Villa 1 – 4 West Ham; Smith stays. For now. POLL

Well, that wasn’t very good, was it?
I expected to get beat, but it was even worse than the 3-1 loss I predicted.
I’ve given myself some time to think about it and have decided I’m not going to make a kneejerk reaction over Smith’s future because I really don’t know what to think.

To be honest, I’m finding it difficult to know where to place the blame for today’s loss too, which is odd, as I generally have a pretty set idea of my opinion in my head. It’s usually a case of no, the manager stays until he demonstrates further that he needs to go.
Indeed, that’s very much the case here too and it wouldn’t particularly bother me either way, but I do find myself wondering to what extent things are actually Smith’s fault.

Let’s get one thing clear.
I don’t think West Ham are a great side, but they are very competent, are going well and have an air of confidence about them. I could even add that they have some luck on their side too.
Which is all the things we currently don’t have.
I think that’s why we lost so convincingly today. Yes, Martinez should have done way better with at least two of the goals, but I definitely don’t think he saw the second until the very last thing.
We were unlucky with Konsa being wrongly sent off, when it seemed clear that Hause should have been the one to see red.
Not that it mattered, but when West Ham hit a corner way too hard, the ball looked like it was going to spin out over line for a goalkick. But no, it hit the opposite corner flag and stayed in play. It was only McGinn being quickest to react that stopped them getting probably another chance.
And then Jacob Ramsey turns his ankle and has to go off.
They’re just examples of our poor luck.

But then, I often think you make at least some of your own luck and there’s a case to say we didn’t deserve any today.

Was it down to the players?
Well, some were very poor early on. Targett was shocking and to my mind should have been replaced with Young, who has looked more assured as a left back, this season. McGinn often gave the ball away and the whole midfield three just looks too lightweight, which meant Hause was resorting to long balls to try and bypass their midfield.
The defence generally left way too much space, as has been the case for weeks and just don’t look sharp enough. That said, Hause and Konsa did look at least a bit better than the 3 we’ve seen recently.
We generally just didn’t compete or look good enough.

Ramsey got injured and was subbed off by Young. I don’t understand that one at all. He’s even more lightweight and doesn’t have a shred of pace to make up for it. How can he be classed as a midfielder nowadays? I get that he has experience, but it just wouldn’t have been my choice. The move was to put Ash on, but in place of Targett and then move Targett out to the left side of midfield, where he can at least get forward to try and bang the ball in, but still have Young backing him up.
But what do I know?

And then Konsa got sent off, meaning we miss the next game.
I’m not going to go into details too much, because I don’t think it’s the main issue at the moment. It happened and that’s that.

But then, with ten players, I thought we actually improved.
I’ve never understood how that can be, but we looked much more of a threat for a decent while, even looking more likely to score the next goal. 10 vs 11 eventually caught up with us though and that was that.

The only issue now is all about Dean Smith.
I actually think his sticking with three at the back and taking so long to change it back to a four has destroyed this squad’s confidence. I was going to say that we looked fine beforehand but the reality is our form really isn’t very good during calendar year 2021, where we’re running at around a point a game. That’s over something like thirty games. It’s worrying.

Yet this is the first time we’ve lost four on the trot since February 2020, so as Smith says, it’s not a disaster just yet. There is some mitigation in those four games in that 2 of them were quite close.
but a point a game over so long doesn’t bode well.

The good thing about today is that I saw a team that was at least trying. Okay, we were poor, but they tried.
If they hadn’t, I think it would be a no-brainer that the manager has to go.

But I stand by what I’ve been saying. The hierarchy will give him until Christmas and if they decide he can’t turn it around, he won’t get to spend a penny in the winter window. Which makes me wonder if that’s why we actually made a small profit in the summer window? So we have a nice pot to spend now, that is.

So you have my opinion and I’ll vote accordingly. If this poll actually works, that is.

[Total_Soft_Poll id=”2″]


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  1. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson October 31, 2021 at 9:36 pm . Reply

    I’ll be the first to vote I’ve seen enough prior to this game to convince me. He’s not a top man for Aston Villa ,lower teams yes but his tactics have be questionable. Yes bad luck played a big part in this game in both the ref and incidents on the pitch and sloppy positions in leaving open spaces. We cannot afford to wait and hope things get better because hes not able to solve the problems. A number of players were guilty in not seeing players in open space that’s down to coaching ,and putting on players that are not up to scratch in the game. I given up on Smith Yonks ago not good enough sorry..

  2. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson October 31, 2021 at 9:38 pm . Reply

    I’ll be the first to vote I’ve seen enough prior to this game to convince me. He’s not a top man for Aston Villa ,lower teams yes but his tactics have be questionable. Yes bad luck played a big part in this game in both the ref and incidents on the pitch and sloppy positions in leaving open spaces. We cannot afford to wait and hope things get better because hes not able to solve the problems. A number of players were guilty in not seeing players in open space that’s down to coaching ,and putting on players that are not up to scratch in the game. I given up on Smith Yonks ago not good enough sorry

  3. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum November 1, 2021 at 7:41 am . Reply

    It was a straight red. First for Villa since 2016.
    If Konsa was sent off in error then we have a good case for getting it overturned.
    Smith stays for now, but part of me thinks he’s too nice a guy.
    I think our team was what we were all asking for yesterday but there were too many players off the boil.
    If we don’t beat Saints with the games coming up, I think Dean will have lost the dressing room unfortunately.

  4. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson November 1, 2021 at 7:53 am . Reply

    I agree Bum Bum, Smith is a nice guy but we do need someone with more bite in the game. We just cannot go on liking him and hope things get better. We had bad luck yesterday in the ref and players not being attentive on the opposition finding spaces, two goals from outside the box should have been closed down, two goals from wing play even worse due to cover, it’s getting worse every match. We don’t have much time if we stay with the nice guy in my mind, it’s going to be a relegation battle again . It’s what I Feel.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum November 1, 2021 at 8:51 am . Reply

      I honestly don’t think we’ll be in a relegation battle Bill as although you’re never too good to go down, we are miles better than over 50% of the other teams and we have a great squad with some enviable talent.
      The annoying thing, and boy are Villa annoying at times, as I said yesterday, if we’d have not thrown away 3 points to Wolves and had a result yesterday we’d be top 6. It’s still incredibly tight with some crazy results this season. U don’t beat a good Toffees side and the win at Old Trafford as a fluke, we’ve just lost our way.
      Come on Dean, sort it out!!!

      P.s. A spell on the bench for Mings yesterday hopefully focused his mind a bit.

  5. beamo
    beamo November 1, 2021 at 9:07 am . Reply

    So badly want Smith to succeed but something seems wrong behind the scenes. The Sanson incident, Buendia walking straight down the tunnel, etc. There doesn’t seem that same togetherness and I do wonder if the coaching changes have affected the mood in camp. I’m also not convinced they’ll wait to Christmas – I think a defeat at Southampton and it may be over for Dean. The international break is always a time for reset as removing managers in the busy Dec-Jan fixture list is always more disruptive.
    Its not just these 4 losses – we’re averaging only 1.1 points a game since January which would leave us on around 42 points ish at the end of a season. Clearly, if as we are told the owners are expecting year on year improvement, that will not be tolerated.
    Its a tough tough position though. I always felt if we were to change Smith, we’d only do it for a significant upgrade (i.e a top class manager like Conte, Ten Hag). Obviously, we’re nowhere near a position to attract someone of that ilk so changing for the sake of bringing in an unproven manager or a Lampard / Gerrard type doesn’t appeal to me at all. Ideally Dean can weather the storm with a win at Southampton. He needs a win on Friday more than any time in his 3 year tenure.

  6. badger123
    badger123 November 1, 2021 at 9:13 am . Reply

    Ashley Priest has written an article and it seems to me the underlying tone is saying that Smith has to go;

  7. badger123
    badger123 November 1, 2021 at 9:20 am . Reply

    Ashley Preece, even.

    It seems to me that the general view now is that most want Smith to succeed, but the expectation is too high to allow the current state of affairs to continue.
    That’s what spending £300 million does.

    And yes, Beamo, I think that 1.1 points a game is at the back of fans’ minds.
    It totally belies any “it’s only the last few games” type of argument.

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson November 1, 2021 at 5:14 pm . Reply

    Give me Brendan Rodgers now he’s the bloke for me, give him the right money and Villa would be safe . Stevie G no he’s not experienced enough in the game, Scottish football not up to our speed. NUNO you’ve got to be joking, it’s a manager that’s holding his own and got no money to spend we need.

