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. Holte
    Holte May 9, 2021 at 8:45 pm .

    Who plays up front against Everton? I hope it isn’t Wesley because it’s far too early for him. If it isn’t Davis then he must think his time is up.

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron May 9, 2021 at 9:23 pm .

      Holte, surely Ollie’s red is worth appealing? Failing that, Wesley will start and score, as he did in the corresponding fixture last year. I was there on that late summer Friday night – it was an unforgettably brilliant atmosphere!

      Anyway, enough daydreaming. We’ve identified the need for a 10 to put the forwards in. That night, some bearded bloke named Jota played the most sublime through ball for Wesley’s goal and did it again a few minutes later (the big man missed that one). I still don’t know how he didn’t make it and why he was dumped after half a season. Remember him being the best player in pre-season before out maiden PL return. A strange one.

      1. DSVilla
        DSVilla May 10, 2021 at 3:08 pm .

        You can’t appeal Ollies red as it was a second yellow card. You can only appeal a straight red.

        1. BIG Fat Ron
          BIG Fat Ron May 11, 2021 at 11:55 am .

          Right you are, DS. Another bizarre law.

    2. Bill Pearson..
      Bill Pearson.. May 9, 2021 at 9:37 pm .

      No!! I’ve seen enough to know we are far from being a top club for the Midlands, our players don’t have footballing brains to compete with the likes of The top 6. Traore again after playing a first half good game fell away in the second half by not tracking back. Two mistakes cost us that game the first was Luis he stupidly tackled when he need not to have done. Minns lose his man on a turn that gave a goal. I see us having to buy as some players are not up to scratch as for substitution they should start seeing where players are needed and not chase a game by putting on extra strikers, young won’t to be players in the middle was in my mind to play, Ramsey not good enough for the Villa he’s not hard or willing to be any better than anything we have.

  2. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 10, 2021 at 7:07 am .

    Good post Badger – love the Sky conspiracy theory.

    Traore and El Ghazi are both very inconsistent, neither are good at tracking back (although El Ghazi is the better of the two) but brilliant at times and both are capable of scoring goals – 14 between them – so I’m inclined to your view that they are better as potential game changers coming off the bench.

    Ramsey for me is just not showing anything to suggest he’s good enough to be a major player for us. Along with Davis I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go out on loan.

    The question here is just how much more money are our owners prepared to pump into the club over the summer as it seems we probably need to invest in four or five class players?

    On Greenwood’s goal, I think some credit to should go to him for seeing the opportunity to turn Mings – once he’d done that it wrong footed Martinez which made the save far more difficult – well that’s how I saw it. That’s not meant to suggest that Mings didn’t make a mistake in the first place.

  3. John Lerwill
    John Lerwill May 10, 2021 at 11:26 am .

    Excellent post. Exactly mirrors my view. As to a later response about Traore, he has scored 7 excellent goals this season and the way he took the ball off Pogba as he was about to shoot yesterday was beautiful. Apart from other lovely things that Traore does. No, maybe he does not always “track back” as we would ideally like, but is that the criteria of what a good footballer is these days? If it is, that’s sad for the game.

    Villa not a top-6 club? Well, no, but things are going in the right direction, surely?

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron May 11, 2021 at 9:03 am .

      Great comment, John. I agree about Bert and find myself scratching my head at some of the negative comments about him. he’s a major threat in the final third and a great talent. To quote Roy Keane: “that’s his job.”

  4. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 10, 2021 at 11:30 am .

    Just a word of congratulations to the AV Women’s team that survived their first season in the Women’s Super League. 5 draws on the bounce in their last five games saw them over the line – a great effort (and we finished ahead of Blues!).

    This is a league even more skewed than the Premiership.

    1. Bill Pearson..
      Bill Pearson.. May 11, 2021 at 7:13 am .

      The coach and her team have now left on mutual agreement and was given a big thanks for their services.

  5. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 11, 2021 at 11:53 am .

    Badger, having analysed your post, you state “I’m not overly upset about today.” DESPITE correctly identifying all of the CHEATING that went on against AVFC. This is the problem. We’ve become zombies to these issues. It’s a case of “oh well, United get a helping hand from the officials…again, buy hey ho…” This is alarming, but we all do it. Your quote has just highlighted how engrained this issue is, and not just for Villa.

    There’s not much we as fans can do, but surely, if these are genuine concerns, and they should be, looking at the evidence – not just of Sunday’s game but “a pattern” as you say, then Villa top brass have to be making some noise in the correct and proper manner?

    1. badger123
      badger123 May 12, 2021 at 10:00 pm .

      What are the clubs supposed to do?
      Accuse the hierarchy of aiding corruption in the game?
      If the Villa were to try it, the club would be extinct in a few months, kicked out of everything.
      It isn’t going to happen because you can’t make accusations about “patterns”.

      It needs hard evidence and that will never be attainable.

      1. Big Fat Ron
        Big Fat Ron May 12, 2021 at 10:24 pm .

        I fully appreciate that, Badger. But surely they’d be within their rights to query a ref from Manchester? At least as a token gesture to let them know that we’re not complete pushovers.

        As for ‘evidence’, every second of every match is available in glorious technicolour from multiple angles. If there’s a case, there’s a case. The fact that fans can now correctly predict that United will be awarded a penalty is interesting, to say the least.

        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 May 13, 2021 at 6:46 am .

          But in this case BFR, it was a penalty which is more than can be said for those awarded in previous games. I even predicted it at the time – Luiz was getting far too close to Pogba – it was a penalty waiting to happen!

          What’s galling is the ‘hand ball’ incident at the other end – no penalty given but if that had happened in our penalty area – no prizes for guessing the outcome. That represents the level of cynicism Villa fans have where games against United are concerned.

          I venture to suggest it goes back to Dowd’s failure to send Vidic off in the 2010 Cup Final. Neither Dowd nor United have ever been forgiven for that.

  6. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron May 11, 2021 at 8:48 pm .

    A brilliant article about Mexican club, Santos. Here’s a brilliant quote from their owner:
    “People go to football and they make a deposit on their valuables – something more valuable than good, they deposit their emotions. And they expect a return. We need to give them back their emotions with interest.

    “So I think something that football cannot run from is its origin. This responsibility to the community that you are holding their heart in your hands.”

    Full fascinating article:

  7. badger123
    badger123 May 12, 2021 at 10:04 pm .

    In other news, Rob Mackenzie, our senior scout or whatever you call them nowadays could be off to Bristol City.
    And twp other scouts are apparently going to be sacked and replaced with analysts.
    Sounds like Moneyball to me.

    Hmm, Americans eh?

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 May 13, 2021 at 6:52 am .

      Eden’s has already stated that analytics are a significant factor in deciding on who to buy / sell although he did also say good judgement was also an important factor.

      Outcome – more computers and analysts – less scouts with scouting concentrating on finding young talent.

      Actually, if we concentrate on sending a few experienced scouts to watch players identified by analytics I don’t have a big problem with it.

      1. John Lerwill
        John Lerwill May 13, 2021 at 8:00 am .

        Agreed. HOW the tools are used is key. If over-reliance is given to the tools rather than humans then there will be be problems. Using tools in balance with human insight should produce better results. On the other hand it could mean that potential might be missed altogether if they’re not in the scope of the data collection that provides the analytics.

        Bit no system is perfect..

  8. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 May 13, 2021 at 6:56 am .

    Badger, another of your favourite kick off times tonight – 6pm on a Thursday night. All to satisfy the god of television 🙂

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