It feels like de-ja-vu writing this blog at times.
Indeed, supporting Villa in recent years has been a recurring nightmare, occasionally punctuated by brief moments of excitement or hope.
VILLA 0-0 BRENTFORD
A fortunate draw at home to Brentford does little to inspire confidence however.
Whilst we’ve pondered the puzzle of Villa’s inability to kick on despite decent recruitment, our frequent failure to even look capable of winning a game of football is frightening.
We rarely even seem to “have a go” either. The Brentford game was yet another 90 minutes where you were left astounded at how stagnant the playing side of the club remains.
All despite the investment, countless new faces, promises and endless PR churn from the the club.
Steve Bruce is also a manager now firmly under the microscope for many. It’s justified, but it’s not a good place for any manager to be.
This blog doesn’t advocate knee-jerk change, but does recognise the frustrations of watching Villa.
We should be more organised, fitter and have a plan by now. It’s inexcusable and defies logic that the significant improvements in playing staff haven’t yielded anything like a turnaround.
Bruce is also walking a tightrope when it comes to media comments. After revealing that the online criticism [which he labelled entirely as “trolls] got to him prior to wins over Norwich & Wigan, Bruce’s post match view after Brentford was the players was “jaded”.
Jaded? After 6 fixtures and an international break? It’s unnerving when the manager starts to say silly things.
Further, Bruce even referred to the game as the “worst” since he took over 9 months ago. A damning self-reflection, especially when there have certainly been worse results during his tenure.
Once again Villa looked bereft of creativity, flair & verve.
This is inexplicable given the array of options whom should be delivering this on the pitch. The cause of this remains a mystery.
Stifling tactics? Lack of individual ingenuity? A curse over our once competitive football club?
And this was also another game where the Villa goalkeeper was named Man Of The Match – at least the third time it’s occurred in what is a short-lived season.
Brentford, with no wins to their name this term, left Villa Park disappointed with having only secured a point. Indeed, in a season in which they appear set to struggle, they may yet rue missed chances and Sam Johnstone’s display at Villa Park.
Meanwhile, we have some serious soul searching to do.
Bruce continue’s to baffle with a sterile brand of football and is in the unenviable position of lurching from one game to another needing to show improvement.
Owner Tony Xia remains an unpredictable character, but one who took decisive action when Roberto Di Matteo drifted from the blueprint for promotion.
Bruce probably has until the 10-12th game mark to demonstrate that a trajectory towards either the playoffs is in motion at the least.
Whatever you think of the manager, a sacking is ultimately the least desirable outcome. What it might bring in desired change [for some], it will deliver uncertainty in equal measure. The way last season panned out is recent evidence of this alone.
Middlesbrough are the visitors to Villa Park this Tuesday night. A tricky, suddenly important game which Bruce needs to win to keep the wolves from the door, and more importantly, commence a push up the table.