Match Preview: Aston Villa v West Brom – Dean Smith must avert season being written off.

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Villa are back on home soil this Saturday afternoon, facing West Bromwich Albion in an important clash at Villa Park.

Neal Maupay ensured another disappointing return to Griffin Park for Villa as the Bee’s stung us a 1-0 defeat in added time. Villa haven’t beaten Smiths former club in six attempts; a truly dismal record.

The hosts Brentford did enjoy spells on top, but it was the arguably Villa who had the better overall chances through Conor Hourihane and Albert Adomah spurning golden chances in each half.  Neither could convert from one on one positions.  Villa were undone at the death after some pretty ropey defending, with Maupay skipping past Elphick and Mings to place his effort beyond the helpless Kalinic.

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WEST BROM

This weekend automatic promotion chasing Albion are the visitors to B6 in what is a immediate opportunity to bounce back.

West Brom are in great form on the road winning six of their last seven games away from The Hawthorns with Jay Rodriquez (…”Hand Of Rod”) the in-form striker for the Baggies.

However for their visit to Villa Park they will be without key man Dwight Gayle due to a two match ban from the FA.

The former Palace & Newcastle man has been slapped with a retrospective two game suspension owing to the outrageous dive to win a penalty against Nottingham Forest.

Meanwhile we continue to struggle and have well and truly lost our way in the league.

After a temporary upturn under Smith, Villa have now only won two of the last twelve championship games.  Pretty dreadful by any measure.  As concerning, has been the total collapse in our playing ‘style’.

This is clearly not good enough to get into the top six and the entire playing staff simply must do better if the aspirations of the club are to be realised.

The coaching staff are also out of the honeymoon period too and must find a way of improving results if this season isn’t to prove a total write-off before March.

For this weekend’s game Villa will be without new signing Tom Carroll and captain James Chester due to injury.  However, Smith is hopeful to see Carroll, the on loan Swansea midfielder, back in training next week and Welsh international Chester to be ready for the final run in of games.

Fan favourite Jack Grealish will also sit out due to long term injury but is building up match fitness in his bid to return to the squad.  Few would argue that his absence has transformed our fortunes, and not for the better.

Neil Taylor is expected to be back in the squad this weekend after returning to training after missing the 1-0 defeat to Brentford on Wednesday evening.  Kortney Hause, on loan from Wolves endured an absolute mare at left back and could easily find himself benched again.  Remarkable, given that Taylor has struggled badly for form and fitness as well.

Dean Smith in his pre-match press conference reflected that the players need to start giving the fans something to shout about and must reward supporters by putting in better performances.  Smith affirmed that the objective since he arrived at the club was to approach every game with a winning mentality.  In all honestly, these are the minimum standards we should really be expecting.

If the playoffs are to remain a reality, Villa must start putting in improved and committed performances if we are to make an increasingly unlikely charge.  A positive result against the Albion is obviously what we want, but it would also beg the question, how now find ourselves adrift in mid-table.

PREDICTIONS

The prediction for tomorrow’s game is that it is going to be another tough game even without the threat of Dwight Gayle as West Brom are pushing to stay in reach of those automatic promotion places.

Result Prediction:

Aston Villa 1 West Brom 1 (with John McGinn on the scoresheet for Villa).

Key facts

  • West Brom have won six of their last seven games away from home
  • Villa have won just two of the last twelve games
  • Dean Smith’ side have drawn 14 league games this season ( the most in the league)
  • Aston Villa last six – LDWDDL
  • West Brom last six – WDLLWD
  • West Brom league position – 4th ( 54 points)
  • Villa league position 10th ( 44 points)

Contributed by Korben O’Brien

Edited by Dan Rogers


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