Villa – Norwich: Are you confident? Sadly, I’m not

We all know the script.
It’s a six-pointer.
Unfortunately, this time I think it’s true, as if we lose this one at home to another team below us, we’re going to be in serious trouble.
And that’s before the Watford game, which I don’t even want to think about at the moment.

We do have one plus point in our favour, in that we have an advantage in our goal difference, which I think will prove very important at the end of the season, but the way we’re shipping goals and not scoring them, how long will that last?

I know, my opinion is a big turnaround from just a couple of weeks ago, where I was quite confident that we’ll be ok come the end of the season.
The truth is, I still think we will, if things go well.
And the more realistic amongst us all knew there would be tough times that at least test the confidence.
I just didn’t think they would begin with us being so poor against Southampton at home.
Follow it up with another poor performance against Norwich and perish the thought, lose against Watford and it’s going to be a sphincter factor of at least 9.5, it’s as simple as that.
It’s not fickle; it’s just being bloody worried.

Trying to concentrate on one game at a time, what’s the squad news?

Norwich have no recent injuries, but Josip Drmic, who has a thigh problem, and Ben Godfrey and Timm Klose, with knee injuries are all long termers.
So no dramatic worries there then, on our part.

As for us, you don’t need me telling you about McGinn, who might be out for 3 months or more.
Mings and Kienan Davis are apparently quite close, but it’s too soon.
Which is a shame, because you’d think Mings will walk straight back into the side, as soon as he’s fit and Davis would have to be at least an option.

Thoughts then and I’m worried.
Part of me thinks we really shouldn’t have a problem here, as with no disrespect intended, it’s Norwich at home, where they have an even worse Prem record than us.
We beat them 5-1 away, for god’s sake, didn’t we?

Except that was against a particularly weakened side and our confidence was high and we were playing well, with all guns firing.

Now, confidence amongst the players seems low, heads are dropping and we seem to lack belief, which is demonstrated by what seems lack-lustre effort.

Without McGinn, even though he’s been injured for the last few weeks, I’m wondering where the midfield energy and fight is going to come from?

Dean Smith will surely have to change things up and I reckon he’ll go two up top, simply to try and get Wesley into the game more.
Even if he doesn’t, I’d put Grealish in the hole, behind either one or two strikers.
I’d say if you don’t want to play Grealish behind a top two, you play him behind Wesley and put Kodjia wide left.
Either way, you close the gap between the midfielders and the strikers and give the opposition something to think about, at least.
I don’t think there’s much doubt that leaving Wesley up top on his own simply hasn’t worked, regardless of the reasons why and we need some vibrancy in the middle.

The point is, if we pay Norwich too much respect, they’re going to punish us.
Pukki will have a heyday against the way we’re playing at the back lately.

I see goals; most likely a 3-2 either way.

Dean Smith needs to at least get the tactics right, as he’s going to be under massive pressure if he gets it wrong.
And we don’t want that facing Watford, do we?
The truth is, his tactics will be totally judged on the result, because it’s the way it is.

I don’t care if we just scrape the result. We simply have to get it.
Or the knives will be out and that’s the last thing we need in a relegation struggle.

All that said, Happy Christmas, or Happy holidays, if that doesn’t float your boat.
I’m just appreciative of anyone who’s replied over the last year, or even just read the site.
Thanks chaps.


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  1. Holte66
    Holte66 December 26, 2019 at 3:53 pm . Reply

    Half time 0-0. The amount of times Norwich broke through our back four is worrying. They are having lots of joy down our left side with Target and Trezeguet constantly ball watching. If we carry on the same way then there will only be one winner. Also we usually start the second half poorly.

  2. nath
    nath December 26, 2019 at 3:54 pm . Reply

    villa players look nervous and very edgy. norwich are as vulnerable as villa are in the wide areas. just like our wingers not tracking norwich do the same. but our full backs are too nervous to exploit this. elmo got into some nice positions but wank crosses and final balls wasted them chances.

    just need to trust ourselves and be more positive and three points are there for the taking

  3. badger123
    badger123 December 26, 2019 at 3:54 pm . Reply

    Well, I’m not convinced again.
    Too many players don’t look like they’re up to the pace of the Prem to me.
    My money says Pukki will score.

    Why is the “watch every game” page 30 seconds in front of the actual stream?
    Really annoying that is, almost as much as watching us labour again.

  4. beamo
    beamo December 26, 2019 at 3:58 pm . Reply

    Norwich far superior on the ball- El Ghazi and Trezeguet are a million miles off what is required at this level.
    Fully expecting our usual conceding of a goal between 46-55 mins and Norwich to coast to victory.
    Fresh blood needed in the playing squad and sad to say a new coaching setup. Smith is never going to be good enough for the PL

    1. VillaAway in div3
      VillaAway in div3 December 26, 2019 at 4:09 pm . Reply

      1st time we have not got shot on target in 1st half at VP

  5. badger123
    badger123 December 26, 2019 at 4:13 pm . Reply

    And now the Prime stream is actually a full minute behind their own “watch every game” feed.
    That’s crap.

