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
    Bill Pearson.. April 23, 2021 at 8:12 am .

    It’s a video of Minns telling Bartley it’s a shit pass and to f off back words to that effect. .Don’t know why your not seeing it as I’ve tried the link and up it comes.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 April 23, 2021 at 9:25 am .

      Same for me Bill. Are you a member of that group – if so that’s maybe why your seeing it and we’re not.

    2. Avatar
      Adam April 23, 2021 at 1:42 pm .

      I remember seeing that live and wondering who he was shouting at, I did think it was Barkley to be fair. Fair play to Mings, Barkley has been terrible these last few months and he needs to go, whether he only gets on with Jack and feels lost when he isn’t playing alongside him who knows but his cant be arsed attitude is shocking. Complete waste of a player in the team sheet particularly when we could give a chance to some of the kids to see what they’re about. You’d think they would at least show more hunger and fight. Chuky, Barry and the rest deserve their chance when we get served up this shower of shit from players on circa £100k a week.

      1. Avatar
        Badger123 April 23, 2021 at 8:27 pm .

        Yet Smith keeps playing him.
        Either Smith is blind or the club messed up massively and allowed some “must play” clause.

  2. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. April 23, 2021 at 12:14 pm .

    That’s a thought Hitch. See what I can do .

    1. Avatar
      Bum Bum April 24, 2021 at 8:43 am .

      I don’t think we’ll sell any of our finest players this summer. We’ve punched well above our weight compared to last season. The only disappointment is we won’t finish above Arsenal and Leeds. An 8th place finish would have been awesome but Jack’s injuries have hit us hard.
      I think we’ll significantly add quality to our squad as our owners seem to possess foresight. Look at how they held their nerve and refused to pull the trigger on Smith last year.
      The only question is, can Dean handle top drawer players? Either way, he’s gotta be allowed a crack at it!

  3. Avatar
    Badger123 April 23, 2021 at 1:53 pm .
    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 April 24, 2021 at 6:52 am .

      Yep – telling Barkley to return from whence he came. Is that sort of reaction caused by one poor pass or is it indicative of a more fundamental problem with him in the dressing room?

  4. Avatar
    Bum Bum April 23, 2021 at 4:45 pm .

    Although our season is basically over, I can’t help wondering what players our lovely wealthy owners are looking at?
    If they don’t capitalise on the half a dozen or so seriously good players we have, we’ll all be wondering if they’re Deadly in disguise!!!
    I think they’re a bit more progressive than Doug, so we’ll see one or two surprises. You read it here first!!!

  5. Avatar
    Holte April 23, 2021 at 6:48 pm .

    Are there any players left for the Baggies game? No Cash, Grealish, Trezeguet, Sanson and Wesley of course. We could play a couple of kids either starting or from the bench. What about Chukwuemeka instead of Traore. Maybe Kesler instead of Elmo or Barry instead of Ramsey or El Ghazi! Don’t expect anything new or inspiring though. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Barkley start 😒
    I don’t have a good feeling about Sunday’s game unfortunately. I find it hard to believe that one player makes us tick but if that is the case then Smith doesn’t deserve any credit at all.
    Smith has commented that we lack squad depth and we are missing Grealish. He will have the summer to spend on the quality players we desperately need to ensure that a couple of injuries doesn’t see us go down the pan.
    On a different note regarding the super 6, do we assume that they have changed their minds and there is no punishment? Do we all thank them for staying put? It’s a disgrace that they have changed their minds only because of the massive backlash. They aren’t sorry at all. The only regret they have is that they didn’t succeed in achieving the goal of guaranteed elite status.

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 April 23, 2021 at 7:38 pm .

      I’m glad you lads have posted here, as my thoughts were “if you’ve got nothing good to say, best keep your mouth shut.” Hence I’m not going to do a pre match post.

