Steve Bruce May Have Finally Found the Winning Formula for Aston Villa

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The Aston Villa manager's job is one of the more challenging roles in English football, as highlighted by the large turnover at the club in recent years.

It is a fact that current boss Steve Bruce has discovered over the past few months and especially this season when his side began so poorly.

Villa picked up just seven points from their opening seven games leaving many in Holte End questioning whether Bruce was the right man to guide Villa back to the Premier League.


At times, the former Sunderland and Hull manager has appeared unsure of his best XI, or which formation to use. On occasions, fans have also voiced their discontent at Bruce's perceived negative tactics.

However, over the past few weeks the 56-year-old appears to have slightly turned the corner, with the Villans winning their last two league games, and are unbeaten in their last six matches.

Bruce appears to have finally settled on a 4-4-2 shape and has selected the same starting XI in each of his last two matches.

Key to this shape are the front two of Jonathan Kodjia and Kienan Davis, who are forming a formidable partnership.


Bruce likes Kodjia to drop deep at times and help link the play, as highlighted on Saturday with his superb assist for Albert Adomah's goal.

The former Middlesbrough winger's inclusion over the past weeks has also proved to be vital in Villa's mini surge up the table, as he has scored three in his last two matches.

Adomah, and his counterpart Robert Snodgrass on the other wing, have often cut inside over the past few matches, linking up with the more central players.

The front four have also been tasked with launching Villa's counter attacks and are expected to break quickly when the opposition lose the ball.

However, Bruce's counter attacking style has caused some grumbles amongst Villa fans who have been left underwhelmed by their team's inability to keep possession, whilst the opposition are often afforded ample time on the ball.


It may not be pretty, but while Villa continue to pick up three points, the supporters' misgivings will remain suppressed.

Only time will tell if Bruce sticks with his counter attacking 4-4-2 shape (he has tried 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 systems already this season), but given the heavy fixture load in the Championship he will likely have to rotate his personnel, and perhaps his formation.

Yet most importantly, the Villa manager appears to have settled on a first choice XI and shape, which is proving to be successful for the claret and blues.