Lee Johnson (pictured) brings Bristol City to Villa Park, teetering fourth bottom in The Championship.
The Robins’ boss reportedly saved his job at the weekend, with his departure predicted in some quarters had his side succumbed to Newcastle.
A draw at Newcastle (despite having been 2 up) must be regarded positively in the circumstances. However, 10 defeats in 14 games tell a broader picture & one which see’s Johnson realistically clinging on.
Indeed, Villa and City are only above Rotherham when looking at form over the last 10 games. It goes without saying that this is simply poor.
These facts are telling of Villa’s dangerous slide towards the trap door (alleviated somewhat with a win over Derby) and the visitors precarious position in the division.
In truth, the weekend’s victory over Derby was a laboured and dismal affair. However – a win is quite simply just that – a win.
And a very welcome one at that.
Bruce in his post match comments continues to recognise that the standard of football recently has been dismal, and interestingly chose to frame the win over Derby in similar terms.
The boss has been in football long enough to know that playing as we are, will see us lose more games than we win. Winning ugly is great, but its not a platform for improvement, it just gets you by.
It is with this in mind that the visitors’ slump must be used to our own advantage. The narrative of our season is under-achievement, but it’s important to get into the habit of winning before the remaining games dwindle away.
We need these final games to get back on track, form a team mentality and get a winning attitude to be the norm. Who better than against struggling side with an “at-risk” manager?
But then…this is Aston Villa…perhaps Bristol are eyeing us similarly?
Bruce must now contend with continued frustrations around our attacking options.
Jonathan Kodjia is our main threat, but does next to nothing to bring others into the game. There seems to be a broad consensus amongst fans on this issue. We love the goals, but he just doesn’t want or see a pass. On the other hand, what would we have done without his individual strikes??
Further, with injuries to Hogan, Hepburn-Murphy, Agbonlahor & invisible man Kozak, the attacking options are limited. So limited that Leandro Bacuna (who has played right back as much as he has in midfield for the club) played out the final minutes upfront against Derby. Ridiculous when you stop to think about it.
Speaking of ridiculous and Bacuna; the numpty will miss the next 3 games following a moronic “bumping” of the linesman at the weekend. Don’t be surprised if the FA choose to make an example of Bacuna and how not to be seen treating match officials.
We now need to use this as the springboard towards starting our preparations for next season; this should begin in earnest with a win over Bristol City.
- Bristol City’s away form is poor. They’re ranked 22 of 24 on the last 8 games.
- Visitors have’t won away in those last 8 fixtures.
- Bristol have won just 1 in last 14 games.
- Villa have lost just twice at home all season, but won only 50% of last 8 at Villa Park.
- We’ve also shipped 16 goals in last 10 games, scoring just 6 times.
- Bristol don’t fare well either: They’ve conceded 20 over the same period.
- The Robins have conceded at least once in 94% of all their away games.
- Bristol have let in 2 or more goals in 7 of late 8 away from home.
- First meeting of clubs at Villa Park since 1979.
- Bristol won the reverse fixture 3-1.
- Villa have lowest points haul in Championship in 2017.
- It was our first clean sheet in 11 against Derby last time out.
- Conor Hourihane is a late call as suffering from a dead leg.
- Bristol City are without injured top scorer Tammy Abraham. The 18 goal striker will be a big miss.
- Villa could jump 2 places to 15th with a win.
2-0 to Villa.