Villa Blog

Leicester And The Mentor Versus The Pupil

It’s Leicester and games come quick and fast this month, and at Premier league level that means utilizing your squad depth. It’s something I am not accustomed to seeing down Villa Park. It always felt like our previous managers had their favourites. As a fan you could pretty much name the team. So I don’t think the opposition had much trouble second guessing us either. 

From what I have seen under Steven Gerrard so far that’s about to change. I’ve not seen it happen too often at Villa park. But I expect Steven Gerrard to again change the starting line-up for Leicester this Sunday. He doesn’t seem the type who will shy away from making big calls, or worry about upsetting individuals. We know Leon Bailey will be missing, and both Danny Ings &Β Matt Targett are doubtful. But who else, if anyone, could be about to lose their place? And who comes in for them. I can see Jacob Ramsay being recalled and possibly Ashley Young or even Morgan Sanson getting a start. I think the bench will be equally difficult to second guess. But I expect to see a few youngsters make the cut such as Archer, Biddace & Chukwuemeka.Β 

Bounce Back Ability

Regardless of who gets the nod on Sunday. It’s important that we bounce back from the disappointment of defeat in midweek and get back to winning ways. However, I am not taking anything for granted as Leicester on their day can mix it with the best. So it’s imperative we start the game, in the same vein as we ended the last game, on the front foot. If we do that, then we give ourselves a fantastic opportunity of picking up three points. I am hoping the lads stay grounded after the praise they received for their midweek endeavours. Because we can ill afford to be complacent.

I suspect being inconsistent is perhaps the most challenging and frustrating issue a manager finds himself needing to address. It has long been Villa’s Achilles heel. Hence that old chestnut, this is Villa we’re talking about, we never make things easy for ourselves. If we are to challenge the top six, then we have to address our inconsistency. Top teams do not play out of their skin one game, and then the following game, struggle to even do the basics right. It’s insane how many times in the past we have missed golden opportunities to kick on.

Playing The Hand Your Dealt

I didn’t believe Steven Gerrard was the next messiah when his appointment was announced. And I am certainly not going to put him on a pedestal now just because of a few early positive performances and results. However, with every passing game and interview he gives. I become more impressed by him. To put things into perspective, every manager, if not all who he faces will be more experienced than himself. Admittingly this is pure conjecture, but after Tuesday evening’s game, I couldn’t help but think that if only Steven Gerrard had Pep Guadiola’s managerial experience. And the same quality of player at his disposal. Then it’s quite conceivable to believe thatΒ Pep would have been lucky to escape Villa park a winner. I guess another way of looking at it is, would the result have been different if Pep had been in our dugout and Steve Gerrard in theirs?

Again only speculation, probably because I want to believe it to be the case. But I suspect at half time he told the players in no uncertain terms to up their game. Because the players that re-emerged in the second half improved greatly and gave a performance worthy of what I imagine Steven Gerrard demands.

I think it’s fair to say that with every passing game under Steven Gerrard our performances have improved. So on that basis, I am expecting at least a hard earned point against Leicester. But i would not be surprised if the star pupil schooled his old mentor and takes all three points.


89 Responses

      1. AVFCVillablog

        For some reason I have just had a vision of a nodding churchill dog you see in the back of cars 🀣🀣

  1. HenleyVillain

    Yep. Merry Christmas to BB, VV and of course, to all who look in but wish to remain silent. πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…
    (it’s your right I suppose 🀣)

  2. AVFCVillablog

    Should you see this

    What can I say, obviously I would rather have not received your last comment, or better still, got an email from you instead, but each to their own, anyway have a fab Christmas stay lucky be safe all the best to you and your family for the future

          1. HenleyVillain

            Shame more traffic can’t be generated. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best site, graphically and otherwise of all three that I contribute to. I am guilty of not contributing enough. Looks like it’s been an uphill battle since, sad to day, Begley disappeared. Maybe he could be persuaded back, especially now as we have a manager with a foreign accent !

          2. AVFCVillablog

            The amount of traffic this site gets is pretty steady my issue is converting that data into active comment contributions I thought maybe keeping site ad free would encourage more active contributors but that has not been the case. Not sure what else i can do

            P.s there are no bans in place posters who have gone awol have chose to by choice.

          3. Vancouvervillan

            Don’t really understand why if folks are reading the posts they don’t join in? Clearly we need help 🀣

            Is there anyone out there ?
            We don’t bite πŸŽ…

          4. AVFCVillablog

            Done it myself in the past mate when I first came across Damians site I kept visiting for ages and just read the posts before i eventually made a comment and joined in.

          5. Vancouvervillan

            Still shocked at Begley & Ron getting upset with you, especially after Begley put so much effort in supporting you. I expected both to have somewhat thicker skins tbh, and ffs not many take you too seriously do they 🀣

            Anyway, onwards and upwards I miss em both but very much enjoy talking to you & Henley even if it’s a staggered time related response most of the time.
            I’m with Henley I like the format the most here I think.

