Time is.. not on the side of Aston Villa. A disappointing February see the Claret and Blue sitting in the unlucky number 13 spot, desperately clinging to relevance. Following the draw at Stoke City to end the month, Villa find themselves on 45 points, thus needing at minimum 30 from the final 12 matches in order to have a shot at finishing in the top 6. Is 10-0-2 through the final 12 truly possible? Find out in this month’s Aston Villa Points Predictor.
Aston Villa vs Derby County
Jack. Is. Back. With that, so are this squad’s playoff chances. While he is only one player, the statistics have been shockingly different when his services have been available versus when he has been sidelined. Every Villa supporter could tell you that. Is it reasonable to expect this one man to come back and put an entire squad on his back, propelling them to Premier League glory? No. Is it reasonable to expect JG to come out of the gates following a prolonged absence and perform at 100% right away? No. Is it reasonable to suggest that other teams will change the way the approach defending and attacking him? No. But if there is one thing I know about supporters of any team in any sport, we often practice our fandom far outside the realm of reason. (Sometimes just like these predictions) I don’t expect anyone at Villa Park to care about much of about any of these sorts of things come Saturday, where reason gets thrown out the window, and the atmosphere explodes with thunderous noise when our man’s name is announced. I sincerely believe that this will be like unleashing lightning from a bottle, leaving Derby defenders caught out in the storm. An electric 2-1 victory with an assist from Grealish to Abraham for the match winner. 90th minute. At the Holte End. You couldn’t possibly ask for more.
March Points: 3
Total Points: 48
Aston Villa @ Birmingham City
My goodness you just cant write this stuff any better. Following an emotional 2-1 victory (hopefully) vs Derby, Villa enter into the last leg of the second city derby. A clash between to rival clubs for whom the disdain is not left waning. Oh, did I mention that John McGinn returns from his suspension for this match and Jack should *presumably* be fit to go the entire 90? Then here we are, arriving at another story-book moment. Aston Villa’s new Centre-Beast Tyrone Mings will certainly not capitulate to the aggression and strength of Lukas Jutkiewicz, ideally preventing him from getting a sniff of the ball anywhere near the 6-yard box. I am admittedly afraid of his over-dedication to that endeavor, which will allow the Blues an easy goal or two. However, the Birmingham City defense did concede 4 times in the first leg of this fixture, and I don’t see a reason that goals cannot be had again. I think this game has a ton of build up, action, and plenty of goal scoring, but in the end only comes out to 1-point apiece.
March Points: 4
Total Points: 49
Aston Villa @ Nottingham Forest
We’re all just expecting 5-5 again right? This is a trap game of all trap games. This is another side that is sitting on that periphery of promotion, with no worry of relegation, and nothing to lose by going forward and attempting to win-at-all-costs. This one is going to require the boys to take a more careful approach as to not get caught out on the counter as much as occurred in the previous 5 goal onslaught. I think both sides make adjustments to ensure that doesn’t happen again, and both sides adjust in a similar manner, resulting in the same amount of points being shared. Nervy 1-1 draw.
March Points: 5
Total Points: 50
Aston Villa vs Middlesbrough
In the 32 games that Middlesbrough have played in which they haven’t faced Aston Villa, they have conceded 21 goals. That is a jaw-dropping fantastic rate. However, this team is not set up well to face a Villa side that would love nothing more than for a team to sit deep and play “not to lose”. This was made all-too-evident for Tony Pulis’ side in the first fixture in which Villa thrived on this lack of pressure, scoring 3 goals against the Championship’s best defense. Assuming nothing of note changes from a Boro perspective, Villa should be able to keep their foot on the gas for the majority of this match. If the Villa back line can repel the four or five decent counterattacks mustered by Middlesbrough, this game should be an easier 2-0 victory than either teams current position in the table might suggest it would be.
March Points: 8
Total Points: 53
Aston Villa vs Blackburn
I’m not sure one could even draw a comparison using the 1-1 draw from the first time these teams met this year. Much has changed, and this match could go 10 different directions. Blackburn will be coming into this game having just played Rotherham, Preston, Wigan, and Sheffield Wednesday. Not necessarily the toughest stretch of matches. They could be in great form. They could be coming in with heads down after taking 3 points from 12 against beatable opponents. They could continue to be the most average team in the Championship. Who knows? I think this match goes the way of Villa, assuming Blackburn aren’t on some sort of tear. (Given their current record this would seem unlikely). 1-0 Villa in a not so pretty but “gets the job done” kind of match.
March Points: 11
Total Points: 56
11 points? This can’t be serious can it? With Jack Grealish (and John McGinn) coming back, some emotionally charged fixtures, and the surge required to get close to that dangling carrot that is promotion; it is serious. UTV