Wigan 3 -0 Villa; Embarrasing and promotion hopes totally gone. It’s really worrying.

To be honest, I just couldn’t get inspired enough to even do a preview for this game.
There are only so many times you can say “this is a game we ought to win easily”, while we go on to lose emphatically, which was the sneaky feeling that I had.

And just as I found it hard to do a preview, so I’m finding it difficult to do a review.

I just can’t understand how we’ve gone from a vibrant, attacking side to the “we’re f***ing sh*t!” that our amazing travelling support were singing about today, in such a short time.

I’ve got to be honest and I was wondering what Dean Smith was thinking with his substitutions today.
I totally fail to comprehend why Elphick was replaced for Hause today. What does that say to a player who’s just been recalled? Elphick was rightly annoyed and I totally understand why when Taylor was yet again poor.
Why didn’t Hause replace Taylor at Left back?
As it happened, Hause looked exactly what he is; a player who hasn’t played at this level in a month of Sundays.
He panicked and looked rushed, being caught out twice in two minutes. His indecisiveness and poor judgement led to him putting Kalinic under serious pressure a few times, because of poor back-passes.
If he gets another start in the next month, it’ll be too soon for me.
So much for him looking great in training.
He looked much worse than my impressions of Taylor when he first came, who by the way, if you haven’t got my message yet, is utter garbage.

And if you’re losing a game, why do you bring Whelan on, when his game is shoring up a defence? We’ve seen this before from Smith and I find it worrying. What does Whelan offer if you’re chasing a game?
Where was Lansbury, who did ok when he came on against Swansea? Does he really have a tight Hamstring?

Likewise Kodjia.
The rumour is that he’s off to Nice for £6 million, after apparently being spotted at Birmingham airport. Really?
I know he’s Marmite amongst the Villa fans, but £6 mill? That’s horrendous business for someone, who, while he hasn’t done it this season, has proven that he can, FOR US, which is the important part.

Bree is another totally average player.
I’ve often hinted at it, but never really mentioned it too much, because I don’t want to be seen to be running our younger players down.
If he’s better than Hutton, well, we think differently, it’s as simple as that.
At least Hutton shows energy and drive, although hands up that’s not really good enough in itself, is it?

And there lies our problem, I think.

We have far too many utterly average players, who will never produce anything good.
It’ll at best be “ok and he did a job”.

This isn’t good enough.

And all this is while we supposedly have the best squad in the league.
Individually, I’d agree with that assessment. On paper, we do have at least one of the best squads in the league.
But they have proven time after time that if you take a tiny bit of glue, as in Grealish or Tuanzebe, out, they simply don’t perform as a unit.
They’re a team of individuals.

And this needs changing.

Is the solution bringing the kids in?
I really don’t think so, myself.
Yes, ease the odd one or two in, but we can’t expect them to be our saviours.
Callum O’Hare proved that last week, after all.

Today was an awful result, against one of the worst performing sides in the league.
I’ll bet Wigan don’t kick on from this result, because they’re basically poor and we all know it.

So where does that leave us, apart from currently being worse?

Well, changing the manager is quite simply not an option, as much as I thought he got things wrong today.

We need new players.
And no, I’m not talking about our kids.

I’m minded to think that Smith has until the end of the season, the way things are going.
Which is ridiculous really.
But we all know how things work in footy.
Rowett and Karanka were gone after very short periods, after all.


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  1. Avatar
    Pat 57 January 12, 2019 at 8:37 pm .

    All this talk of sacking Smith when he hasn’t even had a chance to get some players of his own in is IMHO totally bonkers. If you can’t give a manager at least two transfer windows then I can’t see the point of hiring them in the first place.

    You’re not giving a new manager a fighting chance. All this negativity is just tantamount to shooting ourselves in the foot. I know fans are frustrated but perhaps this negativity has been part of the problem we’ve had at VP since MON’s departure. One thing’s for sure it’s NOT part of the solution.

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 January 12, 2019 at 8:55 pm .

      Pat, there’s a very big part of me that agrees with that.
      Leeds are possibly the very best example of how constantly changing the manager is a disaster.

      Except it looks like they might have the right one, this time.

      Smith is on borrowed time, regardless of how much the owners say this is a long term plan.

      Owners and fans alike want results.

      It’s the name of the game, I’m afraid and a team getting worse is the worst of all situations.

      1. Avatar
        Pat 57 January 12, 2019 at 9:08 pm .

        Well according to that Fergie, who was probably the greatest manager of all time, would have got the push well before he won all those trophies for Man U.

        I hope our owners have more patience than some of our fans or we’ll be doomed to Championship mediocrity or worse for many years to come.

        I think it was unreasonable to expect promotion anyway this season. Smith has been managing an unbalanced squad with players who clearly cannot play the way he wants them to. He needs to get new players in and a January window alone will not give him enough time.

