Roberto Di Matteo Identifies Villa’s Problem and Offers Solution Within 24hrs

This week finally came the official announcement of Roberto Di Matteo becoming the new Villa boss. It was obvious from the club’s short statement that Di Matteo hadn’t been to Villa Park yet to undertake an official photocall or announcement press conference/interview. Although, judging by some of the recent redundancies and cut backs at the club, there probably wasn’t a photographer or interviewer to call on anyway.

Instead Villa offered up a couple of lines from Di Matteo, probably dictated down the phone or from an email.

“It’s a wonderful honour for me to become manager of this great football club and I’m looking forward to the challenge of taking Aston Villa back to its rightful place,” said Di Matteo. Which was followed later by an additional quote in newspaper reports of the official announcement.

“Football is a simple game which people can over-complicate by forgetting the basics,” said Di Matteo. “You have to start with the basics and build on those foundations. It’s important to get the basics right and then build from there.”

Back to Basics

Whether he watched Villa or not last season, it’s very much hitting the nail on the head.

Last season, this Villa team completely forgot the simplest of basics – i.e. save, tackle, pass and shoot.

Guzan continued the errors of judgement that had hounded him in previous seasons and saw him dropped under Tim Sherwood. He should have been replaced last summer, nevermind this.


As for the defence, well where do you start? Personally speaking, my first and best position growing up was as a centre-back in a couple of successful league-winning youth teams. Even I’m appalled watching the Villa defenders’ ball watching, poor positional sense and lack of ability to mark players and read a game; I’d hate to think what their fellow pros think.

Although saying that, I had a chat in passing with ex-Villan Ian Taylor earlier this year about the Villa defence, and he too was amazed at their lack of being able to grasp the basics. He was pretty funny taking the pi** out of one particular Villa defender (we won’t name who).

“You’ve played centre back,” said Taylor. “So you know *beep beep* isn’t a centre back!”

If Villa are to stop being a laughing-stock, they have to rebuild from the back. It’s the foundation of every good team. Hopefully Steve Clarke will aid Di Matteo in getting that right, his track record is pretty good in that department.

The big limitation to Villa’s team in recent seasons though (even in the O’Neill years to a certain extent) has been without doubt the midfield. Bar Fabian Delph and Tom Cleverley having a decent handful of games last season, it has tended to lack conviction, endeavour, imagination and on the whole it has been noticeably afraid to go forward with any real purpose.

If I see Ashley Westwood pass backwards one more time, when there’s a forward pass on, I’d be tempted to shoot him. After watching him closely in the last game of the season against Newcastle, the only conclusion was he’s just taking up a valuable shirt on the team.

In theory, he should be a kind of Kevin Richardson-type character with a bit more vision, but his final ball is lacking and his deadball delivery is poor.

Villa need players that aren’t afraid to take players on, run at the opposition defences and pass with incisive intent.


There’s been a few newspaper reports saying that Di Matteo’s first buy should be a striker, but in MOMS’ opinion he needs to build a team first. After all, some of the world’s best teams have played without decent strikers, France won a World Cup in 1998 without a decent one, and Spain infamously in the 2012 European Championships, didn’t even bother with one, playing with a 4-6-0 formation.

As Di Matteo said, it’s time to get the basics right first and that means building a proper team.



  1. Choosing the players to get rid of is easy. All of them are contenders, yes even Ayew.
    But,if i had to pick 6 to free up wages then they would be as follows :
    Guzan,Richards,Sanchez, Westwood, Agbonlahor and Bacuna. Richardson and NZogbia will leave anyway as their contracts are up. Sinclair was very close but just survived the chop somehow!
    I would just LOVE to be the person to tell them the good news, looking them straight in the eye.

