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7500 To Holte Roundtable: The good and bad of Dean Smith’s start

We put our heads together to discuss how Dean Smith’s start has effected us

Aston Villa Unveil New Management Team

Sometimes, when there’s something worth writing - there’s opinions worth gathering. At 7500 to Holte, we got together to discuss Aston Villa’s 1st three games as Villa Head Coach.

So, two losses and a win - how has it felt?

Jake Fenicle:

What’s exciting is how much time we’re having the ball for and pinging it around, didn’t see much of that at all under Bruce’s hoof-ball. What’s worrying is still the confidence of the attack to put shots on net and score them. Also, our schedule coming up and lack of defensive personnel that we’re left with now. And finally, the situation with FFP still lingers even though it’s been pretty much dismissed— I do not know what to believe.

Sean Evans:

Jake pretty much hit the on the head in terms of what has been positive in the three matches he’s been in charge. There is a stark difference in terms of the style of play and his comments to the media clearly indicate he is attempting to instill a long-term tactical philosophy.

In addition, the new staff’s prior relationship the club has definitely brought a positive impact on the overall atmosphere at Villa Park. For me, it looks like NSWE got the right guy for the job in the end.

I also concur that the lack of end product (i.e. at least at QPR) and thinned defensive unit is worrisome going into a stretch of 11 matches in two months. With the Championship being so tight, it could go either way in just a few matches.

Alex Carson:

I’m really excited that Villa are genuinely enjoyable to watch from a _tactical_ perspective again. Obviously, the results haven’t been there the last couple games, but I love a good pressing side and Dean Smith is clearly trying to mold Villa in that way. I’m also just generally excited that Villa are doing the things as a club that they should’ve done 30 months ago when they dropped from the Premier League.

As far as worries, I’m still pretty concerned that Smith is going to keep getting let down by this awful defence, which is going to unnecessarily create negative narratives and push Villa out of the promotion race. Also, like Jake, I still have lingering worries about FFP.

Robb Jones:

One of the biggest things for me to be excited about is that things make sense on the team sheet. No one is being played out of position, substitutions make a difference and follow a dedicated style rather than seeming reactionary or panicked.

A big problem is that putting players where they belong highlights even brighter the issues for the club at the back between the centrebacks and Ørjan Nyland, as well as the surplus and conditioning of the attack. I’ve appreciated Elmohamady but that El Ghazi or Bolasie can’t earn spots in the XI above him is dispiriting. These aren’t Dean’s players but if the narrative is that he’s gotten a lot out of a little at Walsall and Brentford and he’ll do better when he’s working with better players, it’s not set in stone and will be a process.

James Rushton:

I think he’s doing the best job he can, and Villa are playing so much better. Whether they are statistically doing so will require a few games to reveal, but it’s certainly more easy on the eye and it actually befits Villa. Yes, I’m excited. Every game is intriguing.

Phil Vogel:

It is going to take time. I hope and actually do believe that Smith will adjust to the squad once he works with and gets to know them. I think the expectations out there are unrealistic in someways. But there is hope.