Reading – Villa: and transfer window thoughts

I’m sorry, but you’ll have to forgive me for not wanting to do cartwheels over our winter window business.
Reading around, it seems the word I’ve come across most to describe our dealings is “underwhelmed” and that’s about how I feel.
While the Guilbert signing intrigues me, it’s obvious he’s one for our future plans and that’s fair enough, although I do wonder why we’re signing players for the future, when we need them now, if we’re really going to push on for promotion?

Looking at the rest of the signings, it’s a similar story.
Mings seems our best bet and I like the sound of him, but he’s hardly played in years.
Will he be ready to start tomorrow? I’d be surprised, but we do need to give Chester a rest. The problem I have is that U-23 match fit is not Championship match fit.
Which leads me to Hause, who was supposed to have looked the business in training, but hasn’t been able to oust an injured Chester. What does that say about either the player or what Dean Smith told us?
The minimum for me, is that he’s nowhere near ready.

Kalinic is finding his feet and definitely seems a better goalie than Nyland, although it’s early days.

And then there’s the enigma which is Tom Carroll, who strikes me as a desperation signing when the Fer transfer fell through.
Hopefully he’ll add some more intensity in the middle, compared to Whelan and Jedinak, but I’m not sure exactly what his role will be. Competition for Hourihane, perhaps?
I’m just a bit concerned that Swansea’s fans seem glad that he’s gone, but at least he’s had a few games this season.

Ok, on paper, we’ve rebalanced the side somewhat.
But we all know the game isn’t played on paper and if it was, we wouldn’t be where we are now.
I’m minded to ask how we’ve actually improved a single position and would welcome thoughts on this.

So, all in all, I think we’re pretty much going with what we’ve got, which ultimately won’t be good enough, this season, at least.

So while I don’t think much of our incomings, I think our outgoings are mostly good moves.
Hogan to the Blades is a risky one, but as it was, we were only depleting his value by not playing him.
Yes, he might ultimately cost us promotion, but I’m not convinced. If Sheffield can get him firing, fair enough. At least he’ll retain more value when we do let him go.
Bree, well, while I know some were disappointed over this one, I can’t say I am. He hasn’t yet struck me as anything special and needs games.

And then there’s the kids. Smith hasn’t messed about here. He said we were top heavy and has cleared most of our attack out on loan.
Rightly so, as most of them were never going to get a game and need real minutes in a man’s game. This is the encouraging part for me.
If they do well, they come back and seriously challenge; if not, they get binned.
Bedou, I’m really not bothered about.
And McCormack, well, good riddance.

Anyway, given my views of the academy being a waste of time if the lads are never going to move up, I’m very happy about our outgoings.

So onto tomorrow’s game and I don’t have a clue what to think.
Will Mings go straight in?
Will Carroll play?

Will Reading have an advantage now that they’ve got rid of Bacuna?

I simply don’t know.

But I’m going for a 1-0 win.
Simply because we ought to win this game.


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  1. Avatar
    TED February 5, 2019 at 10:02 am .

    I’ve tried to encourage perspective and for the tinted glasses to be remove, this appears to have failed so instead I’ll use independent non bias impartial vies from the BBC commentator John Motson following the Reading game.

    ” I was very disappointed in Aston Villa I must be honest, I was expecting a bit more, Tammy Abraham probably had a couple of chances but they didn’t take the game on in the way I expected them to and Reading are struggling anyway but in the end a 0-0 draw was probably right to be honest,”

    My point is simple Smith has not improved the team in fact we are in regression.
    Ignoring or dreaming will not benefit the club. An honest debate wich looks at the inadequacies needs to be had.

    1. Avatar
      Pat 57 February 5, 2019 at 10:35 am .

      Ted you just don’t seem to be listening. No-one is disputing that the Reading game was disappointing and that a 0-0 draw was probably the right result. That is not the point.

      The point is that we are where we are and we need to give Smith more time and a summer window before we start being so caustically negative.

      The negativity in the fans and match crowds WILL be communicated to the players and so you end up with a self-fulfilling prophecy and more failure.

      Just try being a bit more patient. If Smith fails after the summer window then be as negative as you like. Anything else is not only being unfair but is going against the very thing you say you want – success at VP.

  2. Avatar
    Hitchens60 February 5, 2019 at 2:13 pm .

    Badger – it’s the Basement Project located in Bromsgrove and deals with North Worcestershire. It’s OK to support them as the COO is a Villa fan 🙂

    But seriously they do a brilliant job.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 February 5, 2019 at 2:15 pm .

      Seeing the COO in twenty minutes for a formal hand over of £20 with due pomp and ceremony. 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Bill Pearson February 5, 2019 at 2:46 pm .

    Ted, I feel the same way as you mate, but Ted I understand theirs nothing we can do yet, its the players we have are not good enough and Smith knows that. We cannot lay blame on him yet, yes I know some substitutions was questionable and hope he puts it right in the new season, live with what we’ve have till then and then we can call for his head if he fails. Nobody more passionate than me Ted I’ve lived near the ground and worked for the club 20 years, cheer up and things will get better I’m sure.