        For God’s sake let’s give the guy a chance.

  2. Avatar
    Bill Pearson January 12, 2019 at 9:50 pm .

    I’m at the minute Pat 57 not calling for his head ,i might if we get many more games like that, I wager that every one of them players today don’t blame themselves, the thoughts will be it wasn’t me today because he never did that or this, they was not even a team today I seen the game on the box and it made me sick to see, as I think it was Nath said balls they couldn’t pass to each other, the back 3 was inafective! Bree Chester Taylor, useless McGinn was the only player that got stuck in and was seen to get mad at the tackle he got. No Pat fans will walk if that carries on believe me ,5000 went to that game Wigan had 9000 fans in the ground 13.000 in total. It’s not good enough.

  3. Avatar
    Holte66 January 12, 2019 at 10:17 pm .

    Badger, we are a one man team! Grealish is the only player who can make us tick. It was the same last season when he suffered that horrific kidney injury and we improved when he came back. It’s not a coincidence that the last good performance was Albion when he got crocked. Smith needs to find players who can make us a more balanced side and not reliant on one player. Abraham scores goals but he doesn’t have the same impact in our play. Next season we will be without both of them in the championship so we do need patience and a couple of transfer windows for Smith to get his style of players in. Trouble is though managers don’t get time and if we lose 3 – 4 games in succession then I wouldn’t be surprised if fans are calling for another change.

    1. Avatar
      Badger123 January 12, 2019 at 10:43 pm .

      We are not a one man team.
      I totally refuse to believe that.

      That said, we need something extra in the middle.
      I still can’t believe it isn’t Hourihane and am not convinced he’s been played the way I thought he would be.
      It’s all quite strange.
      As is Lansbury, who drove at sides when he was successful.

      Wtf Bruce thought about this pair, I really don’t know, but it seems Smith is playing the same game.
      Did we buy them just to take them away from the opposition?
      It would seem so.

      Stop messing about, play Hourihane or Lansbury in an attacking role or bin them both.
      Simple, imo.
      They’re a waste of wages otherwise.

      I seriously suspect Smith already finds the pressure beyond him.

      And that sums us up all over.

  4. Avatar
    nath January 13, 2019 at 8:29 am .

    had a little time to process that shambles of a performance. first of its not one thing thats wrong its the game yesterday its the whole damn thing. even the basics like passing simple passes ordinary ppl can make where a challenge for our players. why did this happen i simply have no idea and i saw smiths interview he had a face saying he hasnt a clue too.

    one thing is smith has come in and he hasnt messed around he said this is my formation and this is my style / tactics to the players. they have had to play his way and never has he changed it barring once where he dropped two holding mids instead of themone and he oftens swaps the wide boys around during games. but the rest of the time the formation remains the same.

    now before i recieve the hate mail i am not suggesting his tactics are to blame. but i believe the players as well paid they are, just can not command the ball like smith old teams of reject could. we simply failed to control the ball even without wigan pressing, under no pressure they were miss placing the passing.

    i think thats not even the whole picture, bigger problems lie without the ball. watching leeds and derby, derby failed to get in any crosses simply because leeds refused to allow them spaces to get balls in. we at villa are so easy to break down, wigan had the ball in crossing areas loads in the first 10 minutes. we don’t close down GOOD ENOUGH. we started the game trying to close down, but its half heartedly and always ones never in packs. wigan simply grew into the game and thought we can beat this. we have to pressure the opposition, make it whole lot difficult to play against.

    finally its the defence fans say. i believe that is a issue but its not just the defence. the DM is rubbish we always play a guy who is not mobile. i think its the players in font of the DM that are major problem. we have two mids and two wide boys these are no issues attacking. the problems lays without the ball they dont track back and work as hard without the ball. so when you come up against teams we are basically defending them with 5 defenders who cant defend.

    this is long and i wanted to cover much more the end

  5. Avatar
    Hitchens60 January 13, 2019 at 9:45 am .

    I posted this just before new Badger post. Hope you don’t mind me reposting on this thread where it’s more relevant.

    We’re now going to find out if Smith is really any good as a manager. To be fair he can only play with what he inherited and from that squad he’s lost, arguably, his two best players in Grealish and Tuanzebe.It can’t just be a coincidence that this extended run of poor results has happened during their absence.

    What it demonstrates is that the squad we have is unbalanced and lacks depth in cover in key areas – is that because Bruce made poor decisions or because of the financial hiatus at the club or a combination of both?

    I’m sure the new owners will cut Smith some slack and back him financially to the extent that FFP allows but he will have to demonstrate he can sort this mess out.

    For a start I’d recall Andre Green and send Bolassie and El Ghazi back where they came from.

  6. Avatar
    Sidforever January 13, 2019 at 10:12 am .

    It’s ludicrous to even start talking about replacing Smith. Have we not learnt anything in the years since MON and chopping and changing managers.

