It’s been a busy couple of days news-wise, hasn’t it?
I didn’t comment on the Blackburn game because I didn’t see it.
I heard about fifteen minutes of the commentary though and it didn’t sound good.
Phrases like “keep giving the ball away” and “not helping ourselves” sounded all too familiar and gave me no incentive to try and sneak away from the job.
Indeed, the performance was apparently the worst we’ve had under Steve Bruce, leading to him slating the languid rubbish the monster away support had to endure. When the CEO Keith Wyness makes a point in commenting that it was the worst he’s seen anywhere he’s been, you know things must have been bad.
I’ll bet that certain players have signed their own death warrants Aston Villa-wise after that.
The performance on Saturday has diverted somewhat a post that was meant to be about the manager and his approach to the game, but has now become more about the players, unfortunately.
Steve Bruce has come under increasing fire recently because of the boring, non-football that has been on display.
And I have to be honest, it’s something I partly agree with.
We never look like scoring many goals and if you take Kodjia out of the equation, things look frankly frightening.
There is often a gulf of space between the midfield and attack, with next to no link-up play between the two.
Are we seriously to believe this is how it’s supposed to be under Bruce’s style, though?
If so, why did he sign Lansbury and particularly Hourihane, who were known for their getting upfield and creating for previous clubs?
If the manager’s approach was to sit deep and try and nick one, would he have signed that sort of player?
I don’t see it.
Hence I don’t believe “dinosaur” is a particularly good description of Bruce.
I believe he wants to play the game the right way and he has had very reasonable resources to allow him to do that.
Pragmatic though, is a description that I definitely believe applies to the manager. Whatever your opinion on Steve bruce, it’s a simple fact that he’s
the best most experienced manager in the game at getting promoted.
And you won’t convince me otherwise, because it’s a fact that you can’t get around. He’s done it four times, twice automatically and twice through the play-offs.
So let’s just leave that one there.
So he knows what’s required. Hence it’s fair to suggest that it won’t always be pretty. And if his approach is that we sometimes have to play canny and nick the points, I can live with it.
But not all of the time.
Which begs the question of why have we been so consistently poor and particularly so against a Blackburn team that isn’t near the bottom of the table for no reason?
If we consider Bruce knows what he wants, but isn’t getting it, leading to him doing his fruit in his after-match assessments, that can only lead to two possibilities.
Either he can’t get his points across/motivate the players or the players themselves are the problem.
The first part of that is easily solved. If indeed it’s true, we sack the manager.
I hasten to add, I don’t believe it’s the case, although some of you might disagree.
But if it’s the second part and I tend to think it is, we have a major problem, bigger than I think any of us fans realise.
Why do so many seemingly good players come to Villa and instantly become rubbish? is something that always plays on my mind.
I’ve become even more perplexed as the season has gone on and the question now, is who was Wyness aiming the dig at?
The players or the manager?
No doubt we’ll see over the summer.
Moving on, it seems the promised clearout has begun.
I must admit the likes of Sellars leaving has surprised me because I’ve only heard good things about him.
But I’ve often complained about how poor our youth system has been over recent years and if someone has come in with fresh eyes and is looking to go another way, more strength to him, in my opinion.
Let’s be honest, we’ve hardly produced anything over recent years, have we?
I expect to see something very similar amongst the second string too, as we have far too many players who are on high wages considering they’re never going to get a look in.
If there is some sort of poor culture down the Villa, let’s get rid.
And then there’s Kodjia’s broken ankle, which is a massive blow if he does miss the early part of next season.
Where will the goals come from?
That said, at least it reduces the chances of him leaving; not that I ever thought he was going anywhere, this season at least.
It’s nice to see he’s keeping his spirits up, with him saying “the sun comes after the rain” or similar. Get well soon Jonathan.
And the last one is Tony Xia wants to flog the club, apparently.
I just laughed at that, as I don’t see it for one minute.
Remember Bruce’s comment about Xia’s plans, just a few days back?
On the other hand, it seems like he might be looking for some investment.
That part, I can more understand, as weighing in with £50 million or whatever it is up to now, must stick in the craw and is enough to reduce even a massive bank balance by a fair whack.
I can’t say I like joint ownership, as it lessens overall direction (look at Arsenal’s in-fighting), but if it’s what’s required for another big investment on quality players in the summer, oh well.