Many thanks to 7500 to Holte and Matt Booher for answering our questions about Aston Villa and the upcoming match for Leeds United against Villa.
I answered some questions for them, so check over there as well, plus they have journalist Jon Mackenzie on their podcast to answer a few questions about the Leeds match as well.
1. What summer additions have worked out and which ones haven't?
Steve Bruce spent well this summer closing another heavy transfer window for Villa. Bruce inked four permanent signings and three loanees highlighted by former England captain John Terry. Leeds fans won’t see him due to injury, but the former Chelsea man has been as advertised. Commanding at the back, Terry’s partnership with James Chester has been a big reason for Villa’s strong start. His absence is a big concern.
Another signing Christopher Samba provides cover for the Terry-Chester partnership. His performances have earned mixed reviews. He looks strong and sure at times. Other times he’s worryingly a step slow. Bruce so far prefers Samba over holdover Tommy Elphick so I’d say the gamble has worked out thus far.
Loanees Sam Johnstone, Josh Onomah, and Robert Snodgrass start regularly. Bruce wants to make all three permanent for good reason. Johnstone is our clear No. 1. Snodgrass looks dangerous on the wing scoring three goals while setting up another four goals since being introduced 13 games ago. Onomah drives the attack in midfield playing balls out wide and making strong runs into the box. Villa fans fear Spurs will recall Onomah at any moment and our attack will suffer as a result.
Of the remaining signings, Glenn Whelan has steadied the defensive midfield building attacks from the back. Ahmed Elmohamady, a Bruce favorite from his Sunderland and Hull City days, has stepped into a utility role at fullback and wing giving Villa an experienced hand to see out games.
Villa are finally starting to look a cohesive unit after 16 signings in the last two summer windows. The seven acquired this year have all made a meaningful impact.
We look ahead to the Friday night fixture as #LUFC host #AVFC. Our head to head compares the season stats of Sáiz and Adomah #EFL @juvidaclinics pic.twitter.com/hHw0wQphIW— StatZone (@StatZoneSports) November 29, 2017
2. Who should Leeds fans look for in the match?
With last season’s top scorer Jonathan Kodjia likely out for the season, Albert Adomah has scored five goals in the last three matches and 10 goals overall in the league since coming into the lineup in September. It just seems his every kick of the ball ends up in the back of the net. While odds suggest his run will end sometime, he’s been an absolute terror for opposing defenses given his current form.
A strong, physical No. 9 marks Villa’s identity going back decades. Keinan Davis, a 19-year old striker, has slowly grown into the role over the season. Davis gives opposing defenses a physical presence to manage. While his touch can come and go, Villa’s attacking threats have found success playing through Davis. If Davis is on his game, Villa can bomb forward aggressively with a threat fans haven’t seen since the Martin O’Neil days.
3. Is promotion a realistic target this season for Aston Villa?
Yes. Wolves look every bit a Premier League side but Villa don’t see the second automatic promotion spot out of reach. Villa should certainly earn a playoff spot. Anything less than Top 6 will be a disappointment. Given Dr. Tony Xia’s squad investment the past two seasons, failure to be promoted this season could be financially problematic.
Steve Bruce says @ScottHogan_9 could be out for up to a month after stomach surgery while John Terry making good progress as he continues his rehabilitation...#PartOfThePride #AVFC pic.twitter.com/dMXpe3nEQK— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) November 24, 2017
4. What is Villa's biggest need in the January transfer window?
After Terry’s injury, center back cover would’ve been at the top of the list. The news of Kodjia’s injury hit. With Kodjia’s backup Scott Hogan struggling for fitness, a striker will need to be brought into the fold. Ross McCormack has been sent away to Australia and having the same problems down there. Villa have decent cover with a handful of guys from last season’s mid-table available from the bench so center back and striker it is.
5. Predict the score.
To Bruce’s credit, the rot has stopped and Villa have put in some genuinely entertaining performances. This is no longer a fragile side, but at times can still be shaky. Villa’s away form is slowly improving, but Elland Road isn’t an easy place to go. Not sure where the goals are going to come from if Adomah slows down. Draw. 1-1.