Norwich 2-1 Villa; Gutted, but not distraught

God, yes, that game really annoyed me.
After a very competent start, that saw us take a lead I never really expected beforehand, it was satisfying to go in at half time with a 1-0 lead.

But it didn’t last long did it?
For whatever reason, we seemed to roll over yet again under seemingly not much pressure.
Don’t get me wrong, Norwich aren’t a bad side at all, but did they really look like league winners?
I seriously doubt it.

Looking at the major positive and my opinion says Dean Smith will have learnt a lot about quite a few of his players tonight.

First and I’m sorry to say it, is that Taylor is utter rubbish at Left back.
For me, he can’t defend, can’t cross and has little positional sense.
I’ve seen the argument that he needs time, but for me, no way.
We massively need a proper replacement if we’re to truly balance the defence.
I’d be looking at our reserves before him.

El Ghazi is a total fanny, that shies away from any decent tackle or treatment.
Don’t get me wrong, I like him, but he seriously needs to “man up” if he wants to remain a Villa player.

I’m always reticent to slate him, in case he’s a “Frank Carrodus type” that I’m quite simply just not seeing.
The trouble is, I don’t see anything at all, apart from his set pieces.
Maybe someone can tell me what he does?

Grealish needs dropping, for me.
As much as he looks tasty, he offered nothing whatsoever, apart from quick feet, that do nothing.
Like an Ashley Young, if you like, but with no product whatsoever.
His frees were mostly abysmal, even when he won them.

We bought Hogan on.
Did he kick the ball more than once?

That’s not a criticism, by the way, as I’d have given him a coat of looking at too, if I was Smith.
But if Bruce had done it, what would we have thought?

So what’s my point?

Well I’m always gutted when we lose a game after taking the lead. It’s the way of things.

But more importantly, Smith will have seen a lot tonight.

We’ve too many fannies, that don’t look like they’re willing to roll their socks up against decidedly average teams.
Or perhaps more importantly, for whatever reason, just can’t keep it up.

I’ll bet money that this will change.
If you can’t play two halves of a game, you’re going to be gone, no matter how big your name is.

And it’s exactly what’s needed.


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  1. Avatar
    bill evans October 23, 2018 at 11:04 pm .

    Complete agreement, apart from dropping Grealish.

    We have to stop giving away the ball in our own half.

    We have to stop bringing on Hogan.

  2. Avatar
    Mark October 23, 2018 at 11:11 pm .

    Totally agree with the comment about certain players not willing to roll their sleeves up and put a decent shift in. My summary of tonight’s team is.
    Nyland needs to go. I have lost count of how many goals he has cost us this season so far.Hutton, although wholly committed, gives the ball away far too much . Taylor is useless.Chester had a particularly poor game.Tuanzebe was probably Villa’s best player. Whelan’s only forward pass this season was his penalty against Preston, and that was awful. Hourihane did nothing,neither did Grealish who, for all the time he gets fouled, doesn’t really stand out for me. Adomah did okay, Elmohamady was anonymous,Abraham was isolated. Hogan hardly had a touch of the ball, Kodjia didn’t have long enough time on the pitch to do his usual holding the ball up as he backs in to the defender then turning to beat the man,turning back in to the same man who dispossesses him which leads to Kodjia falling over and then waving his arms in protest to the referee because he believes he
    was fouled. As for El Ghazi. I can’t believe that a host of top clubs were apparently after him. Bolasie would have been a better option but I don’t know why he wasn’t even in the squad.
    Hopefully Smith will have seen enough tonight to really kick the whole bloody lot’s backsides and instill some passion and desire in to them. One thing is for certain. He will now know what a massive task he has to turn things around.

  3. Avatar
    Pat 57 October 24, 2018 at 9:35 am .

    And yet I wonder if we might have gotten something from the game if McGinn had been playing. He might have been the difference in providing more forward passes.

    Anyway I note that Grealish did a sort of Messi in getting us loads of free kicks around the box we just didn’t have anyone good enough to take advantage of them.

    Anyway it’s a work in progress and at least we look as if the team is getting into some sort of shape at last.

  4. Avatar
    Gregg October 24, 2018 at 3:14 pm .

    “We’ve too many fannies, that don’t look like they’re willing to roll their socks up against decidedly average teams.”

    Totally agree!

    This is Villa for at least the past 5 years.

    It is the reason why Bruce got relative success in relation to his predecessors. As the players didn’t have to put in continued effort.

    Norwich was the same old – a sense of entitlement displayed by too many.

    Villa’s problems are summarized by one thing – lack of intensity (in everything).

    I think DS was alluding to this issue in one of his first interviews when he said something along the lines of – talent is good but you have to have the attitude to match.

