Villa – Wolves; and I have a bad feeling

Badger is away sunning himself in Gran Canaria so I’m filling in this week – to be fair though we’re having some issues with the site which has prevented Badger from writing an article.

Wolves had a poor finish to last season and Nuno Santes left in the summer with Bruno Lage taking over – another Portuguese manager – with Wolves continuing in the same vein. However their results have picked up of late with three wins in four and haven’t conceded in their last two away games.

Wolves are unbeaten in their last five games at VP – their best run against any specific team – now why does that sound familiar?

Wolves squad news; winger Trincao misses out follwoing a positive Covid test otherwise they have no fresh injury problems.

As for Villa it has already been pointed out Bailey is still not fit and Traore is also likely to be side lined with a thigh injury picked up on International duty with Burkino Faso – I really do dislike these international breaks! It appears that both Sanson and Davis are fit and are  in contention although I’d be surprised to see either start.

Martinez (now rated the best GK in the world by Mr. Messi) and Luiz are  expected to start even though they’ve only just got back from involvement in the WC qualifiers in South America. It seems Villa contributed (with six other Premier Leagues sides) to the renting of a private jet to fly Luiz back in time for the match – very eco friendly! 

There has been quite a lot of comment that Smith’s formation of using Watkins and Ings as a front two with Ings playing off Watkins rather than playing as an ‘old fashioned’ CF  – which is surely his strength – is not working.  Badger has questioned whether Ings was wanted by Smith or whether it was a rushed strategic buy to pacify fans after JG left. I’m not so sure – Ings can normally be relied on for goals –  but the paucity of goals from this pairing more than suggests the current arrangement is not working; will Smith change things tomorrow with Watkins playing wide or running the channels – I very much doubt it .

I also worry about our relative lack of creativity and lack of width with both Bailey and Traore out. I assume that El Ghazi will start; now I like EG but it just depends which version turns up on the day! Buendia can provide some width but Smith has chosen not to start him which begs the question as to why? I accept players do need time to settle into a new team but at £38m I would have expected more from him than we’ve seen and that’s a worry considering he was brought in to provide creativity and create chances for the front two.   

It seems many fans would also like to see McGinn playing in more forward role with Ramsey and Luiz sitting in and looking at his performances for Scotland it’s hard to argue with that.

I assume that Martinez will play and the rest of the defence picks itself. I didn’t see last week’s game being at the London Marathon but by all accounts the defence – Mings in particular – were poor and we lost a game where we should, at least, have picked up a point. They will need to be better organised tomorrow if we are going to get anything from this game.

Given that Wolves generally set up to contain and look for goals on the break, I can’t see this being a high scoring match though they they pose a significant attacking threat with Hwang and Jiminez linking up well since the former came into the side three games ago.

I just don’t see us winning this one and am (again) going for a draw 1-1.

It would probably be remiss not to mention the recent purchase of Newcastle backed by the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund with a value of circa £230Bn making them the wealthiest club in the World – apparently. No doubt we will have to suffer much fawning from the media and watch as they flout the FFP rules with impunity! Does that sound like bad grace on my part – yes well! 

What is unacceptable is the way in which Steve Bruce is being treated. Now like him or not, he’s a decent bloke trying to do his best and to be left hanging with the media openly discussing who’s going to replace him is just not right. 

A more important question is how does this affect NSWE’s plans and will it change their views over future investment in the club? It seems that we are still fourth richest in the Premier League and Citeh have shown that winning the league is not a given no matter how much money you throw at it. 

As Adam remarked, it would be very interesting if Newcastle got relegated before they had time to splash the cash – we can but hope!


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  1. Mark
    Mark October 22, 2021 at 10:31 pm .

    SidForever. My dislike of Mings is nothing at all to do with his political views.
    The plain and simple fact is he is not leading by example, as captain. Instead, he is too casual and complacent and this attitude has cost us too many times. His poor back pass against Chelsea, his venture in to the opposition half, leading to allowing Welbeck to score for Brighton last season, his failure to show Smith-Rowe down the line for Arsenal’s third goal tonight, I could go on.
    Not only that, I am certainly not alone in my thoughts on Mings.

