Two Up Top
Steve Bruce has repeated his mantra in recent weeks of wanting to play two up top in the Championship. His first-choice partnership recently has been Jonathan Kodjia and the recently acquired Brentford striker Scott Hogan, a partnership that so far has shown next to no chemistry and has only tasted defeat.
Hogan’s injury against Newcastle of a twisted ankle will now keep the striker out for a month (at least), meaning the partnership’s chance to develop and mature has been cut short.
MOMS had met the Brentford fan behind Beesotted Fan Network at a recent Football Supporters Federation (FSF) meeting and he remarked after watching Villa since the transfer, he couldn’t believe the lack of service Hogan was getting.
Apparently, Hogan would also cut a frustrated at Brentford at times, with his team mates not on the same level, but what was happening at Villa was on another level to that.
Perhaps the main reason to the 24-year-old’s frustration so far is his Ivorian strike partner Kodjia. Passing doesn’t exactly seem the first thing on his mind when he gets the ball.
Why slip a teammate through on goal, when you can try and take on four players before firing a shot from 30-yards into a bank of another three opposition players?
While Kodjia scores the odd goal, you get the feeling if he’d show more awareness and link up with Hogan, he and Villa would score a lot more.
Creating a partnership can take time, which is something that Villa don’t have the luxury of just yet. The two up top thinking currently isn’t working and with Hogan out for a month (at least), there’s nobody around to really replace him.
If Kodjia is unable to work with a co-star up front, with Villa desperate for points, it’s perhaps best to let him be the solo striker in more of a 4-3-3. His greed at least won’t hold back the team as much, if he’s main purpose is to get on the end of things.
It’s often been said of Bruce’s tactics pre-Villa, that he favours a tight defensive set up with strikers with that ability to snatch something, rather than producing a cohesive team. To be fair though, this time around for the standard of the league, he has a midfield that can give him a bit more and certainly provide the chances for Kodjia.
There are limitations to Kodjia’s game that may have checked his climb to the Premier League so far, but as he has shown earlier in the season, he possesses more than enough predatory instinct to fire Villa to safety and beyond in the remaining games of the season.
In terms of Scott Hogan, there’s certainly more to come and despite a frustrating start to his Villa career, he could become very important to the club’s future, if Bruce can work out his role and get the rest of the team to play to his strengths.
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