Yes, Villa have only seen one win in their last nine games, and that was at home against Rotherham.
Away against Bristol City they seemed shapeless and once again without any real cohesion. Luckily, Bristol City seemed a lesser version of their team from last season, so didn’t take advantage.
In the last home game against Sheffield Wednesday, not even a beauty of a strike from John McGinn, could lift a lacklustre team performance and turn the game around against average opponents.
There’s big problems with the Villa defence, starting with the goalkeeper, and there’s no flow to an attack that has the personal to potentially outscore opponents, even if Villa can’t keep it tight at the back.
Oh, and now Villa are 15th in the league…dear, oh dear.
Here’s five reasons to be cheerful though…
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Five Reasons to be Cheerful
1. Woeful League
Somebody on the MOMS tweeter feed referred to the Championship as a ‘pub league’ and I’m inclined to agree. All the cliches attached to the Championship’s toughness, never mention the word ‘quality’. If you look back in recent seasons, any team that can play a bit, can, as we’ve seen more recently with Wolves, Fulham, Newcastle and Brighton, make mincemeat of the teams in the league.
Just being organised and having an effective system of play can be even be enough. Come on, if an organised Cardiff City team managed by Neil Warnock can get out of the league, then the level isn’t that high. I mean, come on, Steve Bruce even got promoted out of it with Hull and the Blues.
Which leaves me to the positive point of this season doesn’t seem to have any clear standout teams. Villa, despite a terrible start in their first 10 games, are not that far off the pace.
There is an abundance of talent in the Villa squad, so if this current manager can’t get them organised or playing effectivity, another man potentially can and still hit the promotion jackpot.
2. McGinn Light
When John McGinn’s volley hit the back of the net against Sheffield Wednesday, I was taken by surprise sitting there at Villa Park. I turned to the person next to me and exchanged a look of disbelief, before I scrambled off my seat to celebrate in a ‘OMG’ kind of way.
In that moment of hesitation before celebrating, there was a flicker of realisation, that it was for moments like this I got into football in the first place. The recent on-the-pitch ‘product’ served up in recent years at Villa Park has been inexcusably cr*p, but it’s covered up by the hype machine of social media marketing that puts forward empty notions of passion and the live match experience.
I got into football, because football could be great…not to watch rubbish, week-in, week-out.
Thanks for the memory, McGinn… and sort it out Villa.
3. We’ve Got Five Years
At the moment, Jack Grealish’s new five-year contract just benefits the player in giving him an increased pay packet, but the release clause certainly makes it interesting if Villa fail to get promotion this season.
If Grealish does evolve and steps up to deserve his initial hype this season, then you’d hope that it would help Villa actually get promoted.
At the moment, he seems to spend half his time face down in the turf, after being fouled. Yes, it wins free kicks, but he also needs to be quicker of mind, because ultimately he is being stopped. As he’s admitted himself, there needs to be more end product (nobody will trigger his release clause, if there isn’t!)
If Villa do win promotion, then his new contract will benefit the club and fans, as we’ll have potentially our main man locked in. He’ll be able to get into the England team playing for Villa in the Premier League, no problem. So, all will be good.
4. Smelling the Coffee
More and more Villa supporters are starting to wake up to the reality of two-years of minimal progress and achievement under Steve Bruce, and how this endangers the goal of promotion this season.
It’s common sense to initially give manager’s time, but the main issue now is we don’t seem to be on any path of progress, improvement or promotion.
We’re getting to the tipping point, where even those who wanted him from the start and have backed him fully, are now feeling seriously let down.
It’s a simple equation now – Villa have to start winning regularly ASAP, or there’s no point continuing any further with Bruce.
5. Bottoms Up
Villa’s next game is at home against bottom of the table Preston. It’s either a routine three points or potentially Bruce’s last game. Win-win.
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