It wasn’t exactly a routine win against Ipswich Town, but having only had one win in their last nine games, Villa’s season was fast haemorrhaging and three points was essential against the league’s bottom team, if Villa’s season was to stay alive.
Villa actually gave up 55% of the possession to Paul Lambert’s team, in stark contrast to earlier games they bossed under Dean Smith. Naturally, they made hard work of a game they had seemingly in control at 2-0. Wasteful finishing and the odd save from an uncertain keeper, kept the door open for the visitors and they almost took advantage of it, hitting a post after pegging it back to 2-1.
Villa most improve and win their next game against Reading, also a bottom-three team, and hopefully they’ll take the Ipswich win and propel themselves onto better things.
While it’s hard to currently be convinced by Villa’s play-off credentials, at least they’re still in the race.
in the meantime, here’s five reasons to be cheerful beyond not getting beat by Paul Lambert on his return to Villa Park…
1. A Bloody Home Win
A win is a win and there hasn’t been one at Villa Park since the 4-2 win against the Blues back in November. It could have been more convincing, but that wouldn’t have exactly been Villa would it?
Tammy Abraham has now scored 19 goals for the season. Topping the Championship’s scoring chart, the on-loan striker’s tally is 36% of Villa’s total of 56.
At the moment, Abraham’s contribution is to act as Villa’s life support system. The fact that he’s not even a Villa player, says a lot about where Aston Villa currently find themselves.
The club’s media department have been hyping Abraham’s exploits by saying he’ll be the first Villa player to score 20 league goals since Peter Withe’s tally that helped win Villa the league in 1980/81.
Really there’s no comparison, Withe’s effort was in the English top tier and helped Villa bag their first title in 71-years.
Abraham will need a supporting cast to step up, if his goals are going to have any worth to the club, come the end of the season.
While Villa lacked cutting edge and the keeper made a few decent saves (despite being prone to spilling the ball early doors), Villa are again creating chances.
After having only two shots on target over the duration of their last two games, 13 of their 23 shots recorded during the Ipswich game found the target.
This will be encouraging to Dean Smith after the team’s attacking threat had faded in recent weeks.
4. FA Cup Help
Three of the four teams currently occupying the play-off spots will play at least one more FA Cup tie, which will help keep them occupied, if Villa decide to worse the play-off issue.
Derby won 1-0 away at Accrington, while West Brom and Middlesbrough will face replays after drawing against Brighton and Newport, respectively.
5. Bruce’s Back
Steve Bruce returns to the Championship. Maybe if he’s managing someone else, some Villa fans will stop obsessing about him.
It was interesting to hear Bruce say this week, that he almost retired from the game after his Villa stint, before accepting the Sheffield Wednesday job.
“I thought long and hard about whether I want to do it again,” said Bruce. “But a phone call was made and before I know it I’m back on the wagon again.”