Steve Bruce guided Aston Villa to 7 wins in 8, including only 1 goal being conceded, however, Villa have now lost the last two and leaked 6 goals in the process.
Playing two games in 48 hours against better Championship teams in Reading and Fulham was never going to be an easy task, but as Bruce stated in the week: “ We are Aston Villa, 11th place isn’t good enough.” Well Steve, for this year it looks like it will have to be.
Villa have been inconsistent throughout the whole season, the only consistency is that they have scored 45 goals and conceded 45. Scoring goals has been a huge problem, especially when you look at further up the table and Brighton, Newcastle and Fulham have scored 30 more!
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The Jekyll and Hyde nature of Villa through this season shows what a tough summer Bruce has on his hands as he tries to pinpoint why one week the team can grind out solid victories and others it looks like a bunch of random players have been thrown together. Of course Villa have no right to walk every game, but with the resources available, Villa should be easily in the playoffs.
Villa have shown this season that they haven’t ‘bottomed out’ yet, meaning the state of B6 got worse before it was going to get any better. There have been some plus points this season, with the acquisitions of James Chester and Jonathan Kodjia in particular bringing quality and consistent to a team that has lacked both in recent years.
On to the games over Easter, with Reading travelling to Villa Park following a 7-1 mauling by the hands of Norwich. The away team rode their luck on several occasions but when we come up against the ‘bigger’ teams in the league, Villa always seem to struggle, and in front of over 30,000 fans at the weekend, the trend continued.
The backbone of the team is still weak, following going 2-1 down in both matches this week, every fan knew that was the game over. When the tough gets going, Villa are nowhere to be seen. The Easter Monday game against Fulham showed Villa and Bruce what an attacking, free flowing team looks like. Dangerous on the break, tricky wingers and intent on every attack. Fulham were everything Villa weren’t.
The only game that matters now in the calendar is Birmingham City at home this weekend. The Blues come into this fixture in dreadful form, but are buoyed by the departure of Gianfranco Zola and the arrival of an old foe of Villa in Harry Redknapp. Blues certainly need the points more than Villa, so it will be interesting how Bruce and his players approach the game in front of a sell out Villa Park and minus Jonathan Kodjia…