The Villa Appetiser: Derby County v Aston Villa 2016
There were certainly positives as Villa were held to a draw against Huddersfield on Tuesday.
For 60 minutes of the game we were completely dominant, but a point each was probably fair enough, as Huddersfield fought back. Saturday’s match sees Villa take on one of the league’s tougher opponents.
Di Matteo will take on a man heavily linked with the Villa job at one point, Nigel Pearson, who brings with him tons of Championship experience.
The Rams are usually fairly formidable at home, and under the scrutiny of the Sky cameras, it will be another tough away game for Villa.
Pearson on Villa
“It’s a big game, isn’t it? Both clubs would certainly like it to be a Premier League fixture – and it is a difficult game for both teams.
“Aston Villa are continuing to make changes to their squad, have started to show positive signs and we will have to be at our best against them.
“Looking at how we got through the game against Preston on Tuesday, I have seen some more positive things from us.
“I am really looking forward to the game and I am very hopeful that our players manage the big occasions well; that is something that I am confident we can do.”
“There was no crossover between the Aston Villa and the Derby situations.
“I’m always very wary of the types of stories where it’s said you trade one off for the other and it’s comparative. It didn’t happen like that.
“The negotiation that went on, went on. It didn’t happen. Then this opportunity came along and it did materialise – and I’m delighted that I’m here.”
Di Matteo on Derby
“We have a positive mindset. We see we are making progress.
“Obviously we were a bit disappointed with the result on Tuesday. We don’t think it reflected the performance we put in.
“But I think over a long season, if you keep putting good performances in the result will eventually fall for you.
“I see a group working well together and trying hard to get good results.
“I am confident we will be competitive.
“[Derby are] a team that has been together for a while now.
“When you look at the last two seasons, they have had the final and semi-final.
“It will be a very tough game. It should be an interesting game.”
Derby have conceded just three times in their last eight normal league games at home
12 April 2008 Derby 0 Villa 6
It was a memorable day for Villa fans the last time these two teams met in the Villa league. Petrov from the half way line!
Derby – Last five matches at home: W 1, D 2, L 2
Villa– Last five matches away: L 5
One to Watch
“There was no crossover between the Aston Villa and the Derby situations” – pearson on the villa job
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
An energised crowd has played a big part in the four points we’ve picked up at home this season. So how will we fare away?
Since our first away game, Chester has joined the ranks, and other changes have begun. Hutton no longer looks to be first choice at right-back, while yet another impressive signing in Jedinak has been completed.
While it’s not yet immediately clear if the Australian international will play (Di Matteo remained optimistic in his Friday press conference), his signing represents the continued positive vibe that seems to be sticking around.
Derby picked up a mid-week win away at Preston, which will have come as a bit of a relief to Rams fans after their away loss to Barnsley. Derby’s first game of the season saw a 0-0 draw with Brighton, and while reflective of how difficult Derby are to beat at home, they have failed to score in their last three home matches.
Gollini has made two costly errors now, but Villa’s last two performances have been excellent. Further signings have been mooted by Tony Xia so no-one in the Villa side will be too complacent.
If we learn to be a lot more clinical in front of goal, it could be another memorable match in the Midlands.
It wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see Darren Bent score on Saturday – he hasn’t been prolific at Derby, but it’s the sort of ‘script’ football seems to write.
Hopefully Villa find their shooting boots this weekend.