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ricardo

Ricardo's report v Villa

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Posted (edited)

It was very grey and damp when I got up this morning but things gradually improved and it was bright and very pleasant as kick off approached. Once again I found it difficult to get into a positive mood, bearing in mind the extent of our injury problems but hope springs eternal and this looked like a game we could get something from.

Right from the off you could see that this wasn't going to be a cagey affair. Villa came forward strongly and a couple of crosses whizzed through our penalty area without anyone getting a touch before McGinn shot wide. Then it was City's turn and Stiepermann might have done better after a long carry to pick out Pukki but unfortunately he tried to hit it and the chance was blocked away. Cantwell was looking lively down the left as City came again but the pass inside found nobody in space and eventually Stiepermann flashed another effort high and wide.

The game looked very open and I was expecting a goal to come at any time and it quickly did but at the wrong end. Villa had kept the ball outside our area for quite a while before a cross came in and Wesley, unaccountably, had all the  time and space in the world to bring the ball down on his chest, turn and rifle the ball past McGovern from six yards. Jesus Christ! defending has to be better if you want a result in this league.

To their credit City came back strongly and there was a big scramble after a Buendia free kick and the ball bobbed about like a pin ball machine before finally deflecting out of play. Minutes later there was another almighty scramble as City swept forward again. neat play in the area left several City players having a swing at it only for some desperate blocking and there were penalty appeals as Mings went down almost on the line. Pukki seemed certain there was a handball in there but I couldn't be certain myself and VAR confirmed the refs decision to play on.

As Villa swung onto the attack it seemed any danger was gone only for Leitner to have his pass picked off in a dangerous area and Villa said" think you very much" as the ball was played across goal from the left and Wesley, tapped in an easy second. Suicidal stuff, Villa didn't look any better than us but they kept it simple in defence whereas we tried to overplay.

At the other end Lewis was unlucky with a twenty yarder that Heaton saved well to his left but in truth for all our huff and puff we found it difficult to worm a way through a packed defence. To make matters worse our naivity was again on show ten minutes before the break when McLean brought Wesley down in the area. No argument about the penalty but the Villa scorer was denied his hat trick by a good save to his right by McGovern, and thankfully the City keeper even managed to divert the follow up over the bar for a corner.

At the break all the talk around me was about our defensive frailty. If you need to score three times to get a win then you are not going to pick up many points in this league. I don't know if there is an option to bring in a free agent but if we go on much longer with a weakened central defence and defensive midfield, any hopes of survival will be gone before Xmas.

The second half started with City on the front foot with some nice possession up to the eighteen yard line but then losing the ball and allowing the visitors to come away. With only five minutes gone City again made a mess of passing the ball on halfway and Grealish was able to start and finish a move without a single challenge. Yes, we like to see open football but there are two sides to the game and on the defensive side City looked totally inadequate. Ten minutes later we were treated to a replay when this time, Buendia tried to be too clever and lost the ball thirty yards out. Hourihane just had to look up and strike beauty into the top corner that gave McGovern no chance.

By now I was just hoping it wouldn't get any worse. City were still playing some nice passing football and Cantwell did brilliantly to work himself a shooting position but again Heaton was equal to it. The home side had plenty of pressure and a string of corners but Villa defended solidly in numbers and were quick on the break when the opportunity presented.

Farke brought Drmic on for Pukki and Roberts for Stieperman but continued to flatter to decieve whenever they got close to goal. I think even my son had given up any hopes of a 4-4 draw at this stage and when Amadou's pass put McLean in an impossible position it was no surprise when the ball was lost and within three passes it was again in the back of the City net for number five. McGovern must have been shell shocked, what a game to make a Premier League debut.

Credit to the boys for still trying to pass the ball but self inflicted heavy defeats will destroy the confidence of any team. The fact that Drmic scrambled a consolation goal in the dying embers is really neither here nor there and I can't have been alone in feeling a strange sort of relief when Mr Madley blew up to end the torture. I think we all knew that this season would be an uphill task and we would need a stroke of good fortune to survive and the sudden spate of injuries have certainly made this even more difficult. I am not ready to give it up yet and for me hope always springs eternal but if our back line remains this porous for very much longer it will be over before it has barely started.

