Despite an impressive win over promotion rivals Cardiff I think it is safe to say that chances of automatic promotion are all but over. Before the playoffs we could do with taking a good look at the squad, assess why we have failed and where are the weaknesses?
The general feeling amongst fans I have spoken too feel that our fullback positions are still a big weakness for Villa. If we take Saturday’s defeat to Norwich at Carrow Road for example. Ahmed Elmohamady failed to put a half decent cross in all game. On top of that, he tends to hoof the ball at every opportunity and often be caught out of position.
Then we can move over to the left and Neil Taylor. When he signed, although I knew he wouldn’t be special, I felt he would do a solid consistent job. How wrong could I have been? He has massively disappointed me this season. Again on Saturday, he gave the ball away far too much for my liking.
Without a doubt, Alan Hutton has been a miss since his injury but with talk of his contract not being renewed, this is a massive weakness for Villa.
Another weakness highlighted on Saturday was the striking department. Scott Hogan once again struggled to make any real impact going forward. Lewis Grabban will always help out on the goal front but his work rate is a real problem and Villa are not strong enough to carry him.
Jonathan Kodjia is slowly returning to fitness and looked better and stronger last night against Cardiff while we shouldn’t put too much pressure on youngsters like Keinan Davis and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy.
One thing that really bothers me is the lack of movement up top. We are very lucky to have someone like Jack Grealish in the side, who tends to glide across the pitch effortless but his lack of options moving forward are a problem.
Another of our weaknesses are our wings. If Robert Snodgrass doesn’t make his time with Villa permanent then that will leave us with just Albert Adomah and Andre Green. Already the lack of competition has proven a problem this year when we have picked up injuries or players have been tired out of form.
Since we signed Sam Johnstone on loan from Manchester United we have been pretty solid between the sticks. Of course, Johnstone is far from the finished article but he is still young and he has a lot more positives about him that weaknesses.
The problem is, will we be able to keep him regardless of what league we will be in next season? Mark Bunn is our current back up but his contract runs out at the end of the summer leaving Jed Steer who is currently injured. Pierluigi Gollini‘s future is yet to be decided also.
Would you agree with the weaknesses? Have I missed some? Let me know you’re thoughts.
Automatic promotion may not be an option any longer but promotion through the play offs certainly are. Let’s hope we use our strengths to help us progress.