Aston Villa v Norwich 2017
We needed a response after the Cardiff game. Did we get one? No.
The way Villa set up against Reading in the week was indicative of a team happy to take a point, but even a draw looked unlikely.
It’s unclear what the board’s view is on Bruce’s position, but the manager is losing the faith of many Villa fans.
According to the Stan James betting app after being title favourites, Villa’s odds have slipped dramatically with them being currently bottom of the Championship. That’s not a good stat even in a blind optimist’s book.
Yes, as Bruce himself says, it’s too early in the season to be thinking about sacking a manager, but carry on like this and the Villa boss will be in an untenable position pretty sharply.
Norwich meanwhile have had a difficult start to the season, but could be back on track after a mid-week win over QPR.
A victory is desperately needed…
Bruce on transfers
“There are one or two things bubbling away.
“We’d like to do something, especially in the attacking half of the pitch because we are without Jonathan Kodjia and obviously Scott Hogan went off the other night.
“We are looking at that sort of area and we will see what develops over the next few days.
“I think every club in the Championship has been linked with (Gallagher) because we do believe he is now available from Southampton.
“It is something we are looking at along with 11 other clubs.
“It’s something that interests us, yes.”
and on Norwich
“It’s fair to say they are a club in transition.
“They have new manager, new players, new coaches – a different sort of style.
“But they are a good team. They have a sprinkling of some very good players.
“Norwich are very decent and we will have to be at our best to beat them.”
Farke on away form
“Aston Villa is a massive club and it will be a hard game.
“They will be motivated and aggressive after their start to the season. There will be a big will for them to get their first win, especially being at home.
“It’s going to be a game with a lot of intensity and we have to prepare for that. If we are able to control the game, then perhaps the supporters will get a little bit nervous.
“There is pressure on them, which is a bit crazy after four games. It’s a big challenge for us but we’re looking forward to it.”
1st April 2017 Villa 2 Norwich 0
Two goals from Kodjia secured the points as Villa enjoyed a late run of form.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 2, L 1
Norwich – Last five matches away: W 1, D 2, L 2
One to Watch
Nélson Oliveira – The striker scored against Villa last season as well as in their 2-0 win in the week
If Villa fail to win on Saturday, it will be our worst start to a league campaign since the 1997/98 season
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
We’ve got a good record against Norwich at Villa Park, but on the basis of the last two away performances, you wouldn’t bet on three points this Saturday.
Villa were made to rue missed chances in the season opener against Hull, but our last two games have seen very little in the way of attacking excitement.
Bruce claimed we didn’t deserve to lose against Reading – an odd statement claiming we had just 33% possession. That statistic tells the whole story of how things are going for Villa at the moment.
There seems to be a distortion of the qualities of Bruce as a manager, but the reality based on Villa supporter’s experiences while he’s been Villa boss are not great.
Norwich are another ex-Premier League club struggling in the Championship, with new manager Daniel Farke overseeing a slow start to the campaign.
They did however record a first win of the season in the week, so will probably be a lot more confident than the Villa players are at the moment.
Farke mentioned how a nervous Villa Park could play a part in his team’s success. All four of Norwich’s goals so far in the league have come in the second half, so it will be important for Villa to make a positive start to the game, or else Farke’s words could be prophetic.
Villa have won just once during our last nine league games (which was the win over Birmingham City in April) and should Villa fail to win on Saturday, it will be our worst start to a league campaign since the 1997/98 season.
Please let Kodjia be fit soon…
“They will be motivated and aggressive after their start to the season” – farke on villa
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Surprisingly, there are actually a few reasons to be cheerful.
Villa are unbeaten in eight home league games against the Canaries, winning five out of the last six. We even beat them under Remi Garde during the relegation season!
With Norwich introducing a new style to their squad (as Bruce alluded to), they could struggle against Villa; despite our recent struggles we’re generally resilient enough at home.
This could be aided by the return of Jedinak – we’ve won only once during the 16 Championship matches he’s not started. Elmohamady, who looks like a good addition to the squad, is also likely to be fit for Saturday’s clash.
In addition to this, this weekend’s opponents have an away record that’s almost as bad as ours – they’ve won just two and lost 10 of their last 18 away league games, and the last time Norwich won at Villa Park was in the inaugural Premier League season in 1992.
The history books appear to be on our side, but can Bruce deliver?
If not, then he could be in trouble…