Villa Stay Top Despite Average Month
In a month where Cup competition took priority over the League, it doesn’t look good on the results page, but Villa still only lost one Championship match and also beat arch rivals Birmingham City in the F.A. Cup 4th round. There were big victories in the championship and one surprising defeat. Villa still know how to score but you can tell James Chester was injured as they shipped more goals than ever
Championship: Norwich City 1-2 Aston Villa
F.A Cup 3rd Round: Cambridge 1-3 Aston Villa
Bjarnason (pen 75)
Carabao Cup Semi Final Leg 1: Chelsea 4-3 Aston Villa
Championship: Aston Villa 2-1 Derby County
Championship: Bristol City 3-2 Aston Villa
Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg: Aston Villa 1(4)-(6)2 Chelsea
F.A Cup Forth Round: Aston Villa 2-0 Birmingham City
Championship: Aston Villa 1-1 Blackburn Rovers
Villa started with a victory in the first game of the month against Norwich and it was Scott Hogan, who had almost been forgotten about since Wenger came into the club. It is worth noting that Hogan cost Villa over £9,000,000 in the 2017/18 season. Hogan’s double though allowed them to keep a grip on top spot in the league and Hogan was started to see a bit more game time from Wenger.
Hogan celebrates scoring a double
Villa easily disposed of Cambridge, Wenger had rested several key players and still Villa had more than enough to dispose of the Conference team.
Villa then played Chelsea and although this has already been reported on, didn’t they do well! Villa gave everything in both legs and against other sides would have easily gone to another final. It wasn’t just any other team though and Chelsea showed why they are always up the top end of the Premier League. They play Southampton in the final.
Villa then went up against Derby in what would test their promotion credentials again and this time Villa were up for the challenge. Jonathon Kodjia carried on his excellent form for the club by bagging a brace playing alongside Andy Carroll who had set both goals up. At the end of the match Kodjia hinted that maybe he prefers to play alongside Carroll rather than Abraham.
There is a great understanding already with Andy and I feel the way he plays compliments the way that I play. I think this is going to be a partnership with amazing potential!
Wenger contemplating after the Bristol City match
Arsene Wenger responded to that interview by dropping Carroll to the bench for the match against Bristol City and reinstating Tammy Abraham to the starting line-up. Aston Villa though were below par all game, with Bristol City winning the match 3-2. Only winger Yannick Bolasie came out with any credit from the match and Villa were back to the drawing board.
After Villa lost the Semi Final of the Carabao Cup, it was the important one, a match against the arch rivals and for the first time Villa were coming into this match with a feeling of ‘It was not a guaranteed win’. Aston Villa though were pumped for this, it was a 17:30 kick off and it appeared to be passing by with no issues.
I will be honest it helped that Birmingham were so bad the fans could not bring themselves to take the piss out of The Villans. It was though a huge match for Harry McKirdy, man of the match and scored one and set the other up as Villa dominated Brum but it was there keeper, the wily old head in Tomasz Kuszczak, that saved 11 shots, Villa had rattled in 13 shots on target and had 22 shots in total, scoring the two goals.
McKirdy’s ground covered in the Birmingham Derby.
Harry McKirdy just bossed it. He really has been an incredible find this season for Villa. Birmingham City were knocked out of the F.A Cup and Vill in the 5th round landed an away tie at Liverpool.
The final match of the month was against 3rd place Blackburn and this was a great match, Blackburn took a early lead but Villa chipped away more and more to give themselves a 1-1 draw and it was a fantastic 25 yard drive from Birkir Bjarnason. He picked the ball up and no one was available so he just shot and gave Villa what could prove to be a priceless 1-1 draw!
Villa remain top of the tree but Middlesbrough are not letting them get away and are one of the in form sides in the Championship. Blackburn, Swansea and Sheffield United are just a point behind the second place team. Bristol City have been the big movers this month winning 4 of the last 5 games. Leeds and Stoke are now dropping off the pace of the promotion and playoff chasers.
Villa Player Of The Month
The Icelandic midfielder has been awesome this month. It is interesting to think that Bjarnason was rumoured to leave Villa Park but he has really worked hard at training and dug his heels in to challenge Jon McGinn, Harry McKirdy and Joe Allen for the starting spot.