Villa 4 – 1 Wolves; Who’d have thought it? We send a real message to our competitors.

I did actually write something last night, but fell asleep just as I was due to hit the “publish” button.
Seeing as I wrote it, I’ve published it anyway, albeit miles too late.

You’ll see that I thought the only way we could win was to out-work Wolves, which I’m happy to say was pretty much how it panned out.

I only saw the second half and had to settle for the WM commentary for the first, as I drove home from work.
I’d really wanted to watch this game, but we had a job that needs to be completed by 10AM tomorrow.
I think I was expected to stay late to finish it tonight, but you have to draw the line somewhere and I called a halt.
Paying £8 to Sky to watch half a game grieved me, but the game sounded so compelling that I couldn’t resist.
And I’m glad I did, as to my mind we trounced Wolves in that second half.

You can see that Wolves are a classy side and I now realise why some clubs want them looked into, as they’re a cut above, skill-wise. When you consider some of their players have played in the Champion’s league, yet are not on their way down, it does make you wonder how Wolves have got them in.

Whatever, I thought we made them look very ordinary today and what won it for me was the tactics.
We played at such a pace that I thought we’d never be able to keep it up.
The battling and bodies-behind-the-ball attitude is outstanding. How Bruce and his staff have managed to so totally turn this around is beyond me, but you now see a team that look like they’re willing to die for the shirt.
Brucie simply has to be doing something right.

So we played at a high pace, that Wolves matched, but it was our sheer work-rate that did for Wolves, it seemed to me.
We simply stopped them playing and hence dominating.
Don’t get me wrong, they still looked very dangerous on the break, but we stopped everything they tried.

I tried to call the MOTM, but found it tricky.
Adomah got the official award, but there are so many others who deserved it too.
Chester got his second in two games, while being masterful in defence along with Terry.
Snodgrass was excellent with his delivery and I grudgingly add his “chicanery” (cheating).
Grealish, for his pure trickery, that draws fouls, along with one excellent tackle that would have done any defender proud. I really never knew he had that in him and that has to be down to the management again.
Grabban got what? His 4th in 4 games? Outstanding.

In fact, when you’ve beaten the league leaders so convincingly, it’s difficult to not name the whole team as MOTM.

I listened to the after-match chat and one comment from some ex Wolves player summed it up for me.
He talked about how through most of the season, one of our players has always stepped up when other players aren’t doing quite so well.
He spoke about Adomah, then Grealish, then Snodgrass, then Hogan, then Grabban etc.
And he was exactly right.

This is the sign of a very good team.
And to see so many of them punching the air after the game makes even the very cautious me think the title isn’t quite decided yet.
Second place definitely isn’t and it’s going to be some very decent team(s) that finish above us.
Consider that today was probably our toughest game left and I think we look decidedly strong.
All it needs is for Cardiff to drop some points.

I’m off to send my Derby mate some abuse.


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  1. nath
    nath March 13, 2018 at 10:14 pm . Reply

    i for one never underestimated this league. their are no gimme and tonight goes to show us this. i also said cardiff won’t give up second easy but they can lose it, but with tonights defeat makes its much harder for us now, to steal it from them and it would be stealing they have been top two all season.

    tonight we just started the game100 mph, but with no thought in our play. rangers knew to press a team coming off a hard game they played nice one twos and deserved to win. rangers are a shambles away from home too.

    number of things went against us. players got caught up with the praise of beating the best team in the league, took rangers lightly at start and just couldnt get going into any stride after that, rangers took advantage of their fresh legs to press us high and used the ball well to frustrate us.

    cardiff still have a wicked run in to face. i can see them losing a few, but tonights lose brings fulham back into the equation

  2. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson March 14, 2018 at 6:55 am . Reply

    I’m not a defeatist by any means, but I’m now resigned to the fact that its play offs, there was a lot going wrong Last night, Johnstone kicks went out of play or found an opponent. We still hoofing the ball , getting closed down on the ball, not finding our man or giving it away, its deffinatly play offs Fulham, or Cardiff, for second spot that’s my take now.

