The Villa Appetiser: Birmingham City v Aston Villa 2016

It’s the game everyone looked for when the fixture list was released. A game that has the same importance regardless of what league the clubs are in.

Early in Steve Bruce’s reign, Villa have a trip to St. Andrews – and it’s the biggest game of the season. Gary Rowett’s Birmingham City have started the season pretty well, while Villa are enjoying a Bruce-led revival.

It’s the first time these sides have met in the second tier since 1987-88, and the first time we’ve met in the league for five years. Who will win the bragging rights?

Gary Rowett on Villa

“Sometimes there is a danger of over analysing your own team when you’ve lost games. But we’re joint with the sixth-placed team in the play-off places, we’ve been up there most of the season.
“And although it’s not really a reflection Villa are not in the same position as we are so we should feel really confident.
“It doesn’t mean we are going to win the game on the back of that. We’ve got to respect the fact that Villa are a good team and they have shown signs of that and the last two or three games there’s certainly been a big improvement in the way they play.
“But we’ll be very confident going into the game, and of course, any big game, whether it’s a derby, a play-off game or World Cup Final it’s about which players can handle the occasion and play their normal game and perhaps up their game a little bit.
“You hope it’s your players and I’m confident it will but of course you don’t know that until the game starts.”

Steve Bruce on Blues clash

“You can’t play it down. It’s who handles it the best. You have to be fully committed because both sets of supporters demand that.
“Of course, in and around you, you have to remember to play the game because sometimes you can get lost in the occasion. Before you know it’s passed you by and you haven’t taken part in it.
“So it’s who can produce that bit of magic on the day. Let’s hope it’s one of our players and they can be the hero on the day.
“I knew three weeks ago that it was around the corner. That’s what we are in football for – the big occasion. It’s only a good occasion if you win it.
“I will do my utmost to make sure we win this big derby.”

Birmingham city are winless in eight derby league games

Memory Match

16 Jan 2011 Birmingham 1 Villa 1

An equaliser from Collins rescued a point after an opening goal by Roger Johnson.

Birmingham City – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 3

Villa– Last five matches away: W 1, D 2, L 2

One to Watch

Lukas Jutkiewicz – The on-loan Burnley striker has scored in four of his last seven competitive appearances for Birmingham, having gone two years without a goal.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
There’s an old cliche that form goes out the window in derby games, but if we’re using it as a barometer of our chances on Sunday, Birmingham City will be quietly confident.

Gary Rowett has done a good job at St Andrew’s with limited resources. Joining the club in 2014, he saved them from the perilous position Lee Clark had left them in.

In their last game it was an unhappy return for Rowett as Blues travelled to his old club Burton Albion, and they lost 2-0. But the Blues are unbeaten in their last five home games in the Championship, winning four of these games.

While Villa have picked up a whopping seven points from three games, we’ve only beaten Birmingham City once in the last four Second City derbies.

Villa’s local lad Grealish will miss this game due to his suspension, while Elphick remains a doubt for the occasion.

It’s a very hard one to predict, and while Bruce has instilled a tougher mentality in the squad, three points will be very tough during what could be a scrappy encounter.

“we’ll be very confident going into the game” – GARY Rowett on derby

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

While previous managers seem to have set new awful records each week, Bruce has been creating some good stats.

We’ve now won our last two league games, which is as many as we’d won in the previous 29 attempts!

Bruce has quickly found a team selection that works for him, with in-form Kodjia vital – he’s scored four of our last seven league goals.

Aston Villa have had some great memories in the Second City derby. In more recent meetings, the Blues are winless in eight derby league games – losing six, and drawing two.

While Villa seem to have moved away from the defensive frailties that plagued earlier matches, Birmingham have conceded at least two goals in their last three games.

Anything could happen on Sunday, but the stats are promising. We’re unbeaten in the last four visits to St Andrew’s (W 3, D 1).

When we look through the history books, there’s usually a quirky statistic that incorporates some sort of coincidence, acting as a good omen. So how about this one?

We haven’t won three consecutive league games since April 2010, when the third victory in the sequence came against Birmingham City!

Undefeated in 9 of our last 10 games against Birmingham (in all competitions), the signs are good.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the game could be a season definer.

Hopefully Bruce has a few tricks up his sleeve for his return to St Andrew’s!

UTV.

Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball

Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Blimey, that was a rousing speech and don’t forget. Today we celebrate our Independence day…err actually wrong film 🙂

  2. It’s almost upon us so to the 2000 who carry our colours you take with you the hearts and souls of us all don’t waver our spirit is strong the omens are with us the team is prepared,so come midday bring it on ,we can’t change the past but we can give us our city it’s ours I hear us say,whatever the result we will always be Villa and next year they come to us ,so as always stay loyal to yourself,keep the faith and Villa till we die

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