The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Ipswich Town 2017
Last weekend’s defeat to Forest saw our wretched run continue.
Losing games is one thing, but our recent defeats have been to teams who are, like us, in the bottom half of the table.
Ipswich at home seems a decent chance for Villa to get back to winning ways, with the new signings eager to impress on their Villa Park debut.
Can we record our first victory since Boxing Day?
Steve Bruce on pressure
“We’re Aston Villa and we should be under pressure.
“We’ve had a bad January which is shame because just when we were getting ourselves into some sort of order but we’ve had a bad run and that happens.
“How are you going to react? Roll your sleeves up, get on with it, get on and do your job.
“We could do with winning a game, however we do it, it changes everything.
“Even the big teams go through a run, were going through a poor run at the moment.
“Let’s go back to basics, whatever formation we play.
“We’ve now got four out of five games at home. If we’re going to do anything with the season, now is the most critical part.
Bruce on Mick McCarthy
“I’ve known Mick and got to know him and his family over the years.
“The one thing with Mick is he never changes. What you see is what you get.
“He’s become a friend, he’s a very good man, genuine, honest, hardworking and when you come up against his teams you always know what you’re going to get.
“Don’t worry, my team will be advised on exactly what’s coming because they always play the same way.
McCarthy on Villa / Bruce
“We go back a number of years because we’re a similar age.
“I thought it was an excellent appointment after they went looking everywhere trying to get sexy options. I guess me and Brucey aren’t too sexy but we know what we’re doing and do good jobs wherever we’ve been.
“He’s had to change it around again. He inherited a big group of players, has gone in, he’s had some good results, it’s calmed down a bit and then he’s gone and got Conor Hourihane, James Bree, Henri Lansbury, Scott Hogan, Neil Taylor from Swansea.
“They’re all good players but they have to settle into a team, I’m hoping that’s not going to be the case this weekend, I’m hoping he’s going to need a little bit more time to bed them all in.”
“Brucey, good luck to him, he’s tried and tested in the Championship, and in the Premier League, to be quite honest.
“But he’s brought good players in, the full-back from Barnsley [Bree], Hourihane, everybody seemed to be chasing him.
“Lansbury, we all know his quality. Hogan, I’d have had him in a heartbeat, I’d have had him in the Premier League, to be quite honest. I was asked by a few and I said I would sign him if that was the case.
“He brought really good Championship players in. But they need to bed in, they need to settle in, you can’t just bring five, six, seven new ones in and expect them all just to be a team.”
villa have lost five of their last six matches
5th January 2013 Villa 2 Ipswich 1
Goals from Bent and Weimann saw off Ipswich in the FA Cup the last time we met at Villa Park.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 3, D 2
Ipswich – Last five matches away: W 1, D 1, L 3
One to Watch
Tom Lawrence – The on-loan midfielder has scored eight of Ipswich’s nine goals in all competitions since the start of the year.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
It’s a good thing we didn’t sign any players from Ipswich in January, because facing the former clubs of our new recruits has not gone well so far!
Recent results had been bad enough before the new arrivals but the January introductions have failed to arrest our slump in form.
Our bad run started after we narrowly beat Burton 2-1. While a lot has changed since then, it remains our last victory.
That we haven’t won since Boxing Day shows that the play-offs are probably out of our reach – we’re 16 points away from them now.
We’ve lost five of our last six matches (and we have the worst record of any Championship side in 2017) – this puts even more unnecessary pressure on our home games.
Ipswich have hovered around the play-offs in recent seasons and have failed to match those heights so far during this campaign.
They did however put in an improved performance last weekend against promotion-chasing Reading, thanks to two goals from on-loan Leicester midfielder Tom Lawrence. They’re scrapping to move up the table, so you can bet they will make it a difficult afternoon for Villa.
We’re still unbeaten, of course, but how long will that last?
“[bruce] brought really good Championship players in. But they need to bed in, they need to settle in, you can’t just bring five, six, seven new ones in and expect them all just to be a team” – MCCarthy ON VILLA
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Our last two defeats have shared traits that made them un-winnable for the current Villa team. Both were away games, and both were televised…
While our form looks bad in 2017, four of the five league matches this year have been away from home. This is no excuse, but a return to Villa Park given our overall home form should bring with it some encouragement.
Several Villa players could be set for Villa Park debuts while Neil Taylor could play his first game for the club.
Throwing all the new players in away at Brentford seemed the wrong decision in hindsight, but there was an improved overall performance away at Forest, and Hogan showed signs of promise. As Hourihane said this week – their goalkeeper was man of the match. Villa luck!
As amazing as it seems, Villa are now unbeaten in 14 home games which is the best run since November 2001, when we went 15 games without defeat under John Gregory.
16th placed Ipswich have struggled this season and this was never more evident than in their defeat to Non-League Lincoln in the FA Cup last month. Since then, McCarthy’s men have picked up just two points out of a possible 12.
Historically we have done well against the Tractor Boys, and we’ve lost just once during our last 16 league meetings with Saturday’s opponents.
Even if the play-offs are potentially now out of reach, hopefully we see a good performance from Villa now that we have had a couple of games to gel.
Besides, it can’t be as bad as our 0-0 encounter away at Ipswich earlier in the season, surely?!
Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball
Follow MOMS on Twitter – @oldmansaid