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. STEVEP1874
    STEVEP1874 October 17, 2021 at 9:23 pm .

    What a shambolic last 15 minutes that was. I sat dumbfounded in the North Stand as we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Peak AVFC.
    Whilst I agree Mings was poor, Tuanzebe didn’t exactly cover himself in glory either. The subs had no impact on the game, with Ramsey and Naka ineffective after Luiz and Buendia had departed. We lacked nous and composure to see out a game that we were comfortable in. Wolves were average at best and there should have been no way back for them at 2-0 down.
    Three at the back doesn’t work…and I’m really hoping Deano will see this now. I suspect he’s got his fingers crossed that Bailey and Bert can get fit quickly; we need to play with wingers.
    Watkins looks lost as well. His “partnership” with Ings isn’t working and he needs to be allowed to run the channels as an out and out #9, with Ings or Buendia playing a withdrawn #10 role behind him. A flat back 4 allows us to get an extra creative player on the pitch and that is desperately what we’re crying out for…

    1. badger123
      badger123 October 18, 2021 at 3:31 pm .

      It’s strange that Tunazebe hasn’t shown anything like the form he did when he was last here.
      The thing that gets me is, why play players when they’re out of form, as Tuanzebe is?
      Hause had not done much wrong really, in my eyes.
      It has to be clause, I reckon.

      Meanwhile, I admire Smith for sticking to his guns, but he also has to drop one of Watkins or Ings, imo.
      And as much as I don’t like it, it’s probably Watkins. Both have the workrate, but he hasn’t looked as productive considering the chances.

  2. badger123
    badger123 October 18, 2021 at 5:18 pm .

    The FA has been fined 100k and provisionally banned for one game after the Euro final debacle , because it couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.

    Quite right too, imo, as it’s quick enough to tell the clubs what to do, with pisspoor efect.

  3. badger123
    badger123 October 18, 2021 at 6:15 pm .

    Hmm, it’s interesting how Amazon seem to think we’re most interested in footy at Xmas.
    It won’t affect me much, as I get to watch all the games (mail me if you want to know how, although I’m not promising 100% results. It’s pretty good though for what it costs) but do have Amazon prime, so that’s good to see.

  4. DSVilla
    DSVilla October 18, 2021 at 8:22 pm .

    TBH I’m feeling a bit meh at the moment. The squad looks stronger when you look at the team plus the bench on match days but then I look at Brentford and we are massively underachieving for the money spent. I wonder why I bother.

    1. badger123
      badger123 October 18, 2021 at 8:33 pm .

      Actually DS, it’s probably a good thing, upon reflection.
      Being able to just buy the title would be horrible.
      It’s certainly taken Citeh a good while and you’d have to question Chelsea’s spending too, although both club’s spending on the youth is paying off.

  5. badger123
    badger123 October 20, 2021 at 10:37 am .

    Bruce has been sacked then, I see.
    So obvious and I wonder who they’ve tapped up?

  6. Holte
    Holte October 20, 2021 at 6:13 pm .

    I wish I was a failed premier league manager. Imagine the payout. To be fair to Bruce, he hasn’t had the opportunity to spend big like Smith at Villa.
    As for our game on Friday night, it will depend on who will be available. Is there any news on Cash, Bailey or Traore? If we play a 5-3-2 then I will predict right now a defeat. A 4-3-3 or 4-2-1-3 offers more going forward and as Palace proved, when you get at the Arsenal defence, they are a house of cards!

    1. badger123
      badger123 October 20, 2021 at 6:50 pm .

      Cash is fit, Holte.
      I’m not sure on the others.

      1. badger123
        badger123 October 20, 2021 at 7:05 pm .

        “A Journalist” thinks Buendia will definitely start.
        No news on Traore, as far as I can see.

        In other news, Hourihane was utter garbage against Milwall and was subbed off after 38 minutes.
        I think it was the Yorkshire post gave him 3/10, the worst player in the side, for being invisible.

        No surprise at all there from me and like AEG, far from consistent enough to be rated as good.

  7. Holte
    Holte October 20, 2021 at 7:27 pm .

    Hourihane was always a bit lightweight although he had a wand of a left foot. I get the impression that he was a good influence on the team too. I hope he has better days going forward.

    It seems a lot of fans think the 5 at the back and 2 up front isn’t working. Also most want to see Konsa and Hause play in a flat back 4. Smith needs to be brave and drop Watkins or switch him out wide on the left hand side. Buendia showed positive signs before he ran out of steam so play him behind a front 3 with McGinn and Luiz offering protection. Hopefully we will have Bailey fit to play out wide.

  8. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 October 20, 2021 at 7:51 pm .

    Off piste – as it were.

    There’s an interesting short piece on BBC 3 (iPlayer) about Louie Barry where he says, inter alia, that it was his decision to join Ipswich Town on loan.

