Well, it wasn’t the drubbing many of us expected score-wise, but it certainly was in terms of performance.
It all started poorly when Nathan Baker suffered a hamstring problem during the warm up, which amazes me in itself.
Surely the players should be well versed in this? Or is it just that the legs have been over-exercised?
Anyway it concerned me, as he’s been a consistently decent performer this season. It turned out to be a valid concern, as Elphick looked intermittent in sometimes being very good and at others decidedly iffy.
Not that I’m singling out Elphick as our worst player.
We had plenty of those.
Let’s go through the team.
Johnstone, who I thought was great last week, parried the ball when I thought he could have done better and it cost us the goal. That apart, I don’t recall him having much else to do.
Hutton. Yesterday evening I thought he was man of the match.
I still think that, because of his running and effort in at least trying to do something.
I’ve generally been supportive of him in his time at the club, but as much as he tried to take us forward, so I’ve had to realise that he simply isn’t good enough. He gets into the right sort of positions, but his delivery is mostly horrendous.
Amavi. I thought he was awful, as simple as that. But then, I don’t think he was being helped much as Wolves concentrated on our left side. One great run and cross apart, it was another night to forget.
Chester. He’s one of the only ones who come out with any credit. He’s assured and I feel at least slightly confident when he gets involved.
Bacuna. Another poor game where he was pretty well invisible. It seemed to me that he was under specific instruction to punt the ball forward, but it was pointless as he was hardly ever accurate.
Tsibola. Not one of his better games, but probably the best in the middle last night. He’s athletic and definitely better than Westwood and Gardner. Why he was hooked, I don’t quite understand.
Jedinak. I don’t think he’s fit at all. He’s a clever enough player, but he seems laboured and his distribution leaves a bit to be desired.
Adomah. Just a poor game again and didn’t get involved enough.
Gabby is simply a busted flush. His ball control is horrendous. I’m talking 10-year-old kid level here and it’s shocking that Bruce sees something in him. Him starting simply has to stop, as it’s obvious it’s going to achieve nothing. I don’t see any of the options being any better in a struggling side, but I now think we might as well try them, as at least they’ll be learning. Gabby will never learn anything, that much is certain.
McCormack. The return we’ve had off him for a player that cost £12 million is a joke. Ok, he was leaning back when he headed that chance, but it was a brilliant cross from Amavi and he simply should have buried it.
He has a history of getting better in the second half of the season, but I’m not seeing much sign of it coming.
But then, even as it’s very easy to just blame the strikers, we just don’t create anything, meaning they just don’t get enough service.
And this is what’s puzzling me.
If I was asked to name a side for that game, it’s probably not far from that which started. I’d possibly have put Green in for Gabby, but apart from that I think it’s simply our best overall side.
Okay, we can argue about the odd player, but mostly, it’s our best side, as I’m sure the majority would agree.
But on that performance and that of quite a few games now, it frankly isn’t good enough, as Bruce said himself.
It’s shocking that when we spent £50 million in the summer we still can’t do simple things such as passing or controlling the ball. We have no desire or running and the times a Villa player had the ball, only to have no-one else near him, well I just can’t understand it. Why are our set pieces generally awful and rarely find a Villa player?
Pretty much all of the signings in the summer were lauded as decent players. So why do they seem so poor?
And where do we go from here?
Tony Xia must be thinking “I paid how much for that rubbish?” and I wouldn’t blame him in the slightest.
We should remember that this is the Championship and not the Premier league.
It can hardly inspire our owner to stick his hands in his pockets again, as he must be thinking he’s been robbed.
But that’s what he’s going to have to do and quick. I really struggle to see where any points are going to come from while Kodjia is away and we simply cannot expect anything with the team as it stands.
We’ve mostly been talking 3-4 players, but it’s becoming even more obvious that a total clearout, a small few apart is what’s required.
Having said that, it seems to me that there’s still something very wrong at club.
We sign decent enough players, but when they come to the Villa, they just don’t perform. Gueye is the classic example of this and how often has it been said that if x player were in a better side, they’d look a lot better?
We seem to have a knack of making decent players look poor and it’s concerning.
Where will we be left if Bruce, not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely experienced and proven splashes the cash and we still don’t improve?
if Bruce can’t get it right, I really fear for us in the future.