Home Columns What We Learned as Villa Fans From Wigan Win & Norwich No-Show

What We Learned as Villa Fans From Wigan Win & Norwich No-Show

Two pretty awful performances back-to-back has left Steve Bruce vocal about his underachieving team. What did Villa fans learn from a return to the bad old toothless days?


Grealish’s worldy was the cherry on top of the cake against Wigan: a cake made of rotton eggs, stale flour and that wedding cake icing that you can’t really eat.

It was a dull performance at best, but a clean sheet and a win is something the fans will be happy with at least. Winning without style or confidence is acceptable for now if it means moving up the table to striking distance of the top six.

But it can’t happen too often…



Just a few days later and Norwich away on Sky didn’t have the best of omens going for Villa fans. A weak first half was followed by a frustrating second half. Neither team looked likely to score with Villa unable to get the ball into the final third with any purpose and City’s forwards looking like they would struggle to hit the broad side of a barn.

Late substitutes for ineffective starters did nothing to change the game or rally the troops for Villa and after Norwich scored they still didn’t look like they believed they were going to win. It was a boring clash between two teams only on the telly because of their recent history.

Could there have been a last-gasp penalty awarded? Perhaps. But this was a RDM-esque performance – hard to justify certain player selections, hard to see what the game plan was from the stands, and hard to pick a man-of-the-match when nobody shone and most were happy to blend in with the other mediocrity.

The landmark to note here is this: The honeymoon for Steve Bruce is over. His admirable start to his career at Villa Park will soon be forgotten, if we aren’t winning at home and at least getting a point away to stay in touch.


Unlike Lambert, who would assume the blame for underwhelming players, trying to convince onlookers that “we were excellent”, or RDM who… well, didn’t seem to mind much either way, Bruce seems to have inherited a “hairdryer” style, when it’s deserved, from his former gaffer, Sir Alex Ferguson.


If that was his strongest team in his mind on Tuesday night, fair enough. Every fan has a opinion on that. And if he wanted to leave it late to change things around, bringing on Gestede – who can provide a presence off the bench if used the right way – that’s on his head. But what he’s not going to do is take the blame when the players, he has coached and prepared to play, don’t or can’t do it and look confused and disjointed.

Whether it works remains to be seen, but Sunday’s game at QPR – also on the telly – will reveal whether the current squad responds to a good yelling at.


Andre Green, Aaron Tshibola, Jordan Lyden, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, even Leandro Bacuna – should be extra frustrated after the last two games. An injection of youth with pace, energy, a point to prove, and in some cases a career to begin, surely could have livened up a game like the last two, fans have had to endure.

This isn’t a plea to change for the sake of it. Or a simplistic “they can’t do any worse” but a call to consider introducing and making more use of players who WANT to play for the club, who are looking to LEARN and improve and will LEAVE the club if they don’t get what they feel they deserve: and we know what happens then more often than not.


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  1. Sports psychologist was hired quite recently, I think Steve Round confirmed it. It is certainly baffling how an almost entirely new set of players have often shown the same frailties as last season’s lot. Mentality or lack therof seems to be an going problem at the club. One thing I have noticed which I can’t understand is this: The opponent scores – the opponent gets stronger, we score – the OPPONENT GETS STRONGER! Only a group of Villa players could turn scoring a goal into a hinderance. Happens time and time again. If any club in England needs a sports psychologist, it’s us.

  2. Yes Jay I did & as Trevor says when he pushes forward he does so with power something apart from Jedi that most of our midfield lack the ability to do . It’s also long overdue for him to score from long range as he did a couple of seasons back from a penalty .
    Big problem last night was that Grealish was showboating early on instead of going all out for attack & then we got a lesson in not taunting the opposition if they can play tough

  3. ultimately if the players don’t play they have to be dropped. They are not robots and if morale is low then ask the reasons why. They have played without spirit for several seasons and the question of why the team, manager and owner can change and nothing happens is key. Has a sports psychologist been appointed? If not why not?

    Bacuna is a mixed bag but going forward is an effective midfield attacker. Best goal in 2014-15 was Cleverley’s v Everton following a driving run from Bacuna.

    Bruce knows his players and it would be good to know why he thinks they lack spirit.

    Trevor FIsher.

  4. @C.Gale – Did you seriously just use the words strong midfield and Bacuna in the same sentence?

  5. the U23’s lost 4-2 to toon on Monday so perhaps our youngsters are not ready !
    Bruce has however mentioned that players sat on the bench should replace some of those who failed miserably That probably would include Bacuna & Cissokho . But would that mean one of our best players ,Amavi dropping to the bench ? Maybe not as Amavi’s secondary playing position is LW . A few fans have called for 4-4-2 and midfield of Adomah , Bacucuna , Jedi & Amavi might just give us the strong midfield we currently lack

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