Villa 2 – 2 Burnley: I’m becoming concerned about Wesley

Quite simply, we got a point.
Which is better than nothing.

But my bigger concern has to be about Wesley.
A few times, the commentators mentioned that Wesley seemed to be reluctant to challenge Mee, when the ball was in the air.
Which is where I started to watch his game more closely and started to think about him more.
Now, I know he isn’t known as a battering ram type and is supposed to have more about his game.

Which after seeing John McGinn running onto a cross, as he often does, for a second time in the game, got me wondering why doesn’t Wesley do that?
Which is where I noticed Wesley goes for the back post. There’s nothing wrong with that, in itself, but it seems to me that that’s more of a poacher’s game.
What I’m saying is that I don’t think Wesley puts himself forward enough.
Basically, he doesn’t look anything like the threat that is needed, because he isn’t attacking enough and it doesn’t seem to me he has that instinct in him.
Which is why I thought him being replaced by Kienan Davis was a good idea today.
I also have concerns about if Wesley is man enough to be a Villa centre forward.
The bloke is a proverbial brick outhouse and really shouldn’t be bullied by the likes of Mee, who in fairness had a great game today, I think.
“Had him in my pocket” comes to mind.
I’m still supportive of Wesley, but he needs to learn to mix it more. And quickly.

As for the game, Super John McGinn had one ruled out for offside, but soon pulled it back after a good ball from Grealish fed Trezuguet on the right, who crossed for McGinn to take nicely.

Man Utd think they might get McGinn for £50 million?
Don’t worry Villa fans, they don’t have a hope in hell and I’d want triple that amount before I even thought about it at today’s stupid prices. Which is what I’m sure Smith and the owners are thinking.

Which leads me onto the midfield.
Sean Dyche went from a 4-4-2, moving to a 4-3-3 at half time, which you would think might weaken their midfield, but it totally changed the game.
Whereas we were very much on the front foot in the first half, so we seemed a different team in the second and Burnley looked much more the bigger threat.

I don’t know what others think, but I thought Mings had a poor game today and lacked his usual self-assurance. I can’t put my finger on it, but it seems if you run at him all the time, he looks rushed.
No criticism really, as he’s been good for us before now.

Grealish drove the side and I thought he was great today, even when we were on the back foot.

But with Wesley looking so lightweight, El Ghazi going off for what seems like a soft injury, that you’d expect a player to get over and Targett getting injured again, you have to wonder if some of the team are frankly man enough to cope with the rigours of the Premier league.

It’s only a solitary point, but I’m hoping it’s something we can build on.
Whatever, it’s looking like my prediction of it being a very tough season is about right.


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  1. Avatar
    Bill Pearson September 28, 2019 at 5:44 pm .

    A fair assumption Badger, I’m saying the same thing about Wesley not hard enough for a centre forward. It enoyed me that Mcginn runs his socks off for the team and he gets away playing light. We better improve and soon I say.

  2. Avatar
    Holte66 September 28, 2019 at 5:48 pm .

    I have to agree with you Badger. Technically apart from top 2 teams, we can cope but the physical demands of the premier league is our achilles heel at the moment. I would start Davis against Norwich because he has more strength. Hopefully Kodja will be back sooner rather than later to offer us something different.

    1. Avatar
      badger123 September 28, 2019 at 6:26 pm .

      I’d prefer Kodjia against Norwich, but I don’t think that will happen.
      Yep, Davis needs to start, as he seems to offer more, in that we can move him wide.
      I’m worried about the Norwich game, tbh, as I can see a spanking if we don’t get it right.

  3. Avatar
    Bill Pearson September 28, 2019 at 8:20 pm .

    Been reading around the blogs it seems we are not far out from having the same opinion on Wesley , I know its early days and I’m fully behind Dean Smith
    mainly because the football is 100% better and will get even better when we sort out our striker, Davis has to be our first choice or even Kodja, Wesley seems to have that slow in thinking and no aggression, and we need the will to win. Don’t think I’m being too hard on him he has to learn and quick. I honestly thought we would win today and again the VAR done us the curse of modern football.

    1. Avatar
      Big Fat Ron September 28, 2019 at 10:29 pm .

      Bill, I don’t doubt what is being said about Wesley. But we can’t write him off. He is young and has a lot to learn. He’s been catapulted from a mediocre Belgian league to the toughest, most demanding league in the world. I said in the summer that his situation reminds me of Savo’s back in ’95.

