Match Preview: Barnsley (v) Aston Villa – No more excuses; it’s time to win matches & finally climb the table.

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If we needed reminding that we are in The Championship, then fixtures such as a trip to Oakswell on a Tuesday evening certainly hammer home the point.

That’s not a statement with any sense of self righteousness either, we are absolutely where we deserve to be and go into the game urgently needing to turn draws into wins.

Stating the obvious or what, eh?

Whilst the late equaliser against Newcastle is a good result on paper, it masked a dreadful performance on the pitch.  Save for some glaring misses from the visitors and the eventual determination of a few Villa players, we could really be staring down the barrel.

Barnsley, the leagues top scorers (by 3 clear goals), are having enjoyed a more than steady start to their campaign.  Whilst having lost their last two games, a quick glance at the table sees them sitting 7th to Villa’s underwhelming 17th.

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There are positives to be plucked from the stats however.  Whilst Barnsley have been free scoring, by contrast they have the 17th best defence in the league.  They are not impenetrable by any means.

Additionally, wins this term have come against sides who are decidedly struggling (Wolves aside) with wins coming against Derby, QPR, Rotherham & Preston.  

When having faced teams who are forming a challenge for promotion, Reading, Brighton & Huddersfield, our opponents Tuesday night have come unstuck on each occasion.

Therefore, the result could very much give us an idea as to exactly where we’re at and where we might reasonably end up.

Villa will hopefully dispense with the disastrous 3-5-2 system deployed against the Geordies and line up with more balance in the side.

The possible return of Ross McCormack from injury would bring much needed composure up front, whilst Jack Grealish is available again after being dropped & fined for late night misconduct.

The task is simple; we absolutely have the firepower to overcome teams, but we must improve in the midfield if we are to have any hope of progressing.  

6 draws in 7 is unacceptable, as is the fact that our solitary win came in August against Rotherham.  It’s almost October ffs.

Patience is a virtue, indeed, but it is now time for Di Matteo to earn his money.

Nothing less than a win will now do.

The Villa Underground Predicts:

Villa to win 2-0.

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