The Villa Appetiser: Brentford v Aston Villa 2016
After some refreshingly smart moves in the transfer market, the atmosphere around Villa is pretty good. But there’s a problem – our away form.
With wins on the road a rare commodity for Villa, it’s difficult to feel confident ahead of Tuesday’s clash – even considering our extended break.
It’s the first time we’ve played Brentford away since the 1950s, and the first part of our televised double bill, continued on Saturday.
Can we start winning away games again? Please.
Steve Bruce on Brentford’s Dean Smith
“He’s walked in and managed to continue the good work they’ve had.
“He’s a very good lad, Dean, and he’s a Villa fan. I’ve got to know him over the years.
“He’s done a really terrific job as they all have at Brentford.
“It’s one of those success stories. A little small club in the capital. They’ve done very well. I’ve bought a couple of players off them in the past.
“They have bought and traded very well and they’ve got a very shrewd manager who will want to make sure he turns over Aston Villa I’m sure of that.”
Bruce on New Players
“The Barnsley lads have been playing regularly in the Championship anyway. They play week in week out.
“Birkir has had a bit of a rest and a break so he’s as fresh as a daisy. He’s played a couple of reserve matches so he’s okay. Not a problem.
“Henri made his debut against Preston, played very, very well and is better for the week’s training we’ve had.
“There is a possibility I could play all of them – I’ve just got to decide because we played very well during the last game and I’m very mindful of that.
“I’ve brought them here to help us, improve us and help the squad. The way they’ve trained, they’re desperate to play which is good to see.”
Since our relegation, we’ve only won two of FOURTEEN away games
4th February 1953 Brentford 1 Aston Villa 2
The last time we played Brentford was a cup replay following a 0-0 draw four days earlier.
Brentford – Last five matches at home: W 1, D 2, L 2
Villa – Last five matches away: W 1, L 4
One to Watch
Florian Jozefzoon – The winger could make his debut after signing from PSV Eindhoven.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Steve Bruce will have had a lot to consider over the last 10 days.
With a few days extra rest compared to some of our rivals, fitness levels should be optimised, but Bruce may have spent a lot of time working on our ‘achilles heel’ – conceding late goals.
Yet another draw the last time we played brings this season’s tally to 12 draws for Villa – unmatched by any other team in the league.
In addition to that frustrating stat, we’ve now gone five games without a win, suggesting that the Bruce revival needs a kick-start.
Brentford managed a draw at Villa Park earlier in the season when our habit of conceding late goals was even worse, and while they’re in the bottom half of the table, it will be a tough game.
While the London club haven’t reached the heights they saw under previous boss Mark Warburton, Villa fan Dean Smith is doing a great job and will be eyeing three points, especially if he checks out our away form.
Since our relegation, we’ve only won two of FOURTEEN away games…
“I’ve brought them here to help us, improve us and help the squad. The way they’ve trained, they’re desperate to play which is good to see” – BRUCE On new players
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Momentum is very important in football, and unfortunately for 15th placed Brentford, they don’t have a lot of it!
A couple of seasons ago, Brentford finished in the Championship play-off places, but things haven’t gone quite so well this season.
A strong Brentford XI was ruthlessly dispatched by Chelsea in the FA Cup on Saturday, and while there is the advantage of Villa’s contrasting 10 day break, confidence could be low for Dean Smith’s side.
It’s been a long time since we travelled to Brentford. Can we oversee a repeat of the 2-1 win all those decades ago?
A lot of talk has understandably been about Villa’s promising new additions, and Bruce has admitted ALL could feature on Tuesday.
Mile Jedinak’s absence will not be so strongly felt if new boys Bjarnason and Hourihane are set to feature, while Bree will finally offer some competition in the right-back position. As well as this, we also have Kodjia back, and Lansbury will feature having impressed against Preston.
Nine points off the play-off places isn’t insurmountable, and as Bruce alluded to in his press conference, our new players are ready to hit the ground running and make a difference. Add to that the promising display of Andre Green and all of a sudden our squad looks ready for a late league ascent.
Hopefully we can match the performance levels of the first half against Preston and get a positive result this Tuesday.
There’s plenty of time to climb the table – let’s keep going.
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