With just two points from the last six games, Bruce’s boys currently have the worst form of any team in the Championship. January, a month which promised so much, brought a winless stretch that included three losses in four games. With not even an improvement in performances to take heart from and the gap between Aston Villa Football Club and the top six widening, it proved to be a tough month.
It is clear that the season we were expecting or hoping for has not gone to plan. The standard of play has been disappointing. The new signings, although exciting on paper, are still trying to find their feet. The team looks lopsided and there is no identity to the way we play football.
However, there is no need to do anything drastic or to panic just yet.
With the mass player changes the club has seen since relegation from the top flight, it was always going to be a challenge to get promoted at the first attempt. It is a challenge that could, and perhaps should, be achieved with the players brought in and the perceived quality of the manager brought in to herald a new dawn.
The Championship is often talked about as the toughest league in the world to get out of. Overall, teams are quite equal and games are often decided by errors rather than moments of brilliance. As Villa fans, we need a dose of reality. We are a work in progress still. The team that played last season has been dismantled and replaced. There will be a bedding-in period and it will take time for the players to settle in. The last thing this club needs is further changes to the hierarchy. The Aston Villa project is harder than it looks but I’m confident Steve Bruce will get it right.
My main concern is that we have no cover for an already injury prone Jedinak. In the last two games, we’ve desperately missed a reassuring, controlling presence to stifle opposition attacks and break up play. The team lacks balance without such a player and Bruce leaves his players vulnerable.
Sometimes, the right players aren’t available for the right price in the transfer market, so perhaps Bruce knows that the rebuilding job is still ongoing. There will be further changes to be made in the summer. For now, he can focus on forming a team and creating a style of play that gives us an identity as a team. We have an abundance of quality all over the park. We have promising youth players with a closer route to the starting XI. The team remains unbeaten at Villa Park this season. There are plenty of positives and cause for optimism. We just have to get over the disappointment of not being where we thought we would be, trust in the owner and look forward to better times ahead.
Keep the faith.