Villa 1 – 3 Man Utd; Bias and defensive errors lead to that.

Well, I got the result half right.
I said we’d lose 3-1 if we played poorly. The score was right, but I don’t think we played to badly.
Add to that, that we played with ambition to try and win the game and I’m reasonably happy.
There were issues though, that I’ll come onto in a moment.

I’ve never been a big believer in the conspiracy theory that is Sky are massively favouring the top six, but my opinion has changed today.
First off, today’s ref comes from Manchester. I thought coming from the same area as a team disqualified you from officiating them. Apparently not, as you have to declare an interest in a favourite club. Obviously Chris Kavanagh hasn’t.
Am I saying he’s biased specifically?
No, he’s probably not, I like to think.

But I do now have serious suspicions that there is bias in the game because it needs to suit Sky’s agenda.
Would it have suited Sky if Man City had won the league today?
No, of course not. Interest in the league would have automatically disappeared and it just suits perfectly that Man Utd win and the contest remains open.

That said, we didn’t help ourselves in that two of Utd’s goals were extremely soft.
The first one, a penalty, was downright ridiculous. Pogba was moving away from goal and begging to be clattered. Douglas Luiz duly obliged with a stupid challenge from behind.
That was the third penalty awarded against us in the last four Villa – Man Utd games.
That’s either massively bad luck or there’s a bit of a pattern here.
I don’t remember too many games these days, but I do remember us having a blatant penalty turned down in our last cup final, which was also against Utd.
Now I’m not suggesting for one minute that the decision for the first goal was wrong. It wasn’t.

But then, Ollie Watkins had a claim turned down when it seemed obvious to me that Henderson had made contact with the striker’s leg with his foot. For me, it was acceptable if you thought Henderson was pulling out of a tackle.
It was also acceptable if you thought he hadn’t made enough contact to warrant a red for the goalkeeper.
But to book Ollie for diving? That’s ridiculous.
Even if Henderson hadn’t pulled out, it certainly looked like he was going to seriously clatter the attacker and who can blame him for trying to avoid it?
I wouldn’t have given a decision either way and would just have let play continue.
And I say that as someone who is often the first one to say if I think the opposition deserve a penalty.

And then we had Maguires’s injury. I thought if it looked like treatment was going to last quite a while, the usual practice was to get them stretchered off to be treated on the touchline or whatever.
Whatever, he was sat for minutes and Solsjaer was given lots of time to explain tactics to the substitute.
Innocent? Possibly so, but these things stack up and I wasn’t happy.
Which is really annoying, as I’m sure I’ll now be looking out for this sort of thing and joining the many of those who predicted decisions going against us and Utd being awarded a penalty today. And were proved 100% correct.

As for the actual football, after a poor start, we warmed into the game and often took it to Utd with some decent play. Barkley was none-existant for me, Matt Cash struggled because he wasn’t being helped out by Traore as he faced a two pronged attack and was being swamped. How often have we heard that this season? Either Traore is thick in not doing his defensive duty or it’s down to Dean Smith telling him to stay forward. I’m not sure which it is, but I’m sick of seeing it.
And then, just as I’m writing how poor he is, so he goes to score a corker.
I probably should have deleted the comment, but I like to keep things honest. As is often the case, he made me look a right mug and I have to smile.
But just as Traore can be brilliant, he can often be a liability too. And I don’t like liabilities at the best of times, which is making me think he’d make a better impact player that you bring in as a sub.

I’m not going to go into the second goal too much, but I think it was poor from Mings.
Anything over £35 million and he’d be sold. He’s another liability as much as he does some good stuff. I’m sure a decent scout could find better for way less money.

Luiz? Well, yes, he was stupid and should have learned a lesson already, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Otherwise, it was mostly good. Martinez could probably have done better for the second goal, but he was otherwise pretty solid. He’s been awesome this season, so you just can’t knock him really, can you?

The two full backs were fine. I don’t recall Konsa doing much wrong. McGinn was lively and more back to his usual self with his workrate. El Ghazi was quiet and Watkins did his usual thing.

I think, to be honest, Man Utd were just the better team and their quality won out. I made a point of pointing out their bench compared to ours and it was proved, as they brought on Cavani who went on to score a very decent goal.

I know some of us think the world of Wesley, Davis and Ramsay, but the truth is they’re nowhere near the same class yet.
I’ve no doubt that our options will improve next season.
Then I think we’ll be in a better position to judge Dean Smith’s tactics.

Ultimately, I’m not overly upset about today.
We played the right way and while not a great game for us, it was a lot more watchable than of late.
Everton on Thursday and after last week, we should hopefully have a chance of 3 points.


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  1. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 14, 2021 at 7:22 pm .

    Own Albion goal, Villa 3 -1 now

  2. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 14, 2021 at 7:27 pm .

    Villa dictating the game now, Barry should had had 3 but great saves from Albion goalkeeper . Got to put Corri on for wife 60 years of married life and I’m still under the thumb.

  3. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 14, 2021 at 7:50 pm .

    4-1 now in the final . Only 5 minutes to go.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 14, 2021 at 9:20 pm .

      Thanks Bill – congrats on surviving 60 years of married servitude (oops sorry bliss 🙂 ).

