I feel I should clarify a few things as regards my thinking about Steve Bruce.
I like the bloke. Because he talks my language and seems mostly fairly easy-going and personable.
I also feel a lot of sympathy with what he personally went through earlier this year.
But I have to try and keep how I regard the bloke to one side when it comes to the Villa, because ultimately it doesn’t matter. All that does is results, because footy is purely a results driven game.
Which is what makes things tricky.
Because I like the bloke and genuinely want him to do well for us, I’ve supported him, even when we went through a bad patch last season, where the fans of lower intelligence (the vast majority of us) were seriously questioning him.
So much so, that I came out and specifically said he shouldn’t be sacked, when it seemed the majority thought he should.
Bruce came really close to getting us promoted last year; just one game away.
But even then, it was mostly his negative tactics that cost us the play-off.
So even then, I retained my thinking in that we were close, but just not good enough.
But having watched us this season, I’ve had my eyes opened as to how poor we really are.
In my opinion, with our really easy start, we ought to, on paper, be top of the league by at least a couple of points. Yet we aren’t and we’ve scraped points against poor teams.
Of course, it’s still early days.
We’re only a few points behind the leaders and Abraham and Bolasie have only just started for us.
I fully expect them (and El Ghazi) to contribute a fair few assists and goals.
I get it.
Just a few weeks ago, we were totally in the proverbial.
But even so, I still expected us to have done better up till now.
We still have some really good players, even if you take the new signings out.
Ok, we got a very welcome win against a Rotherham team that travels really poorly.
A win’s a win and it’s all good.
Except that it’s the manner of the play even when we do win, that massively bothers me.
I’ve always said that the style doesn’t matter, as long as you keep winning and that still holds true.
But now I’m totally unconvinced that we’ll beat better teams, because our general play is so poor.
It’s crazy, because sometimes we look really good and threatening.
Yet we look so vulnerable and can’t get the basics right just seconds later.
It’s this inconsistency that bothers me most.
Just as we can go on a decent run, so I believe we’ll go on a really poor run.
Let’s not forget that Rotherham could and should have had two goals.
A 2-2 draw would have put a massively different slant on this post, but it’s by the by.
Could have/should haves don’t count. The result does.
Which brings us on to Sheffield Wednesday.
They’ll be a different proposition to Rotherham.
Can we beat them at home?
The fact that we’re (quite reasonably) looking to be automatically promoted this season means we should.
It would be nice if we could do it with some style to boot, but I don’t think we will.
I see yet another scrappy win, with Bruce saying we need time to gel the team.
The problem I have with that, is that championship winning teams don’t need to gel.
They perform consistently and just keep getting the results.
If Bruce can start/keep achieving that, I won’t have a problem.
Which I think applies to the vast majority of us.
It’s yet another game he can’t afford to lose.
Villa to win 1-0.