      Against Everton, he was labelled a tank and lauded for how he refused to be bullied by Yerry Mina, a bully of a CB who wound England up no-end in the World Cup last 16 against Columbia. Not only did he not take any shit from Mina, he held the ball up all night long, often isolated, culminating in the second goal in the last minute. He needs coaching. Drogba was a shower of shit when he joined Chelsea and was ridiculed. Similar player in stature, age, and potential at that time. He was given time and faith.

      I’m not worried yet about the results or Wesley. What pleases me most is that, up to now (touch wood), we are scoring goals from open play, which is not easy in the PL. Generally, all the players are doing their jobs; we’ve had some clean sheets; McGinn is scoring and assisting; Grealish is assisting (always a bit slow to get in the goals); Anwar is scoring and assisting; Wesley has got a couple (OK we all want more but it could be worse).

      This time last year, we were drawing too many games – exacltly the same this year. Then we went on a run before the New Year, hit the skids, and went on ‘the’ run. The season will be up and down. If this is the down, we’re doing OK!


  4. Avatar
    Big Fat Ron September 28, 2019 at 11:25 pm .

    Having said all that, I’ll quote Jonathan Pearce commentating on Brighton: “if you don’t score goals, you don’t win games; if you don’t win games, you go down.” Hmmm. A striker who is guaranteed to score in the PL is essential in January. It won’t be easy him, though. Still think Sturridge was a big missed opportunity.

  5. Avatar
    Big Fat Ron September 28, 2019 at 11:34 pm .

    VAR! Haha! Joke. Bournmouth’s Josh King dragged down in the box by his shirt, clear as day and VAR hasn’t given a pen! Absolute joke! Shite!

  6. Avatar
    Big Fat Ron September 28, 2019 at 11:54 pm .

    Anyone think it’s time to give Hause a go in place of Engles?

    1. Avatar
      Holte66 September 29, 2019 at 10:12 am .

      I would like a fit Chester playing his preferred right CB alongside Mings. Engels has had a couple of off games but up till then was considered a good acquisition. I’m more concerned with our attacking front 3. The decision to play Grealish further forward with Jota and Trezeguet on the bench suggests Smith isn’t happy with the way things have gone so far. Wesley isn’t a target man either. I thought he might replicate what Benteke provided when he was here. However he is roughed up too easily, whereas Davis showed in 5 minutes that he won’t be bullied. Davis isn’t a prolific goalscorer but neither is Wesley. We should have broken the bank to get a proven goalscorer. £25m doesn’t buy much these days and we might as well have spent the Wesley money on Maupay because at least he offers an alternative to Davis and Kodja. That decision might cost us our premier league place.

      1. Avatar
        Big Fat Ron September 29, 2019 at 10:26 pm .

        Chester might be a bit slow for the PL, Holte. He’s been out for a long time. I think Terry should be able to mould Hause and Konsa into top class CBs; not seen much of Konsa but Hause reminds me of big Ugo, God rest him.

  7. Avatar
    Bill Pearson September 29, 2019 at 10:24 am .

    BFR, I fully agree on your post about Wesley needing to be given time, I’m saying not at the expense of lose of games, we just cannot keep him in and take chances he has to show wanting. Must be something in the lad to have cost us all them millions, he might be home sick and that’s on his mind, he has to show the fans he’s all Villa and get stuck in on every game. All the post I’m looking at saying Davis over Wesley ,so they see him as the problem at the minute. Hause, i like him and yes he should get the chance to shine, Engles is lightweight compared to Hause , Taylor yesterday again not marking his man and they got the draw. I’m still keeping the faith on Villa sorting it out and only time will tell.

    1. Avatar
      Big Fat Ron September 29, 2019 at 11:11 pm .

      Bill, if Davies is ‘like for like’ for Wesley, you have to question the money spent, when there’s already a ‘free’ academy player who can do the same job. I hope Wesley can show that he offers more than Keinan, although would love to see Keinan do well. The whole forward line needs rebuilding, much like the defence this summer. It’ll take at least two more windows…

  8. Avatar
    nath September 29, 2019 at 11:29 am .

    i have been reading stuff on other sites today and wesley seems to be rivalling taylor for scapegoat of the year awards. i agree he is struggling, but don’t agree that he is a waste of money and is lazy.

    he might be looking all those things, because he is not totally settled, he isn’t used to the style of english game. which is much more speedy and more contact probably than he is used too. also he has to get used to how smith wants to play and each opponent is also new.

