VILLA 4-2 CITY; DUNCAN EDWARDS

21/08/17

We have not one, but two reviews of City's topsy-turvy, give you hope and then whip it away again Saturday afternoon at Villa Park. You lucky things. First up, here's Duncan Edwards.

My first visit to Villa Park was for the FA Cup semi final in 1989. I've lost count of how many visits I've undertaken since then but I'm still winless.

That said, I may be winless but today we were defensively clueless. A case of Farkelife to Sloughbottom Park Life in the space of a few days.

Russell Martin will inevitably take pelters again but while this performance will surely put to bed any suggestion that he's better at full back or a Cafuesque wing back. For all that he had a poor game, he'd be forgiven for glancing inside and wondering why he wasn't playing in his favoured central berth.

The leap forward from Sunderland by Franke and Zimmerman was quickly forgotten here as they were given a hellish time by a lad making his first league start. At times they could only have been further apart had we left one of them at Carrow Road.

In addition, Husband is still struggling to make his mark and collectively - on this performance - we can look forward to a long, long season. During the close season I'd have struggled to imagine a day where I was longing for the solidity of Bennett or the composure of Bassong but today was almost it.

It's not all doom and gloom though. When we get things right, we cause problems.

Josh Murphy could only have given Hutton a harder time had he started water boarding him on the touchline and some of the interplay via Vrancic is promising. We also scored two goals away from home; that should bode well but it's never going to be enough when we are so open at the back.

We literally go from looking like we could mount a challenge for promotion to like we'd struggle to mount a pushbike in the space of minutes.

There's much to iron out. The next team selection will be eagerly anticipated too; Oliveira, Maddison, Hoolahan and Pinto will all have enhanced their chances of playing with their fleeting cameos or day of rest.

One place not up for grabs will be between the sticks; Angus Gunn was a standout performer on a dismal day. He made a string of fine saves from denying the 1v1 in the first minute to somehow grabbing the late headed rebound after Villa had spanked the crossbar. He looks increasingly assured, his reactions and shot stopping are of high quality and along with Josh Murphy provided the two major positives that I'll cling to like a footballing comfort blanket this evening.

However, relying on your rookie keeper to restrict the opposition to four while praying your 35 year old maestro can pick open their defence to salvage something from the game with a 20min cameo will not keep the "fans" on side for long.

Boos at half time and the countless faces of dejection at full time may well be more commonplace if the harsh lessons of Villa and Sunderland aren't learned and learned quickly.


While you're here.

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Two clubs tipped to challenge at the top end of the Championship this season led to high hopes all round. City have started OK, but Villa are yet to win and were thumped 3-0 at Cardiff. Andrew Lawn spoke to Dan Bardell ahead of what already feels like a key game.

A slow start, followed by a Josh Murphy masterclass and Tom Trybull becoming the first ever Germn to score for City. It was an eventful evening at the Carra. Here's Duncan Edwards to tell us all about it.