The first managerial casualty of the season: Steve Bruce.
This season was always going to be tough one for Aston Villa: defeated playoff finalists have a long history of subsequent hangovers and I wrote in the season preview that I thought that Villa would regress this year.
The big problem so far this season has been defence. Only Preston have conceded more goals in 2018/19 and Villa’s defending is currently on a par with Hull and Millwall, who are both in the bottom six – Villa travel to the New Den to play the latter tomorrow, so there might be a few goals in that one.
Considering Steve Bruce’s teams have a reputation for defensively solidity, this was something of a surprise – although with the benefit of hindsight, the decision to release John Terry may have contributed to the defensive malaise.
Some interesting contenders have emerged for the vacant position, which should be filled by the first game after next weekend’s obligatory international interlude.
I’ll post any news about that as soon as I can, but this is why I sometimes sign off with ‘unless something dramatic happens…’, which in this case it did.
Update, Thursday 11th October: Dean Smith is the new Villa manager, having left Brentford. He will be assisted by John Terry.