First things first. I must admit I was wrong about Jonathan Kodjia. The last few matches he’s won me over, and is fast becoming one of my favourites in this Aston Villa team. But it wasn’t always that way.
Let’s rewind to the 30th of August, when Villa spent £11 million (potentially rising to £15m) on a striker -who at the time had 18 goals in 49 Championship appearances- in a move that looked like a panic-buy.
I wasn’t convinced. I overreacted on Twitter.
If #AVFC splash £15M on Kodjia, that's a waste of cash. Don't care if it's not my money, it's silly.— Jack Grimse (@JackGrimse) August 30, 2016
Unless he wins us promotion.
Sure, I said “unless”, but that’s not the point. Aston Villa were in 16th place after losing 3-1 to Bristol City, and to me it felt like the sky was falling. It was another match where Roberto Di Matteo’s side completely crumbled, and after a summer of high spending, I wasn’t sold on a 26-year-old who had 38 goals in 108 appearances in the second divisions of England and France.
To me, it looked like a foolish transfer policy that was going to blow up in our faces. Dr. Tony had allowed RDM to splash the cash left and right, and it wasn’t working. The squad was not gelling. The team had no chemistry or composure, collapsing late in the match game after game. But maybe it wasn’t the players.
Since Steve Bruce has taken over, Jonathan Kodjia has been a revelation. The Ivory Coast hitman has bagged five times in as many games. In total, he has six goals in 11 appearances for the Villa, with his strikes directly earning the team more than half (!!) of the total points collected so far this season (11 out of 21 — 1:1 vs. Brentford; 1:1 vs. Wolves; 2:1 vs. Reading; 1:0 vs. Fulham; 2:1 vs. Blackburn).
Kodjia’s been nothing short of inspirational. That goal against Fulham... What can I say? It was simply heroic.
This past weekend, against Blackburn Rovers, it looked like Villa were destined for defeat once again, after conceding the first goal. But just four minutes after going behind, it was Kodjia bringing us back, evening the match back up at one apiece. Rovers’ goalkeeper Jason Steele guessed right, but Kodjia’s penalty was too powerful. Then, he provided another goal in the 70th minute, proving to be enough to secure three points.
Players take time to settle in at new clubs, as do managers. Additionally, Kodjia hasn’t played in a team surrounded by as much talent as he is at Villa now. With creators like Jack Grealish and Albert Adomah, and other strikers like Rudy Gestede, Ross McCormack and Jordan Ayew, the pressure isn’t fully on Kodjia to be the only goal threat.
Things have improved as of late at Villa, no doubt thanks to Bruce coming in, but it still won’t be easy for this side to win promotion. If they can at least reach the promotion play-off, a big reason for it will be Jonathan Kodjia.
Please forgive my overreaction.