    1. WARRIOR
      WARRIOR October 22, 2021 at 10:46 pm .

      Thoroughly disappointed with our performance pathetic mings has got to go ings and Watkins isn’t working I’ve said it before our under 23 could have done better Smith got it wrong again

  2. badger123
    badger123 October 22, 2021 at 10:42 pm .

    Did he play?
    Hmm, like I said previously, I was told by a Norwich fan that he’ll take a while to settle in, but surely it still means you’re allowed to have a go?
    I smell massive flop, but assume I’m wrong.
    Nice to see Ramsay got the goal, but I thought he was a bit cheeky in the way he nicked it. That said. he was better lined up for the shot.

    I think we actually got off lightly today.
    It’s a good job i can’t get on the console to write a post, as it would have been scathing.

    A totally wrong setup, players who didn’t have a clue, look disinterested and didn’t match Arsenal’s workrate and a manager looking increasingly out of his depth.
    And that’s before I listen to his comments, which I’ll leave until tomorrow.

  3. Holte
    Holte October 22, 2021 at 10:43 pm .

    I listened to Smith’s post match talk and I’m beginning to think he is starting to sound like McLeish, Lambert, Bruce…..
    If ever he goes back to 5 defenders and 2 attackers then I WILL call for his sacking. A good manager won’t try to force players into the line up because they cost a lot of money. A good manager will identify that the formation is wrong and will make changes before the game is lost.
    Also his comment that we were in the game at 1-0 but at 2-0 the game was lost! Did he not recall the Wolves game? 🤬

  4. Sidforever
    Sidforever October 22, 2021 at 10:53 pm .

    The beauty of the game is that we all have opinions. When I look at all the comments that often seem to blame Mings for everything it does seem that is an alternative agenda going on.

    All I see is that he keeps being picked for England. Yet I don’t have Southgate as a friend of Villa.

    The main problem has been the misguided decision to move from a flat back four to three centre halves and two wing backs, whilst trying to accommodate two strikers. The midfield is light weight putting pressure on the defence. The second half tonight showed that we are competitive when playing a back four with 3 in midfield.

  5. little8
    little8 October 22, 2021 at 11:38 pm .

    Said at the start of the season that mings shouldn’t be captain as soon as he gets a bit of criticism he goes to bits and I see him now going backwards
    So gutted at the last 3 games a Norwich fan said at the beginning of the season that buendia was the best player they had ever seen at carrot Road so surley he must come good at some oint

  6. Big Fat Ron
    Big Fat Ron October 23, 2021 at 12:08 am .

    Unfortunately, it feels like winter 2019 again. Smith out of his depth and inexplicably slow to react to the painfully obvious. Ironically, back then, I was begging for a back 3 as we weren’t coping with the level of the PL. He eventually did it against Burnley (when Wes was assaulted) and we won. Now it’s obvious he needs to go back to what he knows, which is the 4,3,3 with wide men. If that means dropping Ings or Watkins, do it! That’s what strength in depth is about. If Ings gets the nod, he knows he has to perform or Ollie comes in, and vice versa. Shoehorning them both in is not only reducing that competitive strength in depth, it’s making them both poorer players. Madness. Likewise for the defence. If two play, they know they need to perform, or there are two others who can, and should come in. But for all that to work like clockwork, the manager needs to have the courage to leave good players out, and also the courage to take good players out of the team when they’re not performing. At the moment, ‘good players’ are getting in the team but not performing, but then not being dropped, so there’s basically no competition for places. This results in a ‘what’s the point?’ mentality running through the squad. The result of which is disastrous and could well end in Smith’s departure, which would be a damn shame.

    Listening to Lee Dixon on 5 Live, it was 0-0 and he expertly explained how and why we were being overrun in midfield, resulting in Arsenal dominating and us struggling badly. But Smith didn’t react. Why not? This is a question that he needs to answer, if not to the fans and his bosses, to himself. How can you not react when it’s so obvious that a. there’s a problem, and’s clear what the problem is?

