Villa 1 – 1 Preston: Disappointing, but a decent point (Hmmmmm)

Yes, I actually got to watch this one and have to say from the off, that in certain areas I don’t agree with what seems the consensus amongst Villa fans.

First, I thought we were decent at times.
Are you shocked? Probably, I’d guess.

This doesn’t seem to have been accepted at all, from what I’ve read elsewhere and to be honest, I haven’t even seen it suggested.
But I’m going to call the game as I saw, it, simple.

And there’s me being accused of being the negative one.

Ok, let’s get this straight.
I thought PNE were the outright dirtiest team we’ve played this season.
Think I’m wrong?
Consider John Terry nearly had the shirt torn off his back from a Villa corner within the first 3 minutes.
And for me, that’s how the game continued.

Preston continued in the same vein as the game went on and my feelings are that we had to resort to playing fire with fire, which ruined our game.

Now consider that I’m sure I heard the comment that before the game, PNE were the most booked team in the league, whereas we were the least booked.
If that’s true, it says it all.

Even if I’m wrong there, it was obvious that PNE aimed to spoil our game.
Which is fair enough, to an extent. I’m all for blood and guts, if the game’s played correctly.
But what annoyed me, was the lack of protection from what would normally be deemed as fouls.
There were elbows flying all over the place and I even commented during the game that this wasn’t right.

So in my opinion, we had to resort to the same to compete. Hence our bookings.

Hutton, god bless him, loves that sort of stuff, but he’s not at all subtle with it, is he?

Fair play to PNE, as you do what you do to win the game, but I never really expected that from them and it disappointed me, tbh.
I don’t know what was being said on the touchline, but it seems PNE’s player’s tactics definitely stem from the management.

Quite simply, I thought the ref was awful, in that he let way too much go. And that isn’t our game.

Whatever, yes, we seemed totally disjointed again.
The midfield just doesn’t work without Grealish and it’s no coincidence that when I slated him earlier in the season for not doing enough and he was out injured, so I was consistently slating the lack of movement, ambition and general aim without him.
JG is a massive loss and we need him back ASAP.
The only possible replacement, with his sort of vision, imo has to be O’Hare and we have to play him, just while Grealish is out.
Maybe, but without a visionary, push on type, we look so, so poor in midfield.
Call the likes of Hourihane, Lansbury in the middle and they just don’t work, without someone to pull the strings.

It’s the same up front, where we knock sometimes decent balls in the box.
The balls are never telling though and just the same as happens in the midfield. You always get the impression that it’s just not working.

So why did we draw the game?
Well apart from being knocked out of our stride, I just think we give the ball away too much.
Which, when you look at the supposed quality of our players, is poor.
But that’s been an underlying issue for ages.

I don’t know.
We should have won this one.
And while it’s another point clocked up, so I’m wondering if whoever misses out from the automatic positions, they might only do so by a point or two.

Hence this has to be viewed as two points dropped, simple as.

If this proves to be a small bad run, we’ll still be OK, imo.

But now we need to be winning again, quickly.


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  1. Benno
    Benno February 22, 2018 at 3:52 am . Reply

    All in all was a disappointing performance, but at least we managed to get a point. The midfield was the biggest issue for me, just too slow and no movement whatsoever.

    Be interesting to see what he does Saturday. Another difficult game without a full squad.

    1. Villain1
      Villain1 February 22, 2018 at 11:41 am . Reply

      Jedinak is an issue, he’s a good player but he just doesnt have the fitness to last a whole game. Bjarnasson needs to be moved back to DM, he was pivotal in that position in our winning run. For once Bruce needs to take off his ultra defensive mentality and go for it

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 February 22, 2018 at 6:46 pm . Reply

        Spot on Villain1 – it was an astute move by Bruce to play Jedinak against Gallagher and he completely snuffed out Blues long ball game but he lacks the mobility of Bjarnasson.

