Promotion: a bridge too far for Aston Villa?

Aston Villa's Jonathan Kodjia (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)
Aston Villa's Jonathan Kodjia (Photo by Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images) /

Despite a seemingly positive December, the tables have turned and Aston Villa’s promotion bid seems to be quickly losing steam.

To begin with, pre-Christmas defeats to Leeds and Norwich were quickly offset by promising wins against: Wigan, QPR, and Burton. Such results meant the team had won six and drawn five when playing at home in the league.

Fans all over twitter were singing the praises of Steve Bruce’s claret and blue army, and the festive period was a happier one for the Villa faithful. This was a pleasant change from the recent toils of Christmases gone by.

However, the past few weeks have seem to have dampened that initial optimism. The end of year draw against Leeds wasn’t too disheartening, but lacklustre performances against Cardiff, Spurs and Wolves have cost the team dearly, making promotion look a tall order. Our over reliance on the ever prolific Jonathan Kodjia is clear for all to see, depicting that his absence to the AFCON could potentially shape the season.

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One could draw similarities to the Christian Benteke days, when we could always rely on him to create something out of nothing if the rest of the team looked devoid of any inspiration. Once he was out of the equation, our points tally suffered.

January signings could certainly assist with this conundrum; the possibility of having both Lansbury and Hourihane in midfield could bring some much needed creativity to the park. Nevertheless, our current squad still lacks proper depth so Bruce has a lot of work to do to make promotion conceivable.

Our home form will be crucial to the mounting of any promotion charge. Saturday’s tie versus Preston is a now a must win now, but consistently getting 3 points week in week out must become number one priority. This is especially relevant when looking at the potential six pointers against Derby, Wednesday, Barnsley, Norwich and Blues who are all rival contenders for the final play-off spots. Victories here can allow substantial ground to be made up, but must be supplemented by winning the supposedly ‘easier’ matches against lower opposition.

Added to this, the away performances need a huge improvement as they have been a severe blight on the current campaign. Travels to Brentford, Huddersfield, Fulham and Newcastle will be very difficult but must be departed with at least a point in hand. The rest of the games are mainly against teams in the lower half of the table, suggesting there is great potential here for Villa to hoard a significant points tally if they can reinvent themselves on the road.

Wishful thinking I know, but optimism is a requirement to preserve your sanity when supporting Aston Villa.

So, now to the big question. Are Aston Villa in a realistic position to achieve promotion back to the coveted Barclays Premier League? For me not yet. I just think the team still needs more transformation before the step-up back to England’s top flight can be made, especially if we want to last more than one season there.

The play-offs are the only route left now and villa cannot slip up at any stage if they are to succeed. It is still technically possible, but title winning form must ensue.

My head is telling me that we won’t do it, my heart won’t give up until I know we can’t do it.