By Danny Wright
Aston Villa managed to pile further relegation worries on bitter rivals Birmingham after their 1-0 win at Villa Park on Sunday.
Here, Football Insider analyses three things learned from the game:
Winger must be sold
Leandro Bacuna’s performance against Blues was nothing short of awful – and it wasn’t the first time this season. The midfielder simply is not good enough and with a big summer of transfers ahead, he is one of the players that should lead an exodus. He isn’t helped by Steve Bruce’s insistence on playing him in the centre of midfield, but even when he has played in his preferred role he still isn’t offering the goods. Bacuna has just one assist to his name this season which, in a team with Jonathan Kodjia, simply isn’t good enough. It’s no coincidence that Villa won five of the six games during Bacuna’s suspension and have won just once since he returned.
Over-reliance on Kodjia
If a club comes in for Kodjia in the summer, Villa are going to struggle to earn promotion back to the Premier League next campaign. They would be a lot worse off without the Ivorian international this season, who was serving a one-match suspension against Birmingham for a red card he received against Fulham. The 27-year-old has 19 goals this season for the West Midlands club and he was hugely missed against Blues. Villa simply didn’t have a cutting edge without him and Scott Hogan’s display didn’t offer pleasant viewing. Gabriel Agbonlahor’s derby-day instincts are the only reason Villa managed to pick up all three points.
Villa will lose to Blackburn
A loss to Blackburn next week will put Birmingham in the relegation zone if they fail to beat promotion-chasing Huddersfield in their game. Villa fans will now be urging their club to let Tony Mowbray’s men snatch three points in the game at Ewood Park, as they are also fighting for their second-tier survival. Birmingham stand a big chance of being relegated after winning just two of their last 25 outings. The Villa squad do not have anything to play for in their final two matches so it’s likely they will start to think about their holidays now.
In other Aston Villa news, Ian Taylor has said how many players Bruce needs to sign to earn promotion.