The Five Reasons column has been on a mini sabbatical due to Villa notching up defeat after defeat, which was hardly inspiring to write about and my humour and patience with this season has long run out to offer up ironic insights.
Again, against Derby, despite the result, Villa were poor. 29% possession at Villa Park. Call the football cops! Still, when you haven’t won in a year approaching it’s third month, you’ve gotta get it however you can.
While we wait for Villa’s second win of 2017, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans…
1.First 2017 Win
The fact that Villa won but the three points didn’t lift them beyond their 17th place in the Championship shows you just how desperate the club’s position had become this year. While this was a performance on par with most we’ve witnessed this season – uninspiring and littered with mistakes – the result was everything.
Relegation had become a topic of conversation, but this three points should hopefully instil enough confidence in the team to kick-on and make sure a mid-table finish is more likely. Improvement in the team’s play will be needed though, if Villa want to make a more positive imprint on next season.
2. Clean sheet
It’s desperate that such things like clean sheets are reasons to be cheerful. Villa were a lot more resilient than in recent weeks, so that is a plus point. Yet, why once James Chester had scored did Villa seemingly become the away team with only 29% of the possession? It was frustrating to watch and pretty criminal for a home team.
Surely Bruce needs get more progressive that his current tactical approach. We have the players and we’re not Wigan, Blues or Hull.
3. Grass is Greener
It’s good to see Andre Green starting and making an impression. The young left-winger came achingly close to opening his senior Villa account too with a stooping header that came off the post.
With his pace and left-foot there’s no doubt he brings balance to the top end of a 4-3-3 and currently is the best option in the position.
4. Three Worst
Lets face it, there are at least three worse teams in the Championship than Villa, so the aforementioned talk of relegation is unnecessary. The eight point cushion Villa have now from the bottom three should be enough to ease any fear. Surely, building on the back of the confidence gained from this Derby win, the team will win a bunch of the remaining fixtures to end this disappointing season. Three points against Bristol City on Tuesday would be a good start.
5. Extended Preseason
Forget about the mooted preseason trip to Germany and Portugal, Villa’s preseason pretty much starts now, with this season a write off. Once a few more points are on the board, they’ll be a chance for Bruce to prove he has a vision for how Villa will play next season, because playing the way we have been, they’ll be no chance of promotion next season.
Playing without pressure should allow the players to play a bit more freely too. While the games will be deadwood ties with only pride at stake, hopefully the football will be better and offer renewed hope for the future.