Someone made a comment that I always post after a win. So I didn't after Burton Albion, just to make a point. But it also didn't feel like a win, if you know what I mean. I'm not complaining, I've long written that I'd take a boring 1-0 win every day of the week - you can't complain if we're getting three points every week.

Football is about winning and in the mess we're in, we have to take wins whatever way we can get our hands on. And tonight, we need to get a win, even if it is one of those that are boring. And again, I think we will.

But I am part of that small group of people that believe we've got a squad to be feared in this League and with a manager that knows how to get promoted, he'll eventually get them to play together and we'll eventually start to spank teams on a regular basis. And I do think it's just about finding the right way and I'm hoping the goal from McCormack against Burton Albion will help.

I say that because he's come in for a lot of stick since arriving in the summer. For many, players are expected to make an instant impact when they come from another club and it's wrong. It's even more wrong when you think that Di Matteo possibly didn't want McCormack and he was then managed by Di Matteo. That's why I hope the goal will help him because he certainly knows where the goal is.

And with Kodjia and Ayew away in January, this is a great opportunity for McCormack. It's almost as if we're serving the food, it's up to him if he eats. What I'm trying to say is we will see in January how hungry he is for it.

Updates and team news

So, with that written, again, it's about the match and hoping that things click and if they don't, hoping that we play like we have for a lot of this season now and scrape a victory. I'll take either because three points will put us three points from the top six and going into the New Year, that is certainly something we should be happy about considering the massive gamble the Club made at the start of the season.

So I'll be here all day because I've got a cold and I'm going to bring a duvet down to the sofa. But I'll be alert and awake about an hour before kick off with team news and whatever else I can find.

The chart

Aston Villa after 23 games in the Championship
Damian
Author: Damian
Damian started The Villa Blog as a passion project quite a few years ago while he was living in South Africa. Now living in Sweden, it continues. He's originally from Chasetown and grew up when supporting Villa meant there was a real chance of silverware at the start of every season.
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  • It will change. Adomah will be back for a start. Possibly Gardner if fit.

  • Doesn't matter who we have as players, the same crap will be served. Just look at the way Hull played under Spud, we are producing the same stuff.

  • We just have to hope that we fluke some wins, fluke our way into the play-offs so we can at least enter the lottery that the play-offs are.

  • What do you expect with the midfield we have?. He is still averaging around two points per game, despite this "same crap". This is not his team, he has to do what he can with it. Compare that to RDM'S one win in ten. I always say win at home, draw away, 4 points from 6 and you will be fine. We just won 5 at home in a row, we knew it would come to an end, as it always does. Win at Cardiff and it is still 4 out of 6. Till tonight we had won three out of the last four. Massive over reaction here to a point against the form team in the league

  • We've yet to beat any of the top 6 (bar Reading), tonight was another failure. The likes of Derby, Leeds, Huddersfield to name some are showing us it's not difficult to play some decent football and get some results. The performance tonight was exactly same level of performance produced against Burton, actually pretty much most of the games under Spud. It will remain the same, we just have to hope we fluke the wins and fluke it into the play-offs, win the lottery and tell Spud he's job is done and thanks.

    Now we have massive pressure game against Cardiff with possibly Kodja, Ayew maybe even Grealish out.

  • When they start giving points out for style, i will worry about it. We have a style that picks up points. If anything costs us, it will be the poor start.

  • Not style, but playing cohesive football which means putting a pass or two together to create chances and get goals. Thisplaying badly and winning is a myth.

  • Just got in. Thought it was a decent game. Great atmosphere. Maybe the best since the blues last year. Jack going off changed it.

    Looking back at some of the in play comments,maybe I was at a different match? Poor Amavi had a shocker.

    Not seen the Leeds goal yet will look it up now. UTV

    Still think we can sneak in to the play offs

  • Agree. I thought we deserved something. Kodjia could have had a hat trick. Poor set piece defending cost us, their other two chances came when we were going for it. We knew they would be confident, even though they offered nothing first half. Saw comments on here earlier saying we would be beat easily, now we draw its apparently a bad result. Hopefully going back to three in the middle will give the defence the extra protection.

