The ‘true’ deadline day, the second of the month, closed yesterday afternoon with both a bang and a whimper for Aston Villa.
In case you missed it, the Villans managed to seal the deal that they’d been chasing all summer long. Tammy Abraham, of Chelsea fame, joins Villa and will immediately lay claim to the sole striker spot in Steve Bruce’s vertical formation. With one move, and the incoming return of Scott Hogan from injury, Villa instantly look strong and deep in the centre-forward position.
However, the loan deadline ended with Steve Bruce ‘apparently’ forcing Albert Adomah away from the club. While there is certainly a case for the sale of Villa’s top scorer last season, that’s not exactly what happened. Mixed messages reigned the day. Steve Bruce should also look inwards, at a squad that he’s built and scrapped, and built again.
Bruce is fond of describing Villa as lurching from crisis to crisis, however he will soon now the true meaning if Villa are struck with injuries. Villa’s midfield is relatively sound, as are the wings - but one will worry if Alan Hutton or Mile Jedinak fall to injury. Villa’s defence are at risk of complete collapse. While Jedinak is slowly edging towards a serviceable level for Villa at his new position of centre-back, if he goes down, it’ll mean disruption. Axel Tuanzebe will be moved from his ‘attacking’ role at right-back into his natural centre-back position, forcing Ahmed Elmohamady, a cover winger, into the position once more. Another injury to the central pairing would look to be a disaster unless James Bree steps up - as he did against Burton Albion midweek.
Positivity still reigns at Villa Park. There’s no doubt about that. An elite attacking corps should be able to play the best football in the league (Marcelo Bielsa didn’t invent playing with style, you know). If Bruce is unable to get this side working, he’s only got himself to blame. There can be no excuses now, as this side is firmly his design.