One day some fans will register why MOMS keeps saying Villa’s performances need to improve for there to be any hope of a serious promotion push.
‘Improved performances’ means getting the basic things right, like passing to your team mate, cutting it back to a Villa player standing on the edge of the six-yard box, instead of blazing it over, cutting out defensive mistakes and also being a little more progressive in attack and less conservative. It does not mean playing like Barcelona, as a few fans seem to think.
Win or lose this season, performances have largely been below par. The ‘seven wins in eight’ period was almost as bad as the ‘winless in nine’ period, before it, in terms of some of the football played and the errors made. Lets not forget, Villa spent around £80m to boss this division, or at least try to. Instead, Bruce sets up the team to grind out a result, when a bit a bad luck can un-do everything.
Should Brentford really be above us in the league? Should we labour in games when even playing Rotherham?
In the last three games, we’ve seen what happens when the opponents are willing and able. Burton are a well-organised unit at the Pirelli and Villa needed to really open up more to get the win. When it came to two of the better teams in the league – Reading and Fulham – Villa were undone in a big way (but really we should be favourites to beat both these teams).
It was actually looking worse for Villa when they had 11 players against Fulham, before Kodjia was sent off. At least when down to 10 men, they were more focused and made a game of it.
Results at this stage of the season aren’t important (apart from the game against the Blues), but any signs of being able to make a mark next season are.
While we wait for that to happen, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans.
While it didn’t give Villa any points like his cracking strike against Wigan did, it offered Villa hope in a tough situation. The equaliser was perhaps one of Villa’s best goals of the season and showed another glimpse of Grealish’s potential talent.
The question is will this talent be fulfilled in a Villa shirt. He’s failed to impose himself on any game in the Championship so far and this season has been a big disappointment for the player.
— My Old Man Said (@oldmansaid) April 18, 2017
Will the real Jack Grealish, please stand up? Preferably this Sunday!
2. Kodjia’s Back
After what has to be deemed a bit of a harsh red card had brought an end to Jonathan Kodjia’s season, with its three-game ban, the Villa striker is back again.
Villa successfully appealed the length of the ban, so Kodjia will be available again for the last two games of the season.
He may miss the Blues derby, but at least he now has a chance to complete hitting the 20 league goal mark in the games against Blackburn and Brighton.
Nice work Villa with the appeal.
3. Blues Derby
Finally a game with some meaning and circumstance. A crowd of 41,500 is expected at Villa Park and the opponents should lift the atmosphere more towards what it should be week-in, week-out.
While it won’t be a game to clinch a promotion or play-off spot, at stake is the chance to potential put a foot on the head of the Blues and push them deeper into the relegation battle.
If Bruce is finally going to let the team’s shackles off, please let it be this game. An entertaining derby would be a good way to see what has been a disappointing season out.
Make sure you’re aware of the various road and entrance closures around Villa Park and use Aston instead of Witton station, if you can.
4. Hogan’s Run
With Kodjia out for the blues game, it provides Bruce with a chance to set up to actually help Scott Hogan finally find his rhythm.
What about playing Grealish in the hole behind him? With Hourihane running on, and Green (if fit) and Adomah on the flanks, Villa can attack with a little more dimension and more link-up play.
We can dream. We know the reality though, a tight, scrappy game, with goals from set pieces!
5. Harry’s Back
Yes, of course we wanted to be the ones to put the final nail in the Zola coffin, but Harry Rednapp becoming the Blues manager has added to the derby occasion. He’s always been a bit of a pantomime villain at Villa Park, so it’ll suddenly inject a bit more fun into the game and lift both sets of supporters.
Yes, the Blues will have the supposed ‘new manager bounce’, as well as the absence of Kodjia, but the reality is this is a manager who has hardly watched a game of Championship football this season, has had two years out of the game and knows very little about his own team.
This is more Bruce’s game to win, than being determined by anything that Rednapp can influence.
Over to you Steve…
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