Middlesborough – Villa; Can we outscore them?

I’m getting a bit fed up of saying it now, but I won’t get to see this game, even though it’s a five thirty kick-off.
Still, it is what it is and I’ll try and keep up with the score as best I can while I’m working.

There’s no doubt this game is going to be a very tough test for Dean Smith’s side and we all know what we’re going to get from any Pulis team.
They’ll mostly sit back and defend really well with a defence that has only conceded 10 goals this season; which is very impressive.
At the same time, they’ll look to counter-attack and with our defence being what it is (absolute rubbish, the more I think about Wednesday’s horror show), I’d say it’s very likely that they’ll score at least one goal.

I’ve seen many suggestions that our defence really needs to train more, but I think there’s more to it than that and there has to be a major overhaul at the back, because the defence is just intrinsically bad and I don’t think you’ll ever teach them as a unit.
And, yes, as much as I didn’t want to say it, it begins with the goalkeeper. He has to go, as much as Dean Smith has said he’s backing him. We need better.

Which all in all means I can’t see anything other than Smith sending his troops out with only one motive.
Attack and score as many as you can.

Which isn’t as bad as it sounds, in my opinion.
We’ve quite rapidly become the league’s second highest scorers after West Brom and I’d expect us to overtake them in quick fashion.
Tammy Abraham has proved that if you give him chances, he’ll get us goals, hasn’t he?

Squad news and Hutton is suspended for totting up, meaning Elmohamady will take the right back position.
Bree and Jedinak haven’t trained this week, so they’re not available.
Otherwise, I think we’re pretty much the same as Wednesday and the only question for me, is will Whelan replace Hourihane and take up a holding role to try and shore up the defence?
That certainly doesn’t fit with the “attack” thing and I suspect Hourihane will start, but given the way teams walk through our last third, it’s something Smith might consider.
John McGinn is a bit of a doubt, as he wasn’t fully fit against Forest, but he apparently wants to play all the time.
Fair play to him and I’d guess he gets his way.

On Boro’s part, Gestede is out because of a hamstring and Lewis Wing faces a late fitness test.

So it’s all about who can get the most goals, I reckon.
Boro are a very canny side, but we have proven we can score goals.
I seriously reckon we can score two. As good as Boro’s defence might be, they haven’t faced us yet.
But I have massive doubts about our defence being able to withstand much pressure, especially when you consider Forest had five shots on target with five goals the result.

I’m going for a 2-3 defeat, but I don’t think any scoreline would surprise me.
Much depends on who scores first.
If it’s Boro, it could be a long old game for the Villa.
But if it’s us, I’d expect this to be a cracking game, where anything might happen.
Probably a boring 1-0 then.

56 Comments

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  1. Pat 57 December 1, 2018 at 9:08 am . Reply

    Looks like Collins has signed a short term contract. This makes sense in the short term and might also indicate that Smith has identified who he wants in as CB in January.

    IMHO if we can stop leaking goals we’ll stand a good chance of automatic promotion.

    Prediction today is a 1-1 draw but I’m still hoping we’ll sneak a win

  2. Bill Pearson December 1, 2018 at 10:00 am . Reply

    Gosh Badger missing the game again, your job must be important to us less meanial people, I’m glad you could see where I was coming from about the goalkeeper, he’s not nimble enough for us doesnt get down and stands still looking at balls going in. I think your right in saying its a tight game and us missing out by a goal, I’m going for 3-2 Middlebough but you know I’ll be gutted over that score, I’ll be watching the game today and throwing the score onto our blog up the Villa.

  3. Hitchens60 December 1, 2018 at 10:30 am . Reply

    We miss Adomah more than is realised – I have thought this for some time. For me he’s our modern Frank Carrodus.

    Anyway – tough game today and it will be interesting to see how Dean Smith reacts to Wednesday’s game.

    On balance I have to air on the side of a ‘Boro win but hope I’m wrong – of course.

