Outthought, outfought and outplayed.

I admit to having stopped watching after Leed’s second goal; it seemed pointless putting oneself through further agony!

Love him or hate him, Bielsa is undoubtedly an exceptional coach with far more experience than Smith and JT put together and I thought that last night it showed. He set the team up to attack our weaknesses and defend our strengths adding a phenomenal work rate and energy – it remains to be seen whether they can maintain such a high tempo for the whole of the season.

The Sky pundits will, no doubt be creaming themselves.

But enough of Leeds

We were a distant second best on the night, lacking organization, energy, cohesion – back to being a group of individuals rather than a team; epitomised by Grealish falling back into old habits of holding the ball too long and thinking he had to win the game by himself.

Watkins seemed isolated up front and there was a clear disconnect between defence, midfield and attack – it was almost as if they were trying to play exactly the same way as against Liverpool assuming that Leeds high pressing game would leave gaps at the back to expose with long balls  – Leeds, however do not, like Liverpool, play a high line looking for offsides.

It would be wrong just to single out Grealish though. Cash had a poor game; being caught out of position a number of times and diving in high up the pitch allowing Harrison free range on the left side where much of Leeds attacking play originated. Harrison had Cash on toast all night which repeatedly pulled our defence out of shape creating space in the middle for Bamford.

Mings lost his cool as evidenced by trying to pick Bamford up by his shirt, although understandable to a degree, given Bamford’s ‘previous’ with the Villa and he did appear to make a lot out of incident after stepping on Ming’s foot. Trezeguet worked hard as always but seemed to revert to his old habits of aimlessly lapping Villa Park. McGinn faded, Barclay really didn’t influence the game at all and Luiz seemed at times to get caught in no man’s land.

Ironically, I thought Targett played well, keeping Costa quiet (he seems to have benefited from having Barclay play the number 10 role – or is that my imagination?) and along with Martinez, Konsa and Watkins probably escapes any criticism.

In the same way as four wins don’t make us a top four team, neither does one loss, no matter how disappointing, make us a poor side. Liverpool, Manure and Citeh have all suffered big losses this season which might just prove to be one of the most open for some years.

I do wonder whether the lack of crowds is a factor – top sportsmen do feed of crowd energy.

No game now until Sunday when it’s another tricky fixture against a good Southampton side; will this provide a clearer picture of how our season might unfold?



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  1. Avatar
    badger123 October 24, 2020 at 12:48 pm .

    I didn’t think Cash was too bad. He was left to do far too much on his own though.
    I suspect Trezeguet was under orders, as he does normally backtrack.

    At the end of the day, we played into their hands by taking it to them. We showed naivety and should have tightened up and sat back more as it clearly wasn’t working from early on.
    Wolves showed how to beat Leeds and I wonder if our lads actually watched that game?

    I really don’t think Leeds are a very good side, but they do work you to death and it gets results.
    I’m not going to be bitter about it though and your title is spot on Hitch.
    Quite simply they were by far the better side and deserved it.

    I’m gutted that Bamford got a hat trick though. I think he’s utter rubbish, yet we made him look real class.
    He’s on five goals now, isn’t he?
    You can’t argue with that.

    Oh, I thought Watkins didn’t look very good, as much as he worked hard, but that’s what you get when you don’t get the striker into the game. Again.
    That’s a long running issue that cripples strikers at the Villa and we need to sort it. We’ll still be moaning about strikers in years to come if we don’t.

  2. Avatar
    Holte66 October 24, 2020 at 1:10 pm .

    I thought Cash was our best player in the first half. Unfortunately he wasn’t getting much help and Savage was critical of McGinn for not tracking back. I thought that it should have been Trezeguet who supplied the cover.
    Watkins needs more ammunition and unfortunately Grealish seemed to revert to last seasons ‘do it all by myself’ approach. He made that fantastic run just before their goal but instead of passing to Watkins or Barkley I think it was, he took the shot when in a difficult position to score. In fact the Leeds players obviously allowed him throughout the game to run into a cul-de-sac before stealing possession and countering. If only he could learn when to play the pass, he would become a world class player!
    Now I have calmed down (slightly) I’m starting to think that no game is a certainty. I’m sure Liverpool fans didn’t think they were going to be relegated after we beat them. Likewise, I don’t think we are going to free fall after last night’s game. I still think we will be a mid table team come the end of the season.

  3. Avatar
    badger123 October 24, 2020 at 1:11 pm .

    Reading around, it seems some are thinking we should have changed things up.
    The question is how can we?

    I’ve been on about it for a while, but our only single option is to bring Traore on for Trezeguet.
    I suppose we could have bought Guilbert on and pushed Cash further forward, but that’s about it, imo.
    Any other substitution brings on an inferior player, in any position you care to mention.
    This is why I think we’re in a false position and it’s a bit of a worry, because if we’re being beaten, we can’t do anything about it.
    I’m not blaming anyone for that, we’ll get closer next season.
    But until then, I’ll be happy if we’re near the top of the table while still expecting us to finish lower middle.

  4. Avatar
    The Warrior October 24, 2020 at 1:13 pm .

    Villa last night weren’t bad they were incredible shocking did they think we were back in the championship no because it might have been 8-0 no we were terrible no excuses we were crap Aston Villa Warrior VTID

  5. Avatar
    Holte66 October 24, 2020 at 2:04 pm .

    I thought that possibly putting Engels on and reverting to a 3-5-2 might have worked. Trezeguet was ineffective last night going forward so allowing for Konsa to cover Cash’s position would have made more sense. Would Davis have offered a physical presence we were lacking as Watkins was nullified?
    We do have options and Smith seemed unwilling to change things even though it was obvious to everyone on here that plan A was getting blown apart.
    Doesn’t really matter however as the game is over and everyone at VP needs to learn from it.

