You always had to expect Wigan to put up a fight. With Warren Joyce out during the week and Graham Barrow in, the team could not have retained any doubt that League 1 is beckoning, but they also knew they still had a chance to do something about it.

And indeed, Wigan had the better of a ragged first half. However, as is so often the case, when you’re getting the better of the game and don’t score you usually come to regret it.

The Good
Another win, obviously, making four in five. Villa overcame a poor first half where they were sloppy in possession and created better chances for Wigan than themselves. But swapping James Bree and Gary Gardner for Scott Hogan and Henri Lansbury on 60 minutes seemed to jumpstart the side, and it was good to see Bruce not waiting too long to try and change the game. One wonders what he had to say during the break, but clearly changes were very much on his mind, and 15 minutes was enough for him to make them.

Just as important in the long run, Scott Hogan finally got off the mark. Villa have obviously been far too reliant on Jonathon Kodjia, and Hogan scoring for the first time in claret and blue is a welcome development. Another deft Adomah assist set the ball up nicely for him, and he took the header nicely.

James Chester popping up with another goal to break the deadlock on 73 minutes was another a positive, with Hourihane assisting. You always need different players chipping in along the way, and the captain keeps showing his worth at both ends of the pitch. Sam Johnstone did what was asked of him and kept another clean sheet, making a couple of good saves.

Villa didn’t stop looking for a winner, finally created chances and took them. It was always going to be a tough game given Wigan’s plight, and Villa found a way to start poorly but stay in the match, and then find a way through. These are the kinds of games you have to win, and you often have to win them in exactly the way Villa did.

In short, it simply seemed that while it wasn’t always on display, Villa did actually have more quality and it proved out in the end. And the away support was fantastic, as usual.

The Bad
Another one-half performance. Granted, Wigan were desperate for a result and playing at home, so you figured it wasn’t going to be a stroll. But we’ve yet to see a strong 90 minutes from the side. Villa were outshot 15-8, and 6-3 for those on target. But netting two of those three chances was the difference.

Villa, not surprisingly, also trailed in time of possession, 44% to 56%. You could say that Villa are never going to focus on time of possession, at least in the near term, and I’m much more interested in goals than keep-ball.

However, I’m less impressed by squandered possession and gifting teams chances. We got away with a couple on Saturday, and like anyone, we really have to make opponents earn their chances. One of the keys down the stretch is to become a well-drilled side, and that wasn’t in evidence in the opening 45.

Truth be told, this is a funny phase Villa are going through. I’ve used the phrase “work in progress” so many times to describe Villa over the years that perhaps it’s lost all meaning. But as Bruce acknowledges, Villa still have a long way to go, and they’re very much a work in progress.

The Ugly
Wondering what might have been “if we’d had a poor January instead of a horrible one.” The weather wasn’t very pleasant, either.

Final Verdict
Villa continue to find their feet and ways to win. As everyone will say, winning is a habit, and Villa just might just be starting to pick it up. However, the bulk of the current good run has come against teams we should be beating, with only Sheffield being a decent test. Win we have, though, and however it’s looked, seeing a 2-0 scoreline dominating recent results is encouraging. We’re still waiting for a solid 90 minutes, never mind a truly comprehensive performance, but to be fair, Bruce and the side have put together two good stretches of results on either side of the post-Boxing Day collapse. And results are results.

With Wednesday going down again on Saturday, Villa are 11 points off sixth. With 24 points still to be won, Villa could yet sneak a chance to go up. Naturally, a lot of other results would have to go our way, too. But stranger things have happened. Villa will have to earn any miracle, with the remaining eight games split evenly between teams above and below us.

One really has to ask, though, whether the squad in its current incarnation wouldn’t perhaps be better off with another season to get it all right before stepping back up to the big stage. Maybe the remaining eight games and the summer would be enough to see Villa stay up. And there’s no guarantee Villa will capitalize on their second run at it.

But it’s fairly safe to assume all the right things won’t happen, rendering it irrelevant, which means for now, the main thing is to have players come back healthy from the international break so Villa can keep working on that winning habit and get themselves right mentally for what has to be a promotion-or-bust campaign next season.

A win against Norwich, however, just might set up an interesting finish to this season.