      Joking aside that’s a wonderful achievement – only 50 years for me and the missus!

      1. Bill Pearson..
        Bill Pearson.. May 15, 2021 at 7:16 am .

        I agree entirely Holte, Barry needs to be loaned out but Chukwuemeka is in my mind a player with Grealish or replace on injuries, he was the dominant player and did what Grealish does dribble players and moves forwards. A must for a game with the first team but don’t take the chance of the youth finals away from him. Like you Hitch completely forgot about Sanson thing is do we need a light player in midfield? I’m not sure.

  4. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 14, 2021 at 9:52 pm .

    60 comes up on the 22nd of july Hitch. Bit premature hitch but courted for four years. That Chukwuemeka looks the part Barry got 3 goals good game .

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 15, 2021 at 6:46 am .

      50 years on 15th September for us Bill.

      Excellent performance by U18’s by the sound of it. If Chukwuemeka and Barry make it to the first team that wouldn’t be a bad return but I understand there’s a few other promising youngsters Kessler at RB and the winger who”s been on the bench for the last couple of games.

      What I don’t get is what they see in Ramsey but then perhaps I’m being unfair.

      1. badger123
        badger123 May 15, 2021 at 6:36 pm .

        Ramsay went to the same school as two of my grandkids and my SIL really rates him. His brother Jacob is better apparently.

  5. Holte
    Holte May 14, 2021 at 10:50 pm .

    Congratulations to our U18’s for reaching final. Lots of promise from players but we all know that making the step up to first team is a huge one. Remember the Moore brothers? Gary Gardner? They never reached the heights that they we hoped. From what I saw today I think Chukwuemeka looks most likely to get first team football next season with Barry maybe getting on the bench. My worry for them is that Smith will be expected to push us closer to top 6 next season so the risk of playing youngsters will be too high so expect big money signings and kids shipped out on loan to either prosper or fade from memory.
    It’s clear that we need more goals in the team. Watkins has done great for his first season. Davis has proved he has impact from the bench but lacks goals. Ideally I would like to see him go out on loan to a championship team to see if he can become a first team regular. As for Wesley I can’t see him being a top striker. He lacks mobility and his injury will have made things worse. I’m sure Smith will give him opportunities but for me he will be a waste of a squad number, maybe harsh!
    The biggest issue is lack of goals from midfield. How many goals have Barkley, McGinn, Luiz, Ramsey, Sanson and Nakamba scored? I haven’t checked but I reckon I only need one hand to count them. Could Chuky be an answer to this problem?
    It’s strange that El Ghazi and Traore are being criticised by many and recognised as ones to get rid of but they have scored quite a few goals. I agree that they are either great or rubbish and lack consistency and neither defend very well but they are still new to the premier league and at least offer good options from the bench.
    One thing that is almost certain and that is Smith will persevere with his formation. That means Watkins will be playing down the middle with Grealish playing wide on the left. The RW and number 10 roles are the biggest predicament. We need someone to play like Barkley did in his first few games consistently and either Traore improves his overall game or we sign someone like Neto from Wolves. That would be my ambitious attempt for a first pick. Will Sanson with a pre season be a future number 10? Keeping Grealish is a must whatever happens. The only reason he would leave is because he wants to go. That’s why I’m always nervous of Villa players meeting up with other international players. Sometimes they get sweet talked into joining up with them to win trophies at club level.
    Sorry for long post!

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 15, 2021 at 6:47 am .

      Holte, I’d completely forgotten about Sanson.

      Must have made a big impression then 🙂

    2. badger123
      badger123 May 15, 2021 at 6:34 pm .

      That very much mirrors my thoughts Holte.
      Some small differences, but very close.

  6. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 15, 2021 at 7:19 am .

    Post jumped up 4 places…

  7. Bill Pearson..
    Bill Pearson.. May 15, 2021 at 8:19 am .

    Congratulations to El Ghazi being picked for the Dutch European games.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 15, 2021 at 10:08 am .

      I’m a fan of El Ghazi even though he can be frustrating at times. Maybe he just needs to find that little bit more self belief – add a bit of arrogance to his game?

      There’s a good player in there – somewhere

  8. Tom
    Tom May 15, 2021 at 3:17 pm .

    Is it just me or could El Gazi play as a Striker. He best quality by far is finishing. Most of his frustration comes from what is expected of a player who plays out wide. I think if he was pushed central service was provided he could make a great strike option. Perhaps a valuable impact sub. Maybe even push Watkins left and Anwar central???

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum May 15, 2021 at 5:51 pm .

      Hasn’t Jack said in training he’s the best finisher at the club?

  9. badger123
    badger123 May 15, 2021 at 6:38 pm .

    In other news, Abraham has been left out of Chelsea’s squad today, even though they could name 9 subs. Seeing as he’s the highest scorer in the cup for them, that must be pretty galling.
    He must surely want out.

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron May 15, 2021 at 8:32 pm .

      Disgraceful treatment of a very good player who’s still very young and could be in the top 3 English centre forwards in a couple of years, easily. Would be a fantastic signing. Werner’s misses remind me of of prime Savo. Clearly some bias there from Tuchel.

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