I'm not worried that we're not going to finish in a play-off place. I'm a little disappointed that I'm starting to accept we're not going to finish in an automatic place. But there is still time and I accept that it's not the fault of the manager that he was brought in half way through the first half of the season.

And even though our most lively player is Kodjia I think January is going to be a good month for us. I think with him and Ayew off for the Africa Cup of Nations, we're going to see McCormack given a proper chance and I think if we play to his strengths, we're going to see a natural goal scorer in his element.

And I also think we have too many options up front and because of that, we're making it difficult for ourselves. Our midfield isn't quick enough or it's maybe because we don't have a leader or playmaker in the middle of the park, but by the time we've got control of the ball we've got three or four players all in position waiting for the ball and there is little movement. It very quickly becomes a very crowded final third.

And it's not just McCormack that will get his chance with the Africa Cup of Nations, I think we will also see Adomah get more time and I think if we play to his strengths, we're going to see more opportunities created. Kodjia is our liveliest player and many will say best, but he's also the least likely to pass the ball and the most likely to shoot instead of play someone else in. But I also quite like that.

I think Kodjia plays that way because there is a lack of options and I think that will come if Adomah and McCormack are given a chance in January and we play to their strengths i.e. Adomah on the wing and McCormack as the main striker.

One in January

And I still think we're missing that one player that we didn't sign in the summer, the midfielder that can see an opportunity and quickly distribute, but if that player is to come, others have to know what their role is. More importantly, we have to start playing with purpose and that basically means, not putting our foot on the ball and waiting for everyone to be ready before we start to attack.

We were fortunate last night and for the most part the standard of football wasn't great, but things are heading in the right direction. We're within touching distance of the top six and we have to hope that if we manage to get there, we have enough luck on our side to take us the rest of the way or by that time, Steve Bruce has this team winning with purpose.

Cardiff on Monday next and we need three points and it would be nice to see Adomah and McCormack start and to see us play with a little purpose.

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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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  • McCormack has the anticipation to find space, all we need is our players to be on is wave length...he wasn't far away from getting another winner for us.

    Attachments :
  • One position that should now be a cert is McCormack behind the main striker - whoever that is. From there you already have your back 4 (GK to be decided). Then you have Jedinak, with both positions vacant in front of him in midfield. For the coming weeks without Kodja we will have to build the team around McCormack, our only other natural goal scorer. For Cardiff, I'd play
    Ayew (as RMH will not get a chance) with McCormack just behind him.


    Hutton / Lyden====Chester====Baker====Amavi





  • mon 4-5-1

    I see that Grealish is invisible again? :):):):):)

  • Tommy,

    Apparently he's out injured...;);) but having said that, had it been at home it would be a close call between Grealish and Adomah. I've always said Grealish's better performances come from a deeper midfield role where he likes to run with the ball, or look for a pass, where as McCormack makes the runs behind the defence and has that ability to find space.

  • mon 4-5-1

    If that's the case why start with 10 men?:):):):):):)

  • :):):):)...ahh...then I'd put put GG in there is Grealish is not fit...


    Hutton / Lyden====Chester====Baker====Amavi





    Grealsih if fit...;);)

  • mon 4-5-1

    Or are you planning to play two at right back. Whoever is playing wide left for Cardiff must be a threat?

  • Ideally I'd put Hutton in the dustbin, however not sure Lyden situation. He looked to have done well whenever he's played at RB.

  • mon 4-5-1

    It happens to us all. In my case I generally start with 12 and we would still lose.

    Past my bedtime goodnight.

  • I think McCormack will come good, his off the ball running instantly paid dividends when he came on last night. Sad thing to watch was he had to come so deep to get the ball but his forward passes were more accurate and effective then we had seen all game from Westy & Bacuna.
    Think he is still gaining match fitness but will help get us going imo. Interestingly at Fulham he scored a hat full playing in a partnership with the young Dembele ;) would really like to see Ross paired up with Hepburn-Murphy and given a go.
    Feel a little sorry for Gestede, although his hold up play is woeful, he's not done too much wrong we simply have not played to his strengths balls up to him were more than often poor crosses from Hutton & Cissokho or various keepers with poor distribution, nothing coming from MF. Rhodes has better hold up play and may work for us but much rather we tried RMC/RHM partnership while Kodjia is away. Bruce won't do this though, if he was he'd of involved RHM on bench instead of Gabby ;)

    I don't think Jedinak is doing too much wrong either he suffers from same poor supporting characters that
    Sanchez did, with good headed clearances and break up play being picked up by the opposition all the time because our CM don't read the game and lack pace. Lost count of the number of times last night good solid clearances simply fell back to Leeds players. No doubt in my mind we would be better with more mobile MF players anticipating space and positioning better ...

