In recent years Norwich has been a tough place for Villa to go to. Our latest trip to Carrow Road proved to be no different. Some would say that maybe we deserved something from the game but its the final score that counts. The result and how the game turned out, however, will certainly help Dean Smith pass judgement over some of the squad as well as notice what work needs to be done.
I’ll start with our final ball. It was lacking. If our final ball was better, the rest could have been very different. I think some of the blame lies on Jack Grealish’s shoulders as his end product has been lacking for a few weeks now. Yes, he draws a lot of fouls and wins a lot of free-kicks for the team. But he needs to work on his end product and get some assists as well as goals. Now, this may seem critical but we all know the potential of Jack and we want him to fulfil it.
Moving onto Anwar El Ghazi. I was quite optimistic when he first arrived at the club. He looked like he could add something to our team. However, fast forward to Norwich and we have a different player on our hands. He looked lost and seemed like he didn’t want to fight for the cause. Maybe this is why he has been allowed to come out on loan, inconsistency.
My next negative is aimed at Alan Hutton. It may seem critical but he was at fault for the first Norwich goal. Once again, he lost his man, which resulted in a goal. This may have been missed by some as Orjan Nyland came out and flapped nowhere near the ball. Perhaps taking the attention away. I am a fan of Hutton but it is no secret that the opposition seems to target him. Maybe it is time that James Bree was given a run in this position. I feel he may be more suited to the pressing game Smith wants to see. Competition is what football is all about and it has never hurt anybody.
The one big positive for me was Axel Tuanzebe. Who would have thought? A centre back playing at centre back? He looks stronger and stronger each game and is becoming a real presence.
Our high pressing his something that will benefit us once our fitness levels improve. For the first half against Swansea and Norwich, we caused problems. We just seemed to run out of steam.
All being said, there has been an improvement and we can see glimmers of what Smith is trying to do. We just have to try our best to be in and around the mix until January. Then the manager can re-assess and kick on for the second half of the season.
Re-assess in January
I am still not completely convinced by Neil Taylor so I believe we will need a better-attacking left-back. Mitch Clark coming back from Port Vale maybe? Our goalkeeper problem doesn’t seem to be settling down either. Should we look to send Moreira back to Atletico? Recall Jed Steer?
We could probably still do with another centre-half. I know James Collins is currently training with us but maybe Ethan Ampadu on loan from Chelsea? He is versatile also and can play in a defensive midfielder.
It’s all food for thought but I believe in promoting some of our youth and giving them a go. Youth is certainly working for Derby so perhaps a good blend of youth and experience could work for us? We will see.