Thoughts and issues regarding the past and present of a great football club by "The Chronicler".

Sunday, 28 September 2014

A Bridge Too Far...

Villa's performance at Chelsea was (defensively at least) good right up to Chelsea's second goal. But a side like them can produce something out of the bag quite easily, and they did.

Villa, going forward, were without anywhere near enough bite, and when they did promise a bit then the Chelsea defenders employed some cynicism to stop 'em getting through. On the other hand, there was precious little that Villa threw at Chelsea of any great danger apart from the two occasions that Villa's best midfielder (Delph) flew through their ranks to blast wide. Delph, please improve your gunsight so that you at least get your shots on target!

And then Hutton burst through and probably should have passed instead of going for glory.

In short, I was disappointed. I expected Villa to at least score and even grab a draw, but against a side containing the likes of Fabregas and Costa that was probably hoping for too much.

Well, yet another big match comes up this coming week. I now feel like battening down the hatches and to wait until it's all over.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A Funny Old Game...

Well, football is a funny game, isn't it? We Villa supporters were cheesed-off by half-time against the Gunners, and wondered why Villa's performance second-half was not more upbeat in an effort to get something out of the match. But then we began to hear the details of a maleficent virus that had plagued the Villa camp in the week and our sympathies for the players gradually replaced the hurt.

Fast forward a day and a certain Manchester United had their faces painted red by being put to the sword at Leicester. And that after United were leading 3-1. It IS a funny old game. Who would have thought (in the Midlands at least) that those two results would transpire this week-end? We thought that Villa had the best of chances of putting the history book back in order against Arsenal, but it was not to be: Villa's very good start to the season has been interrupted. But against the Gunners we started with some promise - keeping them largely in check and producing 2 or 3 goal attempts (Clark's in particular) which another time might have produced the lead. It looked like a continuation of the Liverpool match until the virus - Trojan-like! - worked its maleficence, and then (with players clearly out-of-sorts) it became a case of damage limitation.

So, onto the Chelsea match. It would not surprise me to find that Chelsea will start the match in a state of super confidence, both as a result of their own performances and their perceived failure of Villa against the Gunners, but (so long as this bug does not do any further damage and the players are fit again) I expect to see Villa giving Chelsea a hell of a match as they did at Liverpool. I am so confident because the new midfield, particularly with the induction of Cleverley, has shown that we do have the ability to get forward well and (sometimes) 'cleverly'! And that, springing from a determined defence, is the sound basis that Graham Taylor has been lauding. Okay, the bug may not have completely gone away by the coming week-end, but (even so) a draw at Chelsea would not surprise me if the main players are able to put in a full stint. 

 Are we downhearted? No, surely we are not. There have been some pleasant surprises this season and I think that after the next three fixtures (which last season looked fearsome with the players Villa then had available) we may be further pleasantly surprised. More so if Benteke reappears at some stage. 


Why not enjoy a primer of Villa's history added to all the main stats from 140 years of football? Please click here for more info.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Wow! Is this really Aston Villa I'm Watching?

Was that Aston Villa I saw yesterday?

Well-disciplined, organised ... everyone working for one another? The game was not one that the purist would be happy with but if you're a Villan you'd be more than happy.

There was concern that Villa's league position had been achieved by their results against ne're-do-wells in the Premiership, but Villa arrived at Anfield with the plan (it would seem) to do a smash-and-grab. They virtually overwhelmed Liverpool for the first 15 minutes, scored what proved to be the winner, and then spent the rest of the game containing a Liverpool side that without Suarez (and now Sturridge) seemed incapable of breaking through. However, I thought that Liverpool's substitutions were a little bizarre, putting on two players that were not better and less tricky than the two they replaced. Indeed  before the subs were made I thought Liverpool stood more chance of equalising.

Another bonus was that the Villa midfield now looks as though it has a Premiership label. On top of the solid performance by the defence since the start of the season - and that yesterday Baker proved to be such a good alternative to Vlaar - Villa's team is beginning to acquire some polish about it.

There's a long way to go yet, but the new management partnership seem to be getting the basics right. And the hitherto worrying upcoming fixtures no longer look quite so fearsome.

EC football next season? I can't see that happening, but I do see a far more interesting season developing and a welcome relief after what's been going on since 2010. There's room for optimism after all.