Villa v Forest – two of the biggest names in the history of British football. Both with their glory days long behind them, although both teams went into the clash with a host of new January additions. What did Aston Villa fans learn from the clash of the one-time European Champions?
Is it fair to start with picking on Sam Johnstone again? A pattern is emerging where he is costing the team games too often for comfort. It’s the return of Guzan, albeit with longer goalkicks and more hair.
Clearly confidence is so fragile with the team, as it has been since the days of “We were excellent” Lambert, but when the goalkeeper isn’t giving the team a chance of scraping a result it’s going to look like Villa are hanging on when they should be shutting up shop.
He can play, but psychologically Johnstone is the epitome of where Villa are: starting out games like THIS is going to be the one where the team turns it around, and finishing them with a blunder that feels like “here we go again”. Again.
THE TWO SIDES OF JACK GREALISH
Jack Grealish and his red card overshadowed his beautiful assist for Kodjia’s sweet goal. What other player on the Villa team has that vision?
But what other player in the current squad would earn a yellow card for a stupid kicking-the-ball away crime then get himself sent off for an ugly looking foul with 15 minutes to go?
If fans have to take the bad with the good, it would be nice to see just a bit more good (goals) and a little less bad (putting the team down to 10 men in a tense game and then taking the blame, rightly or wrongly, for yet another last gasp defeat).
Bruce promised “something different” with the line-up against Forest. The result was the same old away loss and the possession stats were just like the bad old Lambert days.
If the future is 4-4-2, that’s great. If the new players are settling in nicely and feeling like they are bonding as a group, it’s all good.
But wouldn’t it be nice to stick with a formation and style (an identity that can be Aston Villa rather than adjusting and overthinking to worry about opposition teams at the expense of doing what the team does best… whatever that is) and reduce the losses over time to begin next season with roles established and belief that long-term Aston Villa are going places… other than League One?
LEARN FROM THE PAST
The great Paul McGrath interacted with Kodjia on Twitter last week, offering him support while letting him know a few things he needs to work on. Kodjia, who this column believes will go on to be a Villa great, responded in a humble way.
It’s the likes of God who remember what it is to be in a Villa team that won things. And yet under recent managers, former players who have offered to help in any way they can – most notably Collymore, but there have been others – are ignored.
Doctor X, who is a recent fan of the club compared to many, might want to consider taking some of these former Villa greats to practices if not to help “coach” but to talk to these new signings about what the club means to them. It would help the big picture and spell it out to them that not too long ago, Villa were down and out but not too long after that they were a flair-packed title-contender with a strike-force that was the envy of the division.
If you don’t learn from history, you will repeat the same mistakes over and over. And since 2011, it feels like Villa have been doing too much of that.
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