Restoring belief


Yesterday’s trip to Carrow Road saw Aston Villa lose comfortably to a Norwich City side that effectively ended the remaining belief and opportunity of automatic promotion.

After Cardiff’s dramatic defeat to top of the table Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday night, anything less than a win in East Anglia would signal playoffs at best for Steve Bruce’s men.

Despite a poor run compared to the successes of January and February, it is that positive run of results that still gives me belief.

However, in all honesty … it’s wavering fast.

What I find most worrying is the fact that we’ve picked up only 1 point from QPR, Bolton, Hull and Norwich City.

Pretty alarming too when you analyse the performances further.

There seems to be a constant want to cross the ball in. Undoubtedly the assists from Albert Adomah and Robert Snodgrass have been influential in many of our results but sometimes it’s a bit one dimensional and predictable.

QPR at home for instance. Within twenty minutes of kicking off we had played several crosses in and all were won by taller, physical defenders.

I can’t really remember any direct football, passing, flowing movement. Shots from outside the box too.

I chalked off QPR as an off day.

Bolton away came next and although we created more chances, again the constant need to cross was dealt with comfortably.

I’ve previously said we need to remember the performances against Bristol City and Wolves and realise what we are actually capable of.

Both games we played attacking, attractive football. The hand brake was off and the players terrorised both teams with fast paced, direct football.

However much it took out of the players, we haven’t seen anything near to the likes of those performances. Reading were a poor side. Obviously it was a welcome result but they were dreadful and the early sending off finished them off in terms of any real attacking threat.

Hogan made several good runs yesterday and was found once or twice but again too many balls were well off targeting him.

The older players are genuinely looking shattered. Adomah and Snodgrass were blowing in the first half yesterday and both Taylor and Elmohamady looked burnt out and were easily brushed aside by the likes of James Maddison and Josh Murphy.

Steve Bruce needs to instill belief and confidence within the squad rapidly. The playoffs should be secured, but a couple more losses and even they could become questionable with the form of teams like Millwall.

The squad needs to be utilised to keep the star performers fresh and ready for the challenge of the playoffs.

Tiredness is inevitable but I’d also argue that case when you see that Brentford (25) and Millwall (24) have used the least amount of players this season. Also factor in what they have spent and their squads and they are grossly overachieving. Particularly Neil Harris at Millwall who will feel aggrieved to have not been named the Manager of the Year following promotion last season.

But ultimately for me, the style of football needs to be more direct and controlled. The cautious approach saw us completely waste the first half again yesterday.

I think I’d speak for most in saying I’d rather us go for the jugular and lose 4-3 than see what we’ve seen in our recent defeats. Too much respect and not enough urgency.

Hopefully the gradual return to match fitness of Jonathan Kodjia and possibly Andre Green will support the team in being able to turn things around.

We have the belief as fans, but now it’s over to the manager, the coaching staff and more importantly, the players.


  1. hogan too isolated,,, grealish to gready,,, combination of poor crosses and excellent defending,,,
    full backs poor,,, johnstone hoofing it all the time,,, poor corners and a lack of interplay around the box with a view to going forward rather than side to side,,,
    and not picking up hogans runs,,,,,
    all very fixable,,,,

  2. Automatic Promotion Bottlers….
    It is in my humble opinion now around 97 + % certain that the Aston Villa Football Club will have to play via the ‘top six’ playoffs to gain promotion. (save for a miracle) We really need now to absolutely forget the two automatic promotion places and instead 110 % (thanks Ron Saunders) totally focus on winning through to the Wembley Championship Play-Off Final Showcase. (Winner takes all including the ‘Play Off Final trophy’ and around $400 million to an astonishing $ 550 million dollars in prize money if securing a Premier League spot 17th or above in season one in the otherwise known place of ‘The Land Of Milk And Honey’ the following season)

    We need to be strategic now to with our positioning so its massively imperative that we secure 3rd or 4th place so that we are then certain to get the opposition back at Villa Park for the second leg semi final. Having said that the whole of the Aston Villa squad and coaching team must want promotion so badly that it actually hurts! A second leg semi Final home tie will be certain to generate a tremendous atmosphere at a majestic Villa Park with a 42,765 full house. If this scenario actually materializes then I truly believe there will only be one winner at an extraordinary vociferous Villa Park and that would NOT be the oppositions team.

    Once safely through to the Wembley Play Off Final I would then fully expect much of the aforementioned scenario that I described above to play out with the Villa having massive legions of supporters in London (probably in excess of 50,000 + supporters) inside the famous stadium. However… Along with EVERY single Aston Villa Football Club supporter world wide the whole Villa team has to BELIEVE and to WANT it the most! History beckons if that happens and then of course we will be creating yet another ‘glorious’ chapter in the continuing illustrious history of the Aston Villa Football Club, who incidentally are still to this very day the fourth most storied football team in English Football history!

    Come on you Lions! Go Villa!


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