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
    Bill Pearson.. October 24, 2020 at 7:14 pm .

    We was too lethargic, the whole team didn’t turn up, I’ll say it again useing full backs to go forward and the balls from the opposition lofted over their heads lost us that game. That’s how we beat Liverpool, and Leeds beat us. A goal down and we capitulated. Hitch your right Cash didn’t play well neither did Targett also add Barkley for running out of steam.I hope Smilh shows them that video as we lost a chance of going in the history book of over hundred years since the last time we won five games in a start of the league.

  2. Avatar
    Holte66 October 24, 2020 at 8:02 pm .

    Bielsa knew that without kalvin Phillips they were weaker physically down the middle which before the game, we thought would favour Barkley and McGinn. So it was clever to use the flanks and stretch the play. The upsetting thing was they were consistent in the way they played and we couldn’t cope or adapt our style or impose our strengths on them.
    Smith made one substitution Traore for Trezeguet which was like for like. Sometimes Smith is slow to respond and last night was the first time we have gone behind in a game. Personally I think that Barkley, McGinn, Trezeguet and Watkins were poor so why we didn’t try something new or different I don’t understand.
    Southampton up next usually do well against us but they won’t work us as hard as Leeds did. Our players need to up their work rate from last night because it wasn’t acceptable to be constantly overrun. Fitness levels in the top flight shouldn’t be up for debate.

    1. Avatar
      badger123 October 24, 2020 at 8:27 pm .

      That’s the thing Holte. I’ve yet to see anyone offer something different that we could have done and I include other sites.

      Barkley and McGinn, we replace with who? Hourihane? I don’t think so.
      We could have brought Hourihane on as well as, but the midfield was being bypassed anyway, so I doubt it would have worked. Plus he’s way to slow anyway, imo.

      Trez was swapped out with a like for like, but it achieved nothing and depending on your opinion might have actually made us worse.

      Put Davis on for Watkins? We were playing long at times, so maybe.
      Davis and Watkins might have been a better bet, to try and make the ball stick up top, but we’d have been weakened elsewhere and the way Leeds were breaking, I’m not convinced.

      I think sometimes you just have to swallow the fact that we were outplayed, I’m afraid.

      1. Avatar
        nath October 24, 2020 at 9:50 pm .

        leeds always attack the wings, just as they did against villa, the injury to their midfielder didn’t play any part in a new tactical plan, they always attack the wings both sides. switching of play is also another tactic they employ to isolate the fullback, knowing this and stopping them is two things entirely.

  3. Avatar
    Holte66 October 24, 2020 at 9:33 pm .

    Thing is Badger, what did we have to lose? The game was slipping away from us and keeping to the same game plan and players wasn’t working. Maybe we should have took McGinn or Barkley off and put Davis upfront with Watkins. My gripe is they had all week to prepare yet once plan A fails we’re screwed. What’s the point of having a substitutes bench if we can’t alter our style? Sometimes it’s horses for courses and players do well against different teams and the way they are set up, whereas Davis might have had joy in bringing Watkins more into the game. As for Hourihane, I think he gets a raw deal from a lot of our fans. He can’t be that bad when he gets called up for Ireland. Yes he is lightweight compared to Barkley and McGinn but the physical side wasn’t the problem against Leeds.

    1. Avatar
      badger123 October 24, 2020 at 10:04 pm .

      The problem was our midfield was totally non-existent.
      Given that I’ve often said it’s the single most important part of the team, it makes sense that I think that whatever we did wouldn’t have worked.

      We could have tried something, but I wonder what we’d be saying if Smith had tried something different and we actually looked worse?
      Well, no, I don’t wonder at all, tbh. He’d be being moaned about more than he already is.
      Don’t get me wrong, if there was something I think might have improved us and he didn’t try it, I’d be going nuts.

      You’re right, we had little to lose, but possibly even less to gain.

      I think it just highlights a major deficiency in our squad, which is we don’t have one beyond our best 12-15 at the very best.
      It’s why we struggled so much when we lost Heaton, Wesley and McGinn last season after all.

      As for Hourihane, well, he’s Marmite isn’t he? I do think he’s okay for set pieces, but that wasn’t a big part of our game. It’s also undeniable that he gets goals.
      But I just don’t see how he’d have added anything yesterday,

      We were too busy firefighting, albeit piss poorly for him to add anything, imo.

