Leeds on Sunday and Kalinic signing; it’s getting interesting.

So much for FFP then.
As I’ve often suggested, it’s a load of old tripe that you can get around if you have the means.

It is of course a good idea, that is designed to stop clubs going bust, but we’ve seen that there are ways around it, as demonstrated by the likes of the blue mancs, even though it seems they’re being threatened with sanctions.
Yeah, right. Just the same as red manc are in trouble for being close on 1 Billion in debt.

It would seem common sense has prevailed and after the Villa’s discussions with the powers that be, it would also seem that adequate funds have been guaranteed by our owners and we’re clear to spend a few quid.
I do not expect the £5 odd million quid we’ve apparently spent on Kalinic to be our only signing, by a long chalk.
Expect a CB and LB to come in and more, just as we all want.
And no, Grealish will not be leaving to pay for it (yawn).

Kalinic will hopefully be a great signing, given that it seems someone at the club has tracked him since our first interest 3 years ago. But I wonder who that someone might be, given the lack of continuity amongst the coaches?
Did we commit to signing him as soon as he became eligible for us when we first showed interest in him, I wonder?
On the face of it, it would seem so, to me.
Hence, is that a good deal?
Whatever, he probably can’t be worse than Nyland, can he???

Onto the game and I’m hoping I’ll actually be able to watch this, although it’ll be touch and go, depending on what time I finish work.

This is a massive game, to my mind.

If Leeds beat us, I think you’d have to call them as clear favourites to win the league.
They’re the big threat to my mind and we have to pull points back on them, if we’ve any chance of winning the league.
Note the “winning” part.
I still believe we have a chance, as much as that might seem daft at the moment.

Squad news then and it’s a bit early, but Grealish is out. He’s wearing a protective boot.
Adomah is a better bet and he’s trained.
Lansbury won’t be available, although Jedinak might be.

Whatever, this should be a great game.
Bielsa is very similar to Smith in the way he plays, in that Leeds play the high press and go for a high workrate.
That ultimately killed Leeds last season, but won’t affect them this early.

McGinn has to be the pivotal player for us, imo and if he plays well, I suspect we can dominate this one.

I’m going for a 2-1 win, but my brain says it will be a 1-1 draw.


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  1. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 23, 2018 at 3:26 pm . Reply

    Injuries; we’re just not good enough without key players. Best we can now hope for is play offs otherwise it’s another season in the Championship.

    At times it was like watching the old Villa.

    Pissed off as this is the first game I’ve been able to watch in two months.

  2. Holte66
    Holte66 December 23, 2018 at 3:29 pm . Reply

    Can’t believe how amateur we were in the last few minutes. Leeds were the better team without a doubt. We missed Grealish and Tuanzebe badly today. Still suffering because Bruce left us with no CB’s. Also the full backs were ripped to shreds as well. It has cost us any chance of automatic promotion and risks our chances of play offs too.

  3. Holte66
    Holte66 December 23, 2018 at 3:35 pm . Reply

    Does anyone else think that Bolasie should have been substituted instead of Kodja? El Ghazi was ineffective when he came on as was Hogan. Funny like Bill said that Leeds played a few 18 year olds who changed the game yet we continually say ours aren’t ready yet. You can’t use the physicality remark because the game is pretty much a non contact sport now. Fact is if they are good enough then they should be playing. It might save a lot of money in the long run.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 December 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm . Reply

      Bolasie was ineffective today and should have gone rather than Kodjia but I think Deano wanted to play with two out and out wingers.

      I agree that we should give some of our younger players a go but is Smith under the same catch 22 as Bruce – we have these expensive players on loan and we have to play them?

      Defence is a shambles although I’m not laying the blame for that at Smith’s door. We have also been unlucky with injuries – again – and all in key positions where there is little or no cover at all.

      Our only ‘hope’ now is play offs but there are a lot of teams of similar ability all striving for those. Next game is also difficult – Swansea away. Lose that and I think we should concentrate on building for next season whilst giving some of the top U23’s some senior game time – and I would definitely recall Clark.

      Fair play to Nyland, don’t think you can blame him for any of the goals but he doesn’t install confidence.

  4. Pat 57
    Pat 57 December 23, 2018 at 3:54 pm . Reply

    A reality check for us I think. We still have a way to go but at least we know what’s needed to get us there.

    With some good additions in January I’ll be optimistic that we’ll at least make the play-offs.

  5. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson December 23, 2018 at 5:38 pm . Reply

    It’s not all over till the fat lady sings lads, play off is our chance unless teams fall to pieces above us, Not take it away from Leeds the better side on the day, Questions now will players stay to finish the job or jump ship. Badger must have jumped in the cut no words from him today.

  6. Sidforever
    Sidforever December 23, 2018 at 5:40 pm . Reply

    Smith is inherited an unbalanced team. He has done well to get some form of tune out of them. However, the squad is threadbear in key areas.

    I agree with Holte66 it would be great to see some of our youngsters play. I think Smith will have a good transfer window and we will still make the top 6.

    Must admit I would have preferred to see Davis come on instead of Hogan, as he can hold the ball up.