  3. DSVilla
    DSVilla March 14, 2018 at 8:49 am . Reply

    I think Fulham will overhaul Cardiff, and head up with Wolves. If we beat Cardiff at home, i would feel slightly more confident facing them in the playoffs than Fulham so maybe that’s wishful thinking.

    Last night was deflating after the positive result at the weekend. There was a few on here crowing about how fantastic Bruce is and how us doubters knew nothing.

    The fact is, as I have said before, I will judge Bruce across the whole season. I didn’t think he was the right manager, but will admit I was wrong if we get promoted. Last night’s defeat doesn’t define our season any more than the win against Wolves did. It’s simply a case of where we finish.

    It looks like it will have to be through the play offs. We have the most expensive squad in the league, and I think it’s plenty strong enough for automatic promotion. The play offs is a lottery and we all know it.

    If we fail we are stuffed. Let’s see who comes on here lauding Bruce if that’s what happens.

    The end of this season (if we don’t get promoted) will probably see us lose Terry, Jedi, Whelan, Hutton, Snodgrass, Johnston and I would expect also Grealish. If Kodjia gets back before the end of the season and proves his fitness he might well go too.

    If we get promoted we will hang onto pretty much all of them that we want to. On the other hand, failure to get out of this league will be an absolute disaster.

    1. Adam
      Adam March 14, 2018 at 11:53 am . Reply

      I know what you mean. For me though reflecting on Bruce and the season so far, Bruce has given me the most enjoyment i’ve had out of watching Villa since O’Neill left. That for me shows me we are heading in the right direction. Say we didnt get promoted, is it all that bad? Another season of potentially challenging for promotion, another opportunity to integrate the youth and give those that have come through more experience (as we all know it wont happen if we go up) another year of stability. We could be a lot lot worse of.

      1. DSVilla
        DSVilla March 14, 2018 at 12:11 pm . Reply

        I would worry that the need to cut costs on player salaries and transfers to comply with FFP would leave us severely weakened. I have enjoyed the Championship this year and don’t care if we don’t get promoted from a football standpoint. I think Bruce would probably struggle to keep us up anyway and there’s no pleasure in getting beaten week in week out.

        I am more concerned that we could be a Championship also ran if we don’t get promoted though, given the likely changes I have already mentioned.

        Indeed, as you say, we could be a lot worse off.

      2. DSVilla
        DSVilla March 14, 2018 at 12:18 pm . Reply

        Totally agree about the opportunity to play the youth though

  4. Villain1
    Villain1 March 14, 2018 at 3:34 pm . Reply

    Bruce and the board have gambled on promotion no doubt.And now we’re left with what is almost certainly going to be a 25% chance in the play offs, I don’t like those odds at all.
    Ultimately the job was to get us promoted, if we finish 3rd or 4th and lose out then Bruce has to go. We already know the FFP ramifications and our wage bill is crazy for this level.
    Of course, our overall form in 2018 has been good and I have no complaints there, but all involved knew the ramifications when we were signing the likes of Terry on 60k a week at this level. The pressure to win the play offs will be immense, no side in this league is under as much pressure to get promoted and I fear for the future if as I fear we fail to make it.
    Still, I don’t think we can blame it on last night. Whats set us back is that awful start to the season, our points total after the first 5 or 6 games was shocking and we havent made that gap back to Cardiff all season.

  5. B6
    B6 March 14, 2018 at 4:13 pm . Reply

    Ha ha ha ha. I see the Bruce haters are out in force again. Probably all praying beforehand we’d lose so they could get their expert opinions across.

    For some it’s all about what happens on the pitch. For the real supporter it’s what happens at the club as well as what happens on the pitch . What Bruce has done at the club over the last 18 months is nothing short of remarkable. One bad result and the experts are again calling for his head. Laughable. One bad result and the experts are again calling for his head. Laughable.

    We’re still in a decent position, we are thereabouts. There’s still going to be twists and turns. So good to have so many people who claim to “support the club” doing just that.