  • RMC had no problem anticipating things and getting on the ball when he came deep, and Adomah was able to get service doing the same.

    I really hope we come good and are in with a shout at the end of the season, and I'm not blaming Brucie entirely it's not his squad fair enough, just that I see the same things week after week as we all do and don't get why we don't attempt to rectify a few things with the players we already have.
    We have all watched us lose midfield battles game after game with Westwood involved, yet Tshibola is overlooked ? as has Bacuna until recently & Lyden & Greene seriously must wonder what they have to do to get a chance.
    Agoalayear will shortly be renamed "Agoaleveryotheryear" yet he still features ? I am convinced if Richards was fit he would be playing to, and frankly am amazed Brucie has not gone back to Cissokho yet.
    What I'm saying is the manager it seems to me is just picking the the same older experienced heads that we already know are going to fail, coupled with changing the team and formation every week it's getting incredibly frustrating for me. I don't expect us to be playing amazing football overnight but I did expect us by now to be playing better scoring more goals and holding under performing players accountable. We are barely beating those teams below us and failing to beat teams above us, draws are not going to get us promoted.

  • There is no doubt in my mind that Bruce was brought in to get us up this season, not build for next season, his one year contract, the docs investment in players show clearly that is the intention otherwise why did we not persevere with RDM and give him a 2nd window to get the MF targets we missed out on in the summer ?
    The objective is clear and we have to start winning every game to make up ground.
    Get it sorted Brucie ;)

  • Rmc wasn't purchased to come deep and collect the ball.. It was something he was criticised for at Fulham when all they wanted him to do as stay forward and bang the goals in and that's why we purchased him

    Sorry but I couldn't care less how he anticipates things that's not his job his job is to help out scoring goals and he has failed spectacularly at it this season. I will be amazed if he gets 10 goals this season let alone 20

  • If the doc is so desperate to get us up this season then he is naive and also not that wealthy either as the act of desperation means he has gambled for me.

    He trusted rdm with alot of funds and he failed miserably and was heading for league one if anything else.. To then expect someone to come along and perform a miracle is ridiculous in my opinion regardless of who was appointed

  • Said to the Wife "Ken Dodd got a knighthood" "did he"? she asked "no doddy" I replied. :):):)

  • Happy New Year Everyone

    catch you next year:)

  • Yes happy new year one and all stay safe and enjoy.

  • Steve Bruce?
    Gollini to young replacement 23
    How many times do you need to see
    Gabby Westwood GG before you realise they are not up to it

  • James20,If McCormack is in the right place to score goals and people don't pass to him,what the fcuk is he supposed to do?Magic the ball to himself?We have zero midfield as regards Creating chances apart from Grealish,who by the way drifts in and out of games! Amavi and Adomah are the only two who can deliver a cross and when we play Gestede,Nobody crosses for him! and then people like you say he is crap!Bruce has to get the right blend of teamwork without stifling the few flair players that we have! and at the moment Villa are far from that.

  • Good post Denman

    The Jedi seems to have his right place in the squad as a DM but we have nothing else between him and the forwards

    I thought Wastewood would show a little better in this league but he hasn't and GG is nowhere near the form of his youth

    We are being linked with a goalkeeper, right back and striker - and Bruce has already said we have an unbalanced squad and additions along those lines would unbalance it further

    C'mon Spud - please prove me wrong

  • Tbh I know very little about Sam Johnstone. Apart from what I've seen on wiki etc etc.

    I've seen Gollini and Bunn enough to say, in my opinion they're not the answer

    Gollini might have saved their header, but I don't think he'd have come out to cover Amavi as Bunn did.

    I picked up at the Wigan game that the back 4 were not confident in when Gollini should come out or stay at home ( posted at the time)and probably wouldn't have played in that game had Bunn been fit.

    I'm not saying Johnstone is the answer, I don't know , but every decent team has a reliable Keeper.

