Villa Park was left distraught on Saturday when West Bromwich Albion won the bragging rights for the West Midlands Derby by ousting them at their own yard.
Indeed, even the fire of a derby couldn’t work to get Aston Villa back in form, as it did when they clashed with bitter rivals Birmingham City earlier in the campaign.
Dean Smith’s future may be questioned amongst certain sections of support after being winless in four. Once looking close to possibly attaining a play-offs position, that dream is over, as the Villains are seven points behind the cut-off having played more games. However, Villa shouldn’t become trigger-happy in letting him go.
Even at Brentford, where incidentally they lost recently, Smith needed time to get going. He unearthed some gems from their system and despite working on a meagre budget, did a splendid job in helping them defy the odds and finish in the Championship’s top ten for three consecutive seasons.
Smith’s attacking philosophy’s working at Villa. He’s elevated Tammy Abraham into enjoying his best goal-scoring season having scored 20 already (stats via WhoScored), while Conor Hourihane and Jonathan Kodija are also improving. The Villains have played sleek, attacking football under him. However, his kryptonite at Villa’s been their woeful defending.
The Villains have been too leaky in defence, hampering their rise under Smith. The gaffer needs to be given some time and resources to sign better defenders to try and challenge for the title next season. Aston Villa just needs to be patient with Smith, who can not only have them playing winning football, but could lead them back into the Premier League soon.