An incredibly poor start to campaign under Steve Bruce left them languishing in the lower half of the table before current boss Dean Smith restored a modicum of order to proceedings. Now, four points behind the playoff spots, Smith’s men have 16 games left to turn their miserable season into something positive.
In truth, when discussing who’s been a major disappointment this campaign, it seems wholly unfair to point the finger at any one player. It’s been a collective effort from the beginning. And we dare say the problem has been ongoing since they made the drop in 2016.
It goes without saying that it was naive of Tony Xia to assume that an inexperienced Roberto Di Matteo was qualified enough to traverse the challenges of the Championship – a notoriously difficult league to escape due to it’s packed schedule and radically different style of football – just because he’d won a Champions League trophy. It showed a blatant lack of knowledge and respect for the English game.
Then came Steve Bruce who, to be fair, was far more experienced at this level. And, by all means, should have done better with the resources he initially had at his disposal.
However, his style of football was branded boring and direct, the results were poor, players were played out of position, and fans had had enough. He was sacked late last year.
Now it’s Dean Smith’s turn, and although he’s made a better effort at it, there are still some concerns over Villa’s recent form. Indeed, one win in five games is simply not good enough for a promotion hopeful side, and for us, it’s damning evidence of the lack of consistency that has, for years, tormented the historic side.
Villa need an overhaul. They need a potent combination of experienced players who understand the league, and youth, like Tammy Abraham, who can provide a buzz to keep fans behind them. Dean Smith did an excellent job at Brentford pulling in suitable players on a limited budget, and we expect he’ll do an excellent job next season should he get to work his magic from the off.
However, poor recruitment since 2016, and an unfortunate financial situation, has all but quashed their chances at an automatic spot this year, leaving them fighting for the unpredictability of the playoffs.