    I've been lucky enough to see a few
    Budgie Rimmer Spinksy Bozzy Friedel to name a few

    Puting it very simplistically though, if the two teams had swapped keepers on Thursday would we now have 3 points ? Fine margins UTV

  • Mate. Even at your age your memories better than mine:):)

  • A succession of iffy 'keepers has been part of our recent problems among many other things.

  • So rmc is crap because nobody passes to him? It everyone else fault as to why he's useless for us?

    Sorry I don't buy it how does kodja get the goals then

  • Gestede and Kozak out, hopefully Rhodes in. SSOB has already said he wants a MF and a CB for cover, the goalie is clearly ongoing. That just leaves RB but it looks as though the young gunner cometh not. All in all a wallet-positive window.

    Grealish is a confidence player. He shone with Tactics because he was being started.

    It would be nice to see us embedded in the top six within a month or so but I keep being reminded that you only need to be there after 46 games. However, this next run of games until after this cursed tournament is over, is still crucial.

    BTW if FIFA can move a world cup to the winter......I would say ban AFCON from the WC until they get their act together.

  • Well after Bruce's reign so far I see no difference than under Lambert, I am sick of seeing forwards defending and there being no outlet from clearances. The reason we have to keep subbing forwards is that they are knackered having to keep running back to defend. It must be too simple to understand that if you keep 2 players at the half way line it will stop opposition defenders moving up or if they do leave them exposed.

    Any way I hope all Villa fans have a great New Year.

  • Most managers tell you all 11 players defend. I think at the moment needs must and until we get better defenders that will continue to be the case it looks like another stick to beat Bruce with.

  • James

    #323348 jamese20

    Rmc wasn't purchased to come deep and collect the ball.. It was something he was criticised for at Fulham when all they wanted him to do as stay forward and bang the goals in and that's why we purchased him

    So when we bought him he was firing blanks at Fulham....maybe you were watching a different Fulham.

  • Whst? Your quote has nothing to do with statement below

    The point is he often came in too deep and Fulham fans wanted him higher up the pitch where he could do something

    The fact is he's old and fat and it's clear why he has spent his career in this league

  • Well that tells me you don't have a clue...first you tell us he was firing blanks and he was criticised for it...now you're telling us he's old and fat...

  • And no, having RM play just behind the striker does not mean he will come and pick the ball deep - if you'd been watching the Leeds game - it would mean making runs into space as well as linking with the main striker and midfielders coming through. On the contrary in the first half when Grealish played in that role, he did come to deep when he should have been further up the pitch - and yeah, I'm a big Grealish fan - but will say it the way I see it...;););)

  • Celtic Rangers coming up a good ruck to end the year. :):)

  • wind

    Most managers tell you all 11 players defend.

    Rubbish, most managers, and anyone with sense, will tell you that sitting back invites pressure.

  • Watch other Championship games they all do it did you see Brighton the other night? Glen Murray scoring at one end and defending at the other. It may not be what they do in the PL but we aint there anymore.

  • Its why the Championship is so demanding physically - or at least one of the reasons.

  • If you've been recently, you can hear and feel the crowd urging and shouting the team to push up when the opposition have the ball...

  • Bruce is being cautious because he knows there is no balance to the side and he has learned from rdm mistakes.

    He is not stupid and people on here want him to turn us into a Chelsea or something.. Well the fact is the players ain't good enough to play attractive football and keep winning games

  • OK Mon

    You clearly ain't reading what I'm saying are you

    He comes in deep alot and did it at Fulham... The fans didn't like it when he came into midfield to pick up the ball he's meant to be scoring goals.

    Where did I say he didn't score goals for Fulham? And they were never even sad to see him go and are playing better without the guy What does that tell you

    Some reason he's your love child and the fact is all season long he's been crap

  • James,

    You're missing my point, if the Fulham fans as you say were having a go at him for picking the ball deep when he should have been scoring goals, he was doing just that at Fulham, season in season out - scoring goals that he was consistently their top scorer. So from that I can only deduce that the Fulham fans did not have a clue going by what you're saying.

  • That's their biggest criticism of him as a player.. Jsut because he had scored a few goals for them don't mean they was happy with him all. the time

    Same with benteke for us

  • Mate, would we have Benteke back with all the criticism leveled at him?

    Likewise, would Fulham fans have McCormack back?

    I would at a guess say yes to both - no player is perfect baring a very very few elite players.