    For what it’s worth (nothing) and accounting for Bert’s absence and Bailey’s ‘fragile state’, the team should be, in my opinion:
    Targett, Konsa, Hause, Cash
    McGinn, Luiz, Buendia
    El Ghazi, Ings, Watkins

    When all are fit, play Bert and Bailey wide and choose from Ings or Ollie down the middle. Simple. What was the team that beat Liverpool last season? Replace Barclay with Buendia and Grealish with Bailey. That’s it. Why are they trying to fix what, generally, wasn’t broken?

    I know it’s fanciful, but if Smith doesn’t make it, would offering Conte a sack of cash and a top 4 brief in the January window tempt him? Throw in some ceramic hair straighteners and a teeth whitening kit, and we could be in business…

    UT effing V

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum October 23, 2021 at 9:50 am .

      I’d go for that line up. Mings and Tunz are terrible.
      On our day we could have easily won the last 3 games and we’d be in the top 4. But no…

  7. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 October 23, 2021 at 8:49 am .

    Arsenal are not known to be a physical team yet (apart from running through our invisible mid field) they out muscled us – in that Smith was right. Watkins was physically blocked off several times so why didn’t he switch Ings – a more physical presence – to a central striking role earlier?

    The experience against Wolves I believe affected us significantly in the first half yet Smith persisted with the three centre halves rather than changing to a flat back four from the off, strengthening the midfield and start with a single striker. Yet he made no changes from the Wolves game when changes were required. What’s the definition of madness – repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    I think Badger said that Targett is not a wing back. Last season playing in a back four with a wide mid field player in front of him, he looked a very good full back. He looks uncomfortable in the role expected off him.

    It’s easy to criticise the players – perhaps Smith needs to take a very close look at himself!

    Unless he gets a grip, like Badger, I suspect his reign at Villa may not last beyond the New Year.

    WARRIOR October 23, 2021 at 9:23 am .

    Totally agree with all the comments D Smith has to look at his players that he has brought to the club not good enough or they are on the treatment table I also think that Smith is on borrowed time we are closer to the relegation than a top-six finish our owners have shelled out millions of pounds to and I can’t see them sticking with Smith much longer their ambition is to have a club in top six not 13th and going backwards bring on the young guns it’s our only way out of the mess we are in I’m feeling there is trouble ahead this not my Villa so shape up or ship out VTID

  9. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson October 23, 2021 at 9:42 am .

    On a cruise now in Tenerife and it’s pissing down with rain. Watched that shower and after seeing that shit last night’s show sod it.please don’t tell me Smith knows about football because I don’t believe you .now off to drown my frustrations..

  10. OLL again
    OLL again October 23, 2021 at 5:52 pm .

    It happened to Rugby players and it could be happening to football players, even in the Premier League. It is happening for sure in League 2. Bigger and stronger men are being sought, those with talent but not the physique get dietary help and intensive gym work. What does it mean? The Luca Modric and Lionel Messi size of player still has a role if they have exceptional talent, but how many of their size in one midfield?

    Buendia, Douglas-Luiz and McGinn could each play in a successful team – one at a time. The other midfielders need to be powerful, Villa with all 3 were out-muscled by Arsenal’s more powerful players, and there is no way of changing that.

    Smith eventually changed enough for Villa to pose a threat and score, but obviously too late. The job he has requires him to anticipate the oppos strengths and weaknesses, and know our own. Do that right and Villa start with a working formation and tactics. Do it wrong and you get yesterday’s performance. I think Smith may be looking for seasonal work come Xmas: Santa Claus – he may have the sack already; or pantomime – Ali Bi and the 40 excuses.

    1. badger123
      badger123 October 23, 2021 at 10:06 pm .

      I’m not sure I agree with that, OLL.
      Part of me gets what you mean, but teams have gone down the big player route before. Think Pulis and Warnock etc.

      Yesterday wasn’t so much about how the players were physically bigger than ours, but how much space they were given because of the none existent midfield due to numbers.

      That said, Watkins is definitely a total lightweight this season; god knows why.

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