  6. Avatar
    Hitchens60 October 24, 2020 at 2:40 pm .

    I can see that my reading of the game isn’t necessarily the majority view.

    I stand by my comments that Cash over committed against Harrison and there were a number of time he dived in on the halfway line and was skinned. I agree he didn’t get the cover from Trezeguet and Smith failed to make any defensive changes that might have helped.

    I also agree that we only seem to have 12 players to pick from with little alternative. To that extent the depth of our squad has to be a concern – no way can we play the same side week in, week out which is what Sir Ron was able to do in ‘81 – I seem to recall he only used 13 players all season!

    1. Avatar
      nath October 24, 2020 at 4:05 pm .

      cash like the rest of them were given tactics to press the ball, that means not to retreat but to meet the ball carrier and tried to take the ball or to make him hurry or misplace his place. its aggressive way to defend and comes with risks like being beaten like you described.

      trez had to press higher and he did lots of pressing, but together they failed to turn the ball over enough, leeds played through our pressing and that meant they were able to get at our defenders, like cash and the other back four.

      pressing is sometimes not the answer and holt and badger pointed out. sometimes when you come across a fast countering side, or a side that are decent on the ball, its better to drop off deeper to prevent the opposition from getting to your defenders,

      also leeds poured forwards and they switch play often,villa ended up second half being overrun. mcgin and barkley have come in for criticism as they were seen to not pick up runners. so hard to point accusing fingers at one or two individuals, we just were not good enough all over, leeds attack with 10 and defend with 10 also their goalie aint half bad with the ball at his feet.

      i honestly though before the game, we would counter leeds and they would run out off steam, i did not count on our pressing would be so ineffective, didnt see how leeds could press the whole game and in all areas and none of our midfielders would have much time on the ball in the whole game. notable was the long ball comments, this was cause leeds cut off the short balls and playing short balls was suicidal the way leeds hunted the ball. but they managed to play through our press didn’t they.

  7. Avatar
    originallondonlion October 24, 2020 at 4:12 pm .

    I thought Cash had a really good game. He was doubled up on all night, did not have much help from Konsa, and whoever should have been covering the 2nd Leeds player, Treseguet or McGinn, was not doing enough of it.

    You have to take your chances at this level. Bamford did. Grealish Konsa and Watkins (from the 6 yard line loose ball and the last shot of the match) did not.

    Martinez was unlucky, he palmed the ball away in the one place an off-balance Mings could not beat Bamford for the first. Nothing the keeper could do about the others.

    Traoré has been brought on late, both times doing little to get into the game. No surprise he has not shown much, except to me that he is a centre forward and should replace Watkins. Not Trezeguet who still has energy in him when subbed.

    Sub par performances on the night from Watkins, McGinn, Konsa and by his recent standards Barclay.

  8. Avatar
    nath October 24, 2020 at 4:20 pm .

    the switch of play i refer too was also targetting Cash and Targett the idea was to isolate the fullback and try to get a two v one on the fullback. they achieved this by dragging over our players and they kept a winger out on opposite side really wide so cash or targett would have to be seperated from his support, then they switched the ball high to them and leeds knew the play /switch was coming so had a extra man quickly join them hence the 2 v 1. good play hard to defend against

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 October 24, 2020 at 4:55 pm .

      OK – so everyone thinks Cash had a good game – if it had been Targett marking Harrison, I don’t think the views would have been quite as conciliatory – just my opinion of course. I’m not blaming Cash per se but thought it was his least effective game since joining us.

      By the same token I think Targett (who has come in for a lot of criticism) did extremely well in keeping Costa quiet and most of their effective attacking play came down their left side.

      I agree with OLL in that we didn’t take our chances but as Leeds created so many more ‘big’ chances than we did, they were far more likely to convert.

      1. Avatar
        nath October 24, 2020 at 5:10 pm .

        i don’t think any villa players had a good game. leeds dominated the ball. our possession was all too rushed. cash did good first half, leeds put their foot to the metal second half. then all the defenders got overrun and all of them struggled. the third goal got me over ventilating. some will say it was a good finish, but it was but the space afforded to him by all the defenders was a joke, i understand a small breeze could have convinced bumford to dive, but somebody has to close him down fully to stop the shot. they all closed him down to a fashion, but left him enough room to switch his stance think about his move and execute it through all the men around him. bad defending if you ask me

      2. Avatar
        badger123 October 24, 2020 at 5:31 pm .

        I don’t think anyone thinks Cash had a good game as such, Hitch.
        It was more that he did well with what he was up against.
        At least, that’s how I saw it.
        He was picked on to very good effect and if it was Targett, he’d never have coped anywhere near as well, imo.
        I find it quite strange that Targett wasn’t picked out, but maybe it’s because he’s more of a liablility and we’re more prepared to help him out?

        It’s all pretty academic. They caned us in a similar way to how we caned Pool.
        Klopp never changed it up and Smith didn’t either, which is interesting.

        Nath, I think Leeds and us bypassed the central midfield, which is what took McGinn and Barkley out of the game. Couple that with Grealish having a shocker by his standards and everything they did worked.
        Hopefully we’ll learn from it and adjust quicker if we face similar again.

  9. Avatar
    Hitchens60 October 24, 2020 at 5:04 pm .

    Going to stop digging now 🙂 🙂

    1. Avatar
      nath October 24, 2020 at 5:11 pm .

      yeah its a good idea i am only just getting over it, it cut me deep lmao

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