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

Sunday, 17 March 2019

The 4-Card Trick

Well, there we have it. It must be promotion (mustn't it?) after four straight wins against other promotion hopefuls, with a goal balance of 11-1. And that 11-1 reminds me of a certain match at Villa Park in 1959, but that's another story!

Leastways, we, the club and its supporters, go into another international break in a good mood, with the break also giving a further chance to get more players fit and ready for the resumption. We could soon be in a situation of being spoilt for choice!

Of course, the return of Grealish has helped enormously, but with players like McGinn and Mings contributing as they are, their aggregate play gives a lift for the rest of the team to do better. Sadly we don't have a team of captains, but they do know talent when it's within their midst and the rest of the team have responded in kind. The strange thing, though, is that Abraham's scoring contribution has slowed down since four matches ago! No matter, the other players seem to have found how to hit the back of the net. And the lack of goals conceded of late is heartening.

The one complaint that is still there (for me at least) is that considering the quality of the play and number of chances created, we should be expecting to see a few more goals.

There's credit for this situation to be given to another department: the head coach and his team. Dean Smith's stated preference is for his teams not to hang back but play high and harass the opposition, tactics that clearly produce results.

Well, there's every reason to look forward to the rest of the season. Provided that is that they come back not too relaxed after their two weeks without a match!


Monday, 11 March 2019

The Battle of St. Andrews

People say they look forward to the local 'cup final' as the peak of the season, but yesterday's match had all the marks of a battlefield rather than a sporting arena.

There was certainly nothing sporting about the early scything down of Grealish by a Blues player, followed not long after by the atrocious attack on Grealish by a Blues fan who some described as being a steward at the match. The man's punch was into Grealish's neck near the jaw, so it had plenty of lethality about it.

The way Jack got up - unshaken and unstirred - was to be admired. And after that the game settled down into being a tough encounter but won (of course) by Grealish's 20-yarder. The final justice was done when ex-Villa player Craig Gardner twice missed good chances to equalise.

After it's all said and done, the Villa continue to carry their head high as being the club of quality in the city. But how sad it is that the city's pedestal has fallen so low from the pair of Manchester clubs, and also the Liverpool clubs for that matter.

Still, Villa have gained back-to-back wins for the first time since November, and on Wednesday we travel to Forest to try to get closer to the play-off positions.  The return of McGinn as a second-half sub seemed to add lustre to Villa's game yesterday, so if we
 can get all points at Forest and win the home game against Boro then Villa's recovery would be well under way.

But let's not get our hopes too high! Yet.


Sunday, 3 March 2019

Is The Fog Lifting?

It's as though a script was written, was it not?

Jack returning after so long; 8 points dropped in the last 3 matches; the defence gaining some stability to provide a better base to work from.

The match (particularly in the first half) all spoke of the result of a big frustration building, rather like the larva collecting and stirring at the base of the volcano, I'd say.

No, the result is not just because Jack came back, but everything together made the difference as I see it. It is admitted, though, that Jack's appearance clearly has the effect of lifting the team. Even Conor played well!

I would hate to think though, that we are so dependent on one player to provide the impetus for the team to gel. The character of some of the other players must be lacking, because there are several players with a good level of ability but seem to lack 'push' if left to their own devices.

Job done by h-t, but then we had yet another injury. We can but hope that Chester is available in case he's needed for the 'big one' next week.

Anyway, McGinn will be back.

Let me see, now... How many points are we off the play-offs...?