Villa – Boro; Now this is a really big game!

Our last three games have all been very tough propositions, yet we coped with them all really well, scoring eight goals and only conceding one (a somewhat flukey one, too).
I still can’t get my head around how much better we’ve been with Grealish back in the side.
But that aside, I mentioned previously that some teams currently in the top six might falter.

Indeed, it seems Derby are already in their annual free fall act as we speak, having taken only nine points from their last eight games.
As for Villa’s last eight games, we’ve taken twelve points. But when you consider we’ve taken nine in the last three, it shows how bad our previous form was (three points in the previous five games).
No wonder we all thought we hadn’t got a chance of promotion.

Which leads me on to Middlesbrough, who have taken eleven points in eight games, but importantly, have lost their last two games (at home) albeit to good opposition in Preston and Brentford.
Interestingly, they have quite a poor record at home, but have a very decent record away.
Which makes sense, with the way Pulis sets his teams up to not concede, while trying to hit on the break.
Which, while dead boring is obviously quite successful, because they have by far the meanest defence in the league having conceded only 28 goals.

Squad news and on our part, nothing has changed.
El Ghazi is fit, after he went off with an arm problem.
Tuanzebe and Lansbury should be available for the Blackburn game and Chester and Hutton are doing light training.

As for Boro, the big news is that defender Dani Ayala has successfully appealed his sending off on Wednesday and will be available. Otherwise, I’m not seeing much else about them, but Pulis has suggested he might “freshen things up”.

I really don’t see that Dean Smith will change anything for this game.
John McGinn quickly re-staked his claim for a place and has to start.
It’s tempting to think that El Ghazi might be replaced by Green, but I think the manager will be prepared to give the Dutchman another game, as he definitely sees that he does have some threat.
An unchanged team then, with similar subs to the other night.
It’s actually a very nice position for Smith to be in, as the team is pretty much picking itself.

It seems to me our biggest problem is going to be unlocking Boro’s defence.
We definitely have the tools to do it, but we have to be very wary that they don’t catch us on the break, although fortunately that’s not quite the problem it was earlier in the season.

I don’t see many goals and strongly think the first goal could easily prove the winner.
Let’s hope it’s us that gets it and condemns Boro to their third consecutive defeat, which could easily send them on their way to the “wheels falling off”.

Villa to win 1-0 in a very cagey game.


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  1. Avatar
    Pat 57 March 15, 2019 at 11:51 pm .

    I actually fancy us getting all three points. Boro will sit back and that will suit us, I honestly think that Jack and McGinn can unpick their defence.

    However, I won’t say what the score will be as we’ve been doing so well since I last gave a prediction.

  2. Avatar
    Hitchens60 March 16, 2019 at 6:52 am .

    Imho I think Pulis would settle for a draw here so agree with you Badger that he will set up defensively and hope to grab a goal. Expect us to have a lot of possession – an early Villa goal is what we need.

    Staying away from predictions but a win would set us up nicely for the International break.

  3. Avatar
    nath March 16, 2019 at 7:41 am .

    what a difference 3 wins on the bounce makes, to the team and the fans lol three games ago, nobody really except the few and the delusional thought the season wasnt over. the players and manager knew and they are now performing their best stuff all season. they have excellent shape with the ball, full backs units are really functioning, centre backs are now able to command the backline and come out with the ball comfortably. midfield is finely balanced. we are now a team finally.

    can we beat middlesbrough yes we can, they will play like all pulis teams they will try to get set pieces around the box and corners to create scoring opportunities, but their style will allow us lots of ball and we are on fire and will create chances and now capable of finishing them. easy days work 3 nil and for once i really do stand by the 3 nil

    the leeds and sheff utd game i will watching. the loser will be our greatest opponents in the playoffs . keep the faith.

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 March 16, 2019 at 7:53 am .

      Hope you’re right Nath.

      Off today for a few days to the county of hops and great pubs, gearing up for final (?) ‘booze cruise’ on Tuesday. Hope I’ll be celebrating with my mates tonight.

