Aston Villa’s remained 100% in the league for 2018, with a 3-1 win against Barnsley, to further the seriousness of their automatic promotion challenge.
The first half may have been a lot more impressive than the second, but there was only one winner.
Until Villa play Sheffield United in over a week’s time, here’s five reasons to be cheerful as Villa fans…
Only the woodwork prevented a Scott Hogan hat-trick. While receiving praise in recent Five Reasons column, the good news is he’s getting better, as is, importantly, the service to him.
Hogan essentially set up the win within seven minutes with his two well-taken goals.
According to Opta stats Hogan only had 12 touches during the game, which sounds incredible considering his influence on winning the game. Playing as an out-and-out striker, as long as two or three of those touches are shots on goal, then his technique as a finisher will see Villa good.
2. Grealish Bossing It
Repeating praise is becoming a habit of this column it seems. Another player that deserves an additional shout out is Jack Grealish, for yet again playing like a main man.
As well as his contributions that led directly to goals (especially his assist for Hourihane’s goal), his wee brush with the referee (see below) proved an enjoyable moment for the Villa Park faithful.
— MY OLD MAN SAID (@oldmansaid) January 21, 2018
3. Winning Run
Four wins on a trot and hopefully a growing winning run will continually be mentioned in this column over the next few weeks. A key game will be the trip to Sheffield United, win that and a long winning run could be very much on the cards.
4. Legit Home Form
Over the last season and a half, the Villa boss and pundits have referred to Villa’s home form being ‘great’ or ‘excellent’. The actual results proved this to be untrue, unless of course you have low standards. Villa have been bogged down with too many home draws and their home form has ranked around the 7th best in the league.
However, Villa’s recent wins against Bristol City and Barnsley have improved their standing in the home record table this season. They now have the 3rd best home record (W 8 D 5 L 1) in the division and that’s only three points off top dog Wolves.
Now we can officially say we’re very good at home. With home games against many of our promotion rivals to come, that will be increasingly important.
5. Automatic in Sight
Derby have been rampant in recent weeks and threatened to run away with the second automatic promotion spot. Luckily, Villa recovered from their winless five games in December to stay in touch.
Derby’s recent two home draws has meant Villa have gained four points on them in the last two fixtures and now sit just three points behind.
Further good news is Derby are yet to visit Villa Park, which will be one of the key remaining fixtures of the season.
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