The Villa Appetiser: Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa 2017
With the last important game out of the way, Villa have little to play for now, it’s all about next season.
Even if some Villa fans are keen to see experimental squad rotation cause more trouble for our neighbours, away form has been an achilles heel for Villa so a win wouldn’t hurt.
With Blackburn scrapping for Championship survival, it’ll be no walk in the park for Villa, and the Villa players will need to stay off the beach and maintain their intensity.
Mowbray on Villa match
“We have to try and win this game. We have to forget about what everybody else is doing.
“If we win it then it will definitely go to the last game of the season regardless of what Birmingham City or anybody else might do.
“So our only target is to be positive and to try and find a performance that gives us a chance to win the game.
“If we aren’t to win it and results go our way then it will still go to the last game.
“So we’ll be positive, we’ll be on the front foot and hopefully have a big support trying to help the team get the result we require.”
Bruce on Blackburn trip
“We are going to Blackburn and we sit in mid-table in the Championship and we still have over 6,000 fans heading there – that’s the reason why we are a big club.
“We have to show up and make sure we do our jobs properly. We have to have it in our mind ‘we want to finish in the top 10’.
“We have a chance to – and with our stature have to make sure we do that.
“We keep hearing there’s nothing at stake…if you ever needed reminding there is, it’s that we’re taking over 6,000 fans to Ewood Park. That is quite remarkable when you think we’re mid-table in the Championship.
“That’s the tonic for all of us to really grasp what this club is all about. Fair play to all of them making the journey up there.
“It’s up to us to make sure we show up and put on a performance for them.”
3rd March 2012 Blackburn Rovers 1 Aston Villa 1
A goal from N’Zogbia wasn’t enough for victory as Villa conceded a late equaliser.
Blackburn – Last five matches at home: W 1, D 3, L 1
Villa – Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2
One to Watch
Derrick Williams – the ex-Villa man has been one of Rovers’ best players this season.
villa have won five of our last six matches against rovers in all competitions
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
With just two games to go this season, the most important thing was the derby win, which will help this campaign end on a positive note.
One worry for Villa however is just how disjointed the performance was against Blues – it took a penalty box scramble to get the important winning goal.
Bruce mentions the fact that a massive away following will be present on Saturday but last weekend’s performance was evidence that some squad rotation might be required. It might even serve a useful PRE-pre-season purpose of giving Bruce a chance to assess the squad.
While the sort of heavy squad rotation that Villa fans are dreaming of might not be on the cards, even our strongest XI could be caught out on Saturday.
Our last away game against a team near the bottom of the table was a 1-1 draw at Burton so nothing is guaranteed.
Blackburn have been reasonably competitive at home of late with a win and three draws in their last five games at Ewood Park. They’re in the best position out of the relegation zone teams, so could fancy their chances if they can win their last two matches.
Rovers have everything to play for and Mowbray has said his team will play with an attacking approach.
“We are going to Blackburn and we sit in mid-table in the Championship and we still have over 6,000 fans heading there – that’s the reason why we are a big club” – BRUCE ON saturday’s game
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
There’s one key reason. Kodjia is back!
The game last Sunday missed the quality of our star striker and with him back in the side, the confidence will be back, in addition to the buzz of last week’s victory.
Blackburn are fighting against relegation and are two points away from safety – a drop to League One looks like a frightening reality.
Meanwhile Villa have a good record against Saturday’s opposition, winning five of our last six matches against them in all competitions.
While Rovers have picked up a few points since appointing Mowbray, they’ve failed to win 9 of their last 10 games, while Villa managed recent away wins against Wigan and Rotherham – two other teams in the dreaded drop zone.
If Kodjia continues his goalscoring form against Rovers, he could hit 20 goals for the season.
Hopefully it will be a performance to cheer for the packed away end on Saturday – even if it does do Blues a favour!
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