Why Aston Villa have done the right thing by sacking Steve Bruce
As per reports from BBC, Aston Villa have sacked Steve Bruce after just one win in nine Championship games. Despite leading the club into the playoff final last season, the Villans have struggled for form this term and the 3-3 draw with Preston North End was clearly the final straw.
Aston Villa appointed Bruce as their manager back in October 2016, following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo. Having led the club to a thirteenth place finish in his first season in charge, the former Sunderland and Hull City manager almost led the Midlands outfit to promotion last season.
The Villans finished fourth in the 2017/18 term, accumulating 83 points while scoring the third-highest number of goals in the competition (72). They maintained the third-best defensive record as well, conceding 42 goals. However, they faltered at the final hurdle as they were defeated by Fulham.
Given the circumstances the club found themselves in during the summer transfer window, Bruce did manage to do pretty well in general. However, the decisions to loan out centre-back Tommy Elphick and goalkeeper Jed Steer have proven costly for Villa. Meanwhile, signing Orjan Nyland hasn’t worked out all too well.
Results didn’t go Bruce’s way either, as Villa are currently 13th in the Championship standings. In what has been a dismal start to the season, the 57-year-old faced an immense backlash from the supporters.
The abject display in the 4-1 defeat to Sheffield United at the beginning of the month was one of the biggest lows for the club under Bruce’s reign. The defence was all over the place at Bramall Lane while the team struggled to muster anything meaningful in the attack.
There is no questioning the past achievements of the 57-year old; after all, he has achieved promotion twice each with Birmingham City and Hull City in the past.
However, it does seem like he took Villa as far as he could. While last season’s promotion failure could be accounted to the loss in the playoff finals, one also cannot ignore the fact that Villa failed to capitalize on the chances that came their way to clinch the second automatic promotion spot.
Villa went into the season with a lopsided squad when it comes to the defensive side of things. The Midlands outfit just have one recognized centre-back in captain James Chester and have been forced to use defensive midfielder Mile Jedinak in the heart of the defence.
They are loaded with options in the right-back slot with Axel Tuanzebe, James Bree, Ahmed Elmohamady and Alan Hutton, whereas Neil Taylor is the only natural left-back in the squad. This imbalance has hurt them on a number of occasions this term.
Moreover, there is a clear lack of identity and direction at the club. Building defensively stable teams that rely on a moment of brilliance in the final third to nick points has been the basis of Bruce’s success in the past. However, Villa have been in shambles defensively this season, while their attacking play has also lacked the necessary incision.
With all that in mind, sacking Bruce does seem like a major step in the right direction for Aston Villa. However, to achieve success, they need to sort out a couple of issues as well.