Villa 1 -0 blues: We need to talk about Gabby

Well, if you were writng a typical crappy American 70’s film script, where the subject always gets a happy ending, with smiling faces all round, you couldn’t have written it much differently for the blues game, could you?

I predicted Gabby might get a few minutes, but didn’t expect him to get as long as he did and more importantly, get the winning goal.
But it backs up my view about Steve Bruce, in that he’s a 100% pragmatist.
Think about it.
He knows Gabby is basically finished. My guess says it’s because the player finds it difficult to motivate himself anymore.
But Bruce knows he detests the blues and can raise his game on this occasion.

And so it proved, with Gabby winding up the blues fans as soon as he got on the pitch and getting booked within three minutes.
The noise from the Villa crowd increased and it added some edge to what was previously a totally rubbish game.
Okay, the footy didn’t really improve much afterwards, but at least Gabby got the critical goal.

So Bruce’s decision, while pragmatic, was also inspired, in my opinion.
Would you have given him so many minutes on the pitch if you were the manager? I wouldn’t.

And this is exactly why I find the talk of Gabby getting a new contract laughable.
Think about it again.
RDM side-lined Gabby pretty much as soon as he took charge, yet Bruce called him back into the fold, so he could take a look for himself.
This is good management, as you should make your own assessments and not rely on others. Suffice to say, Gabby hasn’t had a look in for ages, because Bruce doesn’t rate him.
Except for this specific game.
Hat’s off to Bruce for that call, I say.

So keeping with the theme of Bruce being pragmatic, after we scored, Villa went deeper.
There was a classic line from Tony Morley, where he suggested that if Hogan became anymore isolated, he might as well join those in the commentary box, instead of being on the pitch.
I nearly spat my dinner-break coffee out.

But it did indeed sound dire, with the usual comments about us constantly giving the ball away and it constantly coming back at us.
You are not going to challenge in the Championship if you can’t dominate the midfield, that’s a cert and I suspect this is the area where the manager will be concentrating most of his thoughts.
The question is, is it tactics, or is it the fact that the midfield is just not good enough?
It’s hard to say, but Hourihane and Lansbury have looked pretty decent at their previous clubs (although in fairness, Lansbury was known to be an in and out player).
Personally, I expect quite a cull of our midfielders in the summer, with Gardner, Bacuna and maybe even Grealish leaving.
The fact is, they just don’t do it, do they?

Still, that’s by the by.
So summing up, it was a rubbish game, where both goalies left with their gloves clean.
But, we got the result, which was all that mattered.
And man, did it feel good. The thought of getting abuse from my nose aquaintances if we’d lost, is always more than I care to think about.

Which is exactly why I still believe Bruce is the right man to manage us at the moment, as much as the footy is rubbish and the fans are increasingly complaining about it.

He knows what is needed in this league.
And unfortunately it might not be what we want to see.
There’s no-one who loves silky swash-buckling footy than me.
But promotion next season is the priority and if it takes the same pragmatic approach, I’ll live with it, as long as it works.
Then we’ll look at it again.


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  1. Hitchens 60
    Hitchens 60 April 24, 2017 at 10:40 pm . Reply

    I really can’t figure Bruce’s view of Gabby nor his psychology but it’s fair comment that Bruce got it right against Blues. Say what you like about Gabby I believe he’s claret & blue through and through and hates the noses with a passion – enter centre stage Gabby with a mission. It’s probably a good thing he scored early otherwise he would have got himself sent off 🙂

    Objectively a fit and fired up Gabby does have something to offer in the Championship – my bet is he will still be here come next season.

  2. DSVilla
    DSVilla April 24, 2017 at 10:53 pm . Reply

    We don’t need to talk about Gabby. We need to talk about why we were so far off the pace given the money spent. We need to talk about how we score so few goals despite the spending on forwards. The top teams score the most goals and play the most attacking football. We are mid table amongst a bunch of mediocre teams with no money. We have a negative manager with poor tactical nous. I don’t believe we will be promoted next year with him and his philosophy.

    Gabby is a sideshow. Bin him anyway.

  3. Andrew
    Andrew April 25, 2017 at 2:46 am . Reply

    You really think Bacuna’s going to go? The guy keeping the so called fantastic (at least that’s what Championship fans thought of him before we ended up signing him) midfielder in Hourihane out of the team. No chance either he or Grealish leave.
    It’s 100% down to tactics and I still don’t get how anyone questions it’s not. Then again I don’t believe for a second most of our fans watched Steve Bruce at any other team, they solely look at his reputation and think he’s a Championship god. Bruce is a dinosaur. You’re right, McLeish and Lambert started this crap, and Bruce has done nothing too change it. Sherwood started too, when he first came in and saved us. But then reverted too defense like every British manager bar Dyche, but what has Bruce done too fix this? Brought in a couple midfielders who were considered some of the best in the Championship and what have they done, exactly? Hourihane’s been dropped for Bacuna, and he was the assist king at Barnsley. Our fans were so happy Lansbury came in, because he scores… Yet he hasn’t exactly done that for us, has he? Yes, we call Bruce a dinosaur, because he is. Just because Lambert and McLeish played defensive football doesn’t mean Bruce doesn’t, because he has at every single club he’s been at, if our fans ever actually paid any attention and watched players/managers at work instead of looking at a couple stats (basically thinking he’s British so he’s great) and is going to make us the kings of the Championship.

