December is huge. You know it. I know it. Steve Bruce does too and admitted it in his press conference Thursday before calling the country “barking mad” for not having a break in fixtures over the holidays. (speaking of barking mad — Dogs doing Jingle Bells. You’re lucky I didn’t embed & autoplay it! You’re welcome.)
When the calendar flips to 2018 the campaign will be over the halfway point and Aston Villa could be in the hunt for the top of the table or out of the fight for automatic promotion or anywhere in between.
Villa sit on 35 points — with a ceiling of 53 at the end of the month — for perspective on 24 matches eventual champions Newcastle had 52 last year. But it is really far too early to start comparisons and point counting... or so I keep telling myself every time I look up things like that.
- No Kodjia, Terry, or Jedinak due to long term injuries. Mile is looking at 6-12 weeks depending if surgery is needed.
- Bruce: “Everyone else is ok.” Huge sigh of relief there after seeing Keinan Davis limp off near the end of the Ipswich match.
- Owner Tony Xia addressed the January transfer window, “In terms of strengthening, everyone knows that for January we have the FFP to look at. But very possibly we will bring in a couple of loans to strengthen our squad. We want to keep getting better and better and help us end the season well.”
- Couple of notes from the club about AVTV: If you are subscribed and only see the audio (and should see a video) delete your cache and restart the browser — or go into incognito/private mode. If you have issues email: firstname.lastname@example.org or some folks have has success via twitter to get help as well.
November: Delightful Dozen Points
Nov 1st @Preston 0 - 2 Win
Nov 4th Sheff Wed 1 - 2 Loss
Nov 18th @QPR 1 - 2 Win
Nov 21st Sunderland 2 - 1 Win
Nov 25th Ipswich Town 2 - 0 Win
December: Six Pack Test
How big a deal is December? Villa made an image just for this post!!
Those are not easy fixtures. Four against top ten opponents — three of which are on the road. For planning purposes: Leeds, Sheffield, and Brenford are TV fixtures. The month starts with normal spreads between matches and finishes with three in seven days.
Steve Bruce is going to be faced, once again, with the decision — play tired players or rotate. So far for most of the campaign, he has chosen to stick with similar lineups; expecting players to play through the fatigue. It is a tough decision — and one that could contribute to what kind of six-pack we are all drinking for the New Year.
The finish is a fantastic metaphor for what has been a crazy year. What kind of nightcap do you expect December to be?