Villa 2-1 Fulham; Well, that was better!

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.

61 Comments

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  1. originallondonlion October 22, 2017 at 6:46 pm . Reply

    The two matches have shown us we are better than Fulham and not as good as Wolves, which is what the table tells us also. Good to see JT open his account with a very typical header – based on his reading of not where the kicker intends the ball should go, but where it actually will go.

  2. Owen October 23, 2017 at 9:59 am . Reply

    We’ve seen Norwich and Bristol City are actually quite good as they are up there with us now. We gained four points off them and have beaten Forest and Fulham both in the top half. This suggests we are not that bad against the top teams after all.

    Of course bigger tests are to come but we are strong at home so Cardiff ad Wolves won’t have it so easy at VP. Onomah off the front man worked so maybe Bruce will now go 442 at home and 4411 away. I’d play the same team for the Fulham game against Blues.

    We’ve got consistency of positions with Johnstone, Elmo, Terry, Chester, Snodgrass, Whelan, Hourihane, Adomah and Kodjia playing in all 5 recent wins. A very settled line up will aid consistency. And all done without Jedinak. We only won one game without him last season. So we are improving. He will strengthen midfield further when he returns. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a solid midfield.

    A left back and a target man in January and I feel we will cement top 6 and maybe even nick an automatic spot. Maybe.

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath October 23, 2017 at 7:17 pm . Reply

      I would start Davis and drop Kodja to bench for blues game. Last season at St. Andrews he got bullied all over the place and hardly touched the ball. Davis is more physical so will do more damage then maybe bring in Kodja with 20 mins to go

  3. johnnyuk October 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm . Reply

    When you look at the form table (http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/championship/table) at the teams above us, even if we continue to drop the occasional point or two, you’ve got to fancy our chances for soon getting into the top 2. There’s no one at this point besides perhaps Wolves who have the ability to dominate, and you get the impression that if Villa were to turn it up a gear and really click game in game out, that we could run away with this league. Of course, Villa are Villa and we don’t do things the easy way – but you can see the potential is there.

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath October 23, 2017 at 7:18 pm . Reply

      Agree Wolves will walk away with this division now but I still think 2nd is beyond us. Yet again we have Grealish and Jedinak to come back and Kodja hasn’t started scoring yet so who knows.

      1. OohAhPaulMcGrath October 23, 2017 at 7:21 pm . Reply

        Ps Koeman anyone 😄

      2. Owen October 23, 2017 at 8:11 pm . Reply

        AGreed about Jedinak and Kodjia but not sure what Grealish actually offers. Certainly not goals from midfield like Hourihane and Adomah

        1. Andrew October 24, 2017 at 6:25 am . Reply

          This the same Grealish who had more goals last season for us than Hourihane and Adomah combined? Adomah also appeared more than Grealish.

          1. Andrew October 24, 2017 at 6:29 am .

            While I agree Adomah has stepped it up this season. Hourihane has scored in 3 games out of 12 appearances. So he’s not exactly reliable in terms of getting goals on par with what we’d need.

  4. owen October 24, 2017 at 10:44 am . Reply

    I think Grealish is technically very gifted, but does not fit in anywhere – certainly not in a 442. Andrew my dear chap, according to whoscored.com – stats wise Grealish did score more goals than Hourihane and Adomah combined but only by 1 and all three players stats were pretty weak last year. Adomah still contributed more. Anyway I digress…. whoscored.com has the stats as follows for last season:

    Grealish – 31 apps, 5 goals and 2 assists – so he was involved in 7 Villa goals last year in 31 appearances – not great.

    Hourihane really struggled to adjust to Villa last year I grant you and you have a fair point here – after he joined he had 17 apps, 1 goal and 3 assists – so he was involved in 4 Villa goals. Both player contributes/scores a goal once every 5 games – not flash from either player.

    Adomah has been much better this season but stats wise Albert always poses a threat even when having a crap game which Grealish doesn’t in my opinion. But his stats last year were pretty good – 30 apps, 3 goals and 10 assists. Now football is not an exact science, I grant you but Albert was offering a goal or assist every 2. 3 games – so every other game he contributed something tangible which the other two did not.

    I like Grealish, I want him to do well, I just don’t think he offers enough.

  5. owen October 24, 2017 at 11:01 am . Reply

    i meant hourihane and grealish contribute once every 4 games or just over – i think!

  6. owen October 24, 2017 at 11:08 am . Reply

    This season Grealish is going to have to go some to match Hourihane and Adomah. Hourihane has 5 goals and an assist in 12 apps – 1 in 2 contribution rate. Adomah 5 goals in 9 games so thats even better than 1 in 2. If Grealish can top that or even contribute defensively or offensively as much as Snodgrass, Onomah, Kodjia or Davis then I will be chuffed and he will deserve his place in the team.

  7. Andrew October 24, 2017 at 7:17 pm . Reply

    Unfortunately you won’t get a lot of defensive effort out of Grealish. I could be surprised, but your best bet is playing him behind Kodjia/Davis. Then again that leaves the question is our midfield strong enough to counter-balance his attacking talents but his defensive frailties and probably isn’t.

    1. OohAhPaulMcGrath October 28, 2017 at 8:14 pm . Reply

      Kodja has to play from bench tomor. He was bullied out the game last year and same same at Wolves. Kodja is not the sort of player we need inna derby like this we need to start with Davies who’s more physical and will rough their defence up a bit. Then being Kodja on in last 20 mins to run at tired defence

  8. Andrew October 25, 2017 at 12:06 am . Reply

    People doubting Wolves, they just lasted 120 minutes against a fairly strong Manchester City side, who started a few starters and then subbed 4 more on and they still couldn’t score against Wolves. City only went through on penalties. Yeah City were clearly the better side but Wolves aren’t a joke, even with a lesser team themselves.

    1. owen October 25, 2017 at 7:23 pm . Reply

      shows us losing to them not that much of a disaster.. think we will be in the mix with them

      1. Andrew October 25, 2017 at 7:32 pm . Reply

        By far and away the best side in the league. Does help when your owner’s best friends with Mendes, one of the top two footballing agents in the world, managing some incredible players. Wasn’t the loss so much as how we just rolled over and died for them. Wolves will likely pull a Newcastle and pull away soon.

  9. Adam October 25, 2017 at 4:36 pm . Reply

    I see Mellberg has achieved back to back titles for his Swedish team who are now going to be in the top tier. Will keep an eye on how they do this next season. Would anyone take Mellberg over Bruce right now? Must admit id love to see him managing us one day.

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