Fulham Report: 2 wins in 4 days raises Villa spirits going into Blues derby.

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Like buses; “You wait ages for one, then two come at once”, is how the old adage goes.

Such a saying suddenly couldn’t be more appropriate for Villa.

We’ve ground out two valuable wins in the space of four days to not only raise supporter spirits, but potentially put the season on a completely different trajectory.

Last week we were mulling the notion of lurking at the lower reaches of the league.  Now?  Outside promotion candidates?

It’s enough to remind you that football is truly a game of fine margins and still withholds the ability to surprise you.

Looking back at the home draw against Wolves, suggested that the prospect of six points from Reading and Fulham were slim.

However, Bruce has fashioned an uncomplicated approach to getting the side onto the right track.

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As with Reading, the side against Fulham featured uncompromising if effective tactics & personnel.  We were set up to do the job at hand.

Baker, banished to the Championship for a loan spell with Bristol City continues to raise eyebrows with his development.  A partnership with James Chester, hardly plausible 8 weeks ago, now see’s Captain Tommy Elphick needing to show form over any pre-match ritual.

Jordan Amavi (wisely recalled in place of the error prone Cissokho) looks to be rediscovering the match sharpness observed early last season before his campaign was ended prematurely following a serious knee injury.

Alan Hutton also featured, and what he definitely lacks in quality and consistency, brings a fear factor for the opposition at the very least.  

This has another positive, in that it enables Bacuna to be deployed in a more natural midfield role.  This in turn releases two supporting midfielders, Jedinak & Gardner of late, to provide much needed cover.  That certainly trumps the one man midfield as witnessed against Preston.

Now, none of this necessarily results in a particularly cultured or dynamic interplay yet, but the points already suggest it’s damn effective.  I’ll take points over pretty any-day.

The Wolves game aside (where Bruce certainly couldn’t be blamed), we haven’t since found ourselves camped in our area for the final 20 minutes.  Indeed, we have been the ones threatening to steal the game away by having a predatory figure such as Kodjia or Ayew waiting to pounce.

Adomah, injured or indifferent in early showings, delivered perhaps the first real evidence of his value on 80 minutes, bursting onto the ball after good pressure from Kodjia.  

The immediate and precise cross to the Ivory Coast international was exceptional, the finish, supreme.

A video posted by villareport (@villareport) on Oct 23, 2016 at 4:23am PDT

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It is these moments that opposition teams will fear.  Yes, possession and stats are the mainstay of pundits and ITK websites, but when the whistle goes, the result is the only fact that matters.  

Under Bruce, Villa are delivering on the key stats so far; points.

The table therefore makes for much better reading.  It’s also worth noting that had we lost the two fixtures that Bruce had won, we would currently be second bottom.  Positive change is afoot.

This leads us to ponder a sumptuous Birmingham derby next Sunday at 12pm.

It’s suddenly a game that carries not only the usual derby spice, but a great deal of significance for both sides.

Under Rowett, Blues have been steered diligently into 7th place.  On their budget, the big Villa fan is doing a fine if unenviable job.

Bruce will obviously relish returning to St Andrews having managed there for 7 years until jumping ship to Wigan.

For Villa, the fixture represents an opportunity to win a third game on the bounce…surely not?

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