Yes I like to see my team playing good open football but there are two sides to this game and its no use being good at one side if you are weak at the other, and I have to say that defensively we are painfully weak. Amadou and Godfrey look like strangers and McLean and Leitner, for all their industrious work, look very lightweight when the pressure is on.  If anybody wants to know how to quickly get relegated from this league they only need to watch a replay of this game. Today we gave a masterclass in how it is done.

 

 

Edited by ricardo
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Good report as usual. You used the word lightweight in your last sentence, and that is the biggest problem for me.

The Premiership teams seemed to have grown by a foot and a half since we were last there. And out on a couple of stone. Each week now is increasingly like boys vs men.

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Thanks for the report Ricardo

As painful as it was to read this report, it must have been a lot worse to watch the game in person. 

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1 minute ago, Mind the gap said:

Good report as usual. You used the word lightweight in your last sentence, and that is the biggest problem for me.

The Premiership teams seemed to have grown by a foot and a half since we were last there. And out on a couple of stone. Each week now is increasingly like boys vs men.

yes, this is indeed the problem, Leitner is a good player but he's not strong enough to be a central defensive midfielder. The same applies to McLean. Amadou in midfield and someone of the calibre of Tim Klose at the back would make this look a far stronger side.

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after all the good early season work - a great second half against Liverpool, the demolition of Newcastle and the performance against Man City that had the whole country talking - we seem today to have lost our spirit. The lads have taken a few beatings and it showed. Today, against a side that we were promoted with and expected to take points from, we were outclassed and it will do nothing for our confidence, let alone all our injuries.

This is not a time for excuses though. There is a major rebuild of confidence and a look at our tactics required. We simply cannot defend - or play out of defence - the way we are doing at the moment. Either we tighten up at the back or today will become a regular feature of the season. If there is any consolation, we got off to a slow start last season yet managed to turn it around. hopefully we can learn from this as we did before.

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1 minute ago, Surfer said:

Thanks for the report Ricardo

As painful as it was to read this report, it must have been a lot worse to watch the game in person. 

I've seen far worse Surfer.

I am hopeful Farke can retieve something from this season but I don't think we can wait until the injury list clears up before action is taken.

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2 minutes ago, Rock The Boat said:

after all the good early season work - a great second half against Liverpool, the demolition of Newcastle and the performance against Man City that had the whole country talking - we seem today to have lost our spirit. The lads have taken a few beatings and it showed. Today, against a side that we were promoted with and expected to take points from, we were outclassed and it will do nothing for our confidence, let alone all our injuries.

This is not a time for excuses though. There is a major rebuild of confidence and a look at our tactics required. We simply cannot defend - or play out of defence - the way we are doing at the moment. Either we tighten up at the back or today will become a regular feature of the season. If there is any consolation, we got off to a slow start last season yet managed to turn it around. hopefully we can learn from this as we did before.

I wouldn't say we were outclassed although the scoreline would suggest it.

We had as many shots as they did, more corners and more possession. Where it went wrong was the suicidal passing in dangerous areas that led to easy goals. In contrast when Villa were under pressure they got everyone behind the ball.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Rock The Boat said:

If there is any consolation, we got off to a slow start last season yet managed to turn it around. hopefully we can learn from this as we did before.

Very true, and I've seen it written on here many times before, but.

We have now played 8 games out of 38 which is a tad over 20%.

That's a bit of a difference from last season when we were poor for the first 5 or 6 games out of 46 (13%)

After 6 games last season we got better. After 6 games this season we've got worse, much worse from what I saw this afternoon.

If we are going to learn from this and improve then it had better be sooner rather than later.

It may only be the beginning of October but with a 5th of the season's games already gone we really don't have that much time to sort things out.

