Thanks to Steve Bruce, we now know that the root of the problems at Villa Park are that we’re not scoring goals. Insights like that feed the media machine, keeping the assembled journalists in copy. All we, the supporters, care about is solving that problem.
You get the feeling that someone, somewhere is actually going to get a clobbering from us. The only trouble is whether that happens this season or next…
Ah, the gallows humour which keeps us sane.
Barnsley arrive at B6 tonight and like us, they need three points. Like us, this is the match out of the next two or three which they will be targeting for that return. It’s hard to see us getting anything out of Newcastle and Derby the way we’re playing at the moment while Barnsley haven’t scored in their last two, or won in three. Hardly the form to be facing Brighton, Huddersfield and Derby in.
There were promising signs on Saturday. If we take the opportunities we created in isolation from the rest of the game against Ipswich, it’s encouraging that we had the openings, and more importantly made the ‘keeper work more often than not. Trouble is, we’ve only scored four in that seven-game run.
It’s hard to confidently predict a goal-fest, isn’t it! In typically perverse football fashion, that’s what often happens with two out of sorts teams; one gets the confidence boost of the opening goal and goes on to win comfortably. To be honest, a deflection off the referee’s backside from the halfway line will be equally as welcome so long as we win. That’s the end result the team needs; bereft of points, confidence is a shallow luxury at the moment.
Football logic says, “You lost, make changes” which doesn’t necessarily take into account the circumstance of defeat. There’s a clamour to get us back to 4-4-2 but that didn’t solve the problems before, did it?
I’d argue that we’re better suited to 3-4-3 than anything else at the moment. We have the pace and trickery of Adomah and Kodjia to augment Hogan up front, which gives us some leeway in the midfield. Three defenders? Possibly one of the full backs could be used as a third centre back.
Put Conor Hourihane, motivated by facing his former club, into the centre alongside Jedinak and Lansbury, and we have some good, hard-working players. Bruce has his options for the last of the quartet but Thor, the God of Thunder is the likeliest to fill the role. If he’s not available, his lookalike, Birkir Bjarnason is the man.
It leaves the line-up as:
The adaptability of the formation is there to protect leads; get a full back on and switch to a back four. Baker’s capable of playing on one flank to see out a game and if we need to chase the match, sacrifice Jedinak for Grealish. I’d like to think Jack’s got a big performance in him after letting us down at Forest.
So, having predicted this, we’ll go with 4-4-2. I’d just like a bit of adventure at home and I think we’ve got the ability to win tonight, it’s whether we have the belief.