Yes, the performance was a bit naff, as Villa struggled to find any real rhythm against a Fulham team who came happy to play for a draw, if they couldn’t catch their opponents out on the counter.

Today was all about winning though for Villa to keep a decent start by new manager Steve Bruce going.

The growing sense of resilience from Villa under Bruce was again on show, but there’s still certainly a lot of work to be done in the final third, as Villa’s forward at times seem to be on different frequencies. The Villa boss will no doubt be thankful that he has a full week before the next game against the Blues to get to grips with this, as since he’s arrived, training has been a day here and a day there.

Seven points out of nine though in Bruce’s reign so far certainly has banished the relegation battle look of the season and now has Villa gunning for the promotion places in earnest.

Here’s five more reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans after the 1-0 win against the Cottagers…

Back-to-Back Wins

It has happened since May 2015 and there’s obvious reasons why it was important to happen asap this season. The injection of confidence and momentum it provides should finally get this season going in earnest, turn two straight wins into three against the Blues and we’ll really be off to the races…finally!

Three-in-three

Jonathan Kodija is proving to be the main man out of all Villa’s expensive attacking talent. His fantastic scissor kick strike (see below) was his third goal in a week, as he’s managed to score in every game Steve Bruce has managed.

 

Keep him playing down the middle and let him go for that 20-goal a season mark. We’ll need at least one of our strikers to reach that mark to get in amongst the play-off spots.

Kodja will unfortunately be off to the African Nations in January, so a couple of hat-tricks before that, would certainly help his cause!

Clean Sheet

You could see it was important for manager Steve Bruce for his team to get a clean sheet today, as judging by a post-match interview he did, he seemed more excited by it than the actual three points.

Baker, Chester and also Gardner in midfield certainly played a big part in achieving it, as like the Reading game, Villa were once again happy to give possession away but restrict their opposition into actually using it.

Despite being unbeaten at Villa Park this season, this was only the team’s second clean sheet at home after the one against bottom of the table Rotherham. It’s an important marker and step in the right direction and will give the backline more confidence after a shaky start to the season.

A further test will come in the high-pressure local derby next week, in which we’ll really get to measure their resolve.

17

It took a whole season to reach 17 points last season, but Villa have finally equalled the mark after 14 games in the Championship. Not quite as quickly as they would have liked, but still, it shows you just how bad we were last season and it was a headache that was never going to be easy to get over.

Hopefully, our heads are finally clear of it and we can crack on.

Fun in Brum

Next weekend is the first Second City derby league game in around six years. It’s not taking place in the ideal league, but we got bored of waiting for the Blues to get promoted, so we had to visit the Championship this season to get the game on.

The match-up still provides some local football excitement, which is hard to match in the region, even though there have been various attempts to sanitise it.

It’s the kind of game that nobody wants a draw in, and certainly Villa should be setting up and planning to go for the win at St Andrews.

UTV

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