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

Saturday, 21 November 2015

A Win Next Match Is A Must-be

Remi has seven days in which to motivate Villa to get a win. A defeat (even a draw) against Watford would almost confirm our fears that this is a lost cause. You cannot keep on dropping points - especially against weaker sides like Watford - and have any hope that matters can get turned round by January. And January would be too late to bring in much new blood if we're in a bad position then.

A win this coming week would just give enough lift (I'd hope) to enable the team to gain confidence to face their next (challenging) fixtures.

And in respect of the Everton match, it's the first time this season that Villa have been pulverised and therefore the greater need for next week's win.

Apart from the fact that Everton are a very competent side …
  1. I don’t know why Sanchez was left out at the start … when he came on there was a perceptible difference. I’m no long sure about Gana … perhaps he’s popped his cork.
  2. Why select Grealish? I’m still trying to work out what there is in his game that’s supposed to make a big difference. Bring him on as sub maybe.

Remi has to start playing the same side week-in and week-out … but in my view it’s got to be (assuming Okore is fit, otherwise there’s no option with Richardson really) …

Guzan, Hutton, Richards, Okore, Clark, Westwood, Sanchez, Gil, Gabby, Gestede, Ayew.

We wait. And pray.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Isn't It Time That Tim Was Left Alone?

Today I was attracted by an on-line article heading stating: "Remi Garde Already Beloved Because He’s Not Tim Sherwood". Attracted? No, wrong word, I was somewhat repulsed.

There does seem to be a contingent that aim to vilify Tim and his efforts at Villa Park. That he made mistakes is without question, but let's examine the how's and why's he came to be there, and the positive things he in fact did accomplish.

When he was appointed in February, he replaced a manager whose record had been abysmal and at that point Villa had only scored 12 goals in the league. Tim came in, moved things around a bit and before long we were scoring and gaining points. The season did finish with something of a whimper, it has to be admitted, but at least Villa were not relegated and Villa had appeared in a Cup Final after a fine semi-final display at Wembley.

Back in February, Villa were virtually at the point of relegation. Tim was hastily recruited by a Villa management that had made some crass decisions over the preceding 4 years (okay, Tom Fox wasn't in the CEO chair all that time, but he had contributed to some of the problems). The Villa management had left it until virtually the last minute to get in a new manager, and clearly did so only after Villa had slipped into the bottom three despite many calls from the fans to do something earlier. They had left it so late there was no time to go through a short list for interview.

Up to the summer, Tim's rather small managerial experience at Spurs and Villa had collected impressive stats: a high proportion of his matches had been wins.

The summer change-over was the real start of the trouble. Not only did Tim lose arguably his best three (or four) players, but it appears he was presented with a fait accompli in respect of most of the signings recommendations. This, clearly, did not go down too well with Tim.

For me, how Tim was treated by the board smacks of sharp business practice. He was somewhat set up. Yes, Tim could have dealt with it better, but some of the failure is due to the players themselves. And the board.

So, Tim: thanks a lot for what you did accomplish. You did breathe life back into the club for awhile. Good luck for the future!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Perhaps I Won't Be Able to Garde Against Eating Humble Pie!

Well, 5 stars to the manager for his team selection. I applaud him for leaving Jack on the bench and didn't even use him. Doubtless Garde's already seen that Jack needs to work on his game and the media seem to be indicating that Garde is not happy about the hype surrounding Jack.

Also Garde did not have to be embarrassed about leaving out Gabby and Westwood (if that was his intention) as they are both injured.

Villa were lucky 3 times in the second half - it may have been 4 times actually. But maybe that luck has come to change around Villa's fortunes completely.

Sterling missed a point blank header, then another player got his legs tangled when a tap in was all that was required, and they hit the bar in injury time. Guzan also spilled a save but was lucky to see Clark on hand to get the ball away.

Villa did very well first half but you get the impression that City pace the game and let the opposition tire themselves out. Second half it was mostly a different story with Villa only very occasionally getting some moves together.

But it was a vast improvement - skill-wise, team selection wise and effort wise. Concentration was there ... aided by some luck. A recovery from the relegation zone could, indeed, be 'on', but I continue to be worried about our strikers.

Mmmm.. it was even a pleasure to see Zoggy come on ... he gave them something to worry about a couple of times.

Biggest joke (second half) was when Gestede did a customary throw-in back to their goalkeeper after a player injury, but he threw it at a fair pace and Hart (instead of letting the ball go out for a goal kick) attempted to field the ball ... it skimmed off him and went out for a corner!

Anyway ... to get a point off Man City after seven successive league defeats is a huge relief. We go into another international break, but this time with more hope for the next games we have to play.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Being Guarded About Garde

We wonder whether KevinMac can stimulate a mini-recovery before the arrival of the 'permanent' manager, and we contemplate also whether the apparent nominee for the job - Remi Garde - will be able to lift Villa out of this (now) yearly mire we're in.

Garde's lack of real experience in the Prem (apart from 3 years and 30 games as a player with Arsenal in the 1990s), and - indeed - lack of managerial experience of any kind - seems unlikely to provide confidence that he will find the magic to keep Villa up. But at least he can make himself understood with the French players we have.

Another blogger sums it up for me when he says:
Nothing will change until Lerner sells the club and the club is restructured with quality football people who actually know what they are doing.

The biggest concern (beyond the present state of affairs) is the one concerning who will be the new buyer, and I fear he/it will be nothing more than a clone of Mr. Lerner, who (in turn) has been something of a clone of Doug – with the added factor of being remote and out-of-tune with Brummidgam and Brummies. And also the “brightest” exponent of spin.

When – and if – Aston Villa’s ailments are properly sorted, only then we will have something truly to cheer about. Yes, we will always be disappointed from time to time results-wise (that has always been the case) but so long as we see the club being restored to something recognisable as that we recall from our youth then the disappointment will be transitory.

You know, looking back as to what fans said 100+ years ago when there was a poor patch makes me wonder whether they would have survived what fans have suffered this past 5 years. But, alas, I can’t see our troubles being removed – Garde or no Garde.

I wish any new manager all the very best, but, very sadly, I doubt that Villa will be revived – in the form that we’d hope for, anyway.