Another week, another derby. Having put small heath to the sword, Villa come into tonight’s match with West Brom at The Hawthorns after a very interesting, entertaining, and revealing week. A week that’s left us a bit hopeful.
Following the astonishing 5-5 spectacle at Villa Park midweek, it’s off to the Riverside to take on third-place Middlesbrough. Boro are unbeaten in their last five, and have only lost twice all year, and the obvious statistic of interest is 22 goals scored versus 10 conceded. Villa have netted 36 times, by comparison, and conceded 30.
Aitor Karanka has been saying Forest are very different than small heath, so one assumes we’ll see fewer muggings and more football. For me, at the moment, it’s all about Villa playing Villa’s game. Which, admittedly, is still uncharted territory.
It’s The Derby up next, and no one really cares how it happens—we just want to see Villa break small heath hearts. It’s about emotion and pride, which is why you most often will simply say, “throw out the table, recent form, and all the rest.”
Villa are at Derby today, who’ve done well under new man Frank Lampard and sit in 5th, unbeaten in their last five. Going into the game they’re seven points better off than the Lions. Smith will be looking to close that to four after a proper Saturday-to-Saturday schedule.