Brentford 3 – 0 Aston Villa
If Scott Hogan didn’t know why Villa need him before this match, he does now. As the football saying goes, we were lucky to get nil. Hogan missed the game due to his medical, but unless he had the misfortune to catch it on a dodgy stream, he wouldn’t be impressed by any of the reports from Griffin Park.
Bjarnason and Hourihane both made their Villa debuts in West London, and new signings always come with a sense of hope. But it’s the hope that kills me; I can handle the failure and disappointments, it’s the hope I can’t stand.
Villa didn’t start badly. Hutton and Kodjia both had decent chances to break the deadlock in the first half but were denied by Bentley and poor finishing.
We soon faded and beyond those two moments, offered nothing of note for the remainder of the opening forty-five minutes. Indeed, Brentford were on top for most of that time.
And we were made to pay; Lasse Vibe applied the finish which Yennaris’ hard work demanded. Should we ask the questions of the Villa defence or hope that someone on the coaching staff is?
That Brentford went in two-up was a major surprise. Yennaris scored from close range, but Dean went close while Jota and Vibe almost added to the scoreline. The half-time whistle proved to be a huge relief.
It didn’t last long; Brentford were soon on the front foot again, and the only surprise was that Vibe’s second of the game to make it 3 – 0 was the last goal the home side scored. I honestly can’t recall another chance.
After the match, Steve Bruce had harsh words, relatively speaking, for the players and some sections of the support,
“We can’t just keep thinking we are going to buy our way out of it. We have to look like a team and do the basics, and in this division, if you don’t do the basics right, you have horrible nights like this.”
Says the man who has just added another forward to the squad. We’ve spent a lot of money this season, and you have to question how much of it has been used wisely?
Bruce wasn’t in a particularly forgiving mood with the players,
“As soon as we conceded we went all over the place and didn’t do a job at all. We have to question ourselves because it has to be a mentality we have to try to find away from home, where we are too easily beaten.”
There’s a simple answer to that: we’ve reverted to type. When the going gets tough, we open the cupboard and dig out the white flag to signal our surrender. Poor performances are routinely produced while good days are becoming fewer.
Promotion has long gone, but with this kind of form, we need to be looking over our shoulders at the drop zone. If we don’t begin to turn up for matches, we’ll be the club which gets sucked into the dogfight for survival.
Bruce has to shoulder some of the responsibility for that; he’s the manager and makes the decision. It’s up to him to put out a side which will get results, and at the moment, it isn’t happening. Yes, I appreciate that he inherited the squad, but he must be making a mark on it by now, surely?
Defeats always do that to supporters. You’d think we’d be better prepared for losing given all the practice we’ve had in recent years but no, it still cuts to the bone.