The Villa Appetiser: Birmingham City v Aston Villa 2016
It’s the game everyone looked for when the fixture list was released. A game that has the same importance regardless of what league the clubs are in.
Early in Steve Bruce’s reign, Villa have a trip to St. Andrews – and it’s the biggest game of the season. Gary Rowett’s Birmingham City have started the season pretty well, while Villa are enjoying a Bruce-led revival.
It’s the first time these sides have met in the second tier since 1987-88, and the first time we’ve met in the league for five years. Who will win the bragging rights?
Gary Rowett on Villa
Steve Bruce on Blues clash
Birmingham city are winless in eight derby league games
16 Jan 2011 Birmingham 1 Villa 1
An equaliser from Collins rescued a point after an opening goal by Roger Johnson.
Birmingham City – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 3
Villa– Last five matches away: W 1, D 2, L 2
One to Watch
Gary Rowett has done a good job at St Andrew’s with limited resources. Joining the club in 2014, he saved them from the perilous position Lee Clark had left them in.
In their last game it was an unhappy return for Rowett as Blues travelled to his old club Burton Albion, and they lost 2-0. But the Blues are unbeaten in their last five home games in the Championship, winning four of these games.
While Villa have picked up a whopping seven points from three games, we’ve only beaten Birmingham City once in the last four Second City derbies.
Villa’s local lad Grealish will miss this game due to his suspension, while Elphick remains a doubt for the occasion.
It’s a very hard one to predict, and while Bruce has instilled a tougher mentality in the squad, three points will be very tough during what could be a scrappy encounter.
“we’ll be very confident going into the game” – GARY Rowett on derby
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
While previous managers seem to have set new awful records each week, Bruce has been creating some good stats.
We’ve now won our last two league games, which is as many as we’d won in the previous 29 attempts!
Bruce has quickly found a team selection that works for him, with in-form Kodjia vital – he’s scored four of our last seven league goals.
Aston Villa have had some great memories in the Second City derby. In more recent meetings, the Blues are winless in eight derby league games – losing six, and drawing two.
While Villa seem to have moved away from the defensive frailties that plagued earlier matches, Birmingham have conceded at least two goals in their last three games.
Anything could happen on Sunday, but the stats are promising. We’re unbeaten in the last four visits to St Andrew’s (W 3, D 1).
When we look through the history books, there’s usually a quirky statistic that incorporates some sort of coincidence, acting as a good omen. So how about this one?
We haven’t won three consecutive league games since April 2010, when the third victory in the sequence came against Birmingham City!
Undefeated in 9 of our last 10 games against Birmingham (in all competitions), the signs are good.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the game could be a season definer.
Hopefully Bruce has a few tricks up his sleeve for his return to St Andrew’s!