The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Bolton 2018

It would be fair to describe the QPR away performance as ‘improved’ despite the loss, and a home game against a struggling Bolton side should help us get back on track.

There will be no room for complacency, though.

Bolton are struggling with a lowly position in the Championship table – but so are Villa…

Whatever happens, there will be goals – since the 0-0 draw at Wembley in the 2000 FA Cup semi-final, there has been at least one goal scored in 27 matches we’ve played against Bolton (in all competitions).

We’re on telly, yet again, which proved to be a curse for Smith last week in two away trips. Dean Smith will have to begin a trend of picking up three points or Vila supporters will be better off checking out Cheltenham betting offers than to back Villa for promotion.

Form

ASTON VILLA

17th in the league table with the 14th best home record.

Last five matches at home: W 2, D 2, L 1 

BOLTON

19th in the league table with the 14th best away record.

Last five matches away: D 3, L 2 

Smith on Bolton

“It’ll be another game that Aston Villa are expected to win. But they’ll have something to say about that.

“Phil Parkinson did a great job last year in keeping them up.

“They’ve also had a lot of off-field issues that they’ve handled very well.

“They’ve got a capable squad who can cause teams problems. They beat Derby a few weeks ago, who in my opinion have been one of the best teams in the league this season.

“Bolton have players capable of scoring goals and we’ll have to be at our best on the night.”

Parkinson on Villa

“It’s been hugely frustrating.

“The performances have deserved more points than we’ve got recently but we’ve still got double the amount of points at this stage than we had last year.

“So the overall picture is better, but obviously recently we haven’t picked up the points we should’ve done.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t feel sorry for ourselves.

“We’ve got it within the group to turn this indifferent run around and I’m confident we will do it.

“There’s no motivation required at all.

“It’s a great stage to play at, Villa Park.

“They’ve not had a great start to the season.

“When you look at it there was always going to be a bit of a fallout from losing the playoff final, and unfortunately Steve Bruce is no longer there but they’ve got a terrific manager in Dean and we’re looking forward to it.”

 

Memory Match

18th Sep 2010 – Aston Villa 1 – 1 Bolton

An early goal from Ashley Young was cancelled out by Kevin Davies. Stephen Ireland, who has just signed for Friday’s opponents, was in the starting XI for Villa that day…

Player to Watch

Clayton Donaldson – While the striker hasn’t found the net this season, he tormented our defence at Villa Park last season (as a Sheffield United player).

Embed from Getty Images

outside of the top flight, Villa have NEVER lost a home league match against Bolton.

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

It was always going to be a difficult task to play three games in six days, but to get a return of just three points was a disappointment.

Time is needed for the Villa squad to adapt to the methods of the new Villa manager, but we’re sitting in 17th place in the Championship table, and we need to start picking up points or the season will be lost.

Perhaps unsurprisingly after three quick-fire games, Smith has injury issues to contend with.

Bjarnason, who has looked good in the last few games, will likely not be involved, so it will be either Whelan or Hourihane to take his place.

After managing to keep Bolton up last season following promotion, Phil Parkinson is a man under pressure, but the match won’t be easy.

We only just about managed to beat Bolton at Villa Park last season in a 1-0 victory, a match which saw Neil Taylor given a red card in the 94 minute.

Villa fans will of course recognise the man in charge of Bolton. Parkinson also masterminded our infamous League Cup semi-final exit in 2012/13 when manager of Bradford City.

We’ve picked up just two victories in 13, and we’re facing another side desperate for points…

“When you look at it there was always going to be a bit of a fallout from losing the playoff final” – parkinson on villa

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

Bolton had the chance to draw clear of the relegation zone last weekend, but were booed off after a 1-0 defeat to Hull City, who are also down near the bottom.

They’ve managed just two goals in their last eight Championship games – failing to score in each of their two.

While Villa fans may have felt deflated after another away loss, we were unlucky at Loftus Road, and played well enough to have won the game.

Grealish was a man-of-the-match contender for Villa last Friday, while substitute Bolasie also impressed. The on-loan Everton winger could be in line for a first start on Friday evening as he moves closer to full fitness, while Adomah has also trained this week.

Despite everything, our home record is still decent enough, and outside of the top flight, Villa have NEVER lost a home league match against Bolton.

Friday evening’s opponents have scored just twice in their past eight league encounters, which works out at about one goal every six hours.

A third consecutive defeat would be bad news for Villa, but according to the history books, we’ve not lost three in a row since a run of five successive losses in February 2017.

Smith has at least now had a full week to properly prepare his side, and as well as that, he’s enjoyed his managerial encounters with Bolton.

He’s faced them three times in the Championship (with Brentford) and was on the winning side on each of those three occasions.

Hopefully we can get back to winning ways at Villa Park.

Dean Smith mentioned in his press conference that the match will be ‘poignant’ due to the Remembrance service, and the tragic events in Leicester last weekend.

Our thoughts are with Leicester City and the families of those involved in the accident. Rest in Peace.

UTV.

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