Villa 1-2 Leicester; A loss, but not too bad.

So I called the score correctly, where the truth is that I was really fearing a severe beating.
Did I lie convincingly in the preview?
Maybe not.

Ultimately, I think we need to remember that Leicester haven’t just gone second in the league at this past middling stage of the season for no reason.
They’re a very good side; hard working, skillful with good goalscorers and are well organised by a very good manager in Brendan Rodgers.
Am I blowing them up too much?
Possibly so, but it’s only because I think Leicester is exactly the club that I aspire us to be.
The “little” club that doesn’t deserve to be in the top 4.
But sticks it to them.
It’s what I want us to do.

Be honest, how many of us expected to win this game today?
I didn’t by a long shot and the first half hour or so went pretty much to script and we went two down far too easily.
We seemed to lack any confidence with Jack Grealish being out and I know I keep banging on about it, but I thought our defence was shown up for what it is. Poor.
Don’t ask me to go into specifics, because I’m sick of saying it.

That said, our midfield was horrendous yet again.
How long can Dean Smith keep playing Barkley, when he just looks so off his game?
I’ve seen comments suggesting that McGinn’s game suffers when Barkley plays and it makes sense, as I can’t remember the last time the Scot had a decent game either.

The point is, as soon as Barkley went off, we looked better.
Ramsay is not your action man type that Barkley is, but he just got involved and it’s what we were lacking.
It was the same with Trezeguet; he just played.
We cannot go on playing Barkley because he’s costing us.
And if Smith doesn’t see it, he’s going to seriously get marked down as intransigent amongst the fans.

Did Leicester back off?
I’m inclined to think they did somewhat, but also like to believe that we did put them under some real pressure late on.
Certainly Rodgers seemed happy to go a lot deeper and defend the game, but I wouldn’t say Leicester were at ease with it.
We still looked dangerous on occasion.

I’ve seen arguments that say we’re not going to qualify for Europe and we’re not going to get relegated either.
Which means we ought to give the younger lads a chance.
Having seen one of Leicester’s players, who looked like he was about 14, I have some sympathy with this.
In fact, I’m going to put a poll up about it.

A large part of me wants us to go all out for a place in Europe.
But if we are to do that, I don’t see there’s any chance that any of the kids will get the slightest look in.
I’ve never been a big fan of playing the kids, but it seems to me, this is as good a chance as Smith will ever get.

Not that I see it happening for one minute.
The manager seems massively reluctant to bring experienced players on, let alone kids.

So all in all, probably a better result than expected.
Leeds up next then.
At least we’re away.


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  1. Avatar
    Holte66 February 22, 2021 at 12:10 pm . Reply

    Badger, I have heard from a reliable source that Jack is out for 6 – 8 weeks. If this is true then I don’t understand Smith’s philosophy of keeping everyone in the dark. He doesn’t take this approach with any other player. What does he hope to gain from deception? Like you said, I would rather hear the facts and anything better is a bonus. It happened when he was out in our promotion season too. We never heard the truth that time either.

  2. Avatar
    Holte66 February 22, 2021 at 6:05 pm . Reply

    Wesley as a back up to Watkins might offer another approach to how we set up. Unfortunately he wasn’t very good prior to his injury so I can’t see him being better now.
    Leeds up next and they will be confident having beaten us already and comfortably too.
    Not that it means anything but why not play Watkins out wide in Jack’s position with Davis in the middle and Trezeguet on the right. Midfield I would play Nakamba with Luiz or Ramsey alongside McGinn. Sanson I think would find Leeds a tough proposition to make a full debut. Barkley I would hope doesn’t have a clause in his contract. If he starts on Saturday we know he does.

  3. Avatar
    OLL again February 23, 2021 at 7:25 pm . Reply

    The slapheads on MOTD were scathing about Villa’s midfield providing no cover for the back four. A case epitomized by the time Maddeson had to pick his spot.
    This is a managerial failing: the job of attacking midfielder is different from defensive midfielder, and it is only a guess that a player has the skills for both. McGinn definitely, and Douglas Luiz probably, are attacking midfield players who cannot do the defensive job. I don’t blame Smith for the trial, but he should have seen the results before now. Sanson we were told is another attacking midfielder, which means only Marvellous is available to do the defensive work unless a youngster is brought in.

    I wonder if Sanson was bought over the head of Smith? A manager who wants a new player would give him an early debut unless the team had won its last match. That didn’t happen. The starting midfield flopped against Leicester so changes should be made. Wot the Els? Both Elmo and Elga showed that one of them might be carried in an otherwise full-strength squad, but the team cannot carry both.

    It is OLL trying to dodge the sin bin with a new email and browser.

  4. Avatar
    Hitchens60 February 23, 2021 at 9:03 pm . Reply

    Interesting debate around Grealish’ absence being ‘leaked’ on social media.

    Now, whether you agree or disagree with the club’s policy, if players know that their clubs’ policy is to keep confidential the condition of any player then IMO they have a duty to keep that information away from public scrutiny.

    I was told Saturday night that Grealish was injured and out of the team. My grandson had seen on Twitter that a couple of Villa players had replaced Grealish in their fantasy football teams for the games over the weekend. So the football equivalent of ‘insider trading’ 🙂

    Clubs don’t have to announce their teams until an hour before ko and there have been previous allegations that team sheets have been leaked. There is, of course, a perfectly reasonable strategic reason for keeping team sheets secret until the last possible moment.

    Guardiola seems to agree that players should not be leaking team information through social media and I think Smith has a perfect right to be annoyed. He may also, when talking about how long players will be out, be using a tactical ploy to keep the opposing manager guessing.

    So whilst we, as fans, might want to know exactly how long a player will be out of action, that information is for the manager to use in a way he thinks best helps the team on the pitch.

  5. Avatar
    badger123 February 24, 2021 at 4:53 pm . Reply

    Hitch, I might agree with that last part if Smith actually changed tactics occasionally.

    As for leaks, that’s been happening for years and Smith knows that full well, surely?
    I’ve seen teamsheets a good half an hour before they’re announced sometimes and I know I’m not alone either.

    I think the issue is whether players colluded in dropping Grealish from their squads.
    I very much doubt they did and anyone with the tiniest bit of common sense would have dropped an injured player, even if we are talking footballers here, lol.

    It’s probably right the players ought to be banned from picking players from their own club, I suppose.

    In other news, I see we’re going to sign the world now that Sawaris is doing some big fat money deal.
    You have to laugh 🙂

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 February 24, 2021 at 7:39 pm . Reply

      Badger – not implying players are colluding in any way but your suggestion that players should not be allowed to select from their own club is a simple and pragmatic solution. It would soon expose any collusion that might be going on.

      It was so simple in the old days before the horrors of the internet and social media 🙂

  6. Avatar
    ol February 24, 2021 at 5:02 pm . Reply

    This is a test to see if “OL” is the problem.

    1. Avatar
      ol February 24, 2021 at 5:04 pm . Reply

      This is another test, now I’ve approved the previous comment

  7. Avatar
    ol February 24, 2021 at 5:07 pm . Reply

    this is another test

  8. Avatar
    ol February 24, 2021 at 5:10 pm . Reply

    Yet another test with my phone

  9. Avatar
    Ol February 24, 2021 at 5:11 pm . Reply

    And another

Right or Wrong? What do YOU think?

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