Luton 2 – 3 Villa; That had me worrying!

Sorry chaps, I was going to write a preview, where I was going to predict a 3-1 win. I got that wrong, but wasn’t far off.
Anyway, the reason I didn’t do it is because I was actually researching which streams are currently okay to use and time just passed me by.

Talk about a game of two halves!
Quite simply, we destroyed Luton in that first half and the result was never in doubt.

And then, we allowed Luton back into it so much in the second half, that for a good period it looked like they were going to win the game.

I’ll never understand how that can happen, but it does.
The question is did Luton massively improve their game or did we relax?
I personally think it’s the latter and again, I think it’s a mental problem.
Overconfidence? No, I don’t think so, because I don’t think Emery would allow that. Much more like changing down a gear and taking it easier, in only giving 90%, imo.
And we all know if you want to win, you have to be at 100 or 110%, as Sir Ron used to say.

It could, of course, just be that the lads are generally not able to keep up a 100% performance over 90 minutes and it’s not an argument I would discount.
Certainly when we bought our last three subs on, they all improved us in my opinion.
I’d also point out how Liverpool seem to be blooding 19 year olds left, right and centre, all to good effect.
Is that possibly the way forward? and if so, why aren’t we doing it more?
OK, we got Tim on, but it’s hardly the same thing.

What of the game then?
Well, the first half was great.
Luton didn’t seem to care about Watkins and he was just a nightmare for them.
Bailey looked dangerous again, Martinez did what he does and McGinn ran the show again.
In fact, I couldn’t criticise anyone.

I felt Ramsey was a big miss when he went off and I’m concerned about him, as he’s beginning to look seriously injury prone. Hopefully he won’t be out for weeks again, but I’m sure he and the club will just be hoping that this is just an injury prone season and he comes back good next time.

The second half?
Hmm, I’m not sure how to describe it.
I think we sat back, personally, although whenever this happens the debate is that the opposition massively improved. I don’t accept that at all.
How can you go from totally dominating a game to being inferior?
I know it’s a funny old game, but it’s pushing it, for me.

Regardless, even if Luton were the better side for half an hour, we held out and looked better after Digne, Diaby and Zanilo came on, where we went to dominate the last 10 minutes or so.
Indeed, Diaby put the ball in for Digne to score, so you could say the subs were inspired, albeit the pretty obvious choices.

The big downside to this game was the atrocious defending again, but I don’t suppose there’s much we can do about that until Pau is fully fit and can team up with Konza to provide that previously formidable pairing again.

It’s a win, where 3 points against a struggling team was sorely needed.
Next up is Spurs at home. How big is that?
We have the chance of going 8 points above them and I think….
Ah, that’s for next week.

Well done today Villa, as much as I’d prefer you make it easier to watch!



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  1. OLL again
    OLL again March 2, 2024 at 9:44 pm . Reply

    Spuds next – yes but they are South of VP. So be confident – here’s a statistic you might not know, but one this old London Lion still finds hard to believe. How do you think we have done in the league against teams South of VP?
    home: WWWWWW. away: DWWWWW. 22 POINTS OUT OF 24.

    1. OLL again
      OLL again March 2, 2024 at 9:47 pm . Reply

      Correction 34 points out of 36 !!

  2. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 March 2, 2024 at 9:49 pm . Reply

    If Ollie says it then OK it’s part of the problem.

    But Edwards rebalanced his team second half and moved Doughty up from defensive duties which gave them a lot more offensive threat. None of the ‘top’ teams have had it easy at Kenilworth Road and we are no different to Liverpool (late equaliser) and ManC and Arsenal both winning by a single goal. I have a lot of time for him as a manager.

    I also thought (not being clever in hindsight) that Emery should have brought Digne on a lot earlier (I was actually shouting at the TV) as Luton werecgetting far too much space down our left side. Still, when he made the subs they had an impact.

    Hopefully Torres will be fit for Ajax – not that I have any issues with Lenglet defensively – but it’s Torres ability to move us forward that’s the difference. We could play Torres and Lenglet with Konsa moving to right back which could be a good move for the Ajax game. There are rumours we now want to make Lenglet’s move permanent and I’d think that would be a decent move – at the right price.

