Villa will try to get back on track tonight against visiting Reading. And while we’re still in the playoff spots in fourth, any continuation of our lackluster form of late might see us starting to look over our shoulders. Which isn’t really where we want to be with seven games remaining.

I would imagine that following Saturday’s result, Villans will be most keen to see the team sheet. The sneaking suspicion is that when Steve Bruce has the vast majority of his team fit, he’s not quite sure what to do. That things have gone better when he’s been forced into selections.

This may or may not be true in the big picture. But it does have me, at least, thinking back to the beginning of the season, when it didn’t seem that Bruce knew his best side. Fair? Well, let’s see what happens.

If Bruce is right about one thing, it’s that Villa need to get their mojo back. No one seems quite sure where it’s gone. The two poor results following the great Wolves showing were obviously pre-break, and it does seem fair to ask if they were the result of overconfidence.

And, of course, we’ve looked poor all season following breaks.

So, I dunno. As I’ve said more than once. I’ve thrown out what I’d do, and so far, Bruce hasn’t seemed to agree. Maybe we’ll find ourselves on the same page at some point as we’ve done at other junctures in the season.

At any rate, seems like a win tonight is rather important for any number of reasons. Villa have managed just one goal in the last three games, so it seems that either more creativity or luck are at least required. And maybe a bit more urgency.

We’ll soon see.

Over to you.

Comments 57

  1. Thanks JC. Something has happened since Wolves. One goal in the last 3 games as you say is unsatisfactory. I get the feeling Spud is hoping one of his strikers pulls a rabbit out of the hat for him rather than set up as earlier during our good run when chances were created and goals were scored.

    We are after all the third or fourth highest scorers in this division. Considering that fact, I can only wonder how many we might have scored if he had established an attacking formation.

  2. JL – ” Well, here we go … fingernails already bitten back and a twitch in my left eye! ”

    Hahaha – I know exactly what you mean! But it’s only a game of football and I’m sure we have been more nervous at many points over the last 50 years or so.
    Do you believe in the Villa? Oh yeaaahhhhhhh!


  3. Thanks JC, here we go again another potentially season defining game, lets hope we nip the slide in the bud.

    Plug- Yes 1 goal since the Wolves game but prior to that, 24 in 11 games with hogan leading the line, Grabban 1 goal without Hogan up top 3 with, coincidence? not for me.

  4. Team:

    Johnstone, Elmohamady, Chester, Terry, Taylor, Hourihane, Bjarnason, Snodgrass, Adomah, Grealish, Hogan.

    Subs: Bunn, Jedinak, Whelan, Lansbury, Onomah, Grabban, Kodjia.

    Surprised that Hogan is in, but I’m neutral about it. In fact a change may be a good thing. I quite like the rest of the team.

  5. JC
    Thanks for the writeup
    JL – I almost agree with you
    Plug – he doesn’t feel right unless the emphasis is on defence, it’s his long
    term habit.
    Mark – lets hope Hogan & Grabben have a good match together
    we could really do with winning this, as otherwise we will be one
    step from having to bail out the ship.
    Here we go indeed 14 mins to go

  6. Looking very much better. Excellent energy and tempo.

    Bjarnason has been immense, and we’ve buzzing all over them, including before the sending off.

    Could’ve had a couple easily, couple good saves, couple misses. Some final balls close, but missing, need to come at them through the middle, not the wings.

    Let’s hope we keep it up.

  7. IanG- yes mate as usual, could do with Grealish having a run at the box shame no Ohare, Jedinak and Wheelan on the bench doesn’t inspire much, might be worth putting Grabban on for Adomah go 442 grealish out left

  8. JC
    Yes through the middle as they’re eating up the crosses, also need to up the tempo & move the ball about more to tire them out

  9. JL,

    You don’t half bang that drum, do you? 😉

    For me, hardly surprising that this side is looking so much better. May well see changes, obviously, if we don’t get the breakthrough, but it’s not been Hogan’s fault.

    That said, if we keep pumping in crosses, then a taller player in the middle just might be of value.

  10. JC: “…but it’s not been Hogan’s fault.”

    John, I’d read ina commentary that he’d missed two very scorable chances. Is he supposed to be a striker or wot?

    I certainly “bang drums” when it’s patently obvious the guy shouldn’t be there!

    Od didn’t he miss those chances?

  11. Jl
    You sure your name isn’t John Bonham?
    Both were on target, & one required a very good save which on another day would have gone in.

  12. Ian,

    Well, I’m only quoting what I read. Apart from which I’ve seen little of Hogan to really impress me. But it may be just the system in which he’s working.

    Who’s John Bonham?

  13. MK,

    And I’ve been saying ad nauseum that what he usually does is to get into blind alleys.

    I’ve yet to see him do any more than any other striker has for Villa this season, t.b.h.

    As a big big striker (that’s how he came to Villa) he just hasn’t done it, but I would sympathise that we haven’t play too well to him.

  14. JL- 27 goals in 12 games with him starting up top now, that says he does something that produces chances and goals for the team whatever you think of him running into alleys (which I don’t agree with either) he makes space for others.

  15. JL,

    I think, like I’ve mentioned, that sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The team tonight, which I think is our best team, atm, just works together and, like Mark says, scores.

  16. JC- makes you wonder what could of been mate, those changes he made going back to the Brum game we could be right in the mix still. wolves finish 2-2

  17. I mean, Bjarnason did more in the first 15 tonight than Jedinak did the whole game Saturday. Much more energy, more mobile, faster feet, supports the attack, can score, gets back and defends.

    He, Hourihane and Grealish just work well together.

  18. JC- that team has partnerships all over the pitch, both FB’s support the wingers and Hogan stays up with the CB’s doesn’t give them a minute and pulls them around where as Grabban drops off and plays with his back to goal.

  19. Agreed, Mark. Taylor and Adomah have always combined well, Elmo gets up and seems to do well with Snoddy. In the middle, they just have an understanding, very complementary.

    And I think what you point out is what Hogan brings. Will never say he’s the best striker in the game or the league. But he does exactly that, occupy defenders, and makes a lot of good runs. We just don’t always do well getting it to him. Does help keep us on the front foot.

  20. Just back from the game. Will give details tomorrow, but concerned about Thor, who looks to have a hamstring injury picked up 20 minutes before the end. He was our best player by far.

  21. Will look forward to it Paul. Thank you.

    I did see him take a knock. Wasn’t sure how serious it was or what it was. He stayed on til the end, so I hope he’s okay. (Course, so did Albert when he did his.)

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