What an impressive start Steve Bruce has made since taking over the managerial reins of Aston Villa in October.
A total of 4 wins and 3 draws from 8 games equates to 15 points from a possible 21 on offer. I don’t think any Villa fan could have envisaged a better output after the winless run under Di Matteo was taking us all on a journey back to last season’s debacle.
Bruce has tinkered with formations and players since arriving and naturally some have responded in different ways to his methods. Jordan Amavi is showing why he was on the fringes of the French national team last year, Albert Adomah is becoming the creative winger we thought Adama Traore could become and Jonathan Kodjia is quickly making fans forget who Christian Benteke ever was.
It hasn’t all been good news for the players though as Aaron Tshibola hasn’t featured since the managers first game in charge. He’s even been playing for the U23 side and struggling to stand out.
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Tommy Elphick’s form has dipped after a promising start and James Chester has even replaced him as captain at the time of writing. Rudy Gestede has started a couple of Bruce’s games but hasn’t looked threatening at all he doesn’t possess the goal threat of Jonathan Kodjia, certainly in recent games.
Moving on to January, I believe an experienced goalkeeper needs to be sought as he could improve the inconsistencies in Gollini’s game. At just 21, he is very young especially for a goalkeeper and having an experienced pro who’s been there and done it such as Boaz Myhill or Allan McGregor will push Gollini to improve.
The midfield area is certainly somewhere the club could improve on as the only natural defensive midfielder is Mile Jedinak and at 32, isn’t going to handle 2 games a week you would imagine so someone like Claudio Yacob who isn’t afraid to get stuck in could help.
I also think with Jordan Ayew and Jonathan Kodjia playing at the AFCON for most of January leaves us short out wide so I could think of worse options than recalling Carles Gil if that is possible. I watched Gil in action for Deportivo this week and he looked sharp offensively with quick incisive passes but he tracked back to help his full back also which is encouraging.
I think we have cover in the forward area with McCormack, Agbonlahor, Gestede and Hepburn-Murphy all looking to impress the manager after disappointing seasons so far either through injury, lack of form or in Hepburn-Murphy’s case, lack of opportunities.