      I’m convinced we’ll lose this game.
      I see nothing at all in the team to make me think we’ll win. We don’t look interested and I now suspect Barkley has something to do with it.

      Smith will not play the kids. It’s just not up for debate for me.
      He put the kid in the squad the other night, but never gave him a minute.
      I’m sorry, but is that the reward?
      It’s bollocks.
      If you’re not going to play them, don’t give them hope, simple.

      Smith won’t play them because to my mind, he just doesn’t rate them in the slightest.
      It’s why Elmohamady will start, even though he’s gone at the end of the season.

      Super league?
      They’ll be back.
      They can’t help themselves, because they’ve hit the limit on the existing system.
      The best solution to this would be to introduce some form of monetary system where clubs have to massively reduce their debt.
      It’ll still favour the big clubs, but none would be able to take on approaching a billion quid’s worth of debt like they have now.

      Again, it won’t happen, because this cartel of clubs is what really runs the game and the leaders of the federations or whatever are just colluding with things.

      The fan backlash caught them on the hop, but they WILL be back.

      Players out and in?

      £100 million required incoming with most of the midfield leaving.
      Ideally £50 mill for McGinn and £120 mill for Grealish on top and then we’re really talking about strengthening the squad.

      I don’t want Grealish to go, but we need to massively improve for him to stay.
      If not this season, he’ll leave next, otherwise.

      Is Smith the man to handle genuine top players?
      Now that’s the question.

  6. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. April 23, 2021 at 7:25 pm .

    Holte66, im just as bemused as you on the thought of Sunday’s game. I don’t see us winning I haven’t any faith in Smith’s brains on picking a winning side. Foden 19 years old playing a blinder, kids desperate to make good and old men not allowing them to prove maturity. What’s going on at Villa Park? Closed shop on youths if you ask me.

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 April 23, 2021 at 7:51 pm .

      Bill, they have to look better than the players already playing.

      Either Smith hasn’t got a clue or it’s yet another case of the club massively talking up the kids, like they’ve done for the last 20 years.

      I’ll just say Ramsay.
      He’s supposed to be the best of the lot, isn’t he?

      What do you think of him from what you’ve seen?

      1. Avatar
        DSVilla April 23, 2021 at 8:34 pm .

        Ramsay will be a good player for us. It’s a massive step up. Grealish was sent out to Notts County to toughen up in competitive football. Even with his talent it takes some time. It also helps if you are brought into a team that is playing and doing well

        Next game will be revealing. In the absence of Cash does Smith elevate Kesler and give him a start or do the usual and play Elmo who will probably leave at the end of the season? If he doesn’t play Kesler I think Smith is the problem, not Kesler. We are safe and playing poorly. If he continues to make safe selections I will struggle to support him.

        We need to be more positive. I don’t blame the players. Something isn’t right. They look afraid to play. When we went behind against Fulham we suddenly took the shackles off and played positively and created chances and goals. Did the players do that on their own or did they get instructions to play that way?

        I think we are all frustrated and a bit despondent now but a win against West Brom would improve the mood. I’m not confident though and I doubt many fans are.

        1. Avatar
          Hitchens60 April 24, 2021 at 6:59 am .

          I hope I don’t regret this (given my track record) but I think we’ll beat the Baggies. They had a little mini run of a couple of wins but they were well beaten by Leicester.

          Baggies will see us as a banker win – not going to happen.

      2. Avatar
        Bill Pearson.. April 24, 2021 at 8:27 am .

        Ramsey to me is a disappointment Badger, I haven’t seen one bit of fight in him, this is what I’m on about , puts a player on to play his type of football and not allowing them to get involved showing who they are, drawing board play rules the game in today’s games. Grealish came to light by having dribbling skills and able to draw players out of that drawing board told position. He will always have that skill till he slows up in age . My argument is not showing us and allowing young players to go on the pitch and play their game not his.

