West Ham 1-1 Villa; I’ll definitely take that point.

I feel the footballing gods looked down on us at least a little today.
I’d got the headline in my head for most of the first half and it was “A defeat of our own making” given how poor we were in our general lack of pace and constantly poor passing and giving the ball away dirt cheaply.
It was that poor that I felt we were lucky to get away with going in only a goal down, to be honest, although I do also feel we should have had a nailed on penalty when Bailey’s cross hit their defender on his arm which was apparently pointing. Of course, pointing at something would be called a natural position, but I don’t see how it could be deemed to be a natural defensive position. Hence it had to be a penalty and let’s face it, we’ve seen them given for way less this season.
Which just reminds me yet again about how poor the consistency of refereeing is these days.

Emery changed things by going two up top, with Duran and Watkins and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought we’d go long. That didn’t happen and we tried to play out slowly from the back even more than usual, it seemed. I could see the reasoning, as West Ham naturally sit back and want you to take it to them, so trying to draw them out made sense. Yet our passing was so poor today, it just wasn’t working and I thought we needed to change it up after about half an hour. Still, we went in just the one goal down and I actually felt a little grateful for small mercies.
I thought the woman commentator made a rare sensible comment in saying that our lack of midfield movement was making it difficult for our defenders but it didn’t take long until she lost that little bit of credit I’d given her for saying it.
And anyway, your defenders constantly underhitting or misdirecting the ball doesn’t make it easy either.

Emery did change it up slightly at half time with two fairly obvious subs in Cash and Diaby coming on for the hapless Longlet and Duran who was pretty ineffective. It also allowed Konsa to move back to his favoured position, whereas to me he seems awfully out of place on the right. Both subs proved very wise and Cash was very lively, while Diaby added to our game too. Later, Moreno, who looks tired to me and Rogers were swapped out for Digne and Zaniolo.
So our play improved and we were getting back into it when Moyes took Antonio off and put Johnson, a defender, on. Talk about gutless, but it was good for us. We were increasingly looking more likely and in the 79th minute, Tielemens who had performed poorly in a deeper position played the ball to Diaby, who set up an onrushing Zaniolo to tap in.

And then it all happened in the last few minutes. Matty Cash put in a superb block to prevent what looked a certain goal and West Ham had the ball in the net right at the back end of the game. I actually thought a West Ham player had handled, but only after the ball had crossed the line, in real time, but it was soon fairly obvious that it was beforehand. This is where the women undid her previous decent comment and she proceeded to continue saying the goal was good. So it’s speed, distance and also penalties that women are poor at.
Fortunately, after what seemed a ridiculously long VAR job, the decision was handed to the monitor and the ref. Immediately the sequence ran, the ref nodded and it was obvious that he’d seen the handball.

So that was that then. 1-1 and it leaves us in a better position than we might have been, having gained a point over Spurs this weekend.

Which reminds me. I heard yesterday that the extra Champion’s league spot is between England and Germany.
The best part is that we have an 82% chance of getting it.
So fourth place might eventually be somewhat academic.


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  1. Badger123
    Badger123 March 23, 2024 at 2:10 pm . Reply

    I can’t say I approve of Betting sites as sponsors at all, because as said, it does ruin lives.
    I know many a bloke who has grafted his nuts off for years with absolutely nothing to show for it and still having to work past pension age because they’ve spunked all their money on betting.
    Normally very sensible blokes too, so it shows how it can really grip people.
    That said, that’s a really good answer from Heck and as much as I doubt it was the primary reason for choosing them, I frankly don’t care about people on the other side of the world. We have enough on our plate in this country for me to be concerned about.
    Just had a look on tha Canadian version of Betano (the wonders of VPN) and it’s typically slick. You can get 2.07 on England and 3.97 for Brazil, whatever that means.
    From what I can work out, the 2.07 is what you get back, so about evens.

    I see Southgate is working with the worst set of injuries ever.
    No, Horseface.
    It’s just that players look on this purely money-making, total waste of time that just takes away from real footy with as much disdain as the fans do and don’t want to risk injury playing in them.

  2. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum March 23, 2024 at 3:58 pm . Reply

    Blame Tony Blair’s New Labour. They totally deregulated a betting indusrty that works, now it’s rammed down yr throat everywhere you go. TalkShite is awful. As the geat Paul Merson says, betting companies don’t make massive profits off the odd flutter, they make money from gambling addicts. Bookies used to have to be 250 yards apart. There are 5 in our tiny town centre within spitting distance of each other.
    Anyway, with the flag controversy I’m even less excited about the Euros…

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 March 23, 2024 at 6:44 pm . Reply

      For me banning betting adverts on football shirts is just a superficial gesture and I really don’t blame any club for making the most of the next two years. The level of sponsorship available from betting companies is way ahead of any other sponsorship – unless your Sheikh cousin owns an airline or two!

      The Government makes £Bn from betting as they do from alcohol and smoking taxes.

      I rest my case.

