Preston 1-1 Villa; feels like and indeed is, 2 points dropped, although credit to them

I should have known better, shouldn’t I, than calling this one a certain win?
The Villa never fail to let us down, whenever we think it’s in the bag.

I commented early on that I thought us playing so wide all the time wasn’t working.
You can say that Bolasie and El Ghazi were just poor today or you can say Preston did very well in just controlling them. It doesn’t really matter, as either way, they were ineffective.
Couple that with Whelan and Hourihane both being pretty much invisible (the latter, again) and to me, it was obvious.

John McGinn is excepted from any criticism, to my mind, because although he was amongst the most sloppy of our side, so his workrate and desire to win the ball back continue to keep me astounded.

Whatever, I think my point is proven when you consider that we brought Bjarnason on for Whelan and he offered more in a couple of minutes, than Hourihane and Whelan had put together previously.

What concerns me slightly about that is that the coaches didn’t see it, or at least left it too late to change it.
In Smith’s defence, perhaps he just thought that one of the wingers would just produce something. Which is fair enough, given that they do have that ability.

You have to give massive credit to Preston though.
Given the injuries they have, they gave us a very good game and maybe deserved to even nick it, given that poor goalkeeping from Nyland (again!) nearly gave them an early goal headstart.

Whatever, this is massively disappointing when you consider that today was a good day to catch up on the top 6.
While it was a poor first half, it got better and better as the game went on.
Football is supposed to be about entertainment and I suppose we got it today, even if the result isn’t what we wanted.

As per usual, we move on.
QPR next.


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  1. Avatar
    Hitchens60 December 30, 2018 at 1:24 pm .

    Brentford ditched their academy – should we consider doing the same or are we, as a big club, expected to have one?

    Just raising the point given the questions raised over how effective developing our own young players has been?

    1. Avatar
      nath December 30, 2018 at 1:44 pm .

      i think that they need to look how to improve the quality of the players we produce. also look to loaning them out for short periods to ready them for our first team. much more than what happens now. soon as they reach 18 they should be tasting 1st team at lower levels. sink or swim time. then we can introduce them once they proved they can handle the physical side.

    2. Avatar
      Holte66 December 30, 2018 at 2:57 pm .

      I mentioned a while back whether there was any point of the academy. It must cost a fortune to run and how many players have made the step up? Either sack the staff who are failing in their roles to produce players good enough or get rid of the academy. Even if we do produce talented youngsters there will always be too much of a fear factor in blooding them because of the clubs demands on the manager.

    3. Avatar
      Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 2:59 pm .

      Ooh, you know my views on the academy Hitch.
      A total waste of time given that most of the U-23’s don’t get a look-in, let alone the kids.
      I’d personally dump it and massively improve the scouting system budget.
      But yes, I suppose we are expected to have one, especially is/was laughably named as “the best” a while back.

      1. Avatar
        Sidforever December 30, 2018 at 3:46 pm .

        Badger I just don’t agree with your view on our academy. It’s critical that it continues but players are sent on loan, rather than rotting in U23 as they currenty do. Further, it saved the club millions in transfer fees. Plus, I reckon it results in players being more loyal to the club. The problem has been the mismanagement of the club by previous owners and managers. Here are but a few we produced and let slip through our fingers.

        Gary Cahill
        Mark Albrighton
        Steven Davis
        Jonathan Hogg
        Barry Bannan
        Ciaran Clarke
        Nathan Baker
        Craig Gardner
        Liam Ridgwell

        It also produced the likes of:
        Gareth Barry (appreciate bought from Brighton at a young age)
        Jack Grealish
        Gabby Abonglahor
        Darius Vassell
        Boas Myhill
        Jay Lloyd Samuel.

        A number of these players whilst not being world class, carved out reasonable careers in the Premiership.

        It is critical we continue to produce these players. It is really important we stop having stupid managers or owners making elementary mistakes.

        O’Neill who had the bright idea to sell Cahill because he could not guarantee him pitch time and replace him with Zac Knight.

        Or Lerner’s bunch of clown leaders who refused Albrighton £30k a week. Then promptly gave 19 year old Adams Traore £50k and not play him.

        Look how Man Utd used class of 92 to form he core of a team and then buy the stand out players to kick them in a level.

        In the days of over priced players, one mistake can have a massive impact on a club. This is something we cannot afford. Remember how we struggled after spending (for us big) on Boston Balaban, Stan Collymore, Sasa Curcic and any of the £50m splurge to get us relegated from the Premier.

