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Aston Villa and the record setting season

Goals! Goals! Goals!

Ross Kinnaird

Aston Villa have gotten off to about as good of a start as any of us could've asked for. Except for maybe in the attacking department. While like many of you, I would not trade in the 10 points that Villa have. But the dream for many, including me, is a free-flowing attacking Villa team that scores a ton of goals while still winning. And in the 1930-1931 season, that's exactly what Aston Villa were.

In the previous season, Aston Villa were a fairly prolific, goal-scoring team. In 1929-30, Villa scored 92 goals in 42 games. They were spearheaded by Tom "Pongo" Warning, who is one of, if not the most prolific goal-scorer in club history. A large part of that reputation would born in 30-31.

The season got off to a great start for Villa when they went to Manchester and beat Manchester United 4-3 on opening day. But a week later, they showed just how prolific an attacking team they could be. In the third game of the season, Villa beat West Ham United 6-1 at home. Through September, in eighth games, they had already scored 22 goals. That average would only go up from there. In the first game of October, they scored another six as they beat Huddersfield Town.

They two highest scoring matches Villa were involved with both featured ten goals. However, neither ended in a win for Villa. On November 15, they lost 6-4 away to Derby County and on January 3, they drew 5-5 with West Ham.

The two biggest wins they had were both by seven goals. On January 31, Villa hosted Middlesbrough and beat them 8-1. The other was in Manchester United's return visit to Birmingham. That ended in a 7-0 victory for Villa.

On October 18, Birmingham City managed to hold Villa to just one goal at Villa Park in a 1-1 draw. When Villa faced them away from home, they made sure that didn't happen again. In the second derby that season, Villa won 4-0.

There were only three matches all season in which Villa couldn't score. Newcastle, Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday were the three defenses that managed to keep a clean sheet against the Villa attack.

By the end of the season, Villa had scored 128 goals in 42 games. Waring led the way with 49 goals in league play. Villa are tied with the 1928-29 Bradford City side, who also scored 128 in 42 games, but did so in the Third Division. The current Football League record-holder is Peterborough United, who scored 134 in the Fourth Division in 1960-61. But Peterborough played 46 games that season, giving them an extra four matches. And considering the divisions those other two teams played in, I think Villa's season is still the most impressive.

Now, if you don't know the history of this team, you may be thinking that this Villa side had to have won the title. They did not. This was in part due to the fact that they conceded 78 goals. Also in part to the fact that Arsenal were nearly as prolific. Arsenal scored 127 goals that season, while conceding 59. Villa finished seven points back of Arsenal in second place.

Yes, formations and tactics were far different than how they are now. But that still doesn't make the 1930-31 season any less impressive. 128 goals in 42 games works out to 3.05 goals per game. If they were to do that today, it would work out to about 116. I don't think Villa will be scoring 116 goals in a Premier League season anytime soon.

Sources

http://www.espn.co.uk/football/sport/match/index.html?event=3;season=1930%2F31;team=242

http://www.fl125.co.uk/records/league-goals

http://www.rsssf.com/engpaul/fla/league.html