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 February 22, 2018 at 3:52 am .

    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 February 22, 2018 at 11:41 am .

      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 February 22, 2018 at 6:46 pm .

        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 February 22, 2018 at 11:39 am .

    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 February 22, 2018 at 2:58 pm .

      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 February 22, 2018 at 6:50 pm .

      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 February 22, 2018 at 6:28 pm .

    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 February 22, 2018 at 6:47 pm .

    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 February 22, 2018 at 6:56 pm .

    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 February 22, 2018 at 8:48 pm .

    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 February 22, 2018 at 9:09 pm .

    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 February 22, 2018 at 9:10 pm .

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

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

    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 February 23, 2018 at 3:59 pm .

      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.

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