Real Belated Chance
If there’s one thing that Aston Villa struggled with all season, it was winning when Jack Grealish had his spell injured on the sidelines. Villa’s new captain was out for some key months, including the Christmas period, which perhaps ultimately cost Villa any chance of a late push for the automatic promotion places.
To be honest though, Villa’s start to the season was far from deserving of a top two spot and certainly a place in the play-offs, at various points of the season, would have been deemed unlikely.
However, now that Villa are there, it’s not to be considered as ‘a bonus’.
Entertaining into the play-off semi-final, the stars seemed to have aligned for Dean Smith to make a serious fist of winning Villa promotion.
All New Captain
Captain Grealish is now fresh, both mentally and physically, after coming back from his lay-off. With games in the bank, he’s pretty much at peak levels. Similarly, the likes of Tyrone Mings, Axel Tuanzebe, Kortney Hause and Jed Steer, have also only started playing for Villa in the second part of the season, which will hopefully mean their mental focus is also on point.
Looking around the squad, there’s not many players that will feel jaded from a long season.
John McGinn (39) and Tammy Abraham (37) have the most starts for Aston Villa this season, but they have recently had games out since March, through suspension or minor injury to freshen up.
The only other Villa players in the current first XI with over 30 starts are Ahmed Elmohamady (32), Conor Hourihane (33) and Jack Grealish (31).
The fact that Grealish is one of only six Villa players (the other one being Alan Hutton) over the 30 game mark this season, shows you how relatively fresh this now largely fully fit Villa squad is.
It’s sure to be an additional massive bonus for Dean Smith going into the play-offs on top of momentum and injuries clearing up.
This point was discussed in Episode 70 of the My Old Man Said podcast in more detail, which we’re catching up on the notes for here.
Press Play Below to Listen
Episode 70 Notes
Aston Villa – The Freshest and Most Resilient of the Play-off Teams?
Excuse us, while we catch up a little. With a new post-Leeds show on the horizon, this show, which was originally slated before Easter, looks at Villa’s advantages in the play-offs and looks back at the key Bristol City game.
MOMS is joined by Dan Rodgers of the Villa Underground and Max Stokes of Villa on Tour to discuss their feelings on the Championship play-offs that are fast approaching. They also discuss a sign that it could be Villa’s year for promotion and how one football fan managed to get to see his team live, despite his funeral being a day before the match.
There’s also the latest Scott Hogan Touch Count Meter, plus much more Villa-related high jinx.
Due to technical and time issues, unfortunately the full version of this show couldn’t be released before Easter, but rather than just bin it, it has been re-edited to keep it fresh and put out now to get you in the mood for what’s to come.
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