The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Cardiff City 2016
After years of struggling to get results at Villa Park, our unbeaten home record this season has been a welcome change.
Bruce has recorded two wins from three at home and will be reasonably optimistic ahead of the Cardiff game.
Things are also looking up for the Bluebirds who have also enjoyed an upturn in form following the appointment of Neil Warnock.
With Bruce facing Warnock, it’s a match between two promotion specialists, but who will claim the points?
Steve Bruce on Cardiff
“They’ve got a lad who can throw it like Rory Delap!
“You know it’s coming into your box so you’ve got to have people who can defend it.
“You’ve got to play to your strengths.
“The one thing you know you are going to get tomorrow is to roll your sleeves up and give 100%, because if you don’t, you don’t play for him.
“Bring it on.”
and on Neil Warnock
I’ve known Neil for years. You have to respect him.
He’s one of those characters where, he’s like marmite, you either like him or loathe him.
Any team that seems to be in trouble, he’s the first one they call. What he did last season was remarkable really and it went under the radar.
He went into Rotherham and kept them up when nobody had given them a chance.
He’s got seven promotions under his belt and I think he’d be the first to get eight if he can. He’s a good football manager and you know what you’re going to get.
They’ll come to Villa Park tomorrow and be bang at it in football terms. It will be a really difficult game.
Neil Warnock on Villa / Bruce
“I think with Steve and myself I think you get what you see. I was disappointed I did not get a chance with Villa in the summer if I’m honest, because I thought it would have been ideal to sort everything out. And that is why I am not surprised at all Steve has gone in and done really well.
“They wanted bigger names [than me] I think, they took the lad and that is how it goes. I must admit I did smile at a few of the signings and the money they spent.
“But I think Steve is the right one now. He knows its a massive club he will be looking forward to it.
“We have had some right battles over the years, he knows he is in for a tough game on Saturday.”
villa have kept a clean sheet against cardiff in their last three encounters in all competitions
9th November 2013 Villa 2 Cardiff 0
Bacuna and Kozak were the match-winners when we last played Cardiff at Villa Park.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 3
Cardiff: Last five matches away: W 2, L 3
One to Watch
Joe Bennett – the ex-Villa left-back will be facing Villa for the first time since his Summer exit.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
After last week’s results, the competitiveness of the Championship was even more apparent in the league table.
After a good point at Brighton, Villa were briefly on the edge of the top half of the table, but we find ourselves in 16th place.
Sure, there’s only a few points between the sides near us in the standings, but you do get the sense we need a few big results before we can realistically dream of the play-offs.
We might still be the only unbeaten side at home in the Championship this season, but we’ve only won three of the eight matches, and we’ve drawn more games this season than any other side in the top four divisions!
Bruce’s arrival has seen a big change in form, and it’s similar for Saturday’s opponents. Warnock has lifted Cardiff out of the relegation zone with 10 points from six matches, even if they are still precariously poised in the league table.
Cardiff represent a tougher challenge than our last opponents at home, and have picked up a couple of decent away wins during their last five games…
“I must admit I did smile at a few of the signings and the money they spent” – Neil Warnock on villa’s transfers
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
It was a strange game the last time we welcomed Cardiff to Villa Park.
Then in the Premier League, the Bluebirds didn’t offer much of a fight when we saw a rare home win, with late goals from Bacuna and Kozak clinching victory. There was even a rare start for Tonev!
This is very much the way the history books go when it comes to matches against Cardiff. We’ve won 10 of our last 12 home league meetings against them, and they have to go back to 1954 for the last time they won in B6.
As well as that, Cardiff have failed to score a league goal at VP during any of their last four trips, having last scored in 1970…
Neil Warnock has been very vocal about Villa in the build-up to this game, but what he might not have mentioned is that he’s not won any of his previous six league games against Villa – with four different teams.
Just two points above the relegation zone, Cardiff’s only clean sheet this season came on the opening day. While the transfer fees we spent on our attacking players this summer made Warnock smile, Kodjia’s goalscoring form might not!
If Villa can carry their performance against Brighton into Saturday’s match, to quote a previous Villa manager, we’ll be fine.
Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball
Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid