A familiar lack of killer instinct came back to haunt Villa in the opening game of the 2017/18 Championship season against Hull City. But hopefully, that’s where the similarities with last season will end.
Villa’s preseason preparations weren’t exactly spot on. From a fitness point of view, the consensus is it went well, but Steve Bruce didn’t seem to settle on his personnel and a system to cater for going into the new season missing the team’s main striker, main midfielder enforcer and main assist provider; with Jonathan Kodjia, Mile Jedinak and Albert Adomah, all out injured.
A rained-off friendly game didn’t help, but it seems that preseason will roll over into the start of the season in terms of trying to establish a first XI the Villa boss is confident in.
Old Habits Die Hard
When selecting his team against Hull, rather than herald in any brave new world, the Villa boss cautiously sided with supposed experience, opting to put Gabby Adbonlahor on the left and also choosing Leandro Bacuna in a midfield berth.
After a mass influx of players since Villa dropped into the Championship, why aren’t the players omnipresent in the failings of the team in recent seasons, being discarded?
Three midfielders that Bruce bought in sat on the bench while Bacuna played.
If some fans booed at the substitution of Bacuna, part of their wrath would have been aimed at the manager’s initial team selection.
In the latest episode of the podcast (see below), we discuss what the fate of Bacuna should have been in this transfer window, as well as appraising and applauding some of Bruce’s incoming business over the summer window.
Villa’s squad of players is now quite impressive in the context of the Championship, but does Bruce know how to utilise them? We discuss what might be a new Plan A or at least B.
As well as the normal discussion, analysis and laughs – that even digress to topics such as past Villa stars in the Soccer Sixes tournament and actress Sienna Miller – Jedinak’s Jungle and Negatron return for the first time this season to brighten up your listen.
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The next episode of the show (No.24), will be out later this week.
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