  • Notice Bruce pointed out the defending tonight was poor. Amavi was beaten far too often, but i think it's harsh on the others. The problem was he went back to only two central midfielders and the defence were more easily exposed, similar to the RDM days. We get our results when we use a solid three, and I would expect him to revert to that next match.


  • Aston Villa’s Jordan Amavi will produce his best form ‘towards the end of the season’ according to manager Steve Bruce.

    The 22-year-old defender was the subject of a £25million bid, believed to be from China, that was rejected out of hand by owner Dr Tony Xia.

    Amavi suffered a terrible injury which ended his season last time around - but is finally recapturing his best form.

    Amavi has impressed since reclaiming the shirt from countryman Aly Cissokho in October and has been ever-present since.

    The Frenchman was presented with arguably his toughest test of the season tonight against the flying Hadi Sacko.

    Despite a late error almost letting his opposite number in, Amavi’s persistence impressed his manager.

    Bruce said: “He had a tough time today against their boy Sacko, who I think is a very, very good player.

    “He’s stuck at it and he’s made a mistake late on and recovered, he’ll get better and better.”

    But Bruce doesn’t expect to see the left-back’s full potential until he’s had time to fully get back into the swing of things.

    "Anyone who comes back from a cruciate injury, in my opinion, you never see them back to their best until they’ve played for six months.”

  • Thankfully Spud saw it exactly the way some of us saw it too...

  • Mon. I.call it how I see it. He had a slow start to the season . He the. Has played very well. Tonight he had a shocker. I hope he's great for us in the future.

    I've had a nice G and T and time to creep upstairs;)

  • Deano,

    Amavi was blamed for the first goal and subsequently hes weak in defence just because he's had one poor game. Going by the standards some allude to on here I expect us to change the entire team in the coming in window, and the same again in the summer.

  • harsh to blame amavi for the goal he put in first cross which was cleared to hutton whose effort didnt reach which left amavi out of position,wach corner for goal baker hutton all caught out, yes he made mistakes but our non midfield leaves that many holes it could sink 2 titanics
    reading other sites ,praising westwood i didnt see it first half every pass went backwards[seen a bit in mail round said bruce keeps stopping training when they pass the ball back ]don t pick westwood,2nd half for me plenty running about like a dog after a bone no end product not for a midfielder of 5 years playing for the club,,even the chance with his header he only half hearted headed the ball

  • I think we will not make play offs now
    We had to win tonight

    If we resembled s team I would say possible

    But there is nothing there as s unit

  • Stats over last 10 seasons show at this moment in time you need 37 point minimum to sneak into playoffs
    that with a superb 2nd half off season and playing expansive football

    only the deluded fans with there rose coloured tinted glasses on will still believe we can make it to play offs , those who know a thing or two about teh game what it takes to get out of this league already know it's out of reach.

    just by looking at our play, were halfway through season for Christ sake, how long do you thing a team needs before it clicks - saying the jan window will see us sign the players needed to make it, is just wishful thinking, next season will be our opportunity and if we fail then - well get used to the Championship guys

  • He may have a point about Amavi coming back from injury, and it taking time. Problem is, he looked poor defensively last season too before the injury. His pace gets him out of trouble a lot of the time. His perfomances had definitely improved up till tonight, but for me he just doesn't have the defensive instinct and positioning, although there is no doubt he is a talented player. Just maybe not a left back.

  • What I don't get is that defensively we've looked good for sometime....this is with Amavi playing. The issue is going forward were we've have lack of goals...yet everyone wants to focus about defending....

  • just excuses after excuses given
    we are simply not as good as other teams in this division, it's about time fans accepted we are in the middle of a rebuild at it's going to take time - just wishful thinking because we was once a premier league club with a rich history that we could bounce straight back unfortunately that does not mean nothing in our current environment unless you produce on the pitch and we are clearly lacking in many area's. we are being found out by not only the Leeds of this division but your Burton's and Wigan's to name a few - I say it as I see it, breaks my heart to see our decline and struggling in this division , but until a time comes when we have a Manager & personal who can coach the players to pass the ball create & defend we are going to be having more inquests

  • 10 goals conceded in 13 games under Spud. 16 goals scored....clearly the issue is going forward and not defensive...unless some expect us to concede nothing and in turn score even less...

  • Bigfatron,

    Agree, for me I just don't see what Westwood offers apart from running around the pitch like a headless chicken. He did attempt to pass the ball forwards once and gave it away, after that it was all sideways or backwards. He also does not take responsibility and just wants to off-load the ball to whoever at the earliest opportunity which is why you never see him with the ball.

  • Deano I think there is a clear agenda with some on here now relishing in the fact that we are not winning every game and using it as a stick to beat Bruce with. For me the guy has come into a mess turned us around got us winning games all with a pretty average squad and lets remember under RDM we were heading to further oblivion I think some fail to grasp what this league is fancy football wont wash it has to be effective football not pretty the window is huge now and with the backing of the Dr I think the manager with his knowledge of how this league works, will bring in just what we need in terms of personnel to get us hopefully to the lay off, oh and we did not lose last night and Leeds are no mugs at this level look at their results so far, they are growing in confidence week by week - from where we were in September/October these are now dizzy heights for us we would all do well to take stock and remember that.

  • WOC. Agree with most of what you say. The 15 or 16 core players aren't average. They're above that.

    Did I see Kodjia being called out? His effort,pace and persistence carried us at times. He's different to everyone else,probably with exception of Jack in that he can create his own chances

    Anyway. Some fActs and a couple of opinions calling it as they saw it

    A day of decorating as a penance for me so have a good day

    http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2016/12/30/aston-villa-player-ratings-against-leeds-united-substitutes-help/http://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2016/12/30/aston-villa-player-ratings-against-leeds-united-substitutes-help/

    http://villaunderground.com/aston-villa-ratings-v-leeds-united-1-1-villa-park-

    http://www.leeds.vitalfootball.co.uk/stats.asp?a=473812

    Leeds played well second half but I felt we were edging it with Jack on the park

    Bruce hasn't even had chance to add to the squad and a few undoubtedly will leave

    And for a bit of balance someone watching the other game going on last night :):). Ps. Sheldon Mutchmore must be a made up name?


    http://readastonvilla.com/2016/12/29/player-ratings-leeds-h/?index=10

  • Blaming Bruce is about the dumbest thing I've read on here

    The guy has given us stability and a small to chance to reach play offs yet he's the worse manager ever lol.

    Let's jsut remind you as to where we were heading under Rdm.. Thst is league one folks as we couldn't buy a win.

    I said before he even joined this season was all about stabilising our situation with a view to dominating this league the next time round so clearly fans think promotion was realistic based on being 20th after 12 games lol.. Something no other club has achieved ever I don't think.

    Bruce has done a good job with someone else's side and the fact is a manager lives and dies by the personnel he brings in and Bruce hasn't purchased a single player yet. Why does klopp want his own players? Why does any manager want their own players? It's very simple really

  • Just because we aren't delivering to say some have an agenda is just pathetic, it's the sort of playground reasoning by some that sums up their childish mentality. First it was Leeds players have the experience only for them to find out most of the Leeds players are the youngsters (something we will not do because??) and secondly they have a novice as a manager yet they done us over twice in the space of a month.

  • Because all you do is blame the manager most times and never the personnel

    We don't have a good enough squad to make promotion a realistic situation but you won't accept that even though the performances all season under rdm and Bruce has been poor you think we should be getting promoted? Based on what? You only have to look at the defence and midfield to see the personnel are not good enough

  • You don't need 50 million to put a pass or two together James, when you cotton on to that then you'll realise good playres do not make a good managers and bad players do not make a bad managers. The team we played last night were not world beaters, likewise neither were Burton, yet you think we need money to beat bog standard average teams. Tell me, why do we need a manager James?? why not just take anyone off the street and give them millions to get the team to beat these teams we should be beating!

    And going by your standards - now you think Kodja is not PL standard - we'd be changing the team every transfer window.

  • Deano,

    From the moment Jack was fouled he was out of the game - that was 5 minutes before halftime when he was hobbling around. To be honest, McCormack in that position seemed more effective because he made the runs that Grealish should have - something Grealish needs to add to his game. The second half in general was dominated by Leeds, having said that had Kodja had the awareness and laid it off to a unmarked McCormack at the end we may well have taken the points.