        This is why an academy is critical for our development. I have no problem with a great scouting system that can identify stars of the future at a young age.

        We know we will have cracked it when we are back in the Premiet and our academy/ U23 players are loaned out to premier clubs.

        1. Avatar
          Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 4:14 pm .

          All fair points Sid.
          How about we go in the middle and dump the academy and just keep loaning the U-23’s out on instantly re-callable contracts?
          If they’re in the U-23s and can’t cut it, what are the odds that they’ll come through from the academy?

          Your list is impressive, but I’ll bet it doesn’t add up to more than a couple of %.
          Apart from Barry, Cahill and maybe Grealish, how many of them actually made us money overall, after wages etc?

          And Man U’s team is always brought up, but it’s mostly accepted that was a total one-off and they get the creme de la creme anyway.

          I just think it hasn’t been productive at all really.
          Now if we could turn it into an academy that has a production line of kids, like Southampton has had, well I might change my mind.

          1. Avatar
            Sidforever December 30, 2018 at 4:29 pm .

            We can live in hope.

            1. Avatar
              Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 4:46 pm .

              Ah, try and convince me some more Sid.
              It’s a good debating point, I think, as it divides fans (I’m probably in a minority with my thinking).

              It just seems to me that like most clubs, we seem to have this fixation that it’s great to bring through “one of our own”, which indeed it is.
              But the reality is that we’ve not been very sucessful at it, imo.

              We often hear about how directors of football will change approach, but nothing changes, to my mind.
              Maybe we can get lucky and find the right approach, but history says we probably won’t.

          2. Avatar
            Bum Bum December 30, 2018 at 8:12 pm .

            Very simple question:If nobody produces academy players, where the hell do they come from?

        2. Avatar
          Bill Pearson December 30, 2018 at 4:29 pm .

          Sid, an hour ago I started to almost say that same thing and submit, but cancelled after I put it down, I cannot believe Villa think old hat players all the year round are better., it would take a good coach or manager to break that old idea that old money chasing payers are better that academy players. let’s try our own breed.

          1. Avatar
            Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 4:50 pm .

            Bill, see my 4.46 reply above.
            What happens when we try them out and they’re poor?
            I’ve said many times that they’d be slaughtered by the fans.
            And as has been said, there’s just too much pressure on Villa managers to risk it.
            Brentford had very little choice but to bring kids through and even they’ve abandoned the idea.

          2. Avatar
            Bill Pearson December 30, 2018 at 5:32 pm .

            Badger, no one can convince me our under 23s are not able to fit into a team like Villa, how do you know that given the chance they don’t come good? nobody does till its tried, in our case we back peddling in not even giving it a try, even someone of your knowable time in life should think football is a funny old game and dont close the door on something that might surprise us all. I ask you Whelan is he one you would pencil in every game seeing what contribution he gives, personally I don’t.

            1. Avatar
              Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 5:55 pm .

              Bill, I would have taken Whelan off way early yesterday, yet Dean Smith didn’t.
              It sounds like you wouldn’t have started him at all.

              Who’s the better manager out of the 3 of us?
              It certainly isn’t me 🙂

              It’s no coincidence that both Bruce and Smith, with contrasting styles, don’t want to play the kids (at least not yet, in Smith’s case).
              There has to be a reason for that and it’s either that they’re both too scared or the kids just aren’t ready/not good enough.

              I’ve often argued that it’s the latter.
              Either way, you have to play the percentages and it’s generally less likely that an experienced player will let you down, imo.

              1. Avatar
                Hitchens60 December 30, 2018 at 7:48 pm .

                Great debate – the interesting point is that Brentford think there is more (financial) mileage in pursuing young premier league cast offs than trying to develop their own and, to be frank, they may be right – particularly if you are a ‘small’ club (no disrespect) defined financially.

                I don’t profess to have great knowledge about this but it seems to me that it’s about finding a balance between discovering new exciting talent and being savvy in what is becoming a competitive financial market.

                Gareth Barry is a good example of us snapping up young exciting talent – didn’t we do the same with John Gidman?

                On balance, I think the academy probably offers poor value for the money invested but then it only takes one Grealish to be sold at £40m to justify it’s existence.

  2. Avatar
    nath December 30, 2018 at 1:37 pm .

    more bad news on the injury front Nyland who has performed better lately has been injured in training out for months, trying to recall steer from Charlton.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 December 30, 2018 at 3:02 pm .

