After a strong start to his reign at Aston Villa, Dean Smith has finally hit some adversity. His team have suffered consecutive 0-3 setbacks, and looked as poor as the scorelines on both occasions. Normally, people might start asking questions. But.
The Steve Bruce era at Aston Villa came to an abrupt if not surprising end after 102 games, and just as it was for Roberto Di Matteo, Preston North End was Bruce’s ostensible undoing. For the record, I don’t condone the throwing of vegetables. Unless it’s a festival-related activity like pie-eating contests.
The game against Bristol City tonight will probably be rather influential in determining Bruce’s fate. Should he get one of those bounce-back performances we often saw last year, he’ll likely be safe until Preston North End on Tuesday, where the team will have to produce again. Villa’s recent run of form—one win, two draws and two losses in the last five, and three wins in nine—just isn’t going to get it done.
Villa hosted Sheffield Wednesday looking to make it two in a row on Saturday, but were simply outplayed and bowed out 1-2 losers. Steve Bruce put out the same formation as he did Tuesday, with Kodjia and Abraham up top, but Albert Adomah got the nod over Anwar El Ghazi.
Negotiating tactic, statement of intent, or both? The big talk for Villa late in the week was that now apparently no one’s for sale. Then, of course, there was the surprising tidbit that Villa had been under a transfer embargo. Which, in retrospect shouldn’t all that surprising. Since we couldn’t afford anyone anyway, doesn’t seem to have done much damage.