Thoughts and issues regarding the past and present of a great football club by "The Chronicler".

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Steve Bruce

The fact is there are a number of Villa fans that will find a reason to want Bruce out no matter what. Unfortunately.

I can remember clearly that in the days coming up to the home match vs Wolves everyone was saying that Wolves were going to wipe the floor with us. And this was Villa fans talking!

The saving grace for the anti-Bruce brigade was that we disappointed badly in the two matches after Wolves. If that hadn’t happened there would have been a lot of red faces for the rest of the season!

But these stats make for interesting reading. In the 21 matches played (inclusive) fro 30/12/17 to 28/4/18 – i.e. excludng the last match, which made no difference, the playing stats were:

P 21 W 14 D 3 L4 = 45 points. That rate if throughout the season would have got us automatic promotion.

Goals-wise, we scored 40 (in 21 matches) – as near as damnit to 2 per match.

In addition, the fact is that we scored 4 or more in 6 games this past season. And they include wins over Bristol (then thought promotion candidates) and Wolves. Also another 5 matches scoring 3 goals.

Boring, predictable Bruce? Well, with those stats, keep it up Steve!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Let's Not Forget That Defeat Can Be Turned Into Something Better

Perhaps it's all a blessing in disguise. No promotion, of course, but I think the club now has the big opportunity to re-assess what it's about, confirm what's good and reject the bad.

We must not forget, for example, that a massive attempt has been made to turn the old club around since Dr. Xia's arrival. Clearly, attitudes in the dressing room were far from ideal, and the Doc's first managerial appointment didn't seem to have an idea on how to deal with it. Hence the arrival of Bruce with a lot of experience and achievement at this level, though a trifle fixed in his ways. But, no matter how we might criticise his approach, I believe that it was mainly down to pressure from above as the Doc wanted promotion as of this day. We came close, and - it could be argued - that we lost it, not that Fulham won it. Lost it because we had our fair share of chances but our attempts were weak and out of sorts.

And before Fulham scored, if Snodgrass had been more aware he would have made better attempts at putting Albert through. Three times, not just once. And, sad to say, Snodgrass was profligate throughout the match apart from one free kick that was nicely fed to Jack. Snodgrass is a wholehearted trier, but of late his actual achievements on the pitch seem to have been lacking to my eyes.

And now - surely - we will have seen the last of Snodgrass, Johnstone, Grabban and Onomah. And Hogan, I'd hope. I'm not deterred by those departures as I feel that Jack Steer can do the job in goal and, as for the outfield players, surely we will now see more of the younger men. Even if we lose Hutton then I think we have a good supply at full-back, and with Davis and Green already well tried, we have (Albert and Kodjia still being here I'd hope) a good supply in the striker and wing departments. We should still have Hourihane, though I'm not mightily convinced by him, but - with the addition of Jack (who will surely stay) - other midfield places should start to be made available to the young ones.

The main concern just now must be with the centre back spots. Will Chester and Terry stay? I'd hope at least Chester will.

Frustrating though it might be that we're not now back in the top-flight, I feel as though it will be third time lucky this coming season. I believe that Bruce and all did everything they could, but it was just not achievable: the time seems not to have been ripe. That is all: in my opinion the current situation is a measure of how the character of the club had slipped before the Doc took over. The last missing chinks can now be plugged in.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

You Need Two Legs To Stand On!

I've not written anything for awhile. I'm just one of those who likes to stand back and see how things are shaping up - the objective view I suppose, but some would say it's a strange thing to do about an emotive subject!

Anyhow, the end of the prescribed season has taken place. We finished 4th (and we knew that's how it would be before today) so therefore there should not have been any great expectation about today's match. Today was more about protecting regular players from injury and giving squad players a run-out in case they're needed during the play-offs, which is the real deal.

Boro is not going to be a straight-forward proposition, but at least we have the second leg at Villa Park. Even so, we should come away from their ground with at least a one-goal lead to create an expectant buzz at VP on the return. So long as we don't lose the first leg, that's the important bit.

So, let's concentrate on this coming next two legs and then think about the next step. We can only take one step at a time.