No-one can argue with the quality of the signings that Steve Bruce has made. We have poached some of the best individual talent that the Championship has to offer. On paper, the Aston Villa team is littered with star names yet performances this season have been underwhelming. This is taking its toll on results now too. We have the worst form of any Championship team since the start of the year and only one team has picked up fewer points than Aston Villa in the four top leagues in England.
Perhaps Bruce has had too much money to spend. Does he work better on a limited budget, where any purchases have to be carefully weighed up to see how they would benefit the team? Allowing a free-for-all on spending makes it easy to miss the bigger picture – team unity, balance and cohesion. When bringing in an influx of new players, there has to be an amount of time given for a ‘settling in’ period. This is easier when it is one or two new players as the changes to the overall team play or style are smaller. However, when it is four or five players (nearly half the team) then there will be disruption. Bearing in mind that we are currently playing with a whole new midfield, it is no surprise that we are disjointed.
The main reason for the imbalance in the team is the lack of a defensively minded midfield presence. The only player who fits this role in the squad, Mile Jedinak, is injured but will hopefully be back for the end of the month. Jedinak is a player Villa fans haven’t seen the best of this season yet having someone, anyone, with a defensive attitude in that position will undoubtedly help us. His return cannot come soon enough. Jedinak’s return will surely see Bjarnason ousted from a midfield three, allowing Hourihane and Lansbury to shine in front of the midfield anchor.
On a final note, fans are quick to blame players. Gollini, Johnstone and the recently departed Westwood are just three players who have been on the receiving end of stick. This doesn’t help the team. We can all see when a player has a bad game or consisently fails to reach the level we would expect but hurling abuse at these players doesn’t help matters. With the team seeking unity on the pitch, let’s at least at least unite as fans and back the boys in claret and blue.