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Five reasons why the pressure is building on Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce

By Luke Hatfield | Aston Villa | Published:

It's been another tumultuous start for Aston Villa in the Championship, with more and more fans questioning Steve Bruce, but why is the pressure growing on the Villa manager?

Steve Bruce

Luke Hatfield takes a look at five reasons why Bruce is beginning to sweat in the B6 hotseat.

The plan (or lack of)

If there's one thing fans expected upon Steve Bruce's arrival at Villa Park it was a concerted game plan being introduced by the boss.

Unfortunately for Bruce, his side are yet to solidify a regular style of play that has proven effective over a prolonged period.

Whilst the Villans did go on an unbeaten run last season, they were hardly convincing, and following their capitulation late on in the last campaign and mixed performances to start this one, fans are beginning to worry.

Simply put, Villa fans are keen to see a brand of football each weekend, not a rollercoaster of performances throughout the season held together by star striker Jonathan Kodjia.

Signings

Scott Hogan has so far struggled at Villa.

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Villa's transfer business is another area of concern for some fans, with a number of players failing to meet the mark in claret and blue since joining.

Scott Hogan has misfired throughout his spell so far (albeit having struggled with injury), Glenn Whelan has failed to capture the imagination, and there are still question marks over the likes of Ahmed Elmohamady, Birkir Bjarnason and Henri Lansbury - all brought in by Bruce.

The decisions to move Nathan Baker and disregard Ross McCormack also lie on Bruce's lap too. Although credit to the boss, he did manage a real coup in securing John Terry's signing.

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Whilst Conor Hourihane, Neil Taylor and Sam Johnstone have performed - Bruce's transfer dealings are hardly clean cut successes all-round.

His track record

Let's face it, you'll struggle to find a man with a better track record of getting teams into the Premier League than Steve Bruce - but is that now playing against him?

Having brought up Hull and Blues previously, Bruce is well-known in the Championship and has plenty of knowledge about how to get out of the second tier. But he's yet to show that at Villa Park.

That experience is now a sticking point for some fans, who clearly expected to see more from their side being led by the ex-Manchester United defender.

If he can turn things around at Villa he may well add another promotion to his CV, although if things continue that seems an unlikely prospect.

Steve Bruce's spell at Hull has put added pressure on him now (AMA/Sam Bagnall)

The expectations

Aston Villa is one of the biggest football clubs in the Championship, if not the biggest - and that brings expectations.

Over 30,000 fans expect their side to challenge for three points each and every week, and this season that hasn't always been the case on the turf.

On top of that, the signing of John Terry was a clear signal of intent from Bruce and Villa about the seriousness of their title challenge this season, which is yet to materialise.

The losses to Cardiff and Reading were shocking for a side considered promotion favourites just a month ago, and performances like the one against Brentford are equally unforgivable given the players at Bruce's disposal.

Whilst this expectation will weigh heavy on the manager and the players, they need to collectively shoulder that burden and shine through.

Chopping and changing

If there's one thing which has irked fans the most about the current regime, it's likely to be the constant changing of players and formation at B6 week in, week out.

Whilst this can't be blamed solely on Bruce, with injuries playing a big part in Jonathan Kodjia's, Mile Jedinak's and Scott Hogan's time at the club, it's still infuriating for fans.

The boss has occasionally attempted to play three at the back - to no avail. Add to that the merry-go-round at the right back slot and ever changing midfield and it's no wonder the players struggle to gel effectively.

The fact is, Bruce has now been in charge at Villa Park for 11 months, and fans are still unsure as to whether he knows his best XI.

He needs to find a team that works, wins games and most importantly, stays fit - and with a bit of luck, the pressure will begin to ease.

Luke Hatfield

By Luke Hatfield
@LHatfield_Star

Digital Sports Journalist with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star.

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