    27 points to play for. Cardiff still to come to Villa Park and still have to go to Wolves.

    Ease up on slating the bloke and try getting behind him and the club instead. You’ll be glad you did at the end of the season.



    1. DSVilla
      DSVilla March 14, 2018 at 5:38 pm . Reply

      Good for you and the real supporters.

      Cardiff City were second bottom when Neil Warnock took over 18 months ago. Look where they are now. Lunatic owner and not much spend (about £8M net for last 2 seasons), particularly when compared to Villa.

      Wolves finished below Villa 2016/17 season. This is Santo’s first season at Wolves, and first time managing in England. He has been there about 9 months.

      I wouldn’t have wanted Warnock as manager either (Santo is a different proposition), but we could have done better.

      If you’re OK with that good for you. I’m not.

      1. B6
        B6 March 14, 2018 at 10:20 pm . Reply

        Weren’t we 3rd bottom when Bruce took over?

        Given the restraints he’s had to work under with FFP and the crap he walked into It was hardly a bed of roses for him either was it?

        1. DSVilla
          DSVilla March 14, 2018 at 10:46 pm . Reply

          He spent about £25M. That’s on top of what had already been spent. Not bad under FFP constraints. I’m not denying that we are in much better shape than when he joined. That’s what Bruce does. He gets teams organised. It looks to me as that’s not going to be enough to get us out of the division, and I always doubted that he could do it. When I look at our squad compared to the rest of the division I am disappointed that we are coming up short. Still, as I’ve said, he may yet prove me wrong, and if he does I will happily come on here and admit it.

          You are a Bruce fan and that’s fine. It’s just your opinion and it is as valid as mine or anyone else’s. I’m just saying what I think.

          1. B6
            B6 March 15, 2018 at 12:20 am . Reply

            I agree we have a decent squad. Arguably the best in the division as I have stated many times. I’d also argue how many opportunities has Bruce had to pick from a fully fit squad during his time at the club? Certainly this season the only time he has had what can be anywhere near considered a fully fit squad coincided with the 7 game winning streak we went on. Take a look at Wolves, Cardiff, Derby, Fulham, in fact take a look at any other team in the league let alone the division, non have had the injury list we have had yet we are still very much in the mix. This is one of the reasons why I struggle to understand supporters reactions to the odd defeat.

            Trust me I am not a Bruce fan. What I am is an Aston Villa fan and weather the manager is Steve Bruce, Paul Lambert, Ron Saunders or anyone else given where we are now to where we were 18 months ago I will continue to support them, because I believe that is what supporters should do. No one forces a supporter to support a specific club, no one forces an individual to part with their hard earned to go and watch them. People choose who they support. The manager, player, tea lady, CEO, whoever, are part of the club. I support the club so i’ll continue to support the manager.

          2. Hitchens60
            Hitchens60 March 15, 2018 at 7:19 am . Reply

            DS – SB’s net spend is around £2m as he had to sell to buy. He’s also operated well in the loan market and substantially reduced the wage bill to the extent that he is able to do so.

            Cardiff over the last few seasons have been there or there about the play offs so although Warnock joined them in a ‘crisis’ the club wasn’t coming off the back of years or mismanagement and decline (whatever you think of Vincent Tan)

            No, Bruce is far from perfect but I think the supporters owe him a debt of gratitude for what he’s achieved whether we get promoted or not in turning round the playing side in very difficult financial circumstances non of which were of his making.

          3. DSVilla
            DSVilla March 15, 2018 at 9:33 am . Reply

            Hitch you are probably right about the net spend so no argument from me there. I don’t agree about Cardiff. They were in a sorry state (solskjaer remember?).