    I won't even go into Westwood's contribution, apart from the one tracking back run he did(due to his poor cross in the first place) he recovered from it, he offers nothing defensively or going forward - unless you did see something of note.

  • You can see the agenda of some they could not wait to give him the "blue nose......" label and that started last night.

  • Some do not have the capacity to put up a reasoned opinion, so they revert to type of childish playground antics they did when back at school...:):):)

  • Sadly as a manager you cannot legislate for individual mistakes - if only you could and that is where their goal came from - one a defender the other a 'keeper. On that note I think we now need an established 'keeper who can organise his defence and command his area.

  • Goals conceded does not help our cause, but that is not our main issue. We've conceded 10 goals in 13 games and scored 16 goals. Clearly our issue has been chances created, because averaging just above 1 goal a game is not good enough for where we want to be.

  • True but surely you have to appreciate that the goal we conceded was more about individual errors than pattern of play or tactics?

  • I said it at the time, of course you have to look at the individuals - but we can't expect to win all our games 1 nil, we will concede some goals. In 13 games we've only manager to score more then once for four times, that tells me that simply is not good enough.

  • We went into this season thinking we were a Premier League team playing in the Championship our players seemed to believe that as did RDM and some fans seemed to buy into the theory. The truth is this league is a million miles from the PL and Bruce seems to have got that through. It just needs some fans to get to grips with that now because at the moment some are not.

  • When Bruce was appointed we looked dead and buried. The general opinion was if he could get us within touching distance of the play offs by the transfer window he will have done well, then let's hope he can muster up some of his own signings and push us on. Well for me he has done just that. He has tAken a group of individuals and tried to form a team ethic, not been pretty to watch but has secured some points. Let's hope now we give him the backing, we are entering phase two of this season and Bruce can really start his job.

  • PaulB,

    For me the biggest issue is it's another missed opportunity - another 6 pointer we missed out on. It now puts huge pressure on the next away game at Cardiff, by which points we may well be 7 or more points adrift of the play-offs.

  • Sometimes though you just have to acknowledge you have played a better team of better players and Leeds would have gone 3rd had they won last night - they are no mugs we may think we should beat them but with our squad is that really the case?

  • I can accept that, but it was the same against Burton, and pretty much same in most of our home games. Cardiff now becomes a must win game, because of the missed opportunity last night.

  • If there is a lesson to be learned maybe its we should have employed Monk rather than RDM?

  • Monk has been underrated so far, he's been given peanuts by the owner whose now on more trouble yet he seems to be producing the goods. Playing good football and getting the results. Maybe a lesson for him and other new managers coming on the scene is not the necessarily start in the PL but further down the league to give themselves a real chance to flourish.

    You can see the pattern of play instilled by Monk is something they instilled since his arrival, Leeds played nothing like this prior to Monk's arrival.

  • Monk also had the benefit of a pre season with Leeds - that too can have a big impact.

  • Who was our motm last night? Adomah! Who didn't start him? Bruce! Who's fault is it? The players according to some on here lol

  • As good as Adomah can be in spells over 90 mins he is out of the game for too long I think that is why 'Boro were happy to let him go he seems to drift away for far too long but as an impact sub he can be priceless at times.

  • Still think it was a bad call mate,shocking in fact!

  • Apparently Spud wants to bring in 2 players (if we can sell Gustede) and that's a central defender and midfielder.

  • Windy,

    Yes to be fair Monk has had a preseason as had Wagner, but in turn both are working off peanuts and getting their teams to produce good football with positive results.

  • Nobody talking about Bunn's performance,he commands the Box better than Gollini,and made some good blocks from onrushing players! but fumbled it for there goal which was disappointing. Gollini for me is a better shot stopper and will be a top goalkeeper in the future.Is Bunn good enough to hold his place?or will Bruce be looking to purchase a proven top goalkeeper?We shall find out soon.

  • For me neither 'keeper is commanding enough you dont see either organising at corners or free kicks in real terms you could not get a fag paper between them but both have that authority missing from their game.

  • I'd let Ayew go for 10 million - I don't rate him, he can look decent but only in brief flashes. Amavi good going forward but I think there's better left backs out there (in terms of defending). You'd have to take 25 million - not that I believe that.
    I'd probably hope for two mid-fielders and two full backs but would rather have quality over quantity so we'll have to see what Dr Xia comes up with money wise.
    There's certainly something missing - hopefully Bruce knows what it is.

