The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Brentford 2017
The international break actually came at an inconvenient time for Villa.
While it has given the likes of Jonathan Kodjia and Mile Jedinak extra time to recover from their injuries, Villa were enjoying a decent spell.
You can’t help but think of last season’s encounter with Brentford (also in September), where conceding a late goal robbed us of the three points under Roberto Di Matteo. A year later, we haven’t seen too much of an improvement, but we do at least have solid home form.
On the other hand, Brentford have struggled for form next season and will not have been helped by the recent transfer outgoings.
Can Bruce kick off the important month of September with a win?
Bruce on September
“Well September, October they’re all big months. Five of the games out of the seven are at home. It’s a good opportunity to make up for what’s been an average start.
“But when you analyse the first four or five games, we were disappointing in half a game really at Cardiff, apart from that we have done okay. We’ve had a good week leading up to the international break.
“It’s important now for September, can we get where we want to be? That’s obviously going to be the aim.”
Smith on Villa connection and signings
“I’m hoping (Villa friends will be) all wearing Brentford scarves. A few won’t be. My brother knows he better be one who is wearing them.
“During the window, they’ve brought in (Robert) Snodgrass. I’m sure there’s a loan fee and the wages and it shows the calibre of player they’ve got.
“They’ve started to turn a corner. They were very good against Norwich. Along with the players they’ve bought they’ve had players coming through the system.
“They’re producing players through their academy and they have used the loan system well with Snodgrass and the boy from Tottenham (Josh Onomah) as well.”
“I think (signing Terry is) a coup for the Championship. There’s a lot of media attention to the ex England captain and Chelsea captain going into the Championship.
“He’s done well. It’s a big coup for the club. My brother is quite happy with seeing it happen and a few of my friends who have been there. It’s a big coup but also a big club.”
14th Sep 2016 Villa 1 Brentford 1
Villa conceded a late goal to cancel out Kodjia’s debut strike
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 2, L 1
Brentford – Last five matches away: D 2, L 3
One to Watch
Ollie Watkins – the forward has created more chances from open play (12) than any other player in the Championship this season
Since the start of the last campaign, Conor Hourihane has been involved in more league goals than any other Championship midfielder (11 goals and 14 assists)
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
There aren’t too many stats in the archives when it comes to Villa v Brentford, and the 1-1 draw at last season was the first match between the two sides at Villa Park since 1953!
Then came the 3-0 win for Brentford at Griffin Park, their first ever win over Villa, and this was after we’d signed Scott Hogan from them.
Admittedly things have probably improved since we played them last season but there are still issues to consider.
We mentioned the late goal we conceded in this fixture last season already, and there are signs that our defensive frailties remain. Villa have conceded the most second-half goals in the Championship this season – a worrying statistic for a team eyeing promotion.
This wouldn’t be such an issue if we were scoring plenty of goals, and while the last league performance against Norwich was good, it’s the only time we’ve scored more than one goal in our last 12 league games.
Brentford have struggled so far this season, but they have struck the woodwork more than any other second tier team this campaign, and also managed to win two cup games away from home…
“They’ve started to turn a corner. They were very good against Norwich” – smith on villa
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Brentford have been impressive over the last couple of seasons, but can’t seem to get going. They head to Villa Park looking for their first win of the season, and haven’t won away since March.
Their form will not be helped by their transfer outgoings last month. Key players Jota, Colin and Dean were all sold to Birmingham City; all three were involved in their last two games, so their normal lineup will be much-changed at Villa Park.
Villa had a pretty good transfer window, shifting a few unwanted players and bringing in the likes of Snodgrass, who could feature this weekend. Hogan hasn’t lived up to the price tag so far but will be keen to prove a point against his previous employers.
Since the start of the last campaign, Conor Hourihane has been involved in more league goals than any other Championship midfielder (11 goals and 14 assists). Fellow midfielder Onomah has also impressived and with Jedinak possibly returning, our home form could continue.
Kodjia’s not quite ready, but win on Saturday and the season will start to look bright again. Three points will be tough despite Brentford’s form, but the history books are again on our side – we have never lost at home to Brentford in any competition!