      1. Avatar
        Hitchens60 March 16, 2019 at 7:55 am .

        About the score I mean; agree with your comments about the team finally playing like a team. We need some luck now with no more injuries which have disrupted us all season,

        1. Avatar
          nath March 16, 2019 at 8:38 am .

          i just enjoyed a few days off and fully refreshed. hope you enjoy yours.

          villa players are all pulling their weight, they all know their jobs and they are full of confidence it will take a very very good team to knock off off this feeling. middlesbrough don’t have the tools to do that.

  4. Avatar
    nath March 16, 2019 at 8:49 am .

    anybody hear the commentary on the forest goal, also some reaction to this goal by experts and fans. to suggest steer was at fault with his positioning is wrong. he had to defend the near post area. he closed all the right angles down,so the only way the ball could get past him was over his head. which is what happened. it was a cross and as badger said fluky.

    villa first goal was a goalie error, off course its a great strike, but the goalie should be defending the near post, but he anticipates the shot to the back post leaving a generous gap which mcginn found.

    i think steer has been very solid since coming back in, he also been very well protected.

  5. Avatar
    Bill Pearson March 16, 2019 at 9:04 am .

    I did Nath hear something of that nature about Steer but to be honest a bit of both.fluke on chipping it and yes Steer did not anticipate that ball., Wondered where you gone Nath nearly asked on post as was unusual after that great win.I myself running round looking after wife and grandchildren as wife had a hip replacement last week. Yes looking forward to the game today and not giving any predictions as didn’t last game and won.if we anything goes Tits up today I’m blaming Badger, hes predicted. utv.

    1. Avatar
      nath March 16, 2019 at 9:27 am .

      because he covered his near post correctly, that always leaves room for perfect chip or fluke to sail in, as its not easy to backtrack quick prevent that sort of chip. but for me he did the correct thing, cause if he doesn’t cover the near post as he did, he will be better positioned for the chip but the front post would have been wide open.

      iam looking forward to this villa game, but i doubt bora can make it a good game, they will sit very deep and try to spoil the villa game that way. looking forwards to watching leeds and sheff utd that will be a cracker. leeds have been great all season and so have sheff utd, both play very aggressively. so i am predicting a classic 2 4 to utd lmao i mean sheff utd

  6. Avatar
    DSVilla March 16, 2019 at 12:33 pm .

    A win today will be a massive boost. If we can win it will be 12 points in 4 games against teams in the play offs or just outside (and above us) at time of playing. I’m confident of the win today. i just think we are too good going forward for them, and we are much better at the back since Mings and Hause have come in. Good work by Smith getting them in.

  7. Avatar
    Pat 57 March 16, 2019 at 12:49 pm .

    Just noticed that, with Derby and Bristol City not playing today, if we win we’ll go sixth!

    Of course Derby and Bristol City will have games in hand but it would still be nice to be in one the play-off spots if only for a while.


  8. Avatar
    Bill Pearson March 16, 2019 at 12:58 pm .

    I like it Pat 57, watching Leeds and Sheffield up till now I see no broblems be a draw.

    1. Avatar
      Pat 57 March 16, 2019 at 1:22 pm .

      All Leeds but Sheffield came back into it and should be ahead. Football ‘s not great but I’m wondering how much of that is down to the weather?

      At VP it’s forecast to be 40 mph plus winds and rain and this could make life difficult for defences.

  9. Avatar
    Holte66 March 16, 2019 at 1:57 pm .

    No prediction from me again as I don’t want to tempt fate. Got to say Grealish coming back has been a major boost for us. Also Mings has been brilliant since he came in. The concern we had when we signed him was could he stay injury free. If he does then I think he will be as important as Grealish coming back. Team selection wise I wouldn’t change anything. We have a strong substitutes bench if things not going to plan. I hope Abraham can get a goal today because he’s going through a relatively lean spell by his standards.

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