Based on 2019 form and performances alone, it would be hard to take Dean Smith’s future as Villa Head Coach seriously.
With just 12 games left of the season to go, Smith surely has to show an improvement in results and drastically showcase hints of the potential improvement to come.
Currently in 2019, Smith’s single win and five draws in nine games means Villa have averaged less than a point-a-game in the Championship.
Nobody would have envisaged such a collapse in fortunes after his bright start.
So far, on results alone, Smith has simply enjoyed a ‘new manager bounce’ like Villa’s former manager Steve Bruce is currently enjoying at Sheffield Wednesday, after being unbeaten after six games in charge (three wins and three draws).
Smith’s 2019 record is the 20th best record in the Championship and leaves them only two points above the relegation zone in terms of games played in 2019.
It’s hard to find any positive light to what has gone on so far this year. Only three teams have conceded more than Villa, while even Villa’s attack, once its strength is now failing – Norwich and Brentford have actually scored twice the amount of goals in 2019 fixtures than Villa.
Villa’s improved performance at the weekend was against Stoke City team that ranks 22nd in 2019 form, having scored the joint lowest amount of goals this year (five).
Hope for Smith
The good news for Smith is the return of Jack Grealish, who surely will go straight into the starting XI against Derby.
With Grealish, it’s probably too little, too late in terms of turning the club’s fortunes around for the season. Currently 13th in the table, Villa would probably need around 10 wins from their remaining 12 games to be hitting the play-offs, if you consider the 75 points Derby got to secure 6th place last season.
Hopefully though, Grealish can at least be a spark to get Smith showing the potential he started his time at Villa with and allow supporters to view the future with a bit more optimism.