyalty stuff doesn’t matter so much and it’s all about the money.
Which is fair enough, as that’s all that matters these days.
Those lesser clubs are in the Prem and we aren’t, it’s as simple as that.

Still, the good news is we can easily jump up this table by twenty places.
All we need to do is get promoted.
Which all means Tony Xia’s purchase of Aston Villa could very well prove to be extremely prudent, especially if we can do it first time.

Derby 0 – 0 Villa; Ultimately disappointing, but still a decent point

Derby have been consistently up amongst the Championship league challengers for the last 3 years or so from memory and if you’d offered me a draw away to them before the season began, I’d have snatched your hand off.
It’s as simple as that.

Having had a quick glance at the comments on here in the previous thread, you would think we’d been terrible, but that’s not how I perceived it while listening to the commentary.

Yes, commentary. Which often doesn’t tell the story completely.
But it’s all I had to go on and it sounded like we should have scored at least 3 goals, having hit the bar and the post, with a claim that the ball had crossed the line, thrown in too.
It certainly doesn’t sound like a Villa team that struggled when you add in that we were well up in the possession stakes too, at least for the first half.

Admittedly, it sounded like Derby got into it way more in the second half, but we still sounded the better side overall and I believe the Derby fans were booing at half time. That’s a point of note, in my opinion.

So while I’m happy with a point, I’m also beginning to see a common theme, which is while we now look a bit more creative, so we’re not converting those chances. That’ll improve though, when the players get into the rhythm, although it seems Gestede has at least tweaked his hamstring, which might prove a real blow.
Kozak came on to cover and while it’s harsh to judge him when he’s had so few games, it’s all about being be able to perform when you’re asked.
It would seem he showed nothing and given that the stories suggest RDM isn’t keen, I’d expect another striker in and Kozak will be off-loaded. No loss for me, as that’s the way it is. Ultimately, he’s another one who’s earned massively from the Villa, even if he’s only(!) on £10k a week.

So summing up, we’ve now played 3 very decent Championship sides and haven’t looked anywhere near the disaster we were last season.

We seem better at the back and I still see the odd one or two signings coming in this window, which should see us in decent stead until Christmas.
And then it would seem Dr Xia still has some firepower to add in the winter window, when the squads will come into play and RDM knows the players better.

While a draw might seem disappointing today, I really do think things aren’t too bad.

Jedinak in, good signing and Lescott out, good riddance

It’s official then and Mile Jedinak is now a Villa player.
This is a great signing in my opinion and one that’s been designed to give us some decent bite in midfield, which we’ve lacked for far too long. Or at least since we had a snake in our midst.
While I have my concerns that he’s nearing the end of his career and he’s probably high up on our wage earnings list (he must be, to drop down a division), he’s exactly what we need.
Couple him with Elphick and we now have two fighters in our side who will not let heads drop in the way they have over the last year or so.
Add the fact that it seems the Crystal Palace players are not happy with Jedinak being replaced as captain,
it bodes well and I totally welcome him to the club.

Combine it with Westwood leaving in his place and I’d be chuffed. But I don’t think that will happen although I can always hope.

Other good news is that Lescott is odds on to be on his way out, with Rangers’ boss Mark Warburton having met him for talks in Manchester.
There is mention that they’re willing to offer him £10,000 a week, which is a big drop on what he currently earns at the Villa, even if his wages, as suggested, have been halved as part of a relegation clause.
So he won’t be leaving for anywhere near free, as much as we all want, as surely we’ll have to pay him the equivalent of what he stands to lose.
Fair play to Xia, he said he’d pay to get rid and it would seem he will actually do it.

There’s also talk that Sunderland might be interested in the player too, but I’d suggest that’s a weak link, purely down to Moyes being the manager.

While I think it’s a great move for the Villa, because Lescott has been awful overall, I also find it a bit sad.
It might not have seemed like it, but we shouldn’t forget he’s actually a Villa fan.