Dean Smith Faces Stern Learning Curve in Winter Test

In September, MOMS published an article looking ahead to the difficult month of December and how it was going to define Steve Bruce and Aston Villa’s season. Bruce didn’t quite make it, but the fixtures remain for new Head Coach Dean Smith, who after his first four games, now has a sort of makeshift pre-season under his belt.

If Villa can impress in the forthcoming test at Derby, then Smith will go into the latest international break in a buoyant mood and happy that he’ll have a little more time to prime his troops for the upcoming eight fixtures over an six-week period.

After the month’s remaining fixtures against the Blues and Nottingham Forest, come this little lot:

Villa’s December Fixtures


1: Middlesbrough (a) 5.30pm*

7: West Bromwich Albion (a) 8pm*

15: Stoke City (h) 3pm

23: Leeds United (h) 1.30pm*

26: Swansea City (a) 3pm

29: Preston North End (a) 3pm

*- denotes live on Sky TV

Less Pressure?

The scenario is a little different for Smith now though than it was for his predecessor.

All Bruce could potentially offer Villa as a club was the supposed delivery of promotion. He was essentially employed solely for that task, based on his four previous Championship promotions.

Smith’s remit is wider. Yes, promotion is also top of the list, but he ultimately is here to develop a more attractive and effective brand of football. That doesn’t happen with a click of the fingers.

Bar a total collapse of results, the Villa Head Coach won’t be judged too harshly by the winter fixtures. What is ultimately as important is his progress in building a team’s style that hopefully will bring the desired success.

MOMS discusses Smith’s progress and changes so far in the latest podcast episode. We focus on what’s happened with the defence and the question mark on promotion that the goalkeeper situation brings. Also, we look at Jack Grealish’s new role in the team and raise the question of Hutton and Kodjia being weak links in the Smith revolution.

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Episode 56 Show Notes

After maintaining his 100% record at Villa Park with a 2-0 victory against Bolton, the fixtures now get serious up until Christmas for Aston Villa Head Coach Dean Smith. In order to get his team on the promotion path, he must overcome the main Championship promotion contenders in back-to-back games.

My Old Man Said’s David Michael and Chris Budd look at the progress so far under the Villa boss and the players that have benefited the most. Plus, they look at the potential issues that may hinder Smith during the rest of the year until the January transfer window.

We also pay tribute to Leicester City’s late owner, question the rumoured Super League, address some supporter issues and take a trip down memory lane in the new section ‘Where Were you, When We Were Good?’ Where we look back to 1996 when a Villa player scoring a hat-trick still finished on the losing side. Are Villa currently lacking such a main man to win games for them or at least go down swinging?

Watch out for a listener question & answers extra show coming out soon.



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David Michael – @oldmansaid 

Chris Budd – @BUDD_music

Producer/Editor – David Michael

My Old Man Said –