Honestly, I didn’t expect to see so many of the new players in the starting line-up. Bruce went with the 4-3-3, with the newbies Hourihane, Lansbury and Bjarnason making up the middle three.
Villa controlled the first 15 minutes. Villa’s best chance of the game came just after nine. Lansbury played a perfectly weighted through ball to Kodjia. However, the Ivory Coast international could only slide the ball wide from a fairly tight angle.
Then it happened. Chester was caught out of position leaving Vibe to finish. Overall, in the first half our defence looked really dodgy. Strange from a team who have conceded the sixth least goals in the Championship this season.
Throughout the game, Kodjia looked isolated by the Brentford defence. Green and Adomah were way to deep, at times it was more like a 4-5-1 than a 4-3-3.
For second goal we were all over the place. Two Villa players were marking same player when the cross from Jota came in, letting the ball bounce and Nico Yennaris poke home.
Then Jota nearly got Brentford a third before half time, Lansbury missed his tackle, leaving the Brentford midfielder to dribble around Baker and hit the crossbar.
Needless to say. Steve Bruce looked like he was going to give the players a bollocking at half time.
Andre Green was one of Villa’s only bright sparks in the game. It’s funny how we spend all this money when an 18 year old youth teamer looks like one of the better players.
Its not surprising that Bjanason looked off the pace, the Icelandic international hadn’t started in six weeks going into this game. Also, Hourihane was doing too much defensive work for my liking. Kodjia looked isolated up front, maybe if Jedinak was playing, the Irishman could’ve pushed further forward and given him more support.
The third goal was probably the worst of the lot. Chester and Baker parted like the red sea, leaving Vibe in space. The Dane managed to nutmeg Baker twice before slotting past Sam Johnstone.
Jack Grealish and Leandro Bacuna came on with fifteen minutes left. The former should have scored but his close range shot was straight at the keeper. If super Jack does want to make the CAM position his own, he’s going to have to improve his finishing.
The fact that the Brentford fans were cheering passes tells you all need to know about the game. Villa managed a measly 37% percent possession, a damning statistic when you think of how much money Villa have spent on midfielders this month. Jota and Vibe were tearing us apart with their little flicks.
The former nearly scored late on, again taking advantage of Villa ineptness in defence. Luckily, his low shot was dragged just wide of Johnstone’s right hand post.
In my opinion, Play-offs is too much of a stretch for Villa now, no question. However, once this team starts gelling we could be a real danger next season.