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Aston Villa need to turn chances into goals

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Against Brentford, Villa need to finally hit the target.

Aston Villa players celebrating against Nottingham, but the Villans need to secure the points before they can cheer this time around.
Aston Villa players celebrating against Nottingham, but the Villans need to secure the points before they can cheer this time around.
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

In Sunday's game against Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa had 26 shots. Two were goals, to be fair, and Forest keeper had one of those game-in-a-hundred performances, making six good saves. But Villa still missed the target 18 times, and that has to change.

Jordan Ayew to his credit, was less wasteful than in recent games, but still blazed high/wide too many times. Gary Gardner needs to chill the fuck out with his long shots, Ross McCormack needs to end his love affair with the woodwork; and Jack Grealish meanwhile, actually needs to pull the trigger more.

As we've noticed, Aston Villa's defence is still not that great. But with the attacking players that the team has, they can theoretically play a reckless 'score one more than the opposition' style of play. Very Tim Sherwood, but if Villa can start converting, they can account for the odd defensive catastrophe. Because of course, we’re Aston Villa, a defensive catastrophe is basically a given.

Wednesday night's game against Brentford will be a good time to test this theory, because we're getting to the point where Aston Villa really need a win. Just one win so far is not ideal, especially considering that tough games against Newcastle and Reading are soon to come. But first, check out what happened the last time the two sides met.

The last time we met

Long before Brentford were the moneyball club of today, they last faced Aston Villa in the 4th round of the FA Cup, back in February 1953. The game went to a replay, following a goalless draw a month earlier, though Villa went on to win 2-1, thanks to goals from Tommy Thompson and David Walsh.

Not much is known about the game, but it is clear given that Aston Villa were in the division above Brentford at this time, an upset this was not. Brentford went on to finish 17th in the second division, whereas Villa would finish in 11th in the first division. As for their cup progression, Aston Villa went on to beat Tottenham and Rotherham before a 1-0 defeat to Everton eliminated the Villans in the 6th round.

Both of Aston Villa's goalscorers back then were prolific strikers, both at Villa and elsewhere. David "Davy" Walsh scored 100 goals for West Brom before making a £25k switch to Villa (roughly £600k today), and he justified the then large fee by averaging a goal every three games, leaving Villa for Walsall having scored 37 in 108 games. Walsh passed away in March 2016, aged 91.

Tommy Thompson signed for Villa in 1950 from his local side Newcastle United for £12.5k (£300k ish), and whilst at Villa, he scored 67 in 149 appearances, including three hattricks. Villa went on to double their money by selling Thompson to fellow first division side Preston in 1955, where he made a tremendous contribution, scoring 117 in 188 appearances. Tommy Thompson passed away in September 2015, aged 86.

This season

Brentford have made a pretty impressive start to the season so far, winning three of their opening six games. They also kept a clean sheet in each of their three wins, showing that unlike Villa, Brentford know how to hold on to a lead. Hm.

Though they are winning games, Brentford haven't exactly been in amongst the goals. They have four more points than the Villa, but the same number of goals. Not to say that Brentford aren't threatening, but Scott Hogan and Lasse Vibe aren't the most threatening strikers on paper. Saying that, neither was Nottingham Forest's Apostolos Vellios, and that turned out south for us.

This is quite a big game for Villa especially at home. Brentford aren't the best side in terms of quality, but they have a sense of solidity and consistency that will make them a mid table team at least. Again though, it is the type of team that promotion chasers like Villa should be beating. Man for man, Villa have the stronger of the two teams, but the gap between Brentford's best and worst players is probably smaller than that between Villa's best and worst. Does that make a difference? To team cohesion, perhaps. We'll have to wait and see.

But finally, and here's what I'm slightly concerned about:

Is Dr. Tony getting twitchy? I have a horrible feeling in my gut that if Villa lose a couple more games this month, the owner will either do something stupid like sacking Roberto Di Matteo, or going on a Twitter rant rampage that damages the club's reputation. Fellow 7500 writer Alex made this great point earlier in the summer, and a tough Championship campaign is sure to now show us what Dr. Tony is really made of, as well as the players themselves.