    i have no doubt he will come good, but it will take time. davis impressed me coming on late and i have been impressed with his development since smith came.but he isnt ready to play 1st team full time. he doesn’t score or take up them areas of danger enough, but his all round game is really good, his link up is also good but can he play week in and out, i don’t believe he can.

    kodjia is a option, but i doubt he has the ability too and his all around game is either king or jester/fool. he either one or the other and never consistent enough, he is also not a team player. he can frustrate his fans and team mates. if you played football, then you know the player that hogs the ball and wont pass to team mates, they want the glory for themselves.

    i also believe we have to get wesley in situations he likes, he is always on the edge of the game, rather than in the thick of it. no wonders he never has much influence. he is also very isolated. its a tough position / role being lone ranger. you are clattered by 3 or 4 defenders taking turns. cut off from the rest of your team.

    give him more time, he is new to england and is one of few players in our squad that has played champions league so cant be that bad.

    p/s mcginn was also isolated for clattering treatment as mentioned h/t its like burnley tactic was stop him /take turns to stop him hook or by crook. mason was pathetic. he allowed this to happen and their goal keeper was wasting time every goal kick i noticed this in the first 10 minutes and mason did not even talk to him, just allowed these small fouls to go on unpunished.

    we villa need to start being more foul savy we should have slowed down the free kick which led to their goal. we are very naive at the minute. we need to get nasty but within the laws of the game. stop being the nice team who will play to the rules

  9. Avatar
    Originallondonlion September 29, 2019 at 2:33 pm .

    Pep, who isn’t regarded as the best manager in the game for nothing, and Klopp, who picked up the Manager of the Year award have something in common. Neither plays with a battering-ram style of CF – like Kane, Lukaku or Shearer. They play with a 2 or 3 man foward-line of small and agile men, and Sané who isn’t small adapts to the style.

    From what I have seen of Wesley I think he is pidgeon-holed wrongly. 6′ 4″ and black, wearing a #9 shirt it is obvious what the expectations of him are, but he is more attuned to playing like Jesus or Aguero. We could bring foward Grealish and McGinn to make a mobile forward line and pass to them on the ground.

    I hadn’t noticed it before but Citeh’s approach to combatting 2 rows of defenders is to have their forwards run across in front of the baclk four, then dive through a gap between defenders as soon as the pass is made. This way the defenders have their backs to their own goal and by the time they have turned they have lost 2 yards. The standared alternative is to play up to the shoulder of the last man, which allows defenders to half turn towards the attacker and match his run. If Villa switch to that tactic Wesley will be good,but if we continue to expect him to play the loan strker role he won’t succeed because he isn’t good enough in aerial duels.

    1. Avatar
      nath September 29, 2019 at 4:06 pm .

      i think you maybe right. i can say hand on heart i don’t know wesleys strengths yet, he can play back to goal, but he doesn’t seem to enjoy that part of game. he doesn’t get many opportunities with ball to feet. but he does seem to enjoy this, but never has enough of the ball to grow into each game.

      i seen pool and city and they have better quality players to play their systems. villa do play three up, but we play this bad and it ends up with just the one mostly. our wingers el ghazi and grealish yesterday were the two charged with making themselves available to get in the box. if the ball comes in from the left the right winger makes his way into the box. thats how el ghazi scored a beauty.

      we have to remember this is a new squad and it will take them time to get used to this system and the players in the team. its also a balance between attacking and defending. we havent got this balance right at minute, hence the burnley second equaliser.

    2. Avatar
      Big Fat Ron September 29, 2019 at 9:43 pm .

      Excellent point about Wesley being pigeon-holed. Does anyone remember the assist for Hogan in pre-season? The deftest of touches and a slide-rule through-ball- brilliant. I’ve said it many times: Wesley, El Ghazi, and Jack front 3 – basically what OLL is alluding to with City and Liverpool’s style. Origi is not also a big man btw. Smith played these 3 forwards yesterday. We just need to keep it on the ground and hope the big man settles. He needs to show that he’s grafting though, to keep the boo-boys at bay. Like I said, reminds me of Savo: very young, a long way from home, new to the league, number 9, high expectations, and plenty of talent. Give him time. He’s only 7 games in! I recall Savo being hammered after missing an absolute sitter at Forest in early December ’95. Everyone said he had to be dropped after a tricky start and few other misses. Next game he scores a hat-trick against Coventry at VP. Give the big man some time!

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