The Easter break brought with it disappointing defeats for Aston Villa. Saturday’s 3-1 loss at home to Reading was mirrored by the same scoreline away to Fulham two days later. With the draw with Burton Albion ending chances of what would have been a vastly underserving push for the playoff’s, it seems the season is quickly petering out. From winning four games in a row, Villa has now taken just 1 point from the last 3 games; not ideal preparation going into the second city derby with Birmingham. The Sunday showpiece provides, for many fans, the last meaningful game of the season.
What has maligned the team (and at times been covered up by good results), is the fact that performances and the style of play have been not what we were expecting in a supposedly lesser quality league. With little to play for but pride, Bruce can use the remainder of the season to experiment with his squad. The Fulham game saw game-time give to Gary Gardner, Jack Grealish and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy as the manager sought to give fringe players a chance. At the moment, it seems that by trying different combinations of players in various positions, he will happen upon the finished article. We all want to see a team that has cohesion, plays stylish football, defends well and attacks with fluidity.
The Fulham game saw game-time given to Gardner, Grealish and Hepburn-Murphy as the manager sought to give fringe players a chance. At the moment, it seems that by trying different combinations of players in various positions, he will happen upon the finished article. We all want to see a team that has cohesion, plays stylish football, defends well and attacks with fluidity.
So far this season, we have seen little sign of what looks like the finished article, however. It is clear that Steve Bruce has a lot of work to do over the summer. The here and now is that we face an upcoming match on Sunday, that all Villa fans want to win. The loss of top scorer, Jonathan
The loss of top scorer, Jonathan Kodjia due to suspension, represents a big blow and questions will arise over who can get step up his absence. The obvious choice is Scott Hogan, who I am a big fan of, but he has yet to fully settle in a team which Kodjia is the main man in.
The derby game that Villa face without Kodjia, provide a massive opportunity for Hogan to show what he can do. The talent and goalscoring record at this level is undoubted but the team have to utilise him in the right way.
What is clear to me, is that Villa has to play their strongest team against Blues in the derby. What this team is, even the fans are uncertain of. It has to be a team that gives opportunity for Hogan to shine and chances to be created for him. With Bruce seemingly settled on a 4-3-3 formation, it is reasonable to assume that Adomah and Amavi will flank Hogan. Leaving the midfield to be the key to
With Bruce seemingly settled on a 4-3-3 formation, it is reasonable to assume that Albert Adomah and Jordan Amavi will flank Hogan. Leaving the midfield to be the key to being more effective than it has been recently with Henry Lansbury or Conor Hourihane starting.
The season may be coming to an end but Sunday’s derby looms large and Bruce knows how important a positive result is.