Hey look, it's the week I finally stop myopically focusing on the goalless streak! But you'd be crazy if you think I wouldn't include it just once more. But I promise, there are good numbers, too!
There it is, folks. The final tally of the longest goalless streak Aston Villa have had since before Martin O'Neill unceremoniously quit on the club in August of 2010. 7 hours, 31 minutes of absolute futility in finding the back of the net. And if we're being honest about it, it was likely closer to 8 hours when you add in stoppage time.
But Leandro Bacuna's 76th minute goal on Saturday saw all of that come to an end. Hopefully I will never have to write about a streak like this again. But that won't stop me from writing about goalless streaks...
The goalless streak for Aston Villa's opponents. After Leon Osman's 81st-minute strike against Villa in the Everton match, Brad Guzan hasn't let anything by him for two matches. It's now four clean sheets on the season, whereas last season, Aston Villa had only five total. Say what you will about the club, but the defense is immensely improved. It's nice know that, even if the offense doesn't show up, Villa still have a fighting chance to at least secure the bore draw.
The number of passes attempted by Aston Villa per match with and without Fabian Delph in the starting lineup, respectively. Here you've got an example of the numbers not showing what I had expected to see. I figured with Delph in the midfield, Villa would pass more frequently, rather than the hoofing that we hate seeing so much. So then I looked at success rates (in this case not total number of success/total passes, but the average of pass success rates for all of the matches in general... I know. It's not perfect) and the difference was equally disappointing from an affirming-my-hypothesis standpoint. Sure, when Delph starts, Villa has an average success rate of 73.8% as opposed to 69.5% when he's out. But that's not nearly the difference I expected. I'm still looking for a good number to quantify just how important Delph is to this club. We all intuitively know it, but I want us to see it in number form.
The number of points Aston Villa would end with if they were to play the rest of their matches the same way they did the corresponding fixtures last year. In last year's table that'd be good enough for 9th place. In their next five matches, however, Villa only netted 4 points last year. At West Brom, Sunderland, and at Fulham all present chances for the club to get 3 points. There is a chance that the coming stretch could see Villa significantly differentiate themselves from last year's squad. If they can start winning they've got a chance to give us a year devoid of relegation fears.
To be fair though, after that 5-match stretch is a 12-match run in which Villa netted 24 points, so we could see the net gains disappear with a few bad results. But let's not think about that yet. Positivity!