If the Easter period already had a reputation for resurrections, 2019’s version saw the completion of Aston Villa’s remarkable feat of a once dead season sprouting into play-off life after a club-record 10 straight wins.
Villa’s 1-0 win over Millwall, that followed Good Friday’s 2-0 win at Bolton, coupled with results going their way on Easter Monday meant their play-off spot was guaranteed.
With Derby County still to play Bristol City, only one of those teams have a chance of joining Villa in the play-offs, if they better Middlesbrough’s points total.
Due to Villa’s superior goal difference to their rivals (+22), only Derby County can now finish above them in the chasing pack of teams, but that would need Villa to lose their remaining two games and Derby to win their remaining three.
Fifth place is certainly the likely finish for Villa this season, which would secure a two-leg play-off semi-final against West Brom, who themselves secured a play-off berth with a lacklustre goalless draw against Reading this weekend.
In MOMS opinion, the semi-final will present perhaps Villa’s toughest challenge of the season, not only have Villa failed to beat the Baggies this season, but the second leg is likely to be at the Hawthorns. If Villa get through that and have their key players fit and available, they’ll fancy their chances against any team at Wembley in the final.
When Villa’s winning run had reached nine, after their Bolton away win, comparisons were made to the previous Championship team to chalk up nine wins on the trot, Leicester City in the 2013-14 season.
After the run had helped them gain promotion from the Championship, two seasons later, the Foxes went on to win the Premier League title.
Whether Villa can continue the winning mentality and morale through to the Premier League, if they are successful in the play-offs, may depend if they can keep the majority of their loan players.
Tyrone Mings, Tammy Abraham, Anwar El Ghazi, Axel Tuanzebe and Kortney Hause have all played their part alongside Captain Grealish in the recent turnaround, and there’s no doubt Villa would like to keep as many of their current crop of young and eager loanee players as possible in their continued squad building.
With two tune up games against Leeds United and Norwich City, before the play-offs, there certainly are an exciting few weeks ahead for Villans after early-to-mid season despair.