Comments 80

  1. it’s nice to see us be a threat from set pieces at last! been a while! Hourihan & Lansbury have great delivery. Noticesd how hourihan likes to take a corner short then cross it when given it back.

    did the same at his last club when taking free kicks, likes it rolled before hitting it.

  2. JC: “One really has to ask, though, whether the squad in its current incarnation wouldn’t perhaps be better off with another season to get it all right before stepping back up to the big stage.”

    A sound point. However, we only have just a slight chance of getting to the play-offs, which just means that – no auto promotion. It might be just good experience playing in the play-offs as a warm up for the big push next season.

    I don’t believe that Villa would succeed in the play-offs, but if we should then there would have to be an almighty self-evaluation test if we were to survive in the PL this time around.

  3. Andrew
    A decent delivery has been a long time coming.
    Let’s hope a decent end product comes soon to go with it, although a win is a win.

  4. Great article overall John

    In the interests of debate, should it be allowed given my subjective leanings aka negativity

    ‘One really has to ask, though, whether the squad in its current incarnation wouldn’t perhaps be better off with another season to get it all right before stepping back up to the big stage.’

    Does it even have to be asked, if we struggle to beat Wigan and our manager hasn’t drilled in a routine on playing away subject to seeing countless videos on how Wigan set up and looking to counteract that then to answer the question, yes we need to stay in this division, not least because we won’t reach the play-offs anyway and yes the manager of the squad in its current incarnation has yet to establish a settled formation/first 11.

    For stability’s sake, he needs to build a way of playing in the remaining games as well as pre-season to set us up for a genuine promotion tilt as this season has been about closing the door to the Lerner era and opening a new door to new problems, trying to buy our way out of the championship, buying two teams in two transfer windows, sacking a manager mid-season and hiring a manager mid-season so far devoid of any genuine football tactics or a well-drilled team or else we wouldn’t be struggling to beat the strugglers.

    12th in second division having spent millions on new players doesn’t need to be sugar coated with ideas of making the play-offs in your suggestion that the team should stay in this league as opposed to actually being stuck in this league. Remember this is Dr.T’s approach to immediate return to the prem based on who he hired/fired and how much he spent not my own opinion that wanted us to build a footballing ethos of quality football and let that take us back to the prem naturally.

  5. DOR
    I think the Doc also said that if this was not possible a 2 year plan was in place.
    I would think that he hoped [as we all did] that the initial plan would work, & it would have been a bit defeatist to go on about the PlanB at the beginning of the season.

  6. dor
    this is just fantasy on here, but some think they have the right that there post is perfect and no one else is allowed a view
    just after watching a man RYAN MAC BRIDE play live twice last monday v champions of ireland dundalk give a masterly display,and saturday evening, yet today he is dead unknown reason as yet.they talk about playing for your club he could have left signed better contracts but no he wanted to play for his club and become a hero to fans ,not like our mr villa who we still play

  7. Good analysis, John.
    Johnstone certainly pulled off some snappy saves. Otherwise, Wigan could easily have been in front at half time..
    Plenty of positives to build on for the match against Norwich on April 1. It’ll be good to see Green back to inject a bit more penetration. Amavi, imo, has done well tracking back, though.
    GG needs to find some consistency to his game, looked knacked by the time he was subbed. Perhaps he was a bit hurt.

  8. Darren: “In the interests of debate, should it be allowed given my subjective leanings aka negativity”

    I don’t see you as being negative – but we don’t *altogether* see eye to eye on some issues, simples. No problem.

    I’m very happy with all kinds of ideas being floated, but like OldVilla and one or two others, when it’s straight negativity not founded on anything recognisable, then it becomes difficult to take it on board.

  9. Darren: “the manager of the squad in its current incarnation has yet to establish a settled formation/first 11. “

    Sorry, mate, I don’t recognise that situation at all. I think Bruce is very close to the team he wants to be playing week in and week out … as I see it it’s injuries that have prevented the team being entirely settled of late.

  10. JL
    I have refrained from posting a more longwinded reply [due to lack of skill] to DOR et al, as you have put it very succinctly.
    this is just fantasy on here, but some think they have the right that there post is perfect and no one else is allowed a view’
    This really only the pot calling the kettle black unless you mean all posts are perfect [which mine certainly aren’t], & that you are somehow a victim of the pc brigade.
    I really don’t think there’s anyone on here out to get you.