    Skating on thin ice, atm.
    Poor again.

  6. badger123
    badger123 December 26, 2019 at 4:24 pm . Reply

    Fuck’s sake.
    Hourihane scores and I haven’t even seen the build up on the live stream!

  7. badger123
    badger123 December 26, 2019 at 4:31 pm . Reply

    Southampton 2-0 Chelsea.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 December 26, 2019 at 6:59 pm . Reply

      Not convincing but given the circumstances scrapping for a 1-0 win is encouraging.

      Heaton, Hause, Luiz all excellent; Grealish outstanding – the difference between the two sides. Hourihane never lets us down. Think Luiz is going to be some player so Man C will probably buy him back!

      Wesley – what to do with Wesley? Largely anonymous he really has to learn how to impose himself on the game rather than waiting for the game to find him.

      All in all though a satisfying result – but we do need to strengthen in the January window.


  8. Sidforever
    Sidforever December 26, 2019 at 5:02 pm . Reply

    We live to fight another day

  9. nath
    nath December 26, 2019 at 5:02 pm . Reply

    aston villa 1 norwich nil

    who cares about anything other than three points. hause was magnificent at the back, heaton produced a great save to preserve the lead. we showed the fight and will to win. we can play miles better than this and we will need too. but our confidence was below zero for this game. we built characters wining this game. konsa luiz wesley all grafted. grealish hause and heaton all tied for men of the match

  10. Holte66
    Holte66 December 26, 2019 at 5:07 pm . Reply

    A scrappy 1-0! Don’t know how Norwich haven’t scored today but defenders (bar Targett) and Heaton were excellent. Hause particularly was outstanding. Grealish almost single handed pushed us forward and Hourihane you can always rely on when it falls on his left foot. Biggest disappointments for me were Targett, Nakamba and Trezeguet. El Ghazi wasn’t great but did get involved. Wesley worked hard without ever looking like scoring.
    A vital win but far from convincing. Major signings needed in January.

  11. Tekkers48
    Tekkers48 December 26, 2019 at 5:28 pm . Reply

    Big 3 points today. We really need a striker in January. Wesley was a 20million pound gamble that hasn’t worked out. I havent given up on him just yet but feel we need a proven striker in january that can get us the goals needed to get us over the line. Still trust Dean to get things turned round. January signings either permanent or loans will determine how our season unfolds. Big five games coming up.

  12. beamo
    beamo December 26, 2019 at 6:10 pm . Reply

    No doubt we were fortunate to win that. Norwich superior by far, just couldn’t finish and had some bad luck on the way.
    – Jack as usual and the 3 points
    – Heaton and Hause did well

    – 2 wingers were completely ineffective and tired before the hour mark – again our fitness levels seem to be be behind everyone else in the league
    – Wesley completely ineffective as per every one of the previous 10 games
    – Targett competing with Wesley for the biggest waste of money over the summer – he was abysmal. Didnt stop a single cross and got done for pace every time. 1/10 would be a generous rating. He must be dropped
    – Nakamba – disaster that gives the ball away in crucial areas – we need to replace him with an enforcer in the middle of the park
    – The other results – Southampton pulling away and we’re still in the bottom 3. Could well need 40 plus to stay up this season which I dont think we can make bar major reinforcements in Jan and Smith altering his tactics.

  13. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 26, 2019 at 7:01 pm . Reply

    Badger – it did it again.

    When I went on the site it was showing a reply to your post. I cancelled the reply and posted in the new post box – yet it still posted as a response.

    Really not making this up!

  14. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 December 26, 2019 at 7:03 pm . Reply


    Not convincing but given the circumstances scrapping for a 1-0 win is encouraging.

    Heaton, Hause, Luiz all excellent; Grealish outstanding – the difference between the two sides. Hourihane never lets us down. Think Luiz is going to be some player so Man C will probably buy him back!

    Wesley – what to do with Wesley? Largely anonymous he really has to learn how to impose himself on the game rather than waiting for the game to find him.

    All in all though a satisfying result – but we do need to strengthen in the January window.


  15. Guest
    Guest December 26, 2019 at 7:25 pm . Reply

    Can’t really see anything to be positive about other than 3 points today.

    We were dominated by Norwich, at times could barely string more than 3 passes together, looked absolutely toothless in attack and shaky in defence.

    All the teams above us are better and will pick up wins when needed even against the so called top 6, this was just another throw back to the Lambert days and Smith doesn’t look like he’s going to cut it at this level.

    We’ll be back in the Championship this time next year.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 December 26, 2019 at 7:45 pm . Reply

      Well that’s positive 🙂

      I really don’t think it was that bad Guest but then it’s all about personal perception.

