Aston Villa v Watford 2015
The emotional rollercoaster that accompanies supporting Aston Villa never ceases to amaze. After a plucky performance against Man City at home, any hopes of building on that game’s defensive solidity were crushed in the 4-0 loss to Everton. Admittedly Everton played well, but the lack of fight from Garde’s men was worrying. A home tie against Watford, safely in mid-table, will prove another tough task for Villa. Can Garde give the fans something to smile about?
Troy Deeney has scored three goals in his last four games for Watford
Garde on Watford
“I know that everyone expects us to win the game – and I’m the first one and the players also.
“But I am not expecting to have an easy game because if you look at the Watford results until now, they have done very well. It shows you how good they are.
“I think they are still in a positive mood since they have been promoted to the Premier League.
Garde on Watford clash
”It is a huge game but it is not the end of the season, nobody will be relegated at the end of the weekend. Well I hope, if that is so then we are in more trouble than I thought!
”It would be a huge boost in confidence for us to win this weekend. We want to, of course, win this game and we are going to try and do it in the way we want.
”But we will also accept a victory in the last minute, I have no problem with that.
”The first minutes will be important for everyone but the result at the end will be more important.”
Flores on Troy Deeney
“He is very competitive, he never wants to lose and not against Aston Villa, it is not in his mind.
“He manages this kind of situation very well, (it) is an extra motivation for the players so I talked with him about this matter for maybe two minutes.
“I don’t feel scared or worried or anything. I feel very calm about it.”
Deeney on the Best Place to Score a Goal
“Villa Park. It is a wonderful stadium, (the club) probably has the biggest fanbase in the Midlands and my granddad was a die-hard Villa fan, so it will be nice for that moment.
“To do it in front of the Holte End, with thousands swearing at me will be lovely!”
20th January 2007 Aston Villa 2 Watford 0
An own goal from Gavin Mahon and a 90th minute strike from Agbonlahor secured the points.
Villa – Last five matches at home: D 2, L 3
Watford – Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2
Watford have lost both Premier League trips to Villa Park
One to Watch
Troy Deeney – Once on trial at Villa, the Birmingham City fan has carried on last season’s goalscoring exploits with three goals so far.
We have only managed 37 goal attempts on target (the lowest in the league), so it’s no surprise that Garde hasn’t even seen a goal yet.
12 league games have gone by now without a victory and the 1-0 win at Bournemouth with what looked like an exciting new squad seems years ago. Another loss to Flores’ men on Saturday could see us match the club record of 13 consecutive games without a win, set in 2012.
Statistics like the above are an unpleasant reminder of the troubles of recent seasons, but while just about staying up has became the norm, the figures look even more worrying this time around.
After 13 games this season we’ve managed five points, significant due to the fact that no Premier League team has ever avoided the drop after that amount at this stage. It gets worse. Lose to Watford on Saturday and Villa will equal the league record for lowest points tally after 14 matches of a season.
We’ve lost exactly half of the last 76 league games at Villa Park since December 2011 – so much for a fortress.
Watford meanwhile are on an upward curve, sitting comfortably in 13th position. They’ve only lost two of their last seven league away games.
While several associated with Villa (including Micah Richards recently) have blamed a lack of experience, Premier League newcomer Troy Deeney has scored three goals in his last four games for Watford – more than he managed in his previous 17 appearances.
“To (Score) do in front of the Holte End, with thousands swearing at me will be lovely!” – Deeney on scoring at Villa park
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
Even a goal would lift the cloud that seems to hover over Villa Park. We’ve only scored twice in the last six matches.
Villa seem to be lacking any sort of cohesion. Yes, the draw against Man City was a good result, but to lose heavily at Goodison after Garde’s talk of building a base was a shocking indication that the problems run deep at Villa.
Grealish’s social life is the last of Villa’s problems but hopefully Richard’s recent rallying cry (the skipper suggested players are unwilling to run the extra mile) gives some of the squad the boot up the backside they need.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Fair play to Watford. Despite deciding not to carry on with the manager that got them to the Premier League, they’ve been impressive this season.
Even a Villa-esque mass of squad additions hasn’t seemed to stem the momentum gained from promotion to the Premier League for Flores’ men.
At the highest level though you don’t always get the result you deserve which was evident when Bastian Schweinsteiger scored a late winner at Vicarage Road last weekend.
In a good mid-table position you can forgive the Hornets a little inconsistency, but it would be ideal if that gut-punch of a loss means Watford are less confident ahead of a trip to Villa Park.
Take a glance at the history books and you’ll see that Villa have never lost at home to Watford in the highest division (W2, D2). In addition to this, Watford didn’t score in any of the previous four league meetings between the clubs – recording a draw and three losses.
A routine win like the one recorded the last time we met at Villa Park in 2007 might be a bit too much to ask, but who knows how much of an impact three points, no matter how we get them, could have on morale.
Saturday’s game is massive and we simply must get something from the game. At the very least, hopefully we see a performance that takes the attention away from off-the-field issues.
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