  • I don't get this, if the Doc has said we rejected a 25 million bid for one of our players, it's also reported on Sky, why would it not be true??

  • Maybe it is true. We really need to invest in our mid-field in a big way. If Dr Xia is going to put the cash in to do that meaning we don't have to sell Amavi then fair enough.

  • One thing from last nights game, for me McCormack has to surely play behind the striker, he seems to have the knack to run into spaces and will score if passed to. With Kodja now off and Gustede possibly sold that leaves Scabby or RMH.

  • Good morning,

    I regret that appointing Bruce as manager of Aston Villa will turn out to be a bad idea. It is clearly apparent that some or dare I say the majority of Villa fans will never accept an ex-Blue Nose as their manager.

    So far as the results are concerned he has done very well in comparison to Di Matteo but even if he had won every match some would still find things to criticise.

    Even though I thought Bruce was the best manager available at the time I still thought it was a bad idea for the reasons I have given. Although many will plead that I have got it wrong and that they are not 'Blue Nose haters' they are as to some it is inbred and normal to loave Birmingham City. This is not a criticism it is just a fact of life.

  • All this proves is the intelligence and narrow mindedness of the average football fan

  • Tell me Tommy, how many comments apart from yours have made reference to his past clubs??

  • The funny thing is everyone thinks they can do better lineups etc than the manager then they blame the manager when it don't go the right way.. Clearly you cannot pick better as you would be in the profession

    One player not starting at that level is so insignificant its untrue

    We have overspent on average chumps players and until you get thst in your head you will continue to think this team is better than what it is.

    We don't have a good squad we are an average squad in the chumps now and the league table says it. We can't beat the better teams and jsut about beat the lower sides.. Putting us right where we deserve to be

    Keep blaming the manager is just idiotic when he ain't even purchased these players... Every manager deserves his players because he can't truly be critiqued until that period begins.

    He built hull and got them up twice and they really have no right to be in the pl based on their stature.. Hence why they will go straight back down

  • What's idiotic is you saying everyone thinks they can select a squad better then the manager, but you've done exactly the same with Tactics Tim and when you did put your starting 11, frankly that was what was idiotic. What was also idiotic was thinking Ayew could play in a midfield diamond on the right side of the diamond...so in future if you want to look at idiotic, have a look in the mirror bud.

  • We all think we can pick better teams and know better than the manager. It's part of being a football fan - you can't take that away from us!

  • mon 4-5-1

    I don't get this, if the Doc has said we rejected a 25 million bid for one of our players, it's also reported on Sky, why would it not be true??
    I did not believe it myself until it was reported that the offer came from China.

    £25M is peanuts compared to what they have offered for Ronaldo.
    Real Madrid were offered about £250m by an unnamed Chinese club for Cristiano Ronaldo, says his agent Jorge Mendes.

    He said the 31-year-old Portugal captain had no interest in the deal, which included an £85m annual salary.

  • So we agree on something, Chinese are throwing silly money but our fans rather then be pleased we are trying to hold on to our better talent are now calling the Doc a liar...:):):) and I bet had he sold, he was in it for the money...;););)

  • Tevez on £675k a week in China and they bought Oscar from Chelsea for £60m.

  • Well when you consider that one position has the option of Gabby or Ayew the you begin to realise the enormity of the job.:)

  • #323096 Pace jamese20
    Report

    We all think we can pick better teams and know better than the manager. It's part of being a football fan - you can't take that away from us!


    He'll never put up his starting 11, because he did it once and got found out badly. He's just here to criticise and wants to be right.

  • Hahahahhahaha wow the ego of you is incredible

    Mr football manager who is the font of all knowledge and judge and jury on what's a good lineup and what's not

    Grow up mate seriously

  • The tone of your posts are like a child's, yet you have the nerve to tell others to grow up. And yes it may be ha ha ha, but you well know it's bang on the money and all true. So did you agree with the starting 11?

    As you keep on banging on about the money wasted, who should we get in and what formation should Spud change it too?

