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. badger123
    badger123 October 24, 2021 at 9:32 am .

    Apparently there are rumours that Mings, Hause and Sanson kicked off after the game.
    No idea what it was about, but I hope Mings was raging at himself.

    What I find interesting about that rumour is what was Sanson moaning about? It can only be about not having played, I’d have thought. Unless he told the team how crap they were lol.

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron October 26, 2021 at 10:36 pm .

      Kenny Sanson was in the Villa dressing room after the game???

  2. Holte
    Holte October 24, 2021 at 9:57 am .

    Neville and Carragher talked about our formation Friday night and commented that it isn’t a 5-3-2 or a 3-5-2. It’s a 5-1-2-2 which means we are really narrow and the opposition can get down our flanks easily once Cash and Targett have committed to attack. It came to light with Arsenal’s 3rd goal where Smith-Rowe had all the room in the world to run at Mings who backed off and allowed the shot.
    Smith waited till half time while all Villa fans and commentators were stating the obvious, the formation wasn’t working and Arsenal could have scored a hatful before their first goal and looked like scoring with every attack. Still Smith and Shakespeare looked bewildered and failed in their jobs to act quickly and cost us the game. Admittedly all the outfield players were equally pathetic on the day and should feel embarrassed to get paid.
    Up next is West Ham and they usually do well against us. Another defeat will see us hovering over the relegation zone. If this happens our owners will have to consider a change of head coach. A new appointment would need time to evaluate his squad before the transfer window. If they wait till Xmas then it would be pointless.
    I hope Smith gets a win next Sunday and turns things round but if he loses his job, he can only blame himself for being stubborn with his formation, slow to react and also sticking with players who should have been dropped.

    WARRIOR October 24, 2021 at 9:59 am .

    Badger 123 lets hope mings was looking in a mirror, when he was ranting about the shambolic performance in the last few games because in my eyes he has been the worst player on the pitch and wearing the captain’s arm ban as well so if you’re reading the comments D Smith take it away from him let him chew his gum on the bench or better still leave him at home VTID. UTV

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron October 26, 2021 at 10:39 pm .

      If I was in Smith’s position, I’d tell Mings to lose the gum; it’s not a good look at all. Not to mention an ‘elf n safety’ hazard.

  4. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson October 24, 2021 at 12:45 pm .

    I’m looking for Badger as I’m in Grand Canaria outside bloody primark. Warrior with you on that what a disgusting show I’m now fed up with Villa full stop and something has to alter and quickly. We are slowly finding bottom place and less time to stop the rot. Mings should not be captain all he has his his gob that’s not stopping our defensive problems. I’m not in favour of letting our wing back drifting up field when the likes of our halfbacks are left wanting. Why don’t he play Hourse? I feel smith hasn’t a scoobydoo of what to do just stands and holds his head chatting to what supposed to be his right hand man.

    1. badger123
      badger123 October 24, 2021 at 1:32 pm .

      Bill, La Palma, I assume?
      Wrong side of the Island fella. And Primark? Have some faith; I’m a bit classier than that and wouldn’t be seen near the place lol 🙂

      Holte, if I was Purslow, I’d be saying to anyone I might have spoken to to keep an eye and start analysing stuff now ready for in case you do get the call to takeover.
      That’s on the assumption that we wouldn’t do what we’ve always done previously and played the game properly in not talking to anybody until the present incumbent is sacked.
      I suspect the “honourable” type stuff is out of the window and we’re already looking at options, “just in case”.

  5. badger123
    badger123 October 24, 2021 at 1:46 pm .

    Holte, it’s definitely a midfield problem.
    That said, it seems to me the plan is to press the opposition to death, hence a thin midfield doesn’t matter, as they’re too concentrated on what we’re doing.
    I’m guessing it’s why Smith subs Ings off instead of Watkins, regardless of who looks more likely to score.
    Workrate, workrate, workrate.

