Kodjia is the key to Villa revival
ASTON VILLA boss Steve Bruce is getting ready for a fight to keep star striker Jonathan Kodjia.
Kodjia scored two more to give him 17 goals in a debut season during which his £15million fee has doubled.
Despite piling up an impressive 18 points from the last 21, Bruce doesn’t think Villa will be able to make inroads into the ten points between them and the play-off places.
So he is setting things up for a major push next season – and Kodjia is key to that.
Kodjia scored a wonder goal in the 25th minute and followed up with a simpler one two minutes from time when Norwich were down to ten men after Ivo Pinto had been sent off.
“That first goal, it was wonderful, wonderful. There will not be a better goal in any league this week,” said Bruce. “He is a really talented boy. Could we lose him? You can never say never in football.
“I am sure we will do everything in our power to keep Kodjia. There isn’t financial pressure to sell and nor should there be – we are Aston Villa. We have got to get back in the big league. But how can you deny him if Chelsea come in?
“Kodjia knows, though, he is at a big club so I don’t want to talk about him leaving.
“We want to keep improving the team and Kodjia is vital to us.”
Kodjia’s goals gave Villa their fourth successive home victory and they haven’t conceded a goal in that spell. It is their best run since 1983, but Bruce believes there is simply too much promotion ground to make up.
“The horrible run we had in January and February...if that had just been awful we would have been in with a squeak. But it will need a ‘Devon Loch by the teams above us to have a chance now,” he said.
Kodjia took Scott Hogan’s excellent pass, beat his man as he turned inside and unleashed a terrific left-foot shot into the far corner.
The partnership of Kodjia and Hogan is developing into something very dangerous and Norwich wobbled in the face of it. In the 33rd minute Hogan had his back to goal when Conor Hourihane gave him a pass, turned, and smacked a shot that needed a good save from keeper Michael McGovern.
But four minutes later Hogan was out of the game injured and Norwich had less to worry about.
Cameron Jerome finished with a weak shot after he had by- passed three Villa players and that was generally the tone of Norwich’s football. They played well, had plenty of the ball, but no finishing power.
A well-timed tackle by Neil Taylor, playing for the first time since breaking Seamus Coleman’s leg on international duty, stopped substitute Nelson Oliveira getting a late equaliser and within two minutes keeper Sam Johnstone’s big punt had the Canaries fluttering all over the place as Kodjia scored his second.
“I expected us to score,” said Alan Irvine of his first defeat as caretaker manager. “We normally get plenty of goals, so that wasn’t like us.
“There have been times away from home when I’ve been disappointed with the team but I couldn’t say that about today. I thought we played well.”
GO JONNY GO: Jonathan Kodjia scores the first of his double with a terrific left-foot shot across Canaries keeper Michael McGovern