Steve Bruce's side won yet again and kept another clean sheet against Wigan Athletic but are there problems ahead?
An injury to Nathan Baker in Villa’s hard-fought 2-0 win meant Mile Jedinak, who has spent the last six years of his career in English football scrapping away in the midfield battleground, dropped into an unfamiliar centre-back position.
And although using the phrase ‘revolution’ may be somewhat premature, few could argue against the Australian making the position his own after he performed with the same determination and adaptability as Villa kept a fifth clean sheet in six games with a 2-0 win at Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
Suddenly, the experiment looks a masterstroke. Jedinak was dominant once again alongside James Chester, the scorer of Villa’s first at the DW Stadium, with his experience and reading of the game dovetailing with his natural physicality and aggression.
Only Jordan Amavi (four) completed more tackles than the Australian across the 90 minutes while no one could match him for clearances (11).
Bruce hinted before the game that Jedinak, now 32, could be deployed at the heart of the defence to prolong his career while arguing that his ‘hard as nails’ character means he could be a natural for the position, the Birmingham Mail reports.
However, the change still appears to have a degree of short-termism about it. Bruce stumbled on the answer rather than deducing it, after all. And, with a lack of a natural holding midfielder, Conor Hourihane is prevented from pushing forwards and contributing in the final third – exactly the reason Villa were so keen to buy him in the first place.
The former Barnsley captain was unable to register a single shot on goal and was restricted to just two key passes against Wigan without Jedinak holding the fort behind him.
Therefore, although Bruce’s approach is getting results, taking Villa to the next level may require further changes.