      Oh great – now we don’t have a goal keeper other than Bunn of course!

      1. Avatar
        Holte66 December 30, 2018 at 3:04 pm .

        There are times when I thought a rush back keeper would be better than Nyland.

    2. Avatar
      Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 3:04 pm .

      or should that be unbelieveably convenient, given that he wouldn’t get a game from now on anyway, unless Kalinic is injured?

  3. Avatar
    Holte66 December 30, 2018 at 3:07 pm .

    Just a thought considering Preston only have a first team and U18s, are we saying our youngsters aren’t as good as Preston’s who were forced into playing a few kids and more than held their own?

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 3:15 pm .

      Interesting point Holte.
      Note that three of them are ex-Villa kids (Johnson, Burke, Robinson) which makes you wonder why we let them go?

      I suppose it does back the argument that you have to throw them in to find out if they’re any good.

  4. Avatar
    Hitchens60 December 30, 2018 at 3:10 pm .

    To get promotion a club needs some luck with injuries. Anybody have a four leaf clover because we need a change in luck and soon!

    Badger, it was always likely that Kalinic would take over as first choice but not having a number 2 worth his position (which imho Bunn is not) rather defeats the object of Nyland competing with Kalinic.

    Apparently we can recall Jed Steer – if so I’d play him ahead of Bunn against QPR.

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 3:18 pm .

      Kalinic is eligible to play for us on the 1st Jan, the same day as the QPR game Hitch 🙂

      1. Avatar
        Hitchens60 December 30, 2018 at 7:50 pm .

        Is he – Smith doubted he would be eligible on 1st as the transfer window only opens that day and player registration takes 24 hours.

  5. Avatar
    Bill Pearson December 30, 2018 at 4:31 pm .

    Oh what a coincidence. 😂😂😂😂

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 5:08 pm .

      Well, at least I think he is.
      Although I’ve seen reports that he won’t be registered in time.
      I think that’s wrong though, as I see no reason why his registration won’t go through at midnight of the 31st/1st.
      Genk will have done their paperwork, as will we.

      But, yes, Bill a massive coincidence if I’m right.

      All about face-saving for me and I’m guessing Nyland won’t be here come the summer, except as maybe back up.

      To be fair, I think he distributes reasonably well and he seems a decent shot-stopper. It’s just that his hands don’t stick to the ball.
      That’s a basic must have for a goalie and I wonder how whoever scouted him didn’t see this?
      I’m guessing he was signed on the back of seeing him having one particularly good game.
      Terrible, if so.

  6. Avatar
    nath December 30, 2018 at 6:09 pm .

    clubs that are now blooding their youth like leeds and preston are both doing so under no other options. unlike villa were we have a far bigger squad and just about coping. give them a squad like ours and i doubt they would be blooding their youth.

    Axel Tuanzebe is at villa just to get games and adjust to 1st team fitness, man utd have very high hopes of their under23s captain, they will never allow him to leave hes one of their prized assets. he didnt get enough games at villa last year and it was hoped he would this season. but we could all see under smith he has come along loads

    none of our youths are close to first team. murphy isn’t as good as any of the forwards we have in the squad. you can go through them all and you cant make a argument for any of ours current under23s. they need to go out and earn the right to stake a claim. like tuanzebe has done and clark is doing. if your good enough you will get in and return a better player to then demand a place in the squad. smith will like bruce be looking at them and if they don’t rate um then its down to the players to find out why they are being ignored for selections and improve.

    Eric Lichaj played for villa a few year back and he was slaughtered by fans for not being good enough, but he was doing ok and now ply his trade in this division that we do. we have let go many players that turned out to be decent players but that can not be helped it happens everywhere, trick is to find one or two gems like grealish, albrighton gabby hendrie samuel Ehiogu and cahill one or two of these were deemed not good enough and were sold on

  7. Avatar
    Bill Pearson December 30, 2018 at 6:28 pm .

    Ok, did Grealish get loaned out? come on its old thinking in my mind, its making excuse not to give a young player a run out now and again , Covan I think is name is been on the bench twice what for? Fun.

