COMMENT by Amir Mir
Football Insider analyses the three talking points as Aston Villa are beaten 1-0 at Cardiff on Monday afternoon.
Ashley Westwood is a hindrance on the team
The January transfer window is wide open and Steve Bruce must act quickly and sell the senior player. Westwood was part of Villa’s relegation last term and the midfielder’s performances have not improved from that disappointing season. Bruce needs to add more strength and creativity in the team. The addition of Westwood in the middle of the park is blocking Villa’s chances of making a push up the Championship table. The 26-year-old does add hard work to the team, but his simple style of play stagnates their performance overall. He fails to bring any attacking or defensive qualities into the team and Bruce is better off selecting a younger player.
Defensive cover needed
Centre-back duo, James Chester and Nathan Baker are a solid and reliable partnership at the heart of the club’s defence. But an injury to either player will cause problems for Bruce in the future. Not only that, adding more quality at the back will create more competition as Villa have only kept two clean sheets in their last 11 league games. For the second game running, they conceded from a corner, an area of Villa’s game which Bruce needs to sort out.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy needs to start
Key striker Jonathan Kodjia has headed off to the Africa Cup of Nations, while target-man Rudy Gestede is set for a move to Premier League outfit Middlesbrough. That leaves Villa short up front and instead of looking in the transfer window, Bruce must give the youngster more of a chance. Aside from Kodjia, no other Villa striker has made a real statement or showcased why they should be selected in the starting XI.
In other Aston Villa news, supporters react on Twitter to Tony Xia’s latest transfer update.