    On to the next game – just have to keep believing.

    And Oliver was an absolute disgrace again!

    1. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand March 3, 2024 at 10:40 am . Reply

      Drop Cash? Harsh that Hitch.
      I thought he’s been excellent the last few matches, right on top of his game.
      Offers much more than Konsa in attacking sense.

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 March 3, 2024 at 11:19 am . Reply

        RSS – I have no issues with Cash at all but Europe away is about coming away with a result so we may need to shelve some of our attacking instinct.

        I can’t see that Emery has much room for rotating although we might see Diaby and Zaniolo starting and I think Digne will play ahead of Moreno.

        1. The Ron Saunders Stand
          The Ron Saunders Stand March 3, 2024 at 11:41 am . Reply

          Fair comment Hitch.

  3. Holte
    Holte March 2, 2024 at 9:49 pm . Reply

    The downside was Ramsey going off with what looked like an injury to his foot. Is it a recurrence of the previous one? Hopefully it is just an impact injury and a scan will not show any major issues.
    The game itself was one of two halves! After the first half I was thinking Watkins would get his hat trick and Martinez a comfortable clean sheet. We nearly paid the price of letting Luton gain the initiative by failing to turn up second half. Rogers and Moreno struggled and Konsa looked off it after the break which I suppose is understandable.
    Emery though had the vision and courage to make the changes which made the difference.
    Spurs up next is one we can’t afford to lose. It’s a 6 pointer and might determine who gets 4th! I’m already stressed thinking about it. It’s so big that Ajax on Thursday doesn’t seem too important. Squad rotation could be vital.

  4. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson March 3, 2024 at 1:32 pm . Reply

    You know it’s marvels me how fans see players differently, Rogers I thought have a fair game in fact did more than Ramsey. I was surprised he was pulled off to be honest , yes we got that goal but Zaniola is in my mind not for Villa, time after time got bullied off the ball . Badger you’re right we did back off and the culprit was our midfield McGinn and Teliman both backed off no grit in second half but we all have bad days .

  5. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum March 3, 2024 at 2:27 pm . Reply

    Did anyone pay much attention to Morgan? He’ll need a while to bed in so i guess we have to be patient while we have a truckload of injuries…
    Hope ManUre get an absolute pasting today. We won’t catch Citeh either way. Liverpool’s winner was also a disgrace yesterday. Awful refereeing.

    1. Ardent Villain
      Ardent Villain March 3, 2024 at 5:10 pm . Reply

      IMO Morgan got pulled off before he could pick up a second yellow card and got sent-off.

      1. Texas Villan
        Texas Villan March 4, 2024 at 1:49 pm . Reply

        That was my take on the situation too – especially with Ramsey going off injured – we’re really going to need him.

  6. Tom
    Tom March 3, 2024 at 2:45 pm . Reply

    Anyone think we had some serious strength in depth yesterday?

    Most teams in our situation would get to 75 minutes and look to bring on an impact sub or two of your lucky.

    We were flagging and up against it in a very tough environment at Luton.

    4 players all of great quality, nearly half our outfield players were rotated and brought us back to life.

    Bailey will run any left back ragged, when he comes off and you get fresh legs in Diaby, that’s a real blow!

    Two genuine first team starters in Digne and Moreno, both walk into most teams in premier league in my opinion, except for maybe 2 or 3.

    Zanilio although out of form, still has something to offer and I thought he rolled his sleeves up and gave them a problem that stands 6ft 3 inches.

    A late win is something every successful team is capable of and we did it from our own bench, on our own terms. If anything, the feel good factor for the boys may be better served when victory comes in this manor.

  7. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 March 3, 2024 at 5:33 pm . Reply

    And ManU now 11 points behind us and a GD of -2

    Happy days.

    Between us and Spuds then barring a collapse between now and the end of the season.

  8. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum March 3, 2024 at 6:35 pm . Reply

    If we beat Spuds next weekend, then 4th place is ours.
    If that is the case this time next week then that will be an absolutely incredible achievement with over 95% of pur squad being there during the inept Gerrard era.

