The Villa Appetiser: Norwich City v Aston Villa 2018
The dominant display against Reading (albeit down to 10-men early doors) was just what Villa needed, although Cardiff missing two penalties in stoppage time against Wolves maybe equally important.
However, saying that, it all means nothing if Villa bottle the job at Norwich. Anything less than three points and it’s the play-offs for sure.
Norwich have struggled at times this season but have done well in recent encounters between the two sides at Carrow Road.
Let’s find out if there are any other seeds of hope…
14th in the league table with the 17th best home record.
Last five matches at home: W 1, D 3, L 1
4th in league table with 6th best away record.
Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2
Daniel Farke on Villa
“Aston Villa will come here full of motivation.
“It’s similar to the task against Fulham. They have an experienced squad and an experienced coach.
“We are in the underdog role so need a cup mentality again. We have to be there with an outstanding performance.
“We will try to be there with the best performance we can have and to win the game.”
Steve Bruce on Villa form
“It’s good to get back on track after a difficult few weeks and it’s now a really important game tomorrow.
“They all are now. We’re right in the thick of it.
“We had a decent result the other day. We’ll watch what happens between the top two tonight and see where it leaves things.
“It’s a defining week, which comes straight after three other games we’ve played.
“We’ve spoken about it many, many times. That’s the Championship and how difficult it is.
“It does become an endurance test. It won’t be easy, but we’ll see where we are in a week’s time.”
and on Norwich’s form
“It shows you how difficult it is. They were in the Premier League two years ago.
“It can easily turn into a really tough season, as it has for Hull and Sunderland, who were also in the top flight last year.
“Norwich are in a transitional period, because it’s very difficult to deal with the fallout of not being in the Premier League.”
21st September 2013 – Norwich 0 Aston Villa 1
Villa took all three points in this early season encounter, during which Brad Guzan crucially saved a penalty.
A goal from Libor Kozak secured the victory as Paul Lambert returned to haunt his former side.
One to Watch
James Maddison – Norwich’s attacking midfielder has caught the eye with 14 goals and 7 assists this season. He’s also created more goalscoring chances (103) than any other Championship player this season.
STEVE BRUCE HAS lost each of his last five league trips to Carrow Road
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
With Lambert at the helm we always used to do well when we visited Carrow Road, but it’s been a different story since the Scot’s departure.
We lost 2-0 there under Remi Garde in the Premier League and there was an equally frustrating 1-0 defeat last season in the Championship.
In their last match Norwich suffered a shock 4-1 defeat away at QPR, so they’ll be keen to make up for that disappointment in front of the home fans, and they will still be hoping they can sneak into the play-offs, even if it does look unrealistic.
Bruce spoke fondly in his press conference of his time as a Norwich player, but his recent record against his old club is poor. He’s lost each of his last five league trips to Carrow Road since a 1-0 victory there with Birmingham in 2002.
Villa look OK on the injury front but with two games next week Bruce may look to rotate the squad, which, as we saw at Hull, doesn’t always work that well…
“They have an experienced squad and an experienced coach” – farke ON villa
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
With a much-needed victory on Tuesday, our prospects for Saturday’s game look a lot better.
It’s been a season of inconsistency for Norwich. Not too long ago they were on a seven-match unbeaten run, but more recently the Canaries have lost three of their last five league games.
As well as this, Farke’s men have won just one of their last five home games, suggesting we can get our away record back on track too and improve upon the Bolton and Hull performances!
Kodjia looked dangerous on his return to Villa Park on Tuesday, and while he’s unlikely to start on Saturday, it’s great to have him back.
While we’ve lost the last two away trips, our general record against Norwich is very good.
We’ve won seven of the last nine matches against them (in all competitions), and back in August we got the 4-2 home win thanks to a Hourihane hat-trick – our first league win of the season.
Hopefully we can keep the winning momentum ahead of a busy footballing week for Villa.
A minute’s applause will occur just before kickoff in memory of former Villa assistant manager Ray Wilkins, who sadly passed away this week.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends. He’ll be greatly missed in the footballing world.
Rest in Peace, Ray.