Villa 2-1 Ipswich; I think I’m at some sort of crisis point

So just as I suspected, we won by the odd one goal.
And made it awkward for ourselves, by all accounts.
I say that because I deliberately stopped watching the game before half time.

No, I wasn’t on a promise, as has been suggested, although it’s a nice thought. Fortunately, I don’t need promises anyway, but I digress.

It’s just that we are awful to watch and my limit for watching total mediocrity seems to have been reached, at least temporarily.
I really don’t think “crisis point” is too exaggerated in the way I feel.

Before you say I’ve flipped my lid, let’s just look at things.
I’ve read around the net for many views of today’s game and they vary from “we were lucky”, to “we were easily the better side”.
I suspect the truth is somewhat nearer the middle.

But consider then that we have a striker who looks very likely to hit 25 or more goals this season, in Tammy Abraham.
While there would always be someone to knock the ball in, if he wasn’t here, what if they couldn’t (and probably wouldn’t)?

Of course, there is the argument that Abraham misses far too many chances and it’s one I subscribe to; but the point is he looks likely to be our highest goalscorer in donkey’s years and we’re still only mid-table.
Where would we be without him?

If you take Abraham and McGinn out of our side, what do we have?
I’d suggest it’s nothing.

I also consider the side that beat Boro and Derby.
Why has the same team that beat them so easily, dropped off in the way it has?

And it’s this that worries me.
We’re a massive club.
There’s no doubt about that and we’ve made marquee signings to prove it, in the likes of Ross McCormack. He should have been brilliant for us, but proved a total disaster.
He’s just the first name in a long list of players that spring to mind. Bolasie was seen as another “class” signing, but has proved a failure.

And then, we apparently have brilliant kids coming through, yet even Dean Smith, who excels at bringing them through, seemingly won’t touch them.
Again, why?

And then I think I see the problem.
We’re a club that’s too big to be seen as rubbish.
But in reality, it’s what our team is.
And I struggle to get my head around that.
“Top” players don’t work for us, because we always seem to sign them too late.
And we can’t risk kids, because we expect to be watching “top” players.

I’ve never rated Leeds as an equivalent club to us, overall.
But they have big support and the expectation is high.
Sound familiar?
I think I’m beginning to see what their problem was.
They’d had massive glory in the 70’s, which I remember, but couldn’t maintain it.
Hence they’ve seriously struggled since, the DOL period which nearly bankrupted them, apart.

I think we’re at a similar stage to them, albeit many years later.

Ok, we beat an Ipswich side who I believe hadn’t scored away since mid November, 2-1.
And of course, many of us are happy, myself included.

But if this is as good as it gets, in us being happy in beating a poor, bottom of the table side at home, I don’t know if I can be arsed to worry about it anymore.

That said, I’m going to the Sheffield game with the Grandkids.
There’s always the future, after all.
But I can’t say I’m looking forward to it.
It just seems more obligatory, than anything.


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  1. Avatar
    nath January 27, 2019 at 6:58 am .

    first off championship is not a league for big clubs with issues. smith needs his types of players to thrive.for me to look at the squad he inherited i would have said its well capable to win this league. but thats not playing smiths way. we have limited players on the possession side, especially at the back we are primitive you could say.

    watching other clubs like millwall yesterday they beat a poor everton side. the league we all think is dog shit is quite competitive and if your not 100% on it you will come a cropper. ipswich bottom of league i hadnt seen much of them this year. i expected a poor side but in fact they were the better footballing team yesterday. but they lacked anything really middle to front on the cutting edge or we might have lost even this game. we got the cutting edge and a good finisher up front but we cant control the ball at the back. which makes us very vulnerable to any side bold enough to attack us and put pressures on the back line

    smith is starting to change it up tactically to hide the weakness we got back there.he played two deeper mids instead of the one yesterday trouble is they are not his types of players hourihane and whelen. chester seems to be a totally different player this year to the one we had last year. he has never been a ball playing defender, but this year hes is a liability back there. we have got to get tuanzebe back playing quickly or smith needs to pull a rabbit out the hat this window. two decent players plus our injuries returning and we still might finish strongly. keeping the faith

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 January 27, 2019 at 8:16 am .

      Nath, that seems a fair summary. I particularly agree that, of our back 4, only Hutts is comfortable on the ball so here’s the question. Why can’t (or won’t) Smith adapt his desired style of play to get the best out of what he has? You can’t make a silk purse out of a cow’s ear! We caused problems for ourselves yesterday particularly when Chester and Taylor where in possession – they were indecisive with the ball – when it screamed ‘put your boot through it’.

      Also Smith’s substitutions were not just poor, they were completely bonkers and it was no surprise that the Elmohamady substitution (for Adomah) contributed to our poorest period of play – Lambert, on the other hand, bought on the loanee forward from Huddersfield that caused all sorts of problems.

      One for Whelan – he played the DM role well and his ability to break up play, his distribution and his pressing where excellent.

      Finally, we weren’t as bad as some are making out and neither, on the overall play, neither were we lucky but we didn’t dominate Ipswich (who played some decent football) and our defence still looks shockingly vulnerable and that, imho, is why we aren’t good enough for promotion.

      Final word to our owners – please, please, please buy a new left back

      1. Avatar
        nath January 27, 2019 at 8:37 am .

        why smith wont change styles i dont know he has changed it slighty, if you watched Walsall and brenford, but at villa we cant even command the ball like they did, we play a similar formation than they did but that is it. for his style tactics to work his defenders needs to command the ball much better than we are currently doing. tammy is doing the same thing that grealish has been forced to do that work far harder going back to our goal than he should.

        subs i think adomah might not be 100% currently and elmo can play that role just not yesterday he was rubbish, he had one decent chance to cross a telling ball and over hit it by a field length.

        i agree we wasn’t bad as most make out i am sure most is down to simple confidence and lack of it. to play the way smith desires takes loads of confidence, its like gordon cowans play and we don’t have that swagger in the team, i fear out team is mostly hard grafters than expressive footballers.

        smith also likes to dominate teams, bully them into submissions, they press high with a aim to recapturing the ball high in opposition half,they starve the opposition of the ball, like you said,we didnt do that yesterday. so smith himself is not happy. he maybe realising he has to change things more like your concerns

        chester is indecisive because he isn’t comfortable on the ball and to play out like tuanzebe does. but i fear hes so bad he has to be carrying a injury. every game he gifts chances and yesterday he notched up lots of chances gifted. taylor is the same, elphick is not as bad but is also dire with the ball at his feet. hutton can rely too much on his dribbling out of danger and is poor distributing. its at the back we all know the reason and smith will know this but can he bring in the right players to solve our issues i bloody hope so.

    2. Avatar
      Sidcowanslovechild January 27, 2019 at 3:06 pm .

      Unlike others I don’t agree with parts of this. I didn’t think Ipswich were a better footballing side at all and was astonished to hear they had more possession. We should have got 5 or 6 and conceded a long range effort in the top corner which 99 times out of 100 goes high, wide or nearer the keeper.

      What depresss me most yesterday was that good players, notably Chester and Taylor, looked to not know what to do with the ball when it came to them (before anyone says Taylor is not a good player, he was good enough to play hundreds of prem league games for a very good footballing Swansea team and internationals so should be able to deal with the championship).

      So why are decent players playing so poorly. Beats me but it’s happened under too many managers with too many different players to be more than coincidence. We looked pretty dangerous going forward for large periods yesterday but not as stylish as under early Smith and questionable at the back.

      Point is, we already have better players than other teams in this league and while they might not all be fully suited to Smiths way of playing they should be good enough to play a possession game in the championship. So while it is comforting to think of we could just get rid of this and that player and bring in a couple of replacements in Smiths image I struggle to be confident that these players won’t also under achieve.

      So what can we do. Just be more patient and positive as when you are at the ground you really notice when there’s a mistake and the whole ground groans the players start either running round like headless chickens trying to kick people or go into their shells and hide and make more mistakes.

      I don’t want to sound like I’m criticising the fans but look at the players who have been wriitten off, slagged said not to be good enough before they’ve had a chance. This includes Jack Grealish who was a real whipping boy on twitter for a year or so despite anyone who knows a player could see what tremendous potential he had so, yes, I think we need to be more positive and patient. I was in The Doug Ellis yesterday as I got a free ticket, I normally go in the Holte, and there was almost no chanting but plenty of moaning. I was singing anyway despite being almost a lone voice but I carried on anyway.

      Just to completely contradict myself, when Jack and Tuanzebe come back we will see a team much more able to pass out from the back and retain the ball especially if we can get a ball playing LB and CDM.


      1. Avatar
        bill evans January 27, 2019 at 8:48 pm .

        I’m with you, love-child. I think we make some awful mistakes at times, but we also have some great moments. The Beeb counted 23 shots, 13 on target and I’m ok with that, even if we let some in occasionally.

        The fact that in attack we are a force to be reckoned with makes me feel good. A hellava lot better than what it was like in our previous 5 seasons.

  2. Avatar
    nath January 27, 2019 at 8:55 am .

    what is worrying me most about villa,if we put aside the shaky back line and how they are all rubbish on the distribution side. when smith came in he quickly imprinted the style we all expected right away. ok it wasnt vintage brentford at their best, but it was the best we played for years.

    how has that style of play eroded away so quickly. we do not hunt the ball down high much,yesterday in patches when we was 2 nil up we started to do this. which leads me to think its more confidence thing.

    passing the ball is hard work for us presently, we don’t have players that demand the ball and dictate the play using the ball intelligently like a cowans type. this is grealish territory he coming back soon hopefully. but why could we not cope with without him. its very poor that a club our size lose two players and we are unable to function without um

    watching the game yesterday and recent games our passing is too slow and that is because the pass from A to B is misplaced its slightly behind the intended target or just simply over hit or under hit. this means a knock on affect as player receiving the pass needs more touches to first control the ball look up, take another touch look up again swing the arms out to suggest his team to give him options. its all too slow and thought out good teams play much more instinctively.

  3. Avatar
    OriginalLondonLion January 28, 2019 at 11:30 pm .

    Firstly Badger, I came to my crisis point with AVFC 17 years ago. I got married and thought ” Can I subject my wife to a 250 mile round trip every 2 weeks to watch this – even in a comfortable seat?” I decided no – so we just went to see Villa in London or South Coast, until the ghastly idiots who took us down made even that a trial.

    I am beginning to believe it is Bodymoor Heath. We have had so many different managers and players, but there is a common thread. Yes we improve a few youngsters like Grealish, but they are rare. Set against that are the army of players who were good with their previous clubs but we made mediocre. Is it the Villa Park atmosphere? No. Believe me there are far less patient fans at several other clubs. You must wonder as I do what goes on at BMH in training. For example – have you ever seen a corner, free-kick or even kick-off routine that could be described as a training ground move since MON departed? If a player has a fault, do you hear or see any evidence that he has been working on his weakness in training and overcome it? And finally if our young players need to be toughened up before the move to the first team, why aren’t we loaning them to the National league where there are no windows – they can go for one month not half a season?

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