The optimism slipped away after a jammy point against Leeds and a dismal showing against Colin W*nker and his thugs from Cardiff. With Villa unable to string decent team performances together regardless of the results, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season. Is promotion now a pipe dream this season?

What exactly did Villa fans learn after two poor showings?

LEEDS SPIRIT

For a few minutes there at the start of the Leeds game, Villa were really going at it. But because Leeds are up for it – really up for it and geared towards it – it meant little. A video popped up on Facebook titled “Champagne Football” featuring Leeds pinging the ball around like an elaborate game of keep-away with Villa either helpless or hopeless to stop them.

If not for the gift of a clear handball, the unbeaten home record would be over and knives would be out for Bruce, who is still struggling to install character into his inherited squad, or the players who haven’t been good enough and will have to deal with the one stand out player (Kodjia) off on international duty for a few games.

CARDIFF KICKING

This was supposed to be a breeze. But everyone knows what to expect from a Warnock-coached side: a lot of shouting, a lot of bruises and the chance of an undeserved defeat to brawn over playing the game properly.

And so it came to pass that a Villa team without a midfield or forward line – and with Joe Bennett, a player deemed too lightweight for Villa, providing the assist – that Villa were 1-0 down at halftime and can count themselves lucky it wasn’t more.

 

The stats will say Villa had all the possession and no luck but with 12m striker Ross McCormack unable to score against his second former club in a week, Gardner and Westwood looking like they should have bought a ticket if they just wanted to watch the game, and the ref turning a blind eye to untold fouls by the home team, it was only going to end with defeat.

It’s not just about buying the best players on paper – consideration has to be made into WHO the team needs, not just what. That’s why former midfielder George Boeteng was always in demand for clubs that needed a shot-in-the-arm: because he was obnoxious to play against and never stopped running. Still there’s always…

LET’S LOOK THROUGH THE TRANSFER WINDOW

… the January sales! Dr X tweeting that one loan deal was in the bag, one more in the works and two or three new signings in the works, there’s a hope that Bruce will bring in who he sees as the right pieces of the jigsaw.

In the same way RDM was a wallpaper manager, Villa don’t necessarily need Moneyball players or people that are in it for the long-haul (not necessarily, though it would be nice to think the players we bring in will be able to hold their positions after promotion). What the team needs without going on about specific positions is some toughness. Why did QPR sign Vinnie Jones? So their playmakers could do just that: make plays while Vinnie ran around kicking everyone over and giving them to the ball.

Elphick is unlucky to have been ousted by Chester and Baker, not because he’s a better player than either one but because he showed fighting spirit and kept his teammates pumped up. In this column’s opinion, even the better performances from the Villa team have looked too much like wing-and-a-prayer stuff than down to decisive tactics, strength of character and purpose, or self-belief – and that’s what needs to be addressed.

Hopefully Brucie will bring in his dolly dealers and Villa will be playing their cards right, but will get nothing for a midfield pair like Westwood and Gardner were against Cardiff: NOT IN THIS GAME.

FA CUP PREDICTION

Watford fans knew a hammering was on the cards against Spurs with the Hornets’ depleted squad. But really, do Villa need the distraction of a cup run anyway? (Ed – if we beat Spurs, I’d embrace the distraction!)

UTV

 

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9 COMMENTS

  1. steve bruce should know this league as he has spent more time in it than out of it anyone who plays hoof-it deadwood fat-boy and bacuna has lost the plot in my opinion been taken off at half time because they made no contribution [hoof-itand deadwood]is a cop out you only have to look at the previous 20 or so games to see they are completely humiliating to this great club on past performances they should not be at the club let alone in the team I know he is limited to an extent but we are playing handicap football with those wasters in the team its like playing with 7 or 8 men all the time if he drops jack or ross back to midfield with tshibola and jedinak atleast you know its 11 v 11 and we stand a much better chance of winning players play out of position all the time ecspecially when its forced upon you and atleast you know they will put a shift in and not turn their back to the ball as there scared of getting hit for Christ sake deadwood its air in the ball not concrete you pussy I pray we get 3 midfielders and a striker in asap so these bums will never embarrass this great club again

  2. There’s a lot of negativity here, and it’s understandable. However, this is Bruce’s first major slip up. We all expected a win here, as a sign of our return to our rightful place in the Prem. Cardiff were never going to be push overs. However, for one player’s absence to make such a difference to our goal threat is very worrying. I was sure McCormack would bag here, but that’s football. At least Tshibola got half a game and RHM got on the pitch. The Jan window will allow Bruce to get some reinforcements, and let’s hope they’re in midfield.

    • Is ‘negativity’ discussing when Villa aren’t playing well (like all season) and losing. That I’m afraid is unavoidable, because it’s the reality of the situation!

  3. Vinny Jones only played 9 times for QPR at the end of his career, did you mean when he signed for Leeds? Agreed we could really do with a box to box thug as well as another creative central midfielder, at least Tishibola carried the ball forward at speed second half and opened them up a couple of times. Westwood and Gardner are just not good enough.

  4. patience please. Bruce has a record in this division like no one else. The decisions he is making are very odd, notably giving Gardner a new contract and playing Westwood from the start, two lightweight players and if the Mail is right, both were hauled off at half time due to making no contribution – so at least Tishbola got a chance.
    Bruce has not got his choice of players. ANd its not about getting big money players in. Tonight Brighton are top and Newcastle with money bags Benitez have had the double done over them by Blackburn. Derby get tanked by Norwich. There is no form book. The winners this season will be the clubs that know the division. Leeds and Brighton have the experience. So does Bruce. No panicking please.

    Trevor Fisher

  5. Lucky I’ve said for a while no play-offs under Bruce team selection leaves a lot to his un-imagination deadwood bacuna and hoof-it the three worst midfielders in the league and then brings on gabby fat boy is long passed his sell by date so in theory we only had 8 players and 8 mins for murphy pathetic why keep ayew and not play him silly tshibola done well in his first game for a while but Bruce your. team selection so your fault do us a favour and fuck-off before its 2 late I hear there’s another blue nosed cunt looking for a job. go on tony give him a call pmsl twat

    • Easy to judge players based on past history and the result, and call the manager a twat for not selecting the players you think might produce a result But on another day Gabby 2 shots on target would have gone in and we would not be lamenting a loss . But yes lets behave like a bunch of losers & sack yet another managerbefore he has a chance to bring any of the required new players , just coz he did not get an anticipated win !

  6. With Jedi heaving up his guts Bruces choices for midfield were always going to be limited. As for Gabby over Ayew & his short fuse Bruce surely made the right selection .
    As for motivation well that’s difficult with players scared of taking a kicking & used to being penalised for retaliation
    All we can hope for is that Xia’s cheque book can bring us in a few better players &/or that some of the youngsters just back from loan can prove their worth as Bruce has had little time to judge them

  7. Bruce has a lot to answer for crazy team selection, disgraceful treatment of Ayew, who’s left on the bench while flabby plays, unbelievable. If he thinks that he can get promotion with this lot dream on
    Get shot of McCormack and get Rhodes in ASAP together with a strong attacking midfielder or two,
    But I’m already thinking it may well be too late. Bruce for me is all talk, surely team motivation is down to him. Or has he just been lucky so far.

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