Another win at Villa Park in front of a 41,000+ crowd, but did the result against Burton paper over the cracks like the win against Wigan? The performance certainly left those who made the Boxing Day trip frustrated during the game – there was even booing at half-time.
We might be able to get away with it against the lesser teams, but as Steve Bruce said after the game, they’ll need to be improvements moving forward.
Still, the good news is the result can only help with confidence and hopefully it’ll now begin to flow amongst the players to lift them as we enter the second half of the season.
In the meantime, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans…
Five home wins on the trot is certainly a welcome stat. Bruce actually said in the post-match interview, he’d won six home games back-to-back (“The one thing we’ve been able to do is try lift the doom and gloom – I think that’s now six at home, back to back wins), maybe he considers Leeds on Thursday to be three points in the bag!
That fact that the run has been achieved without the team really leaving second gear is the most remarkable thing about it. Leeds will actually be the biggest test yet at Villa Park for Bruce, with four of his five home wins coming against bottom six teams in the Championship.
The big achievement would be to go through the season unbeaten at Villa Park and Leeds are certainly one of the serious threats to that happening. Beat them though and it would be the firmest step towards the play-offs, so far this season.
Return of the Mac
There’s been a lot of talk on MOMS and the podcast about Ross McCormack. The legit go-to 20-goal-plus striker of the Championship doesn’t suddenly turn naff over night. Yes, Villa has a habit of stifling players, but with the way Villa were performing they could certainly do with McCormack’s football brain.
Again, there were signs of good link-up with Grealish, but most importantly it was good to see him on the scoresheet. Surely a long run in the team now will get the best out of him.
Perhaps McCormack’s long overdue goal that proved to be the winner, took some of the limelight away from a pretty decent bullet header from Leandro Bacuna
— My Old Man Said (@oldmansaid) December 26, 2016
Bacuna had his moments in the win against Burton and showed that he can still be a squad player moving forward at least in the short-term.
We called it over a month ago that Albert Adomah more than likely wasn’t going to the African Cup of Nations, since he hadn’t been called up for the Ghana team for over a year.
Well, it’s been confirmed, he isn’t going anywhere. Hopefully he’ll use the time to really impose himself at Villa and increase his contribution to the promotion cause in the second half of the season.
Villa have seemingly been on an eternal quest for a decent 20-goal striker in the past decade. Having one under Martin O’Neill may have brought Champions League football (instead O’Neill got Heskey in), then Lerner paid over the odds to prise Darren Bent away from Sunderland to give Gerard Houllier a man to fire them away from relegation. He got injured under Alex McLeish and fell out with Paul Lambert, so ultimately Bent ended up a footnote as a Villa player.
Many feel considering the £18m+ cost of him to the club we were short-changed, but the good news is he’s started to pay us back in other ways.
His winning penalty for Derby against the Blues meant that after a third of a season of Blues fans taunting Villans about ‘Mind the Gap’, Villa have clawed back what was a hearty deficit to move above the Blues in the league table.
Unless Zola performs miracles in the rest of the season, the natural order of things should now resume.
Listen to the last MOMS Podcast, just press ‘play’ below