It wasn’t a thing of beauty, but Aston Villa found a way through Albion’s bus-park to gain a critical 2-1 advantage in leg one of the playoff semifinal. Another fightback, and a return to winning ways in a game that counted. This team doesn’t have much quit in it. In days past, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised to see Villa walk away on the wrong end of an 0-1 scoreline.
The Potters came visiting, the weather was terrible, and Aston Villa looked out of sorts as they clawed their way to a 2-2 draw with Stoke. It probably goes down as the side’s worst performance so far under Dean Smith, but there were still some positives.
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.
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.”
On Saturday, Aston Villa delivered their most comprehensive performance of the season to put hosts Derby County to the sword 0-3 and gain their first away victory since the season opener at Hull. For vast swaths of the game Villa dominated play, and for once it was the opponent that looked dazed and demoralized at the final whistle.