The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Millwall 2017
In the first half against Leeds, we looked far from our best as we struggled to contain the home side.
The second half, however, was a lot more encouraging. With substitutes changing the game, something that hasn’t happened in a while, a draw wasn’t a bad result. There was a sense that we’d taken something from a game we’d have lost last season.
Millwall will provide a different test. 17th in the table after promotion last season, they recorded an impressive 3-1 win over high-flying Sheffield United last weekend.
While it should be a home banker and offer a chance to earn extra money online, it maybe worth approaching with caution if you were thinking about the game in terms your accumulator.
It will be the first league meeting between the two sides since the 1989-90 season. In the home game that season, Villa won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Platt.
Can we get the win this time?
5th in the league table with the 4th best home record.
Last five matches at home: W 4, L 1
17th in league table with 21st best away record.
Last five matches away: D 2, L 3
Bruce on Millwall
“It’ll be a big one. Neil Harris has done a terrific job there.
“You know what you’re going to get – there’s a demand that they play a certain way.
“Physically we’ll have to be ready and we know they’ll enjoy the challenge of coming to Villa Park themselves.
“As always, it’ll be a tough game.
“They beat Sheffield United last week and they showed exactly what this league is about.
“Anytime you play Millwall you know you’re in for a game.”
Harris on Villa
“Any side in the Championship with John Terry in it is going to be a better side – so him not being available is always going to be a boost for an opponent.
“After a slow start Villa have found their feet and kicked on.
“They are in a position everyone expects them to be – in the top six.
“I’ve no doubt they will be there at the end of the season.
“But we know we can get after Aston Villa, and we will do.
“On the back of Saturday’s victory against Sheffield United we go into the game in great spirit and we dominated Fulham for long periods of that game and should have got something out of it.
“That elusive away victory is just around the corner.”
30th Jan 1946 – Villa 9 Millwall 1 (FA Cup)
The 1945/46 FA Cup season was an interesting one. All rounds before the final were played over two legs, due to a desire to increase the number of football matches (the Football League would not resume normal play until the autumn of 1946).
This game was the second leg in the fourth round, and Villa were 9-1 victors in circumstances described as “near-darkness” at Villa Park (well, that’s what the Millwall keeper said!). This came after a 4-2 away win just a few days before.
One to Watch
George Saville – the 24 year old midfielder has impressed for Millwall and has scored 6 goals in the Championship this season.
Adomah’s 10 league goals have been worth 11 points this season to Villa
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
I’m sure Villa fans remember the last time we played Millwall.
We faced Saturdays opponent back in an FA Cup tie in the 2012/13 season, and it didn’t end well.
A late goal from John Marquis clinched a 2-1 win for Millwall in that game, before Millwall were relegated from the Championship a couple of seasons later.
Last season Millwall gained promotion back into the league after a play-off final victory over Bradford (who caused a League Cup nightmare for Villa) and they’re settling back into the Championship.
Their most impressive achievement so far this season came with a 3-1 win over Sheffield United. That’s a timely confident boost for Millwall ahead of a trip to face Villa, who didn’t look all that for large periods of the Leeds match.
We’re fed up of mentioning injuries in this preview, but they’re still playing a massive part, and our reliance on certain squad members probably explains our lethargic 1st half away at Elland Road.
Scott Hogan and Mile Jedinak are back in full training, but it’s unlikely they’ll feature tomorrow.
Millwall are looking for a first away win this season, but they’ve beat the likes of Reading and Leeds at home of late, so they’re clearly capable of a result on Saturday…
“Any side in the Championship with John Terry in it is going to be a better side – so him not being available is always going to be a boost for an opponent – harris ON VILLA
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
We mentioned above that squad rotation hasn’t really been an option for Villa this season.
That was until last Friday, when Grealish and Lansbury, both of whom have recently returned from injuries, joined the action and helped Villa to a vital point.
Lansbury, who got Villa back into the game, could certainly be in line for a start after his energetic cameo, while Grealish may also be considered among the starting XI.
Ipswich were on the brink of the play-offs as they travelled to Villa Park a couple of weeks ago, but it was a fairly routine win for us.
This was thanks to Albert Adomah – his 10 league goals have been worth 11 points this season to Villa. Only Billy Sharp (with 12) has won more points for his team Sheffield United in the league this season.
The Ipswich game was a reminder that we are still managing to make Villa Park something of a fortress, and the improvement over last season continues.
So far, Villa have won 18 league matches in 2017, our best tally in a calendar year since 2008. The last time we won more than that was in 1998, and while it is of course in a different league, it is at least an encouraging stat.
With some of Villa’s walking wounded starting to return, there is a reason to feel positive ahead of the Millwall clash, although we must guard against complacency – Millwall haven’t won back-to-back matches in this league since 2014, and are yet to win away this season.
Hopefully the continued involvement of Lansbury and Grealish can help refresh the squad and guide us to three points.
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