  4. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson April 25, 2017 at 6:59 am . Reply

    Lets dont get carried away thinking Gabby’s an hero, he’s been the instigator with dressing room up evil, been lazy on the pitch, Sunday’s game from what I’ve read was crap, Obonglahor happen to be in the right place for the goal, Badger your spot on we do have dead wood from previous managers, i say get rid come July because that team wouldn’t get us anywhere next season .

  5. Hitchens 60
    Hitchens 60 April 25, 2017 at 8:27 am . Reply

    Bruce isn’t going anywhere in the short term and, whilst fan opinion is divided, we do need a period of stability at the club – changing managers again is not the answer. Personally, just because I don’t regularly criticise Bruce, it doesn’t mean I am entirely happy or confident.

    He’s been at Villa for less than one season; Dr T, Wyness et al for one season and they are not going to solve all the problems of the Lerner years (and let’s not forget the additional initial mistakes made by Dr. T) that quickly. What we don’t need is another wholesale change of players this summer – yes we need to get rid of the deadwood – but I can only see two or three coming in so hope we buy wisely.

    Many of us feared back to back relegation but now there are moans because we haven’t challenged for promotion – make of that what you will.

  6. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson April 25, 2017 at 2:09 pm . Reply

    Birmingham City defender Paul Robinson has been charged with violent conduct by the FA after a clash with James Chester in the second city derby against Aston Villa on Sunday.

    Robinson clashed with Chester after Gabby Agbonlahor scored Villa’s winner in the 68th minute.

    The officials did not see the incident – but the clash was caught on video.

    Robinson has until 6pm tomorrow to reply to the charge

    1. giddyvillan
      giddyvillan April 25, 2017 at 3:43 pm . Reply

      Good the dirty SCUM bastard

      1. Derek
        Derek April 25, 2017 at 8:36 pm . Reply

        Most Villa fans are so fickle!
        Gabby is the scapegoat for all of the frustration of the past few years. We have had one hapless managed after another.

        When Gabby was at his peak he never asked to leave. He never went hunting the glory. He stayed and kissed the badge.

        When the likes of Barry, Young, Milner, Downing. Delph, Benteke were moving on to bigger things Gabby stayed loyal.

        Gabby was badly mismanaged by those hapless managers. Garde and the useless Di Matteo wrote him off without a second look.

        Bruce came in and has been more than fair. When Gabby has played this season he has put himself about far more than Hogan, Grealish & Co. He has made a difference when he has played.

        Gabby was starting to sharpen up befor his hamstring injury. The timing of that injury was so unfortunate.

        How many time has “Super Jack” let the club down? In his short career at Villa he has had one outstanding performance. The rest of his games have been mediocre to say the least. The Villa faithful never get on his back.

        So give Gabby a chance. Start believing in him again. He has at least two good years in him before he hangs up his boots. Don’t let him be another one of those players that was let go by the club to go onto better things.

        I have been a Villa fan for more than 60 years. Sometimes I hate those fans with such short memories and unforgiving ways.

  7. Sidcowanslovechild
    Sidcowanslovechild April 25, 2017 at 8:37 pm . Reply

    Sorry ludicrous conclusion. Won’t bother deconstructing a very poor analysis in totality but as a highlight Grealish is the most skilful player I’ve seen at Villa, well ever, and that includes the European cup winning team. If played right he will be immense as we have seen in patches when he has decent players around him. Admittedly there may be an attitude problem which holds him back but in terms of quality he is out of this world.

    You fall in to the biggest negative that we Villa fans are guilty of, writing off players way too soon

    1. sidcowanslovechild
      sidcowanslovechild April 25, 2017 at 8:41 pm . Reply

      Sorry Badger, my previous comment was way too strong but I stick to my comments on Grealish and how Villa fans turn on players way too quickly. Far too many players hounded out of the club or forced in to their shells by the crowd getting on their back. You can’t do this especially to young players and expect them to give their best, just human nature

      1. Sidcowanslovechild
        Sidcowanslovechild April 25, 2017 at 8:59 pm . Reply

        While I’m at it, I watched the following with despair recently, against Reading I think. We had a throw in in an attacking position. The ball was thrown backwards well in to our own half. Not too happy about that but I’ve always preached patience and possession football so I can’t complain too much. Then ball goes across the back 3, ok, we’re keeping the ball at least. Then there’s a bit of pressure, the ball goes back to Keeper and he punts it long and we lose the ball! So we might as well have just chucked it forward and tried to get a chance on goal.

        I don’t mind patient football, possession football, counterattack or even long ball but that summed up everything wrong with the team.

        I refuse to believe it is because we have poor players, we clearly have very good players at this level. So it’s tactics coaching and confidence. The only thing the fans can do about this is confidence i.e. Not get on players backs, single out individuals and slag them off whether at ground or on social media

        The rest is down to our coaching staff, god help us

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