    Smith has inherited an unbalanced team with a number of average players. I mentioned the other week that I believe only Chester, McGinn and Grealish are at the required standard. I will give Kalanic the benefit of the doubt.

    There is a real need to purge the team of the mediocrity which now resides. It is going to be interesting to see how Smith goes about rebuilding. We have wasted immense amounts of resource on players in the last few years. I am sure Smith is the man to succeed. Because if he can’t do it as a born and bred Villa fan, what hope do we have!

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 January 13, 2019 at 10:42 am .

      Agreed Sid but when has that ever influenced owners. Karanka & Rowett (in particular) are examples. Stoke then replace Rowett with Nathan Jones – which is the bigger gamble?

      1. Avatar
        Pat 57 January 13, 2019 at 12:44 pm .

        Hitch, we can only hope that our new owners are a little more rational. Stoke gave Rowett six months which I think is nowhere near long enough. They got relegated for a reason, they were totally crap. Expecting a magical turn around in that time is wishful thinking at best.

        So instead they’ve appointed someone who’s never managed at this level. Totally bonkers. I think that they won’t get anywhere near the play-offs and they’ll be flirting with relegation instead.

        Stoke have shown us exactly what you shouldn’t do.

        1. Avatar
          Hitchens60 January 13, 2019 at 1:36 pm .

          No argument from me Pat.

          We will need a lot of patience as, unless Smith can pull off some key signings this month, I feel we are going to have to accept a lot of inconsistency between now and the end of the season.

          We forget, but it was the signing of Mitrovic by Fulham in January that kicked off their run into the play offs. If we could sign a top class left back and deep lying central mid fielder and with JG back then we might just find more consistency.

  7. Avatar
    nath January 13, 2019 at 10:47 am .

    smith needs time and he needs players, the current players are incapable of carrying out his instructions. there are more that cant than can. its a rebuild for sure, not a cosmetic touch up.

    his defence at brentford could play out comfortably. without tuanzebe we havent one player that enjoys playing out of defence. all the back four and goalie struggled yesterday with the ball. add to that bjarnason struggled big time, stamping his authority or protecting the fragile back line,

    i haven’t blamed smith and i won’t, for me its down to players being unable to play expressive with the ball and they are collectively dog shite at being hard to break down. which is a massive problem. we are a open invitation to attack.

    full backs and centre backs DM these need to be able to defend firstly, that is to pick up attackers and mark them even when they move lol. but also when we have the ball, they need to be able to pass and quickly that is how smith teams play. each and everyone of them are comfortable on the ball, can’t rely on one player like grealish. yes we miss him but you have to function as a team with and without your star.

  8. Avatar
    Pat 57 January 13, 2019 at 1:00 pm .

    The malaise affecting this club has been far deeper than all of us ever thought possible. Bruce only partly dealt with it so it will now be up to Smith to try and solve the puzzle.

    We came down with an attitude and a squad that were both deplorable. I also think that there was a hint of arrogance there with both the management and fans, after all it was only the Championship. Well, we’re finding out that the Championship is more competitive than the Prem and far more relentless. We didn’t have the players for the Prem and they weren’t any better a division down. They’re still not.

    We need fighters with a ‘never give up’ attitude. At the moment we’ve only got McGinn and Chester IMHO who fits this bill. Forget this season, I’ll be happy if we show real progress and end up with more players at the end of the season with McGinn’s attitude.

    Then and only then might we stand a realistic chance of promotion.

  9. Avatar
    Holte66 January 13, 2019 at 2:42 pm .

    Bolasie, Abraham, El Ghazi, Jedinak, Elphick, Tuanzebe, Hutton, Whelan, Richards, Hause, Moreira, Steer, Lyden and Bunn. All players where contracts end this summer! It’s a great opportunity to finally get rid of players well past their best who are enjoying lucrative contracts courtesy of AVFC and foolish previous owners and managers. The only 2 I would like to stay are Abraham and Tuanzebe but I can’t see us signing them and we really have to stop reliance on loans. It’s a pity Taylor still has another 2 years left. Maybe we can sell him and Elmo and Smith can build a team with the energy needed to play his style. I would imagine Grealish will be sold too so it will be a massive rebuild. We will need to remain patient because whoever the manager is will have to pretty much start again. That’s why I don’t think much will happen this month. Smith will have to make do with current squad until he gets an opportunity to wheel and deal in the summer.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 January 13, 2019 at 3:52 pm .

      Holte, I agree that if we fail to get promoted (promotion being unlikely but I suppose not impossible) then Grealish will be sold in the summer.

      He doesn’t get sufficient protection from the referees and he can’t continue being kicked from pillar to post – less likely to happen in the Prem where many more top quality players exist. Also look at the example of Norwich selling Maddison and rebuilding – there are definite upsides.

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