            Anyway lads hope all is well with you both this Christmas week, there’s not much good news around lately thank goodness for the footie.
            Be well πŸŽ…

          6. AVFCVillablog

            To be honest Begley’s disappearing act did surprise me given how he had previously stood and fought his corner with James, so i have no idea why he felt he needed to react to my comment like he has. I sent him an email but never got a reply that again was unusual behaviour. BFR on the other hand was less of a surprise he had previously grabbed his coat on another occasion and only returned while Begley had stepped into help out on site.

      1. AVFCVillablog

        Look it’s each to there own i have never had a issue with any poster who contributes to other sites, at the end of the day I have not got a monopoly, it comes down to personal choice, I appreciate those who do come on here and contribute to this site regardless if their opinions differ to my own. however in JCV case, his actions have left an unpleasant bitter taste behind, imo he’s used such a lame excuse, noticeably after he’s got his feet firmly back under the table in the bullshitters arms. I don’t know why he felt the need to say anything ? I can only assume it’s helped with his concience. I have wished him well and thats that. I can only imagine how James feels about it, all things considered. Anyway life goes on.

  3. HenleyVillain

    When we getting the next games up for the predictor ?
    Off out in the morning, and then going straight to the match.
    Would hate to miss the opportunity to re-take the lead 🀣

    Oh, don’t tell me, they’re already there, I just cant see them !

      1. AVFCVillablog

        Sorry buddy regardless of us all being opinionated such is the lack of Interaction on here now i don’t really see the need for new leader posts so often, to be honest I have been thinking of calling it a day and just turning site into a villa aggregation site.

        1. HenleyVillain

          Be a shame that. You’ve put an awful lot of effort in.
          Expecting Leeds to beat Arsenal 1-0.
          We’ll leapfrog above Spurs with a win today.

  4. AVFCVillablog

    Steven Gerrard joined the media this afternoon for his press conference ahead of Villa v Burnley

    Gerrard on Burnley: β€œThey are a very experienced team, with a very experienced coach, who doesn’t get the respect he deserves.

    β€œThey want to make the game extremely uncomfortable for you, so we have to be ready for the battle, the challenge and the fight.”

    Gerrard: β€œIf there’s a headline from this conference, I want it to be that player safety and welfare has to be taken into consideration here because this is not just a COVID situation, this is what comes on the back of it.”

    Gerrard: β€œWe’re having to use more players for more games and more minutes because we’ve got some players missing with COVID.

    β€œThat puts more strain and stress on the players individually and you pick up more injuries on the back of that.”

    Gerrard on his squad: β€œTo post the points return that they have in a short space of time is very positive.

    β€œThe players deserve a lot of credit, they have been really good across the board.”

    Nakamba has undergone an operation. SG said Surgery was successful but he will now be out between 3 to 4 months.

    In other news
    Ashley Young is 50/50 for tomorrow clash against Burnley, while Keinan Davis, Morgan Sanson and Anwar El Ghazi are all out, as is Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore.

    Villa are still waiting on the results of the pcr tests the squad took this morning.

    1. HenleyVillain

      He comes over in interviews very well doesn’t he ?
      A lot less cliche ridden than most managers offerings I’d say.
      He’s impressive and I think that will come across to the players in a very positive way.

  5. AVFCVillablog

    You know me I like to keep it football related but wanted to share this

    My new bot capacha 🀣🀣

  6. AVFCVillablog

    Believe me I have put them up

    Vancouver its not my fault your crap🀣

    If kick off comes around and you still have not accessed it and put your scores on I will make mine nil and void for this evening

    I cant be any fairer
    You do realise it wont change me still being top of league πŸ˜‚

    Seriously No idea what issue is with you both it was working fine last night and is today for me I have checked double checked, even cleared cache this way etc. I asked the author of plugin to take a look and he’s reported back everything appears ok from is end so not sure what can I do ?

    Of course you could just be winding me up I guess see pic


          1. Vancouvervillan

            Okay , I refreshed and have them now 😎
            You snooze you loose 😴

          2. AVFCVillablog

            Magically ? Did you put you spectacles on πŸ˜‚

            I’m expecting you to get max pts tonight but the way your day as gone Everton and Toon will probably both win lol


          3. HenleyVillain

            Yep. Pretty magical.
            Tried the age old solution of turn it off then turn it back on again.
            Never usually fails for me πŸ˜‚

          4. AVFCVillablog

            Looking at your first prediction it seems todays events have took their toll and it affected your judgement 🀣🀣

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Real shame, just as I think he proved all he needed was a chance at regular game time without powder puff Luiz next to him.

      1. AVFCVillablog

        Agreed just starting to show some real form it’s not that long ago some Villa fans were saying he was $hitπŸ‘

  7. HenleyVillain

    Somethings amiss with the prediction form boss.
    Can’t enter anything (using Mozilla browser, usually it’s fine)

    1. AVFCVillablog

      Hi buddy I am not sure what you was trying to do because I have only just put tonight’s fixtures up

      If you was trying to fill in last nights predictions then that would explain it because of the cut off time prior to kick off will have passed preventing it

      To make sure I have just installed firefox myself and used it to add tonight’s fixtures I then tested the prediction sheet and it allows me to fill it in so what ever the issue it’s on your side

      Let me know how you get on I be around for a wee while yet.


