Aston Villa currently are fourth in the Championship in terms of their form over the last six games, exactly the same as their current league position after 19 games. The top two in the Championship table – Wolves and Cardiff – also see their recent form table position reflect their current league table position.
Once upon a time, before the rot set in, the basic rule of thumb to whether Villa were having a decent season was if they were winning more games than they drew and lost combined. The recent run of three straight wins has bought this season’s win total up to 10 in 19 games, thus reaching the level for the first time in a very long while.
So what has made up Villa’s fourth place in the league? It’s currently built up by having the 4th best home record in the league and the 7th best away form.
These respective records are fine when it comes to securing a play-off berth, but there’s better news for Villa supporters who have greater ambitions when you look at the current home form and away form in isolation.
Until the Sheffield Wednesday hiccup at Villa Park, MOMS was hoping Villa would make it through the season unbeaten, a feat that would go along way to helping the team being in the promotion shake-up at the end of the season.
While it would have been a nice feat considering record-breaking seasons of home losses in recent years, it’s a cosmetic stat. Winning games is what counts and in recent fixtures Villa have sharpened up into a team that prefers to get the three points from games in recent seasons that would be have been drawn.
The recent home games against Sunderland and Fulham were the types of games that would have ended up drawn last season.
So, now the odd home defeat like the Wednesday one, when it’s surrounded by five wins, is just the proverbial bad day at the office and doesn’t upset the team’s momentum too much.
The key to Villa’s season becoming a promotion one was always going to be about massively improving the away form on last year.
Last season Villa managed just four away wins in the Championship, which when considering the outlay on transfers, is a shockingly poor amount.
The season’s travels didn’t start very well after back-to-back loses at Cardiff and Reading, but since then in seven away games, Villa have only lost once and that was to top of the table Wolves.
Looking at Villa’s last six away trips, Villa have not only matched the amount of away victories achieve in the entirety of last season, but currently have the second best away form in the division.
It’s the kind of drastic progress that has been needed.
The away hoodoo is clearly banished and after the uncertain start to the season, Villa (28 points) are only a couple of points behind Wolves (30 points) when you take in account the last six home and six away games.
Wolves home win over Villa is ultimately the only difference.
Villa’s recent progress is actually even better than it looks in terms of both the league table and last six game form table.
In short, it’s automatic promotion form.
The December fixture list of six games that includes four away games and also four matches against promotion hopefuls will be the next step, but Villa have reason to be optimistic.