Whatever the eventual results of the games, when a team concedes seven goals in back-to-back home games, it’s a cause for concern and ultimately no foundation for success.
After the 4-2 and 5-5 results of the past week, Villa supporters were comparing Dean Smith’s approach to that of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle back in the infancy of the Premier League. Keegan’s Newcastle had firepower to spare, but ultimately came up short due to defensive frailties.
At the moment, Smith is making the best of what he inherited. Identifying there was an abundance of attacking talent in the team, attack has become the best form of defence for Villa, but over the month of December, Villa will face the tougher more wily teams of the division.
Smith switched Axel Tuanzebe to centre-back alongside James Chester, which seemed to be an improvement on having Mile Jedinak play there, but Chester’s drop in form and recent injury struggles has left Smith needing a back-up plan.
It seems shipping five against Forest, has persuaded Villa to continue their assessment of ex-Villa centre-back James Collins, who it had been reported by the likes of the Daily Mail had signed a five-week contract, to essentially cover the six games in a month, that December serves up.
According to Dean Smith, no decision has been made yet.
“He’s still training with us. He’s not had the match exposure that I would want,” said Smith, in his pre-WBA presser. “He’ll continue to train with us until I feel he’s up to the standard where we can make a decision one way or the other.”
Steve Bruce had got Collins in to train as a possible free agent addition months ago, but due to injury the club hasn’t had chance to really make a decision on him.
Now 35-years-old, Collins after leaving West Ham last summer, had trained with the Hammers, then Ipswich Town and Stoke City, but again injury had hampered him winning a new deal anywhere.
Speaking previously on his situation, Collins admitted, while the interest in him hadn’t been great, he was still very keen to carry on his career.
“There haven’t been people banging the door down but I’ve spoken to a few clubs,” said Collins in the summer, on BBC Radio Five. “I love playing football, still do, and I’ve got plenty in the legs.”
“I’m 35 but I’ve never been the quickest anyway and I’ve never had the pace to lose. I’ve adapted my game around that.”
Villa played a closed-door friendly last week against Yeovil and Collins more than likely played in that to help him get back on track in terms of his match fitness.