The Villa Appetiser: Derby v Aston Villa 2018
After an early goal from Grealish and a generally dominant performance, there wasn’t much to complain about last Friday against Bolton.
We’ve even been able to move up the table to the dizzy heights of 14th, with things looking a lot brighter as the team continue to adapt to Smith’s methods.
Derby however, will be Smith’s toughest test yet, with the Lampard versus Terry subplot adding an interesting dimension to a big Championship clash.
So how will Villa get on at Pride Park? If Villa can win the first of what is a very tough run of fixtures up to Christmas, it may have some fans consulting signupbonuses.co.uk to back Villa getting promotion…or even still winning the title.
5th in the league table with the 3rd best home record.
Last five matches at home: W 3, D 2
14th in the league table with the 17th best away record.
Last five matches away: D 2, L 3
Lampard on Villa
“Aston Villa is a very tough game for us on paper, they are a good team and have a good new management team.”
“They have individuals that can hurt us but we have been playing well and we are confident so we have to bring that tomorrow.”
“They are a huge name, huge club with great history and a new manager and assistant manager who I know very well. They will make changes to them. They are a work-in-progress, as we are here, but you’re seeing the benefits of that.”
“They have had some good performances since they have come in. Individually they can really hurt teams because they’ve got good players in forward areas. Even their bench has good players in forward areas so we need to be aware of their threats.”
“Dean Smith sets his teams up very well. He is an attack-minded coach and he wants good aggressive football from his team and I’m sure he will be making that imprint at Aston Villa.
“Once Dean gets them playing the way he wants them to play, then I expect them to be towards the top of the table.”
Smith on Derby
“It’ll be a tough challenge.
“I’ve already been there with Brentford this year and they were very destructive after going behind.
“It showed how good some of their players are, but there’s also going to be opportunities for us to exploit their weaknesses.
“Frank Lampard has done well so far. He went in and realised what he needed and has some good loan players to supplement the experienced ones they had already.
“They certainly play with a lot of energy and have had a good start.
“I fully respect what they’re doing but I’m in no way fearful of them. We’ve got some good players of our own who’ll look forward to facing Derby.”
16th Dec 2017 – Derby 2 Villa 0
It was an away trip to forget for Villa as a goal from Weimann (typical) helped Rowett’s men secure the three points. Improvement is needed, as these are the kind of fixtures that define promotion chances.
Player to Watch
Jack Marriott – With five goals and two assists, he’s been directly involved in seven goals in his last six appearances. Allegedly scouted for Lampard by John Terry, who played against him last season in the FA Cup, when Marriott was at Peterborough.
SINCE LOSING 4-1 TO LEEDS IN THEIR FIRST HOME LEAGUE GAME THIS SEASON, DERBY ARE UNBEATEN IN SEVEN AT PRIDE PARK.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
It’s always tempting to think back to the the 6-0 match when you look at this fixture, with Petrov’s long range effort a favourite moment for many a Villa fan.
That was ten years ago, though, and our record since then has been pretty bad – that’s the only time in the last five home league games against Villa that they’ve lost.
The 2008 match was the last time we won at Pride Park. In our first season in the Championship with Di Matteo at the helm, we drew 0-0, then lost last season with a mistake from Whelan leading to the opening goal.
Not much encouragement from the history books then, and the current form of Derby makes it a difficult challenge for Smith this Saturday.
Derby have been playing well and are enjoying a six game unbeaten run. At home, they’re unbeaten in seven.
Villa on the other hand have lost the last three away games, and haven’t won away since the season’s opener at Hull.
In September Dean Smith took Brentford to Pride Park and suffered a 3-1 defeat, but at least that might give him a bonus insight into what to expect from Derby.
Another worrying factor ahead of Saturday’s games is Grealish’s yellow card situation – if he picks up another booking, he’ll miss the Second City Derby…
With an eye on that game, a point for Villa wouldn’t be the worst result, but we do need to pick up away wins if we are to make a late dash for the play-offs.
“I fully respect what they’re doing but I’m in no way fearful of them” – smith on derby
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
The last away game, the QPR defeat the other week was demoralising but there were clear signs of improvement in terms of Smith progressing his possession-based game. There were plenty of chances from the 68% of possession. In the end, credit must go to the way QPR defended.
Despite losing those first two away games of Smith’s tenure, it was only by a one goal margin. We may be clutching at straws a little, but it’s not like the catastrophic Sheffield United away encounter.
The point is, there are signs that we’re closer to ‘clicking’ away from home, and we have won four of the last seven league encounters against Derby after all…
On Saturday, we’ll also see the timely return of Birkir Bjarnason to strengthen our midfield.
If we could record a good win on Saturday, we’d send out a big statement, and what better preparation for the next match against you know who?
Hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves at Pride Park this weekend and that Dean Smith can get his first away win as a Head Coach this season.