  8. AVFCVillablog

    Apologies in advance for any inconvienience it may cause but while there is uncertainty surrounding fixtures actually being played the prediction sheet will be updated daily.

      1. AVFCVillablog

        Sorry bud, it messes up the system if I have to delete fixtures because obviously at some point they get rearranged.
        Luckily I just heard about Leicester v Tottenham being called off. I am just hoping the other two tonight go ahead.

        I would like to say that hopefully normality will resume but I can only see things getting worse, i can see them needing to put the season on hold for a while.

        Given the WC is next year and any delay now would mean the regular season ending later and starting back sooner to fit around WC plans, so I think they have there fingers crossed at present.

        1. Vancouvervillan

          TBF my time difference hasn’t changed 😁 I’ve already missed a few weeks here and there anyway.
          I know you like to win πŸ† πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  9. Vancouvervillan

    Well good result and another 3 points in the bag. Not thrilled with the performance, we should have buried them really with their defensive problems. Covid in the camp again, not good, feel a bit for AEG & Sanson and of course Nakamba, he’s been brilliant. A scan on the knee doesn’t sound good for any early return.

  10. HenleyVillain

    Listening to the game on Talk Sport.
    Can’t stand the new commentator on BBC Radio WM – has to be the worst I’ve ever heard.
    Sounds like we’re playing really well.

          1. HenleyVillain

            I’d go for one of the Bodymoor Heath car park attendants and the Trinity Road Stand toilet cleaner 🀣

  11. AVFCVillablog

    Aston Villa have been dealt a big injury blow with fears that midfielder Marvelous Nakamba could miss the rest of the season.

    Zimbabwe have confirmed that Nakamba will not be available for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

  12. HenleyVillain

    Trepidation. I think that’s the word for today.
    Despite our recent upturn, and the relatively good performance against Citeh, I can’t see anything other than defeat today.
    Unlike me I know, as I’m usually a glass half full type. UTMV

  13. AVFCVillablog

    Aston Villa have struck a deal with the Zimbabwe Football Association which will see Marvelous Nakamba missing the pre AFCON training camp & possibly fly directly to Cameroon for the tournament start.

    Wellington Mpandare:
    β€œVilla have written to us asking for special favours regarding the release of Nakamba. They requested that Nakamba remains with their team for their Premier League games and then they will release him on January 3rd. We looked into the matter and weighed the pros and cons. The fact that he will be playing competitive football at that level means a lot. It’s because he is doing well at the moment and we also want him to bring his best form to the national team. So we agreed to their request and Marve will be joining the camp a bit later.”

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Makes sense, he ain’t going to get better preparation than playing for us every game is he. Let’s hope they’re knocked out pretty quickly too. Will he even be allowed to fly in or out of Cameroon?
      I wonder who SG is going to play DM in his absence if we don’t sign anyone?
      I’m guessing Traore won’t be going anywhere πŸ˜‰

  14. Vancouvervillan

    Seems no matter who our manager is the same var and ref controversies just keep on coming. The top six never have to put up with this !
    Seems they made yesterday up as they went along, reminded me of the off side against city last season, ridiculous decions going against all common sence and reason, with the refs union backing up each other all over the media. Leicester had 25 fouls yesterday … no bookings !
    They should rename VAR …
    AVR πŸ™„

  15. HenleyVillain

    Drawn away to Man U in the FA Cup.
    Couldn’t be much more difficult could it ?
    I was rather hoping for an easy draw, would love to see us win it.

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Yeah tough draw. I guess we have had some easier draws in recent years. Run to the last league cup final was in our favour. Not so much the fa cup with Liverpool and our kids playing due to covid.

  16. Vancouvervillan

    Thinking about the team for tomorrow, pretty sure it will be 433/4321 but SG will have some tough decisions to make. I hadn’t realized Ings might be in contention as well. All sorts of combinations for the two behind Watkins, who is surely nailed on after Wednesdays performance. Ings is capable of playing there as is SJM, Sanson, Luiz, Ramsey, Chuckawenga and AEG. I think I’ll be Buendia & Luiz with SJM and Sanson either side of Nakamba. If Targett is concussed it’ll be Young at LB.
    If we need pace then Bidace could be used from the bench also.
    Looking forward to the game, Leicester have a very capable MF, we’ll need to be on our game, hope we see a little more attacking intent then we did 1st half against city.
    UTV !

  17. HenleyVillain

    Not so sure it was the half time team talk that led to the improvement. I think it was more, with a 2 goal cushion, the Citeh players took their foot off the pedal. And our early second half goal would have made them start thinking about their own vulnerabilities. From that point, we were much more evenly matched. Sometimes belief is everything in football.
    And as for reversing the managers, well it looks obvious to me that Gerrard would have won the game in Peps place. Squad wise, we are a million miles away from where they are. FFS they had a Β£100m player on the bench, alongside of Foden (who in my opinion is a far better player then ykw) !

    1. Vancouvervillan

      Not sure if they took their foot of the gas, but not sure they could have played like the first half for the whole game anyway. Bernardo Silva is unstoppable at the moment, been great to watch this season.