  7. Gene Kerrigan
    Gene Kerrigan December 23, 2018 at 6:43 pm . Reply

    Defence is a serious problem that has to be resolved in the window. Fullbacks Hutton and Elmo are fine when we attack but cannot defend. Chester is too small and we don’t have any cover when our central defenders are injured or can’t play. We have been slaughtered on set pieces.

  8. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron December 23, 2018 at 8:15 pm . Reply

    Well, that was predictable, eh? I predicted we’d need to start on the front foot, and we did, but it was impossible to sustain. Also predicted, like many of us, that we’d struggle to get anything from the game. We need at least 2 class, experienced CBs in January, never mind Mitch Clarke. Are we serious about going up or not?

    It sounds crazy, but 2nd hasn’t gone, but ONLY IF we can string 7-8 wins in a row together, starting at Swansea. The fixtures suggest we can do that. Failing that, I’d take 6th, with the belief that we’d have enough fire power to win the playoffs, which we didn’t have last year.

    What’s most concerning is the number of points dropped from conceding late goals. That suggests mental weakness and immaturity, which is why I think the kids aren’t ready for this yet. Bruce was right about that. The problem is, when is the right time for them, considering the size of the club and the fact that there’s no room for maneuver with regards to points. We simply can’t afford to drop any more cheap points. Too many have been chucked away already.

  9. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron December 23, 2018 at 8:25 pm . Reply

    Most would’ve taken a point before the match, and it was in out grasp until the last second, just like the 3 points vs Forest and at Albion. Those 5 points alone would have seen us joint 5th and a point of 4th, which would, in my opinion, be a more realistic position at this stage.

    Must stop losing late points. Smith and his team need to look at this, whether it’s tactics, tiredness, substitutes, whatever it is. Earlier in the season, we were taking the late points (credit to Bruce, I suppose). Now it’s changed. We know that successful teams play to the whistle and pinch late points consistently. How weird is this: Steve Bruce, Sheffield Wednesday, late goals, Villa screwed. Ring a bell? Spooky, eh?

  10. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron December 23, 2018 at 8:41 pm . Reply

    Just watching the goals. Who made the ‘defensive’ header on a plate for their winner? Shocking. Put it out for a corner FFS!!! No communication between the players. A good defender could’ve even nodded it to the keeper to pick up and run the clock down. But at least put it out a corner! Unforgivable defending. Terry’s got to start earning his money in this area, surely?

  11. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson December 23, 2018 at 8:45 pm . Reply

    BFR, I don’t buy that 18 year old player are mentality unable to play a part in any game, what did Leeds do, it was 18 year old kids that changed the game, in this world 18 year old flew spitfire, 18 year old got called up to fight for the country ,
    Sorry I don’t believe that, yes we did lose that game because mentality not strong enough and because we have a defence that’s weak , I hope that Dean will address that soon. It’s not over yet.

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron December 23, 2018 at 9:33 pm . Reply

      Very good and valid point about the youngsters Bill. The fact the the Leeds boss is getting results from his youngsters is a strong point. They can be fearless, assuming they’re strong enough characters. That’s for Smith and his team to judge…

      1. Big Fat Ron
        Big Fat Ron December 23, 2018 at 9:41 pm . Reply

        I guess you only have to look at what Southgate is doing and the effect it’s having. What the hell, bring on the youngsters!

  12. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 23, 2018 at 8:58 pm . Reply

    If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. So, either we’re bottling using some of the better U23’s or they’re not good enough?

    One defeat doesn’t undemine the positives since Smith came but as BFR points out the last few results at home (but strangely not away where the dropped points at WBA came courtesy of crap refereeing) have highlighted deficiencies in the squad.

    But it does raise the question, why do we defend better (on average) away from home than at at home?

  13. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron December 23, 2018 at 9:38 pm . Reply

    Really interesting. I’ve just conceded to Bill that maybe I’m wrong about youngsters and that they’re fearless. But now you’ve made me wonder, Hitch. Could it be that we concede more at VP because of the fear factor? Fear of failure? Fear of a potentially volatile crowd? Fear of expectation? Away from home, you’re not expected to win. At VP, a win is a must. So again, the question is, can the youngsters handle that? Maybe they can. But maybe some of the seniors can’t. Or maybe we’re overthinking it and we’ve just got a shit goalkeeper and shit defenders.

    1. Holte66
      Holte66 December 23, 2018 at 9:56 pm . Reply

      BFR, I think the fear factor is not the U23 players themselves but the management who have too much of a short term philosophy in the clubs aspirations rather than blood them and see who sinks and who swims. Fans generally are quite forgiving with kids and I think under Smith and his style of management they would flourish. At the end of the day it’s hard to say what is the right thing to do. With Grealish, McGinn and Hourihane, alongside Bjarnasson now he’s fit, the likes of O’Hare and Doyle Hayes chances look remote.

