Liverpool – Villa; Revenge time?

When was the last time we had a Saturday 3pm kickoff?
I don’t remember, but it seems like it’s been ages and it’s nice to have one today. There’s just something that seems right about it and late Sunday night kickoffs just don’t do it, do they?

I haven’t heard much about Liverpool lately, so I had to look at the league table to see where they actually stand. Imagine my surprise then, to find that they’re only five points above us, having played one game more.
That sort of puts things in perspective really, because even though I think we’ve been playing poorly for months and results have definitely been poor, what does that say about the rest of the clubs in the Premier league?
Not a lot, it would seem and I still struggle to see that we’re ninth in the table.

So, where I was fearing a major backlash after us thrashing Liverpool at home, now I’m not so worried.
It would seem the Reds are not the same team they were, yet they’re in the middle of a European tie against Real, so they’re not doing too badly.
They have a lot of players out, in Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Divock Origi.
That’s some list and it partly explains why they’ve not been as strong lately.

There’s nothing wrong with Liverpool’s attack though and they definitely have players who can hurt us.
Hopefully, our defence can stand firm and keep them out, but I suspect we might concede a couple today.
On the plus side, their defence is vulnerable and we have the capability of hurting them too.

The big news for us is of course Jack Grealish being out again and not looking like he’s likely to be back until May at the earliest.
It’s ok though, because Smith said it’s not a long term injury(!).
I seriously wonder if there had been copious amounts of alcohol involved before he came out with that statement.
If what will turn out to be three months isn’t a long term injury, I’d hate to see one that is.
Still, it’s just another example of the BS he has been speaking for months now, I suppose, so I’ll just leave it there.

I think a lot depends on how Smith sets the team up today and indeed, who he plays.
We all know it’ll be pretty much the same personnel as always, but he does have choices in how he plays them.
Our best bet is to actually go at Liverpool and put their defence under pressure from the off.
This would involve McGinn getting further forward.
If that doesn’t work, there’s always the option of putting Davis on. Not to score goals, but to bully the defence and create space for Watkins.

I see goals in this game and hopefully we’ll see a more lively performance from the lads, which will hopefully lead to us getting some too.

I’m going for 3-2.
I’d like to think we can actually edge this one, but I don’t quite have that confidence, so I think it’s going to go against us.
I actually think the performance is probably more important than the result today. We wouldn’t normally expect to get much from this game, after all.
What we don’t want is an abject poor performance and a heavy defeat.
But then, I don’t think we’re going to get one.

Up the Villa!

219 Comments

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  1. Avatar
    Bum Bum April 26, 2021 at 7:52 am .

    Two up front. We’ve barely tried that all season.
    That should be our plan B, or even plan A.
    Flip flops. That’s what’s on the players minds now. Nowt to play for… Pride aside.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 April 26, 2021 at 4:07 pm .

      Flip flops? Well that’s what they look like when they’re playing and no crowd to get on to them either.

      Lack of atmosphere is definitely beginning to tell.

      1. Avatar
        Big Fat Ron April 26, 2021 at 10:37 pm .

        Totally agree. The edge has gone because they know they can’t qualify for Europe and even if they could, they know they’re not ready for it, so I think they’d have bottled it anyway. Maybe that’s what’s actually happened. Maybe they thought “shit, if we carry on like this, we’ll have European games to play next season…but we’re not ready.” Who knows? I’m no psychologist. But I know from experience that when the carrot isn’t there, you can beat the shit out of someone with a stick and it won’t have the same effect.

  2. Avatar
    Holte April 26, 2021 at 8:50 pm .

    Just read that BT sport are doing a documentary on Villa for the 40th anniversary of our European cup final. It will cover the 80/81 league winners and 1982 European cup success and how we achieved this 10 years after playing in the old third division. It will be shown some time next year of course.
    Maybe now we are three years into Dean Smiths tenure we are on course to try and match those glory years. Our owners will hopefully stay and see their project come to fruition. Although the high standards set pre Christmas have dropped off considerably, we have made progress and with the likes of Martinez, Cash, Targett, Konsa, Cash, McGinn, Grealish and Watkins, we have a decent bunch of first team players. We clearly need a player who can do what Barkley flattered to do before his injury and some serious attacking players to compliment Watkins and Grealish. I still think there are question marks on Luiz and Nakamba as defensive midfielders. Early on Luiz looked excellent but maybe he has run out of steam like quite a few of the squad. I fully expect our owners to open the cheque book again to bring in the best players available to us.
    Let’s hope next season we have fans back at Villa Park and we take another step towards being a top 4 team.

    1. Avatar
      Big Fat Ron April 26, 2021 at 10:46 pm .

      Holte, don’t forget Luiz is ONLY 22 years old! And he’s pretty much played a full season without a breather, plus internationals. He’s at least 4 years off his peak. Plenty more to come. We need to stop writing off top talent before they reach their peak years; it’s plain daft. The club have been doing this for many years – the list is as long and distinguished. I don’t think Purslow et al have assembled this squad of youthful excellence just to scrap it after 2 years.

      We have to build on it and I believe they will in the summer! I’ll start my broken record again: no more wingers! Buy 2 top strikers, play Ollie and Jack wide of the 2 and a world class goalscorer in between them!

      1. Avatar
        Hitchens60 April 27, 2021 at 7:28 am .

        Holte / BFR I’m on the same page – for all my moaning at times. Just hate being beaten!