  11. Bruce knows what he wants….2 up top. looks like it will hopefully be in a 442 rather than 352.

    the bolt out the blue is jedi at cb.

    next season
    Johnson ?
    bree chester jedi taylor
    adomah Lansbury hourihan green
    Hogan kodjia

    we need 3 or 4 very good players to strengthen that in summer
    another st, cm cb rw


  12. the championship is what it is. its what we all thought it would be when we worried villa were going to go down and its proven it this season spending time watching it…..its a bloody battle in this league and it aint pretty!

    Ive seen wed play a lot….seen leeds play a lot…reading..none of it is easy on the eye.

    I understand huddy have done very well but when ive seen them its not been great. reading pass it around at the back for most of the game…god knows how they have been top 6 all season. the fans were on stams back massively start of season due to the dour footy.

    we will easily get there standards if not better with our team. the players are just too good not to

  13. Hi IanG

    The two year plan didn’t last that long given the sacking of RdiM for any behind the scenes problems that may have existed that was a panic move in relation to a 1 year plan, if there was ever a genuine 2 year plan , then we’d be talking about stability for RdiM

    Sorry JL

    Do you or don’t you recognise that Bruce hasn’t been able to pick his first 11, because you’ve provided the very reason he hasn’t been able to establish his first 11.

  14. Darren,

    Yes, a best 11 has been a tad beyond him until now. I stated what I did as I took it (perhaps wrongly) that you were saying that it was down to Bruce that he’d not got that 11 going.

    Could be I was mis-reading that bit, so apologies if that’s the case.

  15. Darren
    I’ve never met any business man or organisation that puts all their eggs in one basket unless they’re skint & going under [& we’ve seen that at VP before], & the same applies to just having one plan & hoping it works.
    They tried the favoured plan with RDM [again that implies planB], & when it didn’t work out & danger was imminent they acted early, which again implies a plan B, although how complete it was is anybody’s guess.

  16. Afternoon folks,
    Here’s my take on our green shoots appearing at this moment. Much is being said about our position at the top of the form table in the last six around the net. These things look good and could actually be recovery kicking in or they could be that we have played a sequence of games that were fortunate. If you look at the form table as a whole it tells a different story. Derby and Sheffield weds sit in 19th and 21st on form, in fact all the teams we have beaten bar Bristol in 9th are in the bottom 6 on form.

    If you want to take that form back to the start of jan2017 we are 17th and derby are still below us and Sheffield wed slightly above.

    I haven’t seen anything so far that we should not really expect from the talent we have, and once again if we add jedinak she return to fitness and our return to winning ways it’s clear how important that third centre half is, because that’s what he is at present.

    If there is something to this then we should beat Norwich at villa park they lie in 16th of the form table but we thought that the last time we played them in Bruce’s previous form height hitting after a similar run of softer games. QPR are second in the form guide Brentford, wolves and Blackburn in the top 6 😉

  17. IanG
    I think that DOR is saying plan A and B were the same, promotion. RDM was failing and Bruce the specialist, he certainly wasn’t brought in to developed an ethos/style so what I suggest is we are now on plan C which is face saving plan to go up next season.

  18. mark

    wouldn’t take any notice of the form guide…especially in the championship…anyone can beat anyone in this league. whod of though brizzle would do huddy 4-0!

    And look at the teams below us…most of them beat us!

    Villa being top of the form league says one thing. The new players brought in jan are settling in after a bit of time.

  19. the summer transfer business was rushed and ill advised. another rdm disaster.

    thank god round and keith now pulling the strings.

    12 mill for McCormack is turning into the worst business ever! he cant even get a game for forest!

  20. players out

    westwood – played once, now benched
    ayew – bench
    McCormack – bench
    tisbola – bench
    gestese – bench – 1 goal!!

    Taking into account our incomings it really was a remarkable transfer window.

  21. Mark,

    You make some interesting points about the so-called “green shoots”. But what perplexes me is that Bruce appears to me to be damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t! An it’s that which causes me to think that there’s a basic dislike of him – as a manager. Perhaps I’m stating the obvious.

    But whether the teams we have beaten of late are not doing so well is true or not, the fact is we have won 5 without conceding any. And are beginning to score at an acceptable rate.

    That’s in complete contrast to what was happening in January and early February.

