The Dean’s Gambit – What’s Villa’s Next Move Without Grealish?

There’s no doubt that Aston Villa have been stuttering in recent weeks, with the midfield suffering a loss of identity, purpose and intensity. In short, the middle of the park has been bossed by opposition teams and Villa have needed to rely on their defensive resilience to gain the points they have.

Now, Dean Smith has a further problem with the sudden loss of his captain and talisman, Jack Grealish. The Villa Head Coach will keep Grealish’s return a cat and mouse game until an hour before the eventual match he starts back. If the return of Ross Barkley is anything to go by, hopefully the game doesn’t play out well into March’s fixture list.

The recent 2-1 loss to an in-form Leicester City team was perhaps no surprise, with or without Grealish, but the honeymoon period of the 2020/21 season is over. The players have spoken about European ambition or at least an upper table finish, so such talk must be matched by their application on the pitch. The team are in the business of continuous improvement and progress, not being content on bettering last season (which wasn’t hard).

There’s issues to sort out. Can Smith get his midfield up to the level of his defence? What’s eating Ross Barkley? Is it time for a reshuffle of the pack? In the latest My Old Man Said podcast, we look at all this and more.

Outside of Villa we look at the potential evolution of VAR, after MOMS met PGMOL last week, the stand off between the EFL and government, and the latest Sun headline that casts a shadow over the England squad.

In Overrated or Underrated, it’s time for Emile Heskey to step up for his appraisal



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David Michael – @oldmansaid 

Chris Budd – @BUDD_music

Phillip Shaw – @prsgame

Editor/Producer – David Michael

Music – Philip Marten

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  1. So replacing Jack with a young winger will solve our midfield woes . Somebody is avin a larf ! Makamba was performing well as our DM before being dropped to make way for the regular midfield 3 but Luiz does not have his strength and needs to be part of a midfield defensive pair which does not work when Barkley & McGinn are both trying to be everywhere & nowhere on the pitch . Sanson has looked stronger in midfield & perhaps should start along with Makamba and perhaps with Ramsey in a 4-1-4-1 formation

  2. Just play Jaden Philgone Bidace in Jack’s position. He is a left winger, a very hot prospect who is attracting some of the best clubs in the continent with his contract running out. Traore is a given on the right side and on merit he deserves that. Leeds will come guns blazing so i expect Dean Smith to be much cleverer than the last time these sides met.

  3. Yet again changes were made too late in the day against a good Leicester side with Barkley and Luiz getting ratings of 4 each why did it take until after the 60 minute for changes to be made,
    It’s been painfully obvious for the last 3 games at least, that for whatever reason these two players have been woefully underperforming. I can’t see DS having the slightest reason for selecting either for the Leeds game, it’s time for forward looking changes to be made, why not give Ramsey and Barry first team starts.

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