I quite often say that football’s a funny old game, but Aston Villa never fail to totally baffle me.
After that disgusting performance against Everton in the cup where we were frankly dire, How do we then come up with a performance where we basically dismantled a high flying team that had aims of going top of the table, in Brighton?
I felt that this would be much more like our sort of game, because the Seagulls like to play with an attacking style, which leaves them more open to our rapid countering. But I never thought it would be anything like as easy as it was.
Whereas I’ve previously criticised Emery for not just getting tactics wrong in my opinion, but more importantly, not changing anything when things weren’t working, so it seemed as though we saw the exact opposite. Roberto de Zerbi didn’t seem to change tactics and it’s led me to wonder why that is.
Is it because managers nowadays are clueless? I definitely don’t think that, although Arsenal fans were apparently moaning about Emerys poor tactics before they sacked him. He’s known as a tactically good coach.
Or is it more that squads are more only geared up to play one way and just aren’t capable of an alternative?
It’s blindingly obvious to us Villa fans that we’re seriously prone to a long ball played over and outside of us, after all, but we’ve seen the tactic used against us more than a few times with a high level of success. But then again, Brighton tried similar a couple of times, yet nothing really came of it.
Perhaps it’s just something that the “better” sides are going to be able to do against us and it’s as simple as that. Ie we need pacier defenders before we can stop it.
I don’t offer any solutions, as I’ve never professed to be a tactician, but I would be interested in any thoughts on this.
Anyway, back to the game and what a joy it was to watch. I quite simply found myself gobsmacked and pondering whether Emery had indeed deliberately thrown the Everton game. I firmly believe that he didn’t, purely because he doesn’t strike me as that sort of man. He obviously enjoys winning a cup, after all.
Yet the two performances were chalk and cheese, with the players looking sharp and lively, as opposed to that… well, I don’t want to keep thinking about it.
Nobody expected a win like that and an article I read just before the game had four pundits all expecting a score draw, which is also what I thought.
And I find myself once again totally confused about what my expectations are for the rest of the season. Sometimes I think we’ll be pushing hard for a top four place while at others we look like we’ll be closer to bottom four.
It’s a funny old game indeed and as always, it’s never straightforward following the Villa, is it?