In what has been a busy week for Aston Villa, with two games taking place at Villa Park, Villa fans have been reminded of both how great supporting the Villa can be and how infuriating it can be at times.
The side looked very impressive going forward against Nottingham Forest last Sunday, creating so many clear cut chances. When one didn’t come off, the players didn’t give up but went straight back up the pitch and tried to create another one with no hesitation. This was brilliant to watch and really got those in the stands on the edge of their seats. With the number of goal-scoring opportunities created, nobody could argue that Aston Villa wasn’t by far the better team. The lads were incredibly unlucky not to have scored at least four throughout the ninety minutes.
Against Forest, it was also great to witness the team not following what seems to have been a trend early on this season of falling apart in the second half. We conceded to go behind but the Villa boys didn’t drop their heads. Instead, they fought back and got two goals in a short space of time to take the lead. It was just pure misfortune that the Reds got one back and earned themselves a draw despite only having three shots all game in comparison to Aston Villa’s twenty-six.
New signing Jonathan Kodjia has featured in his first games for the club this week. The big striker has started in fine form, picking up his first goal for the club on Wednesday night against Brentford. He’s impressed supporters with his industrious performances and his exciting playing style of running directly at opposition defences with the ball at his feet.
Cissokho and Gestede were ‘boo boys’ from last season’s miserable Premier League campaign. This season, they look much improved and have put in some great performances. This is good to see. Hopefully, we’ll see them go from strength to strength as they improve along with the rest of the side.
As good as it is creating chances, there comes a point when not taking them can prove extremely costly. That is what has happened to the Villa boys in recent weeks. The match against Nottingham Forest was another example of this. Over the course of the game, the boys in claret and blue had a total of twenty-six shots, two of which hit the woodwork. One stopped right on the line and two found the back of the net. The visitors, on the other hand, only had three shots yet managed to score the same number of goals as their hosts. Di Matteo’s men desperately need to start taking their chances or else they will constantly lose points, which could well cost the club dearly.
Where do I start with the Brentford match? The hosts were great for the first twenty-five minutes. Thanks to Kodjia, the Villans took the lead. Then they decided to sit back for the remainder of the game. If anyone can explain why they decided to park the bus at home with more than an hour to play rather than build on their lead, please let me know! To me, it felt a little like a match under Paul Lambert, in which the Villa boys came out of the blocks fast, maintained that pace for twenty minutes then spent the next seventy minutes trying to hold on to what they’d got, regardless of the opposition or the circumstances. This is a big step backwards and I hope it won’t be something we see again under the guidance of Roberto Di Matteo.
Unfortunately, against Brentford, new signing Ritchie De Laet was carried off the pitch after picking up an injury. It’s now been revealed that the Belgian defender won’t feature again this season and may have to undergo surgery. This is a huge loss. All being well, De Laet should make a full recovery. I look forward to seeing him play in claret and blue again in the future. Bacuna and Hutton need to step up to the plate now.
Today, the Villans make the trip to Ipswich. For the first time this season, this feels like a match that the B6 brigade have to take all three points from after dropping four points this week. Having twice been in winning positions with five minutes left, keep your fingers crossed: we don’t want to see any more late goals conceded.