Tuesday night was just madness. Six goals, a red card, a scored penalty, a missed penalty, two comebacks and a cabbage. How can a football club beat that craziness? Well, they will sack their manager and all his coaching team the following day of course.
Whether you agree with Bruce’s departure or not, what is clear to see is that Villa have horrendously under-achieved so far this season. With the players at Bruce’s disposal, the club should be battling at the top of the league rather than trading mid-table positions so the change in management is not really a surprise.
It is also worth noting the departure of Bruce’s coaching team. It’s rare to see a club sack almost all of it’s first team coaches, but it does signal the idea that a replacement has already been found and it is a matter of time until a new man comes in.
As far as Saturday goes, it will be Kevin McDonald in charge for yet another caretaker spell as manager. The Scot has done wonders in the youth set-up with vibrant, attacking football so fans may be able to look forward to some of that at The Den. Also, a good performance may put McDonald in pole position for a permanent position.
With the hustle and bustle of a Championship season, games come thick and fast so it will not be surprising if we see a much-changed side on Saturday. We know that James Chester will be out after his red card against Preston, but it will be interesting to see who McDonald chooses as his replacement. Will he follow Bruce and choose Mile Jedinak as a centre-back or will James Bree or Jacob Bedeu get an opportunity?
McDonald may also decide to go two up front with some fast, vibrant wingers so the likes of Anwar El Ghazi, Yannick Bolasie, Tammy Abraham and Jonathan Kodjia may all start. The caretaker manager could also choose to get the best of Jack Grealish in the centre of the pitch so it is good to see what options this squad can provide.
Scott Hogan is close to a return but is not expected to play any part on Saturday while Orjan Nyland will expect to return between the sticks after Mark Bunn let in three goals on his big chance.
Predicted Aston Villa line-up to play Milwall: Nyland; Elmohamady, Tuanzebe, Jedinak, Hutton; Bjarnason, McGinn, Grealish; Bolasie, Abraham, Kodjia
THE NUMBERS THAT MATTER
- James Chester will not start for Aston Villa in a league game for the first time since he arrived from West Brom in the summer of 2016. He has racked up 96 consecutive appearances in that time.
- Steve Bruce’s sacking on Wednesday came two years to the date that Roberto Di Matteo was given the boot at Villa Park.
- Villa have not beaten Millwall in a competitive game for almost18 years. The last victory came on the 31st October 1990.
Written by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)
IMAGE CREDIT: AVFC