        1. Avatar
          Hitchens60 April 24, 2021 at 9:40 am .

          Smith brilliantly used last seasons Covid lockdown to reshape our tactics which ultimately led to us avoiding relegation.

          We started this season with a bang but since Christmas Smith seems to have lost his nerve and reverted to a defensive minded approach. Does this mean he’s also lost confidence in his players?

          That sort of interaction rubs off the team and they lose confidence I themselves.

          We’ve become scared of getting beaten so we’re being beaten.

          There’s a lot of over the top media hype surrounding Bielsa but one indisputable fact is his teams aren’t scared of losing.

  7. Avatar
    Badger123 April 24, 2021 at 8:48 pm .

    “Smith brilliantly used last seasons Covid lockdown to reshape our tactics which ultimately led to us avoiding relegation.”

    Did he? Really?

    I’ve seen this said a lot and there’s no doubt we were better, though it was hard to be worse, especially defensively.

    But I’ve never seen Smith claim credit for it or explain what he did.
    I know they worked hard, but don’t they all?

    And the vast majority of fans would not be linking “tactics” and “Dean Smith” in the same sentence since Xmas.
    Quite the opposite, I’d say.

    I’m not convinced in the slightest, Hitch.

    1. Avatar
      Big Fat Ron April 24, 2021 at 9:03 pm .

      Badger, it would seem that you’ve made your mind up about Smith and whatever he does well, you won’t hear of it. I think it’s harsh. Top 8 is very much still on for this season. Top 10 would be a good season, given we’re two seasons in and the improvement on last season. I hammered him around Christmas last season when we looked dead and buried, but I try not to be biased and give credit where its due as well as criticism.

      I believe the following situations have made an impact:
      COVID
      Jack’s injury
      Barkley’s attitude
      Sanson’s arrival and Connor’s exit – I am sure Connor was a positive influence in the dressing room and well-respected, as well as an asset when in the team. I am guessing (but might be wrong) that Sanson is of the ‘sulky’ brigade.

      Anyway, I’m not making excuses for him, as he has cocked up on occasions, not least with not captalising on Davis’ cameo aganst Fulham. But I haven’t seen enough to agree that his time is up.

    2. Avatar
      Hitchens60 April 25, 2021 at 7:13 am .

      I think he did Badger – change our tactics that is. Maybe ‘brilliantly’ is over stating it but he did explain the process he and the team went through during the Covid shut down.

      My point really was the three contrasting periods of ‘form’ for want of a better word and trying, probably unsuccessfully, to find a reason.

      Is Smith the right man to take us to the next level? I honestly don’t know but it’s clear we need some additional quality in the team – which it seemed would be provided by Barkley – who only flattered to deceive.

  8. Avatar
    Big Fat Ron April 24, 2021 at 8:54 pm .

    Wow, this is spooky – I was honestly thinking yesterday that Todd Cantwell might be worth a look, and low and behold, there’s a report in The Mail saying he might be Jack’s replacement, although I was hoping he’d be Jack’s understudy rather than replacement…

    ‘Gis a job’, Mr Purslow! 😉

  9. Avatar
    Hitchens60 April 25, 2021 at 8:46 am .

    I think this might have ‘legs’.

    Wheelan suggesting that, if Villa move for Lingard, Manure may float a swop deal plus a significant amount of cash (£60m) for Grealish.

    We either need to bring in additional quality to play around Grealish or move him on a build a new midfield entirely.

    From you earlier post Badger, I get the impression you quite favour the latter approach.

    There’s an interesting stat about Grealish – apart from last season when I think he started in the majority of games – in his previous three seasons in the Championship and in this season he has only started in around 65% of games!

    1. Avatar
      DSVilla April 25, 2021 at 7:24 pm .

      65% is a majority.🤷‍♂️

  10. Avatar
    Hitchens60 April 25, 2021 at 6:04 pm .

    Predictable line up. Elmo in for Cash, Barkley starts and – hold the front page – Wesley is on the bench!

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