    Fingers and toes crossed!!!!

    1. Badger123
      Badger123 March 3, 2024 at 11:02 pm . Reply

      and a massive indictment of how poor Gerrard was.
      Even if we don’t get 4th, we know that anyway.

  9. Tom
    Tom March 3, 2024 at 8:05 pm . Reply

    Remember a draw would suit as better! Would you take it?

    1. BFR
      BFR March 4, 2024 at 9:38 am . Reply

      Absolutely, yes! Last 3 home games against top half teams have been defeats. Just keep Spuds at arm’s length and I’ll be happy. I’d even take a 0-0, which is impossible the way Spuds play. But I want a clean sheet! If they can keep one against Spurs, well…

  10. 1874 was a good year
    1874 was a good year March 4, 2024 at 2:57 pm . Reply

    Talk about a game of two halves! Cruised it first half and were under the cosh in the second. Still good teams find a way. Kind of hope that Luton stay up as they showed some real fighting spirit.
    Big game on Thursday at the Johann Cruyff Arena. Ajax are one of the great European clubs and even five or six years ago they were beating the likes of Juventus and Real Madrid. However, the Ajax team we’ll be facing on Thursday are probably one of their worst in the last forty years or so.
    Looking through the squad, I can only pick out Berghuis (32 and past his best), Bergwijn (Spuds reject) and Chuba Akpom (late of Middlesbrough) and these will hardly have Unai quaking in his boots. Ajax are 5th in the Eredivisie 27 points behind PSV and their recent games went WDLDLW.
    Personally I’m feeling confident on this one. COYL

  11. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum March 4, 2024 at 3:21 pm . Reply

    Ajax KO at 5.45 on Thursday – on TNT/BT.

    Let’s hope we can clean up!!! 🙂 (If you don’t get the joke, you don’t do enough housework!!!). 🙂

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 March 4, 2024 at 3:59 pm . Reply

      Going to miss the first half as I have a FaceTime booked with our Canadian friends.

      Villa is always a priority but special friendships also matter.

      He’s not a big sports fan and always talks about Aston Martin when referring to the Villa 🙂 I always get him back by spending ages trying to explain cricket to him. He just can’t get past the concept of playing five days with a draw being the result LOL 🙂

    2. BFR
      BFR March 4, 2024 at 7:23 pm . Reply

      We’ll wipe the floor with em, Bum Bum. I’ll get my coat…

    3. Bill Pearson
      Bill Pearson March 4, 2024 at 8:17 pm . Reply

      Err clean up ? Oh yes Ajax cleaner. Gosh nearly missed that BumBum 😇

  12. OLL again
    OLL again March 4, 2024 at 6:04 pm . Reply

    Rob Edwards produced a positional switch (see Hitchens above) and a tactical switch you may not see often, but Edwards and Arteta do it: playing the referee. The difference is what the player, usually the wingers [but can be a cf if he plays like Watkins] try to do. They are not trying to cross the ball to a colleague or have shot themselves: they are trying to twist and turn when in a good position for a free kick and fall over a defender’s leg. It all depends on how sharp the ref is – if he spots this happening he stops awarding the free-kicks every time. But we had Oliver so he bought the lot. Players who made a habit of it include: Grealish, Sterling, Fernandes and Zaha.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 March 4, 2024 at 7:59 pm . Reply

      OLL, you perfectly articulate what happened at Luton in terms of poor refereeing. These guys are supposed to be professionals so do they choose to ‘help’ the underdogs?

      It appears that there is a growing lack of confidence in referees amongst fans generally to the point there is a growing claim of bias (or corruption in its worst form). Tierney has history but does he really not know who should have been given the ball after HE stopped the play. It may not have directly been responsible for the goal but his crass error becomes the justification for claims of bias.

      In the Luton game, Watkins was continually wrestled to the ground but not one free kick was given against the defender – why?

      Oliver and Tierney are poor referees with a history of biased decision making – it’s about time the regulators looked at the twin problems of the standard of refereeing and the behaviour of players (such as feigning injury) rather than just trying to introduce more complex and divisive regulations.

