League football returns this weekend and the Villa boys are at home to Norwich City.
In the last few years, as a Villa fan, I have always felt confident as we prepared to face the Canaries.
Out of the sixteen times we have faced them in the Premier League, we have only lost four. Just for the record, I am not choosing only to include Premier League matches because I don’t think football existed before then. It is merely our record since I have been supporting Aston Villa Football Club.
For a few years, I always had the opinion that at least the Canaries were worse than us. This feeling was really ramped up when we started to struggle severely and I was clasping at anything to convince myself we may stay up.
For a while, it was a fair assumption.
Between 1993 and 2011, we did not lose to them in the league. Even when we did it was a dead rubber at the end of a season.
Since that loss at the end of the 2011-12 season, we have gone six games unbeaten against Norwich City, including three straight league wins and four in all competitions.
This was definitely a team that we could beat – and when we did so I settled down.
Our two games against Norwich City last season brought about contrasting emotions.
The 2-0 loss away in December was profoundly depressing. I remember watching it and thinking that, as a team, I had rarely seen us play so badly. They came down with us that year yet eclipsed us on that day, although we didn’t show up.
The home victory later that season was pleasing proof that we could actually win. However, if I am being honest, the result was more a show of their bad play than anything we did in particular.
Incidentally, that win in February was our last at home until August.
Having both come down together, it was interesting to see how we would shape up against each other in a lower league.
The first match was a big disappointment. Let’s hope for better this weekend. Our great home form and better performances generally mean I am more optimistic.
Too many times in the past have I measured Aston Villa Football Club’s success, or lack thereof, in relation to other teams, Norwich City definitely being one of them.
If we can get a win this weekend, I believe that would be a clear sign that we are heading in the right direction.
Let’s start settling back down to a pattern where games against the likes of Norwich City can definitely be chalked down as a win.