The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Norwich 2017
Villa headed into the international break with reason to be cheerful, and five wins in six has given fans hope that next season can be one that ends with promotion.
Norwich fell out of the Premier League with Villa last season and while poor form led to the sacking of Alex Neil, interim manager Alan Irvine has seen an upturn in form. Finishing in the play-off places is still a realistic goal for the Canaries, although you probably wouldn’t want to squander your 888casino Promo Code on their chances.
We often seemed to get a result against Norwich in recent Premier League seasons at Villa Park, we even managed to beat them despite having a nightmare campaign last season.
Bruce on Taylor
“Of course he’s deeply disappointed but the one thing for sure – and I’ve only worked with him for a month or two – is that no-one wants to see a fellow professional get injured.
“You get caught up in the heat of the battle. The pace of the game is so ferocious these days.
“He’s desperately sorry, all our thoughts are with Seamus Coleman.
“I’m sure he’ll make a full recovery. Neil’s disappointed. But these things unfortunately happen in football.”
Bruce on Home Form
“To give ourselves any chance of finishing where we want to finish then, the more home games the better.
“Our home form has stacked up over the season. We’ve been very, very pleased with that.
“Over the last couple of weeks we’ve managed to win at Rotherham and at Wigan away whereas – prior to that – they would have been potential banana skins for us.
“They haven’t been pretty games and the thousands who have travelled there will testify to that.
“When they come away and we’ve won a match and we’ve found a way to win – that’s what is vitally important in this league.
Alan Irvine on Norwich’s Play-Off Hopes
“We have a really big task to get in the play-offs. We need other teams to slip up, we know that.
“We have 24 points to play for. Look at every single one of those games in isolation and we feel if we perform well in every one of those we have a chance to win each of them.
“I am not suggesting for a moment we will win every one but we are capable of picking up a good number of points. While there is a chance of getting in the play-offs we have to have a go, albeit it is extremely difficult.”
6th Feb 2016 Villa 2 Norwich 0
Goals from Lescott and Agbonlahor helped Villa to a rare victory under Remi Garde.
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 3, L 2
Norwich – Last five matches away: W 1, D 1, L 3
One to Watch
Cameron Jerome – The ex-Birmingham City man has scored eight goals in his last 12 games.
Only relegation-bound Rotherham have conceded more goals away than Norwich City
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Early in the campaign, it looked like the Norwich board’s sometimes-questioned loyalty to Alex Neil, who got Norwich promoted in their last Championship season, had paid off.
A poor run of form however, albeit one punctuated with a few wins, saw the Scot leave his post – a 5-1 defeat to play-off rivals Sheffield Wednesday speeding up the sacking.
Several names have been linked to the Norwich job since then but nobody has replaced Neil yet on a permanent basis, though ex-Baggies man Alan Irvine is holding the fort. He’s doing a decent job too.
Norwich have taken four points from the last two games, and have only lost one of the last five. They remained capable of winning even during Neil’s bad spell, and put five past Nottingham Forest in February.
Having scored 65 goals this season, Norwich are the third highest scorers in the division, despite away form that mirrors Villa’s. Both teams only have 19 points on their travels this season.
Sitting in 8th, Norwich are four places above Villa, so clearly cannot be underestimated despite their struggles this year.
In addition to this, Bruce was unsure whether Jedinak will feature against Norwich in his press conference, which could be a big loss for Villa.
“We have a really big task to get in the play-offs. We need other teams to slip up, we know that” – irvine on promotion
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Simply put, Villa are THE in-form side of the Championship. With five wins in the last six, conceding just one goal in the process, the team should be full of confidence.
We’re also unbeaten in the last five games against the Canaries.
Only relegation-bound Rotherham have conceded more goals away than Norwich City (38), and have only managed to win four of 19 games on their travels.
Despite aspirations of promotion, Norwich have failed to beat any of the current top nine teams, and don’t quite look like a team chasing a return to the Premier League.
Scott Hogan made a goal-scoring return to the team against Wigan in our last game, and it will be interesting to see how he links up with Kodjia on Saturday.
We’re finally starting to look like a team to be feared in the Championship.
Hopefully this continues against Norwich City, particularly with another home game so soon!
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Listen below to all the current Villa issues before the game: