I’ll be honest, at the start of the season, I expected Villa to double a few Championship teams this season and not just the bottom two teams (Rotherham and Wigan). That said, I also expected Villa to pitch up around the play-off spots, even if they didn’t bounce back at the first attempt.
If it wasn’t for a shockingly poor January, we’d all be able to still talk about a possible surge to the play-offs, but Villa are rapidly running out of games to catch up. While there maybe renewed optimism on Twitter from fans, in the real world where people can do maths, thoughts are very much on next season.
Like the recent Rotherham away win, Villa were frustrating for large spells, with Wigan having a few decent chances earlier in the game to change the destiny of it. Yet, given the terrible start to 2017, any positive result is most welcome these days. They are certainly baby steps to what hopefully will be eventual promotion.
Here’s five reasons to be cheerful.
1. Samuel Clean Sheets
He’s had his distractors and Villa’s policy this season of young keepers has largely backfired in terms of shipping valuable points, but you can’t argue with Sam Johnstone’s four clean sheets in his last five games.
Wigan was perhaps one of his better games in terms of the number of saves he actually had to make.
— My Old Man Said (@oldmansaid) March 18, 2017
While his distractors may have quietened down, it’ll certainly be interesting to see whose jersey he will be playing in next season.
2. Hogan’s Villa Cherry Popped
After a frustrating early injury in his Villa career it was great to see Scott Hogan bonus back instantly by netting his first Villa goal on his return. For me the rest of the season is all about Scott Hogan and how he will play with Kodjia in Bruce’s preferred 4-4-2.
If Kodjia and Hogan can connect and become a proper partnership, then Villa may stamp ‘PROMOTION’ as the destination in their Championship passport next season.
3. Top Six Beater
Ah, I just remembered I didn’t do a Five Reasons after the Sheffield Wednesday game, so there must be a notable mention to Villa taking a Top Six scalp. For most part, Villa’s wins this season have come against teams at the bottom end of the table and they’ve fallen short when faced with a better quality of opposition. The three points against the Owls was certainly a step in the right direction.
We’re one of the big cats of the league so we should a) play like that and b) carry that attitude.
Lets see if we can beat Fulham, Reading, Brighton and co, as we close out the season.
4. Form Kings
After Villa’s win against Sheffield Wednesday Villa were sixth in the Championship form table (last six games), but now after the Wigan three points, they top the table with 15 points. If we stay top until the end of the season, then with a few collapses by other teams, those Twitter optimists may have a point.
More importantly though, whether we end up in the end of season table, such an in-form finish will bode well for next season.
CB Mile Jedinak Free Shirts Delivery
I was going to give the final reason to our new centre-back Mile Jedinak, but he was a little bit too casual at times against Wigan, so instead I’m going to give it to the postmen who will be delivering the first round of the free retro shirts to the fans that got in on the offer.
The extra good news is that MOMS suggested bets of Villa wins against Rotherham (4/6) and Wigan (6/4) to trigger the offer also came in. The offer won’t be open much longer, so if you want to grab yourself a shirt and are based in the UK, get on it pronto here – http://bit.ly/FreeAVFCRetro
First shipment of the MOMS free Villa retro shirt offer about to go out. Villans who applied in the first round of the offer should get their shirts next week. Thanks to organisers Play With a Legend for the picture. Offer still open for a short period, check link in profile bio for details of how to get your’s. #retrofootball #utv #avfc
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PS – An extra reason to be cheerful and get a few laughs is the return of the MOMS Podcast, listen below to the latest episode: