Villa snatched a late point at home to Brentford. Dave Woodhall wonders whether that’s good enough.
One of the questions that gets brought up from time to time is why Villa don’t play home games on Wednesdays anymore. It was one of those things that marked us out – Tuesday evenings were always for the lesser teams while the big matches took place on Wednesday. Villa, naturally, were part of the main course rather than the starters.
The reason we switched, apparently, was that Alex McLeish preferred to play on Tuesdays, and I suppose none of his successors have felt strongly enough to revert to tradition. But TV’s more important than the team manager now so it was back to the old ways for the visit of Brentford.
Steve Bruce’s team selection was yet again a thing of mystery, our manager by now being the only man in football to believe that Mile Jedinak is better employed as a central defender than in midfield. With Ahmed Elmohamady and the out of form Albert Adomah on the wing and Glenn Whelan in central midfield, Villa’s gameplan was not one to cause much trouble for Bruce’s counterpart, the Great Barr Guardiola sat in the visitors’ dug out.
To their credit, Villa got off to a bright start only to go a goal behind after twenty minutes. To their even greater credit, and not a little surprise, they upped their game and were well worth the equaliser from Jonathan Kodjia, with a trademark ‘Beat the defender and run on to hit the ball past the keeper’ goal.
There wasn’t long until half-time at this point but there was still time for Villa to be awarded a penalty and Brentford to have a player sent off for a stamp on John McGinn. Unfortunately, John Terry’s presence is lacking now so it was still 1-1 and eleven a side at the break.
Villa started the second half well and had the best of the chances but none of them went in and the game seemed to be winding down when Brentford scored again, and inevitably it was Neil Maupay, the player who shouldn’t have stlll been on the pitch, who got his second.
Brentford had their best spell after that and could have made sure of the win but justice was eventually served in the final seconds when Kodjia’s header gave Villa a point. Saying that all he needed was a goal to get his confidence back seemed a case of more in hope than expectation a week ago, but three in two games can’t be argues with and a Kodjia back on form could be the striker Steve Bruce has been looking for.
In parts Villa played well for most of the match, and that’s probably the most frustrating aspect of Bruce’s reign. At his best we’ve looked a cut above every other team we’ve been in this division with. For most of the time we’ve done just enough to win, or else just fallen short. To go that one step further we need a boost, whether from new players, fresh ideas or a change of manager
Loan signing Anwar El Ghazi was introduced to the crowd at half-time and with Yannick Bolasie also at the match it looks as though Villa’s creative options are going to be good enough for the rest of the season. Reports that we’re looking at Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham indicate that we’ll be strengthening in that department as well. That just leaves a defence to sort out..