The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v QPR 2018
With five minutes of normal time to go against Sheffield Wednesday, it looked like a draw for Villa last weekend.
Going on to get the 4-2 victory was an excellent way of getting that winning feeling back.
Despite the snow’s best efforts, the game is (at the time of writing) set to go ahead…
QPR are already in town, apparently training on the pitches of our local foes (see Ian Holloway’s comments below).
Can we pick up all three points at a snowy Villa Park?
Spoke to someone at the club about weather situation. It’s a police/EFL decision that will hopefully be taken before 10am tomorrow morning. Pitch & stadium are ok. Obviously it’s surrounding area & access – roads, transport & safety of supporters that are the issue. #AVFC #QPR pic.twitter.com/lC53fGBbFh
— MY OLD MAN SAID (@oldmansaid) March 2, 2018
3rd in the league table with the 3rd best home record.
Last five matches at home: W 4, D 1
16th in league table with 21st best away record.
Last five matches away: W 1, L 4
Steve Bruce on last weekend and QPR
“After not the best of starts at the beginning of the season, we’ve been pretty consistent.
“One thing you need to be able to do in this division is roll your sleeves up and have a go.
“And the one thing we’ve tried to repair here is the supporters connecting with the team.
“We’ve seen an association between the team and its supporters of late – the Sheffield United game comes to mind, too.
“It can only be a good thing. They’re starting to enjoy their team again. That’s important.
“Results like last week can only help that.”
“[QPR] were beaten badly last week, so we’ll have to be aware of that.
“Being the manager that he is, Ian Holloway will demand a response and we’ll have to be at our best.
“We know they’ll pose us a threat, and as always we’ll have to play well on the day.”
Ian Holloway on turning around poor form
“It’s about about going back to doing your jobs, getting your jobs right, being hard to score against and being hard to beat.
“We’ve looked like that at times, but I feel the lack of finishing our opportunities off has made the defenders a bit nervous.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries, but they are nearly all back now, so where do we go next?”
“Life is about getting back up off the floor and going again,” Holloway said. “I don’t want to look backwards, I want to look forwards.
Holloway on Villa
“Aston Villa play a different way to Forest and it’s on their pitch, so there will be loads of running and loads spaces which we have to fill to beat them.
“I believe we can beat them, but not if we play like we did on Saturday.”
“Villa are riding the crest of a wave. And we know it will be a tough game, like they all are in this division.
“We’ll need to soak up what they do in a positive way – and then impose ourselves when we’re in possession.”
Holloway on Preparing for Villa
“We’ll travel to Birmingham this morning and either train on one of Birmingham City’s pitches on Friday lunchtime or use their dome – so we’ve got two options.
“The Friday session will be more about set-pieces so if we’re inside on a smaller pitch, then so be it.”
Robert Snodgrass has had a hand in eight goals in his last nine home league matches for us – that’s two goals, and six assists
9th March 1996 – Aston Villa 4 QPR 1
A goal from Savo Milosevic and two from Dwight Yorke (as well as a QPR own goal) helped Villa to victory in this 90’s Premier League encounter.
QPR boss Holloway played in midfield for the visitors on this occasion, which was watched by just over 28,000 fans.
One to Watch
Matt Smith – The Birmingham-born striker has scored and assisted in three of his last five Championship starts for QPR (three goals, three assists!)
steve bruce has won nine of his last ten league matches against QPR
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Like the British weather, the Championship is unpredictable.
Bruce alluded to the surprising inclusion of teams such as Bristol City and Sheffield United in the promotion battle this season, while the 1-1 draw against Preston in the last Villa Park was a timely reminder that you can’t win every game at home.
With just six more home games to go, we really need to be winning every match if we are to keep pace with Cardiff, who were set for a tricky away tie at Brentford until it was postponed on Friday.
The return of Adomah is a massive plus for Villa but we will continue to miss Grealish. He should be back in time for Tuesday’s trip to Sunderland, but the midfielder would have been well suited to what will likely be a tough, cagey game on Saturday, in difficult conditions.
QPR will make it difficult for Villa, and having been on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline in their home game last weekend against Nottingham Forest, will be desperate to make amends…
“We’ve seen an association between the team and its supporters of late” – BRUCE ON villa
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
There have been some crazy games against QPR at Villa Park over the years, but we generally have a very good record against them.
We’ve won six of our last eight home league games against this weekend’s opponents, drawing the other two. As well as this, we’ve won our last three matches against them in all competitions, so there’s reasons to be cheerful.
The last time QPR recorded a victory at Villa Park was a League Cup match in September 2008 when they won 1-0.
Away form has been an issue for Holloway’s men. Since he re-joined the London club in November 2016, they have lost 20 Championship away matches – more than any other club. In their last five away matches they recorded just three points in a win at Burton Albion.
In the opposite dugout, Bruce has a very encouraging record against QPR. He’s won nine of his last ten league matches against QPR (drawing once) since losing against them as Huddersfield manager in 1999.
With Adomah returning and Grabban’s knack for goalscoring, the signs are good ahead of Saturday’s match.
Hopefully the weather doesn’t cause any cancellations on Saturday, so that a packed Villa Park can help see the team to another important victory. With Cardiff’s game against Brentford postponed, it will certainly be an opportunity to put pressure on second place.