By Richard Wakefield

Luring the Dragons

A return to Birmingham from the south coast left many Villa fans disappointed as the team put in one of their best performances yet under Steve Bruce against Brighton yet failed to pick up the win. A good point nonetheless was earned which leaves Villa still within touching distance of the play-offs (at least in points, if not position) and the belief that they can tussle with the best in the league.

Villa will welcome Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City to Villa Park on Saturday, another team that have seen a significant turn in form due to a managerial change. Only losing to Wigan and league leaders Newcastle since Warnock’s arrival in the first week of October, which makes Cardiff’s league position of 21st a little deceiving.

However, Steve Bruce still remains unbeaten as Villa manager as well as Villa being the only Championship team to be unbeaten at home, leaving Cardiff as the underdog going into the game. Villa clearly have an opportunity to show everybody why they deserve to still be considered as promotion contenders.

Here’s three ways of making it happen…apart from scoring more goals.

 

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3. In the Hole

 

The performance against Brighton in the first half was nothing to write home about. A good defensive display was ultimately undone by a moment of magic from Glen Murray to cancel out Villa’s well-worked set piece earlier in the game.

However, the arrival of Jack Grealish, as he was subbed on mid-way through the second half showed a glimpse of the potential the England under-21 has. Playing his more favoured ‘No. 10’ role allowed Grealish to dictate the tempo of the game and distribute the ball better than anybody had done all night.

Despite not managing to help the team get the allusive goal which would have won Villa the game, he was playing against the statistically best defense in the league. Although Cardiff have tremendously improved under Neil Warnock, playing Jack Grealish in the hole behind Kodjia and alongside wingers like Ayew and Adomah, could be the key to unlocking the Cardiff defence.

 

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