Follow us on Twitter @claretandview // Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH)
Is anyone else just bored to tears this weekend, or is it just me?
It feels like something is missing. At first I thought I was just having an off week. I thought maybe the change in the weather in my neck of the woods was getting to me, or even worse I was starting to get sick. It came at no surprise as I watched international football highlights, I started to feel a bit better in knowing the feeling is because I’m missing Aston Villa. And I’m sure you are, too.
So let’s get down to it, fellow Villans. September needed to be a big month for Aston Villa, and was it ever. A lot of pundits didn’t think Villa would keep on gaining points and we can all agree the squad has proved a lot of people wrong. Feels pretty amazing, right? And we all want it to continue, as it is still early days in the campaign. I have a few opinions about what the next three games could have in store for Steve Bruce and Aston Villa moving into the month of October.
The first fixture coming off of the international break is against high-flying outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves will be coming back from the break sitting 2nd in the EFL Championship table with 23 points through 11 games played. Although a lot of Villa supporters claim to be waiting for the bubble to burst for Wolves, this specific fixture needs to be taken very seriously by Aston Villa. Wolves carry a +8 goal differential leading into the game against Villa, and that ties them for the best in the league with Cardiff City. The rear guard of Aston Villa must be weary of letting Wolves maintain possession and getting into the box. Wolves have been lethal inside of the opposition box with 17 goals so far, and only 2 from outside of the 18 yard box. Talk about a bad omen for John Terry and James Chester…although they have looked very up to the task recently with three clean sheets in the past four games. If Villa are to continue their mesmerising run of form, it has to start by defending in a tidy manner and attacking only when the opportunity presents itself and not in a rushed manner.
A full week after the Wolves match, Aston Villa will host Fulham at Villa Park on October 21st. At the present, Fulham sit 10th on the table, and within striking distance to Villa. This is the type of match that Villa should not be dominating, but should be able to throw their weight around a bit to try and unsettle the opposition. Fulham have given away 136 fouls so far, and the skill set of the Aston Villa first-team could give Fulham more headaches in this department. Fulham are also being dragged around by a very poor crossing accuracy throughout the entire squad. Of 110 total attempted crosses, only 15% have been accurate so far through 11 games played. This would be a huge signal that Fulham are better off playing narrow and through the middle more so than from wide positions due to lacking players who are adept at crossing. If Villa can find a way to clog up the middle of the park, while defensively forcing the ball to the flanks, it could be a very long day for Fulham in front of the loud and proud Aston Villa faithful.
You know what fixture is next.
I don’t even have to say it. But, I will anyways.
October 29th will see Aston Villa take the walk to St. Andrews to play the twelve-fingered, smelly, incestuous, and downright ugly band of misfits known as Birmingham City. What a big fixture this could be for Aston Villa in terms of team morale, supporter morale and overall bragging rights. After sacking Harry Redknapp, the Blues have done nothing to suggest they can get out of the Championship basement at the present time of writing this. Obviously, things could change between now and then. But, Birmingham play Cardiff City and Millwall before the derby day extravaganza against Villa. I cannot see the Scum having any sort of luck against Millwall, and surely not against Cardiff. If by chance Aston Villa defeat both Wolves and Fulham heading into this fixture, there should be zero chance of the Blues snatching points from this game. Even if Villa manage to tank both games previous to the Blues clash, Steve Bruce would be keen to make sure this is one contest where the players leave it all out on the pitch. I think it is fair to say this is one game where all three points are the medicine Villa supporters all around the world need in their lives with the present gap between the two rivals.
So, what do you say Villans? Are we ready to get this international break over with yet and get back to winning ways?