Live TV Hoodoo Broken
It’s been a bloody long time since Villa have won a live televised league game. I think it dates back to 1989 when we beat Everton 6-2 at Villa Park… Joking aside, it’s actually been 742 days since the last time we won when the live TV cameras were present. Although, when Villa beat Leicester that day, I was on the Holte, so it doesn’t personally feel like a TV game.
The more important stat is it’s Villa’s second away win in 16 months. A lot more away wins will be needed to escape this division any time soon.
Yes, last season’s disaster in the Premier League has racked up all kinds of poor runs, but this season hasn’t helped. The span without an away win was certainly taken further than it should have gone this season, but at least these kind of runs are now being broken.
Another bad run vanquished was the no win at Loftus Road against QPR for 25-years (in seven attempts) stat.
Bottom of the Championship Mindsweeping
We’ve taken care of business against the bottom teams. While this is a positive stat, it’s also one for concern. Out of Villa’s seven wins this season, five of them have been against teams in the bottom six. The upcoming game against Burton will hopefully make a full house of wins against the bottom six.
Of course, the cause for concern here is Villa will remain a mid-table Championship team until they start beating all-comers and not just the weakest teams in the division.
QPR got beat by Rotherham recently and failed to manage a single shot on target at home against Villa. If Villa hadn’t have beaten them, you’d have raised an eyebrow to any promotion prospects.
Some centre-back partnerships just seem to work without being planned by the manager. Remember Ciaran Clark and Jores Okore working better than any of other combination under Paul Lambert? That only came about due to injuries to the two or three other centre backs ahead of them in the pecking order. Also, when they played with anyone else, they never seemed as good. Likewise Baker and Chester.
Villa certainly looked better with Baker partnering Chester than when Tommy Elphick was in there. Bruce had restored Elphick back as the team captain against Norwich, but soon took it away after dropping him against QPR.
Baker seems a decent centre-back at this level. While he’s not the most astute reader of the game, that doesn’t really impact itself on his game at Championship level like it doesn’t against the movement of the top class strikers of the Premier League.
It certainly means Tony Xia will be saved a few bob in the January transfer window on a centre-back, so he can focus funds on the desperate need in midfield.
Kodjia Top of the Pile
Kodjia may have missed a penalty against QPR (so that’s why he let Rudy Gestede take one against Cardiff City!) and has tended to be a little selfish in areas where he should involve teammates, but he’s principally paid to put the ball in the net and that’s what he’s been doing in style.
From the start of the 15/16 Championship season, Jonathan Kodjia has netted more goals (26) than any other player in the division.
Now that Bruce looks to have decided that playing him out wide was too much of a sacrifice, there should be plenty more goals to come if he plays centrally.
To reach his true potential though, Kodjia will certainly need improvements to be made tonthe midfield in January, as chances aren’t created as regularly as he’d perhaps like.
We’ve mentioned how Villa have mainly won against the league’s weaker teams, but January begins the year with the type of fixtures for Villa they should amass points from, if they want to be taken seriously for promotion.
Cardiff (a), Wolves (a), Preston (h), Bristol City (h) and Brentford (a).
Now, lets get as close to five wins out of five as possible.
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Worth a Listen: MOMS Speaks to Big Ron
(Interview starts at nine minute mark)