            Don’t get me wrong. I have no dislike for Bruce. He seems a nice chap (even met him once in Portugal) and not full of self importance. I feel, and have always felt we could have appointed better. If our ambition was to just stabilise the club then, fine, Bruce fits the bill. However, he was brought in with the specific remit of getting us promoted – something he has proven in the past that he can do. He was handed a very strong squad (for that division) and allowed to shape it as he chose. Incidentally, I don’t disagree with much of what he has done transfer wise, except for some nit picking about his full back choices. His failure to harness the most expensive set of forwards this division has ever seen (all proven at this level by the way) has cost us automatic promotion. The coaching has been inadequate, though the team has improved considerably since the addition of Agnew. Why wait until Xmas to deal with that?

            I don’t expect us to get promoted this season, though I completely accept that it isn’t by any means impossible. I have said all along that I didn’t fancy the play offs, and that we shouldn’t have to rely on that. I still believe that to be the case. It’s nothing to do with the loss at QPR apart from in the sense that was another game we would expect to do better in.

            So. Suppose we make the play offs and fail. What then? Next season it will be tough to maintain a challenge. Disappearing parachute payments, ageing players, the need to cut the wage bill. It all spells disaster to me.

            Cardiff, Fulham and Wolves are all examples of how quickly a teams fortunes can change, and the manager is crucial in that.

            I think we will look back on Bruce’s tenure as a missed opportunity. It was all in place – the squad, the owner, the infrastructure. It just needed the right manager to seize it. I feel the same about O’Neill. He had the funding from Lerner to get us into the Champions League, but blew it on the likes of Sidwell, Rio Coker, Harewood, Dunne etc. At the time top 4 was there for the taking – Spurs were struggling, Man City owners were new and hadn’t got the right manager, Arsenal and Liverpool weren’t where they are now. We missed the opportunity, and look how far away we are now.

            That’s my problem with Bruce. Nice guy, but wrong choice and he will ultimately fail us.

    2. jvillan
      jvillan March 14, 2018 at 9:20 pm . Reply

      you do print some crap

      1. B6
        B6 March 14, 2018 at 10:26 pm . Reply

        Hello JV. Haven’t heard from you in a while. Must of been because we’ve taken 33 points out of the last 42.

        I am surprised to see you after a rare defeat it has to be said. Hope you’re well.

        Those extra English lessons you’ve been taking seem to be working don’t they? So refreshing to be able read one of your posts without having to insert imaginary punctuation and spaces between words for you.

        Keep up the good work son. 🙂

        1. jvillan
          jvillan March 15, 2018 at 8:55 am . Reply

          yet we are still 7 points of autos,with biggest spend in championship history and biggest wage bill to go with it,bruce is doing wonderful job for birmingham city not for villa

          1. B6
            B6 March 15, 2018 at 9:32 am . Reply

            Bruce has a net spend of next to nothing, maybe 3-4 million max and that’s probably being generous. What he inherited is no fault of his own so to even think of blaming him for having the most expensive assembled squad in the division is just daft.

            As for being 7 points of autos, I didn’t realise the season ended in March. My bad!

      2. DSVilla
        DSVilla March 15, 2018 at 9:38 am . Reply

        I don’t think anyone is blaming Bruce for the cost of the squad. The fact is the squad is there, and I defy anyone to tell me it isn’t good enough for automatic promotion. Of course the season hasn’t finished, but I don’t think you really believe we will finish in the top 2 do you? Realistically, it’s play offs and spin a coin.

        1. B6
          B6 March 15, 2018 at 11:51 am . Reply

          Yes I agree the squad is there, I have said all season we arguably have the strongest squad in the division. I have also said that out of all the games we have played how many of those games has Bruce had what can be classed as a fully fit squad to choose from? When he has had a fully fit squad to choose from what was the results? We went on a 7 game winning run were our only real injury was Kodjia.

          Until it’s mathematically impossible to finish in the top 2 then I’ll keep on believing. Now weather that makes me look silly or unrealistic then so be it.

          I don’t believe Cardiff will win 7 of their last 9 games which is what they need to guarantee 2nd. Bear in mind they still have to come to us and go to Wolves. I also don’t think that it’s unrealistic to believe we can catch them . I do believe we have more than enough with the remaining fixtures we have to go on a winning run again providing we keep our key players fit.