        Our early results coincided with Barkley playing some top class football and linking with Grealish allowing other players (notably El Ghazi) to play more freely. Also agree about Luiz – we should remember he’s only 22, Konsa is 23 (and isn’t Davis only 21?) when we complain about not playing the younger players. As I’ve mentioned before we actually have the youngest averaged squad in the EPL!

        As an aside I thought Luiz and McGinn looked a lot better on Sunday playing higher up the pitch.

        Add a top class central striker (although I suspect they will go with Wesley – and he’s only 22) and attacking mid field player (No 8 in old fashioned parlance), play Watkins on the left and we’d not be a bad side.

        1. Avatar
          Bill Pearson.. April 27, 2021 at 3:02 pm .

          Now that’s common sense Hitch, why doesn’t Smith put that together? That why I think he’s not the right man to take us further. Smith is his own man from what I’m seeing ,you or anyone won’t change what he sees or we see. Further more Hitch his team selection and bench calls are mystifying to me . I don’t see us getting anymore points from now . Please prove me wrong someone.

  3. Avatar
    Holte April 26, 2021 at 8:53 pm .

    I just realised I put Cash down twice. I did mean Mings if he cuts out his silly mistakes!

  4. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. April 27, 2021 at 8:56 pm .

    Under 23s playing Newcastle under23 in quarter final of the youth cup won 6-1 tonight. Well done the lads.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 April 27, 2021 at 9:41 pm .

      Youth Cup but many of our players playing regularly at U23 level which gives us a distinct advantage – still an excellent win. Baggies next.

      Chukwuemeka scored a hat trick but Louie Barry misses out on the goal fest. I would really like to see Chukwuemeka given 20 minutes in the first team.

      The TV programme celebrating the 40th anniversary (of our European Cup win) is called ‘Super Villans’ and will be aired on BT Sport – not BBC. No date specified.

      1. Avatar
        Big Fat Ron April 27, 2021 at 11:18 pm .

        Apparently, some big hitters in Europe, including City and United, are sniffing around ‘Chuky’. Dortmund turned Jude Bellingham from a nobody to a Champions League regular and nailed on to be part of the Euros in less than a year! His age? 17. Not a typo. He is17. My point: the likes of Barry and Chukwiemenka MUST be given the opportunity. And I don’t mean bullshit cameos like Davies. If the big boys are circling, surely that’s a wake-up call? I hope Smith and his team seize the day rather than live to rue it with the rest of us!

        1. Avatar
          Hitchens60 April 28, 2021 at 12:05 pm .

          BFR – he just recently signed a new deal, I think to 2023 if I remember correctly. It was at that time, with his existing deal running out that there were reports of major clubs being interested. I was really concerned at the time, so pleased that the club managed to ‘persuade’ him to sign.

          I agree that now they have to commit to him (and players like Barry and Kessler) having a serious opportunity to step up to the first team.

          Why only Ramsey and not others – putting them on the bench for the odd game looks like a sop to their ambitions?

          1. Avatar
            Big Fat Ron April 29, 2021 at 4:25 pm .

            I’ve just watched extended highlights of Chukwuemenka’s performance against Newcastle the other night. He looks an absolute monster of a player. I’m no football coach and certainly not qualified, but if Jude Bellingham’s worth a go at 17, this guy looks more than ready to mix it at the highest level.

            As an aside, I particularly like how, at such a young age, he has the confidence and courage to confess his faith and ‘thank God’ publicly. This, for me, shows great mental strength, a key to being a successful footballer. Frank Skinner, a fellow Brummie, was recently in the papers explaining how difficult it is to ‘come out’ as a Christian. Chuky’s performance on the pitch and maturity off it suggest that he could be huge.

            Incidentally, didn’t a certain Mr Agbonlahor, of equally complicated surname, make his debut at Goodison Park, and score? A little nudge there for Dean Smith. This lad looks like he can offer much more than our current wingers. Give him a start, pleeeeeeese?

            UTV

            1. Avatar
              Hitchens60 April 29, 2021 at 6:22 pm .

              BFR – I couldn’t agree more.

              Well said fella

  5. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. April 28, 2021 at 7:27 am .

    BFR, just read that, again you just watch Chuky slip through our fingers like most players have from the youth teams, apparently he played a blinder and dominate the game. We must give these lads a chance to make it in the Villa club and not in other top teams. Your right about under 23s and 18 players Hitch. 5years in age a bit naughty to me against teams that play 17s and under. Still a good game and interesting to watch good prospect players .

  6. Avatar
    Hitchens60 April 29, 2021 at 10:13 pm .

    Targett signs contract extension to 2025.

    Well earned I would say; proved a few doubters wrong.

    Taylor will move on at the end of the season so we need to bring in a young, promising left back to keep him on his toes – although I suppose Hause might be seen as a left back?

    UTV

  7. Avatar
    Adam April 30, 2021 at 12:21 pm .

    The Grealish Injury drama continues…. Scan was positive but not going to start training till next week so will miss at least the next two games I reckon, if training goes to plan. Meaning he will be back for the last 2/3 games. Gutted really as although we weren’t doing great before he got injured I have no doubt we would have more points to date if he had played the last 10 games for us and we might still have something to play for. I have a feeling though Grealish and Chucky will link up superbly i hope to see that before the season ends.

  8. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. May 1, 2021 at 9:04 am .

    FA Youth Cup Semifinals.

    Aston Villa v West Brom Albion
    Ipswich Town v Liverpool

    Ties to played on May 15th
    Both Semifinals and the final are only one leg…. if Villa beat the Albion the final will be at Villa Park .

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