Last night, Aston Villa beat Rotherham by two goals to nil. It’s something rather nice to have done, and it was expected - but hey, a win is a win and those three points can’t be blemished by much. Here’s some talking points to tick over as we consider the win, and it’s deeper meaning.
How many times have we needed a turning point under Steve Bruce? It seems like twice a season, at the very least, he’s had to pull something out from his sleeve to ensure Villa remain fighting. Ideally, this will be the last time. Villa can no longer drop off and go to sleep for a number of games. They’ll need to fight from here on out to ensure promotion is achieved as convincingly as possible.
Villa did what they should have done
This game, for a team looking for promotion, should be a routine win. It was a routine win. It feels that much better because it’s also a relieving win, one that slightly eases the pressure on us all. However, it was an expected win. Villa simply did the job everyone expected them to do.
Yannick Bolasie and Tammy Abraham are incredible
Villa have played a blinder by bringing in two incredible players on-loan, that are arguably huge upgrades on the wing and up-front. Tammy Abraham dictated the play up-front and bossed the final-third, putting home a neat effort to give Villa their first goal of the night.
Yannick Bolasie came onto the pitch to much delight, and seemed to revel in simply playing football at Villa Park - much like Albert Adomah. All he wants to do is get people on their feet - and he did. His runs down the wing and his darting header to double the lead made him an instant fan favourite.
Mile Jedinak stepped up
The Mile Jedinak at centre-back experiment continued, and for the first time ever, looked like it might just work down the line. The trouble is, it’s cost Villa already. How much time does Steve Bruce sink into this now, especially when Axel Tuanzebe is the right option to play alongside James Chester? It’s something for Bruce to chew on.
Bruce lashes out
I missed this, because I was speaking to fans post-game, but Steve Bruce took time to swing out at the ‘local media’ after beating Rotherham 2-0. Fair enough, I guess - but it smacks of something odd. It’s a bit of bad faith and simply tips favour against him. Now, if Villa lose on the weekend, what’s he going to be able to say? How can you come back from that? This doesn’t look like it ends well - the press aren’t expendable, but managers are. I like a bit of attitude, but when it comes off as sheer arrogance, it’s a bit demeaning. It looks like the bad faith arguments and the excuses are being sown - but also, Bruce is entitled to have his say. It’s just come poorly worded and at a bad time. If the target of his words is Mat Kendrick, it’s odd - because Mat has been balanced and Bruce has been well supported for the most part (he’s hardly had a full page spread demanding his sacking). All in all, it seemed a bit vicious, and unneeded. We’ll see what happens on the weekend, but for sure, it’s not looking like a brilliant thing to have done, I’ll probably look to ignore this and these comments going forward, as it’s such a negative thing.
Villa’s squad is good enough to dominate
John McGinn, Jack Grealish and Jonathan Kodjia are just three players that I haven’t mentioned today who performed marvellously. There’s depth in this side and room to wreak havoc - and it looks like it might just be getting there. I certainly won’t be getting carried away, but if Villa can really kick on at the weekend, playing how we all know that they can play, there’ll be a lot of scope for optimism. We’ll see. It could just as easily deflate.
I can’t wait to see what this Villa side can do. There are no more excuses here - this is one of the best squads in the Championship.
A routine win was rather soured. There’s not a great deal we can take from it, but the three points needed to build upon now exist. Villa are unbeaten in two, but remain unconvincing. Let’s see how they deal with Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.