Catch up on all of the current matters affecting Aston Villa in our latest bite-size podcast discussion.
Episode 14.5 covers serious ground and is jam packed into a little over 25 minutes, featuring:
The Kodjia penalty salvaged a point after Leeds could have long put Villa to the sword. The strong and powerful striker is different to Christian Benteke, namely his directness often means he overlooks better options around him.
McCormack has been the unfortunate victim of Kodjia’s single mindedness on more than one occasion this term. Perhaps January will allow us the opportunity to compare?
Against Leeds we again witnessed JK’s “greed”.
How do we as Villa fans want Kodjia playing? As a free spirit, charged with nothing other than selflessly terrorising defences? Or, a with greater emphasis on playing for “the team”?
Plan B? What about A?
The discussion then moves to consider what Steve Bruce’s Plan ‘A’ actually is? The Christmas period has seen some squad rotation employed.
Ayew, McCormack, Westwood & Adomah have all swapped in and out. Has this lack of squad depth hindered us previously in key games where we’ve failed to secure all three points? (Norwich, Leeds x2 & Brighton). Were we fortunate against Burton, QPR & Leeds?
There are two schools of thought: play ugly and win or playing amazing and lose. It’s important to remember that these aren’t the only styles of play! Are we satisfied at this juncture narrowly beating the likes of Burton, but being unable to overcome sterner tests like Leeds?
Whilst all wins are to be welcomed, Villa are still unable to overcome the better teams in the division. The facts are that despite an upturn under Bruce, 6 of our 8 wins have been against the bottom 6.
This seems, in part, to be as a result of Villa players simply getting the basics wrong.
Count the amount of miss-placed passes after all of the hard work to get the ball back. Compare how long it takes us to move the ball forward. Effort is no substitute alone for quality, professional football: Alan Hutton is the perfect example of this.
Bruce has acknowledged we aren’t playing well in post match interviews. Understandably there’s an adjustment period and the January transfer window cannot come quickly enough. We desperately need to make provision for a playoff push.
Jedinak is under the spotlight after suffering from a drop in form recently. It’s a worry given that previously we could attribute this to his repeated long haul flights and the jet lag that follows. The “Aussie battler” is an effective disruptor, but leaves much to be desired as long periods of matches pass him by.
We then move the discussion to ponder what we need to improve our midfield as the transfer window opens.
Where is Tshibola? Where is Green? Both players were cited as being pieces in the jigsaw of solving our midfield limitation. We then briefly revisit the state of an under-performing Villa academy, which looks bereft of faces who threaten to break through.
Finally we ponder the African Cup of Nations. Kodjia’s goals look an obvious loss, but presents Ross McCormack with a chance to have a sustained run as the focal striker. There’s also some debate as to what loss Jordan Ayew will be, if at all, in a run of “winnable” January fixtures.
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