Another week has gone by and the Villa boys suffered another loss, this time to their local Premier League rivals West Bromwich Albion. The local bragging rights were up for grabs at the weekend but, more importantly, so were three precious points. In the end, Saido Berahino’s outstretched foot guided a shot from James Morrison past Brad Guzan, which was enough for the visitors to earn victory.

Despite the Villans having decent spells in the game, they didn’t really put enough pressure on the Albion defence, which looked comfortable throughout.

Here are some things I learnt about Aston Villa this weekend:

This team hasn’t gelled yet

It’s a new-look team, with many players who are still getting used to the Premier League and new team-mates. Getting to grips with the Premier League is no mean feat: some players can take to it like ducks to water while others can take up to a season to adjust. Idrissa Gueye is a good example of a player who has seemingly adapted to playing in this league, while players like Jordan Veretout, Jordan Ayew and even Carlos Sánchez to a lesser extent show that players need time to familiarise themselves with their surroundings and teams. Because of this, we’ll see inconsistency with this team. One week we’ll look great, as we did last weekend against Leicester City for seventy minutes, and then we will see performances like those against Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion.

Jordan Amavi needs support in order to be effective

We all know that Jordan Amavi is a very good player. He has the potential to become a great player but, right now, he can’t do it on his own. He needs someone to help him out when the opposition doubles down his side. Ashley Young was a great example of this: he used to bomb up and down the left wing but when it came to helping his left back out he never hesitated to come back and put himself about. This is why I wouldn’t be adverse to playing Gabby Agbonlahor or Scott Sinclair out on the left so one of the two could come back to help Amavi, which would also enable him to bomb forward to create something. When Amavi does get forward, he’s shown that he can create chances with very good crossing and the ability to get past players. We need to see this more often.

The defence is still trying to find its feet

This season we’ve seen an ever-changing back four. There has not been a consistent defensive line since the season began. Leandro Bacuna has been the main choice at right back but Alan Hutton has recently been replacing him in bit-part roles. Ciaran Clark was the first choice centre back partner for Micah Richards but, after having a patchy couple of games near the beginning of the season, it seems that new signing Joleon Lescott is now the preferred choice. Jordan Amavi, as discussed above, will no doubt be the first choice left back so we’ll have some consistency there. I’m sure that once the players become more familiar with one another’s strengths and weaknesses we have the potential to have a decent defence.

Carles Gil is Aston Villa’s little maestro

Something that some Villa fans have known since last season is that Carles Gil is a quality player. In our squad, I think Jack Grealish is the only player who is comparable to him, although Grealish still has a long way to go. Adama Traoré is still an unknown quantity at this point. Carles Gil, however, shows patches of quality whenever he gets the ball. He always wants the ball and gets into space to help out his team-mates, demanding movement from his players around him. He plays neat one-twos and breezes past opponents with consummate ease when given the chance. His appearance last week epitomised what kind of player he is and how important he is to us: it was only after he went off that the Villans collapsed against the Foxes

Kozak should be given a chance up front

With all our forwards going through a bit of a rough patch, excluding Scott Sinclair who was, unfortunately, ineffective against the Baggies, many people feel Libor Kozák should be given a chance up front. I’m sure that, in time, Rudy Gestede will become a decent player for us but he needs to be eased in, not thrown in straight away when a lot is expected of him and the team. The same could be said for Villa’s most expensive signing this summer – Jordan Ayew.

Kozák has been through a lot in the last two years. However, whenever he has played – before and after his injury – he’s scored goals, whether in friendlies or reserve games. I think if things continue the way they are, Kozák could finally get his chance. I’m sure Sherwood wants the rest of the team to chip in with goals this season but we still need someone to stick the ball in the back of the net when given the opportunity.

So there we have it – the key things I learned from the defeat to the Baggies.

Tonight, we have the big second city derby game, a game which is hotly contested every time it is played and when emotions will be running high. I have no doubt that it will be a tense affair. Should we suffer another loss, Sherwood will be under mounting pressure from Villa fans and the media. If we win, the players can hopefully use that momentum to get going in the Premier League.



  1. Agreed, we need time to gel but we look far too open and lightweight. Can Sherwood do the hard part of the job, can he organise us defensively. Lescott looked out of sorts and was beaten easily by Rondon in the first minute. Wouldn’t spending £4m more on the 26 year old Evans been a better bet. We’ve added 10 new faces yet we’re no better. WBA have added far less but topped up nicely in Rondon and Evans, more importantly every man knows exactly what he was supposed to be doing, because Pulis has made sure they know. I expected WBA to be a tight defensive unit but didn’t expect them to be such a threat in attack too. We were outplayed from the first whistle. We better gel quickly.


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