Villa drew at home to Sheffield United on Saturday. Dave Woodhall was not impressed.
I was talking to a friend on Friday night. He was saying that Glenn Whelan looked last it and I pointed out that the same was said of Mile Jedinak in the early part of last season. “And look at him now,” I said. “He’s the most consistent player we’ve had this year.” Oops.
It’s not very often that a player can put his side two up after ten minutes then subsequently cost them the win but Jedinak managed it on Saturday. In that early period Villa looked well in control and well worth what should have been a winning position thanks to a penalty from Albert Adomah and Jedinak’s top-quality header.
And then it was time for Jedinak to show that while he might still be a decent midfielder with useful aerial ability, he’s not a central defender except in emergencies. Two errors, two goals and although there was more than an hour to go, that was all the entertainment we were going to see, apart from a few less than impressive refereeing decisions. Another day, another couple of points dropped and we’re looking at the play-offs at best now.
I’m trying to look for the positives, and apart from Jack Grealish and James Chester (who must be thinking Jonny Evans – HOW MUCH???) it’s difficult to take any from the game, or the month so far come to think of it. Sheffielod United were the latest in a long line of teams who came to Villa Park looking to contain and pick up on any mistakes the Villa might make. Once they equalised we ran out of ideas far too quickly and seemed to have settled for a draw well before the final whistle.
Yet again I can mention injuries, and I can’t see either John Terry nor Chris Samba (probably) making both of the errors Jedinak made, but the point of having an out of position midfielder playing in central defence while having a central defender on the bench is beyond me. Either Tommy Elphick is good enough to figure in the first team, which is debatable, or he isn’t, and in any case, what this thinking says to any promising defender in the reserves doesn’t make their future prospects look bright under Steve Bruce.
Talking of who, there must now start to be some speculation about his future. Bruce was brought in to get Villa promoted and when that prospect starts to look less likely it’s only natural that his job must be under threat. winning at home and drawing away might be good enough for promotion whatever the performance is like, but Villa have stopped winning at home so they have to start to get victories away again.
Luckily there’s only a couple of days until we put that idea to the test. It’s against Brentford, who have the knack of outsmarting us every time we play then, on Boxing Day, a day in the calendar when, prior to last season’s narrow victory against Burton, it seems we previously won round about the time Herod was sending his boys out to look for the Baby Jesus.
And the compliments of the season to you, as well.