 

 

Edited by Making Plans

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We were certainly not outclassed although from the outset we seemed to lack confidence. McGovern could not be blamed for the goals but there was a lot of indecision on his part when it came to starting moves when he had the ball in his hands. For some odd reason we appeared to lose our normal rhythm and shape. There were several occasions when two of our players went for the same ball and three or four players were in very close proximity with Pukki left on his own. In the first half we had a few chances blocked by last ditch tackles and with the ref not helping us you could see it was not to be our day. I thought our young players stuck with it and both Buendia and Cantwell had good games. On the other hand Steipermann and McClean were fairly anonymous and poor passes from Lietner contributed to at least two of the goals. I believe the long and exceptional injury list must be having a detrimental effect on the Club in general.

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It was painful to watch today as Villa were not that good, but we made them look good. Irrespective of our injury list, too many players failed to pick up runners, failed to cut out crosses and don't get me started on the amount of times we just gave the ball away. There are plenty of games left and we will get injured players back soon, but similar performances like today could soon see us anchored in that bottom three. Farke has said that we will not change our way of playing, but he may need to tweak his tactics a little as we are becoming very predictable.

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I agree completely with physical comments. I don't recall the Prem being so big and strong. West Ham was where it first struck me. All over the pitch we lost individual physical battles. Same at Burnley and Palace. And yesterday.

A good big 'un vs a good littl'un and all that.

Ricardo mentions taking action before the injury crisis improves but to be honest I don't know what we can do? We needed another CB but couldn't get one in . SW and DF knew this but the constraints of offering players effectively a one year deal with a relegation clause doesn't appeal. We saw this too with the bloke that eventually signed for Nice.

 We can't sign anyone else . the Academy hasn't got anyone near the level required in defence or in DM position.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

This is what we are, how we play and what has brought us success. The methodology is a long term blue print with Auxerre-Ajax-Barcelona projections. We are at Auxerre stage. 

Change - whilst easy to demand - won’t bring success in the medium or long term because it is not what the model is built on. We have made the most of limited resources and if it was so easy everyone would do it.

Holland of the 70’s had a wonderful total football model - probably the best single philosophy ever - but even that can be countered, neutered and ‘spoilt’ by teams set up to stop it. 

Holland, Ajax and Barcelona are still built on it to this day however, so it is endearing and considered beneficial over a long enough period.

We have achieved incredible success on limited resources to be in this position and it would be utterly foolish to abandon what got us here, or even tweak it much. We will over perform our budget and parameters with a clear, understood pattern of play and philosophy that allows us to compete (sometimes) with those of much higher resources. 

The alternative is to buy slightly worse players than everyone else and try to battle on heart, wanting it, being up for it and not making so many mistakes. 

Some of you will have spotted - over 60 years of watching England - that some of these last sentences are foolish platitudes, spouted by cheap media offering simple answers to deeper problems that they either don’t understand or don’t wish to confront.

It was always success that was going to stress the new model. We are not just playing our own moves. The standard of the opposition, their quality, high physicality, their analytical and tactical assessments and their respect for our game has gone up several levels.

Parma

 

Edited by Parma Ham's gone mouldy
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Nice philosophical interpretation of the game.....But yesterday, I just thought we were absolute sh!t......

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12 minutes ago, Parma Ham's gone mouldy said:

This is what we are, how we play and what has brought us success. The methodology is a long term blue print with Auxerre-Ajax-Barcelona projections. We are at Auxerre stage. 

Change - whilst easy to demand - won’t bring success in the medium or long term because it is not what the model is built on. We have made the most of limited resources and if it was so easy everyone would do it.

Holland of the 70’s had a wonderful total football model - probably the best single philosophy ever - but even that can be countered, neutered and ‘spoilt’ by teams set up to stop it. 

Holland, Ajax and Barcelona are still built on it to this day however, so it is endearing and considered beneficial over a long enough period.

We have achieved incredible success on limited resources to be in this position and it would be utterly foolish to abandon what got us here, or even tweak it much. We will over perform our budget and parameters with a clear, understood pattern of play and philosophy that allows us to compete (sometimes) with those of much higher resources. 

The alternative is to buy slightly worse players than everyone else and try to battle on heart, wanting it, being up for it and not making so many mistakes. 

