What gets disturbing is when you consider that Villa have had only two shots on target or less in 11 of their games this season.

Firing Blanks

At Molineux this weekend, Aston Villa failed to register a single shot on target against Paul Lambert’s Wolves team. Ironically, it was the kind of stat that is straight out the locker of the former Villa boss. Lambert’s Villa team was notorious for long stretches without scoring a goal, once topping a 10-hour stretch over a two-month period. Leading up to Lambert’s sacking at Villa, the team had scored a mere 12 goals in the 25 games of the 2014/15 season.

A couple of seasons later and Villa despite the money they have spent still seem unable to put a team out on the field that can create chances, even at Championship level.

The Wolves misfire was the second time this season Villa had failed to hit the target in a game, after they registered a similar feat away at Ipswich. Again, this is the Championship.

What gets disturbing is when you consider that Villa have had only two shots on target or less in 11 of their games this season. That’s 39% of all their matches this season. It’s an appalling record.

 

Factor in that Villa have spent over £35m on strikers over the last two summer transfer windows, in the shape of Rudy Gestede, Jordan Ayew, Jonathan Kodjia and Ross McCormack, three of which who have scored 20-plus goals in a Championship season, and it’s a real concern.

Poor management, a poor midfield, poor teamwork? What’s to blame? It’s without doubt a combination of all three.

You only have to consider that Gestede, Kodjia and McCormack’s 20-plus goal seasons were all achieved with teams that didn’t exactly threaten the promotion places to highlight there is a fundamental issue at Villa.

Home Comforts?

Villa with their unbeaten home run at Villa Park at least have some hope, but even that flatters to deceive.

With six wins and six draws at Villa Park, 24 points actually means Villa have only the eighth best home record in the Championship. Not good enough for the play-offs. This tally’s up with them having the eighth best shots on target average at home in the league with 4.8.

The troubling statistic though is when it comes to their overall average shots on goals per home games, they rank 20th in the league for their efforts at Villa Park.

This is simply not good enough.

Away Drought

With the 19th ranking away form in the league, their actual shots on target average in away games, 2.6, is the worst in the Championship. That’s frightening for a team that spent around £55m in the summer.

Villa are just not creating enough good chances.

Set Plays

Interestingly something else that Villa are rock bottom of the league at is goals from set plays. Just three. The top set piece teams – Newcastle, Barnsley and Cardiff – each have 13 goals from set plays in comparison.

If Jack Grealish is one of the most fouled players in the league, shouldn’t Villa be taking advantage of this fact and working hard on their set plays? You only have to go back to Ashley Young’s contribution on set plays (and winning them) under Martin O’Neill to see the benefits they bring.

Also, how many more seasons of training and games will it take for Villa to become a threat from corners? It would certainly be interesting to see the statistics over the past two or three seasons for corners that haven’t beaten the first man.

 

One way that Villa have been able to score goals is from penalties, but their five this season (the third most in the league) actually makes up 19% of all Villa’s total 26 league goals this season.

It’s perhaps not the best way to rely on your goals coming.

Postmortem

There was a school of thought, that even MOMS subscribed to, that if Villa got a couple of capable midfielders in at the start of the January window to make them more dynamic going forward, Villa’s talented forwards would reap the rewards and Villa could storm up the league into the play-off spots and live happily ever after.

We’re now in the second half of the January window, the players who left for AFCON haven’t even been compensated for and Villa are actually sinking in the league. Now cut adrift from the play-off spots by 10 points, after having got as close as three points away under Bruce.

In terms of the shots on target stats, it’s not a case of Steve Bruce having to make up for the ills of the earlier games under Roberto Di Matteo. The Italian averaged slightly more shots on target with 3.72 compared to Bruce’s 3.53.

So, what we’re watching in terms of Villa going forward has differed very little.

The added resilience Bruce has brought to the team – although it could be argued that this maybe just a byproduct of players having more game time together anyway – counts for very little, if the team aren’t actually creating enough chances to win games.

As much as it pains to say this, based on these stats that only support what we’ve all seen with our own eyes, the diagnosis of this season is that no January window placebo is likely to get Villa promoted. It looks like the team will need a major operation in the summer to fix it for a renewed promotion attempt next season.

Nobody should give in just yet, but it’s not looking good at all.

UTV

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6 COMMENTS

  1. We actually haven’t really been any better under Bruce than under Di Matteo, just luckier. The stats back this up. There is still something fundamentally wrong at the club despite all the changes. A shadow still lurks over the dressing room, you only have to look at McCormack’s form to know something is wrong, when a player who was a reliable goalscorer and captain of his former team looks so mentally fragile in a Villa shirt.

  2. we don’t possess a midfield or a quality strikeforce not one striker can produce something out of nothing kodija isn’t very good either take away his pens and his goals from open play are quite alarming his on a par with gestede ayew and McCormack so don’t pin your hopes on him scoring a hat full as it wont happen hes probably our best striker but unless we get quality premier league class midfielders in the cycle will just continue if and when we get promoted and yes the bad wood has to go their poisonous to this club nothing will change while they contaminate this great club next year is surely the aim now

  3. Until there’s a major cull by Steve Bruce of gabby ,Hutton,Westwood,Bacuna,
    nothing’s changed . Why keep selecting proven failure, Wake up ship these flops OUT.
    No wonder the academy kids are disillusioned .

  4. Our midfield has been terrible for several seasons now and there hasn’t been goals coming from the midfield. When some teams strikers have an off day they have midfielders stepping up and getting goals but we haven’t had that for a few years. If you go over the stats for last 5 years the goals from midfield are non existant, goals from set pieces are the same and the creativity from midfield has completely gone – some of our strikers have come in for criticism for not scoring but if the midfield aren’t creating chances and getting assists then the strikers can’t score, there is only so much a striker can do. We need more experience and quality in midfield, since we sold off a lot of our players after Martin O’Neil left weve been buying rubbish midfielders who haven’t the ability to create or score goals and until that changes as we get quality back in the middle of the park we will continue to have woefully bad goal stats.

  5. We sold a proven 20 goal a season championship striker in Gestede, we have another on the field who makes just as many assists than any other player in McCormack, we can buy 20 excellent strikers but still won;t score as we have the worst midfield I’ve seen for a long time.

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