  3. Sidforever
    Sidforever March 23, 2024 at 7:25 pm . Reply

    You are spot on.
    https://www.scoreandchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/2023-24-shirt-sponsors-PL.jpg this and it says it all.

    When you think that Chelsea had to loose their owner due to connections and the new owner went to the Premier league to inform them of financial irregularities under the last regime. Then there is Man City with their amazing sponsorship deal followed by over 100 charges by the FA.

    And yet these two plastic teams whose history paled into insignificance in relation to ours dominate in this era of football. So I do not care that future money comes from betting – especially as it’s not illegal.

    The big question is generating revenue. Look what some of our Premier League rivals are generating per match.

    Interesting how Spurs have used a new stadium to generate income – £800k per match alone generated on food / drink! There is something in having a stadium fit for modern day expectations.

  4. Badger123
    Badger123 March 23, 2024 at 7:29 pm . Reply

    Yes, there’s a good argument to ban all three, but slowly, slowly is the way to go imo.
    The smoking decision works for me, in stopping it from a young age in the first place.
    I do continue to drink though, so I don’t want that banned, although a similar route to smoking would probably work.

    Meanwhile, Horsey has brought Konsa on at RB to replace Walker.
    Does he really see what Emery seems to see?
    I’m obviously clueless when I say he’s terrible there 🙂

  5. Badger123
    Badger123 March 23, 2024 at 7:40 pm . Reply

    Sid, that is exactly why we will never compete at Villa park as it stands.
    You just won’t do it in a 42k stadium with old fashioned facilities.
    Spurs’ ground is apparently basically now a shopping mall with a footy ground attached and that’s why it’s revenues are so high.

    I honestly think we have to move if we want to chase the money, as much as I don’t like it.

    1. Sidforever
      Sidforever March 23, 2024 at 11:24 pm . Reply

      You are spot on. I really do think we will move from Villa Park to a new stadium designed to capitalise on revenue generation.

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 March 24, 2024 at 4:10 pm . Reply

        I would hate it but then I’m old school and love Villa Park – one of the last few truly iconic stadiums.

        However I like to think I’m realistic and if our owners are truly in it for the long game and Heck’s appointment identifies the push for revenue generation then a new stadium must be the next step – unless they can acquire land around the existing stadium and develop it to include a substantial commercial element.

        Given the pull back from redevelopment of the North Stand it’s reasonable to assume other options are under consideration one of which, logically, would be a new stadium – possibly out by the NEC with its transport links.

      2. BFR
        BFR March 24, 2024 at 8:15 pm . Reply


  6. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 March 23, 2024 at 8:45 pm . Reply

    Watching England.

    Konsa doing OK – no service to Watkins. Overall, yet another boring, uninspiring performance so typical of Southgate’s teams.

  7. Holte
    Holte March 23, 2024 at 8:52 pm . Reply

    Poor Ollie, hardly any service from his teammates. Southgate’s England are so dull to watch that I’m struggling to keep my eyes open. Bellingham offered something but there isn’t a style of play unlike Emery or other elite managers. We have zero chance of winning Euros based on tonight’s performance. Maybe Harry Kane will save the day!

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 March 23, 2024 at 8:58 pm . Reply

      Just wasted two hours of my life!

      No way will I repeat the mistake for the game.

      1. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 March 23, 2024 at 8:58 pm . Reply

        *next game

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson March 23, 2024 at 9:09 pm . Reply

    I said Horse face will get stuffed one day, today was the start and I can’t wait for Tuesday. Hark at the shit he’s spitting out , I thought we played well and we need to focus. He’s a bleeding idiot. Give me strength you , you I’m off to bed .

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 March 23, 2024 at 9:27 pm . Reply

      And me Bill

  9. OLL again
    OLL again March 23, 2024 at 10:12 pm . Reply

    Watching Watkins playing CF for this England team is like putting a left shoe on a right foot. There is nothing wrong with the shoe or the foot, but no matter how you try to move it is painful to watch.

    England build up is too slow, no opponents are out of breath. When England have the ball out wide they sling over an aerial cross, none too accurately in most cases, and Chilwell and Gordon were bad at it. What you hope to see is them getting behind the defence to the touchline and cutting the ball back.

    Konsa did very well considering who he was up against, and it was a failing on England’s left that played Brazil on side for their goal.

  10. Holte
    Holte March 25, 2024 at 10:46 am . Reply

    Because there was absolutely nothing on TV last night, I watched the second half of Villa women’s team play Arsenal. It should have been 1-20 based on total Arsenal domination. Villa couldn’t get out of their own half. I don’t know how we managed to score TBH. The gulf in class was extraordinary and embarrassing if you are a fan. Thankfully our goalkeeper made save after save after save and the woodwork and poor finishing made the score line better than it should have been for us.

    1. OLL again
      OLL again March 25, 2024 at 10:32 pm . Reply

      Yes it is strange, I don’t know if the top WSL teams are much better than last season or Villa Ladies are worse. Last season we beat the Rear-Gunners (sorry, Arsenal Ladies) away and seemed to be on the verge of joining the top 4, but our defence and midfield this season seem much worse.

