Blogservations: Another step forward

September 25, 2017

Last week, we spoke about Villa getting the slice of luck they needed to kick-start the campaign at Barnsley.

But there was nothing fortuitous about victory over Nottingham Forest this time around – simply evidence of the squad's efforts coming to fruition.

Read more: Blogservations: Day of breakthroughs at Oakwell 

Unchanged for the first time this season, Steve Bruce now feels he has a platform to take the Championship by storm. And rightly so.

Sam Johnstone, James Chester, Conor Hourihane and Jonathan Kodjia were among the outstanding performers against Forest, in what is now a spine strong enough to rival any other in the division.

Add to that man-of-the-match Albert Adomah, the experience of captain John Terry, the invention of Robert Snodgrass and a maturity that belies the years of Keinan Davis, and there's no wonder Villa now look a force to be reckoned with.

Things are beginning to click. 

Adomah, Kodjia and Davis' link-up play again on Saturday was, at times, a frightening prospect – their blend of pace, vision, power and conviction was reflected in our opening goal.

Bruce, perhaps for the first time since his arrival in B6, now has the tools required at the attacking end of the pitch.

He said: "I've always played two strikers – whether that be with three at the back, 4-4-2 or something else. 

"It's what I did with Hull – there was always two strikers.

"I always want to do it here and now we've now got the players to cope with it."

The sparkle needed to dig ourselves out of a hole was also there in the form of Hourihane.

The Irishman's sweeping free-kick now puts him just one goal behind Bobby Reid at the top of the Championship goalscoring charts, and he has proved a matchwinner in his own right.

At the back, things are just as promising, with only two goals having breached our defence in the last five league outings – Daryl Murphy’s strike was the first in the league since August.

All the hallmarks of a successful team were displayed at some point throughout the Forest game. 

A tough trip to Burton Albion now follows on Tuesday, but few can deny things are looking up.