Pivotal Month

Going into January 2017, despite a stuttering end to 2016, Aston Villa still had a shot at promotion via the play-offs. It would take a decent January period of results, which the addition of new signings should only help in providing a solid foundation for an end of season push.

Most supporters expected three or four additions, if Villa owner’s early tweets addressing the January window were anything to go by. The prospect of fresh signings, as well as re-energising the club and addressing various shortcomings in the team, would also hopefully lift the games of those players who places were under threat.

The January window proved to be pretty dramatic with eight players in and eight players out. In the short-term, there were of course dangers it may unsettle the first team, but the slump in form that was to come, even by Villa’s standards in recent seasons, was quite unexpected.

 

aston villa current form

In the past six games, only the hapless Rotherham have posted a worse series of results and that’s only by virtue of scoring one less goal.

The Villa Park Curse Returns

The one saving grace of Villa’s season that gave the team some hope was remaining the only unbeaten home team in the division. Throwing away a 2-0 lead against Preston seemed to open the doorway to the back-to-back defeats that followed.

While unbeaten for the early part of the season, Villa’s tendency to draw, pegged them back to having between the 4th and 6th best home form in terms of points. However, the recent results in the past month at Villa Park have seen the team alarmingly¬†drop to be only the 12th best home team in the division.

 

aston villa home form 2017

 

A struggling Ipswich were the first victors at Villa Park, despite only registering a single shot on target – it was enough, against a team that squandered several chances. Then came Barnsley, whom Villa had bought arguably two of their better players off.

if Villa are struggling, the fact that teams with far less resources – Villa have spent more in the last two transfer windows than Barnsley have in their entire history – and form, have managed to pick up three points at Villa Park is head scratching stuff.

On paper at least, Villa’s team has looked solid enough, but the finger has increasingly pointed at manager Steve Bruce’s tactics. Has he been positive enough? Why has he failed so far to get Villa playing as a team? His reputation in past successful Championship campaigns after all is built on turning 11 players into a battling and cohesive unit.

Expectations

The worst case scenario of an expensively assembled team trying to gel and find its flow, would be an equal mixture of wins, draws and loses. In short, a pretty average set of results, yet 2017’s offerings so far have been nothing short of shocking.

Along with Leicester City, Villa have the worst form in 2017 in all the four English football leagues. At least the Foxes have Champions League football to raise their spirits and offer up as mitigation.

 

aston villa form 2017

 

Registering worst form than even Rotherham and a Zola-led Birmingham City, now has Villa supporters glancing over their shoulders at the relegation picture. Seven points seems to be a safe buffer zone and surely there are three worse teams than Villa?

Or are they? The fact that Wigan, who are currently in the bottom three, have won three out of their last six games suggests the teams in the lower regions are starting to wag their tail, realising what is at stake.

If Villa don’t find any momentum soon, then the unthinkable may become a reality and if these players don’t have the heart for a promotion push, then it’s unlikely they’ll have it for a relegation battle, as their confidence drains further.

The overall picture is worrying, that’s why, as the cliche goes, the Villa players must start to focus on each game at a time. That begins at Newcastle, a game they should still feel they can get a result from.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. One thought why are players like Lowton ayew gestede Adama playing in premier and veretout playing in champions league considered not good enough for villa struggling in championship can’t see any of current crop premiership quality

  2. I’m still reeling from relegation from the Premiwrship. The current situation is unthinkable.

    Give players like Green a break. How can some of the youth team players get worse results. We are too quick to sell/loan players like Gil and Adama then buy players that ate no better.

  3. If is a very small that some small minded people put great significance on . Of course we could lose every match between now & the end of the season .
    However there are very few if any clubs that have totally outplayed us . And that’s not saying we have not been beaten as one would have to be in total denial to say that . But rather it’s saying that there are tactics that can get other teams results . And there have been very few of the goals we have conceeded this season that have not come from enforced errors . Errors that of course should not happen. Yes a few have come from sloppy play but many have come from frustration & trying too hard . But that’s what happens when opposition teams play with the belief that if they cause frustration amongst the Villa faithfull . they will win the match for them

  4. Can’t even contemplate getting rid off Bruce. He has to be given the chance to completely build his own team. I believe that we will aquire enough points to stay in this league & then he can clear out the players who quite clearly don’t want to play for Villa. Jedinak can not come back quick enough

    • I think the rest of the season is essentially a review of the Bruce situation. Obviously he has to show improvement and that he can create a team out of the players we have bought at some expense. He has time to prove himself and get the house in order, as long as the team don’t dive bomb.

  5. The biggest worry for me is that it’s so hard to see where the next win will come from. The fixtures looked very promising a few weeks ago yet we were unable to get anything. With the likes of Derby and Newcastle up next how long week it be before we get a result? The 7 point gap we have could be wiped out before we know it. The form of the bottom clubs will probably start to pick up and when you consider that we still have to play Burton, Blackburn, Rotherham and Wigan all away from home, with our record we could very lose all 4 what will most likely be relegation 6 pointers. I think it is starting to become a question of mental toughness at this stage, our players have got the ability to get out of this mess but unless they roll up their sleeves and show some courage and fight, the unthinkable could soon become very real indeed.

    • At this stage, as I allude to at the end of the article, it doesn’t matter who we play now. We have the players to beat most teams in this division, if we play to 70% of the teams ability. It’s about improving match-by-match as a team, and literally taking each match as it comes, now we don’t have to think about the bigger promotion picture.

  6. How can anyone consider 7 points a safe buffer when we are playing the best team in the league away next, if Wigan or any of the bottom teams get a result and we get hammered as expected, we will be in a relegation battle, so don’t go running away with the idea that it can’t happen, while Bruce is our manager we are in dire straights, seems to me that he’s lost the dressing room. Can’t start to imagine what a second relegation will mean, but we must act now while we have a bit of time even a new manager bounce might be enough to keep us in this league.

    • I addressed this with the paragraph that begins: ‘Or are they?’ Since there’s nothing at stake now, it would be a bit rash sacking a manager days after he’s just brought in eight new players! Judge him over the rest of the season. We would have to seriously dive bomb (or continue to dive bomb!) for a relegation battle to be a reality for the rest of the season.

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