Bristol City and Aston Villa supporters are eagerly anticipating the meeting between the two sides in the Championship this evening, with both teams heading into the clash off the back of defeats last time out.
Lee Johnson’s Robins had made a fine start to the season in winning four of their opening seven league matches, yet back-to-back defeats at the hands of West Brom and Wigan Athletic leaves manager Johnson hoping for and seeking a response from his players at Ashton Gate tonight.
And they face a Villa side that haven’t been pulling up any trees either in recent times in winning just one of their last eight games in all competitions, with their recent 2-1 loss to Sheffield Wednesday piling even more pressure on under-fire manager Steve Bruce.
Nonetheless, both teams will be hoping to improve as the season goes on having been relatively active during the summer, with the Robins luring the likes of Tomas Kalas and Mohamed Eisa to Ashton Gate, while the big-name additions of Yannick Bolasie and Tammy Abraham filled Villa fans with much confidence last month.
And it’s the signings of messrs Eisa and Abraham which are of particular interest, so let’s take a look at how the two compare…
24-year-old Eisa made the move to Bristol City this summer after hugely impressing at Cheltenham Town last season, thus adding to what has been a remarkable rise for the striker in recent years.
The forward has made his way up through non-league by scoring goals for fun to earn a move to Cheltenham little over 12 months ago, where he continued his incredible form in front of goal by scoring 23 goals in 45 League Two matches, helping Gary Johnson’s men to a 17th place finish in the fourth tier.
And Gary’s son Lee was able to lure Eisa to Ashton Gate during the summer to see if the 24-year-old can cut it in the Championship, yet he hasn’t really been given much of a chance so far with just three appearances to his name.
And with all three coming off the bench, Eisa hasn’t really been able to show his true talent just yet, but with a goal-scoring record like he has, it is surely just a matter of time before he starts producing the goods for the Championship side.
TT Verdict: B
Villa were seen to have pulled off quite the coup in luring Chelsea’s Abraham to the Midlands this summer – after all, the 20-year-old made his senior England debut less than a year ago.
The striker is one of many youngsters on the books at Stamford Bridge that has been unable to force his way into first-team plans, spending last season on loan at top-flight outfit Swansea City in a bid to further his development.
And while he didn’t pull up any trees during his time at the Liberty Stadium, he still netted five goals for the South Wales club, although the fact that he has had to drop down to the second tier says a lot about what level he is probably at at this stage of his career.
Nonetheless, in netting on his second start for Villa in their 2-0 success over Rotherham United earlier this month, it’s clear that Abraham is going to be a huge asset to manager Bruce – one that may well keep him in a job, and one that could fire the Villans back to the promised land.
TT Verdict: A
Both of these young strikers clearly have huge ability and talent just waiting to be fulfilled, although they have had vastly different career paths to reach the point that they are playing in the same division.
Eisa’s rise up from non-league to the second tier has been extraordinary, and although he hasn’t yet got going at Bristol City, the Robins appear to have themselves a gem, with his goal-scoring record and predatory instincts in the box suggesting that he isn’t going to be quiet for long.
Yet there is little doubting that Abraham’s move to Villa was one of the signings of the summer, with the 20-year-old exactly the sort of striker and goal-scorer Bruce’s side need to go one step further this season and win promotion back to the Premier League.
Bristol City and Aston Villa fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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