On The Up
It’s a bit odd talking about wanting to be top six in the Championship. Such top six talk in terms of the Villa was always reserved for the Premier League. Also, before Villa’s season started in English football’s second tier, automatic promotion was the goal. It’s still on, but considering the poor start Villa made, the play-offs were always a more realistic promotion route.
I’m now confident that Villa will finish top six this season…at least.
While a welcome three points in achieving this goal, the game against Cardiff offered another example of a disjointed Villa, that to be honest, still haven’t found their rhythm as a football team. Still, the fact that the wins and points are starting to come shows that new qualities are being formed. Resilience and confidence are now increasingly apparent and the building blocks are being laid for playing better football and dictating matches.
The season is finally getting interesting, so here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans.
— My Old Man Said (@oldmansaid) November 26, 2016
15 points out of 21 points. Not a bad fraction in terms of the amount of points Steve Bruce has won since becoming manager at Villa Park.
With the resources of the new owner and the squad that has already been assembled, promotion is a very realistic target for Villa. The difference between Bruce and RDM is Villa’s latest manager seems to have got the message across that points and promotion must be earned. There was perhaps too much compliancy under the previous manager; that after spending around £60m, the job was half done.
Bruce had introduced more graft and that, added to the quality of player Villa have, should see Villa cemented in the top six by the turn of the year.
Another decent fraction is the fact Jonathan Kodjia has netted six goals in his last seven games. You expect him to score in every game now for Villa, which is a mark of a good striker. Can he get 20 goals this season? I think so, I don’t think even missing games due to the African Cup of Nations will get in the way of that.
‘The Artful Kodjia’, ‘The Kodfather’, call him what you will, but alongside James Chester and more recently Mile Jedinak, Kodjia’s been one of the only Villa players that is fully doing their job this season.
A player that is finally finding his feet and impacting games more is Albert Adomah. It has to be said he was somewhat of a passenger when he first signed, but now the 28-year-old is becoming intrinsic in how Villa go about breaking teams down.
As well as scoring the opening goal against Cardiff, Adomah has chalked up an assist in the last two games too.
it was expected that he might go missing in January when the African Cup of Nations came about with Jonathan Kodjia and Jordan Ayew, but after closer analysis it looks like he’ll stick around B6, which is good news.
Lets Get Physical
With their long throws and no mercy in midfield, Cardiff were perhaps one of the more physical tests for a Villa team that have been at times been accused of being lightweight.
Jedinak certainly showed what he’d been brought in for, especially in the second-half against the Bluebirds and the defence seemed pretty comfortable throughout.
The overused cliche is that the Championship is a tough and unforgiving league, so it’s good that Villa are up to the physical challenge of that.
If they now turn up the quality of their play, then the league will get easier. The league does lack quality and teams that can sort themselves out across the board tend to rise above the pack. The second half of this season should get interesting for Villa supporters.
MOMS met new Villa Technical Director Steve Round, they’ll be more details of that to come on MOMS (beyond the condensed transcript that is doing the rounds).
The former assistant manager of Everton and Manchester United came across as a forthright, considered and insightful footballing man, and he’s the kind of appointment that the club has been crying out for over the past decade.
Of his role, he said, he was essentially in charge of the “football performance for the club”.
“Performance comes under many issues as you need someone to try and align all the departments at the training ground. So, my remit is working with the manager, the first team coaching and together, oversee the coaching methodology of the club – right the way through from senior players down to six/seven year olds and to get that aligned as the ‘Villa engine’.
“I answer to the CEO and the owner so when he comes in this week we will be discussing the progress we have made. Innovation and change is important in our evolution. We have re-done all the organisational/structural/recruitment strategies. I’ll liaise on this between Steve, the CEO and the owner.”
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