The Villa Appetiser: Cardiff v Villa 2016
After a battling draw against Leeds, Villa are back in action with another potentially tricky away game.
While our unbeaten home record remains intact, things haven’t been quite as good on the road, although Bruce has helped improve this to a degree.
Cardiff will feel slightly disrupted after their match against Brighton was postponed, but this could give them an edge in terms of fitness.
It was only November when we played the reverse fixture… can we build on our last away win against QPR?
Warnock on Villa
“We all wanted to play yesterday and have a go at halting Brighton’s 17 game run.
“We were all disappointed (with the game being postponed), but at the end of the day you have to accept the decision.
“You could say that the plus side is that we’ve had an extra day’s rest, but when you take into account the travelling over the two days it hasn’t given us much if I’m honest.
“I’ve got to say I was disappointed not to get a result at Villa back at the end of November.
“I thought we did ever so well there.
“We conceded bad goals at silly time though, just as we were in the ascendancy and then I was really disappointed with the red card Pelts (Lee Peltier) was shown.
“I’m looking for us to give a better account of ourselves this time around.”
Steve Bruce on Villa squad
“We still have a lot of work to do – I know that, I am under no illusions about that.
“I have really enjoyed the first three months – we have established a bit of resilience, which you need in this division.
“You need to roll your sleeves up because it can become a grind.
“We go again on Monday. That’s what the Championship is! We move on.”
“We are still a long way away. I am under no illusions.
“The balance of the squad is not quite right – there have been a lot of changes.
“There is still work to be done. We have just started. Hopefully the shoots of recovery are there.
“Let’s hope we add a few – we will definitely lose a few I would have thought.
“I have six centre forwards. In that respect we have to get the balance of the squad right. Hopefully we will.”
Villa only won two away games in 2016
11th Feb 2014 Cardiff 0 Villa 0
Villa dominated the possession but couldn’t find a winner when we last played Cardiff away.
Cardiff – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2
Villa – Last five matches away: W 1, D 2, L 2
One to Watch
Peter Whittingham – the ex-Villa midfielder has been in goalscoring form for their Bluebirds and is their joint top scorer this season.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
It’s a new year for Aston Villa and we can wave goodbye to 2016, which was largely a terrible chapter in Villa’s history.
Among 2016’s distressing statistic is the fact that Villa only won two away games last year, and while both wins were overseen by Steve Bruce, there is still the sense that we lose our confidence when we’re playing away from Villa Park.
Like Villa, Cardiff made a managerial switch a couple of months ago and brought in the experienced Neil Warnock. While results haven’t reflected the kind of impact Cardiff fans would have hoped for, they are scoring a lot of goals.
They’ve scored at least two goals in all of their last three matches, and in their last home game they found the net three times – despite somehow finding a way to lose!
We switched off defensively against Leeds and rode our luck at times, and while we’ll have our full defensive contingent against Cardiff, we will be without our main man.
It will be interesting to see how the team looks at Cardiff without Kodjia, but it’s likely that we’ll look a lot less dangerous without our top scorer in the team.
As well as this, Grealish could miss the game through injury which will be a relief to Warnock, who had a post-match argument with Jack in the tunnel in the reverse fixture.
“I’ve got to say I was disappointed not to get a result at Villa back at the end of November”- Warnock on the reverse fixture
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Warnock has got Cardiff scoring a lot of goals, but they have cause for concern when it comes to their defensive record.
They’ve kept just one clean sheet in their last 14 home league matches and conceded four times against Barnsley last time they were at the Cardiff City stadium.
Cardiff’s precarious position just above the relegation zone also can’t be ignored and despite Warnock’s comments, they didn’t offer much against Villa in the reverse fixture.
A second away win on the spin would be the first time we’ve won successive away league games since September 2014 – a measure of how poor our away form has been in recent seasons.
Our hard-fought victory over QPR at Loftus Road however offers encouragement that we could repeat the feat at Cardiff.
Certainly the history books back this up, and Cardiff have failed to score in three of their last four home league games against Villa.
We won’t read too much into this as three of those matches were played in the 70’s, but as long-suffering Villa fans, we’ll take all the good omens we can get.
Overall form is good against Cardiff, and Villa have won seven of their last nine league games against Monday’s opponents – keeping seven clean sheets in that time.
Ayew has permission to play, while Adomah has not been called to the Ghana squad, so the Cup of Nations hasn’t had as big an effect as it could have.
Hopefully we can play well despite Kodjia’s absence and kick off 2017 with an away win!
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