  4. Avatar
    TED February 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm .

    Hitchens60 if you read my posts I’ve actially referred to your previous comments and those of others, this is a typical response of unfair criticism.
    Badger what I keep referring to is perspective, an honest assessment.
    I can accept some of your points.
    But those of you not willing to accept Smith’s inadequacies and refuse to accept facts such as Bruce succeeded compared to Smith with a weakened team, (Bruce’s football was dire) will contribute to our teams continued regression.
    How can there be no criticism after Wigan, Swansea, Hull, Ipswich, Preston?
    How can there be no criticism despite our performances and Smith continuing to play certain players?
    As said we are a poor champ team, let’s accept this, stop trying to fool supporters, instead be honest.
    Badger you say Smith is still coming out with the promotion retric, why? is he misleading fans?
    Wouldn’t it be better to be honest about the squad? Set realistic expectations remove the older players and play youth?
    No expectation, no pressure on the youth?

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 February 5, 2019 at 5:20 pm .

      Apologies if you think I’ve unfairly criticised you – however you do realise that you are unfairly criticising a number of posters on here just because they don’t agree with your assessment of Smith?

      You’re entitled to your views, just as I am to mine. I believe I have taken a balanced and open minded approach to events at Villa Park. I supported Bruce when many didn’t and got criticised for it – I will continue to support Smith until I feel he’s not the right manager to take Villa forward, despite what you happen to think.

    2. Avatar
      Big Fat Ron February 5, 2019 at 7:26 pm .

      Also, a quick point on removing ‘old’ players for ‘youth.’ A great idea in principle. However, the last time I recall a manager doing that with the severity that we’re talking about, the late Graham Taylor axed a legend in Peter Schmeichel for Peter Enkleman, and ditched another legend in Paul Merson for a raw Peter Crouch. I would’ve preferred to enjoy Schmeichel and Merson for a while longer, personally.

      OK, our ‘old’ players aren’t legends, but they have the nous is a difficult league that the youngsters simply can’t have. Throwing inexperienced kids in could see us plummet down the league, while destroying their confidence and Smith’s credibility in one tidy package. Be careful what you wish for!

      1. Avatar
        Hitchens60 February 5, 2019 at 7:39 pm .

        BFR – the general consensus on here is that sending our better U23’s out on loan was an excellent move by Smith in the transfer window. He also recalled Green (frustrating he got injured) and kept Davis in preference to Hogan. To my mind this is sensible future planning by Smith.

        I agree with you; at present our U23’s are not ready for the first team, certainly not at left back or defensive midfield and putting them in the side will not improve performances or results.

  5. Avatar
    Big Fat Ron February 5, 2019 at 4:01 pm .

    Ted, you ask: “How can there be no criticism after Wigan, Swansea, Hull, Ipswich, Preston?”
    1. He’s been in the job for less than 6 months
    2. His best players are missing
    3. Changing style of play will take time, especially when aforementioned best players are missing
    4. In the games you refer to(apart from Preston), they were all Bruce’s players, minus (again) the best ones
    5. We beat Ipswich and got an away draw in the last two games; if that continues, we’re in great form
    6. The Championship is arguably the most difficult league in the world. Everyone can, and will, beat everyone. Look at the results of the top 10 teams. Forest and Stoke have vanished, but Villa, although admittedly ambitious, are still capable of catching the top 6. 3rd-6th is the same, so 6th will do if can’t make top 2.

    All those who argue against you are saying, is give Smith a full season, with a full pre-season to get his style across, and with his own players who can implement his style more efficiently than Bruce’s players. If there’s no progress after that, by all means, get the white bed sheets and black markers out… Does that sound unreasonable?

  6. Avatar
    Holte66 February 5, 2019 at 6:46 pm .

    Frustrating! If there was one word that sums up Villa then that’s the best one for me. 8-9 years of mismanagement has got us where we are. I put the main blame on Lerner, Faulkner and Fox as the dickheads who sold our club down the river. Dr Xia came in and did nothing wrong other than employed a ‘name’ in Di Matteo, a champions league winner and decent record at Albion who thought buying other championship teams players for big money was the answer. He rectified this with Bruce who was the right man at the time to build stability. We fell at the final hurdle last season, losing to a better team in Fulham. This season after the summer chaos we can hope for better things in the future with current owners saying the right things and financially put us on a good footing. Smith hasn’t managed to solve the riddle that Bruce had, in getting results and performances from a team without Grealish. Is it because of Grealish we went from Blues, Derby and Middlesbrough to Wigan, QPR, Swansea and Reading? One man shouldn’t make a team perform but it seems a coincidence. Smith did something Bruce failed to sort by switching him from wide left to a free roaming attacking midfielder. Without him we do not have a replacement. Certainly not Hourihane, Bjarnasson or even McGinn. This summer I hope we haven’t got a foolishly low clause in his contract for a premier team to sign him. If he hasn’t then we must keep him or insist on megabucks to generate the funds to bring in quality players. Last summer with FFP and Xia struggling to free up funds to pay tax bills and wages, I was thinking we would end up more like Sunderland, so with an outside chance of play offs, then I have to be satisfied with the current situation despite recent performances.

  7. Avatar
    AlfieAVFC February 5, 2019 at 9:32 pm .

    I thought the chances we missed at Reading were very very promising and I believe we should have won, however it was only the highlights I saw so if I am wrong then feel free to correct me and I will have a look at some more highlights – extended highlights this time.

    Well, all my hopes go to Sheffield United as I am actually going with my grandad.

  8. Avatar
    Hitchens60 February 5, 2019 at 10:46 pm .

    Reported Grealish return not until 23rd Feb at earliest but 2nd March might be more realistic.

    Hope they win for you and your grandad Alfie. Took three (of my four) grandsons to the Ipswich game – great day out.

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