  9. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 November 1, 2021 at 6:56 pm . Reply

    I voted Smith to stay – but only because I don’t see anyone coming up with a credible alternative.

    It’s no good just throwing names out like Gerrard and Rodgers (the latter is certainly not going to leave Leicester for us) and managers like Conte are going to have a laugh at the suggestion.

    Oh, I know, perhaps we could entice Big Sam out of retirement or get RT and ROK back and I hear Koeman’s looking for a job 🙂

    Realistically we’re probably looking at the likes of Howe and Lampard; Howe I could see as being interested and imho is a very decent manager and would be a better choice than a Lampard.

    If NSWE decide to sack Smith, finding a top class replacement is a major challenge – just ask Newcastle for all their money. I just hope NSWE will have sorted that before they kick him out.

  10. Holte
    Holte November 1, 2021 at 7:10 pm . Reply

    I voted stay for the time being although a defeat against Saints might see him walk anyway. I wouldn’t be surprised if JT is on the mind of Purslow after the way we seem to be free falling. I really want DS to succeed but we can’t allow the fellow Villa fan camaraderie to blind us to the fact he might have reached his peak with us.
    As much as Smith is under scrutiny, the players are massively underperforming compared to last season. The likes of Bailey, Buendia, Ings and Sanson haven’t lived up to expectations yet, although injuries have prevented Smith picking his best team.
    It maybe harsh on Smith to call for his departure until he has selected his best team for a decent run of games. The problem now though is the nasty atmosphere that develops amongst fans and players when results go pear shaped. Players are overly cautious and will not risk doing the braver things they would have tried before the last four games.
    I agree with Bill that Rodgers would be a good shout if he can be tempted away from Leicester. Spurs are welcome to Conte who I see as one of the journeymen who flit from one club.

  11. Alfie Ricketts
    Alfie Ricketts November 1, 2021 at 8:56 pm . Reply

    As I said, you couldn’t blame Smith for that when he did everything the fans asked. It was the players that game, can’t defend for toffee, looks like the loss of Terry was massive. We also aren’t talking about the loss of O’Kelly, I’m sure he did the strikers and our strikers haven’t exactly looked great this season – but hoping Watkins finds his form with his goal, which I must mention was very good, especially from Cash and then Buendia finds a great pass to him.

    But as Ashley Preece said, it can’t go on like this and I fear for Smith’s job if we do lose to Southampton or even drop points, because our owners do not want to mess about no matter how much ahead of schedule we are, and that’s because goals change no matter what. We need to accept that if you’re doing well then goals will change, and if goals are not being achieved, then things MUST change.

    Give him Southampton and if we have another bad-mannered loss then I don’t see how I can back him, however I do respect all he’s done but I think he could’ve taken us as far as he can, in my opinion but I can see why fans have the faith he can turn it around.

  12. Holte
    Holte November 1, 2021 at 9:03 pm . Reply

    Remember the season we were relegated and we were 2-0 up away to Leicester and conceded 3 goals in the last 15 minutes. We totally bossed the game till they scored and then as we all know, our season collapsed into chaos. I hope the Wolves game doesn’t bring a repeat of that season. I don’t believe the “we are too good to go down” bollocks. Any team drained of confidence can deteriorate. The recruiting after Sherwood was disastrous and whatever happens this season, the hierarchy must not repeat the mistakes made back then. One thing we are seriously lacking is leadership. We have lost a lot of experienced players over the last few years and I’m not convinced we have the mental strength within our squad to deal with the current crisis.

  13. Alfie Ricketts
    Alfie Ricketts November 1, 2021 at 11:24 pm . Reply

    Watched Wolves today, they are a well organised professional side who look a treat at the moment. When we have something we are out of shape and lose it like we did against Wolves. Their owners sacked Nuno after everything he’d done for them, I feel like our owners may take a leaf out of their book because they’ll be challenging for Europe this season while Villa will be testing our patience if we go on like this. To our frustration, Wolves are great at the moment, because they’re well organised.

  14. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson November 2, 2021 at 6:37 am . Reply

    Who is this Paulo Fenseca? Interest from Villa been reported says the Daily Mail

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