Season 2021/2022, Our Villans were not ready to play

It was all too apparent against Arsenal last Friday that this Villa team is not over its identity crisis.  Five losses out of nine games looks even worse when their three wins and a tie are reassessed based on the performances of those opponents (Brentford, Newcastle, Everton, and Man U) on the same weekend!  A whopping single point out of a possible 12! 

It gets grimmer.  Our upcoming opponent next Sunday, West Ham, were able to stymie Spurs’ Son Heung-min for 90 minutes which suggests that our anemic forward line is going to have to rise to the occasion, something they failed abysmally to do at the Emirates.

If there is any ray of hope, it’s that the embarrassment might jar them into action.  That would include manager Dean Smith who must have seen enough to put his Buendia experiment on-hold.  The Argentine’s success against the also-rans of the Championship division does not justify his rating as a guaranteed success for the Premier League nor his inflated transfer fee.

Jacob Ramsey has shown that he can hold his own and fits in well with Luiz and McGinn. Despite their limited production, it’s probably worth sticking with Watkins and Ings even though Ollie lost his cool against the Gunners and hurt the team in the process.  Our, suddenly, tentative striker might find himself losing his slot to Archer if he does not get back to last season’s endeavor and intensity fast.

That brings us to the questionable change of shape.  Perhaps the problem is Tuanzebe.  Mings definitely appeared more at ease with Hause.  Regardless, Smith is going to feel the necessity to appease the fans and start Leon Bailey, while reverting to a back four to accommodate.

While Bailey is a bit of a loner who may upset the team’s rhythm, that does not seem a big risk.  Right now, there is not much consistency going forward.  Then, if the Jamaican runs out of steam (he hasn’t had much match time since his arrival), then Bertrand Traore is a worthy substitute.

This season is crazy enough that our Villans could shock us and knock West Ham back a peg.  I doubt that, and I would be happy with a tie that came about because of grit in front of the home fans.  That might be a huge accomplishment if Emi Martinez has to stay in Argentina with his ailing father.

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