What We Learned As Villa Draw, Win (away!) And Flop Out Of Cup

Three games crammed into seven days delivered an unlucky point (and a rightly overturned red card), a comfortable away win – with a debut goal for a young talent – and a poorly-attended cup exit. What can Villa fans learn from the recent three-game run?


The return of the one-time Villa player Adama Traore to Villa Park was a worry and a “here we go” waiting to happen. Turns out there was no need to worry once he lost his head with a terrible foul and was taking an early bath after just four minutes.

Henri Lansbury committed a ‘smart foul’ which earned him a red card initially, but he was cleared after the event.

But the story is, Villa couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. With 19 shots on target and Boro playing defensively the ball wouldn’t go in. And results like that will put a dent in any push up the table.


Against Barnsley, everything went in the goal – including a first goal for Davis. On an aside, it was the first time in three years Villa had scored three away from home – one of many reasons the club is where it is right now.

Adomah – a man many fans want to see on the field more often – hit an opportunistic first goal then stroked in a penalty to make it 2-0, but Barnsley were looking the better side at times. Chester and Terry looked the part and limited danger.

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Two things: “He’s one of our own” Keinan Davis did well, took his goal well and deserves a big role in the team if the big name strikers aren’t up to it.

The adage “good enough is old enough” applies here perfectly.

Secondly: the throwing of cups on to the field by Tykes fans was unsavoury… was that just for Villa? And if roles had been reversed, would Villa have had the book thrown at them extra hard?


The 11,000 souls who showed up to see a half-hearted effort from a makeshift team deserved better.

This columnist was at Wembley to see Villa beat Man United and Leeds in two glorious cup finals. Football seems a bit embarrassed about the whole League Cup competition right now – there was the early morning draw for no good reason and with this amount of effort being put in to entertain the fans and give them something to cheer, it’s all a bit sad by Villa too.

When will Villa take it seriously again? After promotion? Doubtful, because the focus will be staying up. When Villa have secured survival? Too late by then. When Villa are a mid-table top-flight team? How many years away is that?

A few more competitive games with a squad the size of Villa’s wouldn’t have made any difference. We have kids who can’t get into the squad regularly, players who cost loads of money who aren’t showing up, players who cost even more who can only make the bench, and some old veterans who don’t seem too upset whether they play or not. But field a team that might do something to have the fans believe in them. At the very, very least.


Bruce isn’t happy. The fans aren’t happy. Dr. X isn’t happy. The players can’t be happy. If this goes on much longer (ie. if Villa limp through October with two 0-0s a 1-1 and a defeat to Burton Albion) there’s only a few options left or the season is a write off.

The three remaining September fixtures (Forest, Burton and Bolton) are vital.


Follow Adam Keeble on Twitter @keebo00

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  1. Some interesting issues raised. Recent results; the League Cup; remaining fixtures in September.

    The two home league draws got DrTony’s “results matter” month off to a bad start. Then Barnsley away raised our spirits. Many questions still remain. Does Bruce know his best team? Best formation? Is he confident enough to keep 4-4-2 and try to dominate teams? And will 4-4-2 cut it, with a left footer on the right, a right footer on the left, both wanting to cut inside? Will the two remaining midfielders be outnumbered if teams play three inside?

    My first ever Wembley visit was a league cup final against Spurs, after a terrific two-leg win over ManUtd in the semi. And great memories since of wins, draws, and losses in other finals. But is it really a competition we need any more? Do we need two cup competitions? Does it devalue the FA Cup? It certainly adds to fixture congestion. Clubs priorities lie elsewhere (financially they have little choice). And the EFL have sold out to a foreign sponsor that has no regard for English fans, holding draws for next rounds at 4.15 in the morning in the UK. So 11000 attendencies for games are no great shock.

    Finally, the most important issue. The remaining September fixtures. Will the Barnsley result be the turning point, or will we stutter and stumble again at home? I’m desperately hoping to be sat in my seat tomorrow, watching a confident, dominating performance. And to be looking at the table at the start of October, plotting our route to automatic promotion. Otherwise, action will be needed, to avoid another write-off season.

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