The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers 2016
When Villa last met Blackburn in 2012, both sets of supporters had reasons to be angry.
Blackburn fans were unhappy about owners Venky’s, while Villa fans endured a brush with relegation under Alex McLeish. Quite a lot has changed since then.
Both teams now find themselves in the Championship, but the moods from club to club are quite different.
With Bruce at the helm, Villa are in good form, while Blackburn find themselves in the bottom three.
Who will prevail in the clash of the fallen Premier League teams?
Bruce on Blackburn
“The young boy up front got a wonderful goal last week, they’ve got some very very decent players, established players who have been around the block a bit.
“They’re a decent side, they haven’t had the best of results.
“I saw their game against Wolves, who were particularly unlucky in my opinion.
“It’s what the Championship is.
“They’ve all got good players.
“They’ve got some very decent players.
“They’re at the wrong end of the league but let’s not forget two weeks ago we were in the bottom three so it still doesn’t mean that they haven’t got good players.”
Coyle on Villa
Villa are the only team in the league that remain unbeaten at home this season
20th August 2011 Aston Villa 3 Blackburn 1
Goals from Agbonlahor, Heskey and Bent secured the first home league win of McLeish’s reign.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 1, D 4
Blackburn – Last five matches away: W 1, D 1, L 3
One to Watch
A win at St. Andrew’s would have been a massive boost to Villa’s season, but it wasn’t to be.
Another draw was of course better than suffering derby defeat, but it’s important now for Villa to get a victory ahead of the international break.
On paper it should be straightforward enough, but when is the Championship ever predictable?
Villa also find themselves facing one of the league’s strugglers, which has only really happened once so far this season.
Other than Rotherham, the teams we’ve played so far are mainly those cautiously eyeing the play-offs, or those in form that suggests play-offs.
Blackburn’s predicament hints that they will favour a cautious approach away at Villa Park.
Without the trickery of suspended Jordan Ayew, it could be difficult to break Coyle’s men down.
A recent win away at Derby for Blackburn emphasises how any team can win any fixture in the Championship, and a hard-earned point at Wolves last weekend suggests Coyle’s men have started to arrest the slide…
“They’re at the wrong end of the league but let’s not forget two weeks ago we were in the bottom three ” – BRUCE ON blackburn
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Blackburn fans haven’t had much to shout about in recent years, and this summer’s managerial appointment hinted that more tough times are on the way.
That’s not a comment on Owen Coyle’s managerial ability, but more on the fact that he was a bizarre choice given he had previously managed all of Blackburn local rivals – Burnley, Bolton and Wigan – in seasons gone by.
With a squad assembled from loanees and bargain buys, Blackburn find themselves in the relegation zone.
One loan signing who has impressed is Tommie Hoban, borrowed from Watford, but he’s set to miss the next three months at least, through injury.
Blackburn have suffered from some of the issues that plagued Villa earlier in the season. They should have got at least a draw against Bristol City in their last match, but conceded a late winner. A late goal from Wolves last weekend also cost Blackburn three points.
All in all, they’ve conceded nine goals in the last 12 minutes of games this season. It sounds familiar.
There have been numerous negative records surrounding Villa of late, but remarkably, Villa are the only team in the league that remain unbeaten at home this season.
Blackburn have lost five times in seven away games this season, and their record at Villa Park is poor – Villa have won seven of their last eight home meetings (in all competitions) in this fixture.
On our best run since May 2015, and with Grealish and Adomah set to feature, the signs are good.
Another win for Bruce at Villa Park and there will be room for cautious optimism heading into the international break.