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 25, 2021 at 9:05 pm .

    In other news, Man U are shit.
    I’m nearly wetting myself over the debates about if they should sack Solskjaer or not.
    I hope they drag it out for ages, but am wishing I’d had a bet when I said he was a goner ages back.

  2. Holte
    Holte October 25, 2021 at 9:27 pm .

    9 games in post Grealish is still too early in making a decision on Smith. It’s great to have a Villa fan as our manager and I hope he has now realised the problem with the 5-2-1-2 or whatever it’s meant to be. I suppose having Traore and Bailey out with only El Ghazi as the only wide man available, it gave Smith some justification in ditching the 4-1-2-3. Now we can definitely go back to the tried and tested. Norwich fans comment on Buendia being a RW player rather than a number 10. My team selection against West Ham would be:- Martinez, Cash, Targett, Konsa, Hause, Luiz, Sanson, McGinn, Bailey, Watkins, Buendia.
    I think it’s unlikely that Smith will go for Hause over Mings and possibly Mings would operate better with his regular CB partnership with Konsa. Targett also would hopefully be happier focusing on defending more than attacking. I would like to see Sanson get a run of games to see what the fuss was all about. I would also like to see McGinn play the number 10 role which he does so well for Scotland. He has the energy like Watkins to provide the press. With Bailey and Buendia we would have plenty of speed and ability to create chances and also with Traore, Ings, El Ghazi there are options on the bench.
    West Ham are difficult to break down defensively as it showed for Spurs. We need as much creativity as possible to get the win to turn our season around.

    1. badger123
      badger123 October 26, 2021 at 12:20 pm .

      The worrying thing though Holte, is that I read somewhere that Smith’s record in 2021 without Grealish is around a point a game. Ie, relegation type form.

      In that sense, I think turning our season around is not an exaggeration and that line is probably the right one.

    WARRIOR October 26, 2021 at 6:51 am .

    Just read that Newcastle want nakamber don’t sell him please let them have mings make him captain all our troubles solved VTID UTV

  4. badger123
    badger123 October 26, 2021 at 11:03 am .

    I read that story yesterday and just laughed it off.
    It makes no sense whatsoever that Newcastle want to sign anyone when they haven’t even got the manager in yet.

  5. badger123
    badger123 October 26, 2021 at 12:46 pm .

    “I think people will be surprised that Villa are the third biggest loss makers in Premier League history”

    Third after Man city and Chelsea.
    And higher than Man U.

    When you consider what we’ve achieved in all that time, that’s shocking.
    And shows how poor our previous owners have been.
    Although in fairness, our current owners have contributed a fair amount of our losses (totally needed and an even bigger indictment of the previous owners).

  6. badger123
    badger123 October 26, 2021 at 3:48 pm .

    Matt Cash has now officially become a Polish citizen and is expected to represent them in their next game.
    Good choice, imo and playing internationals can surely only improve him.

  7. Alfie Ricketts
    Alfie Ricketts October 26, 2021 at 3:55 pm .

    The Polish Cafu

    1. badger123
      badger123 October 26, 2021 at 6:08 pm .

      Heheh, Indeed he is:-)

      A link for you, just in case you’ve never seen it;

  8. Adam
    Adam October 27, 2021 at 9:43 am .

    What about our youngsters! Something to be proud of at least. smashed MK Dons in mens football at their own patch. These lads have a bright future and the sooner Carney, A.Ramsey, Archer and Philogene-Bidace get minutes in our first 11 the better. These are the future of AVFC and all look like they could become first 11 premier league players. Well done boys.

    1. badger123
      badger123 October 27, 2021 at 12:30 pm .

      This is the one single thing I’ve noticed about the Villa under our current owners, more than anything.

      Whereas previously, where we massively over-hyped our kids, who nearly invariably proved to be hopeless, we now seem to have a conveyor belt of genuinely high quality kids coming through.

      It’s like looking at a top 4/6 setup and I have to admit it seems Purslow has played a blinder in this area.

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 October 27, 2021 at 2:16 pm .

        Spot on Adam / Badger.

        Davis got one and Archer another 2. Good to see Davis on the score sheet and using his strength to hold off the defender – good finish too.

        Archer looks the real deal and looking forward to seeing him play more minutes in the Prem.

        Well done 3 wins out of 3 in the EFL; the only league U23’s in the competition to achieve that.

        Highlights of the game on the OS.

  9. badger123
    badger123 October 27, 2021 at 6:22 pm .

    I really don’t get what people see in him.

    The kids is totally his maximum level, imo.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 October 27, 2021 at 6:49 pm .

      You are most probably right but then again some players take longer to develop. For me his biggest challenge is to stay fit.

      Anyway I wish him well.

    WARRIOR October 27, 2021 at 7:19 pm .

    What have I said many times play our under 23s along with Bailey and Archer we can’t go wrong VTID UTV

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