Aston Villa badly need to find an identity and way of playing quickly. Don’t think for a minute that I’m nor impressed with the turnaround in fortunes that Steve Bruce has managed to achieve in 3 months. I am, but I believe one eye has to be on the future.
I don’t think it’s feasible to expect an ageing Alan Hutton, Mile Jedinak, Ross McCormack and Gabby Agbonlahor to play on for the next 3 years firmly as important first choice players. Like I said, it’s feasible for the short term, this season is all about getting back up to the Premier League, but what harm would it be to blood players like Hepburn-Murphy, Green and Lyden this season, even if it’s only a few sub appearances?
To reiterate my point about identity and style, what are Villa known for these days in terms of identity? We don’t play tiki-taka football, we are not especially great from set pieces and we are not a free-scoring side.
We kind of drift through matches in neutral, maintain the status quo. If you look at where Villa want to be, which is the top 6, then the team’s occupying them positions currently have an identity, teams know what to expect and they fear playing them.
More from Claret Villans
- Aston Villa dismiss Everton for first win of Premier League season
- Tyrone Mings injured in Aston Villa’s season-opening 5-1 defeat
- Aston Villa draw Hibernian or FC Luzern for Europa Conference League play-off
- Aston Villa sign winger Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen
- Aston Villa close in on deal to sign Pau Torres from Villareal
Teams don’t fear coming to Villa Park. I know we are unbeaten there but Burton outplayed us on Boxing Day, as did Wolves, Leeds and Newcastle, in terms of possession and chances.
Our plan seems to stay in the game as long as possible and then go for the jugular but what if we are 2-0 down in a game? Do we empty the bench in desperation and hoof it up the pitch? Having containment as plan A is not a long term solution, it works for a while but the better teams will punish Villa for it more often than not,
I don’t understand why Villa don’t use our own dangerous players to really scare the opponents because with £50 million plus of investment, we spent more than anyone else, save for Newcastle. Really, we should be confident of wiping the floor with any team we face but we go back into our shell when we take the lead, as demonstrated multiple times earlier in the season and only last week against Burton letting them equalise quickly after we scored.
Fans are only going to tolerate turgid football for so long even if Villa are getting results with it at the moment. 2 of our 8 wins this season have been against teams outside the top six. Beating minnows like these don’t get you into the playoffs. Beating teams with the same play off ambition gets you there. This is a problem Villa need to address in the New Year.
Giving Rushian HepburnMurphy a place on the bench ahead of Gabby Agbonlahor (pictured above) will at least hint that the management team and club are looking towards the future.
Restructuring the youth setup is all well and good but the key performance indicators of those departments within the club are how many of these players make the step up to the first team and we haven’t seen tangible progress on that front for a fair while now and if that remains the case, the club will not move forward.