  • Anyway...Happy safe and prosperous new year all Villains, hopefully 2017 will be a complete opposite of 2016

  • watching celtic rangers
    dembele only 20 bruce would never play him

  • bruce would want acreche
    roberts coming on he is only 19 in one most hostile matches world wide

  • Should be trying to get Stuart Armstrong in real quality.

  • A lad called Sinclair did very well today in fact scored the winner who sold him ? Oh yes RDM.

  • What a good game that was, Sinclair man of the match, not to worry we still have Gabby

  • I said we was idiots for selling him and alot on here couldn't wait for him to go

    He's quality at champs level he would have been useful for us

  • Hull boss Mike Phelan played down speculation over winger Robert Snodgrass's future
    Now that would be a good signing by "I don't like them young" Potatoe Head

  • James20,mate Gabby would score 20 goals in that league! Sinclair was crap in the end for Villa.

  • everyone was crap at the end funny only 3 i wanted to keep clark sinclair and gana where sold,yet nobody tried to take any rest ,shows it now rdm had a horrible job at start players he wanted to keep sold, richards gabby and co still here
    bruce came into a job with a squad of internationals under 21 players with plenty experience at this level ,unlike rowett who took over blues and got them playing 13matches in does any one know what formation we have what style we have under bruce, no we have same players making same mistakes same errors continuely playing youth totally excluded ,now we are signing a keeper with less experience less game time to replace gollina

  • One goal a year gabby is a religion mate regardless of the league

  • Off out soon so a very happy new year to you all upv

  • Happy New Year to all Villa fans wherever you are at midnight!:):):):):):)

  • Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 - 2 Queens Park Rangers:):):):):):):):):):):)

  • Happy New Year to all Villa fans wherever you are (when we get promoted in May):):):)

  • Almost another year over and some one said Happy New Year to all fans were ever you are at midnight.Well Old Mac will be sitting at home with a couple of cans and a good shot of rum, and while doing that i take the opportunity to wish every one a HAPPY PEACEFUL NEW YEAR for 2017 and will see you for the Cardiff game:):):)

  • to each and every villa fan have a safe and happy new year

    Attachments :
  • Watched Albrighton against west ham,quality crosses! and the idiots at Villa at the time let him go for the sake of maybe 5 to 10 grand on top of what they offered him.Thank god Lerner does not own us any more.

  • We Ain't into that sort of stuff anymore mate we are into giving 4 year deals to old footballers instead :):)

  • :) Yep we preferred the pin point accuracy of Hutton's crossing and didn't need wingers ;)
    Watched Spurs today and Trippier (1st start in PL this season) put in two great crosses both of which they scored from. Coupled with Dele Allie & Eriksson all three of which we were interested in but Ebanezzer Lerner balked at the prices !
    Thing is are we making better decisions as a club now ?

  • Happy New Year everyone

    Let's hope we can make it the year villa becomes a force in football again

  • Good luck with that FatKev. Think you'll need a lamp and a genie for that to come true!

  • I have said Ross was a poor buy all along

    But will be over the moon if he scored natch winning games on a regular basis

    Its not a game between ourselves who is wright or wrong

  • If we win Tomorrow will it be our first double this season

  • Errrr think we just won 2 in a row lads, the powerhouses that are qpr & burton ;) One of the reasons I was so disappointed with Leeds game is shockingly, apparently its been nearly six years since we won 3 in a row !!!

    I read Mason is extending his loan until end of season, plays every week for high flying Doncaster ...

    Mason signed for Villa following a successful trial in June 2015 after previously playing for Blackburn, Southampton and Doha-based Evolution Soccer Academy.

    Mason is comfortable playing anywhere across the back or in midfield

    Ex Southampton youth, very flexible, would be like a new player for us but ... ???

    I just struggle to see the logic in some of the decisions we make as a club I really do, Westwood and others ever present in the 6 yrs since we won 3 games in a row yet we won't even try to integrate Mason, Calder, Greene, Lyden or any other fringe players ? instead choosing to stick with the underachievers and even worse extending some's contracts.

    Anyone know if we were able to delay Kodjia's departure to ACON until after tomorrow ? I know Bruce asked & got the OK for Ayew to play 2nd Jan.

  • I meant home and away same team not back to back

  • everyone was crap at the end funny only 3 i wanted to keep clark sinclair and gana where sold,yet nobody tried to take any rest ,shows it now rdm had a horrible job at start players he wanted to keep sold, richards gabby and co still here

    Spot on, I wanted these players kept too, we would be a better side with these 3 in the team right now.
    I guess Sinclair and Clark had ultimately had enough of being overlooked (especially Clark) and Gana's introduction to English football with an absolute shambles of a club like us under Lerner, probably couldn't wait to leave.