  2. Villain1
    Villain1 February 22, 2018 at 11:39 am . Reply

    We can’t afford another bad run. We’ve had two this season, one at the start and the one pre-Christmas and the run of 7 wins simply allowed us to make back some of that lost ground. If we fail to beat Wedneday this will be the third one the season and a team looking for automatic promotion cant afford that.
    We have to stop the rot on Saturday but I can’t see happening if Grealish,Adomah and Snoddy are all missing as Bruce will go ultra cautious again.
    I’d say we’re going to have to win 9 or 10 of our remaining games which a tall order, but possible if everyone was fit.
    Presuming nothing changes on the injury front we have to be bold and put Lansbury and Grabban in and Bjarnasson back to DM instead of Jedinak. Been saying all season draws are useless if you want the top 2, we need to get back to winning ways immediately otherwise its the play off lottery and given our tendency to bottle the big games i’d give us little to no hope there.

    1. Owen
      Owen February 22, 2018 at 2:58 pm . Reply

      Didn’t bottle it winning 7 in a row and beating local rivals in huge pressure game to go second. Cardiff have a tough run in. Fulham and Preston in great from. Sheff Weds next and then QPR and Bolton and Wolves. Fancy us to pick up plenty of points. Wolves poor again last night. Full house at Villa Park in a game we aren’t expected to win will do us good. For once we’ll be the underdogs. 9-10 points from next 4 and we are back in second place IMO.

    2. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 February 22, 2018 at 6:50 pm . Reply

      Villain1, I recently posted that (assuming Grealish / Odamah missing) we should play Grabben wide left, move Bjarnasson back to CM and bring in Lansbury (with O’Hare on the bench) keeping Hogan upfront. One thing Bruce has to do us drop Onomah!

      Not sure I would write off our play off chances but automatic promotion would be preferable!

  3. Holte 66
    Holte 66 February 22, 2018 at 6:28 pm . Reply

    Still plenty of twists and turns to come as we reach business end of the season. Cardiff are in great form and look favourites for second, although will nerves play a part if teams below keep pressure on. Game on Saturday will be important for us to get 3 points if Cardiff win again. 7 point gap would be tough to catch up.

  4. nath
    nath February 22, 2018 at 6:47 pm . Reply

    got to ditch jedi for anybody who is a little more mobile. you need to ditch the holding midfielder role completely,a basic two centre mids, up and down midfielder will free up more movement, the utd guy loanee can play midfield. he has a good engine, or you can choose between lansbury, whelen ,hourihane, onomah and birkir.

    i really don’t see why you need a player, sitting in front of chester and terry. also one being slower than them. he is not covering behind them or to the sides of them. he is only any use if a team attacks the space behind the mids in front of defence. teams are hitting villa behind the defence or down the sides.

    by playing two up and down midfielder you are increasing the work rates which will increase the movement and options for the man on ball. which we are lacking since grealish injury. yes you are open to counters but having two mobile midfielder means one will always be able to get back.

  5. Owen
    Owen February 22, 2018 at 6:56 pm . Reply

    Grabban looks lively, him up top with Davis while Grealish out. Hogan useless without Grealish. Grabban on right if Snodgrass out on Saturday. Needs to be 442 Jedinak and Bjarnason in the centre. Could be Grabban left and Snodgrass right if he does make it otherwise Onomah left. Which would be shit.

  6. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson February 22, 2018 at 8:48 pm . Reply

    A lot of up evil about Onomah, on Facebook, Twitter, saying not to play him as he has nothing to give only take.It’s being said Grealish and Adomah won’t be in contention till 3 of March or after, we have to get back our winning way or it will mean play offs, I know there’s 13 games and anything can happen but Villa are breaking records on crowds all are praying for the good days.I’m all for Grabban coming in and should play our new defender, then that leaves Hutton he has to play for his willingness in the game. Ohare needs to be on the bench and given a chance if it arises..

  7. Holte 66
    Holte 66 February 22, 2018 at 9:09 pm . Reply

    Bruce got it spot on against Blues by playing Jedinak although at the time I wasn’t happy Bjarnasson was dropped. Sheffield Wednesday though are a footballing team and the game will bypass Jedinak. FWIW I would play Bjarnasson, Lansbury and Hourihane with each one capable of breaking forward to support strikers. If Snodgrass is fit I would play him, Hogan and Grabban as a front three. Also if Elmo is okay he should play because him and Snoddy have a good understanding. Bruce thankfully against Preston changed formation at half time when plan A wasn’t working, so having Davis or maybe Hepburn Murphy on bench would give option of 4-4-2. Jedi will be useful for the more physical teams but Bjarnasson for me is an all rounder in the middle.

