Forest 2-1 Villa; Reflections and thoughts on Bruce

It’s a bit late for thinking back to Saturday, but apologies, I just never got round to posting about the game.
Whilst not wanting to gloat, I’m sure you’ll understand how sunning my skinny arse in Mexico at this time of year might deflect from the thoughts of Aston Villa.
Except it doesn’t; it really doesn’t and Villa are still one of the first things I think of every day.
My missus constantly tells me how sad it all is, that a “bloody football team” always seems to come first.
I laugh as I tell her every time that it’ll never change.

So I’ve been thinking a lot then and the truth is I still don’t know what to think, even though I’ve had time to calm down.

Bruce opted for a 3-5-2 then and I should have known better than thinking it was a 4-4-2 when I saw the line-up. It’s Bruce’s favoured setup after all, if what I’ve read about him before he came to us is correct anyway.
I’m not a big fan of 3-5-2, as it all too easily leads to a 5-3-2, especially if you don’t play a high line. I think it was perfectly demonstrated on Saturday.

Which was why I wanted to string Bruce up by his proverbials after the match.
I’d specifically said in the preview that I wanted us to get at them and as the game unfolded, so it became obvious that Forest had absolutely no threat whatsoever and they were there for the taking.
Yes, they had lots of possession, but were doing absolutely nothing with it until that purely speculative shot got totally fluffed by Johnstone.
And god, was that poor. Yes, it spun and maybe even bobbled, but that should have been bread and butter to a decent goalie, it’s as simple as that.
“Total bloody liability” type comments aside, we have to put it down as “one of those”. Again.
That’s what you get when you replace a kid with another kid and those of us who raised the issue at the time seem to have been vindicated. Will he be dropped? He ought to be, as we can’t afford those types of mistakes.
But we’ll see, I suppose.

I shouldn’t gloss over our goal though and it was well executed wasn’t it?
A lovely, deceptive pass from Grealish, which Kodjia finished with some aplomb. Where would we be this season without him?
Actually that’s a very scary thought.

And then back to Grealish, who apart from that pass was totally invisible.
Seriously, at half time, I legged it down to the bar for another Bacardi and coke (no ice) and got back just as the second half was starting. And for the next half hour I honestly wondered if he was still on the pitch.
I soon found out, of course when he got sent off.
I was bloody livid and that’s putting it politely.
Now, I can appreciate what he brings to the game when he actually pulls off a piece of skill. But how often does it happen?
I’ve mentioned it before and he needs to grow up fast. Until he does, he’s nothing more than a last 15 minute impact player.
And what really boiled my piss? He didn’t even look bothered, both times he went in the book. Perhaps I’m being unfair there and he’s just under orders to keep his trap shut and not whinge, which would be fair enough.
But I’m sorry, he just looks a real petulant kid, in the way he acts.
So much so, that I’m sure refs have him marked.

Anyway, I thought up until that point, we were very much holding our own.
And then Bruce took both the strikers off.
I said at the time that we were going into defend mode and it just amazed me. We can’t defend with eleven players, let alone ten!

It’s also part of the reason I’ve waited until posting this, but even retrospectively, I don’t understand that decision.
I’ve seen Bruce’s point that he didn’t want Hogan to do a muscle in the last minutes (a la Gabby).
Err, Hello Steve, did you totally forget that Hogan’s only been with us a few days and hasn’t been over-trained to death, or whatever it is we do at Bodymoor Heath, that causes these types of injuries?
And it was rubbish anyway. Hogan didn’t look tired to me or the commentators. And surely, if he was, he’d have pointed it out?

No, I’m not having it. It was an awful decision, which left us no way of relieving any pressure that was going to come at us. Bloody hell, we’d spent enough time hoofing it, so why stop then?

So I went out on the balcony for a smoke. Because it was all too inevitable.
Does Bruce not listen to us amateur blog writers at all?
You’d really think he’s the expert wouldn’t you?

And that’s where we are.
Bruce sets us up with a system the players don’t know.
The players don’t know each other yet (Bjarnason? hmm) and he chucks a grenade in like that.
I can only think it’s character building Bruce is after.

