The distant dream of a play-off place fades with a draw against Burton Albion. Not the way most Villa fans would have imagined or hoped the season’s promotion hopes would end.
There’s an inevitable temptation for the team to take their foot off the pedal and start thinking about their summer holidays. But there’s a while to go yet, so here’s a to-do list to make sure there’s no slacking.
1. Beat the Bluenoses
First and foremost, Birmingham are visiting Villa Park on April 23rd and need to be given a helpful shove in the direction of the Championship trapdoor. If Villa aren’t going to be promoted, there’s only one way to ensure we don't have to endure another season in the same league as the scum.
The first meeting between the two sides this season ended in a 1-1 draw in the early days of the Bruce reign, with Villa hanging on towards the end. Time to show just how far the team has come with a convincing win. Speaking of which...
2. Thrash an opponent
Villa ground out a great series of wins in their last run of games, but never really hit top gear and blew an opponent away. In fact, apart from an August win over hapless Rotherham, we’ve not beaten a side by more than two goals this season, and we’ve only scored three goals on one other occasion, against Cardiff in November.
Compare that to Newcastle who’ve twice put six past opponents, and several times scored four, including against Birmingham. Brighton have scored three or more numerous times this season, while all the play-off contenders have achieved it more often than Villa.
If Villa want to start putting the fear in opponents next season, there’s no time to start like the present.
3. Spread the goals around
Related to the last point is Villa’s fatal reliance on Jimmy Danger. Yes, Kodjia has been a phenomenon this season, sitting pretty on 19 goals. But the rest of the team has hardly contributed, with our second most prolific goalscorer being the departed Rudy Gestede on four.
Of current squad members, Adomah and Grealish are tied on three goals each, followed, astonishingly, by James Chester with two.
While much of the midfield has only joined the club relatively recently and Scott Hogan was injured early, the team could do with a few different players getting their name on the scoresheet.
4. Play the youngsters
With the pressure off, now’s the perfect time to get a glimpse of some of Villa’s young prospects. Andre Green needs more than end of the match cameos, as does Keinan Davis. While Jack Grealish no longer seems like a player who should need easing into the team, a decision on his future in the summer would benefit from seeing him on the pitch.
While Villa might be gearing up for another spending spree in the summer, it would be good to see that the club management are also thinking about bringing through the younger players as well.
What would you like to see Villa do in the remainder of the season? Let us know in the comments section below!