Aston Villa fell to their third defeat in five games when they lost 3-1 to Norwich City at Carrow Road yesterday afternoon.
I haven’t always written match reports on this website, I was lucky enough to have someone who was part of the avillafan.com team who was happy to do them. That person left the team last season (on good terms). Anyway, to the point of this. I didn’t go to the game yesterday and haven’t had many plans this weekend so I have held off writing this because it has felt like a real chore.
Defeats are hard to take for anyone but that isn’t the problem for me. I watched Villa lose to a much better Norwich side yesterday and the lack of effort from the players was hard to watch. Some will blame the manager and some will blame the players. It doesn’t matter to me. Football has been hard to watch for some time now and we knew it wouldn’t become pretty when we gave Steve Bruce the job as Villa manager.
I am sure I am not alone when I thought that I could deal with ugly football as long as we were winning. I am starting to think that I was wrong. I listened to a short part of the Sunday Supplement on Sky this morning and one journalist stated that he thought there were two types of football supporters these days. The younger fans who are more than happy to go to games and just take three points and then the older generation who aren’t as fussed about the division they were in as long as they were being entertained.
Not only did it hit home that maybe I am getting old (I am 32 for the record) but I fall in the second type of that football fan. I have been toying with the idea in my head and during many conversations with friends that I would be fine with staying in the Championship if Villa were financially OK (None of us truly know the extent of trouble we may or may not be in) and we were winning while also being entertained.
We could still get promoted and ultimately that must still be the aim. The club has often spoken about building a brand and playing the ‘Villa way’. I just hope the ‘Villa way’ isn’t the current way because it isn’t entertaining. Even when we win, many just sokes up the victory and move on.
Bruce opted with the same side that beat a very poor Reading side in mid-week and while driving home from work before the game I head Bruce state that his side is capable of playing two games in a row but not three.
After Cardiff stumbled to a defeat the night before, many sore this as an opportunity to add some pressure. I personally had a bad feeling that we would flop and I am not proud to say that I was correct.
Norwich looked the better side in the first half without looking a real threat to Sam Johnstone’s goal until they took the lead in injury time.
Josh Murphy shocked Villa when he picked up a James Maddison pass and looked up for a cross towards the far post. Due to the lack of options, he opted to shoot instead and beat Johnstone with a sublime left-footed shot from 25 yards out.
Norwich doubled their lead nine minutes into the second half. Murphy who caused problems all game found Harrison Reed who passed the ball across to Dennis Srberny and he beat the offside trap to tap in from close range.
Bruce decided to make changes to an underperforming side who were creating very little by once again taking off two midfielders for two strikers (Jonathan Kodjia and Lewis Grabban) and it looked to have paid off when Kodjia laid the ball off to Jack Grealish who gave his all and he was able to squeeze the ball into the bottom corner revealing a shirt paying tribute to the late Ray Wilkins.
Despite the advantage being halved, Norwich continued to attack Villa and their efforts were awarded 18 minutes from time when Maddison got on the end of a Murphy cross to end any Villa hopes of automatic promotion.
Next up for Villa is Cardiff and it wouldn’t surprise me one little bit if we beat them. Equally, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were bullied and brushed to one side with ease.
Steve Bruce: “We were poor, really poor, and we didn’t do nearly enough to get anything from the game. There was no zip to our play, the defending for the second two Norwich goals was unbelievably poor and we absolutely got what we deserved, which was nothing. The players have let the supporters down – and they have also let themselves and the team down”
Daniel Farke: “We all know what Josh is capable of. He has excellent technique and it was an excellent goal. He also played a part in our other two goals and it was a really good all-around performance from him.”