Five Reasons to be Cheerful as Villa Fans After Back-to-back Away Failures

At Villa Park earlier in the season Henri Lansbury’s 87th-minute equaliser rescued a point for visiting Nottingham Forest. This time, with Lansbury now wearing a claret and blue shirt, Forest went one better to secure an injury-time winner that made a mockery of a Villa team fielding six players that were bought in the January window.

A ton of excuses have been made for Villa’s season so far: ‘We were never going to come straight back after being relegated with 17 points’ (well, Sunderland won the Championship after being relegated with 15 points), ‘it’ll be ok when Bruce gets his own team in’ (zero points so far with his own players) and so on.

Now there’s a new train of thought, due to the realisation that Villa’s play-off dreams now look to be up in smoke.

“Well, it was always a two season project”. No it wasn’t. Getting back in the first season was the main objective. Getting up the season after, was the back-up plan!

£55m spent in the summer and £22m of those players loaned out in the January window highlights a major hiccup in the latest Villa revolution. Remember, Villa have been looking at the bigger picture, getting in Steve Round as technical director to create a ‘Villa way’ and to buy players to facilitate that above and beyond simply getting players in for whatever manager was in charge.

The players that have been signed this season look good individually on paper, but on the pitch, they have shown compatibility issues in terms of functioning as part of a team.

It’s going to take time to get these latest new recruits playing as a team and they must also bond off the pitch, or they’ll just be a collection of the supposed best players in the Championship, as opposed to forming one of the actual best teams in the division.

The rest of the season is perhaps a chance to do this, however Bruce must show progress in terms of the performance levels and tactics. It’s alright knowing what is wrong, the real test is putting it right.

In the meantime, here’s five reasons to be cheerful after the latest couple of away defeats.


1.Hogan’s Run

Scott Hogan looked sharp and a real direct threat, full of pace and intent. His work rate was also noticeable. Bruce has been very public about his desire to play two up top and Hogan fits the bill nicely for that.

But what of his proposed partner Jonathan Kodjia?

Despite being a hero to some already for bringing some light to a dismissal season with his goals, as Paul McGrath said on Twitter, scoring a few goals in the Championship ain’t all that. There’s certainly a selfish streak about him coupled with a lack of awareness, so will he make a great partner for Hogan?

A great striking partnership needs to have two players that compliment each other. Only time will tell, if Villa have it. Hogan though was a plus in the Forest game.

2. He’s Not Hutton

He’s only 19 but James Bree showed enough against Forest to suggest why he’s already got 50-odd Championship games under his belt for Barnsley. It’s obviously too early to get carried away, but the young defender should be first choice for the rest of the season to bed him in for next season and beyond.

3. Shots

After MOMS has pointed out recently that Villa had the lowest average of shots on target of any away team in the league (I also reminded Bruce about that the other week), it was encouraging to see Villa create more chances than normal on their travels.

Despite a woeful 29% of possession despite our new midfield, eight shots on target was a departure from our average of around 3.5 per game.

With a bit more luck Villa could have been potentially 2-0 up. Whether they would have held onto such a lead is another question though.

4. Decent Window

With eight players in and eight players out, few could grumble about the business done in the January window. With the outgoings of Rudy Gestede, Ashley Westwood and Jordan Ayew bringing in enough money to cover most of the incomings, bar the big spend of Scott Hogan.

It was certainly a smart window in terms of seriously rebuilding the team with respect to the long-term Financial Fair Play situation.

The midfield was potentially the best of the business. it will be interesting to see Hourihane and Lansbury with Jedinak playing as a defensive foil, when he returns from injury. That maybe the key to the two new recruits flourishing in the opponent’s half.

5. Podcast Return

After three microphones died on us in the past couple of months and problematic recording issues have lost us two shows, the My Old Man Said Podcast returned with a double-whammy of shows this week after a break of three or four weeks.


If you haven’t checked it out, you should do, if you want a dose of realistic Villa chat and entertainment. We try to bring some fun back into this supporting Villa lark during the darkest of times. For more details in how you can listen (apart from above player) check out the full podcast details.

If you want to support the podcast and website, the greatest way to do so is by becoming a MOMS Patron. We’ve got some plans in the pipeline for our greatest supporters who help us run this without having to use dark arts like most of the media on Villa do, so it would be fabulous to get to the 100 patron mark. More details in how to sign-up to be a Patron here. Many thanks!




  1. The selections and subs are baffling. The icelandic chap and the teenager Green aren’t what we need in these situations, but Amavi, who would’ve been perfect was on the bench. We counter attacked well, and his pace at wing back would’ve been playing to our strengths.
    As for taking off the strikers— this isn’t cricket: you can’t just declare before the end. If we had just kept the two best strikers on the field at all times this season, I think that we’d be near the play-offs at least. Kodjia + Hogan and we’re always in with a chance of a win. Simple is supposed to be Mr Potato-head’s strength.

  2. 5 Reasons to be cheerfull that,s an under statement Dr Tony,s so-called board whom are running the club for him have ill advised him by bringing in an ex Bluenose manager should have had more sense after Lerner did the same thing with Mc Liesh.It was bound to fail from the start.Tony as gave him money to spend so he gets rid of players to bring in his own but what does he do bring,s in wet behind the hear kids.This is not the way to take our great club forward and atchieve the ambitions of the owner or the fans.Bruce and backroom team must be shown the door before it,s to late.

