The Villa Rant: Stoke Loss Provides More Questions than Answers

Last weekend brought with it a ‘emotional holiday’, free from the heartbreak and stress of being a modern day Aston Villa fan. Saturday was back to business, and another loss made sure any ‘holiday’ vibes were well and truly banished.

Heading into the game Remi Garde was pulling no punches in his honest admission that there were players in the senior squad who simply were not trying their hardest.

Most of the senior players have been phoning it in for weeks now (or accidentally texting it in their pockets.)

With that in mind it was very surprising to see the starting eleven had very few changes from the humiliation against Liverpool, other than the omission of Micah Richards who took up a place on the bench. This decision from Garde has both further highlighted facts about Villas squad, and raised questions about why Garde selected the team he did.

The squad list more than anything today again showed the alarming lack of depth at the club. An argument can be made that Garde doesn’t have many options with his starting eleven. Every week between now and the end of the season the lack of transfer activity will be rubbed in the faces of Villa fans and the manager as the limited squad retain their places in the matchday squad by necessity more than merit.


Perhaps Garde’s statement was mind games. He may have been calling the players desire into question in a bid to get a reaction from them. If this was the case then any gains were short lived. While Villa started the game resiliently, with a series of excellent passes and interceptions from Gana and Okore the team’s bad habits slowly but surely made their way into the game.

The Same Old Mistakes

Errant passes, silly fouls, and the seeming inability to deal comfortably with any sort of forward pass made this an all too familiar game for Villa. Every cross, run, long ball, or even goal kick made Villa look shaky. While Stoke created chances with relative ease our sorry bunch still lacked any real verve or creativity up front. Gabby was too isolated, too wide, and showed his usual poor decision making.

Veretout and Gil failed to get in the right positions to support the striker and the team as usual displayed it’s unwillingness to go near the opposition penalty area or get on the end of crosses. Somehow despite (I assume) training together all the bloody time, there seems to be no understanding between Villa’s forwards and the midfield and that is exactly why the team never creates anything.

The truth is that Villa completely surrendered after the first Stoke goal. The second was a typical comedy of errors that has defined this year’s embarrassing campaign. Even when Bacuna fired home it felt like it was out of the blue and not due to any sustained pressure.

The lack of urgency following this goal made sure it was to be three points for the home team. The Villa team seemed to want an equaliser but this desire never exceeded simply wishing they had a second goal, instead of actually driving forward and making things happen.

Another Missed Opportunity

I think most of us have accepted that Villa will be in the Championship next year and that the squad needs a major overhaul. Villa’s youngsters will play a big part in the rebuild and simply getting them in the matchday squad is not enough. Villa literally had nothing to lose at the end of the game and there was a good chance to get some playing time under the belts of the likes of Andre Green, and give the away crowd something to cheer.

These young players deserve a chance to prove what they can do more than most of the senior players who have been phoning it in for weeks now (or accidentally texting it in their pockets.)


European Nights to Relegation Fights

Once again the Villa fans were praised by the opposition for their character and humour, the only thing keeping us all going in these dark times. Tuesday night brings Everton to Villa Park and then we’ll see how fans make their point to the board in the form of protests and displays.

MOMS has laid out some handy guidelines for how we can all make our thoughts known in a productive, constructive, manner and others have called for an out the door on 74 walkout. I look forward to seeing fans making their voices heard on Tuesday, and hopefully for the rest of the season. I must say I love the new chant about Villa’s plummet from ‘European nights to relegation fights’, I think all of our thoughts about Lerner are clear by now.

Unanswered Questions

At the end of the day it was the same old story for Aston Villa who disgracefully have now lost more games than they have gained points. The team had some serious questions to answer after stepping aside and allowing Liverpool to thump them, but instead this game simply brought more questions that need to be answered.

Is Garde going to ring in the changes or simply keep saying ‘the right things’? When will we see the youngsters starting to get a chance? Are any of the senior players going to start taking responsibility in games? How badly will the next few games go without any backbone in the team? Are we willing to stand up and send a message?

Only time will tell,


Don’t forget to follow Finn on Twitter – @FinnMongey

And make sure you’re following MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid


  1. It’ll be a long time in the Championship that’s for sure. Our players can’t deal with the physicality of the game, something Sherwood stated as his reason for leaving out some of our French/Spanish players. Skilful though Gil and Vertout are, sadly he’s been proved to be correct. I trust Gardes ability to choose the right starting 11, and appreciate that his choice is limited. As previously mention in a post, the midfield and the forward line simply don’t look like they train on the same field. Gested makes a difference. I love the way he gets away with using his hands to control the ball!

  2. So O’nearly was alledgedly a good manager when in fact he nearly Bankrupted the club . So what that we had several 6th place finishes & very early exits from the Europa League when the aim with the money spent was to get Champions League . yet it seems there are some so deluded to call that success instead of the false dawn which it was . A false dawn which the club is struggling to recover from . But it seems some just can not accept that money can not buy the success they crave for the club and have to vent their bile

  3. So Mr garde the first team are not trying in training. The under 21s beat them. We do not do anything to even try to win or make an impact in the last 2 games. These are not people for a relegation fight or to keep us in the championship. They are crap have no desire or interest in the club despite some of them being so called suporters. Tuesday play the reserves youth players anything would be better than this lot and your the manager tell them so. Your weak and also have no desire other than go at end of season collect a large pay off and get anot her job straight away. If we had anyone on the staff with any bottle, ability or desire there would be massive changes. We need players for next season. Unfortunately the powers that be have created even more useless p,ayers on silly contracts who are not good enough to go to league one clubs. So we’ll be paying them for years like the rest. Don’t you ever learn learner?

    • So the Press headlines always tell the truth & those who want to hear the club being rubbish believe them !
      Yet the truth is some what different as several senior players were not involved in the training match which pitched the senior also runs along with some U21’s against a team composed mainly of U21’s along with 2 first team regulars . And big deal the U21 regulars won !

  4. Its almost six years since O’Neill walked out after hearing Lord Lucan’s vision for the future. Remember Ellis signed up O’Neill just before Lerner got here. Obviously Lerner would never have signed him as he wouldn’t recognise a decent manager if they were floating in his cornflakes. Who gets a club tattoo on their leg then goes to three games in 2 years??? Only a bloody fool I suspect. How come Everton can find a 49.9% part owner who will pump £100m into the club whereas Billy No Mates across the pond can’t find a buyer or a partner. Sadly with a loser like Lerner in charge I doubt very much if going into the championship will be the end of our demise it could go from bad to worse yet.

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