Everton 1 – 2 Villa; What brought that on?

Just as I’ve been quiet because I didn’t want to keep saying how poor we are, it’s only fair that I do the opposite after I think we’ve played well.

Which is exactly what we did tonight. Indeed, we were by far the better side and could easily have scored four or five goals.
Before I come on to who I thought wasn’t up to scratch, I should say who I thought played well and it gives me great pleasure to say it was practically the whole side.
I know we showed signs of improvement against the Albion last week, but it wasn’t prolonged enough by a long chalk and I find myself wondering what’s gone on to cause such an improvement in this game.

I’m quite perplexed, having had a good few minutes to think about it, but I can’t get away from asking why it seems the players worked harder than they have done for months?
The improvement in workrate and desire was marked and it was almost as if the lads had been threatened with the sack.

The player that stood out for me was Traore. Where did that effort come from? I’ve often said I rate him, but he’s been so inconsistent and in and out of games that I’d got ho, marked as a waste of money and a squad player at best.
If he can keep that sort of effort up he’s one of the first names on the teamsheet.
I can’t get my head around his performance.

Ross Barkley too, was mostly excellent and I don’t understand how someone who has played so poorly for so long can suddenly work so hard.
McGinn was nowhere near as generous in giving the ball away, Ollie worked even harder than usual and the whole side were just sharper and up for it from the off.

There were some downsides and our defending of set pieces is one of them, in particular.
Barkley was at fault for Everton’s goal, but I think it’s harsh to blame him.
We zone mark and it makes us look daft when it goes wrong, because you get the likes of McGinn marking usually the biggest player on the opposition’s side.
I’ve never understood the reasoning behind it and much prefer man marking, but then I think Mings is a cowardly, poor defender.
Yet our defence is statistically very good. Hence I have to concede that there’s a good chance I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I thought our worst players were Luiz, who hasn’t looked on top of his game for a while and yep Anwar El Ghazi, who had done nothing all game.
Until he proved me wrong too and popped up to strike a cracker to give us the points. Only a couple of minutes after saying I’d have subbed him.
Football has a knack of proving you wrong, but fortunately it was in a good way today.

We’re up to ninth then and leapfrog Leeds and Arsenal.
If we can keep that up, there’s still plenty of points to be played for.
The big question is, can we?


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  1. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 4, 2021 at 6:55 am .

    The media haven’t yet got it into their thick heads that Villa don’t need to sell anyone and, if they do so, it will be for sound football or business reasons – not because some ‘big’ club has knocked on the office door.

    Purslow is looking to build a group of the best talented 16 – 18 year olds the club can get their hands on. He’s on record as saying that Chuky is ‘the best young footballer of his age in the country’. How would selling him square with that?

    Purslow’s credibility would disappear overnight.

    However, we do need to offer him real first team opportunities not pay lip service to it. European teams seem more willing to play their talented youngsters at the highest level at a much younger age than in the UK. This has been true for years and not just in football.

    If Ramsey is good enough then so is Chuky – even more so,

  2. OLL again
    OLL again May 4, 2021 at 2:07 pm .

    Do we want Tammy Abraham, and do we want him for £40M? If you were managing Chelsea, would you put Tammy in your starting 11 and if so in whose place? IMO Tammy and Ollie are similar. They have the same weakness, neither is a good header of the ball, and when considering their strengths Ollie has improved past Tammy.

    It is an expensive gamble to play them as twin strikers when neither has played that role recently.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 4, 2021 at 4:22 pm .

      I agree with your assessment OLL.

      If we are going to buy a new striker we need a strong proven central striker and, as you imply, a good header of the ball. Both Davis and Wesley are big central strikers and if we’re not going to use them and buy a new striker then someone in the style of Mitrovitch with Watkins playing from the left would be my choice.

      Tonev’s the latest to be touted about by the media but would be a real gamble after just one season in the Championship – anyway if Brentford do get promoted there’s no way they’ll sell any of their best players.