  13. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson March 4, 2024 at 8:22 pm . Reply

    Hitch the reason why it’s Michael Bleeding Oliver , he hates the Villa he has a thing about us .

  14. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 March 4, 2024 at 8:28 pm . Reply

    Exactly Bill; bias, corrupt or simply gross ineptitude.

    Doesn’t really matter – Oliver is, as I said before, an absolute disgrace.

  15. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 March 4, 2024 at 9:05 pm . Reply

    Villa issue statement on end of year accounts.

    A loss but not as large as widely reported. Would also have to extract those costs that are deductible under the PSR rules.

    I think the big issue remains the future alignment with EUFA rules which limit expenditure on wages / transfers to 70% of turnover which would suggest clubs having to sell to comply – unless regularly part of the European Champions League and the massive revenue it generates.

    4th becomes a very important step for Villa and our owners.

  16. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum March 5, 2024 at 7:40 am . Reply

    Just read that statement. It seems on the surface that we do not need to sell as the Daily Fail has been suggesting recently, even with the net loss. We are not overspending like some clubs in the past who seem to have gotten away with it.
    I was watching a YouTube clip yesterday from a Villa fan who went to Luton describing his visit. Kennelworth Road sounds a brilliant ground and he loved it, but there was also a clip from him inside Spuds. It’s like being inside The Pavillions rather than a stadium. Something like 25 restaurants to eat at, so no wonder their income is so high. We need to do something at VP that brings us an extra £75m a year in at least. I hear the CL revenue is around £50m! There is also a massive income difference between 14th, 7th and possibly/hopefully 4th place! Winning the ECL brings a packet too.
    I don’t think there will be any sort of firesale, but we will need to be clever in the transfer market this summer, and a bit of creative accounting too…

    1. BFR
      BFR March 5, 2024 at 9:51 am . Reply

      One top class freebie is always top of the shopping list – see Kamara and Tielemans. Who’s available this summer?

      1. Bum Bum
        Bum Bum March 5, 2024 at 1:48 pm . Reply

        We’re trying to offload Coutinho too this summer. Remember him??? That’ll save a few quid.
        I know he’s not been everyone’s cup of tea but I really rate Tielmans. His distribution and deft touches are class…We’ll have Mings and Buendia back next year, Kamara and a fit Ramsey too. That’ll be like a few new signings. Chesty should be up to speed then too. Tim Ungrybubbum looks as though he could step up and offer a bit more too. And pin down Leglet on a cheap deal too. A very professional player who seems very attached to Villa!
        Are we allowed to ‘borrow’ from ourselves off future potential earnings? I know that’s a risky Barca style move, but with Unai at the helm, I’m expecting great things…for a change!!! Worth a throw of the dice?

      2. The Ron Saunders Stand
        The Ron Saunders Stand March 5, 2024 at 3:13 pm . Reply

        Mbappé’s contract expires this summer.
        (We can but dream 😃)

        1. BFR
          BFR March 5, 2024 at 6:59 pm . Reply

          If you don’t ask, you don’t get…

  17. BFR
    BFR March 5, 2024 at 7:00 pm . Reply

    Can someone explain why Manure don’t need to sell players to balance their books even though they’re debt ridden? Or why they haven’t received a points deduction?

    1. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand March 5, 2024 at 7:39 pm . Reply

      Off the pitch, the club generated a total revenue of 746 million euros in the 2022/23 season.
      I believe that’s the reason BFR, the revenue the brand generates.

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 March 5, 2024 at 10:48 pm . Reply

        I have always felt that the metrics used to control club’s spending are more about protecting the position of the so called Sky Six and their equivalents across Europe rather than protecting the heritage for the fans.

        Portsmouth’s problem – one of the precursors to FFP was essentially debt albeit this arose through poor financial management.

        Unmanageable debt rather than concentrating on revenue, wages and transfers as EUFA’s PSR rules seem to do appears to reinforce the closed shop approach. This will be further confirmed as EUFA introduce a ‘Super League’ through the back door by ever expanding The European Champions League,

        1. BFR
          BFR March 6, 2024 at 9:20 am . Reply

          In other words, Manure are immune from the rules that ‘smaller’ clubs have to abide by.

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