    It’s by no means perfect yet, and we have to see on a game-by-game basis how it is progressing, if at all.

    But such is the nature of the players that we have (as opposed to the team we had in January) I’m now much more confident that there are a lot more wins in them yet.

    And you did say a few weeks ago that of all the remaining fixtures, you could only see 4 wins. Since then we’ve won 5! 😉 For my part I thought 6, but I think that I was not feeling so hopeful at that point, especially as we only need 1 more win to fulfill my expectation of then!

  22. Andrew- the form guide is just that, how well teams are playing over 6 matches so forget anyone can beat anyone, sometimes its just the sequence of games thats thrown up, the perfect storm clearly shown by the position of the teams we played., even Bristol were nowhere until the win on the weekend.

    I don’t know if you realise but Jonathan Hogg had an horrific neck injury and the game was delayed for 14 minutes. That may have had some Bering on Huddersfield’s mindset when their team mate was hospitalised and could have been paralysed.

  23. Andrew- on RDM’s summer window, isn’t hindsight wonderful 🙂 you can knock it all you like but would Bruce have made similar decisions with our squad? he likes Richards and Gabby after all, highly unlikely he would of sold Ayew, gestede, Westwood and all without playing them first imagine the task in one month until the season started if he had moved them all on, he has had the games to find out who he wants to keep no doubt, a much better position than RDM was in and guess what? without Jedinak, adomah and Kodjia we might well have been relegated.

  24. JL- thats just how you are taking my comments mate, they are based on the statistics and we are beating teams in poor form, whats worse is we have won only one game without Jedinak, the 3-0 against Rotherham under RDM.

    We clearly are diminished without him, Bruces early attempts to chain lansbury and Hourihane without Jedinak ended in the sieve midfield and middle of defence, both aspects haven’t worked well without him. So I find it hard to see an awful lot of progression until I see us able to excist without Jedinak and play 90 mins of controlled football or even 70 or 80.

    At this point it it looks like the jedi effect and the game sequence. As I said Norwich are 16th so not playing well even with new manager bounce. Also plenty of managers of the teams we have played recently have got rid of managers, sure signs they are not functioning.

    Don’t get me wrong could just be Bruce’s doing but on the evidence and standard of our play not in my opinion

  25. But Mark, I made the point that a few weeks ago you thought that all we would get is another 4 wins. We have so far achieved 5.

    How do you reconcile that fact with your analysis?

  26. JL- That was prior to jedinaks return to fitness and our subsequent return to form against the teams bottom of the form league,(that wasn’t clear then we hadn’t played those six games and neither had they) I suppose at the time I had based it on their league position and how they had done up to that point.

    The likes of Derby and especially sheff wed at the time were miles above us in the league and we couldn’t beat Ipswich at home. It now appears we may have more to fear from QPR and Blackburn 😉

    Don’t forget we have Norwich, Reading, Fulham,Brighton to come yet and a derby. Burton looks the only banker but with Norwich at 16th on form we should win.

    Bruces 28 games
    Last 6 matches we sit 1
    Last 12 matches we sit 15
    Last 20 games we sit 16
    Last 30 games we sit 11

  27. Mark: “It now appears we may have more to fear from QPR and Blackburn”

    Eh? Does it? 😉

    And, btw, that was a good attempt at explaining your prediction failure! 😉

  28. Take Blackburn for instance, they have beat derby and Wigan and drew with Norwich,Fulham,PNE and Cardiff in their last six. they too got clean sheets in their wins.

    QPR- second in the form table spanked Rotherham 5-1, drew with Leeds, beat Barnsley, beat Cardiff, beat Wigan but lost to PNE those are some impressive wins against better form teams and the obligatory bottom six form Wigan and Rotherham.

    wolves- beat Rotherham (yawn) lost to brum (derby game)and Reading, drew with Ipswich but have won at Fulham and Brentford

    If we start beating better teams then it will look a whole lot better even if the manner we do it in is still poor, honestly second best to Wigan most of the game with our team? meanwhile QPR are beating teams we should really dominate IMO

  29. I’m not trying to p*ss on anyone’s chips here just countering the “look at our clean sheets and winning streak line” as some sign of improvement above Jedinaks return. Anyone is welcome to refute these claims with there own observations, they are just my observations after all 😉

  30. Mark,

    Well, I’m afraid that I don’t get immersed in stats that much to be worried by them.