    On Steve Bruce – if you ignore his record at Palace (only 18 games in charge) then his best win % in management (over around 100 games) is at Villa – c. 45% over 102 games. Now given the circumstances he operated in, I think it says a lot about the man. Under appreciated – possibly?

    1. badger123
      badger123 October 21, 2021 at 1:07 pm .

      He probably does a decent job of stabilising a club, his Villa record says a lot for me.
      It doesn’t make me feel entitled, but we were one of the biggest clubs in the championship by far and it should have given us an edge from the off. Yet he couldn’t get us promoted and left us in 13th (I think?).

      And the football? Horrendous, imo, although in fairness, Newcastle were nowhere near as boring as we were under him.

      Crap manager, who never one anything really, particularly in the Prem.
      Same as hoseface, who will prove similar.
      Total journeymen, if you ask me.

      And the thought of him getting a rumoured £8 million payoff?
      You don’t want to know, lol.

      1. Big Fat Ron
        Big Fat Ron October 21, 2021 at 11:24 pm .

        Badger, I like to argue for the sake of it, as you know. So here goes…

        Being THE biggest club in the Championship made the job tougher, as all the poxy peasant clubs couldn’t wait to hand us our arse – Bruce made this point during his tenure. So I don’t think that gave us an edge. Also the weight of expectation against the appalling state the club was in when he came in was ridiculously disproportionate.
        No, he didn’t get us promoted but a play-off final was mighty close, again, with the club not exactly being run properly.
        He left us in 13th but to count that is plain silly; the season had barely gotten into third gear – it was still October. The fact he’d stuck around after that summer says a lot. And don’t tell me he hung in there to get a pay off when sacked. I don’t think he needed the money at the time and the sure as hell didn’t need the shit he took from some Villa fans, cabbage included.
        The football? I can recall several wins of at least 3 goals off the top of my head. And he left after a 3-3 thriller. No, he wasn’t Pep in a fat suit, but was it really as bad as you say it was?
        You don’t get to 1000 games as a manager at that level if you’re ‘crap.’ His promotion record suggests otherwise. Being Fergie’s skipper when United took off must mean he has some substance as a leader. Although I will always regret the fact that his curly bonce stole the title from us in ’93.
        As for ‘Horseface’ – World Cup semi, Euros final in last two tournaments. Compare to every other England manager in last 30 years…

        As for the 8 million, he doesn’t need it but good luck to him. I don’t know what kind of abuse he got, but if his family are commenting on how rough it’s been, it must’ve been bad – no one need that shit. Small change to the Arabs. Oh, and a 12th and 13th finish is not to be sniffed at if Mr Ashley was such a tight-arsed appalling owner as Shearer and others would have us believe!

        Ah, that feels better. I’d argue with my shadow if it wasn’t for this site. 😉

        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 October 22, 2021 at 7:21 am .

          BFR – all very fair comments; although I still don’t like Southgate’s attitude it’s hard to argue with the results he’s achieved. Certainly up there with Sir Alf and Sir Bobby – I really do hope they don’t knight him though that will upset Badger 🙂

          Being an absolute pedant though, we were 14th when Bruce left the club 🙂

  9. badger123
    badger123 October 22, 2021 at 4:52 pm .

    Haha, I’m always happy to hear a differing opinion BFR. It makes the world go round for me.
    You do make some good points, but the quality of footy was shocking in my eyes.
    I quite often remember comparing his rubbish to Lambert.

    You’re right about him taking us on at a time when we were on our arse too.
    But Bruce has always been about poor excuses and defending the indefensible and it’s why many Newcastle fans wouldn’t have him, even though they knew it was Ashley who was the root of the problems.
    He’s the patsy, same as he was for us and takes the filthy lucre accordingly.
    You don’t seriously think he merits the money for his achievements, do you?

    Hitch, Southgate knighted?
    Now I know you’re taking the piss.
    But suspect you’re probably right.
    They gave Rashford an award and he’s only a kid, after all.
    Quite like saying “this is your life” to a 30 year old.
    Pathetic, imo.

  10. Holte
    Holte October 22, 2021 at 7:02 pm .

    Let’s get things into perspective with Southgate. Firstly, during his management he has had the most talented squad in a long time. For the World Cup 2018 he lost a group game against Belgium before losing in the semi final to Croatia which is a team ranked below us. For the Euros, his most notable win was against Germany who are in a slump anyway. They drew against Scotland and lost to Italy in the final. The conclusion is that when we meet a decent team we come unstuck. When we get to Qatar after qualifying past a number of countries whose population is the same as a UK city, we will probably scrape through the group stage before going out against the first decent team.
    I don’t like the bloke and his club management record is far from glowing.
    As for tonight I think Arsenal will get revenge on last season especially if we play 5 at the back.

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