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson February 22, 2018 at 9:10 pm . Reply

    O’Hare not in the under 23s tonight I wonder why.

  9. owen
    owen February 23, 2018 at 2:56 pm . Reply

    We can beat Wednesday without Grealish and Adomah tomorrow – didn’t have Grealish until early December and we were 4th then and then were ropey with him in the team until January. Key player is Snodgrass and he will be fit.Grabban looks lively, runs like Collymore used to, even though that is irrelevant! Tuanzebe has come in and we’ve been ropey at the back, Preston caused us problems from set-pieces.

    Elmohamady Chester Terry Hutton
    Snodgrass Jedinak Bjarnason Grabban
    O’Hare or Hourihane

    I think this line-up would do a job. Hogan useless when Grealish doesn’t play.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 February 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm . Reply

      Villa injury jinx update – Tuanzebe, Grealish and Adomah all definitely out of tomorrow’s game; Davis and Grabben both doubtful but hoping Snodgrass will be fit so I’m afraid your team selection may be a little optimistic Owen although you will get your Tuanzebe wish!

      Now here’s a mad idea – bring Taylor in at left back and play Hutton left side mid field – OK maybe not but we have no natural left sided attacking player without Adomah / Green. I expect Bruce will start with Bjarnasson wide left which isn’t his best position and don’t be surprised to see Whelan alongside Jedinak whose main job will be to snuff out Rhodes (assuming he plays)

      We are going to be pretty toothless tomorrow so best I can see is a bore draw but it won’t surprise me if we lose.

  10. Holte 66
    Holte 66 February 23, 2018 at 5:40 pm . Reply

    Sheffield Wednesday have many more of their first team out injured than us, including Fletcher, Hooper, Forestieri, Bannan and Westwood. I think that if we are whining about Grealish and Adomah being the reason for our downturn then if we don’t win tomorrow we don’t deserve to go up.

  11. nath
    nath February 23, 2018 at 7:22 pm . Reply

    good job wednesday have injuries. they hammered villa at villa park. since then thou they lost their manager, well sacked lol big mistake, by the power of the fans.

    seems like the injuries at villa might be the blessing of some fans, they might see ohare in the team. definitely in the day squad. most likely bench warming,i just hope the same fans don’t go hard on him if he falls flat with their expectations being so high of him. omonah is only a kid barely older than ohare but thats not saved him from the abuse from knowledgeable fans. same goes with davis misses a chance or two and he gets loads of abuse

    wonder if this is what ohare will be in for, if he fails to live up to some fans unrealistic dreams of his career.i hope if he plays he has a good one. but expecting him to make a big difference is putting to much on young shoulders.

    1. Adam
      Adam February 23, 2018 at 10:45 pm . Reply

      99% of fans will back the youth to the hilt. Bad games or not if they see effort and desire they wont moan. Some fans will however always moan, its not an excuse to not play the youth though. they have to manage the expectation thats why they get paid a lot of money. Grealish is only starting to manage it now but thats because of regular 1st team exoerience.. Imo Davis cant be moaned at hes done great and upped his value to about £10m already. Ohare is ready and it will show with regular game time just like davis. I havent seen anyone give unrealistic dreams for him, if unrealistic is playing regular for the 1st team then why is he even a footballer?..Onomah is a completley different issue. He isnt one of our own and Hes wanted to be back at spurs months ago. no effort and lacks creativity a waste of a shirt.

    2. Andrew
      Andrew February 24, 2018 at 2:15 am . Reply

      Problem is, as Adam has said (by us “knowledgeable” fans), Onomah isn’t one of ours, and he was brought in largely to start, but he’s been awful. He gets stick because he’s been awful, and was likely supposed to start over Grealish who Bruce up until Grealish came back wasn’t a fan of and there was even talk of loaning him out back to Notts County, but fortunately that never happened. Onomah was brought in at 20 to replace Grealish and keep O’Hare out of the team, but his performances have been below subpar and fans aren’t happy he’s keeping O’Hare out of the team, and rightfully so. That’s why he gets stick. Sure O’Hare may get stick if he performs as bad as Onomah has, but not a single one of our fans expects him to change and win games for us. However giving him game time should be expected. He’s proven far too good for the U-23’s on a regular basis, like Grealish has proven far too good for the Championship so far this season.