    My philosophy is simple … if I see Villa players putting in a shift and they have some ability, then I can live in hope. If not then I live in s**t.

    Right now I’m in the world of hope!

  31. JL- Believe me I only looked at this in the afternoon when I expanded the top 6 form table, it gives a whole different view. But for Wigans lowly ability to capitalise they could well have beaten us, lets see what our hard working team makes of a bigger challenge, I’m truly Hopeful they will rise to it as that could spark what we are looking for, or at least what I am, some football 😉

  32. Andrew- saw this and thought about what you were saying earlier, I often wonder if losing Kodjia would improve our all round goal tally? it can often be like that when all the focus is on one player and others defer to him.

    “If Brentford fans needed any further proof that their side is more than coping with the loss of their once talismanic striker then they need look no further than the stats below:

    30 goals in 13 league games without Hogan: 2.30 goals average

    32 goals in 25 league games with Hogan: 1.28 goals average

    Since the departure of Hogan, Brentford have shined in the face of adversity and their exploits in front of goal are not going unnoticed. If Smith can reinvest the substantial transfer fee received from the deal wisely then the Bees may pack more than just a sting in the Championship next season.”

  33. JL- heres another factor I missed with the international break 😉

    The Socceroos will then play the game with UAE in Sydney on March 28 before Jedinak makes the trip back to B6 ready to take on Norwich at Villa Park on April 1.

    there may be trouble ahead

  34. Mark
    Plan C?
    At this rate with all these conspiracy theories we’ll be on Plan Z soon.
    I assume, & indeed hope it is more together than that.

  35. IanG- massively informed replies I concede to your wisdom

    although defo plan A RDM promotes us, plan B Bruce promotes us, plan C? Plan B is looking iffy tell them we are building for next season because every team in the champs buys and sells two teams spending league record amounts for players to come 10th 🙂

  36. Mark
    If you need my wisdom you’re in trouble mate.
    I think Round & Wyness & the doc are a bit more professional than you give them credit for, & I’m sure they have a view of a progression with a lot of input from many quarters.
    Of course it isn’t so sexy as some of your sound bytes but never mind.
    I can’t be bothered to talk about the fat head.

  37. Mark,

    Fact is we’ve won 5 out of 6 and we’re looking for a strong finish to provide impetus into next season. That’s the realistic plan – Bruce wants us finishing in the top-10 and I think we’ll more than achieve that. This season has nothing left to be worried about and we’ll finish comfortably enough.

    Take it from me. And Archie! 😉

  38. JL- fact also is we have won five out of six against bottom 6 form teams almost exclusively and lost to the top ones losing to hudders and Newcastle if you stretch it to seven. We will see, we have the 16th Norwich then QPR second in the form table and beating higher quality teams than us it will be a test, genuinely concerned about Jedinaks and his Aussie trip, last time he was out on his feet.

    If you are right we have nothing to fear 🙂

  39. Mark
    A salesman? No & never have been mate.
    Salesmen, soulless business professionals & call centre rejiggers of our shared reality are the bane of my life due to the tendency of many of them to be full of self interest & eagerness to share it with the rest of us.
    But I digress as I was talking about the villa.
    The reality to me is more like the natural progression that JL & Archie talk about, & although I differ in some detail, unless a disaster comes out of the blue to alter it of course, & having been a villa fan for 61 years I’ve seen a few of those.
    As a musician I don’t bother filling in all the space cos the unexpected is gone, but it’s not my intention to stop anyone else trying mate.

  40. Mark
    Guitar, mandolin, used to play flute & violin.
    Have only done 2 gigs in the last 25 years with health probs & general seizing up, but still play what & whenever I can as it’s a state of mind.
    tomorrow mate

  41. Mark
    If Jedinak is playing for Australia on the 28th, he should be stood down for the Norwich match. At his age, he isn’t up to it. We’ve seen it before. He’ll only injure himself or burn out. It’ll be a good question for the reporters to ask Bruce, “What are you going to do with Jedinak”? Bruce needs to be sorting this right now. It should be seen as an opportunity to try something else. Shame Sanchez isn’t around.

  42. Iana,

    Yep … Sanchez had/has his good points … but also not so good with the fairly frequent lapses of concentration and/or slowness.

