*Editors Note - Aston Villa have confirmed that their appeal has been successful, but Kodjia will still miss the derby as his ban has been reduced from three games to one game.
If there are two initials that represent Villa’s avoidance of relegation from the Championship (and that was looking to be a serious threat, wasn’t it?), it will be J.K. Jonathan Kodjia.
However, for as many games as he has won, he can effectively be blamed for Villa’s loss to Fulham. After a scuffle with wing-back Ryan Fredericks which saw both players hit the other with a foot - Kodjia was sent off following Fredericks’ complaints to the officials. Kodjia had kicked out (or tapped out, or whatever) after Fredericks’ foot hit the Villa striker following a tumble. Both players should have been cautioned, but it was Kodjia who was sent off. Bad form from the officials, but still - you’ve got no reason for your foot to hit anyone.
With a red card comes a three match ban (just so you know, that’s over half of what you get for being racist - which is a five game ban and it is halfway towards the ban you get for being Leandro Bacuna) which means that Jonathan Kodjia won’t be a part of Villa’s closing games. Villa could and arguably should appeal - but there is little point. Kodjia did do wrong, it might not have been red card wrong, but it was still poor. Any appeal might come down harshly on Villa, who have never had much luck in their disputes with the F.A.
This also means that Kodjia is out for this Sunday’s battle with the Blues. Birmingham City found themselves rid of the malaise of Gianfranco Zola when the Italian legend committed an ‘ol yeller’ and put himself out of his second city misery. Harry Redknapp is set to take over in what could see a rejuvenation for Birmingham, or a hilarious mockney collapse. We’ll find out on Sunday.
As for Villa, they aren’t short of striking options and this might be good - it means Scott Hogan gets a good run leading the line and it also allows Rushian Hepburn-Murphy a shot. It gives Kodjia a rest as well - which will be much needed after his efforts this season.
Kodjia has been the catalyst for Villa’s recent successes despite lacking in some critical areas of his game. Nevertheless, the summer signing from Bristol City has given Villa fans plenty of reason to cheer and has replaced the shadow of Christian Benteke that hung so heavily over Villa Park after the Belgian’s departure to Liverpool a few years ago. Now, Villa won’t see him for a while.