Stoke – Villa: I don’t know what to think about this one. Should I predict a win?

I’ve just been looking at the Championship table and it makes for interesting viewing.
Only Bristol City have won their last five games and there’s only one club, Brentford, who have won four out of the five.
So it’s definitely a very topsy-turvy league, as many have said, where anyone can beat anyone.
Which is a good thing and exactly how it should be, in my opinion.

The reason I was looking, was to give me some basis on my total guess of how the game might go.
And before I looked, I was working on the assumption that we’d lost before we kicked off.
So imagine my surprise when I found that Stoke’s record is actually worse than ours. At least we managed to beat Ipswich, while Stoke were held to a draw, albeit away.

And then, after reading that Saido Berahino has been arrested for drink-driving, I read today that Liam Lawrence, the Stoke legend(?) has said that he’s hearing some horror stories about Stoke’s players.
There’s no doubting that Lawrence wants Berahino sacked and I saw their manager suggesting that the player is a bad ‘un and he only wants “good people” at the club.
Which all suggests that Stoke are in quite a bit of turmoil, which sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?

So maybe things are looking up for us when it comes to this game?

On Stokes’s side, Berahino will surely not be available, but defender Tom Edwards may be, after a head injury.

As for us, we’re still without James Chester and Jack Grealish, but that’s no real surprise.
Kalinic is also doubtful after his head injury, but the main news is that John McGinn serves the first of his two match ban.

And it’s that latter part that concerns me.
What’s a midfield without McGinn going to look like?
If Dean Smith goes with Jedinak, Whelan and Hourihane, well, you just can’t see any pace or inventiveness at all, can you?
Maybe El Ghazi will come in and play a number 10 role?
I’d say he has the tools in his locker to do the job and it might even suit him, as he is skilful. But he hasn’t really looked the part lately, along with many of our players.

Maybe Smith will go with a couple of kids to up our energy levels, but I’m not convinced, as he might see this as a game which we’d be looking to win, to get our season rolling again. And experience is the way to go.

I’m afraid I think that any team that is going to lose to us will have to be incredibly poor.
And if they can put even half a decent game together, I’d expect us to be beaten.

With that, I’m going to predict a 1-1 draw, but it’s more in hope than expectation.
Yes, I think we’re really that poor a team at the moment.

I strongly suspect we’ll lose, I’m afraid.


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  1. Avatar
    Hitchens60 February 22, 2019 at 10:35 pm .

    I’m in for a draw Badger. Two (poor?) teams each in the midst of an awful run of results. Not going to be an exciting spectacle but at least it will be warm for the fans 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Pat 57 February 22, 2019 at 11:35 pm .

    Well I’m not exactly filled with confidence but I’m going to predict a win for the Villa. I’ve no idea how this will be achieved but we’ll somehow nick it 0-1.

    Ever the optimist…

  3. Avatar
    Sidforever February 23, 2019 at 9:02 am .

    We are on a poor run. Missing all our best players. Badger I fear you may be right with. Whelan and Jedinak midfield does not hold fear for any opposition.

    Perhaps Smith may through caution to the wind, start with Ramsey. What have we got to lose. Neither Jedinak or Whelan will be here next year. Start blooding the youngsters (those not on loan). I fear we will not be able to gain 6th place, the gap is too much. Start looking at the young players for next year. There are so many positions up for grabs.

    The only certainties next year to start are:
    French right back
    Grealish (likely to be sold)

    I hope the owners have told Smith to focus on next year and use the remainder of this season to assess those who can be called upon next year.

  4. Avatar
    CHARLIEAITKEN...Villa legend February 23, 2019 at 9:21 am .

    Villa to win 2-1. DS to go 442 with Kodja + Tammy up front.

    1. Avatar
      Holte66 February 23, 2019 at 10:13 am .

      I would like Smith to be more flexible with formation. I think he has already hinted that the 4-1-4-1 formation is what works for him and he will persevere with this. I would like to see a 4-4-2 as Charlieaitken suggested. Abraham looks isolated since Grealish got injured. Whoever has played as a winger role has failed to offer any real service. Without McGinn today and being Stokes first home game since Gordon Banks passing, plus the fact that Villa are a great team to play when opponents are having a poor run of form, I’m predicting 2-0 to Stoke. Doesn’t matter either way. Seasons over already with no chance of promotion or relegation.

  5. Avatar
    nath February 23, 2019 at 9:26 am .

    i am looking forwards to the game as i always do. i havent a foggiest who smith will pick in midfield because i don’t watch them train. but i trust smith will pick the strongest team he can.

    i want the club to bring on the youth, but i don’t think the answer is too throw the kids in if they are not ready. Ramsey got a taste last game on as sub, he doesn’t look like hes up to speed enough to start, from that one appearance. maybe another 30 minutes introduction will be best served for the kid.

    i have to admit last game wasn’t that bad in performance it was just the result, we pressed better than we have, we passed the ball better with better tempo and one touch. the trouble started when albion got the lead and sat back, we struggled to open them up enough. which loads of teams struggle against. especially playing without your creative players.

    i will predict 3 nil to villa three og’s

    nice to see a bristrol rovers fan get lost and find his way to the promise land and home of football, creators of the football league, welcome to villa news and view’s

  6. Avatar
    Bill Pearson February 23, 2019 at 9:58 am .

    Like you Badger hard to call, I’m not so confident we have players that dont understand football ethics, teams bow beat us by hitting us from the off, some players buckle to quickly. Stoke have their problems as well and will fight to get a win.I’m loosing interest and that’s bad for me ,a fan that followed Villa for years home and abroad, things might get better next season, I hope so.

    1. Avatar
      CHARLIEAITKEN...Villa legend February 23, 2019 at 1:59 pm .

      Nath….calling a Bristol City fan a ‘Rover’ is like calling us a bluenose…that hate each other!

  7. Avatar
    Holte66 February 23, 2019 at 10:23 am .

    I’m like you Bill, I have lost interest in this season and wish we could fast forward to August and see what we have got for next season. A baggies fan I know at work got a ticket for Holte End last Saturday and told me Villa fans were fighting amongst themselves mainly over pro and anti Smith arguments, which is depressing to hear. Another depressing bit of news during the week was that Wolves will increase their capacity to 46,000 by 2020 to become the largest stadium in the midlands. Thanks to Lerner and his disastrous reign, we are falling behind so many clubs now. Maybe our expectations will have to change based on where we are now.

    1. Avatar
      villaawayindiv3 February 23, 2019 at 12:07 pm .

      Is the Wolves thing sustainable enough to have a large Stadium. ..I know the owners are mega rich but can they do a Citeh

  8. Avatar
    nath February 23, 2019 at 1:33 pm .

    el ghazi really needs to affect the game. he has more than enough ability to do that, but he just ends up being a passenger not the driver. i don’t believe you should moan about players missing injured or banned. this is a sign of weakness. by moaning about missing x and y, you already prepared the team for a good excuse.

    somebody like el ghazi really should have used grealish injury to force smith to play him in the hole behind tammy. but the truth is he never affects the game enough to play there. mcginns ban should be the fillet to another midfielder to step up. then you have created a team with a healthy competition

  9. Avatar
    CHARLIEAITKEN...Villa legend February 23, 2019 at 2:01 pm .

    Lord knows where the ‘energy’ is going to come from with McGinn….we need at least one younger guy in the midfield….Ramsey?

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