    But we are short of a good backup to the Jedi.

  43. JL
    Yeah, he did have those lapses, and too frequently lost the ball. Yet for his national side he’s a tremendous player, a beast in defence. I think if his role was defined more clearly, he’d have less lapses. He could do that DM role protecting the back like Jedinak has done well. It could work really well, especially if Jedinak is at the back.

  44. Mark

    yeah, I remember lambo saying when we had tekkers the secret if we lost him is to strengthen the whole squad with the money. but we know how that went under learner! no idea how to replace him! interestingly Brentford have continued scoring but dropped in the league, villa now above them. think they did the double over us too?

    fact is you need someone to guarantee goals…looking very much forward to Hogan and kodjia getting it together! goals! With adomah, Lansbury, hourihan the assist masters in the champ there is no excuse next season….

  45. Mark yeah watched the brizzle huddy match.

    players seemend un affected to me. think hoggy has cracked a bone in his neck?!

    watched Exeter the other week and someone done the ankle…the scream went through the stadium and with that one you could see if effect the match.

  46. I think dor said yesterday not being excited about a win at wigan….its’s not just that.

    Those of us who said in Jan lets give the team a bit of time to settle and show some patience…its seeing that come together. I know Mark seems obsessed by form guide…but some reporter said it after wigan game…we would of lost that in Jan. chester said too they were all over the shop back then. Now bruce has accepted he changed to much to soon but now the time has passed and players are more settled….guess what…won 5 lost 1 conceded 1 🙂 footy is a simple old game.

    In jan I wanted to see the team settle, improve then kick on and win playing well. and take positives into next season.

    injuries have hampered things but looking forward to next 8 games. want to see 442. want to see Hogan and kodjer gel. want to see more positivity.

  47. Gollini only just made dubut! Its not a bad debut I suppose but is’s not Johnson!

    Vertout scored other day, dr tweeted about making him come back!

  48. Andrew- obsessed eh? Should be worried Even you lot hanging your hope sack on the recent wins have think have we beaten anyone in form? And without jedinak? I cannot look at it as a marked improvement overall until they prove they have. We have won but won in a fairly uninspiring fashion, qpr have a far more impressive set of recent Results in comparison. Looking at villas results in isolation can be misleading.

  49. 5 wins out of 6 and I goal conceded is not isolation!

    The form thing is flawed….its the championship mate. in jan we were bottom of all form tables apart from foxes and Rotherham so we must of beaten teams in better form to get to the top of the form league?

  50. Jedi aint claiming the wigan win! Johnson motm and kept us in the game. love you though jedi!
    Norwich- not high in form table but does not tell us new man at the helm and won first game 2-0 and going for the playoffs. form table don’t show that!

  51. Andrew- Flawed? why then if you look at it over the season are we exactly where we are now? It tells you where you are in recent times if taken over the last 6 games, taken over 12 we have lost 6 win 5 drawn 1.
    what it doesn’t say is who you played and how they are performing, are you saying if we had played say,
    Newcastle, Huddersfield, Brighton, Leeds, Reading and Fulham in the last 6 we would have the same set of results? of course we wouldn’t, we in fact lost to two of them if you make it over the last 7.

    If what you are saying is true that the champs is so wildly unpredictable how the hell do teams go on very long winning streaks every season?

    what I am saying is the recent run appears to be indicative of a resurgence but its not the full picture. If a run of form was a indicator of us getting better why did the last one go to pot? Bloody hell if we had beaten those six teams I put up I’d be impressed 🙂

  52. Andrew- Jedinak is our only organiser on the pitch, if we beat Norwich without him we will be doing something better than we have and getting some sort of understanding without having to be told. The very fact Johnson was our MOTM tells you something surely?

  53. mark

    saying about the form table. you want us to beat teams in form but we were bottom of the form table so must of beaten teams in better form to get to the top of the form table?
    yeah wigan game was a scrappy affair, and Johnson got us the win or helped massively. no drama in that. my fav villa gk bosnich was often motm.

    yeah agree that bit about form table….flawed wrong word. should not of used that. yes agree like the Norwich eg form table does not show everything. I don’t go by it personally.

    been following footy enough to know the championship is a battle and unpredictable. youd never bet on it on a sat.

    unless against Rotherham!