      Danny Ings anyone – that would be a statement

      1. Big Fat Ron
        Big Fat Ron May 4, 2021 at 10:45 pm .

        Hitch, Mitrovic scores less goals than Wesley and Davies.

        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 May 7, 2021 at 7:14 am .

          BFR – I was using Mitrovitch as an example of the type of cf rather than advocating we should buy him. Danny Ings might have been a better choice though!

      2. Bill Pearson..
        Bill Pearson.. May 8, 2021 at 9:27 am .

        If and only if, !! your interested , Aston Villa u18 v West Brom u 18s Semi final are on BT2 at 6 oclock on the 14th .chance to see our potentials.

        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 May 8, 2021 at 11:53 am .

          Thanks Bill

    2. Benno
      Benno May 4, 2021 at 4:51 pm .

      I cant see us spending 40m on another centre forward. No way is Dean going to play with 2 strikers, so it would mean Watkins pushed wide-which makes no sense. I think our priority will be a number 10 and a right winger. Can see us spending big there.

      A good performance from a number 10 (Barkley) in our last performance made such a difference in the way we played. In fact we played that well that you almost forgot that Grealish wasnt playing!

      1. Big Fat Ron
        Big Fat Ron May 4, 2021 at 10:23 pm .

        Very surprised that you don’t believe we need to spend big on a striker this summer, guys. Ollie has played every minute of every game this season. That’s unsustainable. Especially if you want some cup runs. There is no strength in depth there whatsoever.

        Since Christmas, we’ve struggled badly for goals. If it wasn’t for the clean sheets and the odd 1-0 win, we’d be languishing in the bottom half. Look at the results since the New Year. How do you turn 0-0 draws into wins? How do you turn 1-1 draws into wins. How do you turn 1-0 and 2-1 defeats into draws or better?

        Football is about goals, lads, and we don’t score enough of them, which is why Badger’s been so grumpy lately. There was an opportunity for Europe but lack of goals snuffed it out.

        Synthesising the other conversation about Dalian this evening, we lost the title in ’93 when Dalian got injured in December and he didn’t score another goal again all season. Saunders’ form plummeted as a result. Our results in the second half of that season were similar to this, in that we were scraping 1-0 wins to stay in there and losing games by the odd goal.

        So, no lads. We desperately need at least one more striker who’s capable of 20+ league goals a season. Tammy is. As for heading, I’m pretty sure Toney ain’t bad. Strength in depth is a major key to success. Goals are the key. And we need more of ’em. But they don’t come cheap, and rightly so. Whats the use in a number 10 and a winger if there’s no one to finish what they create???

        Time will tell what the board have up their sleeve this summer. I’d be staggered if a top end centre forward didn’t arrive.


        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 May 7, 2021 at 7:22 am .

          BFR – recent article I read suggested that Villa may not spend big on a new striker but will give Wesley time to prove he can deliver.

          If true that sounds like a high risk strategy for the start of next season.

  3. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum May 4, 2021 at 4:41 pm .

    Don’t know if you’re following the news, but the death of Dalian Atkinson looks appalling. Horrified by the police here.

    1. badger123
      badger123 May 4, 2021 at 6:54 pm .

      Just been reading about it, Bum Bum.
      Tasered for 20 secs when the standard is about 5.
      And was then stood with his foot on his head?

      Doesn’t sound good at all and it seems other officers are giving evidence against the copper.
      Without wanting to get into politics it’ll be the same as usual and I’d guess he’ll get done for manslaughter..
      It’s never murder is it?

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 May 4, 2021 at 7:21 pm .

        Well, I’m no lawyer, but my understanding is that it can only be murder if they (the prosecution) can show it was a premeditated (planned) attack with an intent to kill. So, for instance, if he’d told colleagues of his intent or desire to kill someone or had attempted it before.

        Content to be corrected on this but I think they go with manslaughter as the more likely charge under which to get a successful prosecution.

      2. badger123
        badger123 May 4, 2021 at 7:32 pm .

