The Villa Appetiser: Wolves v Villa 2016
Saturday’s match will be overshadowed by the tragic news of Graham Taylor’s passing, and as Steve Bruce alluded to in his press conference, it’s fitting that two of Taylor’s former clubs face each other this weekend.
Fondly remembered by fans of both clubs, stories of Taylor’s achievements and kindness have dominated the media. He will be missed.
Villa recorded a disappointing away loss in the FA Cup last weekend while Wolves prevailed over Premier League opposition.
A second derby of Bruce’s reign, and the first time Wolves and Villa have ever met at Molineux in the second tier.
Neither team are in particularly good form however, so it’s a tough one to call…
Steve Bruce on Graham Taylor
“The one thing that shines through is what a lovely human being he was – and a delight to work with.
“His record speaks for itself – not just here at Villa – but at Wolves and Watford too. His exploits at Watford were quite remarkable.
“The tributes are very fitting. He was a very decent man and treated everyone with the respect they deserved.
“It didn’t matter if you were the laundry lady or the centre forward, he had a humility and treated everyone the same. That’s excellent to hear.
“It’s fitting that it’s Wolves v Villa this weekend. The minute’s applause will be fitting too – and only right.
“There will be plenty more tributes too, I’m sure. The football world is a state of shock that we have lost Graham so early. Nobody expected it.”
Steve Bruce on Derbies
“If you win them they’re great! They’re a little bit different. Of course they are.
“There’ll be a big expectant crowd with two big clubs – in the wrong division. We’ve both got to get used to that and do our best to get out of it.”
…and on Lambert
“From the outside he’s done a decent job. He’s a good manager and a good lad.
“He’s managed here and he’ll be desperate to turn us over, which is only human nature.
“We must guard against that. It should be a decent game.”
VILLA have only won once during their last five league away games
Lambert on Wolves Poor Record vs Villa
By all accounts I think Wolves were really unlucky in the first game they played them. We know we’re playing well and we know we can impose ourselves against a really good side, they’ve spent an awful lot of money and just come down from the Premier League. It’s the got the makings of a good game.
More Riding on the Game Personally?
Not for me. Not really. I’ve had two clubs since Aston Villa. It’s just another game for me. I’m older. It doesn’t really matter who we play against. It’s about Wolves and how we perform.
21st Jan 2012 Wolves 2 Villa 3
Two spectacular strikes from ex-Wolves striker Robbie Keane helped Villa on the way to victory.
Wolves – Last five matches at home: W 1, D 1, L 3
Villa – Last five matches away: W 1, D 1, L 3
One to Watch
Danny Baath – the defender has made 246 headed clearances in the Championship this season – 61 more than any other player.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
There are a few factors that make this a difficult game. Like Villa, Wolves found themselves under new Chinese ownership in the summer, and after making some expensive signings themselves, promotion will be the aim.
Sitting in 17th place in the Championship, it’s been a disappointing campaign for Wolves so far. This led to the sacking of Walter Zenga, and a return to management for Paul Lambert – remember him?
Lambert’s Villa reign was a strange one. His arrival signalled the start of an exciting new era based on his success with Norwich, but the ensuing next few seasons were difficult for the Villa faithful.
The Wolves board will be hopeful that Lambert can emulate his earlier managerial success, and while their form isn’t great, there have been a few impressive results, particularly last weekend.
Winning away at Premier League Stoke will have given Lambert and his side significant momentum. Add to that the unpredictability of a Midlands derby and it looks a very tough game.
Lambert, who said last year that he was “delighted” when Villa sacked him, will have a major point to prove against his former employers, and will be encouraged by our recent away form.
We’ve only won once during our last five games on the road…
“The tributes are very fitting. He was a very decent man and treated everyone with the respect they deserved” – Bruce on taylor
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
With key absentees, as well as permanent departures, it’s difficult to predict how the team will look during this month.
Gollini’s loan move to Atalanta seemed to happen all of a sudden, but it does mean Johnstone will have a chance in the side following an impressive showing at White Hart Lane.
A look at the 2-0 scoreline of our FA Cup defeat to Tottenham doesn’t tell the whole story. We didn’t create much, granted, but we did defend well for large parts of the game. That kind of solidity could be key on derby day.
The appointment of Lambert hasn’t quite seen the improvement Wolves’ boards would have liked. Their home form is similar to our away form, and that’s not a good thing!
Leaking goals at home is an issue for Lambert’s side too – they’ve conceded at least two goals in their last five home league games. Look up how their home game with Fulham panned out for a reminder of the Lambert’s Villa years…
If that’s not enough, the stats show we’ve enjoyed our trips to Wolverhampton over the last few decades. We haven’t lost any of their last 11 visits to Molineux, dating back to May 1978!
The defeat at Spurs emphasised that we’re a long way away from where we want to be as a football club. Let’s hope we set the ball rolling with a first win of the New Year.
Rest in Peace Graham Taylor.
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