What a bizarre week, no sign of any decent football from Easter to the Blues derby, but in a Second City derby where Villa only managed to force one corner and one shot on target, Villa got a win that massively lifted the mood at Villa Park (if not papered over some massive cracks).

What did Villa fans learn from a week that included double Easter defeat, the loss of Ugo Ehiogu and the return of Gabby?

UGO

More important than any result in a season that ended mathematically a few weeks ago is the sudden loss of former defender Ugo Ehiogu.

Fans lucky enough to see Ugo play will remember the sharp intake of breath whenever he was called into action in his early days. He was signed for next-to-nothing (except a hefty cut of any sell-on – terrible business with hindsight and one that had Albion rubbing their hands in glee that their low-risk gamble paid off) and developed from a raw, committed player into a full England international and convinced Brian Little that Paul McGrath had a natural successor in the heart of the back four.

 

His sudden death, doing what he loved and was becoming increasingly heralded for, was a shock to football. Memories of his power and grace will live on in Villa fans for generations.

At the Blues derby he received two tributes – a minute’s applause before the game and one on the 44th minute to mark his age of 44.

READING ABOUT READING

Reading bounced back from a 7-1 defeat by scoring early against Villa… and that was pretty much that. Chester gave a glimmer of hope forcing over an equaliser but after a run of five games at home without conceding a goal, the second half started with another Reading goal to deflate the players and fans.

And then it looked a lot like the bad old days. Fans will complain while Villa have been winning they have been riding their luck, but this performance over all was bad enough that no amount of luck could compensate. Individual mistakes by Amavi cost the team and Bacuna’s needless heavy challenge for the late penalty added insult to injury – a cynic would say that not only has he not improved as player since he’s been at B6 but he doesn’t learn from past mistakes.

FULL UP TO HERE WITH FULHAM

The game against the Cottagers two days later was more of the same – with the added lowlight of Kodjia being sent off and suspended for Sunday’s game against Birmingham City.

Fulham’s goals had some good fortune about them, Jack Grealish’s did not. All in all it was just another flop and a return to the low quality of play and heads-dropping attitude fans had thought that had seen the back of.

 

Even Grealish’s goal comes twinged with a taint of “why hasn’t he been playing more?” Love him or hate him or still undecided on him, there are things he can do that none of the midfield generals can manage. A little more trust in him could go a long way.

THE BIG MATCH

Sunday’s game against the Blues gathered increasing interest (though not enough for it to be televised, which is good and bad given Villa’s record on the telly) as the week went on.

Both teams were to wear black armbands to remember Ugo. Not only had the bottom fallen out of Villa’s form, but they went into the game with their brightest spark of their season suspended. Then, Villa’s rivals fired their boutique Italian manager and brought in one of the dinosaurs Villa fans love to wind up in Harry Redknapp – who’s been admitting he hasn’t seen his new team play all season. And finally, a Villa win could make City fan’s sweat about the prospect of ending up in the drop zone. You couldn’t make it up.

But how wonderful it was. Agbonlahor – of all people – ensured Villa won the game with a goal in front of the Holte and the celebrations will last until the end of the season.

It wasn’t pretty (Villa only forced one corner and had one shot on target), nor was it a spectacle for the neutrals, but it was a win for the fans over their workmates, a win for Bruce over his former team, and a win for Gabby to enjoy.

UTV

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I think the most important thing is to get rid of the 12 players who are milking the club and still creating negative influence. That includes Gabby, Richards, ad the 9 out on loan. Not easy but we need to cut our losses and get rid. We will lose on all but save the wages although we will have to pay em to go. As for Bruce yes defense much better 4th best in division. Attack and midfield apppalling. 4th worst!! Despite buying up the best strikers and midfield players in the division. Playing the static Hogan up front on his own was predictable error by the manager. Yes good teams re built from the back. But with the players we have our goals tally is shocking. That’s why we are 11th not 2nd. That is don to the manager. Whilst we don’t want more managerial changes, Bruce needs to take advice and re plan his tactics. He changes from 1 to 3 strikers in the next game. 1 is ok if he can run into channels but only if midfield players get into the box too. His biggest failing is being be to get previously good players, totally unable to make themselves available for passes for the man in possession. The 2 simple rules are when they have the ball you closedown so they can’t pass, when you have posset ion you find space. Come Bruce you are paid millions to make you players do these simple things!

  2. Is there something deeply wrong @ Villa ? Or is the Club now in what in Mental Illness would be the recovery stage ?
    Hopefully that is the issue and with a good summer break & Preseason we can start next season running towards promotion @ the season end .
    If I’m correct the problem ran deep & goes back long before Lerner took over . But recently the club has undergone major surgery 1st under the Interim Board & now under Xia so hopefully the rot has gone . And before folk start pointing fingers I’d suggest that Gabby was as much a victim as a symptom of the problems . And his ??? recovery is a sign that things are improving but time wil tell !
    As for drastic changes I would not advise anybody to hold their breath as I suspect change will not be as drastic as some think
    Take defence which has improved vastly were possibly short of 1 CB as we seem to have a vacency as we have Chester /Elphic + Baker/ ???
    And if that logic is applied through the Squad we will vastly improve without drastic change

  3. There is something deeply wrong at Villa and it is impossible to understand why there is no debate or analysis about this. As the same points are made time and time again, and MOMS has records going back months, why not list the recurring problems?

    At least we would then have a clear idea how long they have been going on for,

    As to spending money, I asked on Heroes and Villains a couple of weeks ago why Xia should go one spending. NO real answer but its clear That it cannot be said he has not spent. Problem is, spending money at Villa is about as useful as burning it. Why should be fork out for people who then go missing on the pitch?

    Any future at this club or do we simply dream of a cheque book open for ever buying players who turn into donkeys at Villa Park?

    Trevor FIsher

  4. Yes very concerning we just continue to play rubbish,and I’m sorry but I am not filled with confidence about promotion next season, I keep reading that we are going to smash the Championship next season but personally I think it’s dreamland unless of course something dramatic happens during the transfer window, I’m not holding my breath.

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