    Will be following on BBC text

    UTV

  4. Holte66 December 1, 2018 at 10:30 am . Reply

    Initially I thought the only goal Forest scored where I could blame the goalkeeper was the 5th one by Grabban. My mate however who attended the game reckons the 3rd and 4th also. This is from a Villa fan who wants to give him time to come good. The 3rd goal when he ran through the middle he should have made himself ‘big’ but did the opposite. The 4th goal I thought went into the corner but my mate who was right behind the goal said it was right by him as it flew in. Just really poor reactions by him. Another thing he noticed was for a Forest corner that Abraham was shouting at him where to stand. Shouldn’t it be the other way round? This keeper just isn’t good enough and the defence must feel on edge with him between the sticks. Elmo for Hutton is a forced change but I hope Bunn comes in to replace Nyland. Prediction wise I think Boro will win 2-1. Although Badger I don’t want to see Whelan anywhere near the starting 11. Hourihane and McGinn need to be a bit more disciplined in their defensive duties. If Adomah was fit I would put him in instead of Kodja because defensively he tracks back better. What about Abraham on the left where he likes playing with Bolasie on the right and Hogan in the middle? There are plenty of options up front that’s for sure.

  5. Bill Pearson December 1, 2018 at 2:36 pm . Reply

    Watching Sheffield utd and Leeds game, a gifted goal by Sheffield utd by a throw in to the goalkeeper and the keeper passed it to a Leeds striker who scored into a empty net.if Villa couldn’t beat them two teams we must be in trouble. I could have sworn it was Nyland in goal for Sheffield, seeing that game Villa should beat them easily. Holte glad your mate could see how Nyland played bad in that game and convinced me I wasn’t seeing things. We definitely want a change in keepers soon as we can, we have hard games coming.utv.

  6. nath December 1, 2018 at 4:37 pm . Reply

    i am a villa fan and i want us to do well. my take on the forest game was no goals we conceded where the goalies sole blame. during the game i thought the 4th and 5th could be goalie errors. but i needed to see a replay to be totally sure. but having seen them again the 4th was a well hit shot and it was out of the reach of the goalie. 5th was also a nice grabban goal who is a clever striker, got himself a run on axel and shot between the defenders strides. the goalie wont have seen that until it went past him.

    the first three goals should be what we are more concerned with. 1st goal we had chester and hourihane both on their backsides on the halfway line. which meant axel had to go out of his position and cover chester, when they centred the ball no villa defender was any where near the tap in. 2nd goal watch hourihne again on halfway he has his man in his pocket. but soon as the forest guy cuts inside taylor, chester has to come out to meet him, but another forest guy goes behind chester this drags axel across. leaving the centre back position open. then hourihane man runs off him and into the hole where we had no centre backs to poke it in. 3rd goal this was worst of the 5 axel and chester both are offing the goalie a option of going short, either side of the 18 yards box. chester runs into trouble and passes the ball straight to forest, now axel is dragged over to cover chester, forest just pass into another unmarked runner into axels position,

    forest were excellent they intentionally pulled our defenders out of position. and our holding midfielder hourihane was no help without the ball. i think they were all bad team goals concede and not one player to blame.

    villa will be up against it again today. the movement wont be the same as we faced with forest. it will be more like the brum game. which will be a godsend to chester. i think we might beat Middlesbrough. usually they sit back without the ball and with the ball they press high. i can see us dominating the ball and we could even break on them. can see us doing a derby lol 3 1 villa

  7. Holte66 December 1, 2018 at 4:50 pm . Reply

    Nyland keeps his place and Kodja drops to bench for El Ghazi with Elmo for Hutton. Otherwise it’s the same as against Forest. Bunn must not be impressing in training.

  8. Holte66 December 1, 2018 at 5:05 pm . Reply

    Can’t believe Blues won again and jumped above us! We need to win now to restore normality

  9. Bill Pearson December 1, 2018 at 5:07 pm . Reply

    Middlesbrough XI: Randolph, Fry, Flint, Batth, Friend, Clayton, Howson, Besic, Downing, Tavernier, Hugill.

    Aston Villa XI: Nyland, Elmohamady, Chester, Tuanzebe, Taylor, Hourihane, McGinn, Grealish, El Ghazi, Bolasie, Abraham.

    Yes Holte a shock for me.

    1. Holte66 December 1, 2018 at 5:15 pm . Reply

      You have to give Monk credit Bill considering there is no money to spend. Could they be this seasons Cardiff? Really hope not!

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