  4. Avatar
    nath October 25, 2020 at 1:47 pm .

    if you want to dissect what happened Friday i urge you to read leeds fans take on the game. some might be biased, but most are very knowledgeable. one word they used mostly was the intensity and how we couldn’t cope with it, they also compared villa approach to the game to wolves approach. how wolves parked the bus and how we naively thought we could match them. they went on to say only the best teams can try match them, but those that do and fail will get a tough game. they expect teams to park the bus like wolves and the championship clubs and they respected villa for trying to play against them.

    iam afraid i have to agree with them, we went toe to toe and we seriously got burnt, honestly should have ended a lot worse than it did. most teams might press you on and off or in certain areas, same when they have possession they aren’t flat out all the time. but leeds didn’t reduce the intensity.we normally take a breather during games and by the end you could see villa players demoralised and basically fooked with all the hard work they had applied just to contain leeds.

    nothing major wrong with our system or style of play. we just came across a very good side that out worked us on the night and we couldn’t live with their full speed approach. we had chances to score a few goals and goals change games, who knows what would have happened if we had taken the lead. maybe this result will push the players to improve further.

    it was a great game of football. maybe that was our only mistake.i thought we would beat them, i knew they were good. but maybe it was silly to play a open style against them. wolves had the right tactics, but they always play that way. we are not the same as wolves and us trying to park the bus would have affected us more than playing are usual style.

  5. Avatar
    nath October 25, 2020 at 4:53 pm .

    wow soton beat everton and surprise at home they are much better away.

  6. Avatar
    Hitchens60 October 27, 2020 at 6:38 am .

    Being reported that Lansbury has turned down an offer from Villa to terminate his contract.

    What does that say about the man – who isn’t even in our Premier League squad – happy to take his money but not that interested in playing football?

    1. Avatar
      villa123 October 27, 2020 at 8:50 am .

      I think Lansbury’s on £40k a week. You would think we’d have offered him half of that to walk and he’d have got £20k a week at a championship club.
      So basically get the same money, but actually play.
      Is that enough to uproot your family?
      Maybe not, but he’s going to have to do it soon anyway.

      I won’t hold anything against him, but blimey, he definitely hit the jackpot coming to us.
      Decent player, but not good enough for where we currently are. It’s as simple as that, to my mind.

  7. Avatar
    Originallondonlion October 27, 2020 at 3:13 pm .

    No more than one ‘bus-queue’ corner in each half. Most teams have worked on countering it – and do not leave unmarked any player who runs out of the queue. It has not led to a Villa goal this season. The corner routine I would like to see again is the Derby corner. Since this goes back to Brian Clough at the Baseball Ground – my apology to younger readers who will never have seen it.

    That is the point, it was so effective Derby had used it for the season they won the league before defences got to grips with it – and that when a player could back-pass to a keeper who caught the ball.

    One attacker stood in front of the Keeper, 6 others stood widely spaced with their feet on the 18 yard line. As the kicker ran to deliver the corner 3 of the 6 sprinted towards goal, a different 3 each time. The other 3 stayed put for one second then they too ran twards goal. The corner taker (O’Hare) had sufficient control to be able the deliver the ball in front of the first 3 or in front of the last 3 with the same approach. The wide spacing prevented 1 defender from marking 2 attackers. The best defender in the air might find himself marking one of the 3 attackers in the ‘wrong’ wave and the ball going to others.

    Several defenders runnig towards their own goal put the ball in their own net.

  8. Avatar
    Badger123 October 27, 2020 at 6:42 pm .

    “The corner taker (O’Hare) had sufficient control to be able the deliver the ball”

    Well that’s us knackered from the start.
    I’ve forgotten what a well controlled corner looks like when it comes to the Villa.

    Come to think of it, it feels like we must have the worst crossers of any club in the league at times.

  9. Avatar
    badger123 October 29, 2020 at 4:53 pm .

    The Arsenal game has been moved to Sunday the 8th and guess what?
    It’s PPV again, the fourth time on the trot.

    What an absolute disgrace. As if your average person isn’t already having a torrid time as it is!

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 October 30, 2020 at 7:40 am .

      Viewing figures are reported as being ‘disastrous’ and the fans have made their views even clearer by donating over £300k to charitable causes instead – not that anyone at the EPL / broadcasting companies seem to be listening.

  10. Avatar
    Holte66 October 30, 2020 at 5:50 pm .

    I’ve been foolish enough to pay for the last two games but that’s it. Villa, Albion and Fulham have four games on PPV. Citeh and Everton’s Games all been on standard sports subscription. Where is the fairness in that? I will donate to a charity like many others are doing instead. No more extra money to Sky or BT from me.

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