    1. Avatar
      nath December 30, 2018 at 7:04 pm .

      grealish did get loaned out at notts county . but it doesn’t always have to be a loan. you can introduce the player slowly yourself. but at villa we have full time players that are better than the youth. so blooding them means you are weakening your 1st team to benefit the youth. thats why man utd sent out axel out, he almost ready but not quite good enough to command a slot in the squad. i would personally have full team of youth at villa and then i could use the excuse well my players are all learning on the job. so don’t mather me about top 6 or demanding promotion. but then i would have no chance at a big club like villa, where the demands are massive compared to all the other clubs in championship barring leeds who simply have not the budget to compete with squad size and doing amazing to be top

    2. Avatar
      Holte66 December 30, 2018 at 7:06 pm .

      It will always be the fear factor Bill. For example, O’Hare would be a more like for like replacement for Grealish than Whelan, but Smith like Bruce before him would rather reshuffle our midfield for experience. If O’Hare plays and we lose he will get the stick. If Whelan plays and we lose fans will question the experienced players. Unfortunately for managers they can go from hero to zero in a few weeks and ultimately get sacked when they need time to try all options. Like I said before if this is the philosophy going forward then like Brentford, scrap the academy and nurture premier teams youngsters.

      1. Avatar
        nath December 30, 2018 at 7:17 pm .

        whelen has not replaced grealish. hourihane has because he has more ability than ohare and more fitness/strength and is much more less a risk. ohare presently has played youth football only, until he shines in full time football there no manager gonna pick him over players like lansbury and hourihane both have many campaigns in their bag. the youth will get the odd game in the cup or sub appearances, if they dont shine there they only have training to impress, its better for them to go out in the big bad world and take the bull by the horns and show ppl they are good enough,

        1. Avatar
          Holte66 December 30, 2018 at 7:45 pm .

          What I meant was that we have reshuffled the midfield rather than replace Grealish with someone similar. Therefore Hourihane has moved from defensive midfielder to replace Grealish and Whelan replaces Hourihanes position, so two changes because the youngsters aren’t trusted / good enough. Having watched O’Hare at U23’s he definitely has the ability. The argument is can he deal with physical side of first team football? Fact is unless he plays no-one can say yes or no. I think the game now suits players with ability as opposed to those with strength because the game has become pretty much a non contact sport.

          1. Avatar
            nath December 30, 2018 at 7:52 pm .

            yes the question for all of them is can they cope with the physical side as you say, but clark who has gone out and done well and he has even said he found it hard to cope with the physicality of mens game. but he has received great reviews from the manager and that loan will stand him well when he does return. smith will not hesitate to pick him because he is no longer a massive risk.

            1. Avatar
              nath December 30, 2018 at 7:57 pm .

              also if its a none contact sport you should watch grealish and mcginn they are clattered many times per game,stamped on some tackles on grealish wouldnt look out of place on the rugby field.

  8. Avatar
    nath December 30, 2018 at 7:10 pm .

    another way to look on this is,, why do we loan players like axel and tammy ??? is it to develope players from bigger clubs ?? or is it to better our own team by loaning in better quality players on the cheap ???

    if the answer is to strengthen then why would we blood our youth to weaken us in the short term ????

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 December 30, 2018 at 7:56 pm .

      All teams – even Prem sides loan players because they get experienced players on the cheap with no onward liability if they fail.

      Having said that the loan system is wantonly and regularly abused but the 57 varieties that sit ‘on high’ do f’all about it because it suits the Sky Six – they can buy up all the talent to stop other teams improving their sides and then control distribution through loan deals – how many players do Chelsea have out on loan?

      1. Avatar
        nath December 30, 2018 at 8:03 pm .

        chelsea have had some decent strikers Abraham and Lukaku they use the loan market to advertise their players. Lukaku and Tammy both gone out to high profile clubs score many goals and they increase their value but nothing wrong with that. how many of their youth do they bring through themselves ???

        1. Avatar
          Bill Pearson December 30, 2018 at 8:24 pm .

          Nath Chelsea have twenty nine players loaned out, that says it all about academy’s to me. Get rid .

          1. Avatar
            nath December 30, 2018 at 8:47 pm .

            like bum bum said if all the top clubs had this attitude, where will the next batch of english players come from.

  9. Avatar
    Bum Bum December 30, 2018 at 8:10 pm .

    An off day?

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 8:12 pm .

      You mean the game, Bum bum?
      Yes, hopefully an off day.

  10. Avatar
    Badger123 December 30, 2018 at 8:11 pm .

    According to the DM, McCormack is looking to get to Motherwell.
    Hmm, they’ll probably offer about £5k a week and he’s probably fallen out with the Aussie club, so who cares?

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