Thoughts and issues regarding the past and present of a great football club by "The Chronicler".

Friday, 17 March 2017

Are Villa Getting Onto A Roll?

Well, four wins out of five matches, with the latest win against Wednesday being the most satisfactory, I am just amazed that the game went as it did, Villa having survived two further injuries and a big penalty call, early on.

For me this is a period of Confirmation that the Villa squad now have the character to ward off all-comers at VP; Confirmation that the feebleness of recent years is being put well and truly behind us; and Confirmation that the preparation for a promotion challenge is gathering pace.

Now, though I also confirm I’m not a huge fan of Bruce, I believe that he’s shown a lot of experience and self-belief in transforming what he has from a timid bunch into a team that now look as though they’re there for a purpose. No, it’s not great football, but it would seem to me that what’s happening is pleasing the fans enough to keep ’em coming. The attendance average at VP is just short of 32,000.

I also feel that the results in January and February were inevitable given the Africa Nations Cup interference and the fact that Bruce wanted to overhaul the shysters and bring in hungry players. The new group are showing their mettle and I can only see it getting better.

To gain success you sometimes have to endure pain, and I think that the January and February period was just a necessary pain.

It is to Bruce’s credit we can still win and concede no goals with so many injuries.

So, going by Villa's recent form, I would expect a win out of Villa at strugglers Wigan tomorrow. However, we have expected Villa to win away before this season, with the hope coming to nothing. But with virtually a new Villa side in view I am reasonably hopeful that Villa will find a way through this one. Certainly, if Villa score early then a 2 or 3 goal victory should result. But - there again - I am always the optimist!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Chances To Gain Two Sets Of Stripes?

They're coming thick and fast, these Championship matches. And to gain three straight wins in these quickly-arising matches has done something to get an on-going sense of positivity and hope that Villa are, indeed, getting into recovery mode.

But these regular matches have cost Villa. Hogan, Green, Bjarnason, Grealish, RHM and Gabby are out of the fray for a few matches, to which number has to be added Bacuna for his inadvisable lunge at the referee's side-kick. But Villa are fortunate in that their main defensive and midfield stalwarts are still in place: we're mainly running short of engine-power in the front-line, though 13-goal Kodjia seems to employ a means of transitioning the boost of each of his goals to keep himself mobile.

The style is not much there - as some regularly point out - but at least some much-needed points have been generated to accumulate in Villa's piggy bank, with no concessions in the goals against column of late. But with the shortage of fire-power, where are the wins going to come from over the next month? Well, I imagine former centre-back Brucie will put more emphasis on the tactic of using dead-ball situations to get his centre-backs up and adding weight. It would be a novel thing for a centre-back to score a hat-trick! I wonder if it has been done?

So, next up is the much-vaunted Terriers; otherwise known as Huddersfield Town. The historian and aged Villa supporter in me can go back to early 1960 when Villa met the same club at Villa Park in the old Second Division when a certain Dennis Law was plying his trade for them. Villa won 4-0 that day (a Bobby Thomson hat-trick) gaining rave reviews for their "continental" play! Well, that accolade is probably on the other foot these days, with our opponents displaying a lot of skill this season. But has their success been mainly because their opponents have let them play?

Huddersfield clearly have their Achilles' Heel, with two heavy defeats in their last two matches, though the first of those was against Liverpool in the FA Cup. Well, the fact is that Villa at least put up stern resistance against Spurs in their FA Cup match, so maybe Villa will display more tenacity than their next opponents, Villa often looking very resilient with the Jedi back in place.

And the Terriers have just been thwacked by Newcastle as well, at home. With Villa as their next opponent within so few days, will their mental equilibrium not yet be in the right state? The question is whether Villa have sufficient fire power available to sting them, and sting them early. If Villa can do that then I feel that Villa will not come away empty-handed.

And then we have Wednesday arriving on Saturday. Their punishment of Norwich this past week-end is again a fair warning, but I still see Villa having the resilience for me to again feel that Villa will not go away empty-handed.

Yes, essentially because of Villa's injury situation I am not at all confident that Villa will obtain more than draws in these next two matches, but if we can at least gain two points from these two tough matches they will, added to the previous three results, combine to give more confidence of the Villa finishing the season on a bright note.

Up the Villa!