      1. Alfie Ricketts
        Alfie Ricketts March 25, 2024 at 11:52 pm . Reply

        The Villa Ladies have gone downhill, plus when our womens team inevitably loses Rachel Daly we’ll be relegated back down to the Women’s Championship.

        1. Hitchens60
          Hitchens60 March 26, 2024 at 12:47 pm . Reply

          Not like you Alfie to be so negative!! Daly hasn’t exactly set the ‘World on fire’ this season and outside the top four there is much of a muchness about all the other teams. In many ways the WSL just mirrors the EPL – so boring!!

          We’ve also lost a couple of our top mid field players – one having her release clause triggered (£200k) and one to an ACL plus Hannah Hampton went in the summer and our new GK is now crocked as well. Add to that we probably massively over performed last season and the top four was never a realistic target.

          Having said all that its been a disappointing season.

  11. Alfie Ricketts
    Alfie Ricketts March 25, 2024 at 11:52 pm . Reply

    Anyone who says VAR hasn’t benefitted us in the last few years is utterly incorrect, has been on our side the vast majority of times, and has saved us in positions like this a fair few times too.

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum March 26, 2024 at 7:39 am . Reply

      Swings and roundabouts, Alfie. Will be interesting to see how we play with our high line when the offside positioning rule changes to ‘clear daylight’…

      1. Alfie Ricketts
        Alfie Ricketts March 26, 2024 at 10:51 am . Reply

        I guess you can say that, I just feel as if it’s done more good for us than bad recently.
        I agree, that high line has been our best form of defence this season so we need to keep it as effective as possible.

        That’s just brought me to another point, actually. It would be more confusing if VAR wasn’t giving us decisions considering our tactic is to catch teams offside, never thought of that to be fair.

        1. Bum Bum
          Bum Bum March 26, 2024 at 4:52 pm . Reply

          The rule change will affect us massively. It’s been discussed a few times recently.
          What will next years plan be?

          1. BFR
            BFR March 26, 2024 at 7:31 pm . Reply

            When waa thus new rule announced? The ‘clear daylight’ rule is one I generally favour and have always advocated. Will that mean we won’t have to suffer those f****** lines anymore? A freeze-frame and slow-mo on the monitor should be enough for any referee to make a decision within 10 seconds. Emery will have some thinking to do and done solutions to find, though….

            1. Bum Bum
              Bum Bum March 26, 2024 at 9:11 pm . Reply

              A while ago. Comes into play at the start of next season.

      2. Hitchens60
        Hitchens60 March 26, 2024 at 12:50 pm . Reply

        That is an excellent point Bum Bum – how will the master tactician approach that change – however it will also suit our quick attackers.

  12. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson March 26, 2024 at 7:58 pm . Reply

    Great start 1-0 Belgian Teleiman

  13. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson March 26, 2024 at 8:24 pm . Reply

    2 for Teileman nice headed goal .

    1. BFR
      BFR March 26, 2024 at 8:29 pm . Reply

      Always nice to see England playing in Scotland colours at Wembley. 🤦🤷

  14. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 March 26, 2024 at 10:04 pm . Reply

    As I previously said – I wasn’t going to waste another two hours of my life – so didn’t watch it and didn’t miss it!

    1. Bum Bum
      Bum Bum March 27, 2024 at 7:53 am . Reply

      Same here. The WC had a lot less interest in our house last time around.
      Please for Tielemans though!
      Anyone got any thoughts on the Wolves game on Saturday???? I’m thinking a draw unfortunately…2-2. I dreamt it last night. Last-minute equalised for Wolves, and this was before i saw the news of the late England goal this morning…

      1. OLL again
        OLL again March 27, 2024 at 10:09 pm . Reply

        Wolves have a number of potent weapons against the Villa high line. Fast forwards who can run on and score without needing to pass to a colleague. Where I see a weakness is the number of Wolves players who don’t see tracking back as part of their job. So if Villa’s defenders or holding mid make a run to support our attack perhaps no Wolves player will follow.
        Strangely enough an example of this failure was demonstrated by Declan Rice for Yuri’s second goal – the diving header. Rice is level with Yuri when Yuri decides to run towards the England goal hoping Lukaku gets the better of Dunk, For about 10 yards Rice tracks back, but suddenly gives up. Konsa has looked behind when Lukaku gets the pass, and sees Rice tracking Yuri. Konsa does not know Rice gave up a second later.

  15. Gerry
    Gerry March 29, 2024 at 4:41 pm . Reply

    Aston Villa boss Unai Emery on an injury picked up by defender Matty Cash while playing for Poland: “It’s bad news with Matty. After playing with his national team, he came back with a small injury. He’s not available for tomorrow, [he needs] maybe two or three weeks more.

  16. Gerry Kiddy
    Gerry Kiddy March 29, 2024 at 4:42 pm . Reply

    “Jacob Ramsey is progressing well. We are going to train this afternoon and we will decide if he can help us or not tomorrow.”

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