  • Our youth ain't good enough.. Green was meant to be the best thing since sliced bread and he's shocking beyond belief

  • James20,our youth are not good enough! really? Name me one youth player who Bruce has given a chance to? While playing Westwood,also Gabby.because if they are better than any of our youth then they should get rid of the U18 squad altogether.You get my point?

  • Because green and Hepburn Murphy are meant to be the best thing out of it and yet they don't even seem league one standard

    Grealish has been the best and he even don't show up at this level half the time

  • “He is just young,” Bruce said in quotes reported by the Birmingham Mail. “I have changed [the starting XI], people have come in and we have not done much wrong. We have only lost two in 13.

    “The people who have the shirt deserve it. His time will come. He is only a boy.

    That's ****** Steve we have a **** midfield

  • Has he forgot those shocking performances
    Yet gabby etc soon returned

    Sweeping changes my arse

  • I'd personally always give the gods a chance

    After all the so called experienced shire we have had over the years

  • Boro wanted Rudy
    We will get what 6 and pay 15 for another championship striker
    Madness, anc , outside playoff
    We don't need to losebpkayers first

  • If Rhodes target surely we could play hardball

    Unless there giving trore back

  • So carry on with Westwood and Gabby? Judge the kids who have Never been given a chance by Bruce.Disband the youth,there crap.JamesJudgeDread.lol

  • None of the managers have ever used them mate.. I think that says alot

  • That's bollocks James! How many of the youth did Houlier play? Albrighton,Bannan,Clark and Baker from our academyand that's just of the top of my head.Remember?And they played good football under him.

  • That was 7 years ago mate

    Just look at the u23 performances like 1 win in 5 and kozak has one goal less than Hepburn Murphy

    If they can't perform at that level what chance they got in the chumps?

  • Adomah has been player of the season so far for me followed by Kodja. Always tries to be positive and take the game to the opposition unlike a few others.

  • According to some the whole squad is crap anyway ;) so what better reason to try someone different ?

    Just maybe the team spirit would be better with players prepared to give their all for each other & help out young players making a debut.
    Thing is how will we ever know if the youth are any good or not if they are not given a chance to play or at least feel part of the squad as a whole by being more involved ?

    I can understand various managers not wanting to risk bringing in inexperienced youth while we were struggling in the Pl, but we are currently struggling for consistent wins & performances mid table in the Champo at what point do we try some alternatives, wait till in league two when we are broke ?

    Interestingly Leeds, Brighton even the Scum have plenty of youth involved and plenty of our discharged youth are playing regularly for other teams in all leagues. Houllier & Garde involved our youth players even Sherwood had the youth playing next to the seniors in training as soon as he came in. It's a team game isn't it ?
    I'd rather see the young players given a chance and fail then keep persisting with Westwood, Gabby, Hutton and the other clowns who we know are not good enough, thank god Richards is not fit !

    We have no midfield, are struggling to score, can't keep a clean sheet, have not managed a win against any of the top six and will currently be lucky to make the playoffs at what point do you think the manager should try alternative players ?

  • VVillian,good post mate,I'm glad some on here talk sense.

  • We beat reading away 2 1. They are in 4th last time i looked.

  • There is something fundamentally wrong when Villa's u18 win the equivalent of the Champions League (2011-2012 i think) but not one of those players make it through to the !st team!Not only that,but two of them (Robertson,Jonhson playing for Preston)Embarrass us 2-0 preston,outplaying our midfield and westwood! who is playing regularly still today!So my question is,What the hell are our youngsters supposed to do to get a fceking chance to get in to our team of worldbeaters!


    and Denman - i think its because of too many changes and no clear strategy or plan on how to develop. It cant always be purchased if you dont have the money

  • "I can understand various managers not wanting to risk bringing in inexperienced youth while we were struggling in the Pl, but we are currently struggling for consistent wins & performances mid table in the Champo at what point do we try some alternatives, wait till in league two when we are broke ? "

    Vancouver. Happy new year. At the end of today day it might be a different story but 25 points from 13 games is championship winning form, barely a reason to panic.
    If we're talking about style well maybe that's a different story.


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