It was a game that a big percentage of Villa supporters would have settled with a point from, considering it was against a rival for the promotion places. However, if Villa wanted to convince themselves that automatic promotion was up for grabs, three points was where it was at.
Regardless of, what at times was a scrappy performance, Villa set a clear marker down with a win that made it five on the trot and potentially sets up a longer run with two home games to come.
Here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villa Fans…
Of all the remaining fixtures this was one of three that MOMS thought, if Villa won, would certainly point the team in the direction of automatic promotion. It turned out to be the old classic routine of winning despite not playing that great, which has always been the hallmark of successful teams.
Also, the win was the first time in 20-years Villa have strung five wins together. It last happened two decades ago under John Gregory, when his Villa team were top of the Premier League in 1998.
2. Last Min
Last minute winners…what’s not to love, but it’s so much sweeter when it’s a killer goal too. Jack Grealish tried it earlier, cutting in from the left to send his effort flashing past the far post, but Robert Snodgrass certainly hit paydirt with his effort.
— MOMS Podcast (@AstonVillaPod) January 31, 2018
3. Ice, Ice, Baby
Villa’s new Icelandic defensive midfielder was a revelation, building on his recent performances in the position. Birkir Bjarnason was on point with his tackling, smooth with his forward passing and added an energy that the older legs of Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak haven’t brought to the role. He also managed to get forward from deep to support attacks.
When Jedinak came on, towards the end, Bjarnason shifted further forward and then ended up laying the ball off for Villa’s winner.
He has to start the next game and beyond, if he carries on playing as he has been.
Looking over to the Villa bench, Bjarnason has the most competition for his position than any other Villa starter against the Blade. Villa now have three legit defensive midfielders breathing down his neck in Jedinak, Whelan and new boy Axel Tuanzebe.
Bruce had said before the game that Tuanzebe would see some minutes in the Sheffield United game, but there was no point in subbing Bjarnason with him, so he was iced out.
4. Home Comforts
Villa currently have the third best home record in the league and their next two fixtures are at home to lowly Burton and Birmingham City, giving them a chance to extend their winning run.
The Blues currently have the worst away record in the league, collecting only seven from an available 42 points (including just one win).
Meanwhile, Burton have proved tougher to beat, having got a positive result in eight of their 14 games. Still, their 16 point haul is only the 14th best away record in the division, so Villa should fancy their luck.
The upshot is Villa have a great chance to make it seven wins on the trot and really pressure Derby for that second place automatic promotion spot.
Speaking of Villa Park, MOMS had the pleasure, along with the AVST, of announcing this week that Villa Park has been accepted and listed as an asset of community value (ACV) for Villa supporters and the local neighbourhood.
This basically means there is now a level of projection for the stadium (to be renewed in five years) in that supporters would get a heads-up if Villa Park was put up for sale. If for example, Villa fell on hard times, supporters would also have a six-week period in which they could put a bid in (with longer to raise the funds).