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.


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  1. Avatar
    Bill Pearson December 1, 2018 at 7:28 pm .

    Cock up .

  2. Avatar
    Holte66 December 1, 2018 at 7:29 pm .

    One of the best performances this season. All hail Dean Smith! Absolutely brilliant. UTV

  3. Avatar
    Holte66 December 1, 2018 at 7:30 pm .

    Plus a clean sheet. Baggies on Friday and they play Monday night so they have less time to recover.

  4. Avatar
    Pat 57 December 1, 2018 at 7:37 pm .

    Not just this season. Honestly think that was the most complete performance since the days of MON.

    It wasn’t just the win it was how we totally controlled the game and we now have an attack that will scare every defence in the league.

    Great days coming thanks to our new owners and Deano.

  5. Avatar
    Pat 57 December 1, 2018 at 7:42 pm .

    Just watching Nyland’s fantastic save at 2-0. Well maybe Deano knows something after all.

    1. Avatar
      Big Fat Ron December 1, 2018 at 8:21 pm .

      NO, Pat! Wonderful win, but would people stop giving Nyland the benefit every time he makes a decent save! Even Smith said that he’d expect goalkeepers to be good shot-stoppers because that’s their job! Work out how many points we’ve lost because of Nyland’s errors, then work out where we’d be in the table if it wasn’t for them.

      Every successful team always has a top goalkeeper who is WINS points. Ours loses points. Ergo, we can’t be successful if he is number one. I’d love to be proved wrong but how many times does he have to cock-up before it’s clear that he’s not good enough? Steer will return in January, and I hope we get someone like Tom Heaton in…

      1. Avatar
        Big Fat Ron December 1, 2018 at 8:27 pm .

        *who WINS points

  6. Avatar
    Bill Pearson December 1, 2018 at 7:58 pm .

    I wonder what Bruce is thinking seeing us improve week after week, it shows his methods are way of coarse, I’m on cloud 9 with the way we play today, its entertaining to all football fans, Sky will be looking to find more games to cover and that means money. Nath, close mate in your predictions good shout.

    1. Avatar
      Pat 57 December 1, 2018 at 8:01 pm .

      Bill, predicted a 1-1 and I would have been happy with it too. They were immense and the attack with Abraham, Bolasie, Jack, El Ghazi all running at pace had Boro at sixes an sevens. What a performance!

  7. Avatar
    Bum Bum December 1, 2018 at 8:03 pm .

    Bit off the mark there Badger!!!, 3games, 12 goals. Crazy times!!!!

  8. Avatar
    Bum Bum December 1, 2018 at 8:14 pm .

    Can our owners please secure the services of the players that matter. You have the resources, now get the job done as it seems our new manager may be something special.

    1. Avatar
      Big Fat Ron December 1, 2018 at 8:25 pm .

      I know it’s very early days, but does anyone else feel that Dean Smith could build a Fergie style dynasty at VP?

      1. Avatar
        Bill Pearson December 1, 2018 at 8:51 pm .

        Big Fat Ron, the possibility is there , just look at the managers we’ve had over the years to our own Villa supporter manager + player we’ve got to be on the right track now, and also billionaires, Managers are now talking about us and that showing how worried they are having to play us with pace we have in our forwards. times are changing and it to the good of Aston Villa, we are back.

  9. Avatar
    VillaAwayInDiv3 December 1, 2018 at 8:15 pm .

    Bearing in mind we should have won all Deans matches I too wonder what Bruce is thinking…….

  10. Avatar
    Big Fat Ron December 1, 2018 at 8:24 pm .

    Of the 8 tough games, we’ve now played half of them and got 10 out of 12 points. Same again for the next four would set us up nicely for the festive period going into the January window!

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