  • Villa gets the nod from Ghana which allows Ayew to play against Cardiff - were still waiting on Kodija permission

  • That's a relief, looks like Grealish may well be out. So upfront for Cardiff we were looking light until that bit of good news.

  • Yep confirmed by Spud Jack looks very doubtful at minute but on last nights showing I would rather see RM anyway much better movement and did more in the time he was on the pitch than young jack could muster up

  • only for those greedy fans who think he can take on every one and finish with a worldy:):):)

  • I dont recall any Villa manager of late picking a team that has not been criticised in some way on here the truth is we never really know if any player not playing has niggling fitness issues we are just quick to make assumptions.

  • My point being maybe McCormack and Adomah were not up to 90 mins.

  • Just ask Mon

    He's the best manager out there mate he knows the best lineups and players to play and knows exactly how to fix villa and everyone else is wrong didn't you know

  • Not into this fantasy line up malarchy myself.

  • mon 4-5-1

    There is no need as the comments state everything. Even by referring him as Spud face or head says a lot. This is not a term of endearment in fact quite the opposite.

    If I want an example of self-denial I only need to read your question. It reminds me of all those Germans who after the War said that they were never ........

  • This is where you have got it all wrong Tommy, again barking up the wrong tree. My reference to Bruce as Spud has nothing to do with his Birmingham connection, this has to do with him being referenced it many moons ago...and you always like to highlight the irrelevant and miss the key point, what is served on the pitch and where we are.

  • Bet you wouldn't have referred to Wagner as Wagbo if he had got the job. :):):)

  • :):):):):)

    Exactly at least be honest and say you hate the guy... But Mon likes to shift around his real feelings to avoid being called upon it

  • If he was called Wagbo in the past and did not have an issue with it, why not Windy??

    The irony also is that I'm not sure if he was called it or not, but that's how you'd like to reference him...;););)

  • Mon.. I'll jsut join you and cut your bs short

    It's all Bruce's fault... The end

  • No James, you're the oracle so stop with more BS and tell us

    Where you happy with the stating 11??

    As you've been banding on about 60 million being wasted, who would you like in and what formation would you prefer Spud to play?

  • If Adomah and RMC arnt fit they shouldn't be on the bench! And stop calling him Tommy,it's Expat ffs!

  • Whether a starting 11 is good bad or indifferent cannot be judged before a ball is kicked in any game but we seem to do it match after match .:)

  • so how many have commented about Westwood before the game, or that Scabby is utter ****e and should not be on the bench...or why did McCormack not start when he scored and started the move for the other goal...now that's what I call a selective memory...

  • Answer the real question James (also knows as the Oracle)....

    Were you happy with the starting 11?

    Who would you get in and what formation would you prefer Spud to play as you've been banging on about the squad not being good enough and 60 million wasted?

    they are perfect sensible football questions, unless you'd prefer an idiotic question?

  • It's irrelevant.. I didn't think the lineup was bad last night and adomah has been missing in alot of games also so it's hilarious to say he should have started and Bruce is crap

    Bruce is doing what I expected him to do this season.. Solidify us and get us kicking on the next season

    I don't have the deluded expectations of going up this season after what I witnessed in the tender window and the performances in the first 12 games

  • So you agree with Adomah on the bench then?

  • Of course he does, but he will never put up his starting 11...he is just so good at picking holes...

  • Deluded, I think you're in clouds in Jame's little world to be honest. So Spud is also deluded because he took on a short term contract with huge bonuses to get us up.

    And yes, of course the starting 11 is irrelevant to you, just banging on about 60 million and the squad is crap is so much easier, and definitely the easier option to say you are right - lol

  • Are we about to shoot ourselves in the foot with letting Rudy go ?
    he gives us that other dimension I spoke about yesterday and low and behold he wins pen as his head was stopped from heading ball then he flicks one on for Kodija to win it at the death

    now imagine score line if Rudy was gone - not the first time he as come on and saved the day

  • Not a fan of having any players in the squad not fit,what if injuries occur early? If that is the case it's poor management.

  • Every time we defend a corner the ball is cleared to the opposition to bring it right back at us, question, who decides that our strikers are on the goal line or in the penalty box?

  • Fair point mate. I mentioned it last night at the game

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