      1. Guest
        Guest December 26, 2019 at 8:05 pm . Reply

        Yes sorry about the negativity.

        Indeed it is about personal perception and others will obviously disagree and that’s fine, I just feel however that the stats do not lie, and having watched every game so far this season, we are going backwards, we are playing with a little less guile and a little less decisiveness each week, we are starting to look more and more like 11 strangers and we are creating less chances, the regression is so alarming that I can’t see Smith doing his job properly or how we are going to turn it around.

        I appreciate we all want a bit of hope but it’s obvious to anyone that if we do not bring in some real quality in January then we are most likely to go down again.

        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 December 26, 2019 at 8:27 pm . Reply

          I do find it difficult at times to put a positive spin on things – particularly when we lose – however;

          We have definitely struggled after losing Mings – he’s a driving, organising force at the back. Whilst Hause / Konsa did a pretty good job today I Hope Mings is back at the weekend.

          Replacing (even a half fit) McGinn is going to be a challenge – actually it’s probably not possible. Grealish will have to play further up field as he did today to good effect. In fact I thought he was the difference between the two sides.

          All teams have poor spells – I hope this is ours – better now than later in the season. That’s the main reason I thought a battling win today was so encouraging.

          I fully agree that we need to strengthen although I think we’ll change our strategy and look mainly to experienced loans rather than buying ‘young and hungry’.


  16. Benno
    Benno December 26, 2019 at 8:41 pm . Reply

    Well, at least we ended up with 3 points! I think that about sums it up today. Generally very poor, and we are going to need to buy in January!

    I thought there were a few positives today. Grealish is just quality, without him, we would be screwed! I also thought Luis had a good game today, more so when Marvelous went off. I also thought Konsa and Hause were excellent too. Heaton also really got us the 3 points in the end, so probably deserves the MOTM award.

    On the other side, there was so much wrong!

    1. Both fullbacks were very poor, and I have no idea how Elmo got the nod over Guilbert. Max Aarons, on the other hand, was excellent! Once Mings is fit again, I wonder if Smith might give Hause a run at LB? Would give us more defensively for sure as Targett realy struggled today.

    2. Nakamba looked out of his depth again. Does a good job winning the ball back, but is very poor in possession, and offers nothing going forward. I think Luis has to be our DM.

    3. The wingers were hopeless. I honestly dont think either of them are Premier League players. The problem is, who do you replace them with? I think this is one area we have to strengthen next month. Bowen or Benrahma would be massive improvements, but neither will come cheap.

    4. We have to get more support in and around Wesley. He worked his socks off today, but he needs players around him. Maybe this will come if we pick up better wingers, but its not working right now.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 December 26, 2019 at 8:48 pm . Reply

      That might be in support of BFR’s arguement for going three at the back.

      Konsa, Mings and Hause with 5 in midfield and 2 up top.

      1. Guest
        Guest December 26, 2019 at 8:58 pm . Reply

        I think we should definitely switch to 3-5-2

        Guilbert and Targett are much better going forward. Grealish is best in the free role behind the forward(s). We need two up top and I’d like to see Wesley and Kodjia together.

        Stick with the same tactics and we’ll get the same results.

        The difference today was Grealish but he cannot carry the team all the time.

        1. Benno
          Benno December 26, 2019 at 9:30 pm . Reply

          Im not agianst the 3 5 2 idea, esp given the quality of our wingers. But if we go that way, we have to sign a quality striker. I dont see much point in putting Kodjia up there with Wesley.

          1. Guest
            Guest December 26, 2019 at 9:33 pm . Reply

            Davis when fit, Jota or El Ghazi would do, basically anyone that gives us another option.

            1. Hitchens60
              Hitchens60 December 26, 2019 at 9:47 pm . Reply

              Davis alongside Wesley? Maybe given Davis’s ability to hold up the ball?

              Why not put trust in our younger players?

              I’m pretty sure Kodjia is in the last year of his contract and can speak to clubs in January. If so speaks volumes about our valuation of him if we’re prepared to let him go for nothing!

              1. Guest
                Guest December 26, 2019 at 10:14 pm .

                Well if we plan to bring in a forward in January then perhaps on that would be a good foil for Wesley.

  17. fastjet81
    fastjet81 December 27, 2019 at 12:15 am . Reply

    It was quite obvious today that our weakness comes from the wide areas and in the deep lying midfield role, however that was nullified when Conor replaced Nakamba. I’m by no means a Wesley fan, but you could sense with some of his touches and build up play there’s a decent player inside somewhere. He’s just starved of any decent service from the wings. Our crossing is woeful and neither El Ghazi or Trez seem to impact the game for 90 mins. Some positive performances from the centre halves, Heaton, Luiz and Jack but I know where I’d be looking to strengthen in Jan.

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