It’s a bit late for thinking back to Saturday, but apologies, I just never got round to posting about the game.
Whilst not wanting to gloat, I’m sure you’ll understand how sunning my skinny arse in Mexico at this time of year might deflect from the thoughts of Aston Villa.
Except it doesn’t; it really doesn’t and Villa are still one of the first things I think of every day.
My missus constantly tells me how sad it all is, that a “bloody football team” always seems to come first.
I laugh as I tell her every time that it’ll never change.
So I’ve been thinking a lot then and the truth is I still don’t know what to think, even though I’ve had time to calm down.
Bruce opted for a 3-5-2 then and I should have known better than thinking it was a 4-4-2 when I saw the line-up. It’s Bruce’s favoured setup after all, if what I’ve read about him before he came to us is correct anyway.
I’m not a big fan of 3-5-2, as it all too easily leads to a 5-3-2, especially if you don’t play a high line. I think it was perfectly demonstrated on Saturday.
Which was why I wanted to string Bruce up by his proverbials after the match.
I’d specifically said in the preview that I wanted us to get at them and as the game unfolded, so it became obvious that Forest had absolutely no threat whatsoever and they were there for the taking.
Yes, they had lots of possession, but were doing absolutely nothing with it until that purely speculative shot got totally fluffed by Johnstone.
And god, was that poor. Yes, it spun and maybe even bobbled, but that should have been bread and butter to a decent goalie, it’s as simple as that.
“Total bloody liability” type comments aside, we have to put it down as “one of those”. Again.
That’s what you get when you replace a kid with another kid and those of us who raised the issue at the time seem to have been vindicated. Will he be dropped? He ought to be, as we can’t afford those types of mistakes.
But we’ll see, I suppose.
I shouldn’t gloss over our goal though and it was well executed wasn’t it?
A lovely, deceptive pass from Grealish, which Kodjia finished with some aplomb. Where would we be this season without him?
Actually that’s a very scary thought.
And then back to Grealish, who apart from that pass was totally invisible.
Seriously, at half time, I legged it down to the bar for another Bacardi and coke (no ice) and got back just as the second half was starting. And for the next half hour I honestly wondered if he was still on the pitch.
I soon found out, of course when he got sent off.
I was bloody livid and that’s putting it politely.
Now, I can appreciate what he brings to the game when he actually pulls off a piece of skill. But how often does it happen?
I’ve mentioned it before and he needs to grow up fast. Until he does, he’s nothing more than a last 15 minute impact player.
And what really boiled my piss? He didn’t even look bothered, both times he went in the book. Perhaps I’m being unfair there and he’s just under orders to keep his trap shut and not whinge, which would be fair enough.
But I’m sorry, he just looks a real petulant kid, in the way he acts.
So much so, that I’m sure refs have him marked.
Anyway, I thought up until that point, we were very much holding our own.
And then Bruce took both the strikers off.
I said at the time that we were going into defend mode and it just amazed me. We can’t defend with eleven players, let alone ten!
It’s also part of the reason I’ve waited until posting this, but even retrospectively, I don’t understand that decision.
I’ve seen Bruce’s point that he didn’t want Hogan to do a muscle in the last minutes (a la Gabby).
Err, Hello Steve, did you totally forget that Hogan’s only been with us a few days and hasn’t been over-trained to death, or whatever it is we do at Bodymoor Heath, that causes these types of injuries?
And it was rubbish anyway. Hogan didn’t look tired to me or the commentators. And surely, if he was, he’d have pointed it out?
No, I’m not having it. It was an awful decision, which left us no way of relieving any pressure that was going to come at us. Bloody hell, we’d spent enough time hoofing it, so why stop then?
So I went out on the balcony for a smoke. Because it was all too inevitable.
Does Bruce not listen to us amateur blog writers at all?
You’d really think he’s the expert wouldn’t you?
And that’s where we are.
Bruce sets us up with a system the players don’t know.
The players don’t know each other yet (Bjarnason? hmm) and he chucks a grenade in like that.
I can only think it’s character building Bruce is after.
But amongst all that, I saw green shoots.
How useful does Hogan look for instance?
He showed more in that game than McCormack did in all the time he was here, in my opinion. If he doesn’t get us a few goals this season, I’ll eat my Sombrero.
The season’s a write-off now and it’s now about getting the team to gel.
Which I’m sure they will.
The players we have definitely ought to be good enough, after all and it’s difficult to even wish for a realistically better group, on paper.
Mind you, how many of us thought similar in the summer?
Regardless, we can’t chop and change again, so it has to be Bruce for the foreseeable future.