Burnley 1 -3 Villa; An excellent performance which cheered me up

I’ve had a nightmare weekend overall.
Long story short, we had a holiday booked for Monday in Gran Canaria. The hotel was changed on Friday night and the new one was totally unsuitable, so I’ve spent since then looking for an acceptable alternative. I’ve sorted it now, but it’s been a nightmare and it’s why I’ve left it so long to write my thoughts on the game. Stress isn’t the word.
Still, I realise that it’s a first world problem and I’m probably very lucky to be going on holiday at all in these tough times.

The footy partly made up for things though and what a pleasant surprise it was to see what I thought was a very good performance. I’ve said plenty about why I have my doubts about Steven Gerrard, but fair play, I’m happy to say I think it was his tactics that won us this game. I’m not sure what formation we were playing, but I’ve seen it said we were playing a 4-4-2 diamond, a 3-4-2-1 and a 4-2-1-3. It was definitely four at the back for most of the time and it looked like Chambers was playing the holding mid role, but whatever it was, it allowed our midfield to actually dominate the opposition for once.
In hindsight things seem obvious, but how long have we all been complaining about how our midfield never matches the other team? I’d like to think a lightbulb has been switched on in Gerrard’s head and he realises that 4-3-3 just doesn’t work for us.

After the game, Andy Gray said that we dismantled Burnley and I found myself thinking that that was exactly the right description of what we did. I’ve seen comments that we were nothing special in this game, but I think that’s miles off the mark.
I’d commented that Burnley have been fighting for dear life in their last few games, so while I’m very tempted to just think they were just very poor opposition, I really don’t think that was the case and I’d be doing the lads a massive disservice.
No, I think they worked incredibly hard and the Burnley midfield just couldn’t live with us.
I fully expected things to change at half time and Burnley would beef up their midfield, but it didn’t happen. We actually seemed to find more space and John McGinn looked much more the marauding midfielder we’ve been used to. Indeed it was one of his baals in that led to a goal. It’s not difficult is it? Use the players for what they do best.
Maybe Gerrard knows this (and he probably does) and will bring in the players we really need, as opposed to headline signings most likely pushed by Purslow, after all?

There were also a couple of other things that really pleased me.
I’ve said previously that I can’t abide timewasting, but that we need to be able to do it better purely because that’s what winning teams do. So it was with a heavy heart that it perversely tickled me that the home crowd were on Martinez’s back for much of the game for taking so long whenever he had the ball.
It was inexcusable really, because it started before the half hour mark and I didn’t think there was any need for it, but there’s no doubt it helped to unsettle everyone.
Trust a South American to show us how “ungentlemanly conduct” is done, eh?

And then there was the physical side of things. I thought Burnley roughoused it on more than a few occasions, but we didn’t let it get to us and often dished out enough of our own physicality, which was massively encouraging.
It just shows, we can match other teams, but only if you don’t hamstring the midfield by not providing enough players where it counts.

Big shout outs to Buendia, who was my MOTM and is slowly starting to look like the player that a Norwich fan told me he was many months ago. “He’s got the lot” still rings in my ears.
I thought Luiz looked better being able to play further forward to. I honestly hope he stays, because I think he’s been seriously marked down by our fans for being played out of position all season.
And how good was it to see Ings and Watkins both on the scoresheet? I’m still not convinced, but maybe they can play together after all?

Indeed, I can’t say anyone played poorly and whisper it quietly, but that includes Mings too.

Liverpool up next and I should be sweating my proverbials off while I watch that one.


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  1. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 10, 2022 at 7:05 am . Reply

    Article from BBC – don’t need to read it in full as most of it is hype -=but the table comparing SG’s record (so far in the PL) on an average points per game with previous Villa managers is worth a look.

    Of course very early days for SG but the table overall makes for interesting reading I thought.


  2. badger123
    badger123 May 10, 2022 at 11:25 am . Reply

    “Only eight clubs have taken more points than Villa since Gerrard’s first game in charge on 20 November. ”


    “Villa’s billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens have invested £430m on signings since taking over the club in 2018”

    So basically 9th.
    I think it’s that second sentence that does it for me.

    We can say that they’re not Gerrard’s players, but surely he should be able to get a tune out of such a massively expensive fiddle?
    I think most of us think that if you look at players individually, there are plenty that ought to be looking a lot better.

    I think the question you have to ask is would Klopp or Pep etc be able to do better?
    Then again, if yes, you could probably say that at any club.

    There’s no dislike of scousers for me, but sometimes you just get a feeling.
    I had it with MON, Gregory, Little and Atkinson.
    I didn’t have it with the likes of O’Leary, McCleish, Garde etc

    And I’m not feeling it about Gerrard.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 10, 2022 at 12:09 pm . Reply

      Although O’Leary has a very decent record!

      Is it more about whether one likes or dislikes the personality rather than it being an objective view – Bruce for instance?

      Albeit, apart from O’Leary, I doubt whether anyone would question your views about McLeish and Garde and the merry band of itinerant managers around that period.

      1. badger123
        badger123 May 10, 2022 at 1:11 pm . Reply

        It could be, but consider I gave Lambert and Bruce more time than most.
        Even when they were unpopular, I didn’t want them out until there was no option.

        Conversely, as much as I liked Smith, I was fairly quick (but probably around average) to want him gone.

        Whatever, if Gerrard isn’t doing really well, we can already see what’s going to happen.
        I think the main problem is that he was nowhere near proven.
        I’ve seen people say you could say that about any foreign manager, but usually they’ve done the business at top level somewhere.

        And simply, doing ok in a two horse race doesn’t cut it, does it?

  3. badger123
    badger123 May 10, 2022 at 1:15 pm . Reply

    Oh, Coutinho at £20 mill or less is a different proposition.
    I’d definitely take him at that, even if his wages are like to be about a million quid a month.
    Although that in itself makes me wonder if there will be jealousy in the camp.

    1. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand May 10, 2022 at 3:18 pm . Reply

      Breaking News…
      Leon Bailey’s injured and won’t be available for this evening match.
      (What a surprise!)

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 May 10, 2022 at 3:52 pm . Reply

        Sacre Bleu 🙂

  4. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 10, 2022 at 5:01 pm . Reply

    See Coteh have agreed a deal to sign Haaland.

    Does that now mean being the best of the rest is coming second?

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 10, 2022 at 5:01 pm . Reply


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