        Agreed Hitch.
        The 20 seconds should have read 30 seconds.
        And that’s the dubious part for me.
        How long does it take an obviously normally sensible person to realise that he might be more than just incapacitating someone?
        I don’t think for one minute he meant to deliberately kill him, but there are degrees of manslaughter.
        I’d be pretty confident the judgement will prove to be on the more lenient side, on a par with someone lashing out with a knife and killing someone or similar.

        I do get it. You don’t want to be seen to be punishing your police officers too harshly.
        But it’s not exactly equal for everyone is it, if that’s what’s happening?

        With that, that’s the end of that conversation on my part.

      3. Big Fat Ron
        Big Fat Ron May 4, 2021 at 10:07 pm .

        Appalling is exactly right, Bum Bum. Used it for over 30 seconds when 5 is recommended. Booted Dalian in the head twice even though he was out. Meanwhile the female officer beat him with her truncheon. Sickening, shocking and yes, totally appalling, not to mention very very sad when you think how the big man’s life ended. Always a very bubbly personality and made a lot of people happy when displaying his immense talent on the pitch. Agree with Bill; I also hope they get their just deserts.

  4. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 4, 2021 at 9:40 pm .

    (I dont think for one minute he meant to deliberately kill him Badger) I think there was hate in that police officer and his ex girlfriend. She hit him while he was on the floor with her truntion they was a couple at the time. Did I read he used that tasser more than once? 30 seconds was well over the police training manuals I would think. And yes he might have been a copper that knew who he was and that’s in my opinion. I’ve said it many times their are police that have O levels and A levels but common sense your born with, that idiot is a bad advert for a descent policeman, hope he gets his just reward.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 4, 2021 at 9:56 pm .

      Badger, Bill – no argument from me.

  5. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 5, 2021 at 7:13 am .

    Badger, see it’s one of your favourite kick off times on Sunday – 14.05 🙂

  6. badger123
    badger123 May 5, 2021 at 2:38 pm .

    Well, I suppose it’s better than 8pm on a Sunday.
    That’s just an awful time to play a game.

  7. badger123
    badger123 May 7, 2021 at 12:41 am .

    I see Chuky apparently wants away because he was promised games and hasn’t got them.
    I don’t blame him if that is the case.

    Or is it a case of him just flexing his clout?
    I think he’s contracted for another 2 years, so I wonder what stance we’ll take with him?
    If he is just pulling his face, I hope the club give him a dressing down and tie him to his contract.
    You can’t have kids calling the shots.

    That said, if Smith hasn’t played him now, when will he?
    I doubt he’ll ever get another chance like this to experiment.
    We’ll either be competing for top 6 or fighting relegation.
    Don’t forget, this is the first time in donkey’s years since we’ve had a middling season.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 7, 2021 at 7:19 am .

      By the same token though Badger, you can’t knock confidence and ambition. Chuky’s probably told Smith he’s better than Ramsey 🙂

      Having said that this will show us how good (or poor) Smith is in managing the expectations of our top young players.

      Barry will be knocking his door down next and with some justification.

  8. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 8, 2021 at 9:29 am .

    If and only if, !! your interested , Aston Villa u18 v West Brom u 18s Semi final are on BT2 at 6 oclock on the 14th .chance to see our potentials.

  9. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum May 8, 2021 at 12:31 pm .

    If Ollie gets a long term injury we are truly buggered. It’s not just his goals we’d miss but his work rate. Teams have to keep their defence back because he’s such a threat, therefore teams can’t attack us in numbers because of this.
    Spending big on a striker is a risk but I think now we’ve discovered we can play well without relying on Jack, Ollie would be a bigger miss.

    And yes, play the bloody youngsters before they all bugger off!!!!!

  10. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 8, 2021 at 2:05 pm .

    That Bum Bum been proved with Grealish being out. I agree for what ever reason the club held back news on Grealish well being from us fans will now bite them on their arse , he will miss out on European games now Southgate will see the chance of picking his first chance players. Smith must show us promising young Villa lads now, waiting won’t do the club any favour as football not that exciting this season .

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