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Aston Villa lose to Watford and boos ring out at Villa Park

After the Newcastle game last week the manager said there were going to be changes. Ollie Watkins was dropped to the bench for the visit of Watford and we had a similar performance and the same result.

Before the match Steven Gerrard did suggest, when questioned on the one change, that he spoke out of frustration and in the moment after the Newcastle defeat. I'm going to assume then that whatever he said after this game should quite literally be ignored.


I wont ignore that for a moment today, had the results at Villa Park and Anfield stayed the same, Dean Smith would have had a better win record at Norwich than Steven Gerrard does at Aston Villa. It's funny don't you think?

Maybe not and actually not funny for those at Villa Park today that booed the players off the pitch. And they have every right because they're not seeing anything to get behind and they're probably thinking what I'm writing.

The football isn't great and I'm afraid to write this, but if things don't get better very soon, I'd not be surprised if we see the manager and CEO replaced this season. The manager will be the first to go, but the owners will be thinking this all rests with the CEO and they'd not be wrong.

Dean Smith was sacked because they didn't see the progress they expected but I think that narrative was created by the Christian Purslow. Dean Smith could easily argue that he didn't get the season to finish better than 11th. Many in the game were very surprised when Dean Smith was sacked and I'd not be surprised if the narrative was created by Purslow because Gerrard wanted the job and that conversations happened before the decision to sack Smith took place.

And the thing about Steven Gerrard that I can't shake is that he seems to put too much emphasis on the data. The inexperience is there for all of us to see and you can't hide from that but the reliance on data worries me.

There was a moment today when he was getting showed something on an iPad in the first half and as soon as he saw it, he stood up not happy. The data, I suspect, was telling him a player wasn't where he was supposed to be most of the time, but it wasn't telling him the full story.

The truth is, he should know the full story by watching the game, not by watching an iPad 20 minutes into the game. I'm not convinced in-game data is that important, unless you're playing Championship manager.

And he should know better than most that football isn't just about data. The thing is, he is a graduate of how data changed the game. Data should help and inform, but football is so much more and the role of manager is so much more than looking at the data and telling the players to get the ball to Cash, as I suspect they did today. I don't think he ever had a manager that relied on data during a game, the way he appears to.

But things are changing. It used to be that there was a manager and an assistant but these days, so many young managers, that have played the game, have lots of people around them, I guess to do the stuff they've never done and have no experience with. It worries me that they need this and don't really know what management is all about.

In short, we're not seeing anything new and I don't think any of us are really that surprised. But I think there is something we can all agree on and that it's things have to get better very soon.