But amongst all that, I saw green shoots.
How useful does Hogan look for instance?
He showed more in that game than McCormack did in all the time he was here, in my opinion. If he doesn’t get us a few goals this season, I’ll eat my Sombrero.
The season’s a write-off now and it’s now about getting the team to gel.
Which I’m sure they will.
The players we have definitely ought to be good enough, after all and it’s difficult to even wish for a realistically better group, on paper.
Mind you, how many of us thought similar in the summer?

Regardless, we can’t chop and change again, so it has to be Bruce for the foreseeable future.


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  1. giddyvillan February 9, 2017 at 5:02 pm . Reply

    Wouldn’t 5 in the middle be a little overcrowded???

  2. Hitchens 60 February 9, 2017 at 7:11 pm . Reply

    Blimey – it’s all a bit complicated. Good job I never tuned playing Championship Manager or whatever that game was called!

    It was simpler with wing halves and inside forwards!

    1. Hitchens 60 February 9, 2017 at 7:12 pm . Reply

      *tried playing

  3. Bill Pearson February 9, 2017 at 7:31 pm . Reply

    Blimey Hitch, it was right half left half, left wing inside forward centre forward, inside forward then right wing, what happened to the game? . OH GIVE ME THEM TIMES AGAIN.

    1. Hitchens 60 February 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm . Reply

      Right on Bill – cloth caps and rattles standing in the rain squashed up like sardines 🙂

  4. nath February 10, 2017 at 7:42 am . Reply

    formations and systems all work if the players execute them, 3 5 2 if a flexible system. chelsea have resorted to it and they are conformable using this.

    we have the players to suit this system. strong in midfield. decent attacking full backs ( which are the width in attacking )

    for instance the 3 center backs 2 are marking players and the third can be a jedinak or snachez who is on loan, plays this role. they do the mopping up in front of defense. so 3 5 2 sounds negative, but if the players can play this system, we should be strong attacking and strong defense.

    3 5 2 really comes into its own, because the way you can have two players upfront, but still control midfield, where playing 4 4 2 you often lose the midfield as most teams have 3 players in there

  5. giddyvillan February 10, 2017 at 10:15 am . Reply

    I see jedi is unavailable for tomorrow’s game still injured.

  6. giddyvillan February 10, 2017 at 10:19 am . Reply

    I really don’t rate this Ipswich team & expect nothing less than 3 points

  7. langfordvilla February 10, 2017 at 11:00 am . Reply

    I would like this line up: 4-1-2-3 (for away games)

    Bree Baker Chester Taylor
    Hourihane Lansbury
    Adomah Hogan Kodjia

    I would like this for home games: 4-3-1-2
    Bree Baker Chester Amavi
    Adomah Lansbury Bjarnasan
    Hogan Kodjia

    1. giddyvillan February 10, 2017 at 2:46 pm . Reply

      Hi mucker

      1. langfordvilla February 10, 2017 at 6:14 pm . Reply

        Hi Giddy…hope all is well mate
        Bloody quiet on here…..I feel like I should give you my latest song!

        We’ve got Hourihane
        Conor Hourihane
        I just dont think you understand
        He’s Stevie Brucie’s man
        And he’s better than Zidane
        We’ve got Conor Hourihane

  8. langfordvilla February 10, 2017 at 6:52 pm . Reply

    Is this site shutting down? It only seems to get 3 or 4 posts a day!

  9. originallondonlion February 10, 2017 at 7:50 pm . Reply

    A couple of reasons for that Langford.
    Badger is still putting up new post questions but his 3 co-authors are a bit quiet.
    A lack of controversy. Fans all agreed we have bought in almost a complete team, they have not gelled yet, but they all were good players in their various roles at their former clubs. Therefore we all expect to see them become one of the top teams in this division, making a challenge for auto promotion next season.

    So with the exception of Keeper, where we have not bought a player who might the in the top two in the Championship – it is all fingers crossed and wait and see.

  10. Bill Pearson February 10, 2017 at 8:01 pm . Reply

    I’m still here Langford, out most of the time visiting wife in hospital mate, do put my penny worth in Now and again. Oohah done a runner, Adam left the country for pastures greener, and Villa still giving us headache ,Badger getting pissed on cheap booze, all in all everyone’s having a blinder mate.

Right or Wrong? What do YOU think?

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