Jekyll and Hyde Performance

The Aston Villa circus rolls on. After finally finding some semblance of form in the first half against Preston and taking a 2-0 lead, the team still managed to throw away two points.

Before the game came an amusing picture of Steve Bruce in full training gear in a kebab shop and after the game came the reasons for Ross McCormack’s absence. He’d missed training, was out of shape and apparently had a dodgy gate on the front of his house.

How a player who was a Championship record signing and its top goal scorer is recent seasons is allowed to fall from grace in such a way is another story (which we’ll address elsewhere), but there’s only one story I’m concerned about here and that’s the promotion picture.

Will Villa make the play-off’s this season? It’s looking unlikely if they carry on like this.

In the meantime, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans…

(Game highlights below)

1.And So it Goes On

The unbeaten home run continues. It’s all we’ve got to cling onto at the moment, but it gives us some warmth in these winter months and keeps the season flickering alive. The problem is too many draws at Villa Park are slowly killing us. Despite being unbeaten, Villa only have the 8th best home record in terms of actual points.

With Preston’s decent recent away form there were expectations of a closer run game, but ultimately Villa threw this one away.

No home game until February 11th against Ipswich now.

2. Screw AFCON

If you’re not going to be picked for your country, you might as well contribute to your club while you stay at home and Adomah certainly stepped up against Preston to make sure Villa didn’t suffer totally from a lack of strikers to call upon.

Should he have left Gabby’s effort to roll over the line? Maybe, but Agbonlahor’s effort only happened due to a poor first touch, so it wasn’t a clean effort.

It was good to see Adomah imposing himself on the game, as he needed to be one of Villa’s main men when you saw the lightweight starting line-up.

In other AFCON-related news, as MOMS detailed earlier Jonathan Kodjia maybe on his way back from Gabon earlier than expected, after the Ivory Coast haven’t made the greatest start to the African Cup of Nations tournament. If they fail to beat Morocco early next week, then Kodjia’s on a flight back. It’ll be good news for Ross McCormack, as it’ll give him more time to fix his gate.

3. Green Light

If Adomah was being a menace on the right-hand side, then Andre Green certainly made a decent contribution on the left with testing crosses, as he brought a better balance to the side. Giving the team a legitimate outlet on the left-hand side was pleasing to see, although he’ll kick himself for his missed headed attempt.

Villa’s policy of paying good wages to lesser Premier League talents/better Championship talent has failed to create a proper team ethic at the club, but fusing into the first XI some academy talent will certainly help add some spark and desire to the proceedings.

It’ll be interesting to see if Green still has a role to play after the AFCON and the January transfer window wind up.

4. Lansbury Factor

While the player’s attributes have been discussed before on these pages, before he was subbed off, it was clear to see against Preston what Henri Lansbury can bring to the team. While not at his sharpish – it was his first game in about six weeks – the former Forest captain certainly added a dynamism to the midfield with more purposeful passing and running, then we’ve seen for a while.

5. 10 Days Off

With the Bristol City game originally on the 28th January being put back due to the Robin’s FA Cup run, Steve Bruce now has 10 days to steady the ship and prepare for a last ditch stab at the play-offs.

This bonus period will give the likes of Lansbury and Sam Johnstone a chance to get settled in and more importantly allow the Villa board to finalise the extra additions needed.

As we all know from the constant transfer talk last week, Barnsley’s Conor Hourihane seems to be on his way to Villa Park next week. The player himself admitted as much in his post-match interview after he inspired Barnsley to beat Leeds United, bigging up Steve Bruce and saying, “we’ll see what happens next week”.

Get him at the start of the week and he’ll get a full week’s training in before the next game. Hopefully by the time of the away trip at Brentford, they might be another new face or two as well.

UTV

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3 COMMENTS

  1. after that excellent first half it was so disappointing to see such a shite second half no one thinks this club can reach the play offs as we cant control a game for 90mins so we aint going to win 12 to 14 games out of 19 are we but giving it a go wont hurt and it will let us know where we stand for next season as this one was over long before xmas so to pay us fans back for our loyal support especially for the last 6 or 7 years would be appreciated by so many

  2. Wierd game. The first half was best iv seen for years. Yes the ref helped, but gabby led the line well, worked hard and was a threat. Lans bury was the difference. We suddenly started to make runs forward and we’re able to pass it forward. Second half was back to normal with a lot of pressure a goal, all of a sudden from everyone wanting the ball to no one wanting it. Hadley an attack of note in the whole half. Just goes to show you that the players are capable, but our co fide ce is still so fragile after seasons of chaos. We have a long way to go. Anyone who thinks we can win the 14+ games we need to get in the play offs is not sane. We already need to build for next season not this.

  3. cant see grealish lasting much longer with additions to come fat boy did not a lot as usual [still very poor over 90 mins] amavi is becoming a joke \nd why 2 subs in 89th and 92nd min that to me shows how clueless bruce realy is after blowing a 2 goal lead they should of been made earlier to try and rescue the 3 points we threw away today play offs getting further away like next year maybe

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