Brentford away was awful. The new faces, along with a good long look at Andre Green, made it potentially intriguing but the game was over long before the final whistle. What did Villa fans learn from this transfer window and the dismal display on Tuesday night?
Brentford were taking the mickey by the middle of the second half last night. All three of their goals were well worked (without their striker Scott Hogan who was busy signing for Villa) and their hard work, team play and flair proves you don’t have to lump it and kick people over to progress in the Championship.
But plainly put, Villa were terrible. After the first ten minutes when they looked like a side ready to compete, with set pieces looking a threat and Kodjia among others coming close to netting early on, it all went down the drain. And that lack of self-belief led to frustration. Which led to a lack of effort. Which led to despair. All too familiar. And that with two players making their first appearances in a Villa shirt, bursting that balloon too.
You could say “it’s only one game” but…
PLUS CA CHANGE
… For all the change in managers, players and owners, is there really any long-term progress? It’s hard to believe Villa appears to have replaced players who weren’t up to the task with more than aren’t up to the task, but after games like last night’s, the bottom line was actually worse than most other games when Villa have been beaten.
In defense of the new signings (including Lansbury who at least looked upset about how things were going and probably wasn’t at his best after being bandaged up), throwing the new guys into the limelight and expecting their best is like poking an animal with a stick and saying “go on, do something!” or meeting a comedian and saying “go on, say something funny!” Bjarnason especially looked exhausted after some early promise.
But they will get better, some fans said. And logic says they will. But logic doesn’t apply to Aston Villa. The richer the owner, the more willing he is to spend, the new signings, the goalkeeper changes, the move from new manager to new manager – none of it has come up with a winning formula since the club hired Alex McLeish in 2011.
If this roll of the dice by Bruce doesn’t work, what next?
Sam Johnstone was a strange signing from the start. Coming in at the expense of Gollini, who was farmed out to Atalanta and probably isn’t coming back, it seemed to be replacing a young, inexperienced goalie with another one.
Is he better than Gollini in some ways? Certainly he has a better command of his area. But a goalkeeper more than any other player on a team has to be judged by results. The last line of defense has to be just that. They have to inspire confidence and lead the defenders.
When fans took to Twitter blasting the fact he “still hasn’t made a save” it was harsh, and as a goalie in a 3-0 battering he’s an easy target. And yes, if the forwards and midfield were doing their job and the team was winning 3-1 it wouldn’t matter half as much, but… well it isn’t, so it does.
Along with Hourihane, Bjarnason and Lansbury this window saw the addition of the aforementioned Scott Hogan, Neil Taylor (who will challenge Amavi for the left back position… at the expense of grumpy striker Jordan Ayew), Jacob Bedeau (who we’ve been told is one for the future… which given the recent attitude to youth players “not being ready” means fans might never see him in the first team) and right-back James Bree who was an unused sub against Brentford (who surely must get a chance ahead of Hutton soon).
This column wishes them a warm welcome and hope they settle in soon.
Follow Adam on Twitter at @keebo00
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