The Good, Bad and Ugly of Bournemouth and the Rest
Usually, it takes 90 minutes for early season hope and optimism to be checked, Aston Villa managed to do it in 90 seconds, there was also time for more issues this week in the Good, Bad and Ugly.
I’ll not lie, it’s a struggle to come up with anything good at this stage, but in the cold light of day, the defeat to Bournemouth wasn’t as bad as it felt at the time.
Yes, it was an appalling performance, I can only compare it to Newcastle away last season, for lack of energy against a poor team, but it is at least the first game.
It’s better to have the weaknesses exposed and highlighted for all to see when there are still 37 games of the season to play and more importantly a few weeks left in the transfer window.
Villan of the Week – Boubacar Kamara
It was a low bar, but Kamara put in a decent shift on his debut.
His 86 touches in 82 minutes were bettered only by Cash and Digne, who played the full 90 minutes.
He was also the closest to scoring in the second half, and other than, being one of the many Villa players, who left Lerma alone in the box to score the opener, he looked composed and assured in the middle.
Let’s hope the rest of the team can settle as quickly.
Rather than pick each individual passage of play apart at this early stage of the season, I think it’s better to look at the issues as a whole.
Aston Villa, whether as a result of their coaching or just personnel, look to lack basic footballing intelligence.
Aston Villa has a set-piece coach in Austin MacPhee and according to Steven Gerrard in his post-match interview, worked on defending them all week.
It’s been a while since I played and even coached, but marking a player in the box, especially a giant like six-foot, five-inch Kieffer Moore, would have come up once or twice.
Bournemouth, like many sides will be this season, are much bigger and stronger than Villa, so this is something that needs to be addressed fast. If the supposed relegation favourites can just lump it into an area and cause chaos, or score a free header, then even Manchester City will do it, if it’s the easiest way to beat Villa.
That’s what other teams do, they adapt.
Further than that, how can Villa’s attacking set pieces be so very bad? It’s got to the stage where nothing works. Bournemouth players were so big, that free kicks would have been better being direct or taken short, yet the ball was floated in.
This isn’t all down to coaching either, there has to be some freedom of thought from the players. If it doesn’t work, stop doing it, do we need to go into the definition of insanity again?
Aston Villa attempted 31 crosses against Bournemouth with no target man.
If that tactic is repeated against Everton’s new centre-back pairing of James Tarkowski and Conor Coady, it’ll be another bad day for Villa.
‘When Tyrone is back at his best, and looks me in the eye and shows he’s ready to play, he’ll get opportunities…’
Steven Gerrard 6th August 2022
I’m wondering if Steven Gerrard had any idea of the fallout this comment would have in the aftermath of the Bournemouth defeat?
As a PR own-goal, it’s up there with David O’Leary calling the Villa fans fickle and Steve Bruce referring to the ‘mad few’.
The manner of the defeat with Tyrone Mings sitting on the bench was always going to be questioned, and rightly so, but the media scandal that has erupted from these comments has been extreme to say the least.
It was only a few weeks ago that all Villa’s ills were Mings’ fault, and dropping him or replacing him with Diego Carlos was the correct decision.
Two goals that Mings may very well have prevented later and suddenly he’s the hero and Steven Gerrard must be sacked.
Life comes at you fast on the #AVFC Twitter hashtag.
There are a number of elements we don’t know here and probably won’t until a Tyrone Mings autobiography comes out.
Was he fit enough to play?
How has he reacted to being stripped of the captaincy?
Was he able to train all week?
Has his relationship with the Manager disintegrated in the space of a few days?
The truth is we don’t know, but we can read between the lines.
Mings would understandably be annoyed at not only being demoted but excluded from any kind of Captaincy, vice or otherwise. He wouldn’t be human if he wasn’t. So don’t expect him to sit on the bench with a beaming smile.
Equally, Steven Gerrard will be inwardly fuming that he got it wrong against Bournemouth and it cost Villa the game.
Add these two elements together, and you get a soundbite like Gerrard came out with.
The engagement-obsessed media have latched onto it and now the pressure is on for both Gerrard and Villa against Everton and beyond.
It’s an unnecessary and ugly situation that Gerrard needs to learn from. Still, more importantly, it’s distracted from the awful result and poor performance from players and manager that the Bournemouth game was.
Another performance like that and the situation will turn very ugly, very quickly.