          Time will tell but I certainly ain’t giving up on automatic promotion and I’d be pretty pissed off if the club were.

          1. DSVilla
            DSVilla March 15, 2018 at 1:37 pm . Reply

            All fair enough. You may be surprised to hear that I haven’t given up hope of overhauling Cardiff or getting automatic promotion. My belief, though, is that we will finish below Fulham. Beating Cardiff is going be difficult but certainly not impossible. Wolves will find them tough as well. I am expecting us to finish 4th though, with Wolves and those two above us.

            All hypothetical, but, suppose we don’t get 2nd, and suppose we lose in the play offs. What would you think then? Would you feel Bruce had done enough? Would you be happy to trust him to get us up next year?

            That’s a serious question by the way. You already know my position on that but I am interested in how you would view it given your previous comments.

            I would love to know what Xia is thinking as well.

          2. B6
            B6 March 15, 2018 at 5:07 pm . Reply

            I get what you’re saying about other teams but we can only think about ourselves.

            If we didn’t get promoted would I stick with Bruce? Absolutely. However I’m not overly convinced he is the right bloke to manage us when we do go up but I’d still totally support him.

            I’m pretty sure Xia will stick with him.

            What about you, do you see him leading us in The Prem?

          3. DSVilla
            DSVilla March 15, 2018 at 5:23 pm . Reply

            No I don’t. I think we will get found out too often. That said, if we get promoted it would be pretty harsh for Xia to sack him before he had a chance to prove himself. It’s really hard to get into the Prem and stay there. Xia would presumably be able to fund an overhaul of the squad, but I don’t think Bruce would succeed there. I think there is also a reason why he has been moving around lesser teams (and unfortunately we fit into that group in the last few years).

            If we manage to get into the Prem I think he will be gone by about 10 games.

            Maybe he’ll prove me wrong. I do try to look at Villa objectively though, and not let my heart rule my head.

          4. B6
            B6 March 15, 2018 at 5:25 pm . Reply


            Sorry mate I was trying to multitask but failed miserably.

            Of course you don’t see Bruce taking us up so the same question to you. Who would you go for?

          5. B6
            B6 March 15, 2018 at 5:34 pm . Reply

            I too think he’ll get the chop but I think he’ll last until December.

            I don’t know if you heard the Paul Franks phone in show on radio WM a few weeks back but they had Keith Wyness on there. Someone rang up and asked Wyness what the plan was should we get promoted and would all the 120 million be made available for new players. His answer was when we go up for the first 3 seasons we need to concentrate on staying in the prem. If we manage that then we will be in a much much better situation to really push on and begin to make a mark on it.

            He also said regarding money that 120 million doesn’t exactly buy you a great deal these days and you have to agree with him when you look at the silly fees players now go for.

            TBH I brought my season ticket for next season a couple of weeks back. Part of me wouldn’t mind staying in the championship. It’s been enjoyable with the number of teams challenging for the playoffs and top 2 compared to the prem where 6 teams realistically could win it and the rest are there to make up the numbers.

          6. DSVilla
            DSVilla March 15, 2018 at 7:38 pm . Reply

            B6 your question was could I see him being our manager in the Prem ( or at least that’s how I read it). The answer of who should be our manager is a tough one and I hold my hands up and say I don’t know who is up to the task, and who of those we could actually get (at least while we are still in the Championship).

            I didn’t know much about the Santo or the Fulham manager. I think Bruce was a choice that makes sense from a past record, but I would hazard a guess that the game has changed with the sense that there is a different scale of what is needed to get out of the Championship.

            I totally get what you mean about staying in the Championship. In many ways it is better to be competing at the top end of that league rather than struggling in the top division. The thing is, in most areas of life, if you don’t improve you go backwards.

            There is no doubt that we are a better team than when Bruce took over. I just feel we will come up short and the damage will be hard to recover.

            Or I’m completely wrong!