Some of you will have spotted - over 60 years of watching England - that some of these last sentences are foolish platitudes, spouted by cheap media offering simple answers to deeper problems that they either don’t understand or don’t wish to confront.

It was always success that was going to stress the new model. We are not just playing our own moves. The standard of the opposition, their quality, high physicality, their analytical and tactical assessments and their respect for our game has gone up several levels.

Parma

 

Excellent post and I agree with 99% of it. The bit I'd disagree with is the bold part.

If what we're doing isn't working or getting results, and in the last three games it quite simply hasn't been, then it would be folly to not consider a subtle 'tweak'.

The two options over the coming weeks would be the consideration of a back three to give ourselves a little protection (if we have the numbers available) or the reintroduction of Hernandez, who is ahead of schedule, to give us a pacier, more direct option in attack.

They are minor changes but one (or both) of these needs to be considered rather than using exactly the same tactics and players, which seem to have been figured out by our opponents and are no longer working.

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Just seen the goals. Christ someone needs to teach Godfrey how to defend. Far too often this season he has been doing the same thing over and over again, and for at least 2 of the goals he has done it again - just standing there doing nothing.

Far too many times the scorer is in acres of space, as is Godfrey. Has noone ever told him about marking? Has he not been coached to get tight to the man in space?

At least twice yesterday and countless times this season Godfrey has been an onlooking bystander. When his centre-back partner gets drawn to the ball, he needs to get tight to the opponent positioned between them, he needs to respond, but he doesnt. He doesnt react he just stands there leaving their striker in space and stood in acres of it himself. What does he think he is doing in that moment? How does he think he is influencing the game.

Cue the 'stop bashing the youth, he's only young' responses, but he's been doing it all season and shows no sign of improvement in this area at all. He needs to resolve this if he wants to get better and we want to stop conceding easy goals.

It's just bad defending, pure and simple. He needs to learn, and fast

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Grealish had so much time and space.......he could have topped his tan up whilst we ran around like headless chickens.....

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4 minutes ago, The Great Mass Debater said:

Just seen the goals. Christ someone needs to teach Godfrey how to defend. Far too often this season he has been doing the same thing over and over again, and for at least 2 of the goals he has done it again - just standing there doing nothing.

Far too many times the scorer is in acres of space, as is Godfrey. Has noone ever told him about marking? Has he not been coached to get tight to the man in space?

At least twice yesterday and countless times this season Godfrey has been an onlooking bystander. When his centre-back partner gets drawn to the ball, he needs to get tight to the opponent positioned between them, he needs to respond, but he doesnt. He doesnt react he just stands there leaving their striker in space and stood in acres of it himself. What does he think he is doing in that moment? How does he think he is influencing the game.

Cue the 'stop bashing the youth, he's only young' responses, but he's been doing it all season and shows no sign of improvement in this area at all. He needs to resolve this if he wants to get better and we want to stop conceding easy goals.

It's just bad defending, pure and simple. He needs to learn, and fast

I think Amadou has been more culpable than Godfrey, though. More goals have been conceded as a result of Amadou errors than Godfrey ones, so far. 

But I see your point. Godfrey, for all his potential, isn't a natural defender as he's relatively new to the position but if he wants to make it at the top (and he certainly has the potential to do so) then he needs to learn the basics of defending.

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I don't think its a case of altering the philosophy. We are simply short on numbers and in dire need of sticking plaster. Its either that or we just let it all bleed away.

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Posted (edited)

In fairness to Godfrey he's had more partners than Elizabeth Taylor.

Difficult to build an understanding of what each other will do, or not do, in certain situations and act appropriately.

This takes time when your partner is either new, playing out of position or useless.

 

Edited by Making Plans

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Godfrey just went from £50m player to unable to defend.

Part of the model is offering chances to younger players sooner, trusting them for longer and allowing for their education on the job. 

It is something to be proud of, to support and get behind. It is not cost-free however. 

Parma 

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4 minutes ago, Parma Ham's gone mouldy said:

Godfrey just went from £50m player to unable to defend.

Part of the model is offering chances to younger players sooner, trusting them for longer and allowing for their education on the job. 

