Despite relegation from the Premier League, Aston Villa’s chances of a quick return to the top flight initially seemed to be quite high. The club had finally been sold which brought in new investment as well as a new manager in Roberto Di Matteo. A host of new players such as the likes of James Chester, Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia also followed. However, It soon became apparent that new owner Dr Tony Xia was not going to tolerate anything less than promotion and with only 12 games gone and 1 win within that time, Roberto Di Matteo was sacked by the club.
Aston Villa have since brought in Steve Bruce and whilst initial results looked promising with Bruce picking up 4 wins and 3 draws from his opening 7 games. Results since, especially since the turn of the year have not got to plan. A win rate of 33.3% (PL 21, W7, D5, L9). With a 2017 winless run of which includes 4 defeats in a row to Brentford, Nottingham Forest, Ipswich and Barnsley, Bruce’s record is not far off that of any of his predecessors. So what has changed and why do Aston Villa still continue to be in free fall?
The appointment Roberto Di Matteo was a rushed appointment and what was probably rushed even quicker was his dismissal. It perhaps took time for Dr Xia to realise how big a task rebuilding Aston Villa was. Whilst Steve Bruce’s contract has not been revealed, it is believed that this is rolling depending on performances. Bruce is certainly being given more time that RDM. This was always going to be needed and was to expected given the amount of managers the club have seen in the last few seasons.
It is recognisable that Villa are not going to get promoted this season so it only makes sense to give the manager the maximum amount of time to steady the ship. Villa have signed a whole host of players in the January transfer window, many of which were given the thumbs up by many of us fans before signing. So why are they not performing? I think trying to get a practically new team in and working together will take time and probably more time than most fans have previously had the patience for. I think we have been very unlucky in the last couple of games not to get any points especially given the 40+ shots we have had over those games. Villa have signed a lot of top quality championship players and I believe these players know that they have signed for a big club and therefore are feeling the pressure. I have no doubt the team will come good given the time.
Villa’s expectations for the remainder of this season should be to avoid being pulled into any relegation battles and get some convincing wins together. This will prepare the club to nail it next season. Aston Villa should be treating this season as a gap year to re-evaluate, rebuild and be prepared to fight for automatic promotion next season. There will be no excuses as the board, the manager and the team would have all been given the time needed to achieve this.