  3. It seems to me more than half the problems with the Villa are our fans. I find it hard to believe anyone who watched that game can blame it on Bruce rather than the actions of 2 of our players. We had so many really good chances, but the players just didn’t put them away. Hogan could have had 2 in the net, narrowly missing on both occasions after doing all the hard work to get in the position to score, Elphick could have had 3 goals and there is no excuse for Chester’s miss – that really should have been on target. That’s 6 really really good chances which came back to haunt us because of the failures of two of our players.

    Sam Johnstone is finished at Villa as far as I’m concerned – he had 2 things to do in the match and he messed them both up – the first one in particular was obviously his fault entirely, but he got his hand on the ball for their last minute goal…the problem was it was such a weak hand the ball went through. We have had some shocking keepers in recent years, but this guy takes the biscuit – people said anyone is better than Bunn…Johnstone has proved that theory wrong in spectacular fashion.

    The other problem player obviously is Jack Grealish – Villa’s very own chav with an attitude to match – how can he smirk after those 2 bookings? Appalling behaviour, just like Ayew last year he cost us the match.

    You cannot blame Bruce for the subs – we were down to 10 men, it is totally logical to bring on midfielders and take off our tiring forwards so that we could hold on for the draw.

    If people are going to make a valid criticism of Bruce it is perhaps for not selling Grealish, then picking him for this match, I hope he never picks Grealish again, I won’t ever boo our own though. The other valid criticism is about Johnstone – he is terrible, he should not have been signed – we needed a proper average ability keeper, not another rabbit in the headlights. Every time a ball goes towards him I expect it to end up in the net.

    Forest had all the possession which is annoying, but we had all the good chances – there is no way we should have even drawn that match, Forest were very lucky to get the win – selecting Johnstone and the behaviour of Grealish is our own fault though.

    It is obvious some fans just want rid of Bruce because he is Bruce. The problem is these Villa fans are now making the club look bad – we cannot keep changing managers every 6 months after we go on a bad run for a month. It is making Villa fans look like spoilt brats and incredibly fickle, for once we need to go back to being supporters rather than booing our own.

  4. Totally agree with the guys, Bruce is very clearly not the man to take this club forward, unbelievable substitutions for me he is clueless and we are facing relegation again if this continues, consistently loosing to teams lower than us in the league, with the amount of money spent is unjustifiable. Let’s be honest Bruce just got lucky when he took over, but it’s clear that his luck has run out so come on Dr Xhia wield the axe before it’s too late. It begs the question was McCormack at fault or was it Bruce

    • You strike me as the guy who cheers when we play fantastic football and lose cos we played well
      I have a questions for you IN the last 3 years how many managers have we fired? and that has worked has it?
      How much time did that side that played on Saturday have together? let me help you 3 days!! how are they supposed to gel in that time It was a better performance and we could have won The red card was the killer Not defending Grealish it was harsh and we were on top at that point to play the last 15/16 mins with one down killed us. when did they score in the last minute
      Guys dont be stupid give this side a chance 3 games from now it will be different Mile will be back and the newer guys will be fitting in Hogan and Kodja will be finding each other

      Unfortunately we are living in an instant generation we must win the league now and when we lose a game its time to kill the manager
      Bruce is building a lasting team a team that will perform in the premier league and guess what he knows more about it than all of us together!!!!!

  5. I was not at the game yesterday but from what I have seen it wont be long for us to start winning again We are really missing Mile-we dont have another holding midfielder that’s why Hourihane played deep Hogan looked good better than broken gate and it will take a game or two for Hogan and and Kodja to find each other Although we lost I am not disappointed, heartbroken or discouraged as the tide is turning
    Some of Bruce’s tactics may be strange however it is the first game with his team who have had 3 days to prepare and performance and tactics will get better
    I am one of those that hope we dont get promoted this season because a good football team is like building Rome its not going to happen in one day. I mean whats the point of going up and coming straight down again
    A finish of 8th will do this season fine and next year we go up on our terms

    • Mate we won;t go up this season or anyother as we will be going down yet again.Bruce as bought players that may or may not come good just wasted money on young wet behind the hears it will take a lot more than the two years Dr Tony wanted to get us back where we belong.

      • Terry time to put your money where your mouth is I have 100 quid that says we are not going down
        And by the way i never expected us to go straight back up this year next year yes

  6. bruce is clearly struggling with the tactical options but so did previous managers. Sherwqood taking of two midfield players for two attackers at Leicester when 2-0 up led to a 3-2 defeat and the start of the slide. WHat has to be explained is why we keep replacing managers and they do the same things. Is there a curse on this club?

    Trevor FIsher

  7. totally disgusted with the forest display, a whole new midfield and they were worse than hoof- it,deadwood and bacuna. grealish should of gone to boro does one bit of skill in 90 mins and people think hes a world beater, cant even beat average championship players time to gel is what we need people will say. getting possesion would help, goalkeeper is a joke get rid of one liability and replace him with another what was with the substitutions after nancy boy got sent off, take off 2 strikers so you have no outlet ball or goal threat. so what does dopey do replaces them with 2 defenders no, he has a brain freeze and puts on 2 wingers that is a sackable offence in my opinion its stupidity beyond reasoning.bruce [dopey] is not the man to take this club forward.under rdm we played some good football,created more chances and were unlucky to concede late goals but we never lost many.look at the state of us now time to get the axe out tony.the messiah is dead we need a second coming lol.

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