Everton 0-1 Villa; Not pretty, but very gritty.

I’m in two minds what to think about this game.
I thought we were shocking in the first half, so much so that I find it somewhat concerning that I don’t think we’ve played well for a good few games now.
We got better in the second half, but not by much and there was me thinking that it couldn’t be much worse too.

But then, I suppose we always knew that this match was going to be a tough old grind because Duncan Ferguson had his team well fired up and willing to dish out the rough and dirty stuff.
I can think of many, many games where opposition such as that would have had us folding almost immediately, with a resulting defeat.
To have come through this game with a win is very impressive and exactly what we need to help us get points in the rest of this season.

So while I can’t say I was impressed with our performance, so other people’s views on individual performances perplexes me.
I note that the Evening Mail has Tyrone Mings as man of the match. I can understand why some might think he was good, because he did help a stalwart defence when we were facing an aerial assault in the middle to later section of the second half, but I feel that overlooks the amount of times he just kicked the ball out of play totally needlessly.
I detest players who can’t do the simple stuff like pass the ball and while I can forgive the odd once or maybe twice he must have failed at this simple task five times and it really annoys me.

Perhaps I’m just complaining about stuff that doesn’t matter, but I don’t think so. When you’re part of a team that we’ve often complained about for sloppy passing and giving the ball away, it really needs to stop and Mings, as captain ought to be setting an example.
It really, really bugs me.

Anyway, my point is there were players who were in my opinion were much better.
Buendia is an obvious example. He was involved in pretty much everything and as I said last week, he’s really starting to prove his worth. Even his heading is quality for such a small player and he is great to watch.

Matty Cash got the motm award on the channel I was watching and I don’t begrudge him that. He’s been generally very good for weeks now, although it’s interesting to note that I’ve seen fans commenting on other sites that they really don’t rate him. Whatever, I like him. Yes, his crossing isn’t always the best and he never goes round a player, but I feel he adds to our game.

Coutinho on the other hand was very quiet. I guessed Gerrard might start him because he wants him to get his fitness up, but I feel he should have been subbed for Chukuemeka earlier.
Lkewise, I’d have bought Hause on for Buendia earlier too, mainly because he’s the obvious choice when we’re facing that onslaught.
Still, Gerrard’s the manager and it’s difficult to argue with his choices when we got the required result.

So the defence proved pretty solid overall and I don’t remember Everton having any particularly good chances.
The midfield did pretty well too eventually and didn’t allow itself to get roughed up too much by an Everton side where it’s a shame to see them playing such a dirty game. On paper, they’re much better than that.

That said, we didn’t create much either and I found myself thinking that if we hadn’t taken that lead, I’d be thinking that we scratched out a draw in a pretty poor game of football.
It’s funny how a goal makes all the difference.

So it’s a win, when it could so easily have gone against us and you can’t ask for any more than that.
I’d much prefer us to actually turn out a decent performance over two halves for a change, but I’ll happily keep taking wins any way we can get them. That’s all that matters, after all.

So now we have a two week break, which seems ridiculous when so many games have been postponed, but hey ho.
At least it’s given the papers a story because now it seems that John McGinn has gone on holiday to Dubai with Harry McGuire and Marcus Rashford. This obviously means that McGinn is going to Man U.
Except none of the pictures show McGinn with any other players at all and it’s just a coincidence.
McGinn won’t be going anywhere.

And then, after the break we have some very winnable games coming up.
Leeds at home is probably the toughest, but then it’s Newcastle away, Watford at home, Brighton away and Southampton at home. There’s fifteen points to be had there and you’d have to hope we can take the majority of them.
I’ll gloss over the fact that the following five games are tough as hell because I’m trying to get the positive vibes going.

Yes, it was a very satisfying result.



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  1. William Pearson
    William Pearson January 31, 2022 at 5:16 pm . Reply

    Any Truth !! Eden Hazard anyone. ?

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 January 31, 2022 at 5:23 pm . Reply

      Don’t think so Bill but never say never.

      According to Sky we’re only concentrating on three outgoings – loaned for Targett (barcodes), Steer (Luton) and Trez (an Istanbul side I can’t spell 🙂 )

      Put off by the asking price for Bissouma plus the amount of adding and agents fees – the pariahs of football.

  2. Guest
    Guest January 31, 2022 at 5:42 pm . Reply

    Amazed we haven’t addressed the defensive midfield problem.

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain January 31, 2022 at 6:15 pm . Reply

      Maybe “The Management” don’t actually believe there is a defensive midfield problem – at least not one that needed to be adressed in January?

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 January 31, 2022 at 6:50 pm . Reply

        I think the ‘number 6’ position as it’s now called is a challenge for a number of sides.

        I wonder if the finances around the Bissouma deal are a convenient excuse for delaying any decision given the uncertainty around the allegations made against him.

        We can’t spend £50m on a player only to find that he’s then convicted of a serious crime. Seems a pragmatic approach to me even Villa can’t come out and say so.

        1. Ardent Villain
          Ardent Villain January 31, 2022 at 8:11 pm . Reply

          Agree absolutely.

  3. Holte
    Holte January 31, 2022 at 5:52 pm . Reply

    According to Sky there will be no more incomings which is disappointing if true. Am I right in saying there have been more outgoings than incomings if loans are included. While I think that we shouldn’t be held to ransom and with the fact we look like finishing mid table, maybe it’s better to have a serious look in the summer when SG has had more time. The only concern is we are threadbare in a few positions if injuries / Covid occur.

  4. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 January 31, 2022 at 6:54 pm . Reply

    Steer to Luton and Kessler-Hayden to MK Dons.

    Pleased for Steer but a little disappointed that Hayden’s gone out on loan.

    Chukweumeka has a big half season ahead of him and Villa need to persuade him to sign a new contract.

  5. Steve
    Steve January 31, 2022 at 8:02 pm . Reply

    I think if we had signed coutinho and digne today we’d all be jumping for joy saying best window ever. We got our business done early. We are building. Wait til the summer.

  6. Steve
    Steve January 31, 2022 at 8:07 pm . Reply

    Olsen better than steer
    Chambers better than tuenzebe
    Digne better than targett
    Coutinho better than el ghazi and trezeguet.
    Thats just this window.
    We are getting stronger and will continue in the summer.

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron January 31, 2022 at 10:34 pm . Reply

      Absolutely spot on, Steve. Aston Villa has had the best January window of all the PL clubs. Fact. Your breakdown above is proof enough.

      The DM position is not desperate. For 3 midfield positions, we have: SJM, Dougie, JJ, Sanson, Chuky, Buendia, and Ashley Young has shown to be more than capable there. Spurs stole a march on ‘bent anchor’ and there was no way the club could gamble on Bissouma, as already stated. The outgoings are also shrewd and inevitable, given the in-comings.

      The board deserve congratulations for an excellent window.

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