  2. Its a bit like playing a computer game – who to keep who to choose and a limited fund albeit an amount that should start winning ways again. It is clear that the dressing room was divided and the troublemakers be weeded out regardless of contract and pay them off. Liabilities and assets its all you have to choose from. Unfortunately this group of players couldnt play together and cost jobs all round. Out of the squad I would only expect to see three at the most left of this original relegation squad. The defence all round wasn’t good enough had no tactical awareness and we need to bring a strong well known player that will immediately take over as the role of captain. A Player that is known to be a hard grafter and proud to wear the shirt he plays in. The rest of a new squad Goalkeeper, Full backs. Centre Backs all need to be really fit, be strong and have technical abilities to read a game and change it when necessary. Di Matteo will out to prove himself and I really support Steve Clarke as a number 2 I have always rated his coaching skills. Two good strikers that score a minimum of 20 a season will be a good start as well. 50 Mill will go quickly unless Di Matteo is shrewd in the selling of a few players. it needs the very core ripped apart and rebuild – We have not had any great experiences for the last 5 year or so. Perhaps, just Perhaps this could be the great flood of despair receding with the possibility of an Oasis of Uplifting times ahead. Although Di Matteo was not my first choice The fact he has brought in Steve Clarke is great footballing sense, and it is a really good start at turning things around. I wish both of them a great welcome to Villa Park and they get my full support. Once the sale is ratified by the Football League then I feel its full steam ahead. Di Matteo will take no prisoners, the dead wood will go – Westwood isn’t good enough at Premier League but could improve with a great Captain to show him the ropes – He should be a squad player for now while he progresses. If he has already reached his potential then of course sell him on. Lets just wait and see what this Summer brings – It has potential to be a great new season for us all.

  3. find someone, anyone who CAN cross a ballthe dismal, freekicks, corners etc werea joke, worse than a pub side

    • Bang on the nail. Ward Prowse can hit a dustbin from 60 yards, Gestede and co would rip it up with decent service.

  4. he needs to offload, richards richardson,lescott, bacuna ,crespo, guzan, westwood, agbonlahor,sinclair, bennett,and anyone else who disgraced the club last season

  5. Guzan was totally unmotivated has at the end, he said as much in an interview in the States. See Parks has carried the can for that. Everyone had a part though.

    Hint to one of the biggest issues withe the players. Attitude.. Why have we not booted out NZog publicly. Did Villa really sign a contract that would penalize one month early release? Big job to turn the heads round of some of the remaining. Gotta keep Grealish, hope Amavi goes on a loan, Hutton might be useful, but both RB and LB are needed with another CB. The midfield needs a clearout before more are bought . There is time to give our youth a chance. Also controversially I would like to keep Bacuna but as a RM only, I think he can relearn that position after being wasted in defense.

  6. goal keeper. we have steer with bunn as back up.. sell guzan
    right back. we have bacuna (who will terrorize the championship), maybe need to buy some cover sell hutton
    left back. we have amavi and bennet as cover.. sell cisocho maybe sell amavi because we have kensella
    center backs. we have clark, baker with toner and donacein as cover.. sell or off load richards, lescott and okore (wankers) lol
    center mid. we have a bunch off players who should destroy the championship depending on reberto and how he wants to play i think he’ll play 3 in the middle i’d keep gana if we can, veratout, westwood, sanchez, gardner and lyden as back up.. for the championship this midfield should destroy all before it even if two were to go there should still have enough about them.
    wingers. i’d try keep hold of sinclaire, gill, grealish, traore if possible again because they should be too good for the championship off load n’zogbia and richardson and agbonlahor asap
    strikers. gustead has to be given a chance at this level behind ayew (if we can keep hold of him). i honestly think kozak should have been given a fair crack at the beginning of last season but he didn’t get it so i’d keep him with hepburn-murphy waiting in the wings for his chance….
    so in my eyes we wouldn’t need to spend 50m on new players lol i’d just bring in some competition for bacuna at right back…. the just need a direction on the training ground and abit of confidance and the team we have should bounce back up

    • Agree 100%. But u figure u have to give some of them
      fuck off money and replacing 8 players after gonna run ya 60 mill. I just saying unless we can get some loaned players it will make it tight. Doable but not easy.