  54. mark of course jedi is huge for us. every team needs one like him, but Lansbury and hourihan doing a fine job. they both captians at former clubs and show good leadersdhip on pitch too.

    very impressed with taylor, does lots of talking and organising.

  55. Andrew- thats what I am saying 🙂 we hit a patch of games against teams that are all in the bottom 6 of the form table over the last six games, some have been in it over 12 games none were in the top 11 in the last 12 games Bristol won and are now 9th, they were the best team on form we have played bar Huddersfield who we lost to. Sheff wed have won 1 drawn 1 and lost 4!!! we looked poor against them until the sending off and even then did not control the game, even the game against Wigan they were better than us for long periods. Thats why I am not getting carried away by this winning streak just yet

    whether our upturn is down to Jedinaks return or a combination of getting better Is up for grabs but he has been in all our wins bar one, simply Bruce has not won without him playing and without him we were losing to those teams in the bottom half of the form table .

    trust me I really hope we can start to look something like

  56. Mark: “Wigan they were better than us for long periods”

    It’s all a question of interpretation, Mark.

    Yes, a team might *look* better … but that’s looking at it from a style p.o.v.

    It seems to me that Villa mainly play a game of containment – then break – keeping within certain boundaries.

    No, it’s not pretty as we keep on saying, but we scored 2 at Wigan and they failed to score despite appearances. And are you sure they were better for “long periods”? Did you see the match? In terms of stats the % possession was roughly equal, so I’m not sure that was the case.

    Winning for Villa right now is by far the most important issue in my book.

  57. JL I listened to it and that is what the presenters were saying, they had 15 shots to our 8 and more on target, and 56% possession, our keeper was the MOTM? this is the second from bottom team we are talking about.

    It appears to me we are not capable of bossing a game or clever enough to just sit there, I am sure SB does not say go out and look second best for long periods, yes there is an element of drawing them on but? SB said there is a lot more to come from our players afterwards so he acknowledged we in second gear and thats the feeling I get, we are to tentative.

  58. I would also say with jedinak in we are pretty solid and as Andrew says Taylor is an upgrade, As I keep pointing out we have not really played teams really capable of hurting us, Derby have struggled to score all year hence the sacking and Sheff weds lost foristtieri, a bit like us losing Kodjia.
    What I suspect is with no Jedinak in midfield Wigan had more freedom than they would to get shots away

  59. will you believe the BBC? 😉

    Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce:

    “They gave us a really tough game, that’s how difficult the Championship is.

    “It’s good to see us show a little bit of resilience. But, if we’re being honest, we’ve got to be better than what we’ve been today.

    “At least we stuck at it and we got a win, and that’s what this league is all about.”

  60. Mark,

    Well that sounds OK …???

    Whether Wigan looked good or better or not, they’re near the bottom for a reason – it’s apparently because they’re not scoring goals.

    It could be that they might be in the top10 if they were scoring.

    56% v 44% possession is not that much difference either, nor the number of shots when it comes to who’s doing the scoring! 😉

  61. JL- nicely side stepped John 😉

    “It could be that they might be in the top10 if they were scoring.” ?

    Isn’t that applicable to every team in the world 🙂

    No its not a big difference in possession at all but it is a difference as is the shots which shows as Bruce said we were not a the races. which is what I said and you refuted because we just look that way? 😉
    How many games did Bruce bemoan the lack of chances being converted? I can’t quite remember 🙂

  62. Mark

    Strange how in our run we played our best against huddy and should of been winning at ht but lost!

    Well next 2 home games norwich and qpr, in 4 days…..imagine we win both and sheff wed and fulham mess up!!!

  63. Andrew- Thats counter attack for you you have to be clinical if not the team with the ball will invariably get one, If you score first then more chance of a second. Once they bottled up Kodjia second half we had no idea.

    I hope we do win mate this season has been a drag I think another dose of this next season will see me off 🙂

    Big old Jedinak shaped problem about to appear I think but hope I’m wrong, Norwich are poor away from home just pray hoolihan has an off day, QPR are a bigger test imo

  64. Mark: “I think another dose of this next season will see me off”

    Aye, this game is not for the feint-hearted! 😉

    Where would you be off to? Don’t tell me .. Small Heath Alliance? 🙂

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