Aston Villa have finally lost under Steve Bruce. A run of seven games unbeaten came to an end at Elland Road and, although the game was a frustrating one to watch, I don’t think it’s anything to really dwell on. A goalkeeping mistake changed the game, yet again, which made the 2-0 loss even more disappointing. Before Gollini came for a ball that he had no right to claim, we had created chances and ramped up the pressure on the home side. That goal changed everything and our goalkeeper has made too many mistakes so far this season, despite obviously being a competent shot-stopper.
Looking ahead towards Christmas, we have a very tough run of games. A run that, I feel, will indicate whether or not we are ready to be play-off bound this year. We have still only won one game away from home this year and if we want to be contenders in this league we need to go to tricky grounds and take all three points.
Wigan Athletic (H)
This is the easiest game pre-Christmas on paper for us. Playing Wigan Athletic at Villa Park presents a real opportunity to bounce back after Bruce’s first defeat and regain the good feeling around the club. If we can start strong, keep on the front foot for ninety minutes and take our chances then we should have what it takes to do just that.
Norwich City (A)
The toughest festive fixture is the one at Carrow Road, which is a dangerous place to go to in the Championship. Just ask Brentford… Whilst we do usually love playing Norwich City, never more so than under Paul Lambert, any kind of result in this match would be a real bonus. If we do manage an away win here, though, it would be a real statement to the rest of the league.
Queens Park Rangers (A)
Our final game before Christmas Day is at Loftus Road and a win there would be the perfect early Christmas present for every Villa fan. In our second away game in a row, a win would be invaluable against a mid-table side that is hard to beat at home.
So, before we play Burton Albion at Villa Park on Boxing Day, we have some potentially diificult games in front of us. Personally, I would like a minimum of five points to set us up well going in to the new year. One thing is for sure: next week’s game against Wigan Athletic is a game that we could really do with winning in order to avoid putting pressure on ourselves going forward. Let’s hope for some results in order to finish a bad year on a positive note.