It is something to be proud of, to support and get behind. It is not cost-free however. 

Parma 

Thing is @Parma Ham's gone mouldy is that there is a solid cohort of posters on here who have never bought into the philosophy. They went quiet when the team was winning but are back now with a vengence. They really do want to go back to old school English values because that is what they grew up with, and what they understand.

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1 hour ago, Making Plans said:

In fairness to Godfrey he's had more partners than Elizabeth Taylor.

Difficult to build an understanding of what each other will do, or not do, in certain situations and act appropriately.

This takes time when your partner is either new, playing out of position or useless.

 

Does he not go to Colney in the week ?

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Posted (edited)

If anyone else has been available Godfrey wouldn't have played. He's having an op tomorrow. Let's hope he recovers fast.

Last weekend we had posts about the injuries making no difference. This week the injuries are totally ignored.

Edited by nutty nigel

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I don't think there is huge demand for a change in style but there is some criticism of individual players who probably haven't lived up to expectations.

What people are concerned about is Farke's seemingly unwillingness to even tweak things a little. At 2-0 down we really needed to force the issue as had we got to 2-1 then Villa would have got very nervous. But Roberts on again far too late, Stiepermann allowed to stay on the pitch after barely touching the ball or making a positive contribution throughout. Surely some games we are going to have to resort to 2 upfront?

43 minutes ago, Parma Ham's gone mouldy said:

Godfrey just went from £50m player to unable to defend.

Part of the model is offering chances to younger players sooner, trusting them for longer and allowing for their education on the job. 

It is something to be proud of, to support and get behind. It is not cost-free however. 

Parma 

Good point. So where was Idah yesterday? 2-0 down at home in a must not lose game.

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Godfrey not being able to defend is the biggest knee jerk nonsense so far Godfrey is a class act. The amount of scouts sat in the directors box watching him pays testament to that. I think Rio Ferdinand is already on 10% ! 

 

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Godfrey's having to learn at the highest level without any help, and has been promoted to Captain, without any leading characters around him. And all at 20. It's not a pretty environment to learn.And having shipped 58 goals last season, this fact shows we needed to strengthen! 

If he recovers quickly, I'd be inclined to put Byram (sorry just don't have confidence in Hanley-we really should have shipped him out and look at investing in an upgrade during the summer!) in next to Godfrey, as he's got that natural defensive brain.

We may have got Amadou in for his versatility, but central defence is clearly not one of his strengths. Byram might bring some calm to the defence and allow Amadou to show his strength is in central midfield. That also might free up Leitner to play a more open role. I'd have to drop Mclean.

And I think Steiperman has had enough games to up his contribution, which just hasn't come. I think we have to let Roberts have a crack and Drmic to come on later in games if we need more direct presence up top.

In current injury crisis thats the best I can thunbk of.

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I also think Farke wasted a chance to blood some more youngsters yesterday in what was effectively another free hit game. If he'd started with the young keeper and centre back and restored Amadou to DM, pushing Leitner forward and losing Maclean the crowd would have been very supportive instead of critical. We would probably still have lost but there would have been much more goodwill and we would still have stuck to the plan.

We also have a Belgian under 21 centre back on loan at Blackpool - can we recall him?

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3 hours ago, Making Plans said:

In fairness to Godfrey he's had more partners than Elizabeth Taylor.

Difficult to build an understanding of what each other will do, or not do, in certain situations and act appropriately.

This takes time when your partner is either new, playing out of position or useless.

 

Thought Godfrey was far more culpable than Amadou yesterday, but in addition to carrying an injury its a very fair point about the number of partners he's had to play with - pretty sure he would be much more effective with Timm or Zimmerman alongside him.

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14 minutes ago, Creative Midfielder said:

Thought Godfrey was far more culpable than Amadou yesterday, but in addition to carrying an injury its a very fair point about the number of partners he's had to play with - pretty sure he would be much more effective with Timm or Zimmerman alongside him.

Unfortunately the season may be long gone before that happens again. What happens between now and Xmas is likely to be pivotal to our hopes of staying up.

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