  6. villaawayindiv3
    villaawayindiv3 March 14, 2018 at 5:48 pm . Reply

    So funny he told us twice…

    1. villaawayindiv3
      villaawayindiv3 March 14, 2018 at 6:23 pm . Reply

      I think on here we all had a stab as to where we would finish.
      My guess was around 10th as we was playing uninspiring stuff…..I have a feeling I might have said a bit higher if we got it together.
      The record run just blew me away but I have commented on FB many times that the results were great but in a lot of the games we still performed well below par….you can imagine the abuse I and others who agreed got….but it doesn’t alter the facts.At Sheffield and Sunderland we were dire for long periods but got 6 points and 7 goals.The Wolves game saw us play to a higher tempo and actually passing it about well only for us to return to the same dire stuff last night.
      I had no real like or dislike to Bruce when he came but after last season when we just gave up and carried on the same this term I stated he was not the right fit which made me look a fool as we climbed the table…but sadly all his dithering is likely to cost us big time….as stated above its going to be a disaster if we don’t get up this year.The thing is can anyone see this team along with Bruce holding onto a Prem place next season…I can’t. If QPR can do that to us just look what would happen in the Prem.

  7. Holte 66
    Holte 66 March 14, 2018 at 5:55 pm . Reply

    Last night I was too annoyed to pass comment. Bruce in his own words said in hindsight he should have freshened the team up as most players were stale. The fact Cardiff won has almost certainly left us battling for play offs. I don’t think Cardiff are a better team but they have more resilience than us. Like most I worry that we will be spending another season at least in the championship although that’s not necessarily a disaster. I have enjoyed this season having endured all previous since Martin O’Neill walked away. We will lose players in the summer although those who suggest Grealish and Kodja going I don’t think that will happen. We will be able to get rid of some deadwood like Gabby and hopefully Richards. Average age of our starting line up is too old and needs some 20 – 25 year olds introduced in the summer. Regardless of what happens this season I will pay respect to Bruce because he has turned round a toxic atmosphere within club and got us winning most games. A slow start and the unrelenting success of Wolves and Cardiff has taken gloss from our own improvements this season. I think Bruce will improve us again in the summer to kick on next season.

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson March 14, 2018 at 7:04 pm . Reply

    Holte 66, I know how you feel, I’m gutted that we was beaten by a lower position team, I wish Bruce would stop spouting the obvious like I should have changed the team, to me he’s playing with words, 3 games in 6 days with training is enough to break many ageing and young footballers, All managers should know their players capabilities and manage that for getting results for the team, I’m aware there’s 9 games to go and its not over till the fat lady sings ,Cardiff has us and Wolves to play and we can only hope we turn up to play on them remaining matches.I’m still in Bruce’s camp till he prooved wrong.

  9. Holte 66
    Holte 66 March 14, 2018 at 7:36 pm . Reply

    Bill, i do think Bruce has made mistakes but sometimes it’s a case of careful what you wish for. I think Wolves have at least bent the system to achieve their success although fair play to them if it’s all above board. I wouldn’t have wanted Warnock at the start of this season but he has earned all praise. I would have liked Jokanovic but he might not have suited us like Bruce does. It could be worse like Sunderland and Hull or blues. I think we are still a work in progress and foundations are at least being built.

  10. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson March 14, 2018 at 7:58 pm . Reply

    Holte 66, I live in hope now, we just have to go along till its all done and dusted.

  11. nath
    nath March 14, 2018 at 9:57 pm . Reply

    interesting reading these comments lol love to air my issues but that would take all night. if bruce had made rafts of changes for the rangers game and had we still lost. you could guarantee that fans would be saying idiot changing a winning team. so you see he can’t win what ever he does can he.

    personally i would have changed the team up. hindsight and all that b/s grealish and odomah had both been injured a few weeks, so i doubt they were ready to play two games so close. plus grabban hadn’t been back playing regular to play back to back again so close. but saying that, nobody but bruce and his team of coaches would know this better, than us guessing.

    ppl were saying we can beat any top teams that was nonsense, if we end up in the playoffs we stand as good a chance as the other teams in there. better with the fans behind them. got to stick together and support the team you support

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