It’s a question I never expected to be asking so early into the season but, unfortunately, it is one that has to be asked in light of performances and recent press speculation. Do we stick or twist when it comes to Roberto Di Matteo as manager?
Di Matteo has had a more than slow start as Aston Villa boss, with the side currently languishing in seventeenth place having managed one win, six draws and two defeats.
So here are both sides of the argument on whether or not our Italian boss should be given time to work things out.
There has been a sacking culture at Villa Park recently and it doesn’t appaer to have helped matters. Stability is needed.
When the going gets tough, the tough have to muck in and do their best with the players at their disposal. Di Matteo and his coaching team could, and should, be getting more out of the current squad.
Removing Di Matteo as manager could unsettle the squad, with some players perhaps having moved to Aston Villa on the basis of working with Di Matteo alone.
The performances have been promising at times. Despite a few erratic team selections, we haven’t actually played too badly and on occasion have been very unlucky not to take more points than we have done. It could only be a short amount of time before the team does go on a run because the quality is there for all to see.
When we play in a 4-3-3 style system, we run teams all over the place despite the injuries that I would argue have prevented Di Matteo from playing his strongest XI.
Also, who is out there to take over from Di Matteo? The logical reasoning would suggest that current number two Steve Clarke would be favourite for the job. Do we really want that?
As I have said many times before, Rome wasn’t built in a day, as Dr Tony Xia will have learned when he went there in a Ford Mondeo to employ Roberto Di Matteo… From the outset, the mission has been to return the club to the Premier League within two years, although the spending this summer suggests we are aiming for a one-year spell in the second division.
This season was always going to be tricky and perhaps Villa fans expected too much early on. I firmly believe that things will pick up soon enough, even though I have my reservations.
The fact is that we’re already being pushed away from the top six. We need to enter a rich vein of form soon to stand any chance of pushing for a top six finish and an immediate return to the Premier League.
The tactics have been horribly wrong at times and have cost us dearly. The 5-3-2 system against Newcastle United really did not work. Tommy Elphick looked incredibly uncomfortable in the system and it could be argued that that is how he ended up putting the ball in his own net on Saturday.
It is bizarre to see a squad packed with so many goal-scorers struggling to put chances away. This isn’t directly the fault of Di Matteo but when a team’s not winning games the blame will always fall at the feet of the manager.
Despite playing well at times, some of the time we have been awful and the play has been reminiscent of the Paul Lambert era. For example, when we drew 1-1 with Brentford we sat back for half of the game after opening the scoring. We didn’t even look like attacking until they got an equaliser.
The bottom line is that the early season form has not been good enough. If this manager wasn’t so recently installed, I belive that he would have already been on his bike. Steve Bruce is around and a promotion specialist…
It isn’t time to star panicking just yet. We have a game tomorrow night against Barnsley and follow that up with a trip to Preston at the weekend. Both games are winnable but we cannot underestimate the opposition. Only two wins will be good enough to make Di Matteo’s position more secure. A haul of less than six points from the next two fixtures would suggest to me that Xia should definitely be looking at the future of Roberto Di Matteo.
Until then, we need to support the eleven men on the pitch, hoping we will soon get the rub of the green.