The Villa Appetiser: Bristol City v Aston Villa 2017
With four goals in each of the last two Villa games, confidence is surprisingly high, and suddenly the season doesn’t look so bleak.
At the start of the season Villa were perhaps not good value as favourites for the title, considering they didn’t have their team down pat, but after a week of promise, it might now be time to check out free football betting tips out there and consider Aston Villa for their promotion and title betting odds in the coming season.
There only remains one issue, though. Those two games were at Villa Park, while Friday’s match sees us travel to Bristol, and to make things worse, we’re in front of the Sky cameras…
We’ll have to start winning away games at some point, but Bristol are in decent form and won this fixture last season.
Can we keep our momentum going?
Johnson on Villa
“Their confidence levels are up, that’s for sure.
“They’re a good side – you’ve only got to look at the finances on offer and the money they’ve spent.
“When you’re bringing in a leader like John Terry, one of the best leaders the country has ever had, to play in the Championship, you know it’s going to be a strong side.
“But it’s Friday night, under the lights, at Ashton Gate and it’s up to our players give a really good showing of ourselves.”
Bruce on away form
“It’s a better week. That’s all it is. We can’t get too carried away.
“Wigan made a lot of changes the other night – so did we.
“It was good to win the cup tie, of course. And it was good to see a response against Norwich in particular.
“It was the manner of it too because we played very, very well.
“Now we have to address the away form – this horrible thing that has hung over us for years.
“We have to start performing on the road and live up to the expectation of what this club demands.”
“We have got to address the away form.
“It’s hung over the club for years now.
“We have to sort it if we are to be successful in what we want to do.
“We have to try to find a way of winning away from away – or getting a result away from home – if we are to improve.”
27th Aug 2016 Bristol City 3 Villa 1
Despite a goal in the first five minutes from Grealish, Villa suffered a second-half collapse.
Bristol City – Last five matches at home: W 3, D 1, L 1
Villa – Last five matches away: D 1, L 4
One to Watch
Bobby Reid – The striker has four goals in four Championship appearances for Bristol City.
Villa have lost 10 of their last 13 away games in the league
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Bristol City made an impressive start to last season with thanks to goals from Tammy Abraham, who scored the equaliser in this fixture last time around.
They haven’t quite reached those heights at this point of the season but they’re higher than us in the table, and have a number of reasons to be cheerful.
Bristol City produced one of the upsets of the League Cup on Tuesday with a 3-2 win at Premier League Watford, and while Johnson pointed out our confidence levels, they’ll be in good spirits as well.
Squad reinforcements in the form of key players Wright, Reid and Smith will be a boost to the home side, while for Villa, it’s possible that Davis may not be able to feature and Jedinak is a doubt due to a bout of sickness, too.
Villa have finally found their scoring boots over the last week, but Bristol’s Bobby Reid has an impressive five goals in 6 appearances already this season, scoring against Watford on Tuesday. He’ll make it tough for Chester and Terry on Friday night.
Competitive encounters between the two sides have been rare in recent years, but the history books don’t offer too many positives.
In our last six league games against Bristol, the teams have alternated between wins and losses. We won the game 2-0 in February, so according to the long-running pattern, we’re due a defeat.
There’s more in the way of strange statistics. The Robins have won their last five home league games on a Friday, including the two last season.
Villa have lost 10 of their last 13 away games in the league, including each of the last four. Bristol City will be fairly confident, then…
“When you’re bringing in a leader like John Terry, one of the best leaders the country has ever had, to play in the Championship, you know it’s going to be a strong side” – johnson on villa
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
With pressure mounting on Bruce, the decision to include Davis in the starting lineup last weekend was a brave one, even if it was by necessity.
The quality of the young forward’s performance, however, gave everyone a lift – including his teammates.
Bruce’s introduction of Villa’s academy players has helped bring some positivity to the squad and resulted in improved performances, while Hourihane looks to have recaptured his Barnsley form with the first hat-trick for a Villa player since Benteke!
Despite the unusual statistics above, recent Robins’ encounters have resulted in three wins from four for Villa (in all competitions).
It won’t be easy. The Robins have won five of their last several league home games scoring 15 goals in the process, equating to 2.1 goals per game.
But with eight goals in two home games, Villa should have a spring in their step, which could lead to this season’s first away game.