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Aston Villa arrived in the Championship last season under the stewardship of new chairman Dr Tony Xia and wasted no time in securing the awesome fire power of Jonathan Kodja from Bristol City (£11 million) and Ross McCormack from Fulham (£12 million), two of the league’s biggest goal scorers combining to seemingly fire Villa back to the bigtime.
Things don’t always go to plan and by Christmas Villa’s stuttering start had seen the end of new manager Roberto Di Matteo who was replaced by Steve Bruce, who’s no nonsense approach soon meant that the troubled McCormack headed up the road to Nottingham for the remainder of the season once he’d managed to open his gates.
Villa rolled the dice again and signed Scott Hogan from Brentford for a further reputed initial £9 million but despite spending over £30 million on proven goal scorers, the season petered out to finish a disappointing thirteenth, scoring 47 league goals, less than all but three of their rivals! It could have been a whole lot worse too had the Holte End not been able to crown a new King in Jonathan Kodja, scoring 19 of those 47 goals!
Football is a cruel game though and “King” Kodja’s broken ankle at Sheffield Wednesday last April put the Villa talisman out until October this season and a freak injury in a preseason friendly putting paid to Bruce’s stated aim of building this season’s team around Jack Grealish.
And so it goes on, Bruce has seen his forward line decimated by injury and loss of form. Scott Hogan, already a bit part player suffering from lack of confidence and niggling injuries is now recovering from an abdominal operation, McCormack is on his travels again attempting to rebuild his career in Melbourne and now the King of last season, Kodja confirmed as out for most of the season. Villa’s only fit striker is rookie Keenan Davies, who at 19 can’t be expected to take the battle to the Championship on his own.
Yet despite a complete lack of forwards and the absence of inspirational skipper John Terry, yet another long term injury victim, Villa sit 4th in the league having won 8 of the last 11 games.
When a King is lost we look for a Prince to rally his subjects but with goal scoring such a problem in recent years could Bruce find a solution.
Step forward Prince Albert Adomah of Aston!
Signed from Middlesbrough at the start of last season Adomah had a solid first campaign in claret and blue scoring three goals and making ten assists, yet he struggled to hold down a team place in the early part of this season with Bruce preferring youngster Andre Greene.
When Greene’s campaign was interrupted, yet another Villan cursed by injury, it was time for the new Prince to inspire his troops and how he has done that.
Three goals in 4 games, two against his boyhood heroes Queens Park Rangers followed by a goal against struggling Sunderland have pushed Villa right into the promotion mix.
The goal against Sunderland was his eighth league goal of the season and his ninth overall putting him well on the way to become Villa’s first ten goal in a season midfielder for over ten years!
Yet Adomah himself could have missed out on the Sunderland game as Bruce admitted to the club’s official website the following day saying “He was a doubt before the game, we thought he had a bit of a calf problem but he wanted to play. And he scored another goal, which is great.”
With no sign of the forward crisis abating before the transfer window Villa certainly need a fit Adomah, he certainly looks the man to lead the promotion charge!
In the current absence of the King….
All Hail Prince Albert!