The Villa Appetiser: Brentford v Villa 2017
When Villa score first, we usually do OK under Steve Bruce, but the Sheffield match was the first time we’ve thrown away a two goal lead in a while.
Villa have now slipped to 8th going into the trip to Brentford where they aim to make amends for the disappointment – a ground where a new look Villa team lost 3-0 last season.
Failure to win would make it five games without a win.
12th in the league table with the 16th best home record.
Last five matches at home: W 2, D 3
6th in league table with 9th best away record.
Last five matches away: W 2, D 2, L 1
Steve Bruce on Sheffield United disappointment and Brentford
“I’m like everyone – disappointed that we’re going home with a point after a wonderful start.
“It’s like I said last week, when you play big games and make individual mistakes there’s nothing you can do about it.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s human error. We’re all guilty of it from time to time.
“After gifting them two goals they’ve made it very difficult for us. It put us all on edge.
“In the end, we huffed and puffed but couldn’t get the win.
“It’s a shame because Sheffield United didn’t do enough to win the game.”
“The great thing about football is there’s always another game.
“I’ll look to freshen it up. We’ve got Tuesday-Saturday now.
“There’s a few players who’ve been waiting patiently in the wings.
“I believe we need a freshness going down to Brentford and I’ll look at that.”
Dean Smith on Villa
“I remember going to watch Aston Villa at Birmingham when all Boxing Day games were local derbies and Villa lost 3-0 so I remember the disappointment.
“Boxing Day games are special. It’ll be a new one on me kicking off at 7.30pm but I hear ticket sales are going well.
“The expectations at Aston Villa are higher than most clubs in the Championship. They expect to be in the Premier League so there’s a massive expectation on them. Once you’re relegated you’re a Championship team.”
4th February 1953 – Brentford 1 Villa 2
This match was a 4th round replay after a 0-0 stalemate and is the last time we won away at Brentford!
Just under 22,000 people were there to watch the Villa victory, with the goals coming from Tommy Thompson and David Walsh.
One to Watch
Lasse Vibe – The Dane scored twice against Norwich on Friday to help Brentford to an away win.
Brentford have not lost in five fixtures at Griffin Park when they’ve faced top-half teams
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Individual errors have been to blame for the last two matches now, and we don’t look like the team of a month or so ago.
It’s now on Villa to go and make up for that disappointment at Griffin Park. It won’t be easy – Brentford have just two defeats in their past 16 league games.
Bruce spoke of the various ways of looking at our current form. We’ve lost one of our last seven, but drawn three of our last four – not exactly promotion form.
Just under a year ago we played Brentford away after splashing out around £10 million on their very own Scott Hogan. The 3-0 defeat on that day was perhaps evidence that they could find goals from elsewhere.
A variety of goal-scorers does not appear to be a luxury Villa are blessed with, and while Hogan will likely start the Boxing Day clash, we haven’t been creating too many chances of late.
Brentford have not lost in five fixtures at Griffin Park when they’ve faced top-half teams, and it’s been almost a month since Villa last won in the league.
Away performances have been improving this season but to put this in perspective, three of our four away wins were recorded against teams 17th in the table or below.
There always seems to be an usual statistic ahead of each Villa game and this one comes with a Boxing Day theme. We’ve won just one of our last 21 away matches on Boxing Day – and that was at Derby in 1999…
“The expectations at Aston Villa are higher than most clubs in the Championship. They expect to be in the Premier League so there’s a massive expectation on them” – Dean Smith on villa
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
We haven’t faced Brentford too many times in league history, but when you dig back into the archives, it’s reasonably encouraging.
While Villa haven’t won against Brentford in the last three meetings, the history books are on our side.
The horrendous 3-0 defeat last season at Griffin park was their only win in five previous home meetings in all competitions over Villa, losing the four other matches between 1935 and 1953.
Brentford have their own Boxing Day worries to contend with, too. After four out of five Boxing Day wins in league matches, the Bees haven’t won any of their last three.
Scott Hogan will likely be expected to lead the line on Boxing Day, with Bruce promising squad rotation.
Perhaps a change of personnel will allow Villa to play with a bit more creativity and freedom.
If we can freshen things up, there’s a chance Hogan can get a first league goal of the season. Surely he has a point to prove?
Hopefully Villa play more like a team looking to 2018 with optimism rather than one with a Christmas hangover.
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