Aston Villa currently sits in 5th place in the Championship and I personally believe that this is something to do with the experienced players in the team.
After last season’s disappointment, I think most fans would have taken the club being in the playoff’s after 26 games of the season. That is exactly where we are and only 5 points from the second position and an automatic promotion slot. Added to this, there are only 3 other clubs that have lost fewer games than Villa this season.
Steve Bruce has made us harder to beat as well as able to pick up more victories too. Yes, the style of play isn’t as exciting or progressive as we would like at times. With the players at our disposal, we should be capable of at least creating chances in matches and playing with a bit of flair and substance.
The players at Bruce’s disposal have all shown that they are capable of playing on the front foot, taking control of games and showing signs of exciting, creative football. It’s clear though that the players are part of a system and style of play that first and foremost is about not losing football matches. The trouble is, the Championship is an extremely competitive league and sometimes the shackles have to be let off to allow our quality to shine through.
To give Bruce his credit, he has guided the team to the area of the table where we need to be. Having acquired an expensive and experienced squad, there are no excuses for failure. When things aren’t going well, we as fans always look for someone to blame. Whether it is for the manager to leave, more youth prospects to be played or the number of injuries we may have.
The fact is, that we are entering a pivotal stage of the season. There are 20 games left to decide our fate this season. Whether we can gain promotion back to the Premier League or whether we are to face another arduous season in the Championship. With the parachute payments set to end and Financial Fair Play regulations coming into effect, the next four months are extremely important for our football club.
With this in mind, is it worth risking the youth at this stage of the season. Can they be trusted to carry the burden of the fan’s expectations? With promotion being an integral aim and potentially a necessity this season, do the younger players have what it takes to lead the team to glory?
The club is in this position largely through playing the more experienced members of the squad. They should be trusted to maintain this momentum through to the end. I would love to see youth team players graduate to the first team but they have to be managed right. It would be too risky to throw a number of them into the team for the coming weeks and expect them to earn the team wins.
The costs of not getting promoted are too high and we have to trust in the experienced players for now. By all means, put the younger players on the bench and give them game time when the opposition is tiring. Right now, we need to trust in the players who’ve got us here to see the job out.