    It can work, but it’s what if it isn’t?, is the problem.
    There’s no plan B and that’s scandalous, imo.
    And yes, if the fullbacks push up, it’s ridiculously easy for us to get caught out, as we saw. More so, if Mings hasn’t got a clue how to read what’s coming on the left and Konsa and Tuanzebe don’t know their roles in a 3 either.

    You need to go 4 at the back or 5 and stick with it.
    We could probably make it work, as they’re all capable defenders.
    But how many games would we have to lose while they’re learning how to play it?
    Too many and Smith doesn’t have that time.

    He could, of course, have discussed it with the hierarchy, saying he sees it as the way to go, even with the risk it carries.
    But I very much doubt he has.

    1. WARRIOR
      WARRIOR October 24, 2021 at 7:17 pm .

      I think I have the answer to our problem play 14players to other team’s 11 good plan eh

  6. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 October 24, 2021 at 9:10 pm .

    Manure lose 0-5 at home and we think we have problems 🙂

    Whilst it’s clear the formation isn’t working and doesn’t suit the players we have, there’s no disguising the fact that Mings seems completely out of sorts. Is it to do with his wider ‘political’ involvement or has he been unsettled by approaches or comments from within the England set up?

    Whatever, Smith should have the balls to rest Mings, dump Tuanzebe and give the arm band to Martinez; go with a flat back four, bringing in Hause to partner Konsa.

    Have no problem with players having a ‘ruck’ after the game particularly if Hause and Sanson are saying they could do better – if so, good for them!

    Hopefully Bailey and Traore will be fit for the West Spam game, in which case Smith should play either Watkins or Ings up top – not both – and from what I’ve seen of Watkins so far this season, I would start with Ings.

    Has Smith got the balls – I very much doubt it.

  7. badger123
    badger123 October 25, 2021 at 10:57 am .

    Ramsey has come out and said we need to stick together.
    That suggests to me the rumour was true.
    I get what you’re saying Hitch, but I find it concerning if players are “fighting” each other.

    There’s another rumour that some of the other players call Watkins, Smith’s son, presumably because he never gets dropped.
    It’s obviously only banter, but we all know that can cover true feelings.
    Resentment is never a good thing in a team.
    So much for that happy dressing room, eh?

    But then, I’ve been convinced things aren’t right behind the scenes for a while, as I’ve previously suggested.

    No doubt it’ll all come out in the wash.

  8. But Bum
    But Bum October 25, 2021 at 7:07 pm .

    I have big problems with Mings at present. He needs a serious spell on the sidelines. Tunzabe should go back to ManU too, it looks like they need him more than we do. It’s absolutely unfathomable why he’s playing over Hause and Konsa who should be given a spell together.
    I think our squad looks pretty damn good, but summat’s wrong on the tactics front for sure. The formation is badly wrong and Smith needs to admit he’s wrong or he’ll be out by Christmas. We could have easily beaten Spuds. We should have beaten Wolves. We could have got something against Arsenal as they’re far from the finished product.
    Grab Conte before Manure do??? It’s not fanciful at all. Remember when we were in talks with Ancellotti but Chelsea had tied him up…?

  9. badger123
    badger123 October 25, 2021 at 7:31 pm .

    But Bum? Hmm, good spot and thanks for approving Hitch 🙂

    I saw it, but can’t do anything about it.
    Never mind, I’m home Friday, so it’ll probably be ok then.

    Bum bum, I can’t disagree with anthing you say.
    Nice thought, but I’d rather we keep Smith and he stops messing about.
    You can’t beat a villa fan running the show and I’m willing to give him every chance, even if it might not seem like it, in what I say.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum October 27, 2021 at 9:02 am .

      Bloody autocorrect!

  10. badger123
    badger123 October 25, 2021 at 7:42 pm .

    But then, I’m plagued by the question of “does Smith strike me as a winner?”
    And I have to be honest and say I’m not convinced.

    1. Big Fat Ron
      Big Fat Ron October 26, 2021 at 10:45 pm .

      He did come from nowhere to win 10 games in a row then win the play off final to win promotion…and he won a League Cup semi final (that last one’s clutching at straws, I know)…

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