Danny Drinkwater made his debut as Dean Smith packed the midfield against the former Champions at Villa Park. Kodjia remained off the bench with young American Indiana Vasseliv on the bench.
The opening period saw Villa pinned back — which is expected. The midfield struggled to hold possession of the ball when the defense stopped a City attack. City seemed to sense the nervousness and pressed as soon as Villa got the ball. Thankfully — the opening eight minutes of that passed without a real chance for City. After that Villa seemed to calm a bit and were able to take a breath — thanks in part to the back three passing the ball well.
But after a small spell — it was all City again. Aguero had a beautiful layoff to Mahrez down Villa’s left. He then weaved past Drinkwater and fired it near post by Nyland. 0-1 to the visitors. Too easy. Mr. VAR took a look by Aguero’s heel was not offside.
The attacks kept coming — compounded by Villa mistakes. Aguero goes right by Konsa. The defense collapses on him and manages to take the ball off him. It goes to new midfielder Danny Drinkwater... who proceeds to take two or three touches on the ball... in his own box. The ball was taken off him and it goes right Mahrez who doubled his goal tally making it 2-0.
At 25 minutes — the it seemed clear the route was on.
in the 28 minute — Aguero made it official 3-0. From distance with Mings backing up and the midfield chasing. NBC Sports showed supporters leaving. I don’t blame them.
Villa are a scared team against Manchester City. And as much as I want to be angry. I can’t really blame the squad. The talent difference is massive. City have been playing better. And Villa are without the main striker and goalkeeper. The problem though? Villa are going to be without Heaton and Wesley for the rest of the year. So Dean Smith needs to come up with a way for Villa to succeed with this group. Not really against Man City though (Aguero just had another chance in the 34’ as I type) but the other teams at the bottom have found points in fixtures they should not have. Villa have not and need to at some point.
Silva just put a free kick an inch wide of the post.
People are going to dump on Danny Drinkwater after this match... and probably during it. The kid hasn’t played much at all. He needs fitness. I’m not certain getting fitness against a side like Manchester City is a great idea — and certainly not helpful for form or confidence — but he needs minutes in his legs. With the upcoming matches of Brighton, Watford, Bournemouth (Villa almost had a shot on target! El Ghazi pushed it wide after a spell of possession in the attacking zone. Five minutes left in the first half) Drinkwater will be needed. So maybe this was Smith’s version of throwing the new midfielder into the deep end — so he is ready for the next run? I hope he has a strong character to handle the poor first performance and the criticism that will come with it.
Villa have a corner in 44’. First one for either team I think. It came to nothing. City countered but they squandered it. Villa need to work on their set pieces. With a back three — there should be options for headed goals. But I guess Konsa almost had one against Leicester City — so maybe that is a positive.
City just scored their fourth. De Bryune with a perfect pass. Jesus put it in. The whistle for halftime. 0-4 at the break.
If you are still reading this... I’m proud of you. I just grabbed another beer and am settling down for what is likely to be a stream of Villa thoughts with some game events in parentheses. The TV is on mute now... because of heard quite enough of “Villa are in trouble now” and “Villa are in a relegation battle.” No shit. I get you have to fill the air — but I’ve had quite enough of that.
To my disappointment — the second half actually has started now. I was kinda hoping there was an agreement in the backroom to give them another goal and call it a day.
Goals for the second half — no red cards, no injuries, put in enough effort that some applause is warranted at the final whistle. Oh and a few nice beers.
I think Trezeguet may work better up top instead of El Ghazi. I think is skill set may be more useful. El Ghazi a decent — albeit in consistent — creator on the wing. Trezeguet more likely to come into the middle so may be more comfortable there. (Yellow card for Fernandinho for a body check against Grealish. The free kick resulted in a City counter — which ended with an Aguero shove on Grealish in the box. Then some handbags. 40 more minutes of this just lovely match). But lets be serious — neither is a good option. Maybe Indiana Vasseliv? But let’s be serious... as an American I want him to succeed more than I actually think he will. I’d bet he comes on in this match in about 15 minutes (currently at 55’ — Nyland just had a save, gave it right back to City, then stopped a cross). At least he will press the City back line.
(Goal #5. Aguero. The five defenders are playing so deep. Everyone backing off. Aguero finds room between Elmo and Konsa. Pass was perfect — as were the dribbles and the shot.)
I wonder if professional players have the ability to shrug off a blowout like this. Clearly the makeup of an athlete at the Premier League level is different than me typing words. Every single person of the pitch is likely a top 2% athlete with confidence, talent, and work ethic (yes all of them). So how must it feel to play in the top league and just simply be outclassed. Can Grealish look around and not get frustrated with his supporting cast? I can’t see it. It wouldn’t be human. For the last goal Hourihane had zero cover down the left because the entire back five was 30 yards deeper than the midfield. How will a competitor like that react away from the pitch and away from the cameras. (Mings clearance off the line — 64’)
64 — Nakamba on for Luiz. To the Villa crowd’s credit — zero boos audible on the broadcast. All I hear is singing and chanting. Love that.
El Ghazi is showing a ton of frustration and just jogging back. Get him off the pitch.
Back to the Drinkwater thing from earlier. He is still running out there and now even doing some pressure with Nakamba on the field. Don’t judge the loan player on just today.
In case you are curious — no Villa players are in danger of yellow card accumulation suspension. Jack and Guilbert have five each. (Nyland with a good save off a deflection — 70’)
Villa change — Trezeguet on for Hourihane. Huh. Looks like El Ghazi up top, Trezeguet on the left, Grealish on the right. At least right after the change was made.
Villa sub — Drinkwater off, Lansbury on 78’.
Grealish yellow card 80’ for yelling at the referee for not calling a clear foul on Trezeguet. Not much choice for Jon Moss.
Hause with a just terrible giveaway in his own end. Easy goal for City and Augero. 0-6. I’m done writing words at 81’. It may get worse.
Stay behind the team. Three big matches.