So there I was, sat in a cafe having a bite to eat and a pint, where I was contemplating how I’d be able to get to watch the game.
When it suddenly occurred to me that I could legally sign up for AVTV.
I hoofed it back to the hotel, signed up for a month with the hotel’s address and success! I was in business.
I noticed that the sign-up form had already seen that I was in Turkey, so it’ll be interesting to see if it still works when I get back home. I suspect it won’t, but I won’t know for sure until the Sheff Weds game, as Blues and Preston are being shown by Sky.
Anyway, I’m rambling.
Suffice to say, I got to see a fair chunk, but missed the last fifteen minutes and Fulham’s goal.
From what I did see, this was much better than last week.
After a bit of an iffy start, we quickly got a grip of the game, with us closing Fulham down quickly and simply not giving them time to play.
It was good to watch and it had me wondering why we don’t do it every game?
We created plenty of chances and it was only a matter of time before we scored.
Hourihane sent a lovely floating free kick in and John Terry was there to head in from close range. I’m not Terry’s biggest fan, but it’s always good seeing a Villa player getting a goal for us and I was of course glad for him.
We then continued to dominate, but there was always a bit of a worry, especially after Fulham had managed to get in behind us a couple of times.
And I lost the feed just after 45 mins.
I thought I’d been pretty lucky up till then, as the internet here in Turkey isn’t the best, especially through a hotel’s Wi-Fi.
Anyway, sod’s law saw Fulham scoring from a free kick of their own.
I still haven’t seen it now, so can’t comment, save to say I was gutted.
Onto the second half then and I was a bit concerned that we’d do our usual “one half” trick. More accurately, I was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to keep the harrying and hassling up.
But I thought we managed to keep it up fairly well.
After some good work down the right, Onomah sent a square ball from deep, into the box, only for Kodjia to miss an easy goal.
Fortunately, Albert Adomah was just behind him and kept up his very decent scoring run to make it 2-1.
And so the (stuttery for me) game continued, with us not sitting back too much. Fulham came back into it somewhat, but never enough to really dominate.
And then the stream went down entirely on the 75th minute, which meant I missed the last 20 minutes. This time, it seemed to be a problem at Villa’s end, but I’m not sure.
Which had me pulling my hair out trying to refresh and keep up with the score.
Whatever, I was delighted with what I saw today.
I thought Kodjia, Onomah and Adomah all really grafted today, as did the midfield, where while I can’t single anyone out for praise, so I didn’t notice a bad performance anywhere.
I thought the defence looked fairly solid, although we were caught out a couple of times.
That’s not surprising, given that we were pressing higher up.
What I also noticed was that Hutton wasn’t anywhere near as involved as last week. I’m surprised Fulham didn’t try to hurt us more there and it seemed most of their best work came down our right.
Where it was nice to hear that Ritchie De Laet made an appearance.
Davis came on for Kodjia, who you could see was tiring, so that was another decent substitution.
In fact, I think Bruce called this well today and credit where it’s due.
The attackers seemed full of confidence and were trying little tricks, flicks and dummies. Ok, they didn’t always work, but it’s much better than having players who seem almost scared to touch the ball, isn’t it?
So all in all, a massive improvement on last week.
Dare I say I actually saw signs of progress today?
Maybe some of you will see that as a step too far, but let’s not forget Fulham are not a side that are going to struggle.
And having looked at the table, I reckon we’re now 5th, after Preston and Bristol City both lost.
You can’t knock it, in my book, although I suspect at least some of us won’t be convinced.