      • I wouldn’t say Westwood is shite – just that he is not premier league standard – he may very well bloom in the Championship as all he needs is some confidence to hold the ball instead of passing it away, and his poor close control probably won’t hurt so much at this level.

  7. Heard up to 50 mill but lets say 30 mill to spend on new players for arguments sake. We r after that MacCormick from Fulham.
    Alot of others are too, he could take half of what we have to spend. The key I think is to keep some because we cant replace everyone. Some players we keep are going to be an unpopular decisions, but it has to be done. I do not like Westwoods inconsistencies at all. I have 12 yrs olds on my kids side who take much better set plays than him, but I think he is one we need. Clark and Amavi, keep but alot are after them. There is a reason Richards didnt play much for Man C, besides being injured, we saw it on display. Rudi was a very consistent scorer at this level for Blackburn. As much as I hate to not add up front, I think first priority is to stop the bleeding at the back and Centre Back should be our first concern then go from there. You are correct in saying it is a BIG JOB.

  8. agree on westwood,,,, he needs to deliver better quality crosses and get in the box,,,,,, he should get at least 10 goals a season,,,, and its now or never,,, we cant wait any longer,,,
    personally,,,, i would buy a couple of midfielders and crank the pressure up on him

    as to the centre back issue,,,,, sherwood,,, garde and the two temps could not see that the player you identify was just that bad,,,, thats the scary bit,,,,, and they kept playing him,,,,,, and when you have a player on the bench who although not the finished article, is far better at reading the game and a far better centre back you can understand why he became so disillusioned and angry,

    and if said player wont play at right back then get rid

    and i still think richards okore clark amavi would be a good back four,,,,,,,,

    • hutton isn’t everyones cup of tea, but if the other 10 had worked as hard as him last year, we’d still be a premclub.

      • no we wouldn’t – running around looking angry is not the same as being effective – Hutton is a poor defender, he is a poor winger, he is a great runner and superb at needless fouls. Effort yes. Ability no.

  9. Villa’s defence is the result of tactics Tim believing his own positive thinking – two past their best star names and an assortment of journeymen.

    Villa’s midfield are the same and nearly all of them are cursed by a lack of close control and the resultant lack of confidence when within five yards of any opponent. Hence they seek to shift the ball and along with it the responsibility.

    Good midfielders can pass sideways and back, but they do it to change the angles and move their opponents about. They are then happy to receive the ball in any situation and can pass or beat a man and go on to create a chance on goal. Villa are overstocked with blokes who look like footballers, who run about and pass the ball, but it is all sideways and backwards, and doesn’t result in a chance. In effect Villa players don’t have the touch, the vision, the confidence, or the control, to make a difference in a game.

    The same could be said of the attackers. Shot shy, timid, and unsure. All bar one.

    There are a handful who could be good enough – but the rest are professionals in the sense that they want to earn – not that they are good or deserve the level of reward they are getting. The ones with passion have little technique. The ones with technique have little passion and no strength.

    Passion, strength, and technical ability. That should be the minimum requirement to be a Villa player. Big changes are needed.

  10. Where to start ? The squad is not as bad as many claim even if results say other wise . As for getting rid of Sherwood too late to me that was a face saving exercise by those who hamstrung him by imposing Wilkins on him . An Ass. manager whosingle handed crippled the squad by slowing down the integration of many of the new players
    As for Westwood which one are you talking about as we seem to have 2 by that name . One who totally lacks in confidense & as you say constantly passes the ball backwards & sideways but never forward . But we also have one also called Ashley who inspired by the confidense of the players around him is the very player we want him to be .
    Problem is we lack a Captain who can kick arse when heads go down and finding one should be RDM’s 1st priority as although we have a few leaders in the team we do not have a battlefield comander

    • leaders in midfield,,,, a decent forward 25 goals,,,or two,,,, a keeper,,,,, and 2 full backs,,,

      maby a centre back,,,,, depending on who gets sold,,,,,

      big job,,,,,,,

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