  14. Holte66
    Holte66 December 23, 2018 at 9:45 pm . Reply

    I think we only have one problem Hitch, and that is a defence that looks shaky and disjointed. I hope the new keeper is capable of commanding the box because Hyland doesn’t. Last season we had Terry to organise and Chester relished just getting on with his job. Tuanzebe was looking like the real deal but looks like he could be out for several weeks if it’s a metatarsal. A top experienced CB is a must for us plus a quality LB. recall Mitch Clark as back up too. I wonder if we still have to balance the books though so there should be outgoings too. Possibly Hogan and Lansbury on loan. I can see Jedinak going too. It’s embarrassing to see Blues sitting above us at the half way stage. They have had it tougher than us when it comes to signing players, so it’s time for Smith to turn to do the business we knew was required to stop our leaky defence.

  15. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson December 23, 2018 at 9:53 pm . Reply

    I’ve only one respect for a player at Villa in that game, McGinn he fought to win, that’s what I’m getting at, he came from up north to a Midland side and took no prisoners. That’s a guy that I admire plays to win. Give me 10 more like him with mental aggression that he has.I still maintain there are some of our youth that could play a part in today’s game.

    1. Holte66
      Holte66 December 23, 2018 at 10:27 pm . Reply

      Totally agree Bill. Bruce’s best signing for us without doubt. We need to hang on to him if we don’t get promoted, especially if Grealish goes which we can only assume.

  16. nath
    nath December 24, 2018 at 7:34 am . Reply

    what a game yesterday just a shame we lost, we can look into defeats too deeply. sometimes we just lost because we were not good enough on the day. we started brightly and took leeds by storm. building a 2 goal lead still wasn’t enough, because we might have broke leeds early we did not kill them off.

    leeds were always compact they defended as a team and attacked as one. we do try to do the same but we do not compete with them on this leeds were tremendous. they also wanted much more. take when they should have given the ball back, they refused and this good will to all is bulshit and leeds wanted to win and giving the ball back didn’t even cross their minds.

    second half we started like we wanted to add to our scoreline. but leeds had continued in the same way as they did first half but villa couldnt continue the same tempo, we started to not track back and started to allow the leeds runners to run free at our weak back line.

    we are not too far away, but yesterday shows we are not there yet. you could see this also in the forest game. we have to track back el gazia and bolasie are great going forwards most of the time. but they are liability when you need them to track their men back. also el gazia yesterday was well of the pace. leeds just do not give you time in the first minute and the last whether thats 95 minute.

    smith will learn more from this game than all his other and we will improve further, leeds will win the league i think and wba might be second and we will just miss out in 3rd but will go up in playoffs thats my predictions

    1. Guest
      Guest December 24, 2018 at 11:22 am . Reply

      Personally, I feel we are losing due to mistakes of our own making, how many times this season have we been played off the park by the opposition? Yesterday was no exception, I didn’t feel Leeds were ultimately the better team, and had Elmo not gift wrapped that chance for Roofe we’d have come away with a point.

      Yet, how many times have we gifted teams goals that have cost us so many points this season? Way too many, we have to cut out the mistakes, this is the difference between scraping into the playoffs and automatic promotion.

  17. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson December 24, 2018 at 7:47 am . Reply

    That Nath, was a good assumption of that game, I’m not going to dwell on it we all know what’s what, I’m not letting it spoil my Christmas as I’ve just hit the post code lottery, ,I’m Wishing you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS ,God knows where Badger gone unless being a civil servant job making him work .

    1. nath
      nath December 24, 2018 at 8:01 am . Reply

      Merry Christmas bill & all the best for 2019

      leeds result will be a one off / we learnt nothing really from losing that we didn’t already know. one defeat from a very tricky run is not half bad. looking forwards like you not back

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 December 24, 2018 at 10:45 am . Reply

        Merry Christmas Bill, Badger and all on AVN & V Hope Santa brings you all you wish for including promotion to the ‘big league’.

  18. Holte66
    Holte66 December 24, 2018 at 9:11 am . Reply

    Looking back on yesterday’s game having calmed down, I agree with nath that we have to put things into perspective. We aren’t quite there yet, but a few top additions in January and players coming back from injury and we will be strong for a play off push. It’s only half way so a first defeat after 7 unbeaten considering the games we have played should leave us hopeful. Finally Merry Christmas to everyone and roll on Swansea! UTV

  19. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 24, 2018 at 5:11 pm . Reply

    Ever the optimist me – well probably not.

    How about these for a list of depressing statistics.

    Villa have only ever won 5 of 25 Boxing Day fixtures played and only once since 2005 (in 2016).
    Villa have only won once against Swansea in the last six meetings home or away (but that win came 1-0 earlier this season.
    Villa haven’t won at Swansea since 1971!

    A draw might be a good result!

    1. Pat 57
      Pat 57 December 25, 2018 at 3:25 pm . Reply

      Bah humbug Hitch. We’ll bounce back and win this one 0-2.

      Merry Christmas and hoping that Dean can give us all the best New Year’s gift ever – a defence!

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 December 25, 2018 at 3:46 pm . Reply

        Ho, Ho, Ho, Happy Christmas Pat and I promise to put my optimists hat on in 2019!

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