    I grew up up with DS so I know what a good bloke he is but hope Villa sack him very soon. And it is because he is a good manager who will be let down by the players. He shouldn’t have his career wrecked by a group of over-payed individuals.

    There is one kind of manager that will get us out of this dip. That is the kind of manager that most Villa fans don’t want but are the type who makes the players think they are going to get kneecapped if they don’t put in the right effort. No other type of manager, no matter what their pedigree, will stop this slide otherwise. You could put Guardiola in charge of this lot and he would struggle not to get relegated.

    Other than that, DS will have to (hold on …) play people out of position. Packing the midfield with players like Hutton, McGinn, Bjarnason, Jedinak (and if preseason was anything to go by) De Laet (but loan probably prohibits that). The players who will put the effort in – will feed of each others energy and not be sapped by the leeches.

    And yes – it is not just you – I don’t understand what Hourihane does. He disappears for large portions of games and is too weak in possession when he does appear. He seems to be the exact opposite of what you need in this league. His scoring stats from last season appear to mask the wider deficiencies he leaks into the team.

    ‘fannies’ that is what too many of these players are – too right!

    1. Avatar
      Big Fat Ron October 25, 2018 at 12:13 am .

      Gregg, at least Hourihane can create and score goals, which is more than can be said of ‘Super Jack.’

  5. Avatar
    Holte66 October 24, 2018 at 6:17 pm .

    I’m starting to think that certain players in our squad will never fit in. Lansbury, El Ghazi and Hogan are the obvious ones. When we sign them we all think great signings, but none of them ever look like displacing other players we already have. January will be important to try and offload these players who will be on big wages, and add defensively where we need it most. Smith has an awful lot to do to get a shift out of the lazier players we have, and we have more than most teams. Also to try and create a team out of players who are supposedly ‘gifted’ although I think a lot of them are overrated. They say that you learn more from a defeat, so we know a lot of work and experimenting is still to be done. It’s hard to swallow that that the baggies and bluenoses are above us in the league, and come Friday I would hope we can find a winning formula. Problem is Smith just won’t have had any time on the training ground to make a difference yet.

  6. Avatar
    nath October 24, 2018 at 7:48 pm .

    my take on last night game. both norwich and villa played a very similar game plan. villa matched norwich for a good while, but our press dropped off midway through second half and our ball retention was much more sloppy and slower as the game grew on.

    personally i would have preferred to go longer at times. we played into the norwich press with our passes too slow and inaccurately. often we landed our players into trouble. not saying we should play long ball, but when norwich pressed high like we were doing. the space was behind both teams. both teams continued to play into the opposition press and this cancelled each over out.

    conclusion norwich were better team at that system, turning point was when we hit the post and adomah shot the rebound off target. that and tammy being withdrawn with injury.

  7. Avatar
    badger123 October 24, 2018 at 7:53 pm .

    Agreed Holte.
    We keep being told these players are excellent, but El Ghazi is a great example.
    How does he have the cheek to tweet saying that he was “in the crowd”, with a “hands out” smiley last game and then turn out a totally rubbish performance like he did last night?

    I massively fail to see how we seem to have consistently got so many things wrong with players over the last few years.
    We pay them brilliant money and always seem to get rubbish, who think they’ve made it once they get to the Villa.

    If what I’m thinking is true, I’d expect to see very few big names and quite a few supposedly lower level players that will listen and graft to come in.

    That said, our current players have a few weeks to turn things around, so things could change.

  8. Avatar
    DSVilla October 24, 2018 at 8:41 pm .

    I’m not too despondent. It will take some time to bed in the new system. Norwich were in form and have been playing the same way all season. We will get fitter and sharper in our passing. They pressed us well and took their chances. They were calm on the ball and picked the right pass. We will start to perform more like that, and I’m confident we will beat them in the return fixture.

    We lost there 3-1 last season yet finished well clear of Norwich. I’m not saying we’ll do the same again but it’s just one match, with a manager who has had about a week with the team.

    There you go. Positivity from me for once.

  9. Avatar
    Holte66 October 24, 2018 at 8:54 pm .

    Badger, do you think we need to change our philosophy on bringing players in? Last season we had Terry and Snodgrass who are the type of battlers that you need in this division. McGinn and Tuanzebe look like they can deal with the ferocity of the championship but they aren’t leaders yet. Good players don’t necessarily make a good team, as we have proved this season. Sir Ron’s teams had captains all over the pitch. On field motivators who would rally the troops when in need of a pep talk. Last night you had maybe Hutton and Whelan who are both past their best. Smith needs to add ‘voices’ to the ranks if possible in January. Leaders who can get the best out of the players around them. Hyland is costing us most games he plays and Taylor well words fail me when it comes to his frailties, both need replacing. QPR will be thinking Villa at home on TV Friday night! Let’s get at them, clatter Grealish when he goes on a run and they will go missing just like most games this season.

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