      1. Andrew
        Andrew February 24, 2018 at 2:32 am . Reply

        And misses 1-2 chances and gets criticized? He has 2 goals all season in the league. He’s largely praised for his overall performances and rightfully so, but he’s been atrocious in front of goal. Heskey-esque return for goals in the amount of game time he’s gotten. But he’s been rightfully praised for his other contributions.

  12. Holte 66
    Holte 66 February 23, 2018 at 9:01 pm . Reply

    I hope if O’Hare gets a chance tomorrow that it will be off the bench and preferably with us not losing. It’s easier to introduce youngsters in non pressure situations. Playing away from home will probably help because Villa Park can be hostile when things are going badly. I feel a bit sorry for Onomah because like what’s been said, he is still only a kid and things haven’t gone great for him. We have to remember that it’s only the last couple of months that Grealish has started to realise his potential.

  13. nath
    nath February 24, 2018 at 6:25 am . Reply

    coughs bulshit lol

    omonah has recieved uncalled shit because hes not what they expected.he hasnt been good for some fans. davis is ours and he has received shit. because as a striker he has to scored they say. forget he gives a platform to attack with purpose. he is a good presence. grealish has not come good, just because he has 1st team games. that is bulshit too. the lad is only showing his potential more regular because he has matured. have we all forgot that they are kids. grealish has frustrated fan and manager alike. he has always had this ability and he has shown in games this ability but he had bad habits on and off field. but now he shows more regular because the penny has probably dropped. i reckon he will fuck off to a better club, if the club dont match his ability soon, mark my one of our own will fly the nest be sure of that.

    ohare has build up a army of followers all expecting to much. not all,but some of the fans will expect too much, they will be enough and louder supporters. that will demand he plays and they are the ones that will be slating him in weeks time for bad misses or lack of ability missing a chance. ohare is a legend before hes kicked a ball infront of the supporters that build him up to superstar status. the only way is down.

    i don’t think hes ready but i will support him like all the rest. he has to come in now as injuries demand. but if he has a shocker i won’t cry about it. it will just be one of those things. hope the lad plays well and it will be a good lesson for him and us all

  14. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson February 24, 2018 at 8:56 am . Reply

    I wish fans would stop calling 18 year footballers kids, they are not kids they are men. I trained 18 year olds in the military and believe me they have a mind of their own. They know its time to shine given a chance and I think its time to play. Ohare is on the fringe to play ,he’s had people watching and knows what’s expected so go out and do it. A good manager being told would look at players but unfortunately Bruce has had personal reasons and has to find times to his family. I wouldn’t knock young player’s that puts a Villa shirt on and runs his socks off, yet we have Onomah being put in and doing sod all , a loan player that doesn’t want to be their, so put Ohare in and let’s see one of our own and wish him good luck. 2-1 Villa.

    1. nath
      nath February 24, 2018 at 9:02 am . Reply

      bill today young footballs are not in the same world as you where when you reached 18 years old. they are pampered children all their way through their football career. i am not going through step by step. listen to the players. take that italian that went to man city. he bloew his mansion toilet up with fireworks. owen confessed he had helper all the way through his career, they don’t do anything themselves. they play football and thats it, no worries no real hardships they are pampered little kids

  15. nath
    nath February 24, 2018 at 9:13 am . Reply

    as for the spuds loanee. just because his loan hhas been less than productive. doesn’t mean he will not be a good player. a good example of a bad loan good player is another spuds player in kane.

    he looks a bad player at moment, because the rest of the team are not on his wave lengths. back in the days when i played. professionally for my school. i had relationship with players around me. no like that, say they wasn’t playing and i had players around me that i didnt know. i struggled to get on their wave length. i ended up struggling loads. i was same player as before but looked worse.

    the main point is fans should support all claret and blue home grown or not why else would you waste your time supporting them in the wrong way its counter productive

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