A lot has been made of Aston Villa’s mounting injury list with the likes of John Terry, Jonathan Kodjia, Scott Hogan and Mile Jedinak all sidelined.
To be honest though, while these are some of Villa’s biggest wage-earners, only Terry has really been pivotal to and a regular part of the recent resurgence of the team.
The main loss of Kodjia and Jedinak, in particular, is the depth and genuine options they would bring to the Villa team during the difficult key winter period of fixtures.
It’s been through injuries that Villa have discovered some of its unexpected better performers this season. Before the season started, who would have thought that both Albert Adomah and Keinan Davis would be such key players?
With that in mind, Villa do have three players in particular that can still give the team an extra dimension and provide legit alternatives for Bruce to freshen things up.
All three still have much room for improvement in terms of their contributions to the club.
They have all demonstrated their ability though and if we remain optimistic about them, then potentially they can improve Villa even more this season.
There was a lot of talk of Jack Grealish being the focal point of Villa’s play this season, before he got unlucky with his injury. Whether this was a case of man-management by Steve Bruce, telling the media that in an attempt to lift the player and spark him into action is another thing.
Last season, Grealish showed flashes of match-winning ability at this level that offered hope, but so far he hasn’t shown the consistency week-in, week-out to be the real deal.
— MY OLD MAN SAID (@oldmansaid) April 18, 2017
Grealish is only 22-year-old though and his latest injury will reinforce to him that he can take nothing for granted.
If he’s going to be a top Villa player, then shouldering some responsibility and helping Villa to promotion this season, will be instrumental into helping him push onto the next level.
The most surprising thing about Henri Lansbury’s equalising goal against Leeds United was it was his first league goal for the club. It’s a stat that has typified his time at Villa, so far.
Last season he’d scored six goals in 17 games for Nottingham Forest, yet he failed to find the net in a similiar amount of appearances for Villa during the second half of the season.
Lansbury’s been a little lost since signing for Villa, but you do not become a bad player overnight.
The former Arsenal youth academy product is a proven player at this level, having scored over 30 goals from midfield for Nottingham Forest. He averaged a goal roughly every four-and-a-half games for them.
Steve Bruce has at times perhaps played him too deep in the midfield, like he has also been guilty of with Conor Hourihane.
When both players have been given the licence to operate further forward, that’s when they’ve contributed the most.
Against Leeds, Villa had struggled to have their midfield influence the attacking third, but Lansbury coming on with Grealish, gave the team more of a foothold on the midfield to generate more of a threat going forward.
With Joshua Onomah seemingly only playing well every other game, extra legitimate options in the number 10 role will be a big boost to Villa.
Some supporters will have already written off the Icelandic midfielder, but he hasn’t really had a chance to prove himself yet.
His willingness, smart running and goal threat suggest he can be a type of Tommy Johnson-type character for Villa. A support act that chips in with vital goals.
Again, he hasn’t become a bad player overnight, and apart from Mile Jedinak, he’ll be the only Villa player at next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.
Bjarnason has been a big part of Iceland’s incredible example of team effort. A blueprint that would provide the foundations for any team to get out of the Championship.
Do not give up on him yet.