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
    Badger123 March 16, 2019 at 4:25 pm .

    Some Boro fans leaving.
    They know they’re not going to get back into this.

  2. Avatar
    Badger123 March 16, 2019 at 4:30 pm .

    Abraham limps off, Kodjia on.
    I hope it’s not serious.

  3. Avatar
    Badger123 March 16, 2019 at 4:34 pm .

    El Ghazi off, Keinan Davis on.

    1. Avatar
      Pat 57 March 16, 2019 at 4:35 pm .

      Nice to see Keinan back

  4. Avatar
    Badger123 March 16, 2019 at 4:47 pm .

    Adomah 3-0 after Davis’ shot is pushed away.

  5. Avatar
    Badger123 March 16, 2019 at 4:47 pm .

    Good call, Nath.

  6. Avatar
    Pat 57 March 16, 2019 at 4:48 pm .

    Supersub Albert! Well done

  7. Avatar
    Pat 57 March 16, 2019 at 4:53 pm .

    YYYYEEEEESSSS! Four in a row.

    Loved the fact we scored three but I loved the fact we kept a clean sheet even more.

    In sixth and it looks like the noses have done us a favour at Preston. What a day!

    1. Avatar
      Pat 57 March 16, 2019 at 4:58 pm .

      Preston 1-0 Noses.

      Well if the Villa win and the noses lose it can’t be a bad day!

  8. Avatar
    Bill Pearson March 16, 2019 at 4:57 pm .

    Best game so far out played Middlesbrough, Well done Whelan best game I’ve seen him play, as for our defence well words fail me absolutely in charge all the time. Well done Villa. Now it’s time to believe we can do it.

  9. Avatar
    Holte66 March 16, 2019 at 5:28 pm .

    Eleven goals scored and one flukey goal conceded in last four games. Three against Middlesbrough again who are miserly in defence. Hopefully we have come good at the business end of the season. If we keep everyone fit, particularly Mings, Grealish and McGinn and make play offs, then no team will want to play us. Even Leeds or Sheffield United. After a difficult season we finally have reason to all be optimistic! UTV

  10. Avatar
    Pat 57 March 16, 2019 at 5:48 pm .

    Would anyone agree that a big part of the reason why we’re playing so much better is down to Hause and especially Mings? If the mid-field haven’t got much confidence in the defence they tend to play too deep and so making it hard to get the ball forward out of defence.

    A number of posters are saying how much better Whelan, for instance, is playing and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Having a solid defence means that mid-field can concentrate on going forward rather than just trying to shield a defence that was leaking goals at an alarming rate.

    Of course, another big part of the reason is that Jack is back. How we missed him.

    1. Avatar
      DSVilla March 16, 2019 at 8:13 pm .

      Totally agree. Mings in particular is a class act. Dominant in the air, reads the game well, good with the ball at his feet and super confident. Hause doing well even though not in his natural position.

      The team is really clicking now.

      We have a decent run of fixtures coming up, so hopefully we can keep this run going.

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