Aston Villa’s season continued to stutter on Wednesday night as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Brentford at Griffin Park.
It made for an unhappy return to West London for Villa boss Dean Smith who was previously the Bees manager.
The Villans are tenth in the Championship and are currently six points adrift of the top six.
It is fair to say that the club’s supporters are not best pleased with how things are going under Smith’s tenure.
As the season progresses towards the business end he could fall under pressure to change things around somewhat.
It is now three games without a win for Villa and some of the players just aren’t performing as they should be.
Conor Hourihane has come in for some criticism in recent weeks.
The Irishman has played all but one of Villa’s Championship fixtures and does have nine assists to his name. For whatever reason, however, some Villa fans believe he hasn’t been up to scratch.
These tweets back up such a sentiment, following Wednesday’s game:
Idc what the assist or goal column says, Conor Hourihane is a FRAUD.
He's Jack Rodwell with a good dead ball, absent from the game in open play#avfc
— Oliver Seymour (@Oliverrr_1) February 13, 2019
Good old Conor Hourihane going missing again… least touch’s. One of the worst players I ever seen!!
— AVFC (@ItsMrAstonVilla) February 13, 2019
Conor Hourihane ??♀️ can somebody please tell me what he actually offers….. #avfc
— Chelle ⚽️ (@chelleavfc) February 13, 2019
One man who would relish the chance to stake a claim for Hourihane’s place is Henri Lansbury.
The ex-Nottingham Forest man has fallen way down the pecking order this season, largely to a string of niggling injuries.
He has played just three games in all competitions for Villa and needs to play some games.
Lansbury’s pedigree in the Championship is good, following 150 appearances for the Reds.
He might not exactly be the messiah for Villa but he is an extremely good player on his day.
Given Hourihane’s sporadic form, it could open the door for Lansbury to earn an opportunity.
If Villa aren’t going to play the 28-year-old then he could be offloaded during the summer.
At present, it seems unlikely that any club would take a punt on Lansbury, given that he isn’t playing football.
If the season does peter out in future weeks for Villa, then Smith would be extremely wise to give Lansbury a run of games.