Approaching a third of the season played and Aston Villa have only won three out of their 12 games, in turn, losing the third highest amount of games of any Premier League team.
Villa’s current league position is a reflection of the reality they face going into a tough Christmas period. After Newcastle United at home, to kick off the month of December, come Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester City. Then, over Christmas, Villa face defining consecutive fixtures against the only three teams currently below them.
While Villa have been both resolute and competitive in games, the forward line ultimately isn’t carrying enough of the threat to win games regularly enough. Also, for a Head Coach who is supposed to have a focus on controlled possession, this Villa team have given the ball away far too cheaply at times this season.
These, ladies and gentlemen are the facts.
The scoreline of Villa’s 2-1 loss to Wolves at Molineux flattered them. The home team demonstrated the kind of real threat on the counter, that Villa certainly could do with. Yet, the big concern was an apparent lack of application by the players, compared to their opposition.
While Dean Smith mules things over after three consecutive losses, here’s five reasons to be cheerful…
It’s time to get serious now. Most Villa player’s effort this season has been very good, but in Wolves game, a supposed local derby, they seemed to lack bite and determination.
Hopefully, it’s a blip. The hyperbole honeymoon period that sprung from the play-off success, that the club’s in-house social media team and some writers of the local press have been surfing on, should be put to rest now. There’s work to be done and a team that has shown itself to be capable, needs to address the frequent frustration of missed opportunities.
England Can Wait
Last week, I mentioned the international break coming at the right time for Villa, but I’ll mention it again, especially now we know that Jack Grealish wasn’t selected.
Personally, I don’t know what the fuss was about Grealish not being selected. The hype burns bright for Grealish, but has his achievements on the pitch this season matched it? He’s had good moments, the best being his performance against Brighton, but he failed to have much influence in the Manchester City game.
How Grealish performed against the Premier League’s best would have interested Gareth Southgate more than how he ran riot against a 10-men Brighton team. A good shift against City, followed by impressing against Liverpool (which he was injured for), perhaps would have sealed the deal.
Grealish needs to lead Villa to more victories to have a better shot of the England squad, but at this moment in time, the Villa captain needs to be at Bodymoor Heath, as Villa work out how they can open up opposition defences more frequently.
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The chances of drawing one of the top teams in the Carabao Cup was always likely for Villa, but it’s probably the last round before such teams would take the competition seriously.
Bar a fixture against a lower league team, Liverpool at Villa Park was perhaps one of the better draws Villa could have got.
While Liverpool maybe the current European Champions and hot favourites to win the Premier League this season, Villa will have a great opportunity to get through at Villa Park, as their visitors core squad is expected to be in Qatar for the World Club Championship.
Opportunity knocks for Dean Smith’s men, but they will have to be more ruthless than they were in the previous round against Wolves.
Matt Targett hasn’t suffered any long terms effects after leaving the Wolves game with a concussion. He’s back in training this week.
Joining him (supposedly) is Jack Grealish, who if the official site is to be believed, will finally be back after the international break (hopefully to lead us to another 10-game winning run ala last season).
My Old Man Said Podcast Nomination
The awards will take place at the Tower of London on Monday 16th December and the list of nominated podcasts are below:
Club Podcast of the Year
Blue Moon (Man City), Fulhamish (Fulham), My Old Man Said (Aston Villa), Ringing the Blues (Wycombe Wanderers), The Squareball (Leeds United), Steve Bloomer’s Washing (Derby County).
The category will be decided by a judging panel.
Those who know, know of the entertainment levels that the show can reach. The good news is, there’s plans to take things up a notch in 2020, so stay tuned for that.
Don’t forget, if you’re a listener of the show, you can take advantage of our free case of beer sponsorship offer with Beer52 – more details here. Offer open to listeners aged 18 and over.
If you’re not a listener of the show…what are you doing with your life?
What You Think You Know About Football
MOMS has five copies of the new Bloomsbury book, What You Think You Know About Football is Wrong, to give away to MOMS Patrons.
If you’re a MOMS patron, simply follow the instructions you would have already received as a MOMS patron.
Written by Kevin Moore, the founding director of the National Football Museum (the world’s leading football museum), this thoroughly researched and authoritative book debunks 50 of the greatest myths surrounding football.
While it’s backed up by the highest level of academic research, it’s written in an accessible style, that makes it a decent quick read.
The book explores the truth behind many accepted football myths. For example, did you know:
· The Germans took football to Brazil, not the English
· Rugby and not football could quite easily have been the world’s leading sport
· There are gay professional players – and always have been!
· Football hooliganism did not begin in England
· Arsenal should not be in the Premier League. they cheated to be there
· The Dynamo Kiev team were not executed after beating a German SS team in 1941
· England did not win the World Cup fairly in 1966 . but not in the way you think!
More for details, check it out on Amazon here.